The Great Lobstah Hunt Bicycle Tour

Summary of The Great Lobstah Hunt Bicycle Tour

Tour days: 7
Miles ridden: 515
Total elevation: 32,745
Lobstah Shacks: 4
Lesson learned: order fresh, boiled lobstah and forget lobstah rolls!

day0
Taste of Maine: locals call this restaurant “Waste of Maine”

Day 1

When hunting lobstahs you have to make your way to the coast of Maine. Don’t let anyone convince you that good lobsters can be found anywhere. They can’t. Those are imitation lobsters!

The first thing on my agenda was to fuel up. That meant a stop in Plymouth, NH at the Main Street Station restaurant for chocolate chip banana walnut pancakes. They are the best!

I stopped for the night, ahead of schedule due to massive tailwind, in Alton Bay, NH at a lovely motel right on Lake Winnipesaukee; gorgeous view. 50 miles to go to the sea; lobstahs here I come!

Day 2

Welcome Maine! 25 miles to the coast!

First stop: The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, ME. Truth be told it was a bust. Wicked expensive and not particularly good. In fact, not good at all; $50 for lobster roll, a few fried clams, a drink. Toureesta Trap!! The lobster was cold and very chewy and not \ flavorful. Did I mention the color was grayish? The fried clams were OK but not the big belly clams I remembered as a kid. This is not where locals go to have a lobster roll. So while I will continue my hunt for lobster I might not actually get lobster rolls unless there’s a compelling reason like a local tells me it’s the best lobster roll ever. It’s too likely a lobster roll will be filled with old, subpar meat.

I had a wonderful visit with Mim and Roger that afternoon; they saved my bacon when my tire blew out. The timing was perfect; they drove me into Portland to a bike shop and then we went for our dinner little early. They are not lobstah eatahs so we went to Flatbread Pizza where I had the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. I stayed in downtown Portland, ME at the lovely Morrill Mansion B&B.

Day 3

I skipped Red’s Eats because I was too early plus I didn’t need another stupid-tourist experience today. I rode 25 miles out of my way to go to Shannons Unshelled down in Boothbay Harbor. It was a pretty good lobster roll; much better than yesterday but honestly I’m just not into very cold lobster. When I poured the hot butter on the lobster it immediately solidified so it just wasn’t very appealing. Lots of grease. Which of course I ate. I think tomorrow I’m going to try the regular boiled lobster and see if it’s any better fresh out of the pot.

Note to self. When cycling the coast of Maine find any route other than route 1 which is the highway from hell. It’s not that it’s particularly dangerous; it’s just extremely noisy with nonstop trucks. Very unpleasant experience. And the pavement is broken up so it’s a kind a relentless bang bang bang bump bump bump.

Next stop: Timbercliffe Cottage Bed & Breakfast, Camden, Maine

Day 4

Finally! The perfect, absolutely PERFECT lobster shack: Young’s Lobster Pound in Belfast Maine just north of Camden. I got to pick out my live lobster and clams too. I saw them cooked for me. It doesn’t get any fresher than that! I had the most amazing lobster and steamed clams lunch I have had in memory. So glad I went here. The day was made that much better riding with friends as part of the AMC Italy Tour bicycling group reunion. An excellent day overall.

Day 5

Today was another visit to perfect lobster shack #2: McLoons Lobster Shack in Thomaston, ME. The coastal and lobster boat views are exceptional and my 1 1/4 pound was cooked to perfection and very, very hot. This was the true lobstah dining experience because I had to break the claws with the metal cracker.

This evening’s dinner with the AMC group was filled with laughs and top quality food at 40 Paper in Camden.

Day 6

No more lobster as I rode inland to Gorham, NH. I was exhausted and headed straight for The Saalt Pub after checking in to the Town and Country Inn. The food was good; the beer even better. After returning to the motel I started chowing down on vending machine candy and cookies. Note to self: don’t expect to “diet” on a bike tour!

The best news of the day: I found my new favorite IPA at Saalt Pub. Moat Mountain Call It A Day IPA.

