I’ve been on the road, or in the air, a ridiculous amount these last few weeks. I have had some pretty amazing adventures, and have been yearning for home, but could not pass up a chance to spend a weekend with some girlfriends in Maine. It was a small detour, a few extra miles….but so worth it. After all, it’s a well-known fact: friends + lobster = good times.
It’s pretty amazing to reconnect with people you have known for (ggggggasp!) 30 years. People who went with you to your first high school dance, studied with you to get your driver’s license, witnessed you getting married, celebrated the birth of your kids, and supported and cried with you through losing parents. Gals who know you. Like really know you. And (marvelously) still love you.
Gals who know the right and wrongs of lobster rolls, and how things really should be.
Saturday afternoon the team was in search of a lobster roll (starving, having not eaten in at least 2 hours) and a cool refreshing beverage (we were parched, and it was surely cocktail hour somewhere). We pulled up in front of a fancy spot in Kennebunkport (Oh. Right. Everywhere in Kennebunk is fancy.) We nominated Chantal to hop out and check the menu to confirm availability – she dutifully reported back to us:
“First of all – its served on FOKATCHA….” (Tone of disgust, eyebrows raised) Foccacia? Foccacia has no role to play in a lobster roll. A lobster roll needs to be served on a top split hot dog bun – preferably in a scenario where said bun has been generously buttered on it’s outside-sides and griddled to toasty perfection.
“Secondly, they serve ½ lobster rolls.” (Hand up making stop sign motion.) WTF is a half lobster roll? Why would you only need ½ a roll? Unless, I suppose, you’ve already eaten 1.5 lobster rolls….Bizarre.
This place was not for us. Liz (our hostess with the mostest, and knower of all things Maine, having summered here her whole life) peeled past the valet parking attendant and a Chef Boyardee hatted cook and headed out of town. There are probably at least 6,000 places to have a lobster roll in Kennebunk, but Liz had a plan. Along winding roads we drove, belting out the lyrics to 80’s tunes, and placing our faith firmly in Liz to deliver us to cool chardonnay and a deliriously delicious lobster roll. We were taking our life in our hands….Liz does not like lobster, but we took a vote a long, long time ago and decided to love her anyway.
The scenery was fit for a postcard at every turn – leaves gorgeous shades of red and gold, white picket fences, Martha Stewart worthy homes and glimpses of the sea and fishing boats every few minutes. We drove past the Bush compound, jam packed with secret service black limos. I am certain Babs would have liked to join us, but apparently she was hosting some sort of tea party.
At Cape Porpoise we ran out of road, turned off Depeche Mode and parked the van. You just knew you were in the right place. Lobster buoys abound. No valet parking or Chef Boyardee clad cooks in sight. I was pretty certain there would be a scarcity of “fokatcha” and “half-lobster rolls”. The glorious smell of sea air reminded me of my mom – growing up she insisted on long road trips in the Buick from Montreal to Maine or Cape Cod – distance be damned. According to her, every six months we needed to get salt air in our lungs, sand between our toes, and lobster in our bellies to sustain good health.
Liz led us to The Ramp. This tiny, unassuming place – overlooking the bay sits under the fancier Pier 77 restaurant. By chance, a group of 4 was about to leave, and soon all 6 of us crammed around a small table, pleased with the choice of restaurant before we even perused the menu.
It was hands down the most perfect lobster roll ever. Aforementioned top sliced and buttered and toasted bun, buckling under the weight of at least a pound of fresh, sweet lobster meat, a mere smattering of mayo and a whisper of chive. Nestled alongside –homemade potato chips. Yup. Take note.
Sometimes you just have to go that extra few miles down the road, go a little out of your way, for the perfect lobster roll and a chance to spend some time with great friends…..
Thanks Liz, Chantal, Jodi, Cathy, Sara and Christy for an amazing weekend full of laughs (and lobster).
If you are in the Kennebunk area – be sure make the trek for a lobster roll at The Ramp, if possible sing along to 80’s tunes en route, and bring some friends you’ve known for years. http://pier77restaurant.com/index.html
Also, don’t miss Port Lobster in Kennebunk – you can call ahead and place an order for pick up – they will steam lobsters and clams for you. Just a note, if per chance you pick up a dozen steamed lobsters at Port Lobster and then get distracted by the sunset and go and enjoy a bottle of rose on the lawn overlooking the ocean at The Breakwater Inn, and you return to your rental car and it reeks of lobster juice….ya…..that smell is not so easy to get rid of and the rental car folk don’t prefer it. But it’s still a brilliant idea. http://www.portlobster.com/Home_Page.html