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New Year's Eve lobster dilemma


sara
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Hi,

We have had a lovely New Years tradition at my home here in Madison WI for the last couple of years, started because it's not just New Year's, it's our anniversary too. We get big wonderful lobsters shipped in from Boothbay Harbor (Maine)'s lobsterman's co-op, and crack 'em open with some good champagne. They are the best-- totally worth the shipping costs (compared to what we get locally, or the non-Boothbay place we tried last year).

BUT, this year New Year's Eve is a stinkin' Monday. And they can't ship lobsters on Saturday or Sunday (requiring overnight shipping)-- and if they ship Friday and we keep them in the fridge they can't promise they won't die...

What to do? I have already ruled out the following options:

-- take the risk and get them Saturday (that's an expensive thing to have die...)

-- cook them ahead of time (did it last year, not the same at all)

-- celebrate a night earlier (not possible, with our friends coming over)

-- do something other than lobster (we want this really bad!)

My question to all you experts out there-- can you think of other ways to get really good lobsters for a Monday dinner? Do you know of a company that can ship to arrive Monday? Or, if I must order from a local seafood market or Whole Foods, what can I do to ensure these are great lobsters? Any other ideas?

EDITED to add:

I found this one option-- buying them already cooked.

http://www.thelobsterguy.com/cheveandnewy.html

And I also found this great article by Fat Guy on where to get the lobsters from:

http://www.salon.com/travel/feature/1999/1...ers/index1.html

But more ideas are appreciated.

Thank you SO much in advance for your help.

Sara

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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I used to order lobster for the hotel and they last over a week. I am in Toronto and our lobsters come from Nova Scotia. Just keep them in the fridge with damp newspaper or with the seaweed they're packed with. Ordering a few extra will also give you some allowance if 20% of them die.

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http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf/publications/livestor3.pdf

If anyone in your family is into science and construction you can build your own lobster tank..

But I might do this if you are really into having lobsters..

A: Try to find a place that sells lobsters locally..

B: Try to find another place that will ship lobsters on Saturday. Then you can try and keep them till Monday..

C: Try to find a place that rents lobster tanks..

D: Try to find a place that sells old and used lobster tanks.

E: Get Frozen lobster tails..

Good luck..

I have had bad luck trying to keep lobsters alive for long periods of time.. You have to think they are already going to be coming from a stressful situation in the mail.. Two days is a long time to keep them alive minus a tank.

Edited by Daniel (log)
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jump a plane to Maine, celebrate your aniv, and eat the real ones, they damn near give em away up there ......

it'd be romantic and wouldn't cost that much more......

ditch the friends in madison and go for the gold ........

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Many good suggestions. Before scrolling down, my first thought was to make a saltwater tank in your tub. Then I started thinking . . . why not celebrate the Chinese New Year instead? :biggrin: You could do that too, but it doesn't really help with the original question.

Lobsters can live out of the ocean for a week or more, they can breathe air. I would order the lobsters plus a few extras from your trusted source and let them chill in your fridge for 48 hours.

Hey, I have lobsters . . . send some WI cheese from that shop on State Street to me - we can barter!

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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My suggestion would be that you try to figure out what seafood purveyor is providing shellfish to the best restaurants in Madison. Most commercial operators, while not exactly user-friendly, will be perfectly happy to sell you a bunch of seafood for cash if you show up at the right place at the right time. You should be able to go out to some industrial park somewhere early Monday morning and pick up what you need. It's just a question of gathering the intel. One good code phrase to use when talking to restaurant suppliers is "I'm catering a dinner." Don't ask a lot of questions. Just be like "I need six two-pound lobsters Monday and I can come pick them up. Tell me what to do." That way the people on the phone will assume you're maybe not just a bumbling amateur, and they'll be less likely to blow you off.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My suggestion would be that you try to figure out what seafood purveyor is providing shellfish to the best restaurants in Madison. Most commercial operators, while not exactly user-friendly, will be perfectly happy to sell you a bunch of seafood for cash if you show up at the right place at the right time. You should be able to go out to some industrial park somewhere early Monday morning and pick up what you need. It's just a question of gathering the intel. One good code phrase to use when talking to restaurant suppliers is "I'm catering a dinner." Don't ask a lot of questions. Just be like "I need six two-pound lobsters Monday and I can come pick them up. Tell me what to do." That way the people on the phone will assume you're maybe not just a bumbling amateur, and they'll be less likely to blow you off.

That sounds like a good idea plus it smacks of danger . . . almost sounds like a worthy teleplay for the Sopranos?

