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Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2007/2008


johnnyd
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The first bag of shrimp of the season. :smile: Just delivered to Harbor Fish Market on Custom House wharf this morning.

Today's Prices -

Whole: $1.49/lb

Headless: $3.99

Shelled: $6.99

The Portland Fish Exchange said about 8000 lbs were off-loaded last night (a miracle: ocean conditions were around nine feet and blowing 35 knots saturday) but there was no auction. I chatted with Hank this morning who said things will be a little different this year. More on that later.

For those new to the on-going Gulf of Maine Shrimp Odyssey on eGullet, check out these previous threads for pictures and discussion about Pandalus Borealis, or Northern Shrimp:

Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2006/2007

Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2005/2006

Boats off-load Shrimp harvest at the Portland Fish Exchange (Photo essay - Feb'05)

What's new this year?

Have the distribution channels been streamlined? Will the higher fuel prices demolish the season before it starts? Have regional chefs decided to commit some development to these delicious (and sustainable) creatures?

Stay tuned as we try to answer these questions and seek out new recipes for fresh North Atlantic Shrimp.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Thanks as always, John. These reports are pipelines between us consumers and the (frankly heroic) men and women pulling this glorious food out of our shores.

I'm interested to know more about the little differences this year. Any sense of how these prices will affect retail prices?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I've been waiting for this day for some months now.

After dipping a few raw ones in a ponzu I cooked the lot in water at a rolling boil for one minute.

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And here they are, hot and steaming. Sweet and delicious.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Those shrimp look great, thanks for the report.

Are those Gulf of Maine shrimp know by any other names? Up here Clearwater Seafood offers North Atlantic Shrimp and Canadian Coldwater shrimp, both of which appear to be harvested way up north past Newfoundland up to Baffin Island.

The vast majority of shrimp that I see at the grocery store is from China or Vietnam. I am now compelled to dig a little for some more local product.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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For those of us so inclined, shellfish and pork go together phenomenally well. I recently roasted an 8lb picnic shoulder after a full day marinade in garlic, pepper, oregano, cumin seed and orange/lime juice (see Saveur 107 for recipe) and sliced a slab of it into cubes for a little fry with my shrimp.

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On hand was some left-over saffron rice, diced onion, pepper and celery.

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An added bonus was some congealed pork rendering that melted and colored the dish nicely. A sprig or two of cilantro and we have some lunch, people.

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Add a handful of clams, mussels and some rounds of chouriço and it's a mini-paella.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Those shrimp look great, thanks for the report.

Are those Gulf of Maine shrimp know by any other names? Up here Clearwater Seafood offers North Atlantic Shrimp and Canadian Coldwater shrimp, both of which appear to be harvested way up north past Newfoundland up to Baffin Island.

The vast majority of shrimp that I see at the grocery store is from China or Vietnam. I am now compelled to dig a little for some more local product.

Are you seeing any of this stuff fresh or uncooked? The biggest problem I've had with Atlantic shrimp is that I found it nearly impossible to find them in any other form than steamed and shelled.

edited to add that that's what makes johnnyd's threads se valuable

Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

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Those shrimp look great, thanks for the report.

Are those Gulf of Maine shrimp know by any other names? Up here Clearwater Seafood offers North Atlantic Shrimp and Canadian Coldwater shrimp, both of which appear to be harvested way up north past Newfoundland up to Baffin Island.

The vast majority of shrimp that I see at the grocery store is from China or Vietnam. I am now compelled to dig a little for some more local product.

Are you seeing any of this stuff fresh or uncooked? The biggest problem I've had with Atlantic shrimp is that I found it nearly impossible to find them in any other form than steamed and shelled.

edited to add that that's what makes johnnyd's threads se valuable

As far as I can tell, If I go to Atlantic SuperStore (Loblaws) or Sobeys all I'm going to find is shrimp from Asia. When I go the Clearwater Store in Bedford or at the airport I still see Asian shrimp, ever the lose ones behind the glass! According to the Clearwater website they do harvest and sell Atlantic shrimp, maybe its just a seasonal issue and depends when you check the store.

OK, I did some digging. According to the NS government's Commercial Fisheries: Invertebrate Sector, January 2006 the shrimp haul is 150,000 tonnes per year, mostly landed in Nfld & Lab. I'm not clear where the lion's share of that catch goes . . . more digging required!

So to answer the question, no I'm not seeing any local stuff.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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OK, I did some digging. According to the NS government's Commercial Fisheries: Invertebrate Sector, January 2006 the shrimp haul is 150,000 tonnes per year, mostly landed in Nfld & Lab. I'm not clear where the lion's share of that catch goes . . . more digging required!

