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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No lethargic lobsters, please

I'm alone most Monday and Tuesday evenings because my partner Wayne has become a compulsive square dancer. He takes lessons on those evenings. This is what happens when you finish a PhD in epidemiology after 10 years of immobility. You turn into Jed Clampett. Oh. Did I mention that he also contra-dances on Friday nights?

So, I've been without a regular dining companion many evenings lately. Honestly, I have never had a problem dining alone. In fact I enjoy it and, although I could corral friends to dine with me on these evenings, I like the freedom of not having to turn eating into a project. (This is what happens after 25-plus years of reviewing and finishing a PhD.)

So impulse rules my solitary dining. Last night I decided to spoil my hour at the gym by hitting Goin' Coastal in Virginia-Highland. The restaurant is taking advantage of historically low lobster prices and is offering diners a 1-lb. Maine lobster for $15 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It comes with a bowl of slaw and a pile of shoestring fried potatoes.

Monday was their first night to offer the special. I arrived around 9 p.m., an hour before closing, and got the 39th lobster they sold that evening. They'd bought 40.

Here's my advice: Get the hell there.

It was absolutely flawless, sweet and so flavorful I easily skipped the melted butter. The owner-chef told me he thinks the young lobsters have better flavor than their seniors: "The older, bigger ones don't taste as good. I've noticed they are lethargic. They don't move around much but these are banging around every time I look at them." A little TMI for me, but I'm neurotically challenged about killing animals.

The slaw and fries were great too. Really, don't miss this deal. Goin' Coastal has revised its menu extensively and blackboard prices of daily specials have dropped too.

The new Yeah! Burger
is just around the corner from Goin' Coastal. I decided to walk over and maybe order one of those "concretes" of soft-serve ice cream blended with Heath Bars. The restaurant looks great and its patio was filled with customers enjoying a beautiful fall evening.

I grabbed a menu and noticed that the cost of a concrete is $5.99. I balked. I just ate a lobster for $15. Did I want to spend $6 on ice cream? No. I decided to walk back to Paolo's Gelato, which is immediately next door to Goin' Coastal. Unfortunately, Paolo was closing.

By this time, I was in the grip of a total craving, so I sped to Zesto on Ponce de Leon and ordered my all-time favorite there, a Toffee Coffee Arctic Swirl, essentially the same thing as a concrete at Yeah! Burger, but with coffee syrup and a price of $3.19. Service sucked bigtime. Nobody was working the cash register and nobody wanted to make my order. Then again, my craving may have made me extra-impatient.

So, I'm vowing only to eat salad today.

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