One of the very best meals we ate in Maine didn't - believe it or not - involve any lobster whatsoever. Mom, Louisa and I had a craving for fried clams, and once again Liz and Skyler helped us find the very best. That's how we (plus Miriam and our friend Reff) ended up headed for lunch at The Slipway in Thomaston, just a hop, skip and a jump from our house on Rackliff Island. (A hop, skip and jump from Rackliff requiring a minimum of 20 minutes in the car, of course.)
The Slipway is, as you could probably tell from its name, located just beside a little slipway a few blocks from downtown Thomaston. There is an indoor dining room, but on the sunny afternoon we ate there, every single patron was seated outside on a deck built over the water. I was feeling in a bit of a celebratory mood, and so I ordered a glass of Prosecco. (Bubbly drinks, you see, go marvelously with shellfish and fried food - a double whammy.)
After a week of ordering and retrieving lobster rolls from one walk-up window after another, being waited upon at The Slipway felt like an overwhelmingly decadent luxury. The hospitality was top-notch, right now to little details like napkin weights (painted rocks) on each table.
Louisa and I started with a half-dozen local oysters, delightfully briny and sweet. Then came the main event: fried clam baskets. The fries at The Slipway were the best we ate in Maine, positively fresh and piping hot. And the clams? Amazing. They were whole clams, crispy, chewy strips and fat, tender bellies, tasting of nothing so much as the ocean. The batter was crunchy and light and held tight to the clams - no crumbling messes to be found here. Rounded out with little dishes of tartar sauce, mayonnaise and cole slaw, our lunch was pretty much perfect.