The next time you're in the mood for an authentic Maine lobster roll, look for South Florida's new mobile kitchen, the Red Zeppelin Rockin' Lobster Roll. After hitting the streets last November, the crustacean-focused food truck based out of Dania Beach has been handing out some of the best around. A lobster roll smothered in lobster bisque? Who could resist?
The owners are a family team: Miami-born Bob Barnett and his daughter and mother, Heather Barnett and Robyn Rahman. Together, the trio rolled out their bright-red food truck late last year, selling several specialty dishes that include their own take on the famous New England-born sandwich.
While everyone knows the lobster roll is a Northern thing, not many people are aware just how long the sandwich has been around -- or that it's actually Connecticut (and not New York or Maine) that claims to be the lobster roll's official "home."
The story begins with the appearance of a chilled lobster salad, which first made it into the New York Evening Post Cookbook in 1908 -- a recipe concocted for elegant dinner parties where eating whole lobster meant too much mess. While you would think the chilled sandwich we all know and love wouldn't be far behind, according to John Mariani's The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, reports of a warm, buttery lobster meat served on a hot-griddled bun didn't show up until sometime during the early 1920's, when a Milford, Connecticut restaurant began making them for a regular patron. The chilled version popped up in 1966, when Mariani reports Fred Terry -- owner of the Lobster Roll Restaurant on Long Island -- was the first to serve the recipe most people are familiar with today: a chilled and seasoned combo of mayonnaise, celery and fresh lobster meat placed on a heated hot-dog roll and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Currently, South Florida's Red Zeppelin food truck offers three Maine lobster specialties, all under $15 each. The signature dish is, of course, the Rockin' Lobster Roll ($14). It's a sandwich any New Englander would be proud of -- especially those Connecticut folk -- thanks to a generous portion of fresh (never frozen!) steamed Maine lobster, which is lightly dressed, and heaped into a fluffy, warm buttered roll. The rolls seal the deal: they're made fresh each day the truck hits the road, a special egg-based bread prepared just for Red Zeppelin by a local bakery.
"We didn't want to put all this beautiful lobster meat on just another plain, boring hot dog bun," Rahman told Clean Plate Charlie, who suggested ordering it "smothered," topped-off with her own lobster bisque for an extra $2.
The Maine lobster "roni n' cheese" is an easy favorite and worth every dime, thanks to plenty of lobster meat mixed in with tender elbow pasta, all of it drenched in a three-cheese blend -- and more bisque, if you can handle it ($9). Like it spicy? Ask for a dollop of Rahman's secret hot sauce.
Last, Red Zeppelin serves up a classic: the family's own secret recipe lobster bisque ($6). Like the macaroni and cheese, it's comfort food for the seafood lover's soul.
To learn more about Red Zeppelin, visit the food truck's Facebook page, or call 954-867-4840. You can also find them at the upcoming Food Truck Invasion sponsored "Second Friday's at Abacoa" at the Abacoa Town Center in Jupiter on March 8, as well as the grand opening of the Royal Palm Beach Commons in Royal Palm Beach from March 22-24.
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