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Buying Live Maine Lobster in San Diego?

Locavorism be damned - I'm making Locke Ober Lobster Stew for New Year's Eve and need good live Maine Lobsters. Does anybody have experience with buying them at Point Loma Seafood or the Fish Market? Do the Asian markets have them right now, and do they keep them in clean tanks with plenty of circulating water? When I've been in Ranch 99 in the past, I have been put off by the dead/decaying/stinky crustaceans mixed among the live ones. I hear you should buy them direct if you can, because they filter the water they are in and fresher = better flavor.

Doing research online, I came up with a place called Gourmaine Lobster, but can't seem to find out much about it online. Another place called the Maine Lobster Trap is out of business. Also found references to Hardshell Lobster Co. but can't find out anything about it online. Website shut down - will try calling tomorrow.

For comparison's sake - I can get them for about $20. apiece mail order (including shipping) direct from Maine, via Maine Lobster Direct. I would need to order them tomorrow so am hoping to get some input fast. Thanks and Happy New Year!

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Point Loma Seafoods
2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106

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  1. Alice Q, I just noticed the other day that Costco.com is selling 6 Maine lobsters (minimum 1 1/2 lbs each) for $139, shipping included. Don't know how much you need, but this is a great deal if you can use that amount. They seem good because they've earned the highest rating possible (5 stars) on the Costco website from 10 people who bought them. If I recall correctly, they're shipped next day air from Weds-Fri direct from Maine on the same day they're caught. Here's the link - http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product....

    1. Bless you for making one of my favorite dishes at one of my fave restaurants!
      JFK's Lobster Stew..tears in my eyes with happiness for you and jealousy too.. ; )

      My good friend buys lobsters from several places but lately he says that Majors Market has had some great deals.
      Ranch 99..I totally get what your saying.
      PLS..the price point is big $$...
      Did you check Catalina Offshore?
      $20 bucks a piece including shipping seems like a great price..what size?

      Funny, the friend who goes to Majors for Maine Lobsters, is the one whose family has been going to LO since the late 1800's and he's the one that told me about it and I haven't stopped raving about it since!

      Happy New Year Alice Q and please report back with lots of pics!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Beach Chick

        Carli - that sounds like a pretty good deal, but I think the price I have online is about the same, and I actually need 9, so not whole half dozens.

        Beach Chick - I might try calling Major Market, but driving to Escondido isn't exactly a thrilling option. I don't think Catalina Offshore stocks imported lobster - they have local products like uni, spiny lobster, etc. I could probably get a referral from them though. They told me about Better Half Shell for oysters. I will try calling that Gourmaine Lobster and Hardshell tomorrow and report back. The option I'm looking at is chix lobsters - 1.15 lb average for $18. a piece. It's $20. apiece for 1.25 lb. The recipe calls for 1 pound, so I will stick with that. Since I am feeding a crowd, I am also planning to add gnocchi, and possibly chanterelles if I can get my hands on them.

        1. re: Alice Q

          I just got the weekly ad email from Major Market. They are charging $9.99/lb for Maine lobsters.
          (Cooked, cleaned and cracked at no extra charge.)

          It isn't that much of a drive. 125 turns into 52 turns into 15 North...to Centre City Parkway exit (the one just 1/4mile after Via Rancho- the Westfield North County Fair exit) turn left at the 2nd light (same parking lot as the Trader Joe's and Starbucks).

          Major is a *wonderful* source for all sorts of goodies, besides the lobsters...you'll see.

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          Centre City Cafe
          2680 S Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025

          1. re: Alice Q

            If you do go up to Majors, you can hit up Hacienda de Vega for lunch.
            Lucky Seafood in Mira Mesa..don't know if they have lobster but worth the call.
            Matt Rimel in LJ might be able to steer you in the right direction.
            Fish Market downtown too.

        2. OH MY.... I'm in Bos as we speak, the price for Maine Lobster is usually a little higher in the winter at $5.99 per pound right now. In the summer they're about $3.50 per pound. OK.... back to reality PLS can order them for you or, as you stated you can get them off the web. Some places out east that you may want to check out, that ship, James Hook Lobster in BOS, jameshooklobster.com or Legal Seafoods, ShopLegalSeafoods.com. Locke Ober does a great stew, yum.

          1. We get them at PL Seafood 2-3 times a year, never disappointed. .

            6 Replies
            1. re: sdguy13

              It looks like that is the best option. Point Loma Seafood has them for $13.95 a pound, live - the lobsters they carry are 1.75 lbs each, a little bigger than I had originally wanted, but I'm told the tail meat will be too small on anything under 1.5 lbs. Wish me luck!

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              Point Loma Seafoods
              2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106

              1. re: Alice Q

                If I am not mistaken, PLS is a little less than twice the price for live lobster, compared with Ranch 99. Are the quality and flavor at PLS that much better?

                1. re: Alice Q

                  Major Market in Escondido has them for $9.99 a pound for under 2 lbs and $10.99 over 2 lbs and they clean them for you too...free of charge.
                  Major's is one of the nicest high end markets in SD.
                  My friend is doing a Lobster Stew too from LO for NYE's too.

                  www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-li...

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    That's the recipe! Not sure I have time to drive to Escondido tomorrow, but I will consider it. Thanks for all the help!

                    1. re: Alice Q

                      Report back and have a wonderful meal..

                      1. re: Alice Q

                        Would liked to have been a 'fly on the wall' when JFK and MM shared that dish! Enjoy.

                2. So, end report - the lobsters from Point Loma Seafood were excellent, but expensive - they are a minimum 1 3/4 pounds and I wound up with mostly two pounders. They tried to charge me $15.95 a pound and said the $13.95 price was a special - but I protested and they gave me the lower price.

                  The finished dish was fantastic - I used this recipe - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em... but I thought it was a little bland so I cooked up about half a package of that Trader Joes pre- chopped shallot/onion/garlic mixture in some butter and sherry and stirred it in. It chilled overnight - just before serving, I cooked up the lobster in butter and more sherry and added it. Would probably use at least 3/4 lobster per serving next time though - the servings were a little skimpier on meat than I would have liked. I had planned to add gnocchi, but it cooked up too doughy. Here's a little before and after shot :

                  )

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                  Point Loma Seafoods
                  2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106

                   
                   
                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Alice Q

                    PLS..rat bastards jacking you like that..glad you stood your ground!

                    Pics look stunning..good call on adding shallots and garlic to the mix.
                    I bet your guests were thrilled with your dish.
                    Happy New Year!