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Maine lobster-- what's a good price, and where to find it?

Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 02:35 PM

I never buy live seafood, but a recent $13 lobster roll experience made me realize that I need more lobster in my life, and I need to do it in the most budget conscious way possible.

This month's Cooks Illustrated has a recipe for New England style lobster rolls (served cold with mayo and bibb lettuce, as opposed to the Connecticut warm/drawn butter variety).

Since those buns are impossible to find in LA, I went ahead and purchased their recommended New England style hot dog bun pan. The "USA Pan’s New England Hot Dog Bun Pan" that comes "highly recommended". (That's right, I'm making my own!) A great extra perk is that CI's review of the pan says the included recipe made better tasting buns than is what available commercially.

The recipe itself is essentially a cold lobster salad, made with mayo, minced celery, lemon juice, chives, cayenne, salt. I love that the recipe included very detailed instructions on how to extract every last bit of meat from the shell, including the legs. (Use a rolling pin or dowel to squeeze out the meat from the top of the leg). It's copyrighted paywall content that Chow won't allow me to reprint here, but it's really informative read if you feel like splurging (or getting a free 2 week trial membership).

So, this leaves me wondering-- since I never buy live seafood, what is the absolute best price you've ever seen for Maine lobster, and what is the best price you've seen recently (and where?) I'm guessing the live tanks at 99 Ranch would be a good first choice, or maybe Assi in Koreatown. The recipe calls for 1 lb of lobster meat to make 6 lobster rolls. How big would my lobster have to be to get 1 lb of meat from it?

Mr Taster

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  1. c
    chewbacca RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 03:10 PM

    I think it is 5 lbs of lobsters to 1 lb of meat. Lt me know ow your buns turn out. Sounds delicious and challenging.

    1. g
      GoodEatz RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 03:25 PM

      We just had several live large lobsters seasoned and cooked at a grocery store in Little Saigon for $6.50 per pound plus a dollar each for cooking it. If I were you, I would do the same thing but skip the seasoning. You will pay the nearly the same as if you did it yourself and skip the kitchen mess.

      ABC Supermarket
      8970 Bolsa Ave
      Westminster, CA 92683

      2 Replies
      1. re: GoodEatz
        Mr Taster RE: GoodEatz Jun 6, 2013 03:39 PM

        The cooking technique recommended by CI is to put the live lobster in the freezer for 30 minutes, which places the crustacean into a coma-like state. Once in the pot, it wakes up for just a few seconds before giving up the ghost. This technique, they say, minimizes thrashing and, theoretically, whatever pain the creature might experience.

        The other techniques they tried were to kill the lobster just before boiling with a knife through the head, but this didn't work because the buggers are tough and didn't die. They also soaked in a cold saltwater and clove oil brine, and hypnotized the thing by massaging the shell and standing it on its head (which rendered the thing motionless for an hour, but it woke up and started thrashing in the boiling water).

        In the end, the freezer technique was the simplest and most effective technique.

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster
          m
          miss_belle RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 05:11 PM

          Edited.

      2. A5 KOBE RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 03:28 PM

        I would say to go for the bigger lobsters, at least 3-4 pounds since the small ones do not have much meat. Look for ones with giant claws because IMO it is the tastiest part of the Maine Lobster.

        Also, do you want true Maine Lobster or the Nova Scotia variety which is the same breed but found outside of Maine?

        1 Reply
        1. re: A5 KOBE
          h
          HaroldandMaude RE: A5 KOBE Jun 6, 2013 04:00 PM

          If they are 3 or 4 lb lobsters they are probably not from Maine, lobsters over a certain size are not legal to sell.

        2. n
          ns1 RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 03:35 PM

          "Since those buns are impossible to find in LA, I went ahead and purchased their recommended New England style hot dog bun pan."

          I know you've already bought it, but for the rest of us you can buy kings hawaiian hot dog buns and accomplish the same goal

          http://www.kingshawaiian.com/products...

          5 Replies
          1. re: ns1
            Mr Taster RE: ns1 Jun 6, 2013 05:21 PM

            The New England rolls are not sweet, though. But the King's buns are right shape.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster
              n
              ns1 RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 05:26 PM

              Sometimes, you gotta live with what you can get.

