Ready for sunshine and lobster rolls

Knowing myself, I have no doubt that I will very soon regret ever having said the following statement, much less putting it down in writing, but I’m gonna go with it, regrets be damned: I am ready for summer.

:: Sigh ::

I know, I know. It’s not the oppressive humidity I’m ready for, nor the ever present trickle of sweat running down my back on the subway on my way to work, nor the aggressive growl of my AC window unit adding to the cacophony I already deal with, and it’s definitely not the constant stench of garbage baking on the sidewalk. I’ll never be ready for any of that.

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Is it summer yet?

But after a recent sunny (yet still crisp) early spring Saturday spent walking around Red Hook, I’m ready for something other than grey skies, heavy coats, and frigid gusts of air drying out my eyes and turning my nose into a cherry.

I want long afternoons and late dinners after sundown. I want to hide behind sunglasses and feel the sun on my shoulders. I want to throw on a dress, slip on some sandals and be ready. And after lunch at Red Hook Lobster Pound, I want frosty beers to wash down pink, perfect hunks of lobster meat toppling out of warm buttered buns. I want to lick seasoning spices, butter and mayo off my fingers, and think, “Mmmm, tastes like summer.”

Red Hook is one of my favorite parts of town, mostly because be it summer or winter, it always feels quiet and far away, a break from the rest of the city. When you do find a pocket of people and activity, it still feels laid back, cool without trying super hard. That my favorite lobster roll in the city is also found there just makes Red Hook that much better.

While I know I don’t have to wait for summer to go down there and have that buttery, delicious lobster roll, if there’s one thing to make that experience better, it’ll be just a smidge of summer, a warm, sunshiny day and maybe a light breeze. Yup, that’s what I’m ready for.

 

*Note: Yes, I did skip right past spring, because spring in New York is mostly just Winter Lite. It also lasts all of about five minutes, while summer stretches out and feels like an eternity by the time fall rolls around.

Happiness is hot soup on a cold day

With the exception of a good cuddle, a creamy hot chocolate or being burrito-wrapped in my down comforter, there are few things I find more comforting or instantly gratifying than hot soup when it’s cold outside. I feel warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it.  (Also because New York is pretty chilly right now and I want all of the above.)

In Iceland, where it was frigid every single day we were there (not that I was expecting any different), I probably had soup at least twice a day. Those Icelanders, man, they really know what they’re doing in that department! Below, the highlights of my soup-centric week.

The famous lobster soup at Saegreifinn

At the top of my things-I-MUST-eat-in-Iceland list was the humarsupa, or lobster soup, at Saegreifinn.  The tiny restaurant/fish shack in Reykjavik’s old harbor was supposed to have some of the best lobster soup in town, so the first night we were there, my sister and I made it a point to have it. I can’t say I tried lots of other lobster soups, but I didn’t need to because this one won my vote. Sweet and velvety without being cream-heavy or goopy, it had just the right amount of  fat hunks of sweet lobster meat. My only regret: not going back for more every single day.  Continue reading

So much lobster, so little time

If you love lobster— and really, you absolutely should love lobster, unless you’re my boyfriend or a similar unfortunate soul who can’t delight in the wonders of shellfish due to allergies— get thee to New England. Everywhere you go, it’s lobster, lobster, LOBSTER!

During a recent weekend spent in Rhode Island and Cape Cod, I saw it incorporated into everything short of dessert, and even that, I’m sure was out there somewhere. Lobster ravioli, lobster rolls, lobster bisque, plain ol’ lobster— you name it, it was on the menu. I ate more lobster in two days than I have in the last two months, and even though I kind of felt like a selfish bastard for not being able to share it with Flaneur, let me tell you, I got over that fast.

Brenton Reef Benedict, a damn fine way to start a day off in New England

Of all the lobster indulging I took part in though, the most stand-out lobster inclusive thing I ate was the Brenton Reef Benedict at Franklin Spa, a homey, classic style American diner. Two soft, doughy Bolo rolls, grilled just slightly enough to make them warm and a tiny bit crispy, were topped with steamed spinach, tender, sweet hunks of native lobster meat, poached eggs and then coated in a creamy, buttery hollandaise sauce to make for one of the most indulgent, ridiculously good breakfast/anytime eats.

