Saturday, June 7, 2008. My second Lobstefest ever, or Lobsterpalooza as they called it this year. Much like the year before I started the day out with a drink at Ralph's. Also like the year before I consumed massive quantities of beer in the microbrew tent that accompanies Lobsterfest. However most of that is unimportant at the moment. What's important is seafood. Seafood dipped in liquid butter.
Let's go back to the beginning. Not the beginning of Lobsterfest, which may have started over ten years ago: before I was living in Albany and before I had the courage to escape from my vegetarian mental prison. I want to go back to my first Lobsterfest, which was sometime in early June 2007. I had discovered a advertisement for the event while walking around the streets drunk and decided that it was the only place to be on that date. I convinced a few friends of mine to go and we all loved it. Bibs were worn, lobsters were eaten, beer was consumed (and some of it puked back up) and it started a tradition which will last for eternity (or extinction) .
Last year I was blindsided by the incredible aura of the fest, which is always held Washington Park, in Albany. This year I was going to come prepared. A week before the event another food friend had told me about a deal that upcoming Thursday (three days before Lobsterfest) at a local bar called Sutter's. This was the annual opening of their patio dining area. The deal included 3 dollar Sam Adams pints, 4 dollars for a dozen clams, and the kicker, ten bucks for a pound of alaskan king crab legs.
The next day a couple of co-workers were easily convinced to partake in the celebration of crab legs (though none of those poor saps made it to Lobsterfest). I got 12 clams and a pound of crab legs. While I wasn't expecting to be blown away by the seafood at a bar I frequent for wings I was pleasantly surprised at the taste and freshness of my food. The clams were good and the crab legs were incredible. Some of the best I have had in the area. This was the perfect warm up for Lobsterfest.
As the 7th approached I become more and more excited and antsy for my lobster feast. Although I had considered going with the surf and turf option I chose the twin lobster meal. I spent many hours debating with myself if I had made the right choice. The date arrived and I woke up slightly hung over from the night before. It was early and sunny and I could not stop thinking about the meal to come. The forecast was 90+ degree weather and I was thankful the event is always held in tents. I checked in with a few of my friends who would be eating with me and we met at Ralph's near the park to get a little hair of the dog.
After our pints we walked over to the park across the street and got in line for my food. While waiting on line I realized that the musical act which I was trying to ignore was playing. It was this acoustic guitar playing pansy named Ryan Cabrera who somehow is famous. It was slightly less annoying than the radio rock/emo band that played the year before but I would have much rather done without his obnoxious original songs, his ugly tambourine player, or his terrible cover of Stairway to Heaven.
As fast as humanly possible I got my two lobsters and my small tubs of butter and quickly went to work. I ripped off the tails, arms and claws, disposing of the body and innards which are about as appetizing as a slice of pizza from Little Anthony's. I fervently began cracking the shells and eating the delicious meat held inside. I started with a tail, then ate all four claws. I finally ate the second tail and sucked the remainder of the meat out of the legs. The lobster did not taste as good as the year before but it's fucking lobster and it's fucking delicious no matter what.
Some of my companions were amateurs. None of them got bibs, and most ended up with lobster debris all over their persons. One friend, a recovering vegan trying to redeem himself, even neglected to eat the tail meat (the best meat) until chided and scolded by my friend Jesse and myself. Two of the guys ended up splitting a twin lobster meal due to lack of funds, however one of them showed up as we were ending our meal and I laughed in his face and called him an idiot. I proved to be the supreme eating champion again, leaving no piece of lobster unshelled nor uneaten.
The microbrew tent was not quite as good as last year but they did have roast beef and pastrami sandwiches in the tent. A buddy who does not like roast beef yet bought a sandwich (BECAUSE HE'S STUPID) gave me the remainder (95%) of his sandwich. Towards the end the sandwiches were one sale two for one. I ate my second roast beef sandwich of the day right away and washed it down with a Belgian style white ale. Randomly between beers I would take a bite of the pastrami on rye stuffed into the cargo pocket of my shorts until Lobsterfest was over and my sandwich was completed.
Lobsterfest was a complete success. Even though the lobster wasn't the best, the roast beef and pastrami wasn't New York Jewish deli good, and the weather was hot as I've ever experienced in early June it was still a wonderful day. I ate my fill of Lobster (actually I could have eaten another one but I was most definitely satisfied), drank my fill of beer (and sweat most of it out), and continued one of my new favorite traditions.