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Well yesterday I turned 30!  It was a good day.  It’s always nice to have a valid excuse to get just about anything you want. “It’s my birthday!”  Of course part of the day included a nice seafood dinner.  Growing up, it sort of became tradition to have Lobster on or near my birthday.  Lobster is my favorite food and we always seemed to be in Maine sometime around my birthday.

I can remember my first interaction with Lobster.  I do not remember the occasion but I remember my parents having a “romantic dinner” when we lived in the blue house in Connecticut.  I only remember that the meal contained lobster.  They ate at home and I am certain my sister and I did not join them.  We probably had TV dinners, the kind with turkey and gravy and the little cherry dessert, in the basement that had been converted into an office/playroom.  I clearly remember wondering why in the world my mom and dad wanted to eat anything with claws and eyes that were still looking at them!

Several years later, after we moved to Vermont, and after our palettes became a little more sophisticated, we began to have Shrimp Cocktail as part of our annual Christmas Eve Snacks event.  Of course Amanda still refused to touch the stuff but that just meant more for the rest of us!  We often purchased our shrimp from a local seafood market called Blood’s Seafood.  One year I put my name into a drawing for, I believe, 10 pounds of lobster.  Several days later I got a phone call that I had won!  I couldn’t believe it.  I still don’t think I was into lobster at this time but I knew my parents were so I was excited for them.  Also, since it was FREE, this was going to be a good time to really give it a try myself. 

Dad and I drove down to Blood’s to pick up the lobsters.  I think they even let me look in the tank and pick out the ones I wanted.  They put them into paper bags and we took them home.  Dad placed them in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.  Several times that day I opened the door to look at these strange crustaceans crawling around.  That night I became obsessed with the red creatures.  I was hooked! (Or would that be Trapped!?)  Lobster became a passion of mine and each summer I had to have it.  I even wrote my freshman biology research report on Lobster when I was in college!

Unfortunately, upon moving to Arkansas, the pursuit of great lobster became a little (okay a lot) more difficult.  The Lobster Shack at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine had been on of my favorite places to get them.  You could sit outside, right on the water, to enjoy your meal.  Of course you had to be quick and careful or the seagulls would enjoy your meal too!

Here in Arkansas I have 4 choices for enjoying a Lobster Dinner.  First, I can order live lobsters online and have them overnight-ed from Maine and sent straight to my door.  A good choice but then I have to do all the work!  Second, I can go to the Argenta Seafood Marketin Little Rock.  The drawback is that they ONLY offer lobster on Friday nights and it is well over $30.00 for a meal not including chowder!  Thirdly, we could make the drive to the Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Mississippi where they have an all you can eat Lobster and Crab buffet on Friday nights.  The buffet is reasonable, but the lobsters are small and Tunica is about a 3 hour drive.  Rooms at the casino’s also go from weeknight rates of about $50 to well over $300 for the same room!  The last choice is of course Red Lobster.  This year I chose Red Lobster.  It is close, convenient and comparatively inexpensive.  Instead of just getting Lobster this year I had the New England Lobster and Crab Bake which is their special right now.  It included shrimp, scallops, 1/2 pound of crab legs and a Lobster Tail.  It was really good and I enjoyed it, it just doesn’t have the same feeling it did when I was a kid.

While in Little Rock we also stopped at the Whole Foods store in Little Rock to pick up a few items we can’t get at our Local grocery stores.  We got some San Marzano tomatoes, fresh Greek olives, some gourmet cheeses (Drunken Goat, Amadeus,  Gormandise with Kirsch), some fresh baked bread, soda made with sugar instead of HFCS, fresh halibut, and fresh sweet and hot Italian sausage.

We also tried to go to Sam’s Club for ice cream on our way home.  Sometimes Sam’s Club makes me so mad.  Richie had forgotten his card at home and the lady would not let us in the door!  Oh well.  To make up for it Richie stopped and bought me a Cave City Watermelon.  Trust me, you have not had watermelon until you have had a Cave City Watermelon!  These have to be the juiciest, SWEETEST watermelons I have ever had.  They are very popular around here!  They are more expensive than other melons but well worth the price!

I got some nice gifts for my birthday as well.  I got cards and/or money from my Aunt Sue, Grandma, Nammy, Aunt Bev, Kathy and several of my farmgirl friends.  My sister sent me a BEAUTIFUL hummingbird feeder and “the card” that we have been passing over 12 years.  I had about 8 hummingbirds out there this morning but it is raining so I couldn’t get any pictures of them feeding.

My mom and dad bought me an all day spa package at a local spa.  I am going to get a Swedish massage, a facial, haircut, eyebrow wax, a manicure and a pedicure!!!!! I am so excited and can’t wait to go.  Richie is going to a 3 day chess tournament the 3rd weekend in August.  I plan to go that Saturday.  It’s going to be REALLY nice!

So turning 30 was pretty great.  I don’t feel any older than I did on Thursday.

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