Day 7

Rain during the night made for early AM wet roads so I left later than I wanted but at least the roads were mostly dry.  Coffee and a bagel at the White Mountain Cafe and Bookstore gave me the start I needed.  The mountains were still beautifully covered with clouds and blue sky patches coming through. It was a short ride of about 55 miles to Landaff but plenty long enough after such a big adventure. The highlights were the mountains that no photo from a phone could capture and then the bobcat running across the road and finally the high-pitched, whistling voice of an osprey from its large nest built on top of a power line tower.

Advertisements
Posted in Other Adventures

Tuscan Farro Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup farro*, spelt or barley
15 oz can cannellini beans
15 oz can tomatoes, chopped
6 cups stock (brodo italiano) more as necessary
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmesan

PREPARATION

Put oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat; a minute later add onion, celery, carrots, a large pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook until vegetables are glossy and onion is softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, and stir; add farro*, beans, tomatoes and stock, and stir.

Bring to a boil, then adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Cook until farro is tender adding stock as necessary if mixture becomes too thick. Stir in parsley and basil, then cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve with lots of Parmesan.

*if cooking a large batch of this soup for freezing then skip adding the farro. Add and simmer correct proportion to tender when serving.

19COOKING-TUSCANFARROSOUP1-articleLarge

Posted in Beth's Recipes

Orecchiette With Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1¼ pounds large cherry tomatoes, halved
12 ounces dry orecchiette
2 cups, packed, arugula
Ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated pecorino

PREPARATION

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons oil on medium-low in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and allow to cook 10 minutes, until oil is fragrant but garlic has not browned. Remove garlic. When water boils, stir in pasta.

Add tomatoes to oil in sauté pan, increase heat to medium-high and, when tomatoes start to shrivel and collapse, reduce heat to low and cook until softened but not shapeless, about 5 minutes. Stir a couple of times. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to tomatoes, folding both together. Add some pasta water if needed for moistening. Fold in arugula and remaining oil. When arugula has just wilted, season dish with salt and pepper. Serve with a dusting of cheese.

03COOKING-ORECCHIETTE-TOMATOES1-articleLarge

Posted in Beth's Recipes

La Storia di Bob

Ho scritto questa storia quattro settimane fa ma non l’ho pubblicata subito online perche e’ una storia difficile per me. Io e Bob siamo a casa in California adesso. Ho imparato molto in Italia; capisco meglio il sistema ci adesso ma quando queste cose sono successe io non capivo nulla …

Devo scrivere che il sistema negli Stati Uniti è terribile. I ricchi ricevono un’assistenza medica eccellente. Le persone povere non ricevono nulla!

24 marzo:

La storia e’ lunga ma ho tempo perche siamo in volo per li stati uniti …

Eravamo in Italia soltanto da 2 settimane. Due settimane normali. E poi Bob si e’ ammalato. Ha avuto una brutto tosse cosi siamo andati all’ospedale. La dottoressa ha detto che Bob aveva un virus – bisognava solo aspettare. Pero dopo una settimana piu Bob era ancora malato – si sentiva peggio di prima e aveva un dolore al petto. Siamo tornati all’ospedale. E poi l’incubo ha comminciato …

Abbiamo saputo che Bob aveva la polmonite e aveva avuto anche un infarto. Non c’era spazio all’ospedale; non c’era un letto disponibile cosi lui riceveva un letto temporario nel corridoio. L’infermiera ha portato a Bob una grande compressa – un antibiotico – ma senza ne’ bicchiere ne’ acqua. Lei ci ha detto che “signori, devete portare la vostra acqua!” Prego?? Veramente? Non avevamo una bottiglia dell’acqua e cosi sono andata al box dove ne’ ho comprata una. (**** nota: ho bisogno controlare da qui) Quest’ospedale non procura l’acqua, sapone, carta igenica, asciugamani. Niente. La famiglia deve dare i patienti la cura di base. Io lavavo Bob, l’ho rasato, l’aiutavo al bagno, cambiavo i suoi vestiti … tutto. Gli portavo il cibo anche perche, mentre c’e’ cibo all’ospedale, era terribile. Cosi, gli portavo il pranzo e la cena ogni giorno per 8 giorni.

Probabalmente il problema piu difficile per noi era che i dottori non ci parlavano mai. Non sapevamo chi era il dottore di Bob. Non capivamo niente; le medicine, la terapia, la prognosi o quando Bob potrebbe lascire dall’ospedale. L’ospedale ha rifiutato darci i documenti. Cosi Bob ed io progettavamo di la nostra via di fuga!

