It was good to see the restaurant get some needed upgrades. It’s located near the wells beach, so the new sign could be seen from there. The previous owner was Lady Kay’s uncle who ran it until triple bypass convinced him to retire. That’s when I entered the picture. I bought the place, but carried on the family tradition.
Everything always runs well even in my absence. My house keeper Maria has been with me for 30 years; her son and daughter have taken to Maine and call it home. The other member of the house is Mousetrap, a feral cat. He wandered in one rainy night and lives in the basement. I found soon after he had gotten rid of our rodent problem single handedly.
The easiest sell of Maine seafood is the Maine lobster. Maine Lobsters are caught year around. The soft-shell Maine lobster season starts around June and ends in December, soft shell is notoriously less expensive and sweeter but are not as easy to ship. But they’re worth the trouble to keep the locals happy.
Then there’s Francoise my secret weapon. I let him run the show. He was one of the best chef’s in Canada Before his gambling debts forced him to begin a career in crime. He was spending time in prison when I got him a work release. He must remain in my employ or face being returned to the slammer. His mother, sister, and niece all live local in Wells and make up my polished bistro staff. And he makes our house specialty dish: BOUILLABAISSE
Bouillabaisse consists of the two verbs bolhir to boil and abaissar to simmer usually with sea water. The fish and broth are brought to the table separately and served together in large soup plates. Add fish, prawns and mussels to the soup and cook, covered, for a further 2-3 minutes or until seafood is just cooked and mussels open. Savor shrimp, monkfish, striped bass, cuttlefish, are in this bouillabaisse fish stew.
The only problem is my insistence he use mussels, and clams from a recipe I got from The Martha Stewart Show. Try telling a Mainer that.
“Mon Ami, you don’t put clams and mussels in Bouillabaisse. That ain’t chowdah. They have a name for you. A SUMMA VISITAH WHO STAYS YEAR-ROUND. You can only be a true Mainah if ya were born in the State o’ Maine. It doesn’t mattah if ya lived there for thirty years, if you weren’t born in Maine, ya can’t be a Mainah.”
“Now tell me, is the bouillabaisse just as good?”
“It’s passable,” Francoise admitted. “But this is a dish that is dead, gone. There is no more true bouillabaisse, because there is no fish from the Mediterranean. For the bouillabaisse, you must have the rascasse, the tender flesh of the scorpion fish. Today they just use hunks of monk. They smother it in saffron and garlic, they only need jista smiggin. You could eat a woman soaked in those and it would be just as good.”
Then there’s the infamous Black Lobster commercials. I cleverly use both verbal and visual cues, our brand name, logo, and the product itself; LOBSTER throughout the commercial. But it’s my personal touch and very bad Maine slogans that delivers it.