Ok here’s the deal: If you really know me well, you probably know that one of the more annoying things about me (depending on your tolerance for stupid song parodies; mine, perhaps ironically, is quite low) is that I can’t caption a photo like that and not complete the whole song.

As promised in the last post, this post is going to basically be 100% off topic. But, in thinking about it, I think I can at least tangentially relate it to food. So here goes:

This post will be tangentially about food, but it is mostly about snow. If you looked closely at the lobster pretzel packaging (and holy christ, how the hell did I miss that the lobster pretzel has “lobster powder,” “lobster extract,” and “lobster paste” listed as separate ingredients?!? I promise had I seen that it would not have gone without commentary), you might have noticed that I actually purchased and evaluated the lobster pretzel on January 23rd, but I didn’t manage to properly post about on it until today, March 1. The reason for this delay? Well, the next day, January 24, gave us a small snowstorm that marked the start of an 18-day period in which Boston set an all-time city record by receiving over 70 inches of snow. And unlike other high snow-total seasons, these 70 inches accumulated relentlessly, with basically no melting in between. For example, this is my parking lot, from which tons of snow had already been removed:


If you are friends with me on Facebook (and haven’t blocked me yet), you will know that this was one of the most distressing and distracting things I have ever experienced in my life (up until the dress happened, of course). I know, first world problems, but hear me out. I love snow, I think it is so great and magical and I get so excited when it is going to snow, but I think there is a strong possibility I will never feel that way about snow again. As Lorelai Gilmore so eloquently put it: “Snow and me. We’re through!”

Most of my angst was transportation related – the specific line I take to work basically got a big fat middle finger from the MBTA, as we were the only ones (outside of the poor unfortunate souls who take the commuter rail) that weren’t offered a replacement shuttle service for several days. That led to me waking up three hours earlier than usual to hitch a ride with my wife to work. She, after driving 30 min into the city in the gridlocked traffic (normal rush hour plus everyone else, on roads that were all narrowed by at least one lane), would then have to backtrack, and then work her way about 45 minutes north. The guilt is still strong on that one.

But the incident that nearly made me snap was actually food-related. On one particular Friday night, Friday the 13th to be exact, my wife was not going to be home until after 11PM because the class she teaches had so many snow-related cancellations she was doing makeup labs. On a Friday night. The next day was Valentine’s Day, and we had dinner plans. But groceries gotta get got, and shopping could not be pushed to Sunday because (1) only certifiably insane people set foot in Wegmans on a Sunday and (2) like sands through the hourglass, so were the snows of our February (another blizzard was forecast for Sunday morning). This is what Sunday morning looked like:


20-something-year-old me might cringe at the thought of me spending a perfectly good Friday night at the grocery store, but 30-something me actually usually really enjoys it. Few people, no lines. Better than going out, better than shopping on any other day. And lately, I have discovered that the Wegmans hot bar on Friday has a SEAFOOD station with herb-crusted salmon AND popcorn shrimp, $8.99 a pound! Cooked salmon barely weighs anything! I shouldn’t even be telling you this, you’re probably going to take it all. I think this is possibly Lent-related, and so we will now be grocery shopping exclusively on Friday nights until at least Easter. It could be a Friday-only thing, or it could be an everyday thing, but I won’t be testing it for FOMOOJF (Fear Of Missing Out On Jesus Fish).

So that Friday night I snagged a Zipcar and headed out to Wegmans to get the weekly groceries, as well as some special ingredients for my new tradition I call Blizzard Cooking, where I pick a new labor-intensive thing to make while snowed in, in order to distract myself from the fact that everyone else is eating French toast (too many carbs):


Amy Theilen’s Oven-Baked Short Ribs with Porter Beer Mop (this “beer mop,” like Amy Theilen herself, was actually kind of weird and I wasn’t sure if I liked it)


The Better Crumb’s Low Carb Corned Beef Hash

Martha Stewart’s Fresh Ricotta (double the lemon juice)

So anyways, I was in the dairy aisle, picking out organic whole milk and heavy cream for my homemade fresh ricotta, when it happened. The fire alarm went off.

