Lobster, Honey, And Seaside Adventures in Bath, Maine
Bath is known as the 'The City of Ships' and guess what, I have nothing to tell you about the ship building industry in this town. However, if you've been paying attention, you know that every other post is about honey incorporated into a cooking adventure in a new locale. One of the recommendations I make at the booth is a pairing of honey and ginger on lobster after you grill it. So I got to thinking, "Why not go a little deeper and explore a top to bottom excursion to find fresh lobster & seafood from the source (along with a local honey, as usual) and find a cozy little seaside getaway to enjoy the meal. So here goes:
We'll start of just a bit outside of Bath, in the town of the bustling hub-bub of Portland. It is about 1 hour 45 min south on Interstate 295 and Route 1. You are going to pay a visit to a little store called The Honey Exchange.
This shop is not dissimilar from Hey Honey. The sell an assortment of single pollen honey from all over the world. When you swing into this shop, you are going to ask for the 'Varietal' offerings. It is a pretty solid selection to choose from. Toyon from California, Mesquite from Texas, or Sourwood from Georgia - just to name a few. Since the second part of this adventure involves procuring and grilling lobster/, I will make my pairing suggestion now. Outside of lobster (which you will need to buy), you will most likely be catching stripped bass, bluefish, cod, or mackerel. Since the flavor is in the fish, butter and seasoning, you do not want a strongly flavored honey - it will compete with the fish. You want something light, that compliments the butter and delicately sweetens the fish without complicating it (in my humble opinion). My suggestion is Floridian Orange Blossom. Very light honey, not overpowering and it has the most frequent pairings with butter of all the different honeys I have experienced. You can pick up Maine Blueberry honey if you really want to have a full-on authentic Maine experience, but honestly, I don't think it's the best pairing - just my opinion.
With honey in hand, jump on the expressway and head up to Bath (America's Shipyard). Don't worry, you are not going to the dry docks. Instead, you're going to seek out John Coppola, Captain and owner of Super Fly Charters (not gonna lie - I half selected this company based on the name alone).
Never been on a charter before? Don't worry about it. This guy loves beginners. Whats more, he grew up on the coast of central Maine and has fished all over the area - Striped Bass is his specialty. This part of the trip is for those of you that can not consume shellfish. I know you guys are out there. While I am told that lobster is de-lish, there is nothing like fresh caught fish. Trust me, I don't care what restaurant you've been to - nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to a fish you caught yourself that day.
What's next? Just one more stop and that's the Bath Farmer's Market (on Saturday, mind you - from 8:30 AM till noon). The market is located on the waterfront in downtown Bath. You are going to seek out the Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood stand. Why would you go on a food vacation through Maine and NOT get lobster? You're going to drop a few duckets and get yourself two of the biggest tails they have left. Get there early or they'll get cleaned out.
I will save the details for the grilled lobster recipe for another post and just give you the very broad strokes on this one. Take the lobster and go through your regular prep, soak the meat in melted butter and toss it on an open flame grill. Once you get it to the desired level of television-commercial quality charred, yank it off and IMMEDIATELY (can't stress it enough) pour two table spoon of honey over the meat. Next step, eat yourself stupid and slip into a 4 hour food coma. Good Night!