All Things Around: Weekend Edition

This past weekend was pretty stellar, so much so that I want to take you all through the food memories. It’s kind of embarrassing, but my camera is filled with shots of food. (That and pictures of my dog…) Go figure, but I like to keep track of what I like so I can recreate my favorite treats in the future.

For the Olympic opening ceremony we celebrated America with some apple pie. Of course it is not a traditional pie, but it was unique and quite affordable for its good looks.

During the summer, Vassar College and New York Stage and Film present a summer series of productions ranging from new readings to Broadway hopefuls. On Saturday we spent the entire day at Vassar (Oh, I miss it so!) and saw two amazing productions. The first one, The Power of Duff, featured Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Westfeldt. It was excellent, but at night we saw Murder Ballad which was INCREDIBLE. I am still humming songs from the show.

But a trip to my collegetown would not be right without my favorite eats. For lunch we shared paninis from Rossi’s Deli, a new favorite that serves giant sandwiches on crispy homemade focaccia with ingredients like smoked mozzarella, grilled peppers, and italian meats. With its proximity to campus, dinner at Babycakes Cafe was a no brainer. With my favorite appetizer, goat cheese rounds with honey, to start and a chocolate decadence for dessert, more than just the performances sang that day.

Despite the rainclouds on Sunday, I met up with a  friend and enjoyed brunch in the city at Café Habana, a true gem in SoHo. Not only do they serve up a sick menu, the prices are killer for the NYC. We shared the Mexican grilled corn, and I had the chilaquiles verdes con pollo, with tons of crema and cotija cheese on top. It was a busy weekend, but   delicious.

Summer Harvest: Roasted Fennel, Carrot, and Radish Salad

I’m sitting here watching Paula’s Home Cooking, and I am craving salad. She just made a batch of orange brownies, and jokingly referred to the mint on top as her “vegetables”. It is kind of funny, but it made me realize that just like how Paula inspires people to cook comfort food, she can as easily inspire people in the opposite direction.

So today I am sharing a recipe for a summer harvest salad, one that bridges tastes of both the spring and the fall. We received fennel, carrot, and radishes in our CSA shipment a couple weeks back and I needed a creative idea to put them all to use. Here is the result. I think it works the best as a side dish, but with some simple roasted fish or grilled shrimp it can be a simple lunch made.

Roasted Fennel, Carrot, and Radish Salad

[Inspiration from http://blog.freepeople.com/2012/02/kitchen-confidential-charred-fennel-and-carrot-salad/ as well]

  • 4 radishes, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped on an angle
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fennel seed
  • splash rice vinegar
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 cups arugula, washed and dried
  • Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the diced radishes and carrots with lemon juice, garlic, dried basil, olive oil, dried fennel seed, and splash of rice vinegar. Place in an ovenproof dish and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until tender when poked with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile heat a sauté pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the fennel until it softens and darkens in color.
  4. To assemble salad, combine the roasted vegetables with the fennel and arugula. Dress the salad to your taste with a combination of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and pepper. Serve, and nom.

Local Eats: CSA #7

And, we’re back. Back home, but also back to posting.

After a week of eating fried, well, everything I kind of missed our weekly shipments of fresh veggies and fruit. So it was exciting to look at everything, and start to think up ways to enjoy it all.

This week we received a dozen eggs plus tons of eggplant (the crop has grown so big over the past two weeks!), tons of squash, greens, tiny adorable green peppers, lettuce, carrots, dandelion greens, basil (MY FAVORITE!), apricots, and blueberries!

