Lobster Paradise in Wiscasset, Maine

Really 1 Lobster Roll.2

Lobsters are not a take it or leave it seafood. It’s plain and simple. Either you love lobster or you don’t. Our family falls into the first category. We savor these sweet juicy crustaceans on any chance that comes our way as a dinner or on a roll. Our family lived in New York much of our lives and we vacationed where lobster reigned supreme from Montauk and the Hamptons in Long Island to the New England seaside areas of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. We recently returned from a trip to the Maine coast expecting to see some vibrant fall foliage and of course taste delicious lobster. It was not a great year for fall foliage due to extremely warm weather conditions but I am happy to report that we can put our crustacean obsession to rest because we found the BEST, yes! The BEST lobster roll you will ever taste at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine outside of Boothbay Harbor.

We drove on US 1 past this cute quirky little red and white seafood place on our way to our resort in the Rockport area. The little seafood shack was lined with patient smiling Customers wrapped around the small building so we knew it was a priority on our GO TO bucket list. Our casual lobster roll curiosity was now a full blown quest for the best lobster roll in coastal Maine. Of course, I began to Google them on the internet along with nationally recognized travel sites and there they were along with beautiful pics of lobster rolls. The meat was piled so high that you could barely see the bread, accompanied by a side cup of local hot butter. No lettuce. No Mayo. No fillers. And that my friend is what separates a lobster dabbler from serious lobster roll aficionado.

WorthTheWait

It was a brisk day but no one cared. Everyone had lobster rolls on our mind.

The lobsters are steamed and yes a little cold when you get it but this is not a bad thing. It’s October and the weather is windy but the side cup of sweet locally crafted butter takes care of the chill. The roll is buttery and slightly grilled to support the volume of meat. You want fries or onion rings or anything else? Sure. It is all reasonably a la carte and one portion of fries was more than enough for 2 adults.

We first visited Red’s Eats on Monday and from that moment on, we were hooked. The owner and staff were so friendly. Amidst the hungry crowd, they found the time to smile, make quick small talk and win our loyalty. Why go anywhere else? We opted to abandon the typical lobster dinner at a well known restaurant in a neighboring town on Wednesday and visit Red’s Eats a second time. She remembered us when we reached the ordering counter and rang the bell, announcing over her PA system that we were 2nd time visitors this week as everyone clapped and cheered.

WaitingInLine                               Hubby Tom happy that we are #2 today waiting in line

I realize this is starting to sound like a restaurant review but after serving loyal Pinocchio’s Ice Cream Customers these past 12 years at our Sanibel store, I realized why Tom and I were so enamored with this establishment. Red’s Eats is a family run business that offers the best quality lobster in huge portions with a smile and a reason to return again. These are the simple principles that we used to grow our own business into the destination landmark it is today for handcrafted frozen confections.

What can I do now that we are back home in SW Florida? Ship some Maine Lobster meat TKC (tails – knuckles – claws) along with decent bread to grill and locally crafted butter. Then I can hope it will taste as good as it did at Red’s Eats. If not, we need to plan our next trip to Wiscasset.

If you go:   Red’s Eats.  41 Water Street • Wiscasset, Maine 04578  http://www.redseatsmaine.com/

  • Lobster Rolls at time of Article = $24.95 and worth every penny J
  • Cash Only. No Credit Cards. No worries. They have an ATM right next to the ordering counter.
  • This is a small establishment with outdoor patio seating on upper level and outdoor seating by the water on the lower level.
  • They are closed at this time. The last day of their season was October 21 L
  • Their accolades are endless. Don’t be surprised to see a TV food chef or celebrity waiting on line with you.

If you cannot make it to Wiscasset:

  • Go online and order a pound or two (or five?) of fully cooked TKC lobster meat. There are plenty out there to choose from. Red’s Eats website even lists some that will ship right to your door.
  • Buy some top sliced buns.
  • Slowly melt sweet salted butter. I cut my own fresh herbs and add them to the butter for extra flavor and I remove them just before serving.
  • Pile it high on the lightly grilled bun, dip into the butter and Enjoy!
  • Serve with shoestring potato fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings or a bag of your favorite flavored kettle cooked potato chips.   Enjoy!

