This is our first update from the road. We’re learning that wifi is spotty out here in America and we’re staked out in the Starbuck’s alcove of what may be the last remaining Barnes and Noble. Who knew? I thought they were long gone, but if you need to relive the You’ve Got Mail era head over here to…somewhere in Virginia.
Anyway, we’re going to have to keep this update fairly brief. Our travels in the Travato so far have been great. We’re still a little shell shocked from the whole hurricane displacement issue, but our motto has turned out to be: keep moving. In that vein we have spent the last 2.5 weeks camping through the Finger Lakes and Adirondack park in upstate New York (all of it lovely and kind of a blur), hitting up Niagara Falls, and spending about 5 days in Acadia National Park in Maine. I don’t have time to share all the details of these spectacular destinations right now but, trust me, they are spectacular.
In Maine we decided that our second motto should be: distract yourself with treats. So we completely dedicated ourselves to Lobster Quest 2017: Pursuit of the Perfect Lobster Roll. This happened because we knew we wanted an amazing lobster roll while in Maine (obviously) and we found a list of great places for lobster rolls. Then we selflessly dedicated ourselves to trying as many as possible and coming up with a way to rate them. Ultimately, we ended up trying lobster rolls from 5 different establishments on the list. That’s a lot of lobster in 5 days.
First, let it be said, we did not have a bad lobster roll during this challenge. We have to be nit-picky in order to rank them. They were all delicious, but when you take in the overall setting/ambiance as well as the overall quality of the roll (amount of lobster, lobster taste, roll/meat ratio, etc.) there were some clear winners. Here are our results, good to great, of Maine’s best lobster rolls (according to us).
#5 Side Street Cafe in Bar Harbor. This was kind of a weird one. All of the other places we tried were legit lobster pounds or seafood stands. This place is like an eclectic cafe in the touristy town right next to Acadia National park. It’s right in town, so it’s really just a lobster roll of convenience. We took ours to go on our way out of the park. Were it not on our list, we would never have stopped. They have a whole burrito section on their menu. However, the lobster roll was still above average with a nicely buttered roll and a good amount of lobster meat. Not really memorable, though.
#4 Muscongus Bay Lobster in Round Pond. This is a lobster shack in a quaint setting on the water in an out of the way town in Maine. Jennifer picked up the lobster rolls and she said the place had kind of a bohemian feel. Whatever. Their deal is they make their own buns. And they recommended the whole wheat, so that’s what we got. Terrible idea. Lobster rolls do not belong on whole wheat buns no matter how good they are. Period. The lobster can’t compete with that kind of culinary pressure. Also, they had some kind of tarragon mayo going on (risky move), but we couldn’t really taste it. Basically, this place is ranked #4 instead of #5 just because it’s in a way cooler spot than Side Street Cafe and you feel like you’re getting more of a “Maine” experience.
#3 Bite of Maine in Cape Elizabeth. This is actually a food truck near the big city of Portland. We hit it on our way out of the state. We were expecting it to be kind of a weird urban lobster experience, but it wasn’t. The truck/trailer is parked in this ridiculously beautiful city park on the water with a crazy lighthouse in the background. You pick up your roll and take it to whatever picnic table you want. The deal here is they have different styles of lobster rolls. They have some with wasabi, some with curry, some with cole slaw. In the interest of keeping the competition pure we only tried the classics, which are the Maine (mayo and chive) and the Connecticut (hot butter). The Connecticut won hands down. It was a very, very solid lobster roll. Buttery and delicious and with good lobster flavor. The Maine just tasted like mayo, pretty much. There was a lot of it. I’d still be up for trying some of their more creative rolls next time.
#2 Five Islands Lobster Co in Georgetown. This was our first stop. It’s in a totally out of the way, completely quaint little village right on the water. You order your roll from the shack and take it out to the wood deck to chow down with a gorgeous view of all of these beautiful little islands (probably five). You can practically hear the theme song of Murder She Wrote in the air. It feels like you think Maine should feel. The lobster roll was very good. A little bland, but good and full of meat. What it lacked in flavor was more than made up for by the setting. Yeah, you should go.
#1 Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard. This was the best lobster roll we had on this trip. No question. Great roll, perfect ratio of meat to bun, amazing lobster flavor. Plus, it’s a legit lobster pound right on the water about 30 minutes from Acadia. They have a screened in porch you can eat on over the water, but we ate in the Travato because we had a great view and we also have a screen door. Total happiness. They also do lobster dinners…you pick out your lobster at the counter and they throw it in the steamer out back. It was dinner time when we were there so we branched out and got some corn on the cob, too. Also excellent. Also, they have great t-shirts. I should know. I got one. Perfect blend of cotton and poly, very 1987.
In the spirit of absolute fucking transparency, I’d like to mention another lobster hot spot that has stellar rolls that we didn’t get a chance to stop at on this trip: Red’s Eats in Wiscasset ME. It was our first great lobster roll experience and if the lines outside the door are any indication, they’re still turning out a very fine product. Probably you should stop there if you can.
And finally, because how can we have even one post without a mention of St. John, I’d like to give a shout out to the super delicious lobster rolls once served at the Tourist Trap in Coral Bay. Sadly, the Tourist Trap closed down even before Irma, but those were great lobster rolls in a truly beautiful spot. Hope you had a chance to try them while they were still around.
So that’s it. That’s our lobster list. It’s time to use the Barnes and Noble bathroom for the 103rd time and get back in the Travato. Stay tuned.
Oh, we’re headed to the Asheville, NC/ Great Smoky Mountains area right now, so if anyone has any tips, please let us know!