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Sep 3, 2000 12:04 PM

Endurance Contest?

  • a

I’m just back from a four-day swing through MA (clams and lobsters) and ME (lobsters and clams), in yet another vain attempt to see whether I could actually tire of the aforementioned seafoods and those tiny Maine blueberries.

I ate at Farnham’s, The Clam Box, Woodman’s, Essex Seafood, and The Lobster Pool in MA; and Cindy’s Fish and Fries, Five Islands Lobster Co., The Sea Basket, Marriner’s, Muscongus Bay Lobster Co., and Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster in ME. I even began to make tasting notes for an article that started to take shape mentally, but will probably never be written.

Considering that fourteen hours' worth of those four days was spent driving from NYC to Maine and back, that’s a whole lot of eating in a very short time. No more seafood or blueberries for a week!

A few observations:

- This was not the best year for Essex fried clams. Past years in Essex, and last year at Arnold's on Cape Cod, were better.

- The best lobster and steamers I've had, consistently, have been at a place that I haven't seen in food or touring books.

- Marriner's blueberry pancakes may or may not be "the best in the world," but they're up there, and the service was delightful. While the premises are certainly showing their age, Marriner's is not "dirty"; whoever posted to that effect may have some other agenda.

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  1. AHR,

    Can you be more specific about your visits to the MA and ME restaurants? I live in Northeast CT and vacation in ME so we are always looking for the best lobster and clam places. We love Maine blueberries so much that we get cases of them canned in water shipped to us. They are just as good as the fresh and my pancakes and blueberry muffins taste like we are in Maine.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Nancy Ives

      How do you get these blueberrries shipped to you? Any info?

      1. re: MA


        If Jim gives the okay, I will let you know how to get them. :)


        1. re: Nancy Ives


          Gosh, why do you need my ok? This is what we do here...give tips back and forth!

          Our only big rules are 1. don't post copyrighted material, and 2. if you have an affiliation with a given business, disclose it (and don't get all hypey about it).

          If you have some connection to the blueberry canning company, let us know when you let us know. If not, just let us know!


          1. re: Jim Leff

            Okay Jim. Just checking. I have no affiliation with the canning company. Anyway, it is Jasper Wyman & Son in Milbridge, ME. Telephone is 207-546-2311, Fax is 207-546-2074. They have a website but off hand I don't remember the address. It is easier just to call and order by phone. The last time I bought a case of the blueberries packed in water, it was $24.00 for 12 cans and postage was 5.69. It is worth it! I know some people can purchase the Wyman's blueberries in the supermarket but we can't here (at least where I shop). I saw a piece (I believe it was on PBS) about Maine blueberries and they said the berries packed in a can or frozen are just as good as fresh. They are right.

            1. re: Nancy Ives

              thanks for posting; sounds like a good thing to know about. I've never had any canned blueberries that tasted any good...I'll have to check 'em out!


    2. Not to gripe, but that was by far the shortest and least detailed AHR annual clam trip report ever! Was clam quality that write-offable, or are you starting to get jaded?

      ; )


      2 Replies
      1. re: Jim Leff

        The clams may have underachieved, but the whole lobsters and blueberries compensated.

        I also reconfirmed that one need not travel further than the Pearl Oyster Bar for the ultimate lobster roll, so a clam-recalibration visit to nearby Bigelow's is probably in order.

        I'll see if I can't muster the energy for some more detailed typing.

        1. re: AHR

          Didn't mean to shame you into typing's just that you've set a precedent for yourself re: your annual clam run! I feel like an important tradition's been given short shrift!


      2. AHR: from your post:" The best lobster and steamers I've had, consistently, have been at a place that I haven't seen in food or touring books."

        I've read and re-re-read your post and can't find where you give the name of this lobstery-clammery. Please? pat

        4 Replies
        1. re: pat hammond

          Hi, Pat-

          It's Muscongus, recommended by a friend whose wife's family has had a Maine compound for years. I was curious to see whether anyone actually read these things.

          The place is in Round Pond; Take route 1 as far as Damariscotta; head south to route 32 to Back Shore Road and then Landing Road. It's at the left/rear of the parking lot, out on the docks. Order the consistently wonderful lobster, steamers, and corn.

          You'll need to wait for next season, though; they closed after Labor Day.

          Not too far away is Shaw's, which is quite good (and also sells fried an other foods), but is much, much more crowded and commercial.

          1. re: AHR

            Hi to you, AHR: Of course someone reads these posts! The boards have exploded this week and I'm having trouble keeping up with the fallout. Muscongus, wow, don't know it and that makes it very exciting, indeed. I have plans to "gunk hole" my way along the coast next summer and I'm sure I'll get to your spot. Thanks so much. pat.

            1. re: Pat Hammond

              If you don't have them already, be sure to equip yourself with one of the Sterns' books (Roadfood, now Eat Your Way Across the USA) and Halliday's New England Food Explorer (1993, but still valid).

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                Will do. Thanks again. p.

          2. Person after my own heart! Did you pick up your info from here? I know I recommended Muscongus Bay Lobster and the Sea Basket and make a point of going to Woodman's and the Clam Box when I can, which tends to be on my way back from Maine in August or taking a run to Newburyport/Plum Island/Halibut Point to go birding in the fall or spring.

            1 Reply
            1. re: M-L

              I've been fortunate to visit Muscongus for years, having been taken there by a friend. I think I also recommended it in these pages some time ago. BTW, they're under new management, who have had the good sense to expand and cover part of the dining area, but not to mess in any way with the food. The leaning outhouse is gone, though.

              Marriner's was Chowhound-sourced, and all the rest came from the Sterns' various Roadfood books and web site, and/or Halliday's New England Food Explorer (which, regrettably, has not been updated since 1993).