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

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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No but my fish connection just got nailed for $1 million in tax evasion and is headed off to prison. So I need to find a new supplier. But in the past I have done very well using restaurant suppliers for my larger fish orders -- like, when I've had to buy a couple of hundred dollars or more worth of product. As long as you make it easy for them, I've found that they're happy for the extra cash. Once you become high maintenance and behave like a retail consumer, though, they just hang up the phone.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Any local pet store will stock salt, a hydrometer, and a small air pump. Put them in the bath tub with bags of ice to keep cool. Do a small change of water daily. Very easy and probably $30.00 tops. I know, I work at an aquarium!

Be carefull that the bags of ice does not break, the sudden change in salinity and ph will result in death.

Edited to make a suggestion.

Edited by Fugu (log)
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My suggestion would be that you try to figure out what seafood purveyor is providing shellfish to the best restaurants in Madison. Most commercial operators, while not exactly user-friendly, will be perfectly happy to sell you a bunch of seafood for cash if you show up at the right place at the right time. You should be able to go out to some industrial park somewhere early Monday morning and pick up what you need. It's just a question of gathering the intel. One good code phrase to use when talking to restaurant suppliers is "I'm catering a dinner." Don't ask a lot of questions. Just be like "I need six two-pound lobsters Monday and I can come pick them up. Tell me what to do." That way the people on the phone will assume you're maybe not just a bumbling amateur, and they'll be less likely to blow you off.

Love the idea...just wish we actually had a restaurant serving good shellfish in Madison! If only....

Anyone tried having pre-cooked lobster delivered? Fat Guy, that's not in the article you wrote, I don't think...

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Any local pet store will stock salt, a hydrometer, and a small air pump. Put them in the bath tub with bags of ice to keep cool. Do a small change of water daily. Very easy and probably $30.00 tops. I know, I work at an aquarium!

Be carefull that the bags of ice does not break, the sudden change in salinity and ph will result in death.

Edited to make a suggestion.

While I know my toddler would have a blast bathing with some properly banded lobstahs, from what I read keeping the critters fresh this way takes a great deal of skill & work & luck...a little beyond me. Fun idea though!

I also adore the thought of flying to Maine to celebrate, if only it didn't entail at least 2 flights out of snow and ice-covered airports, several hundred dollars per person, and the strong likelihood that our return flight would be diverted to the Green Bay tarmac for hours on end.

The Egullet-creativity is spectacular, keep it coming!

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Love the idea...just wish we actually had a restaurant serving good shellfish in Madison!  If only....

Anyone tried having pre-cooked lobster delivered? Fat Guy, that's not in the article you wrote, I don't think...

Someone has to be supplying live lobsters to, for example, Johnny Delmonico’s and Blue Marlin. I bet you can find that source. It's certainly worth a little asking around.

Pre-cooked lobsters are not good. I've tried several. The only thing I'd sort of consider would be frozen raw lobster tails. They cook up pretty well. Not as well as live lobsters, but they can be tasty.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Did you try Legal Seafoods? They might ship on Saturday.

While the ad on the front of the webpage would seem to indicate this was the case, in fact when you actually order lobster, delivery on New Year's Eve is not an option. Very confusing.

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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If you have a good relationship with a local seafood place (or a chinese restaurant), have you considered asking if you can rent part of their lobster pound for the day? Just stick em in when you get em and then take em out right before the dinner. Just make sure you make them in some way and everyone knows what's going on.

PS: I am a guy.

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I can't believe you've gotten this far into the thread and no one has quoted Alice B. Toklas on her habit of keeping live lobsters in her bathtub; "In addition to having a supply of lobsters on hand, it prevented Hemingway from jumping into the bathtub when he was drunk".

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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Order your lobsters from Maine. Have them arrive Saturday, costs a little more but worth it. By big if you mean 2&1/2#'s, poach in fully boiling water for 8 minutes and promptly insert into ice bath to stop cooking. When cool, shell the claws and tail while collecting the tamale and roe seperately. Discard all shells where the bacteria reside that will spoil. Lobster meat will keep until New Years eve but note that the tail is not fully cooked. Slice tail into medallians at cooking time and warm lobster meat in unsalted butter along with tamale and roe which is used as a garnish.

No problems at all, been doing this for years when I want to hold live Maine lobster for a couple of days.

I lived in Madison for 9 years so I know it can be a wasteland for some items.

We are in SouthEastern Wisconsin now, so lobsters usually come from the Chicago city ethnic markets.

Happy New Year!-Dick

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