March 11, 2010

Bay Haven: Where Dreams Come True

So pretty much every time I make the trek to Maine, I demand a trip to Bay Haven Lobster Pound in Cornish. Their seafood is always fresh, their portions are a reminder of why America is so obese (which is a good thing when you're paying for seafood), and their service is surprisingly good. This place is a typical seafood shack, in that it doesn't have a website, it's packed every night of the week by slow-moving old folks, and it doesn't have to advertise. Ever.

If you wanted to teach someone about a New England demeanor and you only had 5 minutes, you could take them either to Fenway Park or to the tavern attached to Bay Haven, where the grizzly old local dudes sit and make jokes in the thickest Massachusetts accents I've ever heard in my life (remember, I grew up in Massachusetts). Last night I imagine they would've been asking themselves if Nomah pulled a hammy heading up to the podium to announce his Red Sox-y retirement.

Every time I'm there, I order the broiled scallops with lobster stuffing. The order comes with about 15-20 sea scallops, swimming in butter and packed into a casserole dish and covered with the sweetest, most glorious stuffing I've ever tasted. My mother and stepfather usually split the fisherman's platter, which is a straight up dump truck of fried everything and makes my heart hurt to think about. But it is delicious.

The coolest thing about Bay Haven is that it's this good and this fresh in Cornish, which is definitely not by the seashore. Given that I went to high school in a landlocked part of Connecticut, went to college in Pennsyltucky, and live in Richmond now, I'm a snob about fresh seafood. My rule is usually that if I can't hear waves crashing, I don't usually eat it (of course, I make exceptions when I want to cook fish at home). And yet, even though I definitely don't hear waves crashing in Cornish, I'd eat Bay Haven's seafood for the rest of my life.

If you're ever in Portland, it's worth a drive about 45 minutes west to Cornish. Bay Haven's prices are good, and you'll never eat bad seafood there. T's family of six in Hartford has had us buy, no joke, 20 lobster rolls to drive down with us when we're going from Maine to Connecticut.

That's all for now, chickadees. Off to Cape Cod, then to Connecticut, then to D.C. Lots of driving ahead.

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