6 Lobster Rolls to Plan Your (Short!) Maine Summer Around

We’re very pleased to welcome guest author Sally Lerman to the site! Sally is the writer and photographer of Lobster Gal, a website that obsessively documents lobster roll tastings from Connecticut to Maine, using an established set of “standards” which she has defined to rate each roll. Her experience tasting and evaluating (not to mention weighing) lobster rolls all up and down the East Coast has made her an authority on the subject, and we are excited to welcome her contributions to From Away. -Malcolm

At long last… it’s summertime! Time to bask on a sunny deck, overlooking the great, wide Atlantic, eating nature’s finest food, the lobster roll. But alas, summer in New England, particularly the part where you can sit outside and be comfortable, is fleeting.

Prime lobster-eating season will be over before we know it, so it takes some careful planning to budget your valuable lobster roll hunting time wisely. The truly great lobster rolls on the Maine coast are seasonal. VERY seasonal. Some of the best lobster rolls in the state are served by restaurants with seasons so short, that some don’t even open until July 4, and many others close the day after Labor Day.

Always call ahead as well, since many lobster places have changeable schedules depending on weather and crowd level. Wondering about the places you absolutely have to hit during this short Maine summer? Here are the spots that have short seasons, that should absolutely be part of your summer lobster roll dining plan:

Lobster roll from Boothbay Lobster Wharf

Boothbay Lobster Wharf
97 Atlantic Ave Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538; (207) 633-4900; boothbaylobsterwharf.com

If you only try one new lobster roll this summer, make it this one. You won’t regret it. You may have heard others claim otherwise, but I’ve done the actual weighing, and this is the largest regular-sized lobster roll that I have encountered, consistently around 11 ounces. It is just brimming with fresh off the boat, uncut tail halves and full claws and knuckles, lightly tossed in mayo. The size isn’t even what makes this monster great, it’s the summer fresh flavor of the lobster meat, and it can’t be beat. All of this can be enjoyed with live music, a full bar and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the quintessentially Maine, working harbor of Boothbay. (Regular size is pictured, but they also have a jumbo if you’re feeling dangerous.)

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Bacon and Leek Crustless Quiche

The place I keep coming back to right now in memories and daydreams is New York, though the times shift between 1996 and 2004. By the end of that period I was oppressed by the grotesque bodies and the low and constant din of machinery all around. At the beginning of the era I was still a teenager drawn to the city, which was exotic and familiar all at once. My best friend was at NYU, while I was north in starchy, conventional Boston.

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A (Re)Statement of Purpose

Since Jillian and I started From Away, way back in those hazy, lazy days of 2010, an awful lot has changed. Back then, it felt like people were first starting to talk about the emerging food scene in Portland, looking around and noticing the incredibly high number of restaurants per capita, and noticing the things that Joe was doing with his Deathmatch battles, or that Anestes was doing with his encyclopedic Portland Food Map.

Things were different in our personal lives, as well. We were somewhat newly married, childless, and with an income earned entirely from working at home. We had nearly endless resources, it seems by comparison, looking back, both in terms of time and money.

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¡Que Rico!

Sometimes, in the course of writing for this website, we get a little bit wound up over a new discovery. This is one of those times.

It’s not that ¡Que Rico!, the brightly-painted red food truck located smack on the water in Newcastle, is exactly new. Owners Sara McKenzie and Michael Castillo are starting their second season on the Damariscotta River, specializing in Mexican street-food-style tacos, burritos, and empanadas. It’s just that it’s taken this long for us to try it.

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Bagna Cauda

A long time ago I lived in Brooklyn. This Brooklyn sort of felt like Pittsburgh (I think, having never been to Pittsburgh). I lived beneath the highway. The buildings on my street were three storied homes with gray or blue or gray-blue siding. There was wrought iron fencing around the garbage patio, and shabby steps up to a linoleum-floored flat.

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