The Cousins Maine Lobster Truck is the Wells Fargo wagon of Los Angeles. When foodies see it coming, they break into song - some literally, it being a theatrical town. The rolling institution, created by cousins Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis, not only serves lobster, it serves fresh lobster. The rolls, simple mayonnaise, and butter drenched delicacies, are both a culinary and logistical achievement. Getting a 10-legged invertebrate across the country is no simple matter: There are the packages themselves, refrigerated with gel packs and packed with seaweed to keep the lobsters alive, as well as the shipping, which requires all the tricks offered by UPS's priority service.
Now that Cousins has started shipping lobsters to private citizens around California and everywhere else in the lower 48, we were curious to get a crustacean's-eye view of the operation. We asked Sabin and Jim to ship two lobsters to writer, food expert, and cook Dan Duane's home in San Francisco and tracked the animals' progress across the country. The review from Dan? "Killer service. The lobsters were still feisty."
The Lobsters' Itinerary
-Wednesday, March 19 9:00: Lobster fishermen pull up traps in Casco, Bay and put their live catch in crates on the back of their boats. Once the crates are full, they head back towards Portland.
-12:00: A lobsterman drops two, 1.25-pound lobsters into a holding tank at the Cousin Maine Lobster facility on the city wharf.
-12:51: Cousins Maine workers pack the two live lobsters in styrofoam boxes, adding seaweed and gel packs to make sure they'll survive the trip west, before sending a message to UPS alerting them that the package is ready for pickup.
-17:30: UPS picks up the lobster-filled boxes and heads to a UPS facility in South Portland.
-19:30: A truck carrying the package leaves for Logan International Airport.
-21:05: The UPS truck arrives at Logan International Airport with the lobsters and is scanned in the mail facility before being loaded on a UPS 767-300 bound for Louisville, Kentucky
-21:40: The lobster's hit their cruising altitude of 38,000 feet.
-Thursday, March 22, 00:35: The package is unloaded and sorted in a UPS office.
-2:33: The package is loaded onto an Oakland-bound UPS.
-3:30 Mountain Time: The lobsters fly over the Continental Divide.
-4:19 Pacific Time: The lobsters are taken off the plane and sorted in the Oakland UPS facility. They are then loaded in a San Francisco-bound truck.
-5:19: The lobsters are sorted again in the UPS facility in Potrero Hill.
-7:05: The package leaves the final sorting facility in a Grumman Olson package truck.
-10:27: The lobsters arrive at Dan Duane's home.
-16:00: The lobsters meet their untimely demise.