Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Decadent Lunch (Mary’s Fish Camp)

One of my very favorite things to do in life is to make lunch an event. Lunch is usually something slotted in between all of the other things that need to get done during the day. The most that one can work for is being able to ensure that the food is of the required quality. A leisurely lunch allows us to sit back and concentrate on the food and the company - the whole experience. Lunch is the best meal to choose for this focus: you can eat as much as you want and you don’t have to go to bed full, you don’t get tired toward the end as it gets late (even if it’s a very long lunch) and best of all, it just feels luxurious (I think a big part of that is because it is light outside).

I hadn’t been to Mary’s Fish Camp and my friend J (whose taste I definitely trust) was insistent about our going. My week has been totally crazy, but luckily J took charge and set a time and day.

We got seated pretty quickly (it’s a small place, but we were lucky enough to get there just as there was some significant turnover). We actually got the corner booth.

It’s not a requirement that one has multiple courses for a decadent lunch, but it does make it easier for the lunch to be leisurely, which is a key part of decadence. And so (for that reason and that I love them) I ordered the Fried Oysters and Clams as an appetizer.

Tartar sauce is not usually my favorite thing, but I found this one oddly compelling (the big chunks of onions, etc. made me want to give it a try). The clams and oysters were really great (the oysters maybe more than the clams, but that's generally true for me). I could probably have eaten a whole 'nother serving (and will definitely be back for more), but I still had my lobster roll to look forward to.

J and L both ordered the mussels to start. I took a picture of J's, and L felt very slighted (so that's a J's on the left and L's on the right - the angle was better with J's). Luckily, they're both very generous with their food, so I can report back that the mussels were excellent. I probably had 3 peices of the bread myself in an attempt to figure out what was in the sauce (I thought I tasted a hint of vermouth, but that could really have been the fennel).

For my main course, I had to try the Lobster Roll. Firstly, because I love lobster rolls and secondly, because Mary's Lobster Roll had been highly recommended. It's definitely a good lobster roll. It's not my favorite (my current favorite is Red's up in Maine, one that others have called overrated (and that I've only had once), but which was a great experience), but one that I would definitely come back for. As far as I'm concerned, there's a big part of lobster rolls that are dependent on personal taste - and which has a lot to do with the balance of butter/mayonnaise/lobster. I really liked the flavor of this roll, but could have done with marginally less mayonnaise. The bun was excellent. (The fries were nice, crispy - and they had malt vinegar.)

J and L both ordered beet salad (they were in food harmony today). The salad had sounded good on the menu, but I wasn't about to go for a beet salad when I could do Lobster Roll or Oysters - and so I had to settle with a few tastes of theirs. It was a great salad. In order not to slight anyone, I've included pictures of both J's and L's (again, J's on the left and L's on the right).

And after the two courses, we thought about dessert. One of the reasons that J is my friend is that she went through a period in life when she had dessert, not once a day, not twice a day, but actually with all three meals. I love a little something sweet at the end of a meal and so she's a perfect person to be out with (after a great meal like we had just had, I didn't need a full dessert of my own, but leaving without it would have felt unfinished). Our options were their famous hot fudge sundae (it was freezing outside, so we nixed this one), the banana pudding or the marble walnut cake with gelato (or something like that, it was a really long description and sounded good). We did choose the banana pudding and it was very good.

We are definitely committed to more decadent Saturday lunches, so stay tuned.


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