Goldring Travel’s 2011 Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn – Part VII
We arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine to the rude
awakening of a face-to-face United States Immigration inspection. U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the
Grand Salon and non-U.S. citizens in The Club…and then the entire crew were
required to present themselves. This
could have put a kink in the planned private Shopping with Chef Rajat, but Seabourn came through form me and
had him clear Immigration as the first crew member.
We tendered into the (formerly?) sleepy town of Bar
Harbor. I was shocked by the waterfront
having been essentially totally torn down with condominiums along the entire
length being constructed. Fortunately,
the main shopping streets are still filled with many interesting and funky
shops ranging from artists offerings to hemp offerings to food and wine
offerings. But before that: Shopping with the Chef. (The rest of the ship has its own Shopping
with Chef Marcus scheduled for Boston…where we will be having a special
exclusive event at the New England Aquarium).
We head off to Parson’s Lobster and Fish Market
located about five minutes outside of town.
Because of the limited minivan taxis in town, we have to shuttle our
group, with Chef Rajat coming in the last taxi.
I see a house and essentially a large garage guarded by a hyperactive
boxer (is there any other kind?) behind a tall fence.
And then out came Diane. She is everything you ever thought of as the
typical Mainer. She had no idea we were
coming, but was like, “OK. So you are
here. What can I do for you?” After Chef Rajat explained our purpose (and
that he was going to be purchasing things), her tough charm just came out. She had incredible knowledge and patience,
explaining everything she could when someone asked a question. Because of my marine biology background I
know a lot about lobsters, clams and mussels and Diane was perfectly fine with
me handling all of it, doing my own explaining and enjoying myself.
After explaining that lobsters migrate for up to
hundreds of miles, so the lobsters found in Canada are the same lobsters that
you might find in Maine, the subtle prejudice/sales pitch came out. Diane just happened to mention that Canadian
lobsters have larger claws than Maine lobsters. This probably meant nothing to most people,
but I knew what she was on about: People
generally find tail meat to be far better than claw meat, so obviously Maine
lobsters, with their allegedly smaller claws, have pound-for-pound more tail
meat. I said nothing.
Our discussions then went to the issue of whether
smaller lobsters have sweeter meat than larger lobsters. I laid out what I understand the reason may
well be and she responded, in her best Mainer:
“That’s a theory.” (a/k/a “I think you are full of it.”) We had a good laugh with that one.
Chef Rajat then purchased some lobsters, steamer
clams and mussels for the Food & Wine Tasting in two days (at less than
$6.00 a pound for lobsters…less than the cost of a meal at McDonald’s) and then
it was off to downtown Bar Harbor for a rather quick visit as the Seabourn Sojourn
is departing at 2:00 p.m.
After picking up some souvenirs, some of my guests
wanted to know what this thing they kept seeing called a Lobster Roll was. It was the perfect excuse to have one of
those hot dog like rolls filled with lightly dressed chunks of lobster along
with a beer at Rupununi’s while enjoying the still unseasonably warm and sunny
A bit more of a stroll, but before return to the
ship, one of crew that I have seen rise through the ranks remembered the pizza
we brought him back a couple of years ago while out for the day. We could not disappoint him, so we brought
him a lobster roll at The Lobster Claw…and I bought a fried clam roll for me!
Back on board I (with some cheek) ate my clam roll
at The Patio Grill and then made the final adjustments for tomorrow’s Goldring
Travel Exclusive New England Aquarium Food & Wine Event.
Needing to relax I, along with my friend, sought to
break the Seabourn record for the most consecutive hours in the forward hot
tub: Four Hours. Honestly, with lobster buoys everywhere,
birds soaring, fins breaking the water’s surface, warm sun and my GPS showing
our approaching Great Cranberry Island (made famous in the excellent book The Secret Lives of Lobsters, which all
of my clients received a copy of), the time just flew by.
Afterwards, and quite waterlogged, I was invited
dine with Jorge Grossman, the Hotel Manager, for the Chef’s Dinner. While I have not generally bored you with the
menus or where I have been dining (which I will discuss a bit in a separate
article), the Chef’s Dinner menu is worth setting out so that you can see that
the cuisine has maintained its high (and delicious) standards:
Tartar with Mallosal Caviar
Plum Tomato Cappuccino
Nova Scotia Lobster from Halifax Market
Roasted Thyme Crusted Beef Tenderloin Pancetta Crisp
Chocolate Cone with Grilled Pineapple
of Home Made Swiss Chocolates
The only thing more delightful than the food was the
charming Australian woman who was sitting to my right who was traveling with
her daughter. It was a lovely evening.
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