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My Maine Bites: Lobster Roll Highlights of Maine

December 13, 2017

To say I had a singular goal on the trip to Maine might be a slight exaggeration but it’s not that far from the truth.  I wanted to eat as many lobster rolls as I can manage without getting sick of the delicious summertime treat.  I managed to sample quite a few recommended from various sources including a local write-in candidate.

We set foot in Portland Saturday morning and made a beeline for Eventide Oyster Co., a popular hip Portland bar known for its long lines and, of course, delicious brown butter lobster roll.  Not a surprise but arriving half past noon meant that we were facing a 45 minute wait in the blistering heat.  What do we do?  Meander over to the Two Fat Cats Bakery for a square of their blueberry bar to satiate our growling stomachs.

Even though it was grueling outside and the oyster bar inside was quite tempting, we still opted to sit outside to enjoy our lunch.

A local ale cooled us down and was quite lovely to wash down our oysters with kimchi ice.

Next up was the fish sandwich, with iceberg lettuce, tartar, and pickles.  Sounds simple but done so perfectly – a tender flaky filet with crunchy golden crust and the perfect balance of sauce and pickles.

And then finally, the piece de resistance, the lobster roll.  Two things set this particular roll apart from any others we have had.  The first is the soft springy Chinese bun used instead of the typical roll and the second is the toasty brown butter laced throughout the plump lobster meat.  How do you make a warm butter lobster roll even more decadent?  By browning the butter of course for a toasty dimension.

Highly satisfied with a modern spin on the lobster roll, we went searching for something a little more classic.  A brief chat with some locals at the beach resulted in a small change our original itinerary and led us down a windy country road just north of Portland.  With a little help from the GPS, we found Libby’s Market in the town of Brunswick, off the beaten tourist path.

With only a few tables outside in the parking lot, the bare bones operation was tucked away inside a convenient store.  Within a few minutes, we plopped down on the picnic tables and chowed down on this simply prepared lobster roll.  A well toasted lobster bun, check.  Sweet plump chunks of lobster in a light mayo sauce, check.  All served with a handful of chips from the cash register on a paper plate, check.  A truly simple authentic local experience, check.

Even though we just ate, we jumped back into the car to find our next lobster roll in order to stay on schedule.  A short drive up the coast and we found ourselves in the town of Wiscasset on the banks of Sheepscot River.  Red’s Eats is a well known establishment locals and visitors alike for 78 years.  The long line of people snaking down the road from the stand certainly made this obvious from a few blocks away.  My mind was set and not even the blistering August sun could deter us from the 2+ hour wait.

By the time we made it to the ordering window, we managed to digest the lobster roll from Libby’s and even worked up a little appetite.  So in addition to the lobster roll, we threw in an order of fried clams as well because why not.  The lobster rolls here are not kidding around.  The huge barely broken apart lobster meat were so succulent and sweet that I barely even needed the buns that acted really as a catch all for the butter that dripped down.  This was definitely the one roll that really allowed the main ingredient to shine without anything to hide behind.

And the clams?  Not so shabby with plump bellies that were coated in a crunchy yet light batter.  The giant pile disappeared really quickly as we sat by the river and soaked up some rays.

Not a shabby view while we dug into the fruits of our labor of waiting.

Two Fat Cats Bakery | 47 India St # D, Portland, ME 04101 | http://twofatcatsbakery.com/

Eventide Oyster Co. | 86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101 | http://www.eventideoysterco.com/

Libby’s Market | 42 Jordan Ave, Brunswick, ME 04011

Red’s Eats | 41 Water St, Wiscasset, ME 04578 | http://www.redseatsmaine.com/

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