My 2019 St. Peter’s Fiesta will not go down in the annals as one of my favorites, but it’s still Fiesta and there was fun to be had. The cold and the rain put a damper on things but we made the best of it. It wasn’t all bad, as Derek Hopkins took all three Greasy Pole contests in style, the first three-peat since 1999!
And thanks to the St. Peter’s Fiesta phone app and live steam on YouTube, my grandparents and the older set, who helped make Fiesta so great in the first place, can watch the action at home.
When it came to seafood, we took a break from the carnival food or the eggplant parmigiana and sfincione (spinguni) for a couple of lunches away from the crowds.
The first stop was a lunch date with my lovely wife to a local favorite: Lobsta Land, located on the marsh right next to the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge. They are a seasonal restaurant that is usually packed with locals and bus groups alike. It’s one of those places where you expect to run into a few people you know every time. So why do so many of us choose to eat with views of the Great Marsh instead of Gloucester Harbor? The food of course! Lobsta Land rarely dissapoints and this visit was no exception.
It was packed when we got there, but the early lunch crowd was leaving as we entered. After a few cocktails we got around to ordering: my wife got a magnificent looking Mediterranean salad with grilled salmon and I chose one of my all time Lobsta Land favorites: Paella.
I wouldn’t say it’s a paella you’d get in Spain, but it’s very tasty and loaded with clams, shrimp, mussels, lobster and whatever fish they chose that day. This time around it was salmon, which surprised me. I don’t expect salmon in paella, and honestly, I would have preferred a local fish instead. However it was delicious and I ate every bit. My wife’s salad was excellent as well, I didn’t get to ask who supplies their salmon, but based on appearance and taste it must be good quality.
Later in the festival, we escaped Gloucester’s crowded down town for lunch at the Windward Grille in Essex. I’ve had a mixed experience at this place, but it has been many years, and with reasonable lunch prices for seafood, we decided to give it another shot.
We were by far the youngest diners in the place, but it was also very busy, so that was a good sign. My wife chose the traditional baked haddock topped with breadcrumbs and I got their lemon basil haddock. When we got our food I was a little underwhelmed at the portion size, but then again it was a few dollars cheaper than other menus we looked at.
However, after one bite we each agreed that the quality trumped the quantity. Both of our dishes had really fresh, and really tasty haddock. My lemon basil sauce was very light, just enough to add something but let the fresh taste of the haddock shine through. We were both pleasantly surprised by the quality of the fish, and the bill, which included a few cocktails.
It’s always good to go back to Lobsta Land, a place I wish I ate at more often. But it was also great to know Windward Grille offers up a tasty seafood lunch for great prices. Here’s to hoping this summer is filled with nice weather and great local seafood!