Norm’s Bait and Tackle
Throughout your life you’ve probably received all kinds of unwanted advice on those embarrassing topics of a romantic nature. Invariably these are inflicted on you by people whose life choices have been even worse than your own. Who am I to break with such long-standing traditions?
I just have one gem to add the pile of axioms, idioms, malaprops, and metaphors given to you by anxious parents, tacky uncles, drunken aunts, and all those many, many older ladies who really have no business being so deeply invested in your marital status. Here it is: “The way to a person’s heart is through Norm’s Bait and Tackle.”
There I said it. Go ahead, laugh, get it out. While you’re laughing, tell me, what's your killer fool-proof scheme for romance that you have been working on for Valentine’s Day? Um-hm, I see you’re not laughing anymore. OK pay attention, you won’t regret this.
Between 9N and the Champlain Bridge lies Bridge Road, a bucolic drive that has the look and feel of stepping back in time. Here lies a spot that most people pass by, zooming to or from Vermont. I’m talking about Norm’s Bait and Tackle. Right now I hear you saying, “bait shop… and… romance… eww!?” — but trust me.
Fresh lobsters! Clams! Seafood! Now do you see where I’m going with this?
Most of the locals know Norm’s as the place to go for fishing tackle, ice fishing gear, and anything you’ll need for a day out on the lake, but that’s not what we’re here for- stay focused! Walk past the store full of tackle, past the soothing sounds of the bait tanks bubbling away, right back to this…
This is what we’re here for. An ever-changing roster of awesomeness- your ticket to the most romantic evening imaginable. Here you’ll find rarities and delectables for the most discriminating taste. Not many folks know about this treasure trove, but now you do. Shhh! Keep it under your hat so he is not sold out when I get there.
Before you even get to the price board a friendly fellow will greet you. That’ll be Norm St. Pierre, just let him know what you’re looking for and he’ll fix you right up. The conversation will be as quick and painless as mine was.
“You got… hmmm… king crab legs?”
“Huge gigantic shrimp as big as your head?”
“That’s not a real thing, how about jumbo shrimp?”
“Are you going to wrap them in bacon?”
“Are you a mind reader?!”
“I can save you a step- got ‘em already wrapped in the bacon.”
“Take my money!!!”
Well before your certain someone arrives, take a moment to admire the beauty that was brought to you by Norm. This wonderful mess will cook in a very short period of time, you just need to stage everything for the timing. It’s going to be a magical symphony of flavors to waltz your way into any heart.
Dessert is going to take the longest to make. Best make them in the morning or the day before. Baked potatoes are going to take a while too. Pop them in the oven an hour and half before showtime.
My Adirondack Scallop Wraps are what you’d call your schedule 3 aphrodisiac. Make only as many as you need because I guarantee you won’t be able to stop eating them until they are all gone. Go ahead, use my secret recipe, but no one needs to know how easy they are. Simply brush bacon wrapped scallops with dark maple syrup and top with cracked black pepper, then broil.
Mmm, almost there, flip, baste and pepper again, and broil the other side.
At exactly the same time you pop the scallops under the broiler, drop your crab legs and shrimp into the steamer. As soon as they have turned bright pink, bring them on out! Most likely this will take only as long as the scallops do.
While you set the plates with melted butter, ask your dinner guest to turn on the Oscar Peterson playlist (or Die Antwoord, it's your call). Arrange two shrimp in a heart shape on their plate by the time they get back (this sounds tacky, but you’ll thank me later).
Are you in love yet?
Ohhhh yeah! Eat it while it’s hot.
Mmmmm. Don’t eat too much, save room for…
Dessert! Bring out the conversation heart cookies! These slightly sweet anise-flavored confections pair equally well with hot black coffee or icy cold champagne. Anise is the perfect balance to the extremely rich buttery seafood.
Based on the classic valentine candies, these motto cookies are an excellent way to linger over conversation and drinks after the meal… conversation that might lead to how the rest of your evening will be spent… wink, wink, nudge, nudge…
There you go. Follow my plan and you are on your way this Valentine's Day. Bon Appetit and Bon Chance!
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