              1. re: Mr Taster
                d
                Dirtywextraolives RE: Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 10:34 AM

                Whenever you are in e mood for a lobster roll on a NE bun, but not in the mood to bake, you can order a dozen here and just freeze what you don't use immediately.

                FamousFoods.com

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                  Mr Taster RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 26, 2013 11:19 AM

                  Ah, but this is Chowhound... fresh baked buns vs. shipped and frozen processed buns? It's no contest :)

                  One hurdle is that the recipe that comes with the pan is one of those typically badly written recipes that leaves too much up to the imagination. The experienced baker might not have a problem with it, but the amateur to intermediate baker might be left asking questions.

                  My first attempt at baking the buns yielded results that were too squat and dense (but were delicious nonetheless, a world apart from processed buns). I was able to use my limited knowledge of baking to self-correct somewhat, but it was still a challenge.

                  I noticed after baking my first batch that the good folks at King Arthur Flour have retooled the USA Pans recipe with far more detail (and weight conversions in grams, too!! Hallelujah!)

                  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                  They've included those important details, like estimated rising and kneading times. Little things, you know.

                  Badly written recipes should be punishable by force-feeding badly prepared food that was made with said recipes down the throats of the people who wrote them :

                  )

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    d
                    Dirtywextraolives RE: Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 12:29 PM

                    I understand, and good for you for making your own. I'm not a good baker, and currently don't have the time or fortitude to try my hand at it so commercial products suit me just fine. Just thought I'd let you know they were available and fit the bill for this application, as I don't know of any lobster or clam shacks that don't use this product & instead make their own.

            2. PeterCC RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 04:02 PM

              The CI methods, from how you've described it (I didn't look; don't have an account), including the chilling before cooking and the rolling out the leg meat, sounds just like the methods Alton Brown showed on Good Eats.

              For those without the CI subs, here's freely available info from the Good Eats ep...

              Full ep. on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Uw30_...

              Transcript on Good Eats Fan Page: http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/season...

              Food Network's official page for the ep for the stuffed lobster recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/good-eats/...

              1 Reply
              1. re: PeterCC
                Mr Taster RE: PeterCC Aug 26, 2013 01:33 PM

                You bring up an interesting observation, PeterCC

                I just watched the episode you're referring to. Having just made lobster rolls last night using the CI techniques, it's all fresh in my mind.

                I highly suspect there's some cross-contamination here between Alton & CI. Why? Well, in addition to the technique of freezing the lobsters for 30 minutes to keep them from writhing (a technique which worked beautifully), I noticed that Alton uses CI recommended cooking gadgets-- most notably the Rubbermaid 13.5" scraper (which, incidentally, is a phenomenal spatula, with a broad, flat scraper and a long, sturdy, rigid handle for easy leverage). Additionally, the electronic timer on his oven is a CI recommended gadget as well, and the steaming technique (from an article published in CI in 1997) with an associated timetable based on weight, is featured in the episode as well.

                I was unable to find the technique of rolling out the leg meat in early CI articles (but it does appear in a 2013 article), so perhaps this is a case where modern CI test kitchen chefs "borrowed" an Alton Brown technique.

                Mr Taster

              2. c
                cujo RE: Mr Taster Jun 6, 2013 11:00 PM

                Any Maine lobster that you buy on the west coast will be fresh frozen. It compromises the taste. You may want to contact the two owners of Cousins Lobster Truck. They get daily deliveries of Maine Lobster. I think they may be willing to sell you a couple of whole lobsters still in the shell.

                50 Replies
                1. re: cujo
                  Mr Taster RE: cujo Jun 6, 2013 11:36 PM

                  It's amazing how those fresh-frozen suckers reanimate in the live tanks at the Asian supermarkets!

                  Kidding aside, I know I've seen the non-spiny variety stacked up in tanks at 99 Ranch. I just never paid attention to the price, or how often they're available to purchase.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster
                    c
                    cujo RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 07:41 AM

                    Does it make sense that living Maine lobsters can survive a cross country trip by plane and remain edible?
                    If the answer is "yes", than Cousins Maine Lobster would say so.. BTW, I did ask the question and received an honest answer. I asked the same question of the Lobsta Truck owners and got the same honest answer.
                    Maybe the live Maine lobsters you have seen in tanks on the west coast are impersonators. If this is the case, they should be booked on "America's Got Talent."

