Monday, December 28th, 2009
Yes, I know. Red Lobster, not what you’d expect from me. Oh well, here’s the deal….we used to go to fancy restaurants in Chattanooga for Christmas Eve, get lobster and steak. It was awesome!
When I was a kid there was a “Red Lobster phase” when we would go there every Friday night. I was about eight or nine. It was their heyday and there was always a long wait in the lobby. My Mom might have a mai tai while we waited….how 1977!
Over the last five or six years Red Lobster has become a Christmas Eve tradition with us, out of simplicity, familiarity, and ease. It is close to my parents’ house near Chattanooga and they really aren’t all about fanciness, so we go to Red Lobster, just like old times.
Even when I was a kid, they would let me get crab legs or lobster if I wanted. Heck, I’m an only child, why not! These days we start off with some salad and try not to eat too many of the addictive garlic cheese biscuits before the seafood arrives. No appetizers, my folks don’t fuck around. They order fish with no butter and sauces on the side. I, on the other hand, have my baked potato with butter and sour cream.
Me and Mom get the Caesar salad, but with raspberry vinaigrette on the side. There’s no iceberg on the Caesar as opposed to the house salad which my Dad unfortunately ordered. Me and Dad drank Miller Lites (the champagne of the trailer park).
This year I had the grilled trio of Maine lobster, a skewer of shrimp, and sea scallops….all perfectly cooked and served over rice pilaf. I substituted a baked potato but it came with both. My Dad had the rock lobster, shrimp scampi, and grilled shrimp.
My Mom ordered a strange combination of seafood jambalaya, shrimp scampi, and bacon wrapped bbq scallops. OK, I’m not sure what she was thinking but jamabalaya is made with andouille sausage. Plus, it was in a cream sauce rather than tomato based (which was a bit odd) but she was expecting a more authentic dish. Of course the bacon on the scallops was not well-done and to top it off, the scallops were served on top of shoestring fried onion rings…..a grease pit! I ate them.
As always, we scarfed the garlic cheese biscuits with our salads and Dad commented on how honey would be delicious on them. Disgusted with this idea, me and Mom make faces and explain why garlic and honey are, well, disgusting together.
After dinner, we go home to open gifts. These days stocking stuffers and cash are the norm, plus culinary treats, care of moi. This year I brought an almond flavored champagne and Babette’s dried cherry tart. Plus, Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme, Humboldt Fog and Taleggio, and dried figs for snacking for Christmas Day. And a couple of bottles of Lambrusco and a bottle of Shiraz for me.
Red Lobster. What to say? They use enough garlic to ward away vampires for the rest of the year and enough butter to single-handedly add your holiday 5 to the scale. But after 30ish years of experience, they do know how to cook a lobster!