Trip2     Trip #2. Look at those tails, knuckles and claws! I write this from miles away hoping to have a Red’s Eats Lobster Roll for lunch.  A girl’s gotta dream.

 

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TOMATO AND CHEESE PIE

Tomato and Cheese pies have been something on my bucket list to prepare for quite some time. I had the pleasure of making this vegetarian delight for good friends and fellow fooderati at the Sanibel Community House when I was asked to speak about tomatoes at our monthly potluck dinner lecture series a few months ago.  The Sanibel Community House is in the process of raising funds for a major renovation which will include a large professional kitchen to accommodate food crafting and cooking classes for islanders, vacationers and everyone interested in the Sanibel and Captiva Island community. For more information, check out their efforts on www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net.

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This pie is so simple to prepare that I tried making several versions the next day for my bakery on Sanibel Island, Geppetto’s Beach Foodies. It is a vegetarian favorite and a new staple on our menu. Even more exciting is that I shared the recipe with a close friend from  New York. Fedela Kessler tried the recipe and sent me a pic of her craft (see below). Thanks Fedela for trying it out and sending your feedback. I miss our diner chats.

 

FedelasTomatoPie

 

Enjoy!

Donna

 

 Difficulty                                                                                                        1 FORK

INGREDIENTS:

  • In a hurry and you have no time to make your own pie crust?  Try Pillsbury Pet Ritz brand frozen pie crust shells. The Pet Ritz crust is flaky, buttery and withstands sweet fruit or savory tomato liquids when the pie is cut.
  • 6 medium beefsteak tomatoes. Note: I mixed in colorful heirloom tomatoes for interest.
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  • Italian Seasonings
  • Fresh Basil finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • Colorful Yellow and Red Grape Tomatoes for Garnish

 

RECIPE:

  •  PREP WORK:
  • Preheat Oven to 375.
  • Poke holes with fork tines – 10 to 12 times.
  • Bake frozen pie crust shells for 8 minutes. Remove and Cool.
  • Peel and slice tomatoes to 1/8 inch thickness
  • In a bowl, combine 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella  with 1 cup mayonnaise.
  • ASSEMBLE THE PIE:
  • Layer the tomatoes in the pie shell.
  • Layer the ½ cup scallions.
  • Season with Salt and Pepper, Italian Seasonings and fresh chopped basil
  • Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • Spread the cheese/mayo mixture on top.
  • Garnish with grape tomatoes, remaining chopped basil, salt , pepper, Italian seasonings.

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BAKE the pie for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Cool and Serve.

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PIE VARIATIONS:

  1. Substitute Cheddar or Monterey Jack shredded cheese or make a pie with a combination of cheeses.
  2. Substitute ½ of the amount of mayo with plain yogurt.
  3. The sky is the limit with a variety of different garnishes ie: pine nuts, dried fruits, spinach & artichoke
  4. Turn this into a one meal pie. Add a layer of cooked and sliced sausage or a healthier alternative of cooked ground turkey meat or fish.
  5. For a firmer bottom crust, layer some cheese slices on the bottom of the pie. Then add the tomato, onions, meat if desired.

Picnics in Paradise: Packing a Beach Picnic Basket

Picnics in Paradise: Packing a Beach Picnic Basket

picnic basket

Have you ever said to yourself that food actually tastes better when eating your meal in the great outdoors? You are not alone and that is why picnics are a popular dining choice to celebrate time together with friends, family and loved ones. Picnics are traditionally welcomed from Memorial Day through Labor Day all around the country. Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and new England clambakes are all part of traditional Americana picnic food but there are some great al fresco dining alternatives out there that offer simpler choices with big tastes and little prep time.

For the fortunate who vacation or live in warmer climates as I do in Southwest Florida, the time to enjoy a beach picnic lasts throughout the year. Good food, surrounding nature and beautiful beaches serve as a perfect backdrop of wonderful memories spent picnicking on Sanibel Island if the right food is packed cold, well insulated and includes set ups that make dining easy to chow down, especially where sand pails and seashells are all around you. Here are some tips to help you pack a beach picnic:

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Tips for Packing a Beach Picnic Basket:

  • Finger foods and artisan sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and covered in cello bags where little use of utensils is required will make the dining experience more enjoyable and convenient.