                    1. re: cujo
                      Porthos RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 07:51 AM

                      Does it make sense that living Maine lobsters can survive a cross country trip by plane and remain edible?
                      ===============
                      Makes sense to me. Plenty of vendors shipping live lobster overnight via FedEx.

                      Here is one of many:
                      http://www.thelobsterguy.com/live-mai...

                      1. re: Porthos
                        c
                        cujo RE: Porthos Jun 7, 2013 08:11 AM

                        Does FedEx have a magic carpet? The lobsters still have to be flown by airplane and packed in ice to remain edible. I doubt that Lobster Guy is sending living, breathing lobsters.
                        Porthos--- why don't you call their toll free number and pose the question to them?

                        1. re: cujo
                          Porthos RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 08:22 AM

                          They're not packed in ice from what I understand. Wet newspaper and kelp. Just like when you bring live lobsters home from the market, you cover them with a wet towel and put them in the fridge. They stay alive longer that way. You just have to keep the gills moist.

                          Like Mr. T, I too have seen plenty of live Maine lobster in tanks at Asian markets and even at my local Bristol farms. Been that way for at least 1-2 decades.

                          1. re: Porthos
                            c
                            cujo RE: Porthos Jun 7, 2013 08:33 AM

                            Did you phone them and ask the specific question "are they fresh frozen when they are flown to the west coast."
                            Believe what you want. If you want factual information, ask the right question.
                            The technique you described is what is done when the lobsters are caught,sold and consumed locally.

                            1. re: cujo
                              Porthos RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 08:51 AM

                              Why should I call? Website says live not fresh frozen.

                              Seems like the onus is on you to prove that you are right as others have seen them live and moving in tanks in LA for quite a while now.

                              1. re: Porthos
                                c
                                cujo RE: Porthos Jun 7, 2013 09:14 AM

                                I'm not buying the lobsters. You and your friends are. If you are satisfied with your beliefs, you have no need for further research or discussion. And I have no need to convince you, otherwise..
                                I shared the factual information in the spirit of good will. It was never intended to be an argument or contest.

                                1. re: cujo
                                  Porthos RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 09:24 AM

                                  See MGZ's excellent response below.

                                  All factual information is appreciated of course. Since yours ran contrary to every one else's, clarification is important and needed.

                                  It seems as if you refuse to believe there are live maine lobsters despite pictures of live lobsters in LA and links to websites stating vendors do ship live lobsters, and additional links saying they can stay alive stored in saw dust and seaweed for an extended period of time.

                                  I also agree, this is not an argument or contest. Just a clarification of facts.

                                  1. re: Porthos
                                    c
                                    cujo RE: Porthos Jun 7, 2013 10:11 AM

                                    Please read my response/questions to MGZ.

                              2. re: cujo
                                pikawicca RE: cujo Jun 8, 2013 11:31 AM

                                I live in the Midwest and sometimes have lobsters shipped from Maine. They always arrive the next day, alive and feisty; California is just a few more hours of air travel for the beasts.

                              3. re: Porthos
                                MGZ RE: Porthos Jun 7, 2013 09:05 AM

                                Brown paper bags are better than towels.

                              4. re: cujo
                                f
                                foodiemahoodie RE: cujo Jun 8, 2013 09:16 AM

                                Really? You guys have never heard of buying live lobster and fish?

                                You need a visit to a good Asian supermarket. It will open your eyes.

                                This is common stuff.

                                1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                  MGZ RE: foodiemahoodie Jun 8, 2013 10:38 AM

                                  Just so we're straight. Cujo yapped, some of us chose to explain some things, and cuju went tail between the legs, but informed, and you chose to bark? Man, that's kinda a shit move.

                                  I know I'm an interloper on this Board, but I'm a 'hound. I love this Site and the interactions. I just hate to see such things.

