Are you ready? Set? Then, let’s go on a Foodie Road Trip! We’ve got nine delicious destinations lined up this month on In the Kitchen with David. Now—while we may not be physically traveling to these places, we are making a tasty recipe to represent each region’s specialty. And, we’ll also be hearing from local folks who know a thing or two about the region and its cuisine. More on that in a minute...
In the meantime, if you didn’t see my special blog yesterday, I’m excited to tell you we’re running a Road Trip Contest this month! Submit videos and/or photos to email@example.com and tell me why your town’s a must-see foodie destination, and I just might come to dine with you! The whole ITKWD team is selecting five finalists…all of whom will be featured here in my blog throughout the month. But, one of those finalists will be our winner and I can’t wait to get out and meet you.
So, back to those local folks….our first stop on our Road Trip is Portland, Maine and our recipe is a Lobster Roll! I’m not sure there’s anyone who knows more about Maine—or its food—than Bill Green. Bill’s a life-long Mainer, and the host of “Bill Green’s Maine” for WCSH-TV. (He’s also Mary’s uncle!) From hiking 100 miles of wilderness to interviewing baseball legend Ted Williams, Bill stops at nothing to uncover Maine’s best stories. That’s why I asked him to give you an up-close-and-personal view of his hometown, Portland.
(Can you see the family resemblance?)
David: Tell us a bit about Portland, Bill. Bill: It's been called the "City by the Sea," and the waterfront still plays an important role here. Around 1990, the citizens voted to keep Portland, a working waterfront….that means that a certain amount of footage along the water front must be maintained for "marine use." So you'll always see commercial fishing boats, draggers and trawlers, ferries, or water taxis along with a number of recreational boats. You'll also notice processing plants and marine engineering facilities along with some upscale condos and office space. In short, in Portland, the preppies and yuppies have not shoved the longshoremen out of the way.
David: Is there a section of the city that’s a must-see for tourists? Bill: Yes, and we call tourists PFAs, by the way, or People From Away. Anyway, the Old Port section is a must-see. Anyway, everyone is welcomed in Portland. You go down to the Old Port and you'll see every type of person imaginable...skate boarders and hipsters to moms and dads to tourists off cruise ships that visit daily in the summer. Everybody goes there. It's cool. Great shops, great restaurants. Foodies would love the place. There’s everything from gourmet restaurants to hot dog stands. You don't have to stroll very far before you find something of interest. Some of the streets are cobblestone. The sidewalks are brick. There’s also a thriving night scene in Old Port.
David: How’s the food in Portland? Bill: Portland is often on those “top ten lists” for many things and food is one of them…in fact, Bon Appétit named Portland “Foodiest Small Town in America.” I always recommend the fish. It’s obviously fresh. We’re like the rest of the country in that many of our restaurants emphasize “eat local.” Here, the fish and lobster make that particularly exotic. If you’re not a seafood fan, however, go to Congress Street and stop at NOSH. It’s home of the Pig Burger—a beef and pork patty, American cheese, extra bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions on a brioche bun. AND THE FRENCH FRIES ARE SPRINKLED WITH BACON DUST. People in Portland say bacon dust makes you happy.
David: What’s your favorite restaurant in Portland? Bill: Gosh, there so many great ones. How about Grace? It's a converted church. I also love Street and Company, Hugos, Fore Street, and the Salt Water Grill. My favorite restaurant in Maine is Primo in Rockland. Owner/chef Melissa Kelly just won the James Beard award as the best chef in the Northeast.
David: So this Sunday we’re making a lobster roll. Where can I get a lobster roll in Portland? Bill: Anyplace. For lobster itself, generations have gone to DiMillo’s. It’s a converted ferry boat which has become a floating restaurant. A popular favorite is lobster boiled in the Maine tradition and served with drawn butter. Maine lobstermen caught 126 million pounds of lobster last year.
David: What makes a good lobster roll? Bill: Lots of fresh lobster and precious little mayonnaise. Oh, and two slices of pickle.
David: So where can I find a fresh lobster? Bill: A lobster boat goes out every 90 minutes taking tourists out to haul traps. They stay right in the harbor. Everybody gets a rubber bib and gloves! They'll sell you the lobster at boat prices so you can take it to a restaurant and have them cook it up for you. By the way, last summer lobster was cheaper off the boat than bologna.
Foodies, here’s my recipe for a Lobster Roll. I hope Bill approves!
This recipe is prepared with the Technique® 10-Piece Hard Anodized Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set (K38576).
1 lb cooked lobster meat (from two 2-3 lb whole lobsters), cut into 1/2" pieces 1/4 cup celery, minced 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1-1/2 Tbsp lemon juice 1/8 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp salt Dash of hot sauce Pinch of cayenne 2 Tbsp butter 4 split-top hot dog rolls
Place the lobster meat, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, salt, hot sauce, and cayenne in a bowl and mix until well combined. Refrigerate until the buns are toasted.
To toast the buns, preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly spread the butter over both sides of each bun. Cook until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes. Turn the buns over and toast the other side. When the buns are ready, stuff each with about 3/4 cup of the lobster mixture.
Time for your blog question! I’m sure our ITKWD Road Trip isn’t the only thing you’ve got planned this summer. Where are you headed? Up to Maine? Down to Florida? Maybe out to your backyard for many a’barbecue? Tell me about it, foodies. And, if you’ve already made your big trip, send me photos on Facebook! See you Sunday at Noon ET.
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