Interesting that you folks nextdoor are writing in about local shrimp options because a month ago ChrisAmirault forwarded an inquiry from a Halifax-based outfit who have commited to popularizing North Atlantic Shrimp among local chefs.

Ms. Sadie Beaton, Sustainable Seafood Co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre's Marine division and I have had an on-going dialogue ever since late October - which was apparently the opening of shrimp season in the Canadian Maritimes.

Sadie is on a crusade to convince chefs of the merits of North Atlantic Shrimp (Pandalus Borealis), a (so far) sustainable seafood. By her account, it's been a bit of a slog. The sticky points among white-tablecloth kitchens is the labor involved in prep and the insistence that diners don't want to see eyeballs and antennae on their plate.

I appreciate their point of view but I'm of the mind that this local shrimp has an excellent flavor which should out-weigh the prep difficulties (besides, like anything, a little practice and you become efficient eventually) and rightfully take their place among the North Eastern hemisphere's award-winning foods.

Then there is the undressed appearance issue. Well, crayfish are served by the pile in Louisiana. Whole shrimp appear in Gumbo. Chesapeake Bay crabs are boiled whole and dumped on the table. Then there is Lobster...

Granted, the high-end chefs are dealing with different dynamics and leave the peel-n'-eat crowd to the beach shacks and working-class feasts. So what to do? To my knowledge, the interesting recipes involving Gulf of Maine shrimp are less than five years old (give or take) so it's really a clean slate - ready for someone (or somewhere) to come up with some magic that could define our region.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I had a tomato-based cod stew with saffron, local-grown peppers, chouriço and white wine that I made last summer in the freezer. It was a nice platform for some of yesterday's shrimp. I plopped them in at the final three minutes so they would warm sufficiently but not overcook.

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Some country white from Scratch bakery sealed the deal.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Granted, the high-end chefs are dealing with different dynamics and leave the peel-n'-eat crowd to the beach shacks and working-class feasts. So what to do? To my knowledge, the interesting recipes involving Gulf of Maine shrimp are less than five years old (give or take) so it's really a clean slate - ready for someone (or somewhere) to come up with some magic that could define our region.

gallery_16643_5453_34483.jpg

I had a tomato-based cod stew with saffron, local-grown peppers, chouriço and white wine that I made last summer in the freezer.  It was a nice platform for some of yesterday's shrimp.  I plopped them in at the final three minutes so they would warm sufficiently but not overcook.

gallery_16643_5453_53260.jpg

Some country white from Scratch bakery sealed the deal.

I nominate you!

Thanks to your touting the glory that is Maine shrimp, I've discovered a new seasonal treat.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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I have been inspired by your pictures, johnnyd.

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Turns out we can get local cold water shrimp. Its called "prawns" at the fish store and they have been cooked then frozen, but they are whole and not very expensive. They are also very sweet and loaded with shrimpy-good flavour! Every one of them had a clutch of eggs underneath, which I felt compelled to separate and place on top for some reason. Dark rye bread and a "pearl" of mayo underneath.

Haven't got to the winkles yet, they are not very attractive to say the least. I guess beauty is in the eye . . .

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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gallery_42214_4635_9931.jpg

Every one of them had a clutch of eggs underneath, which I felt compelled to separate and place on top for some reason. Dark rye bread and a "pearl" of mayo underneath.

But some butter on that bread first and you've got a composition worthy of the best Danish sandwich maker in Copenhagen. Serve with aquavit. Invite me over.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Fascinating thread, johnnyd. I didn't realize until today that this and other related threads are about what the Japanese call ama ebi (lit. sweet shrimp).

I posted some photo of ama ebi here.

Strictly speaking, ama ebi are not exactly the same as your shrimp, but are very similar. In Japan, they are too expensive to cook; we usually simply have them as sashimi and as toppings for sushi.

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Fascinating thread, johnnyd.  I didn't realize until today that this and other related threads are about what the Japanese call ama ebi (lit. sweet shrimp).

I posted some photo of ama ebi here.

Strictly speaking, ama ebi are not exactly the same as your shrimp, but are very similar.  In Japan, they are too expensive to cook; we usually simply have them as sashimi and as toppings for sushi.

Thanks for that, Hiroyuki. Your shrimp from the Sea of Japan definitely look like long lost cousins of the North Atlantic variety. The natural red colour is remarkable, I'll have to ask the fishermen here what they look like alive. Your Japanese shrimp appear to have longer antennae and darker roe.

I was told that my shrimp were caught, cooked and frozen into blocks while at sea. The sales guy also said that there was no comparison to be made with the warm water Asian shrimp, that the Atlantic variety was inferior. I couldn't disagree more, but I suppose that helps to keep the price down.