                                  1. re: MGZ
                                    n
                                    ns1 RE: MGZ Jun 8, 2013 10:50 AM

                                    Nice analogy.

                                    1. re: MGZ
                                      c
                                      cujo RE: MGZ Jun 8, 2013 10:51 AM

                                      Thank you for your comment. I'm starting to wonder if the name chowhound should be changed to bloodhound.

                                      1. re: cujo
                                        MGZ RE: cujo Jun 8, 2013 11:01 AM

                                        Don't let 'em scare you off. Keep 'hounding and go get yourself one of those six dollar lobsters and some Pliney for me.

                                        1. re: MGZ
                                          c
                                          cujo RE: MGZ Jun 8, 2013 11:25 AM

                                          I can't be scared off by nasty comments. It's interesting (to me) which hounds use this issue to vent their spleens and which hounds accept the situation for what it is, along with my sincere apologies. I had no idea this would turn into a study in character.
                                          This is my soft shell crab week end. Next week---lobster! No Pilney, I don't drink.

                                          1. re: cujo
                                            MGZ RE: cujo Jun 8, 2013 11:36 AM

                                            Hat's off, cujo.

                                            Enjoy the softies. Maybe you could just mail me a Pliney. Can't get 'em in NJ.

                              5. re: cujo
                                Mr Taster RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 08:12 AM

                                Cujo,

                                I asked the Cousins' guys yesterday where they got their lobsters from and they also told me "they're flown in from Maine" (end of conversation.)

                                Technically if 99 Ranch Market in San Gabriel had flown in a shipment, the same would be true.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                  c
                                  cujo RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 08:25 AM

                                  Yes, the lobsters are flown in from Maine on a daily schedule. I mentioned this in a previous post.
                                  The point is the lobsters are fresh frozen and the guys will tell you so. You have to ask that specific question. You didn't do that.
                                  No matter. Enjoy your lobsters. If they taste good to you, the facts don't matter.

                                2. re: cujo
                                  Mr Taster RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 08:12 AM

                                  Here's some of your "imposters" from last year at a 99 Ranch in northern CA

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/851216

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: cujo
                                    l
                                    latindancer RE: cujo Jun 8, 2013 07:21 AM

                                    <I asked the same question of the Lobsta Truck owners and got the same honest answer>

                                    You did?
                                    The Lobsta Truck guys would tell me the same thing? It's worth the humiliation of asking the question to see what they'd say. I'm sure they'd remember your question to them.

                                    1. re: latindancer
                                      c
                                      cujo RE: latindancer Jun 8, 2013 07:48 AM

                                      I am not a liar. Both Lobsta Truck and Cousins told me their lobster is flash frozen. I believe them. I was not the first person to ask that question of both vendors. They are not annoyed when people inquire. Go ahead and ask them for yourself. You need a little humiliation.

                                      1. re: cujo
                                        f
                                        FED RE: cujo Jun 11, 2013 02:09 PM

                                        there's little doubt that they do serve flash-frozen lobster; not that there's anything wrong with that. If I were doing foodservice, particularly fast-casual, that's what I would use. MUCH more convenient for small sacrifice in quality.

                                  2. re: Mr Taster
                                    p
                                    pizzafreak RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 07:43 AM

                                    Ranch 99 on Sepulveda has them now - Smaller size $8.99 lb - I think they are 1-1/8-1-1/2, larger size 12.99 lb 3lbs and up

                                    1. re: pizzafreak
                                      Mr Taster RE: pizzafreak Jun 7, 2013 08:07 AM

                                      Pizzafreak, thanks for this. Since my original post, I see that occasionally they get down as low as $5.99/lb.

                                      I'll try to do some exploring this weekend and will report back here if I find anything.

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                        MGZ RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 08:55 AM

                                        Ok, I know this isn't my Home Board, and I have only spent nine hours in LA in my life, Most of it in a Federal Courthouse and the rest in cabs and the Airport. Nonetheless, I have a lot of respect Mr. Taster as an Alpha 'hound and a lot of knowledge of lobsters. Since there is some misinformation posted, if you'll forgive me, I'm gonna chime in.

