SO, I GOT A TEXT FROM SALLY CINNAMON…
Sally Cinnamon is a big-time eater in this town, and she is on top of the situation! She’s at every fuckin’ donut thro-down pie fight wing war what have you and all that shit. She knows what’s up, and she has excellent taste in food, from high-end eats to pure trash, and I trust her 100 percent to give me the skinny on the good stuff. Here’s what her text said…
Hey there. Not sure what your day consists of today but wanted to give you a heads up about one of the best lobster rolls I’ve ever had in NC. Cousins lobster truck, which has been on food network, is going to be at Catawba today. I used to chase them around Raleigh-Durham when I lived out that way. Not cheap but super worth it. Rocky and I are going to get in line around 1 because he has to be at work at 2. You TOTALLY need to try one ..or 3 or 4. Will post pictures later.
My response? “Holy shit. Gotta go! Doing a tour until 5:30, I hope they will still be there afterward!” Then, in a dead-panic, I wrote to the Cousins Facebook page, asking them if they’d “still be rockin’ at 5:30″, and to my surprise, they got right back to me!
Hi Stu, thanks for reaching out. Yes! Please come by after work! We are scheduled to be there from 1-6pm, but we will stay later if there are folks still ordering. As long as you can get there by 6, we’ll get you. We can’t wait to hear what you think. We love when New Englander’s eat with us for the first time. Thanks!
Wow! I was impressed with the personal touch, and I was more determined than ever to pay them a visit, even though it was officially 1,000 degrees fahrenheit outside, and even though the South Slope is guaranteed to be exactly one degree hotter than that (and it was), and even though when I got there, I saw a huge line, and it had been a loooooong-ass muhfuckin’ time since’t I waited in a line that long for food. Honestly, I almost bailed right away, but it was that personal touch that kept me there. I was like, “I can’t not do this after they wrote me such a nice note.” So, I planted my feet, stuck to my plan, and stood in line with errbody else.
Above: If I thought this line was bad, other folks told me later that they waited up to 2 hours for their lobster rolls! I think I was only in line for about 20 mins, which is approximately 20 mins longer than I usually wait in line for shit to happen, so I was dedicated to my mission.
Thankfully, I had full-juice on my iPhone, and a day’s worth of Facebook to catch up on, plus a small child in a rainbow tutu kept me from getting too bored by telling me all about her dolly, and her mom was a big-time food enthusiast, so we ranted and raved about this and that restaurant around town, and I told her I do food tours, and it turns out she works for one of our tour partners, so she can take a tour for free, yadda yadda BOOM it was already my turn to order! “One Maine Roll, please. And one Connecticut Roll, please. And one Lobster Grilled Cheese, Please.”
Now, I gotta tell ya. These lobster rolls were fucking perfect. They consisted of lobster on a hot dog roll, and literally almost nothing else, and take it from this guy, (points to self) that’s the way they oughtta be.
Asheville, I love ya, but you try too hard to fancy-up your lobster rolls sometimes…. all the time. Don’t need no celery. Don’t need no herbs. For the love of everything sacred and holy in this world, you do not need onions on there. And for reals, a big-ol’ roll from the high-end bakery shop is overkill. An regular hot dog bun of the trashiest ilk will do. It is preferred.
So, first, the Maine roll. It is cold lobster meat on a hot dog roll. It is fucking perfect. That is my review.
Next is the Connecticut Roll. It was warm lobster on a hot dog roll, and it was also perfect. There is butter involved in the Connecticut roll, and that makes it even just a teeny tiny bit more perfect than the Maine roll in my opinion.
Finally, the Lobster Grilled Cheese was likewise delicious. Trashy AF white bread grilled in butter, oozing with cheese, and some nice chunks o’ lobster meat. Now, I will admit that this sandwich was a little gratuitous on my part, in that I didn’t really need it, and for variety-sake, I should have probably ordered the clam chowder, which I heard later from Shay Brown was the fucking bomb. Only she didn’t say “fucking.” Or “bomb.” Anyhoo, the next time I have a chance to eat off of this truck, I’m gonna stick with the rolls, and chowder, and leave the grilled cheese for the kids.
I really enjoyed my experience with the famous Cousins Maine Lobster truck, even the waiting in line had kind of an exciting, anticipatory build-up quality to it, with some camaraderie thrown in, and little bit of expert knowledge about dollies as a bonus.
Cousins really is famous, and for me this was like a celebrity came to town, and I got to “meet” them, and they were cool! The truck itself is festooned with the logos of all the major media outlets that have featured them, and it was all the biggies, believe me. Food Network was just one of dozens. (I’ll be sure to send them my logo after this review is published!)
I am SO glad that I got in that big line, and waited in the heat and humidity for a chance to experience a famous bite for myself, and this New Englander was not disappointed!
PS – I actually will allow for a little bit of “this ‘n’ that” in a lobster roll, if it’s done well. Like, three pieces of celery is okay. And I used to get one in Boston that had this amazing cornbread stuffing on it that I would literally spend my last dollar bill on when I was in Art School. So, I’m not a died-in-the-wool purist (about anything), and creativity is always welcome. Just, for fuck sake, no onions.
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Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.