A bit like a summer bookends, I get the urge to go to Bill’s Seafood in May and September. This Connecticut shoreline seafood shack with cash only/ no reservations policy and an overflowing parking lot can often be so crowded during summer weekends that we’ve gotten in the habit of making the drive to Westbrook during the shoulder season.

There’s always one constant, we order Rhode Island Clam Chowder. I love the perfectly cubed potatoes this clear broth soup. It’s also far more appealing to eat soup when there’s a little chill in the air.

When we order oysters, D’s request for hot sauce is not far behind. Our server brought Tabasco and then slyly slid the D Train’s Hot Pepper Sauce onto the table. I took one look at the word habanero and sensed imminent danger. My fears were unfounded. ¬†With its carrot base, this hot sauce has a barely-there sweet flavor and no dominating fiery or acidic punch. Not exactly what you’d expect from the “habanero express” mentioned on the label. We liked this locally-bottled condiment so much that we bought one to bring home. Bottles are available for purchase at Bill’s. Ask your waiter.

Calamari, with more peppers: this time jalapeno.

Steamers

A hot lobster roll with butter (I’m from CT, I don’t eat the cold version with mayo)

It’s always a good day when you can snag a seat right along the waterfront edge of the deck.

If you’re meeting us at Bill’s, look for us at the outdoor bar. It reminds of us Key West. We’ll be the ones sitting next to the bikers.