                                        Maine Lobster generally refers to the species Homarus americanus. It does not refer to the State in which it was caught. The Atlantic doesn't respect State lines. Boats from Labrador, Canada or New Jersey trap the same bugs. If you can tell the latitude and longitude where they were pulled, you are have an amazing palate. Lobster was one of my first solid foods and I can't do it.

                                        Lobsters are not usually flash frozen. They will stay alive packed in ice for a coupla days so there is no reason to do so. They are not tuna. In fact, there are websites that will deliver 'em live without letting 'em sit in weeds for a long stretch, e.g.: http://www.farm-2-market.com/fish-sea...

                                        What's amazing to me is that you're finding six dollar bugs on the West Coast. They cost that much here right now, after the ninety day moratorium on fishing for 'em. I'd pay for those lobsters, my friend, but just steam or boil 'em right away. You don't need to freeze first - it's not a Woody Allen movie.

                                        1. re: MGZ
                                          MGZ RE: MGZ Jun 7, 2013 09:05 AM

                                          Oh, and I should add that the State of Maine does not have weight limits, technically. The size restrictions are based upon carapace size. A three or four pound lobster caught by a boat outta Maine is usually legal. Anything bigger is either coming from Canada or Long Island or Massachusetts or New Jersey, but they are still "Maine Lobsters". The laws in Maine are actually really solidly thought out and have helped benefit the fishery. The other States should follow.

                                          1. re: MGZ
                                            c
                                            cujo RE: MGZ Jun 7, 2013 10:04 AM

                                            There used to be a cargo airline called Flying Tiger that owned restaurants by the same name in California. Live Maine lobsters were their specialty. They were flown in daily. This was pre FedEx. The lobsters were very good and relatively inexpensive. Needless to say, they were extremely successful.
                                            I used to frequent the restaurant on Hollywood Blvd & LaBrea Ave. Suddenly, they went out of business. I never knew why. I still don't. There were rumors they had problems with their lobsters.The nature of the problems were never specified. Some people speculated it was due to lobster spoilage and possible litigation.
                                            Since then, I have always been cautious of buying/ordering Maine lobsters on the west coast. When I ask reputable purveyors, I am advised their lobsters are flash frozen before they are shipped.
                                            So my question is this: In theory, it may be possible to keep lobsters alive on cross country flights, but in actuality, who is going to risk spoilage and subsequent law suits? Certainly not any company or restaurant that is owned and operated by an American company.
                                            If "Maine lobster" is a generic term for all east coast lobsters, than wouldn't "live Maine lobster" be a generic term for flash frozen lobsters?
                                            Please tell me what you know about any/all of the above. I believe you are a reliable source and appreciate your comments. Thanks.

                                            1. re: cujo
                                              PeterCC RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 10:12 AM

                                              I don't know as much about lobsters as you and MGZ apparently do, cujo, but how do you explain the live-in-tank lobsters for sale in supermarkets? Are you saying they were flash frozen and then are able to be brought back to life after shipment, or are you saying that species of lobster can be caught locally?

                                              1. re: PeterCC
                                                c
                                                cujo RE: PeterCC Jun 7, 2013 10:23 AM

                                                Maybe lobster cryogenics is available. I just posted some questions to MGZ that will, hopefully, answer this.

                                              2. re: cujo
                                                MGZ RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                Well, I can only speak to what I know. So here goes, 'cause, as I said I'm just a humble visitor to your Board who wanted to tell his friend, Mr. Taster, what he knew . . . .

                                                The only Flying Tigers I know of were a band of mercenary pilots. My uncle was one, and as crusty as the rest of my family is, he was, according to family legend, the most crusty and nasty of us all. He was shot down over China in early '42, but made enough money in a short time for his wife back home to buy a house. As the story goes, she wasn't too sad.

                                                I know that lobsters that are refrigerated and packed in wet paper or seaweed can live for two or three days. Then you put 'em back in tanks and they'll be good for some time. They taste better the morning they come outta the water, since the don't eat in tanks, but they'll live. I can get live Dungeness crabs on the East Coast for the same reason, but they taste better in Northern California.

                                                I know that Homarus americanus is the species referred to as Maine Lobster anywhere in the World. Live, however, is live. They're still swimmin' or they're not.

