For Valentine’s Day, I decided to make something special since it is on a Tuesday this year and I didn’t call in December to get reservations for our favorite restaurant, Bistro San Martin, which is, frankly, the only show in this 50’s era former logging town for fine-er dining. I’ve had a stock of lump crabmeat in the freezer and lobster tails have been on sale at the local grocery, and I LOVE lobster bisque, so I decided to go wholly seafood.
My memories of lobster go back to 2011, when we took our three kids on a month-long East Coast trip to Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Middlebury & a lake house for a week somewhere in Maine. Maine was our last stop before returning home and it was incredibly luxurious to awake in the morning before the kids, grab a cup of coffee and head down to the adirondack chairs on the beach where we would sit in the shade, and read our books, and bury our toes in the cool sand, and I, at least, prayed for the kidless silence to last just-a-bit-longer. We were about an hour from the coast, but there was a dry-dock close by and we made daily trips there to get (wait for it…) more lobster. In fact, my husband started hemming and hawing a bit on the fourth day and said, “You know, all this lobster is getting kind of pricey.” Not really by Northwest standards, but…
We feasted. Lobster with drawn butter. Lobster pasta with a creamy, lobster-stock glaze that imparted so much richness it should have been in a commercial. And of course, lobster bisque. Lobster, lobster, lobster. A little like Benjamin Buford Blue’s shrimp litany, but with lobster. While visiting relatives in Vermont I learned how to make a bisque over the course of two days using the stock and shells from cracked lobster to slow-cook an intoxicating bisque. So what better for a sweet, weeknight Valentine’s dinner with the youngest man-child than lobster bisque, right? Wrong.
I thought subbing seafood stock for lobster stock would be okay, and I think it would have been if I’d had actual lump lobster meat–moist and tender and hand-picked–not previously-frozen lobster tails sliced two ways with a chef’s knife. They were neither moist nor tender. Meh.
So, the crab cakes were still a win, but I think I’ll leave lobster bisque for my next Maine lake house vacation. For now, it will just have to live in my memory.