Clam shacks are the classic way to eat seafood in Down East Maine. They usually have a walk-up window, a huge menu and very fresh seafood. Most offer things like burgers and hot dogs (for some reason) and picnic tables (some even have indoor seating). They usually do a great job with fried foods as well as fresh lobsters, steamed clams and mussels, etc.
You've heard me talk about Red's Eats in Wiscasset and The Lobster Dock in Boothbay Harbor. Another place we've been to--maybe the best of them--is Bagaduce Lunch in Brooksville. They've been closed for the season by the time we've gotten there the last few years.
More fried shrimp at The Fish Net.
In Blue Hill, the "town" near the cottage (as opposed to the "village" of Brooklin), there's an excellent shack, The Fish Net. By this time, MB's mom, brother and his girlfriend had joined us and we all went there for dinner--another chance for Jake to scarf down some fried Maine shrimp. Among other things devoured that night--scallop roll (lightly fried scallops on a toasted hot dog bun), fish chowder, seafood stew, lobster roll. There's just something about eating that kind of food at a picnic table with others doing the same--out under the clear sky having your legs eaten by mosquitoes. OK, the last part isn't that great, but everything else is. Nothing a little Off can't take care of.
While we were there, a lobsterman (part of the family who owns The Fish Net) brought some lobsters to our table for a bit of a tutorial about them. It got us anticipating cooking our own the next night. He was very nice and obviously enjoyed telling people about the critters. He said that it was a great year for lobsters, which, I'm sure made him even happier.
Baseball by the sea.
For years, we had passed signs for Moose Point State Park on our way to Blue Hill or Bar Harbor and this year, we decided to check it out. It's a very nice park--on the water with some nice paths to walk and nice lawns for playing baseball with Jake. Apparently, moose have never been seen at Moose Point (some say they've seen droppings). We saw neither.
From there we stopped at a very nice potter co-op and visited Perry's Nut House (I tried to link thei4r website, but not surprisingly, the site doesn't come up). This place is, well, just plain weird. Real stuffed wildlife, very expensive fudge and nuts, a while bunch of junky toys and souvenirs, a real mummy, fun house mirrors and much more. Jake thought it was great--as have visitors since 1927. I guess it's one of those places to stop in one time to say you were there.
Getting the water for cooking
Lobsters. They're what you think of when you think of Maine--especially if you're hungry. We bought a bunch at The Sleigh Bell Shoppe/Lobster Crate. We're used to this place after all these years, but it's still pretty funny. It's a nice little gift shop that happens to sell lobsters, too. A very nice lady, Annette, runs it and is always very friendly.
The cottage has a turkey fryer that we cook the lobsters in. I simply fill the pot with sea water, crank the propane and get it boiling. Then it's time for the bugs to take a swim and about 15 minutes later, we're eating. The sea water seasons them perfectly. We also picked mussels at low tide and I cooked them with some bacon, white wine and mustard. They were really tasty even if some of them were gritty with little "pearls". (That's what happens when you pick your own mussels. Most that you buy or have in a restaurant are farmed and grow on strings, so sand doesn't get in and pearls can't form.)
It was quite a feast. Jake was all excited about eating lobster this year (he had tasted it only 1 other time at Red's Eats), but didn't like the messiness of it. Maybe next year. Butter, lemon, wine, beer, salad and that great bread from the farmers' market. Pretty much the perfect dinner.
We bought a few extras for a great lobster stew that I make. But I'll tell you about that next time.