                                                I know that when I was seventeen, my Dad got me a job pullin' traps for a guy he grew up with who ran a boat out of a slip just across the river from our house. I decided to go to college as a result of the experience. I think that's why Dad got me the job in the first place. But, I do have some solid stories ("that which doesn't kill you" and all . . . .)

                                                I know that a dead, bad lobster is one of the easiest things in the world to identify. It will smell like ammonia very shorty after it turns. Once that happens, it's over. Bury it deep under your tomato patch - that's the only salvation.

                                                Finally, I know that I never thought I'd be posting on the LA Board, but it's always my pleasure to talk with fellow 'hounds. I hope that you guys will pardon my intrusion.

                                                Edit: I should add that I know that one dead lobster in a tank will pretty quickly result in the death of the rest of 'em. That's why supermarkets cook the near dead and sell that way.

                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                  c
                                                  cujo RE: MGZ Jun 7, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                  Thanks for the clarification. I believe your information is factual and appreciate your participation in this discussion.
                                                  The window of edibility is a short one and explains (to me) why flash frozen is preferred by many vendors, as well as why the price of swimming and breathing Maine lobsters is so cost prohibitive.

                                                  Given all of this information, please hazard a guess as to how a vendor could sell swimming in a tank live Maine lobsters for $5.99 a pound on the west coast. Were they poached? Or trapped in polluted waters? It's very curious and a little worrisome (to me).

                                                  In any case, I offer my sincere apologies to everyone for causing confusion and misinformation on this topic.

                                                  That said, I do not trust purveyors who sell live Maine lobsters at bargain prices. And I am still wary of all Maine lobsters sold on the west coast unless they are flash frozen.

                                                  Tangent to all soft shell crab seekers: A new shipment of soft shell crabs arrived at 6:30 am today at Santa Monica Seafood. I'm on my way.

                                                  1. re: cujo
                                                    Mr Taster RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                    There's a huge demand in LA's vast Chinese communities for fresh, live seafood. (Korean, too). If San Gabriel is too far to travel, go to Assi market in Koreatown and witness the bounty. There's an expectation of affordability among Chinese customers for food (so-called "luxury" items like shark's fin notwithstanding) that drives prices way down. I'd imagine that large national chains like 99 Ranch are especially well positioned to make huge discounted quantity purchases.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: cujo
                                                      MGZ RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                      "Given all of this information, please hazard a guess as to how a vendor could sell swimming in a tank live Maine lobsters for $5.99 a pound on the west coast."

                                                      My guess would be that during the moratorium on American, East Coast lobster fishing this Spring and Winter, the Canadian boats trapped a lot of bugs. Now that our guys are running again, they are selling off their surplus. If they are still swimmin' in a tank in LA, and only six bucks a pound, I'd get a two pounder or two, open a bottle of wine, turn the air conditioning way down, and pretend I lived where I do.

                                                      As to soft shell, blue crabs, I'd be more weary of 'em than the lobsters in tanks. They die quite qickly after getting pulled off the surface. I s'pose if I moved to the Left Coast, I'd probably hanker for one at some point and go in. Ask your monger to smell the ones you buy. Like lobsters, they will give off an ammonia smell if past prime. Plus, you'll look like you know your shit and gain respect.

                                                      If I ever get back to LA, I'm lookin' you smart 'hounds up!

                                                  2. re: cujo
                                                    l
                                                    latindancer RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 05:28 PM

                                                    <In theory, it may be possible to keep lobsters alive on cross country flights>

                                                    FedEx overnight early priority, delivered by 8am.
                                                    It's how I've done it for years.
                                                    Or....Bristol Farms BH live tank Maine lobsters.
                                                    Delicious.

                                              3. re: Mr Taster
                                                t
                                                taiwanesesmalleats RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 09:25 AM

                                                Based on the ad I saw for Socal, 99 Ranch has smaller live Maine lobsters for $5.99/pound this weekend only.

                                                1. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                                                  Mr Taster RE: taiwanesesmalleats Jun 7, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                  Wow, that's great news! Thanks for this, and thanks MGZ for the factual clarification.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                    MGZ RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                    As always, hat's off, my friend.

