When in Maine - unless one is a vegetarian or allergic to shellfish - one must eat lobster. The crustaceans are everywhere. Their caricatures - invariably painted a bright red-orange - stare at you from practically every wall. Retired lobster traps litter the landscape, and buoys marking the ones in use clutter every view of the water. Maine is awash in an embarrassment of lobster riches, and you must partake.
Wiscasset, home to the famous Red's Eats, a lobster roll truck so popular it causes traffic jams up and down Route 1 - as well as to Sprague's, the competing shack across the street, which sits on an adorable little dock and is, according to pretty much everything I've read, actually better than Red's. And short lines, to boot!
Speaking of fried America, these are clam fritters. Basically, what we have here are chopped clams, savory dough, and what happens when you cross those two with a deep fryer. The outcome? Chewy, pillowy puffs, lightly scented with clam, perfect for dipping in tartar sauce.
Now we come to the point: Sprague's lobster roll. Of all the rolls I tried last week, Sprague's (which we visited twice) had the best lobster meat. Perfectly cooked, plentiful (they're famous for including the meat of an entire lobster in their rolls), and absolutely delicious. They skew traditional when it comes to the bun, going for a buttered and griddled version of what Louisa has termed a Yankee hot dog bun. Otherwise, nothing touches the roll but lobster. This is an exceptionally pristine version of the classic, with no butter or mayonnaise gracing the meat. Though I usually go in for adornment (at least a little), this roll was still my favorite of the week, mostly because the lobster was just so freaking perfect.
Two Lights Lobster Shack is in Cape Elizabeth, and sits perched beneath - you guessed it - two lighthouses. There was much to love at Two Lights - the view, the truly awesome, crinkle-cut fries, the perfectly sour pickle chips. I wanted to love the lobster roll, too - and I did love the sprinkle of paprika and the daub of mayonnaise. But, overall, it just couldn't compare to Sprague's. (Or, frankly, to my ideal mayonnaise-y roll, available here in the city at Pearl Oyster Bar.)
Of course, findings will need to be re-confirmed next summer. Sit tight.