I think this is a case of an under developed market as johhnyd has said. I'm glad the Ecology Action Center here in Halifax has an initiative on the go to promote the local shrimp - I didn't know they did that kind of thing.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I nominate you!

Thanks to your touting the glory that is Maine shrimp, I've discovered a new seasonal treat.

Gee, thanks, Margo! You are very kind to suggest that but I don't come close in knowledge or street cred to claim the honor. The above dish is a spanish inspired dish anyway. We need a regional ingredient combination or method... hopefully without using blueberries. :unsure:

Say, if you are buying your seafood in Burtlington, do you mind asking if they plan to carry Gulf of Maine shrimp? I remember Rays on North street loved bargains, then there were those guys at the bottom of Battery Street. Shanty Fish Market used to be my favorite when I lived in Burlap. I'd love to see a report if you have the chance.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Ran down to Harbor Fish this morning to see what's new.

These came in an hour or so ago - fresh off last night's boat:

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Strictly speaking, ama ebi are not exactly the same as your shrimp, but are very similar. In Japan, they are too expensive to cook; we usually simply have them as sashimi and as toppings for sushi.
Nice to hear from you Hiroyuki! Your pictures are causing a severe craving for sushi right now. I see your Sea of Japan shrimp is at about $39/lb so I can see why sashimi is the only way to go. Here, there is so much of it, even I can't eat that much shrimp sashimi - and I've put some away, believe me.
Thanks for that, Hiroyuki. Your shrimp from the Sea of Japan definitely look like long lost cousins of the North Atlantic variety. The natural red colour is remarkable, I'll have to ask the fishermen here what they look like alive. Your Japanese shrimp appear to have longer antennae and darker roe.
As one can see above, the two species are really, really close. So close, that regional sushi bars in New England accept these as ama ebi and list it as such on their menus.

The roe is also dark when fresh...

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...Peter: yours were cooked at sea (amazing that the roe survived that and freezing) and so turn pale. (Your rye bread creation is a must-try, by the way, I love the roe on top.)

Ama ebi: Alaskan pink shrimp, Pandalus eous

First of all, ama ebi are highly valued in Japan. Domestic ones are very expensive, more than 2,000 yen per kg (4,400 yen per lb.), market price.

What I would like to know, is how japanese shrimp shipping and handling move this expensive creature around the country. The answer could provide a means to a greater range of distribution for Gulf of Maine shrimp. Seeing as the price is almost 40x that of the North Atlantic variety, I think an investment in more careful handling would pay off.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I was told that my shrimp were caught, cooked and frozen into blocks while at sea. The sales guy also said that there was no comparison to be made with the warm water Asian shrimp, that the Atlantic variety was inferior. I couldn't disagree more, but I suppose that helps to keep the price down.
The sales guy has 5lb bricks of farmed Vietnamese 21-25's he needs to sell at forty bucks a whack. That's why he's in sales.

But what also can't be ignored is the fragility of fresh Gulf of Maine shrimp. They may taste unquestionably better than any frozen shrimp out there, but flesh integrity is still a problem and perhaps the root of your fishmonger's reasoning behind what's "inferior". I still can't get over how good yours came out. Must be one of those nitrogen flash-freeze thingies on-board the shrimp harvester.

This morning I chatted with Ben Alfiero, Jr., owner of Harbor Fish, and he said the small size severly limits their shelf life, and that pretty much dooms them to a limited range of distribution. "Not going to happen," he said. I am still not convinced.

He then uncovered the competition...

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These are fresh shrimp from Georgia. They are amazingly good. You could fit four or more of our shrimp in these shells. If I was thinking, I would have put a local boy next to these monsters to show the difference in size. They weren't out on display yet having just arrived at the airport a half hour before but last year they went for about $15/lb and worth every penny. They are definitely saltier than Gulf of Maine species - warm water conditions perhaps.

He also had these beauties...

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Mini Polpo from the Mediterranean. Ellie, that one's for you, babe. :wink:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Thanks for sharing Johnny. That's a great looking product. I just called Chad at Gulf Shrimp in Southington and asked if he could get some uncooked for me. He said it's not a common item because restaurants around here stay away from them due to the size.

Those Ga. shrimp look awesome. I remember getting Florida 'Hoppers' from Destin Ice & Seafood back in the early 90s. Beautiful IQF product with a great size range, price and taste. I used to get 10-15's for $6.95 a pound. I could also slack them out in a matter of minutes if a customer needed them, so on a slow day I wouldn't need to grab a 5# block. I used to market them as "Florida Hoppers" in an attempt to compete with the inferior 'Tiger Shrimp' which was the most brilliant marketing campaign I remember. I had customers coming in asking for 'Hoppers!' Quite satisfying for me!