At first everyone just kept on shopping like nothing was happening. If you ever learn that I’ve died in a massive grocery store inferno, don’t be surprised. Just know I was probably happily selecting locally-sourced ingredients for a low-carb corned beef hash and it was totally worth it.

About two minutes later a manager comes through, saying “come on guyyyys, we gotta evacuaaaate” with the same reluctant tone of the RA from your freshman dorm, you know that guy: “Come on guyyyys, I know I’m the coolest friendless sophomore you know but you know you can’t smoke pot with the dooooor open or I have to write you uuuuup. I know I’m cooool but there are rules guyyyyys.”

So I pushed my cart to the front of the store, left it there and walked out. We huddled in the little airlock entryway thing for a few seconds, until “Come on guuuys. You know you can’t stand heeeeere.” So we went out to the parking lot in the FREEZING FUCKING COLD to wait, and I tried to get the scoop on what was happening by eavesdropping on the employee chitchat, picking up fun tidbits like “Remember last time this happened? It was TWO HOURS before they let us back in!”


Well! I almost cried. Now, it was interesting that my wife was not there because she is the type of person who would immediately just be like “Fuck it. We’re leaving.” but I had corned beef and custom-sliced cold cuts in that cart, and I had paid for a Zipcar, and I WAS NOT GOING HOME EMPTY-HANDED. It actually didn’t take two hours, probably more like 20 minutes, but that was long enough for dozens of people to abandon their carts and take off:


Later on, when I was checking out, the SAME WOMAN who made the two hour comment was complaining about the mountain of go-backs, saying “people just don’t realize that people actually work here and have to deal with that mess.” Bitch, I think they do realize that people work here and are paid to deal with that mess. I think they also heard a person who works here say it might be two hours before they get let back in, and I think that maybe next time you should keep your fucking mouth shut and also not complain to me about go-backs which are part of your NORMAL DAILY JOB DESCRIPTION. But I didn’t say that! I just said “Yeah, I hope you don’t have to stay too much later, I guess” as my wife was dropping one of her students off at home because the makeup lab ended after his last train.

So yeah, February really sucked, but I ate some good food! And despite all that good food, with all the shoveling and the forced walking, I lost five pounds! And now it’s March! The T is sort of running again! And the snow that hasn’t been trucked away has not really melted yet, but it has shrunk a little bit! Sure they’re now nasty black ice mounds, but driving through the city is now like living in the answer key to the Snowpile or Car? game.

And now it’s snowing again! But I’m halfway happy about this snow. We are 5.6 inches away from the all-time snowiest winter in Boston ever, and I am now of the mindset that we HAVE to get those final 5.6 inches or none of this will have been worth it. I am not crazy, I JUST HAVE A WINNER’S MENTALITY (she shouted at her wife on a weekly basis).

This month also taught me that while I don’t like losing access to work, I actually don’t mind shoveling that much! It’s a good, different workout and a chance to methodically tackle a challenge and get lost in your thoughts and mentally re-work the lyrics to Rick Ross songs. Widowmaker icicles can kiss my ass, giant snowbanks can suck it, and the salt on my car that totally destroyed my USC Alumni license plate frame can eat a dick, but I am happy to report that shoveling and I are still sort of ok, despite the extra strain this winter has placed on our relationship.

Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’
Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’
Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’
Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’
Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’
Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’
Shovel, shovelin’ shovelin’

Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m, everyday I’m, everyday I’m shovelin’
Ev-ev-ev-everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Ev-ev-ev-everyday I’m shovelin’
Ev-ev-everyday I’m, everyday I’m, everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’ shovelin’ shovelin’ shove-shovelin’

