Now you can get smoked seafood in plenty of places in Downeast Maine, damn good smoked seafood—think of places such as Sullivan Harbor Farm, Grindstone Neck of Maine and Stonington Sea Products, all of which deserve their laudatory reps. But here’s another worth its salt. Way, way up the coast in Lubec, is Capt. Vinny Gartmeyer’s Bold Coast Smokehouse. As the slogan says, it’s “wicked good.”
Bold Coast is on my mind because I just came back from my local farmstand, where I sampled Bold Coast smoked oysters. Greedy, greedy: I tasted not one, not two, but three. And I easily could have eaten more of these rich, moist oysters.
The first time I tasted Bold Coast smoked salmon was at the Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival years ago. Vinny was there in his aqua-colored trailer, hawking his salmon sticks. Vinny—you can take the boy out of New York, but you can’t take the Noo Yawk accent out of the boy—told me his products are kosher, but not certified as such, because of the costs involved.
On the way home, we detoured to his Lubec smokehouse and purchased more of salmon sticks (kebabs) and some of his other products. Trust me, nothing tops a summer salad better than one of his garlic-and-pepper smoked salmon kebabs.
I gave my dad some of the Bold Coast smoke salmon paté, and he proclaimed it the best he’s ever tasted; and he never misses an opportunity to slather any type of smoked seafood spread on a cracker. He’s in good company: Even Julia Child has complemented the Bold Coast products. (If you meet Vinny, ask him to tell you the story of how he got the product to her).
Afterward—hey, you’re this far Downeast, what’s a few more miles—head into downtown Lubec. On the right, just before the Campobello bridge, is Monica’s Chocolates (I’ll save that story for another day, but oh my! these are serious chocolates for adult chocoholics).
By the way, Vinny also makes a lobster paté, various smoked salmon styles, gravlax, smoked mussels (in basil, Mediterranean, in canola oil and in mild salsa) and even finan haddie. Wicked good!