Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekend Cooking...Lobster Roll...The food of the gods

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.


  1. Ohhh how you have made me miss my home & family so very much! Oddly I am not a seafood eater in my family, I especially don't like lobsta,lol. But I do LOVE Maine,haha!

  2. Our favorite activity in Maine is to search for that season's best lobster roll. All in the name of research, of course! And eating it in the car or sitting on some rocks while watching the waves come in add to the flavor.

    I *adore* lobster rolls.

  3. Unfathomable to me how someone could dislike lobstah. Writing down Red's Eats for next years trip even though we usually only go to Ogunquit and then visit friends in Eliot. Next year we are following the Caite highway. Lol!

    If you've never been to Mystic before - it's a great take.

  4. I apparently live in the wrong part of the country because I love lobster and those sandwiches look amazing to me! Lobster here is only eaten on special occasions and at an unheard of price. I need to take a trip to Maine! And you have already done the research for me so now I know where to eat. Thank you very much! I can't wait to see what you find in Connecticut!

  5. We've passed Red's Eats several times, but have never stopped. I've even taken pictures of it (my daughter's basketball nickname used to to be Red)... next time, we WILL stop!!

  6. I love the fact that you show us close-ups of all this food. Yum! I've never had a lobster roll. Never been to Maine. Hope to get there someday. I do like lobster, but it is so expensive, I rarely eat it. Thanks for letting us tag along on your travels!

  7. We have also made food road trips (i.e., trips to places just for a restaurant or type of food). Totally fun activity!

  8. If you have a place to cook your lobster, you can get it pretty cheap, 4-5 dollars a pound.

    But in a restaurant...not so cheap, even in Maine. I think the best price I saw was softshells for about $11 a lb and hardshells about $13..but it went up fast from there.
    The best deal I got was twin...yes 2, 2, 2...1 1/4 lb lobsters with fries and slaw for $19.99 in a place in Eastport.
    It was a lovely experience....

  9. Holy Mother Mary do I want one of those. I love lobster, but I don't eat it much. My BFF is from Boston, so once or twice a year they buy lobsters and Ipswich clams and we come close to death by butter. Dripping down our arms, lobster fat splattered all over our shirts. My stomach is growling...

  10. I like the lobster roll at The Ramp in Cape Porpoise but my sis swears by the one at The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport. Actually, I don't think I've met a lobster roll I didn't like ;-)

  11. Our friends and family often laugh at how many times we trek to Maine...we have stopped at Red's once...just because if you don't want a lobster roll at 11 in the morning...the lines are endless!!!

    We love Camden...the Camden Deli makes a great lobster roll, too!!!

  12. I consider myself deprived as I've had the pleasure of a lobster roll. They definitely sound (and look) like they would be worth a trip to Maine.

  13. As always, my eyes go right to the french fries! When I was a girl, I would order just the bun - buttered and grilled. A born vegetarian, I guess. :<)

  14. Option two always gets my vote. I want to visit Red's Eats now - I swear, I can't tear my eyes away from that photo. Wow.

  15. I am drooling as I look at your photos!

  16. OK, I have to own up to never having eaten a lobster. But after reading this I want one! Only there are none to be had over here, at least not in regular restaurants, let alone at a stall at the side of the road.
    From the three options you explain I would definitely go with no 3, so I suppose next time I come to the US I will have to go to Connecticut.

  17. Ah, the sacrifices you make for your blog readers :) Red's serves a serious lobster roll - yum!

  18. this is just what i expected a lobster roll place to look like

  19. The lobster alone is reason to go to Maine... wowza... that looks amazing... I think I would like option 3.

  20. i have seen these once on a foodie show and fell in love with them. I still haven't tried a lobster roll , but I am a fan. Thanks so much for sharing this. My tummy is still about to burst from my Thanksgiving dinner, but I think I could squeeze a little space.

  21. I always think it is so much fun to see pictures of restaurants or food stalls in different countries. I have never heard of lobster rolls before.

    Here is my weekend cooking :)

  22. Want. Want so much.

    I am kicking myself for not liking lobster at the only time I've ever been to Maine. Of course I was eleven, so there's no accounting for it, but still...kicking myself.

  23. There is nothing like lobster and melted butter. Yum! I so want one of those...

  24. Ok...Caite...I give up. We've always driven (with much cursing at the traffic) right by Red's everytime we go down RT 1...can't get anywhere from here w/o going past. We have eaten at the Shack in Cape E's and I agree, it's fabulous - and their clams ain't half bad either.

    Always swore it was just easier to make our own lobster rolls - which we do at least once a month.

    But......there is something SO Enticing about your photos, that I suspect we'll be stopping on our next trip - maybe next week on our way back from Florida.


  25. What great stories! And I look forward to the sequel set in Connecticut!

  26. Love lobster, which as a Mainer, I should. Also love both the places you mentioned -- Reds and the Lobster Shack at Two Lights. I will recommend a third be added to your list: Five Islands Lobster in Five Islands (Georgetown), Maine. Worth a drive to have lobster so fresh, you actually watch it being unloaded from the fishing boats.

    Also, there is Sarah's Cafe in Wiscasset which makes a lobster burrito. Sounds weird, but tastes good. She comes from the same family as the Five Islands Lobster fisherman so her seafood will also be super-fresh as well.


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