Friday, April 21, 2017

An Unlucky Lobster At Lucky Lobster

I received an email from OpenTable (restaurant reservation website) the other day imploring me to make a reservation at Lucky Lobster Co. in Dunedin. I had never heard of  Lucky Lobster so I went to their website and took a gander at their menu. After a bit of research it became apparent that the Lobster had torn down a seedy dive bar and replaced it with this lobster shack and clam bar specifically for my enjoyment. It would have been gauche of me not to proceed to Dunedin, posthaste, to enjoy their delicacies from the deep.

The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I drove in to the Lobster's parking lot a little before four yesterday and parked our trusty Chevy in a near empty lot. I should point out that the parking lot didn't stay empty for long. We had arrived ahead of the throngs of dinner diners who soon began pouring in.

My bride and I were immediately greeted and seated. We had a choice of indoor or outdoor dining. Josh, who would be our most gracious server, suggested an outdoor table that remains cooler as the afternoon wanes. Ice water was served and our drink orders taken, a Stella draught for me and a Kendall-Jackson Chard for she. In addition to beer and wine Lobster has a well stocked full bar.

I was pleased to see Blue Point oysters on the Starters menu and in a more tactful way asked Josh if the shuckers knew what they were doing. Josh assured me that the Lobster would treat me right with freshly shucked oysters that had not been dipped in a bowl of nasty water (I have seen that done at other venues). The Lobster's shuckers, Josh stated, would present the oysters on a fresh bed of ice with the oyster meat loosened from the bottom shell and the liquor retained - as ordained by the oyster shuckers bible.

Those oysters were so salty and delicious that I had to request another half dozen. Josh confided that the shuckers were so impressed that a customer really knew oysters that they rewarded me with two extra, gratis. That was a great compliment and exceptional customer service.

My bride contented herself watching me scarfing down my oysters while she waited for her Fish and Chips.

The haddock prepared with a beer batter was crispy on the outside and cooked to flavorful perfection on the inside. The chips (a.k.a. fries) were homemade, not store bought, and were excellent.

Since I was dining at Lucky Lobster Co. it just made sense to order a steamed lobster - so I did. I asked Josh about presentation and he said I could have my lobster served any way that pleased me. Heavens to Murgatroid, superior customer service reared its head again!

I prefer my steamed lobster presented with the head on so that I might enjoy the goodies waiting within. The tasty green stuff is the tomalley (from the Carib word tumale, meaning a sauce of lobster liver). Obviously my Lucky Lobster wasn't so lucky, but it was really good ... and rich. My sides included perfectly steamed veggies and those crispy and delicious fries.

The beer was cold, the wine was served at the proper temperature, and the food was extremely satisfying. As good as the comestibles were, the service provided by Josh was exemplary. I would go back to Lucky Lobster just to enjoy Josh's company and conversation.

All food and several adult beverages came to a pleasing $120. The Piglet Parade highly recommends this Dunedin eatery.

Lucky Lobster Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Urban Gardening On The Balcony

My bride and I sold our ranchero south of Gandy in Tampa (SOG City) a few years ago and moved to the beach. I had farmed our land for almost thirty years growing fruit and vegetables. In that thirty years I discovered that there were more little plant eating shit-ass bugs than you could shake a shovel at. I was ready to turn in my trowel, so I did.

The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I really enjoy our stately pleasure dome overlooking the Intracoastal and the Gulf of Mexico. What I discovered missing was fresh veggies from the garden. Our two nearby mercados are a tad inconsistent with their vegetation selection. Many items, I sadly discovered, appeared to be pre-rotted.

So what's a frustrated chef to do? I bought dirt and pots, and some seeds. I am now farming on our fifth floor balcony. After reading a couple of articles in the Tampa Bay Times I realize I have officially become an Urban Gardener - again.

I started our fifth floor farm with herbs, then tomatoes, onions, and peppers. We still have to shop at the local grocery stores, but we don't spend as much and the quality is so much better when we harvest from out mini-garden.

Rosemary, cilantro, Italian parsley, and mint.
This spring planting has a couple of new crops added: shishito peppers and sweet corn.

The compact discs deterred a couple of nesting pigeons from attacking the corn seeds.

Both the peppers and corn are in their early stages, but "they ain't dead yet!" I grew this corn variety back in SOG City and each stalk provided one or two amazingly sweet cobs. We never bothered cooking any of it; we just pulled off an ear, shucked it and ate probably the tastiest corn we had ever had.

I frequently use fresh ginger in my recipes and discovered that a knob of that store bought ginger broken off and stuck in a pot of dirt will keep me supplied with ginger root most of the year.

The balcony isn't going to rule out a trip to Publix Where Shopping Is An Adventure, but I have cooked full meals with only balcony herbs and veggies.

Now some stuff just for fun.