                                                2. re: Mr Taster
                                                  p
                                                  pizzafreak RE: Mr Taster Jun 8, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                  It has been my experience that every time I go to Ranch 99 on Sepulveda they have large in their tanks. I am there every few weeks. What I did was to buy a 10 gallon galvanized garbage pail, punch several holes in the cover, put whatever I could get such as corn husks on the bottom and then steam them by laying the pail across 2 burners on my stove. It works for me. Unfortunately I don't have any tool that can crack such a huge claw, so I wrap them in a towel and smash tem with the flat side of a hammer to open them.Is there any place in LA where rockweed is available?

                                            2. re: cujo
                                              l
                                              latindancer RE: cujo Jun 7, 2013 05:21 PM

                                              <Any Maine lobster that you buy on the west coast will be fresh frozen.>

                                              I purchase my Maine lobster at Bristol Farms in BH. They're in a tank of water, are alive and moving, never been frozen, 'fresh' or otherwise, and they're delicious.

                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                j
                                                john gonzales RE: latindancer Jun 7, 2013 11:15 PM

                                                I can't believe anyone doesn't believe that lobsters are shipped live. Hello?! They're in tanks all overr town and haven't been reincarnated. My cousin is a lobster distributor in Nova Scotia and I can gurantee that many a purveyor is not flash freezing them. They're shipped en masse so with bulk rates can be sold at $8 a pound. In the case of a a lesser price there's either a glut in the supply causing a price at minimal profit for the supplier and/or the retial seller is making little profit and using them as a loss leader.
                                                The price at 99 ranch has been all over the place over the past few months. Ranging from $13.99 down to $6.99.

                                                1. re: john gonzales
                                                  MGZ RE: john gonzales Jun 8, 2013 06:23 AM

                                                  The prices fluctuated drastically during the moratorium.

                                                  1. re: john gonzales
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                                                    latindancer RE: john gonzales Jun 8, 2013 07:11 AM

                                                    <I can't believe anyone doesn't believe that lobsters are shipped live.>

                                                    It's one of the more humorous/untrue/ridiculous food related statements I've heard in awhile :).
                                                    My feeling is...if someone can't get the facts straight, particularly on a board like this, then don't post anything at all.
                                                    It creates alot of unnecessary confusion.

                                                    1. re: latindancer
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                                                      cujo RE: latindancer Jun 8, 2013 07:21 AM

                                                      Your kindness and understanding has overwhelmed me.

                                                      1. re: latindancer
                                                        MGZ RE: latindancer Jun 8, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                        Come on, latindancer. You're an old 'hound. Explain the facts to the pups. You can bark at and old dog like me, but what's the point of usin' these boards besides to explain what we know, have earned, and think worth sharing?

                                                        1. re: MGZ
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                                                          latindancer RE: MGZ Jun 8, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                          Oh no, MGZ.

                                                          I, most humbly, hand the torch to you.
                                                          It is obvious you know much more than I regarding Maine lobsters and your knowledge is incomparable.
                                                          All I know is the damn things aren't fresh-frozen.

                                                          1. re: latindancer
                                                            MGZ RE: latindancer Jun 8, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                            Like I said, I'm happy you guys let me play on your Board. I've got a thick hide - bark all you want. Just be cool to the pups in the pack.

                                                            Most importantly, I agree, freezin' lobsters is just wrong - though supermarkets do sell those tails . . . .

                                                      2. re: john gonzales
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                                                        cujo RE: john gonzales Jun 8, 2013 07:16 AM

                                                        Yes, I admit I was very stupid.
                                                        I can't believe you misspelled the word "over."
                                                        People make mistakes.
                                                        .

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                                                    FED RE: Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 04:59 PM

                                                    wow. only on the internet. you can find live maine lobsters in tanks not only at asian markets, but at some vons and ralphs, too. yes, they are flown in. yes, they can remain alive and healthy for days out of the water, if well cared for. same with oysters and crabs. I'm not familiar with the CI version of lobster, but Michael Cimarusti had a really interesting article in the LAT last week.
                                                    http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                                                    1. f
                                                      foodiemahoodie RE: Mr Taster Jun 8, 2013 09:10 AM

                                                      Shun Fat in Monterrey Park. Not sure what the prices are today - they vary - but around 6.99/lbs for smaller (LIVE) lobsters usually sourced from Boston (next door to Maine - same thing). And closer to the 9.99 price for the larger ones.