Who the fuck you think you snowin’ on, I’m the fuckin’ boss
Since 1/25, white on white it’s like Hoth
I shovel wide, I shovel long, I shovel fat
Snow keeps on comin’ back, snow keeps on comin’ back
The Charles has icebergs forming, like the North Atlantic
We got them clipper systems flyin’ toward the Atlantic
Got work tomorrow, can’t shovel later
The guy parked next to me, he owe me a hundred favors
I ain’t petty neighbor, I’ll clear the whole thang
See most of my building shovels but he don’t do a thang
My roof rake, my winter tires
I’m on the shovel, show you what the news is like
When Harvey comes on I cry for a hundred nights
I got a trillion snowflakes, piled in a hundred piles

Everyday I’m shovelin’
Ev-everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Ev-everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m shovelin’
Everyday I’m, everyday I’m

Snowpiles conceal cars, walking’s still hard
Slipping real hard slipping slipping real hard
Snowpile or car? Snowpile or car?
Slipping real hard, slipping slipping real hard
This ain’t no funny shit still ruining business
I’ve got ice-walking down still slippin’ on bridges
MBTA be laggin’ and now I’m shiverin’
Old Charlie Baker just bitchin’ cuz he won’t spend shit
We’re hiring inmates to shovel out Red Line switches
They trucking snow to Billerica to be specific
Now there’s no T you know it’s bad we’re frozen sacks
So get your Sno Cat, run and clear the tracks
Mo’ plows, mo’ clothes, mo’ froze, mo’ snows

Side street driving thrills, slushy spinnin’ wheels
It ain’t snowed two days them bitches skiddin’ still
Stuck on my street cuz these suckers scared to plow down my street
T ain’t running round me, ain’t no traction round me
Pedestrians walkin’ ‘round me, see all this gridlock ’round me
Lot of box blocking round me goin’ down in Suffolk County
My speed is twenty-two, shovel cost me twenty-two
Saturday dropped twenty-two, last Tuesday twenty-two
Pete Bouchard’s latest map, 18 to 22
I see more twenty-twos, I’m out on flight two twenty-two
I’ll ditch work for the Carribean first
Ain’t got no snowblower, so my back’s starting to hurt
The forecast still says BIG SNOW them roof guys rich off BIG SNOW
Steady slangin’ BIG SNOW, arm muscles bangin’ big snow.

Sorry about that. As I said previously, I can’t do the first line without writing the whole song. I had to put it on the internet somewhere, and this is where it is going to go.

Lobster Pretzel

Hey there!

It’s been a while.

Given the long absence we should review why I do this blog. I feel this is necessary, because this post is going to be like 75% off-topic. The next post is going to be basically 100% off topic. Please forgive me. I need to get this stuff out there so I can go back to regular posting.

When I stumble across a random/weird/interesting item in the supermarket I buy it and eat it and take to Tumblr to let you know how it turns out, so that when you run across said item, you can be like, “no, I already know that sucks just by looking at it but also, Lauren told me it sucks so no need to double check.”

I’m going to make an exception with this post. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that at least 90% of this blog readership has likely never encountered a lobster pretzel, and likely never will. I also need to admit that the lobster pretzel is not something I immediately eyed and said “ooh, I wanna try that.” As a matter of fact, it looks pretty disgusting. But every week, as I walk past the shellfish bin at Wegmans and check whether there is any fresh lump crab meat without a weird sauce, there is something else there. That something else is the lobster pretzel.

I glance at the lobster pretzel out of the corner of my eye and it taunts me with its weirdness. And every so often, it also messes with my mind, because sometimes (but rarely) there are lobster rolls right next to the lobster pretzels. Those lobster rolls, SUPERMARKET LOBSTER ROLLS, are $10 a piece. The lobster pretzel is $12. My couponing mind does mental cartwheels at the mere sight of it. The lobster pretzel appears to be 8 times larger than the lobster roll, and costs only $2 more.

For those of you who don’t live in the northeast and have never encountered supermarket lobster rolls…they are an interesting thing. Like all prepared food at a supermarket, they are terrible. But they are also just bread and lobster, so they can’t be THAT BAD. If you have a hankering for lobster in the late summer/fall, you can get two for $10 at a normal supermarket and it’s actually way easier than the total shitshow that is dealing with an actual lobster and buying a pack of like 12 hot dog buns for one or two sandwiches. But $10 for a single lobster roll, at Wegmans, is just outrageous. Even by my standards. So when I glance over at the lobster pretzel, which appears to be decked out with several hunks of claw meat, it grabs my eye.