 

 

All Things Around: The Cape

I woke up yesterday with the worst head cold. How lame! With one more full day at the Cape, I spent the entire morning surrounded by tissues. I bet you have experienced traveling feeling less than perfect. When it’s for business or work you just have to deal, but on vacation it can be a major roadblock. I found the best thing to do was to take a shower, drink plenty of water, take an antihistamine, and get moving. I did just that, and I was feeling much better. Didn’t hurt that my sister brought back another dirt bomb from Cottage St. Bakery…

Hungry for lunch, we decided to go a bit out of the way to try Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar on Route 6 in Eastham. This place has incredibly long lines in the evening, enough to kind of turn us off from trying the restaurant. But since it was lunchtime and we were craving lobster rolls, we decided to give it a try. Lucky us, the line was short and moved quickly. Arnold’s has a large menu with everything from fried seafood to steamed lobsters and even a raw bar, but we all went with a warm lobster roll (except my sister, she likes salads with chicken!) The restaurant is cash/check only, which is kind of strange for such a popular family restaurant, and you seat yourself. The place has a kind of Disney-esq feeling, with families everywhere and a sort of outdated inside seating area. If you can, I suggest sitting outside. Sure you hear the miniature golf course noise, but you can sit at picnic tables in the fresh air under trees lined with outdoor lanterns.

The food was done quicker than we expected, and was also better than expected. They serve two kinds of lobster rolls: a cold lobster roll dressed with mayo and a warm lobster roll (a dollar more), but served with hot butter and lemon. Although I did not have the cold lobster roll, I would suggest going warm. There was tons of lobster meat on top, and it was buttery not coated in mayo or tossed with celery which distracts from what you want to taste, which is lobster. It was served with coleslaw and Cape Cod chips. We also tried the onion rings, and although I am a sucker for Liam’s, these were quite similar. I would probably come back for the roll, or a steamed lobster dinner. A bit hokey, but it’s definitely the Cape.

Then came a major roadblock, a forecast predicting rain! So we spent the afternoon indoors doing the kind of stuff you want to do, but never have the time to do–like read for once.

Dinner was at Fin, a restaurant we have never been to in Dennis. Since I was still a bit sick my appetite was not quite there, but I enjoyed what I could. Fin is really small, so I would suggest making reservations, but it is adorable in a two story home, and upscale in flavor using fresh seafood and ingredients like white anchovies, garlic scape butter, and fried sage. Total umami fest.

I started with the oyster chowder with Dennis oysters, apple wood smoked bacon, chive and white truffle oil. You can’t avoid clam chowder or lobster bisque in the Cape, but it was refreshing to try something slightly different.

For my main, I had the special, which was striped bass with a tomato and lobster based broth, filled with veggies like corn and snow peas and potatoes. Total comfort food, a picture is below, but the lighting stinks!

I was stuffed, but I took bites from the two desserts we tried. The first was a tiramisu zuccato, which was delicious, and a berry panna cotta which was so creamy and extremely satisfying. I definitely want to go back when I feel 100% myself, and not under the weather.

But you know we couldn’t leave without a treat for the ride home. This morning we packed up the house and drove right to the Hopkins House Bakery. What a fabulous find, this will definitely become a favorite for years to come. Only on Saturdays, sticky pecan buns are available, so we bought two along with two blueberry scones and another peach muffin and nibbled all the way back home.

Just kidding, the buns hardly made it out of Brewster.

If you enjoyed following along with my travels, please let me know below. I am going to be in London this fall, so check in from time to time for updates, tons of pictures, and travels.

All Things Around: The Cape

You would think that I spend every morning eating baked goods on the Cape, and you might be right. The Cape has a bunch of cute local bakeries located in grey shingled homes with home baked goodies in glass cases–so it is kind of hard to resist.

The Hopkins House Bakery fits right in, but is a bit more than the average shop along the main drag. Opened by Heather Baxter, this small stop offers different varieties of treats daily, ranging from muffins and scones to pies and cookies. Just be sure to make a trip when they are open, 8 AM to 4PM from Thursday to Sunday! There is also the adorable Hopkins House Country Store next-door, so after you pick up a quick breakfast you can browse their selection of home goods and decorative touches.

