The Great Lobster Roll Hunt
It was my goal to dine on lobster rolls at least once a day while in Maine and I just about accomplished that goal with the exception of one day where I had lobster bisque and my departure day. Following is a summary of where I dined on yummy, succulent lobster rolls around Bar Harbor.
Sea Dog Brewing, Bangor, Maine – Within an hour of landing in Bangor (pronounced BANG-GOR. Watch this video on how to pronounce Bangor if you need additional assistance pronouncing the city’s name.) and bouncing off the non-stop Allegiant flight from St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, my parents, sister and I were on the prowl for lunch. We ended up at Sea Dog Brewing with a casual vibe located on the historic Penobscot River. Outdoor seating on the deck was full and we were seated indoors. My lobster roll was creamy and full of chunky lobster served atop shredded lettuce in a firm bun with sliced pickles on the side. Other than the mayo and lobster, I couldn’t taste much else. Trying to be healthy, I opted to have mine served with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts which were quite yummy. (26 Front St, Bangor, ME 04401; Tel: (207) 947-8009; www.seadogbrewing.com)
Jordan Pond House Restaurant, Acadia National Park, Maine – While not famous for its lobster rolls, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and when in Acadia National Park, do as the tourists do and grab lunch at Jordan Pond House Restaurant. Since the 1890s Jordan Pond House has been serving tea and popovers (a tall, light and hallow muffin) with strawberry jam on the inn’s lawn which provides a pretty vantage point of Jordon Pond and the Bubbles. Unfortunately, my visit coincided during peak visitation time and we didn’t think to make reservations so we weren’t able to sit outdoors on the lawn, but we were fortunate enough to get a table inside after a brief wait.
My lobster roll was overflowing with chunks of lobster and a generous portion of mayo served atop red-leaf lettuce on a toasted bun. I opted for a side of Caesar salad rather than sweet potato and beet chips, because I wanted dessert of Maine Blueberry Crisp with vanilla ice cream topped with wildflower honey and buttermilk.
At $19.75, this was not the most expensive lobster roll during my Bar Harbor visit and I can’t say the best. Don’t get me wrong. It was good, it just wasn’t the best. (Acadia National Park, 2928 Park Loop Rd., Seal Harbor, ME 04675; Tel: (207) 276-3316 acadiajordanpondhouse.com)
The Upper Deck at the Marina – It’s about the view and bread at the Upper Deck at the Marina in Southwest Harbor. This quaint community is on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island and a gateway to the west side of Acadia National Park. The Upper Deck serves up a gorgeous view of Somes Sound and their lobster rolls are nestled in soft bread baked at the Little Notch Bakery located next door ($19.95). This roll oozed with hunks of lobster which sat on shredded lettuce and served with fries and coleslaw. (433 Main St., Southwest Harbor, ME 04679; Tel: (207) 244-8113; upperdeckdining.com)
McDonald’s, Ellsworth, Maine – Yes. You read that right. McDonald’s. As in the fast food chain with the golden arches. For $7.99, the McDonald’s lobster roll was the best bang for the buck. Yes, I’m serious. It was full of plumb chunks of sweet lobster and creamy mayonnaise. It was served on a toasted bun with shredded iceberg lettuce. Now, friends tell me it’s mock-lobster in the McDonald’s Lobster Roll but from what I’ve researched, it’s the real deal, although frozen at one point. Seriously, it wasn’t bad and I can confidently say it was good. (259 High St., Ellsworth, ME 04605; Tel: (207) 610-1651)
More Lobster Fun
Seriously? Lobster Ice Cream? Yup!
“Jenn. Are you going to get the lobster ice cream?” my sister asked.
“What? Lobster ice cream?” I immediately Googled “lobster ice cream in Bar Harbor” and found Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium (66 Main St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609; Tel: (207) 288-3281; www.benandbills.com), where lobster ice cream is scooped to curious visitors.
To ensure a pleasant tasting experience, I also ordered a scoop of blueberry ice cream, in case I didn’t like the lobster ice cream. Ya know, when in Maine, you MUST have blueberries! Back to the lobster ice cream. I liked it after ignoring the fact I was eating frozen lobster. Chunks of lobster are rolled in melted butter, frozen, then blended into creamy, vanilla ice cream. The blueberry ice cream was lovely, too.
Homemade Lobster Boil
My trip to Maine was due to the generosity of my brother who rented a gorgeous home on Green Lake and invited our parents and his in-laws to share the week. His in-laws are New Englanders by birth and treated the family to a homemade lobster boil. I helped Mr. Father-in-Law (FIL) pick up the freshly boiled lobsters from the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound which was bustling with diners and other at-home diners. (1237 Bar Harbor Rd., Trenton, ME 04605; Tel: (207) 667-2977; www.trentonbridgelobster.com)
Outside the lobster pound I watched as lobster and bags of clams were boiled in big pots. Our lobsters were waiting for us in brown paper bags and we placed them in a cooler and kept the top open. This, Mr. FIL explained, was to keep the lobsters warm but to prevent them from cooking any more. Overcooked lobster meant rubbery meat and who wants that?
We also picked up bunches of fresh clams that were brought back and steamed. At each place setting were cups with melted butter then another cup for the “clam juice” which was the water used to steam the bivalves. What’s the purpose of this? Mr. FIL explained, “Dip your clam in it to wash out any sand.”
It’s been awhile since I’ve last taken apart and eaten a whole Maine Lobster and Mr. FIL walked me through the steps of breaking off the tail, cracking the claws and removing the meat, and telling me it was okay to eat the roe. The roe, or eggs, were like dense sweet and salty lobster meat and was told a real treat. Red potatoes and corn on the cob complemented the meal and the whole dinner was a treat.
Lulu Lobster Boat Ride
I bounced off the LuLu Lobster Boat Ride telling my dad and sister this was one of the best boat tours I have been on because it honestly was. The two-hour tour is in a traditional Downeast-style lobster boat and includes seal watching and lobster fishing with the engaging Capt. John Nicolai.
Capt. John was entertaining and informative in a fun, interesting way. I asked if was a teacher or professor and he laughed. Although he gives lectures around the globe about lobsters and lobstering, he’s a former chef now lobster fisherman.
During the excursion I learned how lobsters molt their shells then seek cover and eat the shell until they grow a new shell; how to determine if a lobster is of the legal limits; and an overview of the Maine lobster industry. Learning about lobster was as fun as seeing the seals lounging in the sun.
If you’re looking for something to do in Bar Harbor, the Lulu Lobster Boat Ride is a must! Advance reservations are suggested and doing the trip solo (no one in the family wanted to go) I was able to grab a seat on the tour time I wanted because they had one seat left. There were several children on the trip and they seemed to enjoy it because Capt. John engaged the tour by allowing us to get up close to the lobsters. But, leave the butter at home. These lobsters are returned to the waters of Bar Harbor.
Lulu Lobster Boat Ride
55 West Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
137 Kingsley Farm Road
Gouldsboro, ME 04607
Tel: (207) 288-3136
View additional images from my trip to Maine on my Flickr account.
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