Most Maine travelers can't resist the allure of lobster. Whether you want to feast on lobster in the rough at a seaside lobster pound, savor a gourmet lobster dinner prepared by one of New England's finest chefs, snack on lobster appetizers while soaking up the view, buy live Maine lobsters to cook yourself or even sample a one-of-a-kind lobster dessert, here are your best bets.
Lobster. Butter. Do you really need anything more? No... but a spectacular view of lobster boats in a working harbor sure doesn't hurt. If you've dreamed of the quintessential experience of eating Maine lobster in the rough, head to Thurston's Lobster Pound overlooking picturesque Bass Harbor in Bernard, Maine (near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park). The lobster doesn't get any fresher, and this out-of-the-way lobster pound offers diners affordable prices, too.
Chef Jonathan Cartwright may hail from the old England, but he's unequaled when it comes to preparing New England's signature shellfish in imaginative, delectable ways. Cartwright is a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, and, as Executive Chef and COO of US Hotels' New England properties, he presides over the kitchen at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine: the only Forbes 5-Star restaurant north of Manhattan. Dinner at the White Barn Inn is an unforgettable experience, and while there are many dishes that will tempt you, it's tough to resist lobster preparations like Steamed Maine Lobster Nestled on a Bed of Homemade Fettuccine with Carrot, Ginger, Snow Peas and a Cognac Coral Butter Sauce.
Cooking lobster isn't as tricky as you might imagine. Whether you want to boil, bake, steam in beer or grill them, the trick is to start with lobsters that are as fresh as possible. Whether you'll be cooking lobsters during your Maine vacation or picking up a few "bugs" to transport home for one final taste of Maine while you unpack from your trip, one of the best sources for live lobsters is the Pine Point Fisherman's Co-op, also known as the Lobster Co-op, in Scarborough, Maine (near Old Orchard Beach). If you can't get to Maine, the co-op is also a great outlet from which to order live lobsters for overnight shipment to your doorstep. The co-op's just-caught lobsters are priced cheaply compared to other online lobster sellers.
Not in the mood to fuss with eating an entire lobster? Want to enjoy a remarkable view while you nosh on a decadent lobster appetizer? Take the ferry across Casco Bay to the historic Chebeague Island Inn, where the Sunset Landing menu served on the sprawling, waterfront porch includes a surprising selection: Lobster Corn Dogs! There is nothing Coney Island about these crisp, sweet deep-fried lobster claws, served with a sun dried tomato aioli that adds just the right kick.
If you think lobster for dessert sounds wrong... you're right! The flavor of lobster ice cream is more than a little disconcerting. But, if you find yourself in Bar Harbor, Maine, and you're feeling adventurous or just want a story to tell the folks back home, then you need to stop into Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium on Main Street for a taste of this frozen concoction. If you can't get to Maine but simply have to cross this odd flavor off your ice cream bucket list, you can have a pint of lobster ice cream shipped to your home.