SHEER BLISS AT SHEERWATER--Last Monday, from out of the blue (sea) thoughts turned to lobster. Maybe this blog was reminded how lucky San Diegans are to live in our paradise cul de sac by the gorgeous TV camerawork from the Goodyear blimp. But, the nationally televised images between innings of opening day major league game at Petco Park got me thinking of lobster—not baseball.
Lobsters in paradise.
Why hasn’t Jimmy Buffett penned a song about Lobsters like the kind we ordered as college kids in seaside shanty restaurants in Puerto Newport, near Rosarito Beach? Lobster tacos like you’ve never tasted before will always be remembered fondly on those treks to Baja. But, there’s no time to load up the VW van that all of us left parked somewhere in the 70s for the border.
Instead, we start looking around for local lobster. San Diego has outstanding seafood markets. Unlike Seattle’s Pike Street market, San Diego’s seafood emporiums are all over the city. Comparison-shopping for San Diego seafood involves driving around.
But, if you’re fingers are glued to the computer you can always order Maine Lobster’s via the Internet and have them shipped to your door.
Or, as a tasty alternative find a cool restaurant in town that’s serving lobster.
Luckily, Sheerwater Restaurant (at the Hotel Del Coronado) is celebrating “Lobster month.” It’s a great idea because lobster season in Southern California closed in mid March after a six month run. So, having Lobster month in April is genius.
Sheerwater, is the hotel’s all-day, casual eatery with an ocean view patio that will make you forget lobster. I lie. Nothing is going to take my mind off of lobster this day.
Here’s what Sheerwater, just one restaurant out of millions along San Diego’s 70-miles of coastline, is offering to lobster lovers: Appetizers include a refreshing Chilled lobster salad with mango, avocado, heirloom cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, baby kale and tarragon grapefruit vinaigrette; lobster ravioli with ricotta cheese and spinach; and lobster risotto with arugula and braised endive.
For a star ingredient Entree: 1½ pound Maine lobster either butter-poached and served with crushed fingerling potatoes and baby fennel or broiled and accompanied by asparagus risotto, $55 for either dish.
Steak lovers can add a slow-roasted club cut eight-ounce New York steak to the whole lobster course with a $10 supplemental charge. Two-pound and larger lobsters are available, priced per pound. There’s also a lobster pappardelle with bacon, roasted mushrooms, confit tomatoes, spinach and black garlic lobster jus.
Info: Sheerwater Restaurant: 619-522-8490 or click www.hoteldel.com/sheerwater.
--Catalina offshore Products, 5202 Lovelock St., Linda Vista, 619-297-9797
--Pt. Loma Seafood—Point Loma, 2805 Emerson St., 619-223-1109
--Trang’s Seafood Market, City Heights, 4143 University Ave., 619-283-9970
--Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company, Memorial, 3227 Ocean View Blvd., 619-501-6787.
--Fish Market Restaurant retail seafood counter—Downtown, 619-232-3474
UNDERSTANDING NATIONAL LOBSTER SEASONS--Thanks to the team at http://maine-lobster.com/ here’s a compendium about seasonal lobsters:
Soft shell Maine lobsters--Summer in Maine is the time for soft shell lobsters. Adult lobsters molt in the summer months, so soft shell lobsters (sometimes called “shedders” or shedder lobsters) start coming into the local markets in June and become more plentiful as the summer progresses.
Hard shell Maine lobsters--There is no special Maine lobster season for the hard-shell lobsters that are more commonly shipped out of state, since lobstering is done year-round in the waters off Maine.
More lobsters are caught in the summer months than during the winter, but that is mainly because the demand is higher due to tourism, and because the working conditions are easier. During the winter months, lobsters move further offshore, requiring lobster boats to travel greater distances, and the harsh weather makes it more difficult for fishermen to work. But lobsters are trapped throughout the year, so there is no “best time of the year” to order live Maine lobsters; you can enjoy them whenever you want a delicious treat.
Warm water or spiny lobsters--Unlike the cold water lobsters from Maine, warm water lobsters from places like the Caribbean do have a fishing season, which varies by region. For example, the Spiny lobster season runs from August 1 through March 31 in the Bahamas, and from August 6 though March 31 in Florida. Many areas also have a special sport season for legal recreational fishing of the Spiny lobster; for example, the Florida Keys have a two-day sport fishing season in July, and California allows sport fishing from late September through mid March.
Because most Spiny lobsters are sold frozen or canned, however, they are available year round, and so there is little relationship between the fishing season and when frozen or canned Spiny lobsters are available in restaurants or to consumers.
BEST TIME TO ORDER LOBSTERS ONLINE--Yes, there are a lot of ways to order lobster and have it delivered to your door. But, this blog is long enough. Here’s what one lobster shipping company has to say: Prices will peak in early spring, but as the weather warms, lobster fishing picks up and prices drop in May and June. May is typically one of the best month of the year to buy live lobsters. The supplies are very good as the demand from summer resorts has yet to kick in. The lobsters are generally at their firmest and meatiest after the cold weather months.