Albeit early, thanks to Ms. Irene, I just returned from a glorious week in Martha’s Vineyard with my friends and their family. We ran every part of that island, jumping waves, building sandcastles, laughing, cooking, eating and drinking. At the top of my food list was a proper lobster roll. Yes, I know I can get one in New York City, but there is something about eating food from the source.
The first night featured a sunset in Menemsha. If you haven’t been and love a sunset, you must go…and go early. The plan was to go to the Bite and get some food before sitting on the beach with the rest of the Bedouin tribes of families. I scoured the posted menu but didn’t see a lobster roll. Darn! It was all fried seafood, they were out of shrimp and it was a 25-minute wait. Harrumph!
We ordered clams, scallops and New England clam chowder and barely made it to the beach before the sun said adieu. I was saying bonjour to the most perfectly fried scallops EVER! Thin, seasoned, battered scallops, fried just enough to cook them and not more. If it weren’t for the price, I could have bought more and eaten them like popcorn….oh, and that chowder was silky goodness going down. Not floury or goopy, more like a richer, oniony clam cream soup. Wow!
Soon the sun set, and we headed home to get some rest for the next day of revelry. That day was spent at the Inkwell, frolicking in the water and surf with friends and their kids, then home to cook. I manned the grill and kicked out some juicy steaks, corn on the cob and took another pass at my grill-fried chicken (it’s getting there…). We sipped on IPA beer, Pellegrino and Bulldog Gin and tonics. Plus we had a chocolate birthday cake for Alston (happy birthday!).
Monday brought another day at the Inkwell, two bottles of wine and some munchies. Come early dinnertime, I was starving. Maybe now I could get my lobster roll in? We decided to go to Nancy’s. Perfect! Had one there before…but that was before my palate tasted some other great ones right here in our city. This one completely missed the mark and the mountain of fried seafood was a hole-filler at best.
The next morning, I woke up to an empty house. The family had gone on an outing. I got up, went for a run, took an outdoor shower (a seriously awesome experience, if you’ve ever wondered) and walked my butt into town to treat myself to lunch at Slice of Life (50 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs), where I saw some Harlem natives finishing a late breakfast. I was going to stick with the fried green tomato BLT, but in the spirit of trying something new (and a bad lobster roll experience), I nervously ordered the special lobster salad sandwich with fries and coleslaw.
When it arrived, I was a little dubious because of the minced texture-not chunks-and maybe all claw meat too, but after having the first bite, I was satisfied that I would enjoy it. The look and taste reminded me of the crab salad at the Fire Island ferry dock.
The fries were crispy, the fresh coleslaw was clean and there were great condiments for the sandwich of sliced tomato and fresh arugula. I only wish that the cook had not over-toasted my soft brioche roll to the point of slightly burnt. Seafood has such a delicate flavor that something like the ash from burnt bread can ruin the experience. Next time…
Our final night, we brought 10 lobsters and some crabs from the “lobster guy” to the Harris household (no relation, but now is my cuz from Chitown!) for an end-of-vacation throw down. I prepared the crustaceans with farmer’s market corn on the cob, steamy red bliss potatoes and drawn butter plus Grace’s handspun-dry green salad. It wasn’t on “the roll”-it was on the money!
What’s the saying? “If you wanna eat something, you gotta make it yourself”? No?! Well, something like that.
I took that leftover lobster meat, and with the help of some errant hamburger rolls and salted butter…boom! I made two for the road. Lobster roll mission accomplished!
Grrr to Ms. Irene! Yay to the Pinns, the Harrises (world-over), vacationing friends, Martha’s Vineyard and lobsters! You made my visit possible and memorable. Thank you now and forever.
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
Follow me on Twitter @SCHOPgirl and join the family on Facebook by searching “SCHOP.”
Questions at dinnertime? Chat with me at AskSCHOP, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.
Subscribe to the Talking SCHOP! blog at www.talkingschop.wordpress.com. I am, of course, writing about all things food-recipes, restaurant reviews, travel, my M.E.A.T. list, plus some great food photos, SCHOP!’s brochure and special offers. Check out “BESTies,” a list of my favorites in Harlem and beyond. I look forward to hearing your food stories.
Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email kysha@iSCHOP.com.