EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 21, 2012

Chance meeting inspires Lobster, Corn and Bacon Chowder

I usually buy my seafood at our local fish markets, but last week, because I didn’t have time for my usual six different stops (Steve Connolly, Willlowrest, Alexandra’s, Cape Ann Olive Oil, The Cave for a chunk of “truffle D’Affinois,” one of their genius “cheese orphans” which are the discounted ends of the gorgeous stuff in the cheese case, and Shaw’s for paper towels) I stood at the Market Basket fish counter.

Not really sure what I wanted, I was studying the fish — how shiny and therefore how fresh — and not paying any attention to the signs, but I heard the woman beside me order “two lobsters, and can you cook them? I’ll be back in 15 minutes.”

Really, I thought? They do that here?

Then the man beside her ordered the same thing, and I thought, what am I missing?

With apologies to our local lobstermen, the price of lobster is low. Last week Market Basket was selling cooked lobsters for $4 a pound. This week they’re $4.99 a pound.

I asked the second lobster-purchaser what he was going to do with his cooked lobsters, and was rewarded with both a meal inspiration and great food conversation.

Tom Winter, a retired high school band teacher from just outside New York City, has a deep-dimpled, beaming smile. He loves food and Cape Ann, where he and his wife have had a second home for years. Here’s Winter’s foodie run-down: The Village in Essex for seafood. The Azorean for both flavorful food and the cheapest cocktail on Cape Ann. Winter loves the Grapevine in Salem, an old favorite. The Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich is a new favorite. Duckworth’s Bistro is still his hands-down most favorite of all.

“As good as anything in New York City,” Winter says, with the authority of someone who’s been looking at that famous skyline for years.

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