I am both spoiled and ignorant when it comes to lobster rolls. The two–yes just two, a number that makes me feel as insecure as Charlie, of Wonka fame, did when his teacher asked how many Wonka bars he opened during Math class–rolls that I had skewed my expectations. One was from Taste of the Nation, and chef Mitchell Kaldrovich from The Sea Glass Inn and Rebecca Charles at an ‘East Meets West’ event at Arrows. They were fancy and complex (one was technically an eclair), something that the humble lobster roll isn’t.
It’s a simple formula, hardly varying from:
Cold lobster meat + Toasted New England style roll + Mayo + Lettuce = Lobster Roll
It is also something that never quite drew me in. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a seafood salad and those have always been my least favorite of the salads. At least in theory. I have myself convinced that I don’t enjoy them until I have one. Then, I do. Thoroughly. My visit, in this last of the latest summer based topics for the ‘O-Rama’ series, to the much acclaimed Lobster Shack at Two Lights was no different.
If you do go, and eventually you will, take note if you dine outside. While they truly have the most stunning dining view in the immediate Portland area, they also have bastard seagulls. If you dine outside, I advise you to guard your food like a fat kid guarding the last piece of cake.
The seagulls are ruthless, as we once witnessed one snatching a lobster roll right off a kids tray as he exited the building. If you’re lucky, as we were a few weeks back, try to score a seat inside and enjoy nature when you’re done enjoying your meal.
And order the lobster roll. Their version is classic and unpretentious–classing it up a bit with a pickle slice. It took me a few bites to push past my inner monologue before I began to realize how much I was enjoying it.
The lobster was cooked perfectly, with nary a touch of rubber in the texture. The mayo went nice–my dollop was not overwhelming. The slightly toasted roll and shredded iceberg lettuce added a nice crunch through all of the fat and richness. It isn’t high end and it doesn’t try to be. It was just honest and very satisfying.
If I could give one bit of criticism to the whole experience, it would be how painfully sweet their coleslaw was. I realize that I wasn’t paying $14.95 for the coleslaw but it came with the ‘boat’ and tasted like someone had substituted straight apple cider for the vinegar. Beyond that, I can say nothing of the Lobster Shack that hasn’t been said before in a zillion other reviews. It’s a great place for townies and tourists alike.
But, there’s a post script to this. Something neither the Missus or I expected when we finished our meal and took a walk down to the cove, just off the parking lot. As we passed the concrete barrier, we heard someone yell, “Look, a seal!”
Some nice nature shots to show some of Maine’s beautiful marine life that isn’t served on a plate.
But, everything felt off and you could tell immediately that something was wrong as the seal listlessly floated closer and closer to the shore. Then it kind of started to roll over on its side and started going belly up.
Not really what you want to see standing on a beach full of children, you know?
Then, thankfully, it started to move though you could tell it was distressed. So, action was taken to move the seal out of the water and onto the beach to prevent it from being repeatedly slammed on the rock it was slightly resting on. It was then that we realized that the seal had a broken flipper and what would go on for the next 2 hours was a series of well intentioned actions, mixed with potentially disastrous results.
The things that I learned:
- No matter how cute it is: DON’T TOUCH THE F’ING SEAL! It’s not a cat or a chipmunk and it carries plenty of potent bacteria in its mouth. Also, you can apparently get something called “Seal Finger” which is funny to say, but very painful.
- Don’t take him out of the water, especially if its a pup because the mother could be looking for him. You don’t want to be the reason they’re separated and you don’t want a pissed off, bacteria filled seal mother coming after you for messing with her child.
- You won’t get reception if you’re a Sprint customer in the cove or anywhere near the Lobster Shack. This means that you cannot call the Marine Rescue (207-288-5644 ) to find out what to do.
- Don’t bother calling the Cape Elizabeth police, they will just tell you they’ll ‘Pass it on.’ I’m sure they had many, many more pressing crime issues to handle… in Cape Elizabeth.
- Ignore the woman on the beach who suggests you wrap the pup in a towel because it’s shivering. Also ignore her when she tells you not to continuously pour water on the seal. It’s shivering because of stress and the woman doesn’t have a clue as to what she’s talking about.
- When in doubt, and everyone is unreachable, the closest person for information is the ranger at Two Lights. The ranger that was on shift was the only person anyone on the beach could contact to find out what to do. If not for her being there, our well intentioned altruistic attempts at helping the seal could have done further damage. The pup could have been distressed further by the bothersome humans and, naturally reacting to the stressers, could have taken a nice, nasty bite out of someone.