My wife catches me staring at the lobster pretzel pretty much every week. “Just buy it.” She says. “You want to try it, just buy it.”

“I don’t want to buy it though. I just want to know how much lobster is in it.”

“So buy it and weigh how much lobster is in it!”

And here we are.

Let’s start with the lobster roll.

The lobster roll (look how sad it is) is served on a proper split-top roll that was admirably buttered and toasted probably a few days ago. It is 61g of 100% claw meat, minimally dressed (if dressed at all) with some scallions and shit. At the end of the weigh-in, I ate it. I can’t complain about it. I respect it. I would never buy it again.

Now on to the main event: the lobster pretzel. The lobster pretzel is served, you guessed it, on a pretzel. After I pulled the wrapper out of the trash to recheck the ingredients, I also noticed it was supposed to be cooked but WTF if I’m going to go to the trouble of cooking a freaking lobster pretzel I’d probably just cook a real lobster. Get real, Wegmans.

The lobster pretzel has a LOT of gooey bullshit. I mean, when you are standing over it and obsessively staring at it once a week, it looks like it has a bunch of claws and other incantations of real lobster meat, but what it really has is torn up damaged claws that were obviously the lobster roll rejects, swimming in a monstrous mound of what can only be described as full-fat dairy caulking. This is not the “lobster salad” you have grown to love and perhaps be wary of; this is “lobster dip,” with such ingredients as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mozzarella cheese. Here is the full list:

This was a real curveball for my experiment, and I did my best to weigh the lobster and the bullshit separately, but it was challenging. I came up with 71g of tore up lobster meat…

and 135 g of cheesey bullshit peppered with lobster shreds.

I tasted both, ate neither.  Take a closer look. So gross.

God, this was disappointing. Oh – did you want to see the pretzel?


Now, let’s get real. Both of these things are super gross and even though I had already blown $22 on them I would never torture myself by allowing these to be my special weekend takeout dinner. No way, no how. Every experiment needs a control, and for my control I selected the lobster Caesar salad from Legal Seafood.

Both my wife and I are huge fans and regular consumers of the Legal crab Caesar because it is much cheaper and equally delicious, but this was a welcome treat. I freaking love this salad.

The lobster Caesar had sweet, fresh lobster salad in the form of big fatty claws and it was delicious. The lobster Caesar salad had 163 g of lobster salad. I’ll estimate it was 143-148 g of lobster and 15-20 g (1.5-2 tbsp) of mayo or whatever.

So what’s the best deal?

Wegmans Lobster Roll: $10 for 61g of lobster (bonus bun): 16.3 cents per gram
Wegmans Lobster Pretzel: $12 for 71 g of lobster (bonus pretzel and miscellaneous cheese products): 16.9 cents per gram
Legal Seafoods Lobster Caesar Salad: $20 to add ~147 g of lobster (Caesar salad underneath priced at an extra $6.95): 16.3 cents per gram for the lobster straight up / 18.3 cents per gram for the whole shebang including UNLIMITED FREE ROLLS.

So there you have it. I was wrong. The lobster pretzel is not a backdoor access point for bargain-basement lobster. It is actually as disgusting as it looks, and slightly more expensive to boot. So disgusting, in fact, that not only did I not eat it, but then I tried to give it to the cats and they both sniffed it and walked away. These two cats are literally garbage disposals.

The lobster pretzel is not good. It is not right. You shouldn’t buy it. I didn’t need to tell you that. You may very well go your entire life without needing to have been told that. But daggum it, now you know. In case you should ever encounter a lobster pretzel in your daily travels, I have given you all the advice you need. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.  Avoid lobster pretzels. Instead, treat yo’ self to a $30 salad because it’s freaking delicious.

That felt so good. Now that I have the lobster pretzel off of my computer, deleted from my camera, erased from my brain, and out of my life forever, I promise to maybe post more soon.