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It’s not long now. The end of summer. That’s not bad news for everyone. Fall fashion fans. Parents who have spent enough quality time with their kids. Halloween enthusiasts.
But it is the last chance to savor some amazing foods that will be gone when summer is over, or not long afterward. Here are some things to try before it’s too late.
Farmers Market Ice Cream; Salt & Straw, Portland, OR
For the month of August, these mad geniuses of ice cream are serving farmers’ market–inspired flavors such as green fennel and maple; carrot-watermelon sorbet, and the F&W staff favorite, tomato water-olive oil sherbet (tomatoes are supplied by the nonprofit, urban Zenger Farm).
Peach Lambic Ice Cream; Turner Field, Atlanta
Turner Field’s days are numbered: In 2017, the Braves will move to a brand-new $670 million home. But while they keep playing (into October if they can make it past the regular season, fingers crossed), there’s the chance to have Frozen Pints: Craft beer–infused ice cream in cool flavors like malted milk-chocolate stout, vanilla bock, brown ale chip and peach lambic. Added bonus: A few sections away, you can get Kevin Rathbun’s sliced sirloin sandwich with horseradish cream.
Fried Clams; Sea Swirl, Mystic, CT
Most people know the southeastern Connecticut town of Mystic from the ’80s classic Mystic Pizza. It’s also the home of the great roadside fried clam and soft-serve shack Sea Swirl, at the junction of routes 1 and 27. Locals seriously mark their calendars for the spring opening (this year it was Friday, April 4—my colleague, Mystic native Chelsea Morse, marked it!). After September 1, they’re open only on weekends and closed entirely for the winter season after October 13. What Sea Swirl is especially famous for: whole belly clams and 24 flavors of soft-serve.
Lobster Roll; Lobster Shack, Cape Elizabeth, ME
This New England spot, which first opened its doors in the 1920s, will close—just for the season!—after the third week in October. In addition to lobster everything (lobster dinner, lobster roll, lobster stew, lobster salad…), they also serve crab, clams, scallops and shrimp, as well as Grape-Nut-raisin bread pudding and homemade whoopie pies. The exception to the closed rule: You can order lobster online for delivery to your door year-round.
Fish Boil; Pelletier’s Restaurant & Fish Boil, Fish Creek, WI
From Mother’s Day weekend until October 20, Pelletier’s serves a classic traditional Wisconsin Door County fish boil, from 5 p.m. to closing every night, rain or shine. They stick to classic methods: fresh local whitefish, red potatoes and Texas sweet onions, boiled in stainless steel kettles over a wood fire, seasoned only with salt, and served with melted butter, coleslaw, Bavarian dark rye and honey white bread. Every half hour the kitchen brings the meal to a boil for each seating of guests. All dinners come with a slice of Door County cherry pie.
Snow Cones; Minnesota State Fair
Every year the Minnesota State Fair (which runs from August 21 through September 1), proudly previews foods that most people only dream about, like deep-fried, pretzel-crusted cheese curds. This year, there’s a brilliant new snow cone variation. Called SnoRibbons, the shaved ice dessert has a cotton candy-like texture and comes in inspired flavors like strawberry pretzel cream cheese, coffee and doughnuts, and grasshopper pie.
Greenmarket Vegetarian Menu; Gotham Bar & Grill, NYC
His epic restaurant Gotham is just blocks away from the Union Square farmers’ market, and chef Alfred Portale takes full advantage of that, serving his all-vegetarian Greenmarket dinner tasting menu just through Labor Day. On the menu: Greenmarket ceviche (with baby beets, watermelon radish, mango and chile vinaigrette), strawberry salad, sweet pea ravioli, and Bing cherries with buckwheat streusel.