summer sunset

intense sunset

recap: lobster roll rumble 2012

there is really nothing i like better than lobster rolls, and this year’s lobster roll rumble was a great opportunity to try 20 different rolls from contenders around the country.

i had purposely skipped lunch in anticipation of the event, and arrived at metropolitan pavilion starving and excited to sink my teeth into tons and tons of lobster.  and that’s exactly what i did.  20 lobster rolls doesn’t sound like a lot, but after i’d enthusiastically tried 5 delicious rolls, i started to lose steam.

needless to say, i ended up trying 15 different lobster rolls.  i’m sure the remaining 5 would have been fantastic, but i honestly couldn’t look at another lobster roll, let alone take another bite.

you may think that all lobster rolls are the same – chunks of lobster salad on a bun – but i quickly learned that this is not the case.  its not only about the freshness of the lobster, but also the size of the pieces, the lobster to mayo ratio (too much or too little can ruin the roll), the spices/herbs, and the bread.  the bread is actually just as important as the lobster.  you need the right amount of butter and toastedness.  no one wants the perfect lobster on soggy or too-buttery bread.

below are some of the highlights from the evening:

brooklyn, new york  - this lobster roll had a toast-like bun filled with fresh-tasting, tender lobster.  not too much or too little mayo.  a yummy, classic new england-style lobster roll.

boston, massachusetts – more like a crostini than a lobster roll, the lobster meat in this roll was tossed with diced pickles, giving it a light, fresh taste.

atlanta, georgia – this roll had a nice buttery bun and lobster seasoned with mayo, lemon, shallots and chive.  though a bit heavy on the sauce, the legs were a cute touch (although i couldn’t figure out how, or if, i was supposed to eat them).



kennebunkport, maine – people were going absolutely crazy for this maine-style lobster roll.  the line was the longest of all the restaurants, and the roll won the ‘fan favorite’ award.  though it didn’t gain my personal fan favorite vote, the round bun was wonderful, and the overall taste was pretty darn good.

if you want to give this lobster roll a try and have no upcoming travel plans to maine, the clam shack offers lobster roll kits on their website, complete with all the ingredients to make a delicious lobster roll from the comfort of your own home.


new york, new york – this lobster roll won the ‘editor’s choice award’ and featured lots of spices, including chunks of celery which made it a little unique from the other rolls.  lots of sauce also made it a tad messy to eat.



new york, new york – combining two of the best foods out there – lobster and bacon – this roll was surprisingly tasty, fun, and easy-t0-eat.  who knew that lobster could be so good with bacon and diced tomatoes mixed into it.

baltimore, maryland – the bread on this lobster roll reminded me of the toast you would have on a grilled cheese, which is a good thing.  fresh cold-water maine lobster combined with a good amount of dressing made this a solid roll.  i also liked the cucumbers on the side.



new york, new york – my absolute favorite lobster roll is from luke’s lobster, which has a few locations throughout the city, including my favorite location in the east village.  although i’ve had their rolls many times, i was still excited to see them at this event.  large chunks of buttery lobster on a perfecly-toasted bun make this roll irresistibly good, and it ended up getting my fan favorite vote.  if you haven’t had luke’s, i suggest you go there as soon as possible.

a weekend trip to martha’s vineyard

over memorial day weekend we decided to book a last-minute trip to martha’s vineyard.  a quick 35 minute plane ride later, and we arrived at the super cute martha’s vineyard airpot.  MVY is one of those small airports where you exit via an outdoor staircase, and our pleasant, chilled out arrival set the tone for the entire weekend.

first on the agenda was checking into our inn, located in historic edgartown.  we stayed at the fallon, which was build in 1892 and is located on the main street in edgartown.  near shops, restaurants, and the water, this was definitely an ideal location for a weekend getaway.

the fallon in edgartown

the room itself had a vintage-type vibe, complete with pink wallpaper and a queen sized sleigh bed – which was very comfortable – more so the the average hotel room.