Abbiamo parlato con la nostra compagnia di assicurazioni negli stati uniti e hanno organizzato un volo emergenzo a Roma all’ospedale Gemelli; l’ospedale del papa. Pero, purtroppo, abbiamo dovuto entrare quest’ospedale via emergenzia perche senza i documenti non c’era altra via verso. Roma e’ una grande citta’, naturalmente, e c’erano molte persone – molte – nella stanza emergenza quindo non c’era la possibilita andare in una stanza semi-privata. Bob doveva rimanare nella stanza grande; la stanza “gialla”, famigerata, una stanza piena con le donne, gli uomini, tutti molto malati, come le acciughe nella lattina per tre giorni.

Ma finalmente, Bob andava a una stanza con solo uno altro uomo. Crediamo che i dottori sono molto buoni a Gemelli e i dottori mettevano un stent nel suo cuore. Lui restava nell’ospedale 5 piu giorni. Dopo ha devuto riposare 7 giorni piu e poi avrebbe potuto volare negli stati uniti. Scegliavamo un albergo carino vicino il parco Villa Borghese e abbiamo avuto una settimana buona dove andavamo in piedi nel parco due volte ogni giorno e mangiavamo bene a Roma. Era una settimana buona.

C’e’ piu in questa storia, per essempio avevo devuto dargli una iniezione due volte ogni giorno. Non sono un’infermiera quindi ho devuto guardare youtube da imparare come dare un’iniezione! Bob aveva preso molte medicine ogni giorno e non avevamo caputo tutte quindi abbiamo avuto un po’ paura.

Siamo in volo in questo momento e in tredici ore arriviamo a Los Angeles e domani guidiamo a San Diego dove andiamo nell’ospedale ancora …

 

Posted in Italia

Waffles

This version of batter makes light, crisp waffles because of whipped egg whites, butter and buttermilk.

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (try 1/4 tsp salt)
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp vinegar
2 lg eggs (separated)
1/3 cup (75 grams) melted butter (try reducing butter)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

makes 3.5 waffles @ 480 calories/waffle

Plug in Presto waffle iron and turn oven to 225.

Warm milk in microwave to room temperature or slightly warmer*. Mix 1 tsp white vinegar to 1 1/4 cups milk and set aside for 5 minutes to make buttermilk.

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Separate egg yolks and whites. Melt 75 grams butter. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks, melted butter, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and mix lightly.

Whip the egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently blend egg whites into batter.

Add batter to waffle iron, flip iron, set to 4 minutes.

Place cooked waffle in oven to keep warm while making another.

*warm batter prevents the waffle iron from cooling down too much.

Posted in Beth's Recipes

Ginger Basil Chicken

Known as Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 2-to-3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins, approximately 12
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 whole scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 dried red peppers or 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • 2 cups fresh Thai basil leaves or regular basil leaves

Preparation

  1. Heat a wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons sesame oil. When the oil shimmers, add the ginger, garlic, scallions and peppers, and cook until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Scrape the aromatics to the sides of the wok, add remaining oil and allow to heat through. Add the chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and crisping at the edges, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add sugar and stir to combine, then add the rice wine and soy sauce, and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat, then simmer until the sauce has reduced and started to thicken, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the basil and stir to combine. Serve with white rice.

 06COOKING-THREECUPCHICKEN1-articleLarge-v2

Posted in Beth's Recipes

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta

Ingredients
Yields: 4 servings
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 lb. spaghetti or pasta of choice
2 tbsp. butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 c. freshly chopped cilantro
Lime slices, for serving

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and cumin. Add shrimp and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Before cooking shrimp, boil pasta: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain.

Cook shrimp: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Add shrimp in a single layer, with small amount of marinade, and cook until pink and opaque, about 1 minute per side. Remove shrimp from skillet.

Stir in garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and white wine, and bring mixture to a simmer.

Add cooked pasta and return shrimp to skillet. Toss everything together until evenly coated in sauce. Serve warm with cilantro and lime slices.

Posted in Beth's Recipes