This past week here at Woodman’s has been quite a memorable and exciting series of days. Most notably, Vanessa Woodman, daughter of Doug and Maureen Woodman, and Franco Morales were married on a beautiful Friday afternoon. Not only was it a great event to celebrate the love the couple obviously shares for one another, but also provided a week of celebration and relaxation for many people who graciously work very hard for this company, especially the groom Franco Morales. Franco seemingly is always here at the Woodman’s compound assisting in any way that he can; in the winter months it is he that is called upon when something needs to be done, and in the summer months it is Franco that is always available to work any clambake. Not only is Franco a reliable and hard worker, but he is a reliable and great person and I am certain Vanessa and he will be very happy together for many years to come.
Of course, the restaurant and clambake crew carried on through the week of the wedding. With a string of ideal summer days, graciously coming in the first week of June, the restaurant buzzed as if it were 4th of July weekend. Perhaps everybody had shared the same weekend plans, spend the day at their favorite Cape Anne beach, Crane’s, Wingaersheek, Good Harbor, and Long beach to name a few, and then bustled on over with the whole family to enjoy the summery tradition of a Woodman’s of Essex dinner during a hot evening. Certainly one of the most favorite menus of the weekend was the lobster roll; a truly perfect meal for the avid beachgoer after a long day in the sun. The lobster roll is the quintessential order for those who desire the flavors of New England seafood and particularly the famous Maine lobster yet attempt to keep their meal on the lighter and cooler side as they have endure a warm summer day at the beach. The Woodman’s lobster roll is how all lobster rolls should be, a great portion of succulent lobster meat, perfectly brazed with a secret mayonnaise-based sauce.
Not only had the restaurant experienced an early summer rush, but the clambake crew also had their hands full with a number of clambakes, especially ones located at the new top deck. So early in the season and already the new top deck has acted as venue for a number of events from Boston Bruin viewing parties to rehearsal dinners speaking to the mercurially flexible nature of the quickly-growing in fandom top deck. As it sports an ambiance similar to that of the main restaurant yet aesthetically appealing to a more exquisite taste, the new Top Deck can cater almost any party and boasts the size and bar to cater to any such request. Starting Father’s day, the Top Deck will be open to the public every day (week days only in the evenings) and will continue to produce great frozen drinks, excellent additional seating that always proves to be a bit cooler than its counterpart downstairs, and one of the few raw bars featured on Cape Anne.
On a personal note, this past weekend on a clambake I finally learned the fabled Woodman talent and secret of frying the perfect fried clam. After taking a step back from the bustling demands of providing the delicately delicious fried clams to a craving herd of people, I came to a strange sense of privilege and honor in my growing new practice. The fried clam is a staple, a delicacy, rather a symbol of where I am from and really an aspect of my life I have identified myself with, Woodman’s. I managed to sneak a couple of my own creation when the event was over and I must say they tasted as any great Woodman fried clam does. Naturally I was quite humbled and nervous as to take on the pressures of preparing the Woodman’s trademark and creation, yet I was wisely reminded by Leonard Woodman, grandson of Chubbie, the inventor of the fried clam; “the first fried clam Chubbie ever made was far from perfect, but look where it is and where we are now”.