For me, a winning dish is one that combines different flavors and textures without becoming a hodgepodge, and Franklin Spa’s lobster take on eggs benedict was just right. The slight bitter taste of spinach, the sweet meatiness of the lobster, the velvety rich smoothness of the hollandaise, and then of course, the rich, salty kick of the runny yolk— the bf’s french toast was good too, but sweet lobster-loving Jesus, it could never compete with this.

Oh New England, I hope you know how good you have it.

Lobster loving

That not everyone can know the deliciousness of a lobster roll is a sad, sad thing.

Blind people always fill me with incredible sadness. The thought of living in a world of permanent darkness, of not having any idea what clouds look like or the ocean or a full moon— I just can’t wrap my mind around it. I feel the same way about my boyfriend’s shellfish allergy, especially when it comes to lobster rolls.

God, I love lobster rolls. And that’s something I’ll never be able to share with my darling Flaneur. When my fingers and lips are slick with butter and my cheeks are chipmunk-full of  juicy chunks of sweet lobster meat, he’ll have no idea what joy I’m experiencing. And that makes me sad.

A pretty perfect little lunch at Luke's.

Yesterday, during what was a dreary, rainy afternoon, I cut across town to have a lobster roll in the East Village at Luke’s Lobster, figuring it was best to get my lobster roll eating done before he comes back (two weeks from today… yay!). While the lobster roll was slightly on the small side (or maybe I’m just slightly on the fatass side… a more likely possibility), it was absolutely delicious. The lightly toasted, buttered bun was soft and doughy and the hunks of beautifully colored orangey, pink lobster meat were smooth and sweet, with just the perfect amount of mayo, butter and spices. With a frosty Maine Root root beer and a bag of my favorite sea salt and cracked pepper Miss Vickie’s potato chips, I was happy as a clam.

Ironically enough, the bf called me while, I was eating. When I explained what a fantastic lunch I was having he said, “Hmm. I’ve never even had lobster. I can’t even imagine.”

Ugh, it breaks my lobster-roll-loving heart every time.

Sorry, but I’m getting the coconut

As a personal rule, I try and not order anything with shrimp, crab or lobster in it when I’m eating with Flaneur because as I’ve mentioned before, he’s allergic to them. Every once in a while though, I break that rule, and most recently I did it in Mexico.

In New York, I can always go back to a restaurant with friends but in Mexico there was no such thing, so when at dinner one night the house special where we were eating (La Habichuela in downtown Cancun) was a plate that involved two of the three in the trinity of shellfish allergies, I bent my rule and ordered it anyway.

House special: cocobichuela

How could you not be curious about a dish that involved lobster and shrimp cooked in curry, served with rice, all inside a coconut and garnished with pineapple, coconut shavings and sweet plantains? I mean really. I wished the beau could try it, but there was no reason both of us couldn’t.

I won’t say it was the best thing I ate during my vacation, but it was probably one of the most interesting and definitely got the most points for presentation. Though you can’t see it in the picture, the inside of the coconut was full of a rich, hearty bunch of rice with fat chunks of sweet lobster and shrimp in a peppery, sweet and earthy tasting curry sauce.

Maybe I was a little selfish in ordering this, but the boyfriend understood. Plus, vacations aren’t about following the rules anyway.

Butter me up

Lobster roll at Neptune Oyster

“Hot with butter or cold with mayo?” asked the waitress as she took my order. Oh, that all of life’s decisions could be so win-win.

Alas, they rarely are but for at least one night, when I ordered the lobster roll at Neptune Oyster in Boston’s North End, that’s precisely what they were.

While I don’t doubt that the cold-with-mayo option would have been delicious— the creamy tangyness of the mayo playing off the sweet, juicy lobster meat— it was a cold and blustery night and that called for hot. With butter.

What came from the kitchen and was placed before me didn’t just warm me with its temperature but with the fuzzy feeling of gluttonous happiness it spread inside of me. The soft toasted roll was practically an open faced sandwich, with fat chunks of tender lobster meat piled high and spilling out over sides, glistening under a golden coat of warm, melted butter. Each bite was rich and buttery, sweet and savory in the way that lobster always is.

I ate lots of good stuff in Boston but the lobster roll might have been the best. A great dish at a great restaurant. Win- win.