Monday, July 12, 2010

the ubiquitous maine lobster roll.........!

Maine isn't called Vacationland for nothing................ Tourist, foreigners and family vacationers have been flocking to Maine's 3,500 miles of coastline to enjoy numerous weathered cedar-shingle shacks, awning covered take-out windows, and freestanding seasonal restaurants where the menu revolves around one single ingredient................LOBSTER..........for nearly as long as the waves have been crashing on the rocky shores. After all, it takes a hearty amount of comfort food to get Mainer's through those endless winter months when the temperature can regularly dip below zero for days at a time........ My family has been coming to Maine since shortly after we landed in this country back in the early 50's from Northern Italy...... The most obvious payoff when in Maine comes in a red shell with two claws. Served steamed, broiled, stuffed, country fried, or mixed with a touch of Hellman's mayonnaise and piled high in a top-loading classic New England hot dog roll, the lobster is king........ you'll find it on menus up and down the coast in it's quintessential shack on rickety wharfs teetering over the sea below. Suffice it to say that the best place to find a great lobster roll is in Maine, hands down... and you don't have to try very hard, along the coast at least, you will find lobster rolls everywhere- even at Subway and McDonald's. Saying who serves the best is nearly as dangerous as playing in Whitey Bulger's South Boston traffic......... But here are a few lobster roll contendah's...... The Sea Basket in Wiscasett, Fat Boy Drive In in Brunswick, The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine Diner in Wells, Harraseekett Lunch & Lobster in Freeport and Nunan's Lobster Hut in Cape Porpoise.... DISCLAIMER: as you read this transmission, please keep in mind that this is only OUR opinion.... That may help explain why I may not like a roll that you may thoroughly swear by like a blood oath to the Patriarca Family.......... (RIP Raymond Sr.) For one thing, I like a simple roll without much dressing or garnish- nothing but bite sized chunks of cool, refreshing lobster meat, maybe with a tiny bit of Hellman's Mayonnaise and freshly squeezed organic lemon juice. A single leaf of delicate lettuce is acceptable, but I'd rather not find any celery, crunchy lettuce such as Iceberg, or anything else for that matter in the salad... The bun should be a top-split New England classic grilled on both sides in butter. I like a fully-packed roll, but not so damn full that I have to eat it with a fork first. After all a lobster roll is a sandwich, and I want to pick it up like a sandwich and eat it. I like to get a mix of perfectly grilled buttery roll and sweet succulent local lobster in every goddamn briny bite.............! 90% of the nation's lobster comes from Vacationland, but the HOMARUS AMERICANUS, or Maine Lobster, wasn't always popular. Before the 1800's, only the poor, orphans, and servants consumed lobster. There was even a law forbidding Maine State Prisons from serving lobster to inmates more than once a week, since it was considered cruel and unusual punishment..... Turn of the century 'rusticators' who summered in Maine, like John D. Rockefeller, helped transform the lobster from lowly bottom feeding crustacean to a seasonal delicacy....... Entrepreneurial lobster pound owners lit fires and set up crude outdoor kitchens, selling impromptu boiled lobster picnics to the moneyed elite sailing the Atlantic Coast... The lobster shack was born.....! Support a long-standing Maine made New England tradition, support your local lobstermen, fishermen and native clam-digger......... remember- do not purchase your mud bugs (lobsters) from anywhere but Maine Waters..... this means do not purchase your lobsters from Canada................!!! Having purchased bugs from multiple sources and locations up and down Maine's craggy coast, we find sweet, succulent, hard-shell and soft-shell alike............................. Maine is the place to over-indulge in an American tradition-HOMARUS AMERICANUS on a butter grilled roll with a dab of mayo...... Some Lobster company's worthy of their salt: small point lobster company, arundel lobster company, muscongus bay lobster company and kennebunkport lobster company....

' is apparent to serious shellfish eaters that in the great evolutionary scheme of things, crustaceans developed shells to protect them from knives and forks.......................' -author- calvin trillin