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Lobster for home cooking in South OC??

Our son's 30th birthday is this Sunday and I know he'd love some fresh grilled lobster for dinner. We live in San Clemente, so distance is a factor. I'm thinking 99 Ranch, in Irvine, (Walnut is closest). Is that a decent choice? Where else would be better but still in the same price range?? Is it worth the extra time and gas to go to somewhere in Garden Grove? TIA

99 Ranch
17713 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA

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  1. I think 99 Ranch is a decent choice. The last time I looked a few weeks ago, prices were $9.99 / lb

    I don't know that the lobsters are any livelier or fresher-off-the-plane-from-Maine if you go to another Asian supermarket. Even if the price were a couple dollars cheaper per pound, you'd be burning the savings off in gas to get to Garden Grove. They would have to be some really fresh, ornery lobsters to get me to drive to GG because I live walking distance from the Jeffrey 99 Ranch

    1. FYI, Gelson's has them on special starting today for $9.99. There's one in Dana Point and the service people are very helpful.

      1. There is an Asian supermarket just off the 405 at Beach. Cross streets are Beach & McFadden. Last week, live lobsters were $7.99 a pound. Is it worth $2 a pound to drive up the 405?

        3 Replies
        1. re: janetms383

          That's Sieu Thi Thuan Phat, which is the Vietnamese translation of "Shun Fat Market", the SGV standby.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Is that the name of the actual Market?

            1. re: janetms383

              It definitely has that name, but I think it might also have a sign calling it the Westminster Superstore.

        2. If you have a Gelsons nearby, they are on sale for $9.99 / lb. Call them ahead to order, they go fast when on sale. These are Atlantic lobsters too, had them before, very good.

          1. This past Sunday, Super H Market had live 1.25 lb. Maine lobsters for $5.99/lb. Try to select the females; their tales are larger, they taste sweeter and their carapaces (heads) are filled with delicious red roe in addition to the tomalley. Triple yum!

            I picked up three of them from the Diamond Bar location for $24. They were superb.

            Super H Market
            2600 Alton Pkwy
            Irvine, CA 92606
            (949) 833-0111
            Open 8am-10pm


            FYI, here’s a link to a CMN video on how to identify male versus female lobsters … enjoy!


            1 Reply
            1. re: degustateur

              Damn, I wish they had a market near me!!

            2. Great input........ thanks!

              So............ I'm not done yet.

              Can I buy these gals on Saturday for cooking on Sunday (to be sure I have what I need)? Will they stay alive out of water (I'd doubt that) or fresh enough overnight? Or............. which ones of the 3 (Gelson's, 99, SuperH) will boil them for me? Better yet can I ask them to "par-boil" so I can grill them without overcooking? I think I've read here that 99 will boil them for you, but don't know about the other two.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Midlife

                Yes, Gelson's will boil for you. You can keep them overnight, but your idea of having them par-boiled for you is a good one, since you want to grill them the next day anyway.

                Go late on Saturday to purchase, so they are no more than about a day old before you grill & eat.

                1. re: Midlife

                  There's a way to tell male from female lobsters by the way. I have photos here


                  1. re: Midlife

                    Hi, Midlife

                    Live lobsters should be prepared and eaten the day you buy them for optimal results. You can keep them overnight in your refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. However, any longer and you should freeze them, thus defeating the whole purpose of buying “live”.

                    I prefer to maintain express control over the entire cooking process, from start to finish. Boil lobsters 10 minutes for the first pound and an additional 3 minutes for each additional pound. The difference between an undercooked and an overcooked lobster is only a minute or two depending upon its size – the smaller the shorter the interval. I would find it difficult to rely upon market par-boiling times. Grilling times are similar, hence the slim margin for error when the two methods are combined.

                    I suggest buying your lobsters on Sunday if possible and preparing them the same day. They will likely stay alive in the refrigerator for hours. Before preparing mine, I transfer them to the freezer for about 30 minutes or less to “put them to sleep” gently. If you par-boil them, put them in the boiling water head first – again a gentler final treatment.

                    As a side note, check your sources and availability early. You don’t want your source to run out of their supply before you get yours. This is especially a consideration for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      If you decide to go with Gelson's and have any questions/problems, ask for Tim, the store manager. He will make sure that you are more than happy. This guy is a gem.

                    2. At one point I went to the Dory Fleet in Newport and they had west coast lobster, no big claws, very fresh and ever so sweet, and bought them at $13.99 a pound, as I recall. If you can find them, if they have them, that's the best lobster you'll get. By the way, when cooking lobster, as they taught us in the Maritimes in Canada last year, boil them for 3-5 minutes, then plunge them into ice water briefly. They'll come out of the shell, that way, easily and they will taste oh so good. Otherwise they tend to stick in the shell, both for Maine and West Coast lobsters.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EclecticEater

                        Any spiny lobsters you find around now were caught in Mexico (or poached). During the season (roughly mid-October to mid-March but varies from year to year) Pearson's Port in Newport Beach usually has great local lobster (and a lot of other local seafood).

                        Pearson's Port
                        100 E Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA