New Hampshire – 18949 Miles Driven.
Lobster rolls were following me down the North Eastern coast of America. I spent time with a lobster fisherman in Maine and subsequently attempted to make my own lobster rolls, which were good but possibly not the best. I wanted to see how the professionals made them. The second lobster roll of my trip came courtesy of Ida Mae’s Deli in the state of New Hampshire.
Brian opened Ida Mae’s in 2004; he always fancied the idea of owning a sandwich shop and wanted to be near to his home in the small seaside town of Seabrook, NH. He runs it with his wife Karen, also known as Ida Mae. Together they cook a variety of tasty sounding subs and sandwiches, but there’s one that they’re famed for above all others and that’s their $9.95 lobster roll.
All other lobster rolls that I’d seen advertised were selling for at least $20, not counting the $9.99 McDonalds offering that just sounded wrong, so I initially had my doubts that I politely voiced to Brian. He didn’t seem offended and the amount of lobster rolls he sells, 20,00 and counting, allows him to sell them so cheaply. That, and unlike the rest of the competition he doesn’t put a huge mark up on the roll just because he can. Brian and Karen already seemed like a pretty decent people, and hearing that only cemented my opinion of them.
The lobsters are local to NH whenever possible, and Joey is Brian’s lobster guy who I got to meet as he dropped off a fresh batch. Each roll is made to order, which meant that some poor living lobster was about to become my lunch. Brian uses the same simple recipe passed down by his father; freshly cooked lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise, salt and pepper. A generous ¼lb. of lobster meat goes into each grilled and buttered roll with some shredded lettuce, and is served with homemade slaw and packet of crisps. Safe to say it was in a different league to the roll I’d attempted to make myself. The large chunks of lobster meat were a real treat, and the light covering of mayonnaise was just the right amount to complement but not overpower the delicate meat. Thank you Brian and Karen for restoring my faith in lobster rolls.
Brian seems pretty relaxed about the future, his life mantra is ‘It’s all good!’. He says he’ll be running Ida Mae’s until the day he dies; I really hope he goes easy on those cigarettes.
Ida Mae’s Deli is located at; 186 Ocean Blvd, Seabrook, NH 03874. Telephone; +1 (603) 474-3354.