By Ray LeMoine
Holy shit, just like oil, lobster prices are way down in recent weeks. I’m up in New England, north of Boston to be exact, and yesterday at Ron Moore’s Lobster Shack in Rockport, MA, a 1.5 pd lobster could be had–boiled or steamed–for $12 dollars. Yikes. So all you foodies, a culinary tour of coastal New England is in order. I offer you a culinary rough guide to Boston’s North Shore, based on my travels yesterday.
From Boston, take Route 1 over the hahhhbah to Chelsea. Follow RTE 1 to the newly remodeled Golden Banana strip club in Saaawwgus. Order a bucket of beers and try the mootzarella sticks. Wait until you hear a TI song and get a table dance (and remember: no touching—even if the girl says, “I could totally date you”).
Updike-ian scrawling found at Manchester By the Book
Now head to RTE 128 and get off in Manchester by the Sea. Note the town center’s gorgeous white wood church tower, complete with boxed-out bell tower and working clock. Hit up Manchester By the Book and ask to see John Updike’s galley proofs, which he sold to the shop a few years ago. Take a look at his annotated “Anil’s Ghost” by Michael Ondaatje (yours for $1200). If possible, read Updike’s review of said book from The New Yorker while comparing it to his margin notes.
MASS Hot Roast Beef: Best regional sandwich in USA. Fuck cheesesteaks.
Backtrack to Beverly and get a hot roast beef sandwich at Nick’s Famous Roast Beef. Yah guy. The Mass hot roast beef—tender raw slices topped with tangy “beef sauce” on a buttered and toasted bun—is one of the great regional sandwiches. Yet, unlike the Philly Cheesesteak or southern pulled pork, it gets no national credit. (I prefer mine with cheese and extra sauce.)
Head off to Gloucester, one of the oldest fishing towns in America (Mark Kurlansky just wrote a book about it). It’s a strange place where fisherman, artists, and rich folk live side-by-side. This cultured blue collar and upper class mix is not found in many small cities.
Check out Rocky Neck, America’s oldest artist colony, where both Rothko and Hopper painted. Get some oysters at the restaurant that used to be a painter’s studio—I forget the name.
Oh yeah, The Perfect Storm was filmed inn Gloucester too—the opening scene with Marky Mark was shot at a shitty bar called The Crow’s Nest. Fuck that place, though. Instead, go to Main St and hit up the almighty Franklin Cafe. Sit at the sophisticated New York-style bar and drink a few of their signature champagne cocktails. Their whole menu is great, but I’d skip eating too much because it’s time to go…swimming!
For whatever reason (see: warming, global), it’s still like 70 degrees out. And ocean temp is around 50. Just north of downtown Gloucester is Good Harbor Beach, one of New England’s finest. Illegally park your car by the footbridge on the beach’s south side. Then run and dive into the water. It’s cold, but well-worth it as a wake up from the champagne cocktails.
Now you’re off to Rockport’s Bearskin Neck, a collection of galleries and shops in clapboard mini-houses at Cape Ann’s endpoint. This time of year the sunlight’s perfect in the late afternoon. Enjoy your Ron Moore lobster on the shack’s back porch, overlooking a rock-walled harbor built in the 1700s.
Jump back behind the wheel ASAP, though, cuz you might have heard of something called the “Ipswich mud clam,” a world-renowned mollusk that’s in-season right now. Despite the name, it’s Essex not Ipswich that’s the clam capital of America. On one stretch of RTE 133 you can find a half-dozen clam shacks, including Woodman’s, the inventor of the fried clam (circa 1922). But I prefer JT Farnums. Others say Clam Box is the best. Whatever, they all serve the same thing. And right now you can get clams the size of human fists! I got the biggest, bestest “steamers” (steamed clams with butter dip) ever last night. And I obviously had a fried clam roll with tartar sauce as well.
If you’re still not full, have another lobster.