Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The James Hook & Company, Financial District, Boston

Growing up here in New England, I have been fortunate enough to never be far from fresh seafood. I actually take this for granted pretty regularly, never thinking twice about either purchasing seafood to make at home, or going out for it. To celebrate the 4th, a good friend of mine who resides in Minnesota came to visit. Being the history buff that she is, we ran all over the city exploring the different sites, museums, and tributes to the great part that the city of Boston played in our nation's Independence. While she had many places on her list of "must sees", she had only one real "must eat" and that was seafood. Now, of course, Minnesota is not by any means landlocked, but it doesn't regard eating our critters under the sea with as much excitement as we do here. So I made it a priority, as packed as our days and nights were, to fit in an authentic seafood experience for her.

I found that our best opportunity arrived on Saturday the 4th. It was a beautiful day in Boston, one of the first in about a month, and all I wanted to do was enjoy the sunshine. After stopping by a few museums, and doing some shopping for souvenirs, I realized that at lunch time, we were close to a spot that I had been meaning to check out.

The James Hook and Company has been distributing their lobsters to the restaurants of Boston since 1925. As the years went on they started selling to individuals as well, and, according to their website, today they are shipping over 50,000 pounds of lobsters all over the country, every day! That's a lot of crustaceans!
This remains, even after a devastating fire last year that destroyed the building of their original location. Today, during rebuild, they have set up shop next to their old digs, and operate quite a business out of there. Prepared products such as crab cakes, fish cakes, lobster rolls, de shelled lobster meat, and many other raw fish products are for sale to the public. As tempting as all of those are, Saturday I had a mission- we were there for their lobster rolls.

We ordered our rolls, which were pre-made for display, and then wrapped in tinfoil once sold, watched the massive lobster tanks for a moment, and then headed down to the waterfront to eat looking out on the harbor. James Hook does have several picnic tables on their property, but the view just wasn't what I was looking for. Finally seated on a bench, we unwrapped out lobster rolls. Hot dog rolls stuffed full of fresh claw and knuckle meat, just a hint of mayo holding it together, without anything else distracting from the flavor of the lobster- it was perfection. My Minnesotan friend after getting over her shock of a hot dog bun that actually stayed in one piece (Minnesota- I don't get it- why don't you have good hot dog buns??), decreed it delicious as well- a real piece of Boston cuisine.

I truly believe that. For as many nice restaurants that Boston has, many with wonderful food, beautiful decor, and outstanding ambiance, is there anything better, or more Bostonian, then chowing down on a lobster roll while looking out over Boston harbor (the best ambiance possible), a place where our Independence was fought for and gained? If there is, let me know...I'd love to check it out.

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