I'm from Los Angeles, one of the furthest points from New England and I just concluded a road trip that began from Providence to Bar Harbor, Maine and back, mostly along Route 1. Many of the place I went to was from scouring past posts on this board and reading travel guides. I just want to highlight some of the meals I had, hopefully it will help future road trippers.
Essex Seafood (Essex, MA) - Fried Clam boat with onion rings ($15.95). My first fried clams since the horrible reproductions in the college dorms. These were big and meaty, but didn't have much of a bite to them. The onion rings that it came with were a bit soft and didn't have any flavor.
Finale Desserterie (Cambridge, MA) - Chocolate Decadance Cake ($5.75). Very very rich and fudgy. You NEED coffee to wash this down. Beautiful setting for after dinner dessert.
The Clam Box (Ipswitch, MA) - I love the architecture! Small box of Native Clams ($12.75). Better than the ones from Essex, I thought. These had more of a crunch to them.
Lobster Roll ($13.50). May not have been the best place in New England to have my very first (of many) lobster rolls. Lots of cold shreded meat in mayo, on a leaf of lettuce, and a warm toasted bun.
The Clam Shack (Kennebunkport, ME) - Lobster roll ($13~). This was served on a bun rather than hot dog bun. You get a choice of mayo or butter (which I chose) and it comes with a lemon. Though it seemed smaller than the previous one, it was tasty.
Fore Street (Portland, ME) - I was surprised how casual the setting were, servers dressed in jeans, the service lacked professionality, dirty dishes were constantly left on the table by servers passing by.
Fore Street Summer Salad ($9.50). Basically tomato and arugla salad. Very generous with the tomatoes. But I felt it was flavorless and needed salt (which I had to add) to wake up the tomatoes.
Atlantic Haddock fillet ($20). Topped with a fennel, pepper, lobster, and balsamic sauce. Great savory sauce for a mild fish, but again, underseasoned.
Blueberry Crisp ($8). This was GREAT, but could of been baked hotter.
Scales (Portland, ME) - two local oysters ($1.75/ea). I think he said it was Saint Anne? and/or something that came from Damariscotta. They fill an indentation in the stone bar with ice and place the shucked oyster on it. Nicely chilled and very briny.
Cup of clam chowder ($4~). Actually served in a coffee cup. Thin consistency (which I assume is what true NE clam chowder is like). Very generous with the clams!
Cindy's (Freeport, ME) - Lobster roll ($13~). Larger chunks of lobster than the previous two places, but still contained shredded pieces. Mayo only. I thought it was better than Clam Shack's.
Red's Eats (Wiscasset, ME) - definately the most popular (and touristy - many were carrying travel guides) of all the clam shacks. Even in the midafternoon I had to wait in line.
Lobster roll ($14). The most generous of all the lobster rolls I had. Only chunks of lobster in the bun. Served with melted butter poured from a kettle. Best of all the lobster rolls I tried.
Round Top Blueberry ice cream ($3). I'm not much of an ice cream person. I don't have a sweet tooth, and I can probably live the rest of my life without eating ice cream. But hounds say you gotta have New England ice cream. It was nice, a bit hard. IMHO, the blueberry ice cream at Fosselmans in Alhambra, CA was better.
Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound (Trenton, ME) - whole small lobster ($6.99/lb). Pick yourself and they steam it for you. They cook it in seawater on a wood burning fire. Good stuff!
Clam chowder ($4.75) - again a thin (but good) and generous chowder. They use whole unchopped clams in here. Very satisfying.
Sea Basket (Wiscasset, ME) - cup of haddock chowder ($3.99). Probably the best chowder I had on the trip. A thin chowder probably enriched with butter when serving, there was a thin sheen of yellow when I got the bowl. It was really really hot. I burned my tongue on this. Lots of haddock pieces in here. I wish I tried the clam chowder and lobster stew.
Beer Works Salem (Salem, MA) - worst meal and service on the trip, but I wanted a beer.
Fried Haddock sandwich ($9~). Three small flimsy nuggets of fish in a bun made soggy by the tomato and lettuce. Kept falling apart. Fish wasn't crisp. The fries were okay.
Black Bat stout ($4~). Nice rich brew.
This dosen't list EVERY meal I had, the rest of them aren't worth mention. I enjoyed my culinary driving trip, and would live to do it again, if I had the opportunity. I next time I need to hit Woodman's, JT Farnham's, Maine Diner, maybe a few more lobster pounds, especially the ones that never get any mention along Route 1. I hit my limit for fried seafood pretty quick, but I can cram down many more lobster rolls and lobsters.