Just got back from the Long Beach Lobster Fest -- officially titled "The Original Long Beach Lobster Festival," which was a bit odd, as that moniker would seem to signify some competing crustacean frenzy occurring somewhere in the general area. That, or it’s meant to herald a comeback of some sort after having been away, which could very well be true (though I can’t recall a lobster lollapalooza when I lived in the LBC from ’97 till ’03, but whatev…)
My verdict? Ehhh…not that great. Call it a “Lobster Fest,” and I expect to see lobster offered up every which way—boiled, steamed, grilled, etc.—and I want to see a gaggle of lobster-specializing local restaurants representin’, with workers staffing booths where they serve up amazing variants of their shellfish. I want to see lobster tacos, lobster burgers, lobster beer, chocolate-covered lobster, lobster ice cream, and the chicken-fried lobster that I seriously had in Las Vegas last year. That insane variety show is the way it’s done at food fests I’ve been to in the Southern U.S., anyway—where they really know how to hold a party where food is the central theme.
But here—after I paid my $15 just for the privilege of entering the damn place—it was pretty much just a single big stand with one very long line, serving up 2-pound and pound-and-a-quarter lobster dinners, for $40 and $20, respectively. Although it was kinda cool to see all the freshly-boiled lobsters get lifted out of the vat of boiling water (see crappy camera phone pic), by the time I waited in line to get me some plopped down on my Styrofoam tray, it was lukewarm. Then, after waiting in another line where several apron-wearing, knife-wielding young men cracked your lobster for you . . . and after wandering around the expanse of the fest site at Rainbow Lagoon (I know, that’s a lovely name, but the "lagoon" is actually a pondscum-encrusted toilet, always has been) looking for a shady place to actually eat the thing . . . well, my lobster was as chilly as my coleslaw, as was the plastic cup of melted butter. Still, lobster is lobster, but I probably could’ve had better (and cheaper) at, well, Red Lobster.
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So: Calling it a “Lobster Festival” but providing so little variety is kind of like having a Japanese Food Festival where the only available cuisine is Yoshinoya. Or a Mexican Food Festival where everything is from Taco Bell. You get the idea. When, oh when, will someone stage a local barbecue fest? God knows there are enough great mom-and-pop BBQ places in OC and Long Beach who’d totally take part . . .
Other random bitching: I saw several people giving business to the hamburger, corn dog and cheese steak stands. Who the hell goes to a lobster festival to eat corn dogs?