room 4 at the fallon

after getting settled in the room, we decided to go explore the town.  a scenic walk down north water street brought us to edgartown light, located on the southeast side of the island.  for $5 you can walk to the top and see a nice view of the harbor.

edgartown light

my favorite thing about edgartown was the architecture – the houses in town are white, with white picket fences and black rooftops – very quant and romantic.  its the perfect town to get a nice piece of fudge and wander around.

north water street in edgartown

that evening we had dinner at the farm-to-table-inspired french restaurant in the fallon, l’etoile.  luckily for us, the weather was pleasant and we were able to sit outside in the garden area.  with such a nice atmosphere, it was easy to enjoy a relaxed meal and a glass of wine.  overall, the food was fresh and inventive – we had duck and halibut, and both entrees were superb.

after dinner, we took a quick stroll around town and then headed back to the inn.  my only complaint about the fallon was the noise.  while it was convenient to be housed above such a lovely restaurant, you could definitely hear the people in the bar area downstairs.

the following day we had breakfast at among the flowers, an yummy outdoor cafe by the water, before buying tickets for an afternoon sailboat ride with mad max sailing adventures.

mad max sailing adventures

the sailboat ride was an hour long and took us around edgartown harbor.  it was a sunny day and sitting outside on a boat was a nice, relaxing way to spend a sunday afternoon.

after returning to town, we had dinner at the seafood shanty where we split a lobster quesadillas and lobster roll.  the lobster roll was huge, but the real star of the night was the lobster quesadilla.  lobster mixed with cheese – who would have thought?  so good!

the next day we rented a convertable mini cooper and drove around the island to explore.  our first stop was oak bluffs, where they have these really cool ‘gingerbread houses’.  the houses are all different colors and look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale.

gingerbread houses in oak bluffs

after some aimless driving, the last stop on our little adventure was gay head lighthouse on the southwest side of the island.  the lighthouse was automated in 1956 and is still active.  we had the chance to walk to the top and see a nice view of the cliffside.

gay head lighthouse

so overall, the trip to martha’s vineyard was a huge success.  its such a short flight from jfk that i can really see the island becoming one of my go-to summer destinations.

the best vegan cookies ever (and they ship for free!)

i love cookies, and my new favorite is the phenomenal pumpkin spice from alternative baking company.  i started picking these cookies up from my local market and was completely surprised when i read that they are no everything - no dairy, no eggs, no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils, no cholesterol, no animal ingredients, no artificial ingredients, and no refined sugar.  you will never know that they are completely vegan cookies, because they are super moist, soft, and flavorful with a yummy homemade taste.

the other cool thing about alternative baking company is that they process online orders.  there is a 15 cookie minimum, but really – can you ever have enough cookies?  try the simply vanilla bean, colossal chocolate chip, and peanut butter persuasion (among others).  an added bonus: they also make gluten-free cookies.  yum!

my first taste of south african rose

i’d never had south african wine before last month (my top 10 wine club featured quite a few south african wines in may), and i’ve been pleasantly surprised by every one that i’ve tasted.  my favorite, so far, has been the mulderbosch rose.  looking at the bottle, i thought this wine would be overpowering, but i was pleasantly surprised by the easy-to drink taste.  i really enjoyed the subtle strawberry flavor and crisp finish – totally refreshing for a nice summer day.  4 out of 5.  yum!

book review: birds of america

i don’t typically read short stories – i like deep, complicated characters and plots – but i can’t say enough good things about lorrie  moore’s short story collection, birds of america.  i was recently introduced to moore’s writing with a gate at the stairs, a coming-of-age novel set in the midwest, and both books are impeccably written and definitely worth reading.

the beauty of birds of america is that even though the stories are only a handful of pages long, you become fully immersed in the characters and what they are going through.  moore has a keen eye in identifying the peculiarities of relationships, and each of these stories offers a little glimpse into these intimate worlds.  i found myself interested in all the stories, and wishing for more when i finally came to the end of the collection.  i think this is a good introduction to moore’s style as a writer.  she’s witty in a non-obvious way, and has a great overall voice.  highly recommended.