Great looking dishes everyone. Peter, your creation looks amazing. Bravo!

Edited by Chilehead (log)

The best restaurants in the world are, of course, in Kansas City. Not all of them; only the top four or five. Anyone who has visited Kansas City and still doubts that statement has my sympathy" Calvin Trillin

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They are definitely saltier than Gulf of Maine species - warm water conditions perhaps.

And that - absence of pronounced saltiness - may be part of the key to why Maine shrimp have that unique sweetness.

The Mainers hit my part of NJ (courtesy of Whole Foods) for the first time yesterday, so that leg of the distribution channel has been activated. Now if only I can find some time to cook.... :wacko:

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I nominate you!

Thanks to your touting the glory that is Maine shrimp, I've discovered a new seasonal treat.

Gee, thanks, Margo! You are very kind to suggest that but I don't come close in knowledge or street cred to claim the honor. The above dish is a spanish inspired dish anyway. We need a regional ingredient combination or method... hopefully without using blueberries. :unsure:

Say, if you are buying your seafood in Burtlington, do you mind asking if they plan to carry Gulf of Maine shrimp? I remember Rays on North street loved bargains, then there were those guys at the bottom of Battery Street. Shanty Fish Market used to be my favorite when I lived in Burlap. I'd love to see a report if you have the chance.

Will do. Price Chopper in South Burlington had them last year--I caught the end of the season there.

I'm loving all the pictures--Peter, the roe! :wub:

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Ama ebi: Alaskan pink shrimp, Pandalus eous

First of all, ama ebi are highly valued in Japan. Domestic ones are very expensive, more than 2,000 yen per kg (4,400 yen per lb.), market price.

What I would like to know, is how japanese shrimp shipping and handling move this expensive creature around the country. The answer could provide a means to a greater range of distribution for Gulf of Maine shrimp. Seeing as the price is almost 40x that of the North Atlantic variety, I think an investment in more careful handling would pay off.

Sorry, I noticed I had made a terrible mistake there. 2,000 yen per kg translates into 909 yen per pound. :blush::blush:

I don't know how ama ebi are transported from the Sea of Japan to the wholesale market here, but the sushi chef says that when he buys them early in the morning, they are still alive.

Edited to add:

Needless to say, fresh domestic ones are served only at traditional sushi shops and high-end Japanese restaurants. Cheap imported ones (frozen) are served at conveyor sushi restaurants.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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Made my usual season opener last night - Maine shrimp, sauteed quickly in olive oil & garlic, sprinkle with fresh thyme, add juice of a lemon, toss in spaghetti, top with a little pecorino.

I'm in a rut with this dish but I like it. Those flavors do sparkle! :smile:

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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2,000 yen per kg translates into 909 yen per pound.
So that converts to $8.15/lb. Yup, that's better! $40/lb would be a price for cheap bluefin, I'd imagine.
I'm in a rut with this dish but I like it. Those flavors do sparkle!
I hear you Aaron. I still love bigwino's gambas al ajillo:

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- Clove of garlic warmed in peanut oil

- Handful of shrimp

- Liberal dusting of paprika

I just called Chad at Gulf Shrimp in Southington and asked if he could get some uncooked for me. He said it's not a common item because restaurants around here stay away from them due to the size.
Push him, Chilehead! Try for 50lbs and advertise a peel n' eat extrazaganza or, even better, try searing a pile of them al ajillo for a special. If anything, you'll be remembered in town for the effort.

For those geeked out on fishing stats, check out the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System where last season's fishing effort is mapped out per 10 minute quadrants. Each green circle represents harvest in kilos along with the following:

Catch: 23989.5 kg

NMFS square: 4369-42

Time Period: Annual 2007

Date(s): 01/03/07 to 03/27/07

Cruises: 18

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Is $3.90 a pound a good price
This is for whole shrimp? In New York City? I'd say that's excellent. Peeled shrimp (tails on) go for $3.79 to $4.59 here in Portland this week. Shrimp meat-only start at $5.99.

Daniel, check the quality and if you get more than 5% damage, push for $3.50 next batch of 10lb. I bet you'd go through 10lb in half an evening up at the B'Club. Let me know what you invent with the lil' suckers.

edit to add:

Holy crap, you are getting them for 1.19 a pound.. Yowza!
You can always hit the road and get here in six hours - stay at my place, then we'll fill your red convertible to the brim and back you go, you road-trippin' fool, you! :cool: Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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