Never let it be said that Amy Traverso doesn’t go all out for her work.
Indeed, prior to filming Season 2 of “Weekends With Yankee,” the show’s co-host and senior food editor of Yankee Magazine did a summer road trip with her family, driving the length of the Maine coast, from Kittery to Canada, along the way sampling multiple lobster rolls in search of the best one – all so you don’t have to.
Her findings can be found in the new season of the travel/culinary series, now airing on PBS stations.
“I think the joy of the lobster roll,” she says, “is that all the elements come together in a single bite. So you have the butter on the outside of the bun, you have the mayonnaise or the butter that is the sauce and you have the sweet meat, and that’s really all there is to it. So you kind of want to get all those flavors in one bite.”
And the place that she found did that the best was McLoons, an unpretentious lobster shack situated on a working wharf in South Thomaston, just below Penobscot Bay.
“They do something which is really simple but really, I think, makes a difference,” she says, “They use the mayo as a condiment. It’s spread on the inside of the bun rather than tossed with the meat. A lot of places you go, they mix it in and they let it sit for a while and then it gets mushy and tastes more like mayonnaise than anything else. So I just appreciated all those little details, all that careful thought about how to handle a lobster roll and it really pays off in the eating.”
Other second-season adventures take Traverso and co-host Richard Wiese to locales such as Greensboro, Vt., a tiny burg near the Canadian border that is home to a world-class microbrewery and cheese maker; Castle in the Clouds, a historic estate in the White Mountains of New Hampshire; Fenway Farms, a working rooftop garden at Boston’s Fenway Park that provides produce for food served at the stadium; and the Maine culinary destination of Portland, where she sampled local delicacies such as duck fat fries and donuts made with potatoes.
“There’s something about the energy of Portland,” Traverso says. “I think chefs are a little bit freer to do food that’s more personal, maybe a little more experimental. Rents relative to a lot of major cities are less expensive.
“It’s an exciting place to eat and everything is of a whole,” she continues. “You have the farms feeding the restaurants and the food coming right in. And I feel like every restaurant you eat at in Portland, you know that you’re in Portland. There’s a very local identity there that appeals to me.”