                                                      There's one in El Monte that's even better (with a lot of live fish - not just lobster, but craps, different kinds of shrimp, etc. and "gilled" fish too).

                                                      I've seen 6 or 7 pounders are 99 Ranch in Van Nuys if that's what you're looking for.

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                                                        pizzafreak RE: Mr Taster Jun 10, 2013 10:31 AM

                                                        Went to Ranch 99 on Sepulveda Sunday late afternoon and saw that the small lobsters, swimming away in the tank, were on sale for $5.99 lb. So I bought 2, went home and boiled them, and had 3 great lobster rolls for dinner.

                                                        1. groover808 RE: Mr Taster Aug 25, 2013 02:05 PM

                                                          I just bought some today at 99 Ranch in Irvine (Culver), on sale for $5.99/lb, sign said Maine lobsters, USA.

                                                          I'm by no means a connoisseur, nor had them in Maine, just the PERFECT one at Luke's Lobster in NYC a few years ago.

                                                          Just boiled for 9 minutes, toasted up hotdog buns with butter (just sliced off the sides a bit) and did 1 up Connecticut style and another New England using Bon Appetit's recipe of a little celery, lemon juice, chives, and mayo just to bind. Bought 2 lobsters totalling 2.5 lbs total and will get 3 rolls out of them, understand why they are so pricey now. They were damn delicious though.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: groover808
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                                                            suvro RE: groover808 Aug 25, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                            I heard a story on NPR yesterday that lobster prices are very low off the boat - but restaurants cannot lower the prices since it is considered a "luxury" item by most consumers - and lower prices at restaurants would make customers suspicious of the quality. So they are adding lobster in other dishes w/o lowering the price of their main lobster dishes.

                                                            According to this article - http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financi... - the price off the boat now in Maine is around $2.20/lb. Apparently McDonalds is now offering a lobster dish in Maine!

                                                            1. re: suvro
                                                              PeterCC RE: suvro Aug 25, 2013 03:13 PM

                                                              McD always had seasonal lobster rolls all over New England when I was growing up.

                                                              When I was back in RI last week, my dad went to a seafood distributor he knew and was getting ~1.5 lbs. lobsters for $6 each.

                                                              1. re: PeterCC
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                                                                jessejames RE: PeterCC Aug 25, 2013 03:45 PM

                                                                Culls, or lobsters with one claw half price so buy two and consider it an extra tail. "Bullets" cheaper even still no claws.

                                                            2. re: groover808
                                                              Mr Taster RE: groover808 Aug 26, 2013 12:00 AM

                                                              I finally bought mine today from Shun Fat on Atlantic in Monterey Park for $6.99/lb. These were rated small, about 1.2-1.5 lbs. each, but they were delicious made into lobster rolls (with homemade buns, courtesy of the "USA Pans New England Hot Dog Buns" pan (and recipe).

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
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                                                                Kalivs RE: Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 02:48 AM

                                                                Sounds like you fulfilled your wish! I hope it was as tasty as it sounds

                                                            3. Ciao Bob RE: Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                              FWIW - last week's New Yorker has a fascinating "Financial Page" piece on the price of Maine lobster, both as a commodity and as a menu item. The price for the former has gone down drastically of late but the it has not budged in price on menus. I discussed the article as I ate the divine lobster at Giorgio Baldi last night. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Baldi's price, $90, is the same despite the drop.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                                Mr Taster RE: Ciao Bob Aug 26, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                                I wonder if he's getting his lobsters from Shun Fat.

                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                  Ciao Bob RE: Mr Taster Aug 26, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                  Doubt they are that fresh!

                                                                2. re: Ciao Bob
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                                                                  Dirtywextraolives RE: Ciao Bob Aug 26, 2013 10:11 AM

                                                                  Well, good to know they (Gbaldis) are charging the same price they did about ten + years ago....

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