redondo beach lobster festival 2008 / los angeles, ca
Mary and I were contacted via the blog about our interest in reviewing the Redondo Beach Lobster Festival at the Seaside Lagoon, and when we responded, we were offered free admission and lobster meals. For anyone who doesn’t know me and hasn’t noticed the cheap-loving theme in my food blog posts: the easiest way to get me out of the house is with free food. Especially free food that used to live in the ocean. Mary even drove up from San Diego.
Generally, the festival offered lobster and other food, live music, a little bit of shopping, and today they had a wakeboarding competition and a swimwear fashion show. Most of the food was priced at what I would expect for a street fair, but admission on top of that was $12, and I found that to be a little excessive. To put it in perspective, the Orange International Street Fair is another food/music festival that’s two to three times larger, and its admission is free. Or, a large fair like the San Diego County Fair also has a $12 admission price, but offers more things than I can do in a day. By comparison, $12 admission for the Redondo Beach Lobster Festival seemed a little steep, and might have been the deal breaker if Mary and I hadn’t gotten comped tickets.
The food was absolutely worth the price, though. I had the Big Louie Lobster Meal and Mary had the Small ($40 and $20 respectively, though both our meals were also comped), and they were incredibly tasty. The lobster meal staging area had rows of giant propane-heated pots for steaming (the lobsters were really mildly seasoned and a little garlicky), which was fairly interesting to watch and made up for the long lobster line. Each meal came with a roll (absolutely soggy from the lobster water), one steamed pink potato, one small cup of coleslaw, and lemon wedges and butter sauce for the lobster. After the lobster pick-up, you take it to the cracking area to have all of the shell parts pre-cracked for you. If you’ve never done this, and particularly if you have the large lobster, I’d advise you to stand back. I got lobster bits and juices all over my glasses. It was a messy meal to eat too, but oh-so-tasty and by far my best fair/festival food experience to date.
There is other food besides lobster. Several seafood restaurants, Ruby’s Diner, Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ, a bratwurst stand, and a stand of varied American foods (e.g., fries, pickles, nachos, baked potatoes) had also set up shop. I had a cup of clam chowder from Captain Kidd’s that had a really delicious flavor and really large chunks of clam, though a couple of bites did seem to have some grit or shell (or whatever crunchy thing that can come off of a clam). There is also a lemonade stand that I highly recommend. Mary and I ordered strawberry-flavored lemonade, half-expecting something fast food-style, but in fact it was freshly made and really, really delicious.
Dessert selections were cookies (from one of the seafood stands), shaved ice, pie from Marie Callenders, and gelato from Paciugo. We opted for the gelato. I had cookies and cream, and Mary had that and dulce de leche. It had a much lighter, icier texture (as opposed to thick and creamy) than I’m used to, but it was really pleasant and didn’t leave me feeling too grossly full.
If food is your favorite part of a fair or festival, this is definitely one to visit. If you get a lobster meal, some lemonade, and manage to catch a band you like, you’ll have a tasty day outside, even if it is a bit pricey.
UPDATE: Here are some of Mary’s photos.
Redondo Beach Lobster Festival
200 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277