By Janet Newcomb
There’s lobster, and then there’s Maine Lobster – the best of the best, and some 42% of Americans consider lobster the world’s most romantic food. The Maine lobster is a cold water lobster, known officially as Homarus americanus (literally, “American Lobster”) that’s distinguished by its two large claws as well as whiter meat than warm water lobsters. About half of the annual catch of more than 150,000 cold water lobsters in North America comes from Maine. Lobsters from Florida, the Caribbean and southern California are spiny or rock lobsters found in only in warm water. The Maine lobster has a very pronounced, succulent taste that is somewhat on the sweet side, although the meat is extremely low in sugars and carbohydrates. One large (1.5 lb.) lobster has about 175 calories, 618 mg of potassium, and 36 grams of protein.
The Maine lobster industry focuses on sustainability and conservation, from trap to table, in collaboration with the government and the private sector. Lobsters are harvested by hand, one trap at a time, to protect their quality and marine habitat. The industry is tightly regulated through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). The regulations limit the size allowed to be caught, from a minimum 3 1/4″ allowing juvenile lobsters the chance to mature and reproduce before they can be harvested, and maximum 5″ to protect the large, healthy breeding stock. Harvesting in Maine is by trap only — no dragging or diving is allowed, and the traps include escape vents for under-size lobsters as well as biodegradable escape hatches to free lobsters in lost traps.
Pacifica Seafood Restaurant is featuring Maine Lobster on Thursday nights again this summer for $42.00, including a choice of soup or salad, red potatoes, and drawn butter. Reservations are available online at www.opentable.com/palm-springs-restaurants or phone Pacifica at 760.674.8666.
Pacifica Seafood Restaurant is atop The Gardens on El Paseo, 73505 El Paseo, Palm Desert