Cuisine

Lobster Pound

One of the neat things we did while in Maine was to visit a lobster pound, and have dinner there.

(shown at right my wife and I enjoy our lobsters at Thurston’s)

A lobster pound is an imPOUNDment of seawater near a harbor when lobsters are held until they are sold on the wholesale or retail markets. They came about as an after-thought – some of the pounds started to cook a lobster for customers on the side, and the idea took off. For those of us in the Midwest, it’s not terribly unlike the former stockyards for cattle or swine.

Mount Desert Island is the home to Thurston’s Lobster Pound, where we ate dinner the first night in Maine. Located on Bass Harbor, this charming locale features an authentic Maine experience.

Customers select their own lobster, right from large holding tanks at the order window. Your lobster is weighed, placed in a mesh sack and cooked while you wait. Your order is announced by yelling your name and then the fun begins. When we were there lobster was $11.75 for a chick, or $12 per pound if you wanted something bigger. For an extra $5 you get corn on the cob, coleslaw, a roll and blueberry cake, for the true Down East experience.

I opted for a nice two-pounder, and savored it until the last bite. Not only was it the finest lobster I’ve ever eaten, it was enjoyed overlooking Bass Harbor and the lobster boats anchored therein.

The furnishings are simple at Thurston’s – plastic patio furniture, paper napkins, (you’ll need plenty of them) crackers and a pick. But for anyone traveling to Maine, eating at a true lobster pound is an absolute necessity.

I added the word true, because lots of regular restaurants call themselves a “lobster pound,” but unless they are in the business of buying lobster from the lobstermen, and holding them until the market price is right, they’re not a real lobster pound.

  • And it’s serious money, folks – lobster prices are dictated by market demand, and get extra high near the holidays. Even the movement of $1 per lobster adds up when you’re impounding thousands and thousands of them. Of course, the lobster pound takes some risk as well, and must feed and care for the lobsters until they are ready to sell.

In any regard, I’m delighted to give a perfect “10” to Thurston’s Lobster Pound. I’d go back in a heartbeat, and encourage anyone visiting the area to take advantage of this wonderful experience!

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Categories: Cuisine, Travel | 1 Comment

LOBSTERS


Most of my friends know that I enjoy gourmet cooking, and that my wife and I love to travel. In fact, my wife was a travel agent when we were first married, which facilitated lots of wonderful trips that we would not have been able to take otherwise.

What’s the best way to combine these two hobbies of mine? Through lobster, of course! And where do lobsters come from? Well, besides God, I mean. The finest lobster comes from Maine. As such, we have planned (for a long time now) and finally made good on a trip to the land of lobsters, Maine, USA.

One of the driving forces behind the vacation was to search out, find, and consume as much lobster as possible. I’m proud to say that I averaged at least one lobster per day, and on a good day put away two of these exquisitely delicious crustaceans.

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you for the next several entries some highlights from our trip and interesting tidbits learned while on it.

Lobster Fun Facts:

  • Most lobsters are sold as “chicks” – about 1 ¼ lbs in weight – seven years old.
  • American (Maine) Lobsters have claws of different sizes – the larger of the two is the crusher claw and the smaller is the shredder claw.
  • Lobsters can be green, brown, orange, or even blue – they all turn red when cooked, however.
  • Only one-tenth of one percent of lobsters will live beyond their larval period. This is why is it crucial to return to the sea female lobsters carrying eggs, or any that have recently done so (marked by notching a vee into a section of their tail).
  • Although they typically crawl lobsters can sprint backwards very quickly (15 feet per second) by curling and uncurling their tail.

Praise to you, Lord God, King of the Universe – you create all things, including these delightful and fascinating creatures known as lobsters. Thank you, Lord, for these and all your gifts you pour upon us.

Categories: Cuisine, Educational, Travel | Leave a comment

Caged Grudge Match – Man vs. Cake

Yesterday I made a Waldorf-Astoria cake for dessert. According to the legend, this cake was served at the luxurious hotel years ago. You can see a lovely shot of this premier hotel here ——->

Sometimes people also refer to it as red cake because the cake itself was a sort of blood-red color. Usually four layers of cake filled and topped with a thickened butter-cream frosting.

In any regard, I have my Mom’s old recipe for this cake – and I wanted to make it just as she used to.

Waldorf-Astoria Battle Royale: Red Cake = 3; Rev. Mr. Chris = nada

Against the insightful comments of my wife, I refused to line the pans with parchment paper. I said to myself, “it said grease and flour, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do, nothing more and nothing less.”

  • Red Cake goal numero uno – One layer stuck to the pan, and broke as I tried to extricate it

I made the frosting, but waited too long before incorporating the thickening paste (it said to let it cool, grrrr) to the butter base.

  • Red Cake scores again – Frosting separated and would not bind properly

As I was preparing the thickening paste for frosting batch #2, I got distracted with something to do with the salad for dinner.

  • Red Cake scores a third time – thickening paste has become solid glue

Finally, on batch 2 1/2, the frosting came out correctly. I slathered it between the layers and on the top and threw the dang thing in the fridge to set up.

This is not how I remember it working out for Mom

I ate a piece tonight rather triumphantly, but I wasn’t very pleased about it. The cake itself is a sort of pinkish red, not blood red (even with two full thingies of red food coloring that wasn’t enough).

I noticed that the Waldorf-Astoria (a Hilton property) no longer serves the blasted cake – I wonder why?





Categories: Cooking, Cuisine, Ranting | Leave a comment

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