“Weekends” Warrior

One of our most dramatic days of shooting happened in Acadia National Park on blesser-known strip of the northern coast, between Eastern Bay and Frenchman Bay. We set up a traditional beachside clambake among the rock formations known as the Ovens, which are accessible only at low tide and mostly only by kayak. There is no public parking in this corner of the park, but we were guests of Andrew Taylor, whose family has a house here and who, with partners Arlin Smith and Mike Wiley, owns two of Maine’s most acclaimed restaurants, Eventide Oyster and Hugo’s both in Portland.

The Ovens are geological marvels, caves carved out of weaker rock exposed to eroding tides. Four our clambake we assembled lobster, potatoes, clams, salt pork, a few eggs (tradition has them acting as a sort of timer for the lobster meat), and Red Snapper hot dogs (a Maine delicacy), building a fire on the beach and cooking the food, layered in seaweed and burlap, on a large steel tray Andrew had fabricated for just this purpose. Time was of the essence, as the tide was heading in while the lobsters were cooking. The rocky ground would soon be underwater, and all we could do was wait. Having spent their adult lives in the compressed heat of restaurant kitchen, Andrew, Arlin and Mike aren’t inclined to break a sweat—but as the water inched up towards the glowing coals and the seaweed steamed under its burlap cover, they began to fidget. Finally, Andrew called it. They pulled the heavy tray off the fire and carried it over some rocks to higher ground. As they returned to finish up cleaning, a wave washed over the still-hot coals, sending a 12-foot plume of steam into the midday air.

Ravenous, we picked at the food with our bare hands, dipping lobster meat into a rich brown butter sauce that Eventide team makes by cooking powdered milk with unsalted butter until it takes on a walnut hue. This butter is the base of Eventide’s signature lobster roll, a departure from Maine tradition served on a Chinese-style steamed bun. We’ve adapted their recipe to serve on regular hot dog buns, but that addictive butter is well worth a try.

Arielle Walrath

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