For many people, Maine is synonymous with one food....Lobster Roll. And in my quest to provide you, my dear readers, with the very best in objective food knowledge, I undertook a quest during my Maine visit to study this subject. This oh so delicious subject.
That is, assuming you like lobster. If you do not, then this will hold little interest for you. Yes, there are people who do not like lobster, and in fact, the SIL is one of them. I do not understand it, but I will accept that it is a fact.
So, the lobster roll.
Two things are required, lobster..and a roll. With rare exception, the roll will be a toasted or grilled "New England" roll. For those who have not been to the far northeast, a New England roll is a hot dog bun that is open on the top and only brown on that top. So really it is rather like a piece of bread that you form into a "U", if that makes sense, Yes, I have been served lobster rolls on other sorts of roll, but most will stick with tradition.
From there, as far as I can determine, things go one of two ways.
You can make some sort of chilled lobster salad, with mayo, celery, lemon juice, scallions, pepper, tarragon, dash of kitchen sink... and serve it cold on the toasted bun. Not bad. But lobster is a delicate taste and it can get overwhelmed. I will admit to even having a lobster roll at McDonald's once, a McLobster, up there and it was not too bad, especially for the price. Because lobster rolls, while on hot dog buns are not hot dog priced. The more lobster, the higher the price. But as is often true, you get what you pay for.
Next, there is option two.
Lobster on toasted roll, mayo or melted butter on the side.
Now, neither is bad.
I mean, it is lobster after all. But if given a choice, I will go with option two. You will see two examples of option two in the photos. The first, in the picture above, was from the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth and was very nice. I foolishly did not request butter, so I was given the roll with the standard dollop of mayo on the side and a pickle on top. Nice fries, good chowder and a priceless view. Quite nice.
But, without question, the best example of that variety, option two, that I found on this trip was at Red's Eat, a roadside stand on Rt.1 (and I mean feet from the road) in Wiscasset, ME.
I have passed the place several times. You can not help but see it if you drive up Rt.1, especially with the long, very slow line of people snaking down the side of the road and the traffic slowing as people cross the road. But when I passed it this trip it was softly raining and while there was still a line, it was much shorter than usual. You wait...and wait..and wait and then give your order, pay and wait a bit more while you order is made and put in a paper bag to take to an outside table..or in this case, somewhere out of the wet. There was that one little table under the overhang but those folks showed little sign of moving on, so back I walked with my bag and umbrella
Was it worth the wait? Was it worth sitting in my car, eating? YES! A huge amount of big chunks of chilled lobster, a tail, several claws, certainly more than a full lobster worth of meat. Sweet and tender, with a side of hot butter to dip it in and then that nice toasted roll to eat separately. Some decent onion rings on the side. Think of it as the lazy man's lobster with a roll on the side. OMG.
Now, I understand that there is, in fact, a third variety, available only in Connecticut. The lobster is warmed in butter and then placed on the roll. I must say, this sounds idea and I must plan a road trip to CT. next season to report on this! For some reason, it seems this warmed variety was invented in CT and has not spread beyond the Nutmeg State's border.
A stop at Mystic Seaport...and that Book Barn...yes. Yes, I will do it!
Just for you, my dear readers, just for you.
This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.