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Enjoy your beach picnic without the hassle of preparing the meal by ordering grab and go cuisine from your favorite market in advance.

  • Choose food that tastes great cold and does not require the use of gas grills such as:
    • Interesting sandwiches prepared on freshly baked Artisan breads seasoned with chutneys, pesto or aioli
    • Tomato or Spinach Wraps rolled into cone shapes and inserted into paper cones like snow cone cups making it easier to eat while holding the cone cup.
    • Spreads and Dips with a fresh Baguette, Foccacia or Crostini
    • Dry cured meats like Salami or Prosciutto with a fresh loaf of Italian bread
    • Seasonal fruit salad platters with spears or toothpicks for easy eating
    • Cold Pasta Salad with grilled Italian vegetables marinated in balsamic dressing
  • Take along a cooler and keep your drinks chilled. Make sure the beverage selection includes bottles of cold water. Hydration is important under the hot sun and refreshing H2O quenchers come in all sizes and flavors to quench your thirst. Try to stick with plastic bottles such as Perrier spring water or recyclable cans of lemon, lime and blood orange flavored San Pellegrino both of which are good for the environment and good for you.
  • There’s always room for sweets. Choose wisely if you are planning a day in the hot sun. espresso cookie brittles or bite sized dolce are a good choice. We created croissant donut holes called Crodoles© when we opened Geppetto’s Beach Foodies in 2012, offering grab and go beach cuisine. Crodoles© come in a variety of flavors from Mango Coconut to Key Lime, Cookie Butter, Canoli and more.
  • Last, always pack 2 trash bags for easy clean-up at the end of the day.

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Pictured Left: Key Lime Coconut Crodoles©,  Right: Variety Bags of Crodoles©

Beach Bons

Moderate Recipes

Moderate Recipes

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Want a new take on favorite ice cream movie bites?  Try making these at home. A plate of three different oversized ice cream bon bons makes a memorable ending to a great meal.  At our store on Sanibel Island, we refer to these giant treats as ‘beach bons’ because they were created with our homemade original Italian ice cream flavors inspired by the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva islands. We also received Taste of the Islands BEST DESSERT for these little treasures.  You can use your own gelato, ice creams and sorbet to create these flavorful frozen confections but keep in mind that the key to beautiful beach bons lies in the preparation. Enrobing is much easier if the ice cream is hard frozen. You can prepare the bons up to two days ahead before enrobing them.  Have fun and enjoy!

Basic Beach Bons:

Take a 4 oz scooper. Scoop a round ball of vanilla bean ice cream.

Select a stuffing for the ball such as diced maraschino cherries or dried fruits and nuts.

Poke a hole in the center of the round ball and stuff with your choice of filling.

Mold the ball like a small meatball.

Cover in saran wrap.  Freeze for 1 hour or more until frozen and formed.

Melt Chocolate in a double boiler or crock pot.

Remove saran wrap bons. Dip in melted chocolate with a slotted spoon.

Lay them on a small tray of waxed or parchment paper to cool.

Place them back in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Leave them in simple chocolate or drizzle with some melted chocolate to hold dusted cocoa, sprinkles or your choice of topping.

Return to freezer until ready to serve.

Decorate the plate with whipped cream and Lyons Raspberry sauce for garnish.

Beach Bon variations:

  1. Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream Sanibel Krunch© ice cream coated in toasted coconut which has been enrobed in chocolate and stuffed with mixed nuts.
  2. Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream Dirty Sand Dollar© ice cream coated in crushed whoppers and dusted in cocoa.
  3. Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream Sel de Mer© chocolate, caramel and sea salt gelato stuffed with creamy caramel and coated in dark chocolate with sprinkled sea salt

beachbon 101 image 3MANGO SORBET BEACH BONS ROLLED IN NONPAREILS