Game Changers: Moments that cause a significant shift in the way you currently think about something.
When it comes to food, we’ve probably all experienced a few game changers — meals that have changed the way we previously thought about certain dishes. We are Sorted Food, a group of friends from London who head up a global community of millions food lovers. We use our community’s local recommendations to explore the world looking for exceptional food in exceptional places. In this series we are in Portland, Maine in search of the best lobster rolls!
When you travel to a destination that is known around the world for excelling at one dish, one of two things are likely to happen:
- You turn up and realize it’s a stereotype that has been created for tourists and the locals don’t actually eat the dish that often (London’s jellied eels?)
- You turn up and are immersed in the most incredible versions of a single dish you’ve ever had
In Portland, Maine, world-renowned for some of the best lobsters and lobster rolls, it’s fair to say that our expectations were truly blown out of the water.
Not only is Portland a beautiful, coastal city that has charm running through every street, but it has completely embraced its lobster fame whole heartedly, and we can honestly say that we’ve never experienced anything like it before.
As well as countless lobster shacks and restaurants spread throughout the city and the unbelievably picturesque surrounding areas serving the best lobster we’ve ever tasted, most non-seafood based restaurants also have fabulous lobster items adorning their menus too.
But what we loved most about the lobster scene in Portland was how accepting people were to new and exciting lobster roll innovations.
Sure, there’s a couple of traditional ways to make a lobster roll - either Connecticut-Style served warm in a toasted hot dog bun with drawn butter, or Maine-Style served cold in a toasted hot dog or brioche bun with mayo and lettuce. You could order either in most places we went to.
But outside of these traditions, we were recommended by our online community to try a whole variety of “lobster rolls” that really went above and beyond…
Take the Lobster Cheese Crisp Taco from High Roller - you get lobster, romaine lettuce and a homemade sauce of your choice all served in a cheese crisp shell. On our server’s suggestion we went for charred pineapple and roasted red pepper sauces. Is it traditional? Not in the slightest. Is it delicious? You’d better believe it!
Or how about the Brown Butter Lobster Roll from Eventide that's served on a steamed bun, which turns it into something close to a lobster bao bun. The Wasabi Mayo Lobster Roll from Bite Into Maine? So many twists on the original its was sometimes hard to remember where we’d started!!
Essentially what we realised from our 48 hours in the city is that it is this type of innovation and acceptance of playing with traditions that will keep the lobster scene alive in Portland for many many years and stop it from becoming a tired stereotype… We can’t wait to come back in a few years to see what kind of new lobster dishes we can find in this inventive city.
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