Up northeast, we chowed down on seafood, seafood
Peggy Cooke
The first thing most everybody asks when they know you’ve been on a trip is, “What did you have to eat?”

Well, on this trip to Washington, D.C. and a cruise up the East Coast with friends Bob and Geri Burnett and Jerry and Vicky Roddy, the thing that was most prevalent was definitely LOBSTER!

Lobster in all it’s glory—Bob tackled a whole one but most of us stuck to lobster tails or lobster rolls (lobster salad in a hot dog-type bun).

When I say that it was everywhere, I must tell you that in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the McDonald’s (built in the shape of a lighthouse) even had a lobster roll called McLobster. Our guide on a trip to Peggy’s Cove said that a lot of people called it McMayonnaise. We didn’t try McD’s version, but we ate them almost everywhere else.

The first one we tried was in D.C. in the legislative cafeteria in the U.S. Capitol. They didn’t have Senate Bean Soup, which I make often in the winter months, but the lobster roll was very good—huge chunks of lobster and very little mayo—just enough to hold it together in the bun. Others we tried along the way had a few veggies added or a remoulade sauce or something different, but the best ones, for my taste, were just the lobster meat and a little mayonnaise.

The other thing we tried in several places was the clam chowder, seafood chowder or seafood stew or some version of a soupy dish. Jerry and I ordered a cup of a seafood stew one night and we got fussed at because it had tiny octupi or baby squid and our dinner partners didn’t like the idea of so many little arms in our stew. We just ignored them and kept eating our delicious seafood stew.

We were a little disappointed in most of the clam chowders, which tasted like potato soup with precious little clam bits in it, but at the airport hotel in Baltimore, Geri and I had the best of the best. It was a chowder called “Velvet Crab Chowder” and it tasted just like it sounds. We asked for the recipe and the waitress said the chef wouldn’t give it out but she told us how she makes it. Try it if you need to gain a few pounds— it is delicious!

Velvet Crab Chowder

Make a light roux out of a stick of butter and a few spoons of flour. When it gets thick, add heavy cream, half and half and whole milk and stir until smooth. (That’s not either/or, folks, she said to add all of the above.) You can add more butter if it’s not smooth enough. When it’s just right, add as much fresh crab meat as you can afford, some Old Bay seafood seasoning and a dash of sherry—not cooking sherry. Cook just until the crab meat is done. Do not boil. It’s ready to serve or rub it on your body or enjoy it however you like.

I have not tried to make this as we still need to lose some pounds from vacation, but if you make it, let me hear from you.

Another thing we saw a lot of was blueberries—they must like a cooler climate—and everywhere we went, there were huge blueberry muffins or luscious blueberry pie. They had them, fresh out of the oven, cooling in the window, when you walked by. If the sight didn’t get you, the aroma did. Naturally, we had to try them and that blueberry pie with homemade crust and ice cream on top was incredible.

With blueberry pie or muffin, you must have coffee and, to our surprise, everywhere we went they served “Seattle’s Best” coffee. That was even the featured brand on the cruise ship.

We had a lot of other seafood— Bill and I especially enjoyed the oysters on the half shell—so fresh and good—but sommler than the ones we get in Texas. In fact, we had so much seafood that when we got off the plane in Austin on our return, Bill and Bob headed straight for barbeque. It was very good, too, and we knew we were back home in Texas!

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2010-09-16 digital edition

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