When we went we tried a tart lime bar, a cherry muffin with tons of powdered sugar on top, and a peach muffin with bits of peaches inside. They had a huge selection when we went in the morning, so it was a bit hard to decide. I guess we’ll just have to make more trips in the future.

Lunch was a stop at Hillcrest Pizza & Sub Shop. We have been coming to every iteration of a pizza place this location has seen, but I think that Hillcrest is definitely the best. They are never that busy during lunch, and serve a thin yet chewy pizza that is just my style. We decided to go half plain, and half Hillcrest, a combination of different meats (pepperoni, sausage, and thinly sliced meatball) and veggies (peppers, onions, and mushrooms I believe). Even their salads are quite tasty. This is the place to go once you get sick of fried seafood platters and picnic tables, but obviously that could never quite happen.

Even though it was not that sunny out, we went to the beach for the afternoon where I spent most of the time reading and taking quick naps here or there. Quite thrilling, right?

For dinner we drove to The Beachcomber, a popular spot in Wellfleet right by the water. I would recommend waiting for a table outside, the vibe is livelier and the air seems fresher. We waited for our table with some drinks, a strawberry daiquiri for me, and were seated within an hour. The atmosphere at The Beachcomber is quite relaxed, outside on picnic tables near the bar and everything is served on paper plates. We shared the fried calamari and curry scallops served with a corn salsa. For my main I had a fried oyster po’ boy served with pickles and french fries. The oysters were delicious served with a hot dog bun smeared with a spicy mayo and a slaw of sorts. I hope to do a more comprehensive review of The Beachcomber, so check for that in the near future for more pictures and info.

And to end it all, more ice cream at Emack & Bolio’s. Cosmic crunch ice cream with hot fudge is the only way to go.

Now, excuse me while I plan my raw, macrobiotic diet for the next month….

All Things Around: The Cape

Today we got an early start at the beach, mostly motivated by the thought of a Liam’s lunch. Just like your typical beachside food shack, Liam’s offers everything from crab salads to calamari, and the best onion rings you will ever have. They are sliced extra thin, coated in a flaky batter, and have that rare ability to not separate into a mess of onion and batter. We also tried out a crab roll and calamari, all washed down with a raspberry lime rickey.

Then, feeling like we just swallowed a small fried village (work with me here), we spent some time at the beach. No sharks in sight, just a couple seals in the distance and plenty of sand.

We left the beach early for dinner at the Bewster Fish House. Located in Brewster, this restaurant serves lunch and dinner almost daily featuring dishes of fresh seafood. We used to go when I was very little, the story goes that I would only eat plain pasta, and apparently refused to eat it when it came with some parsley on top. Appetites change, and now I can really enjoy what the Brewster Fish House is all about. We started with a lobster bisque, a small cup but filled with a smooth broth and tender lobster, crispy calamari which had the best aioli, and a crab salad with avocado and uni. For a main I enjoyed perfectly seared scallops (seriously, I am jealous of that sear) with a warm guanciale vinaigrette, peas, and the cutest fingerling chips. I wish I could have tried every dish though, but I got to taste both a striped bass special and the butter poached lobster. We finished off with a berry shortcake and a caramelized peach creme brûlée that was stellar.

We ended the night at the Cape Cod Playhouse, to check out the community theater production of South Pacific. While the shows can be a hit or miss, we like to go every year to support the local theater and it beats spending the night bored in the house. In the past we have seen plays, but this was our first musical. The cast was very young, but I bet it is really fun for them to perform seven days a week for a month of the summer.

All Things Around: The Cape

Somehow it is already really late, so I am going to try to keep it short and sweet.

We started the morning off at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow, not necessarily a tradition but we gave it another go this year. Always bustling in the mornings, this place is great for a cup of coffee or latte and a quick sweet treat. They have quite the selection of chocolates and gift items, so you would not have a problem finding last minute gifts for those back home. I went for a regular latte and we all shared an apple blossom, tasted just like it sounds.

We decided to keep the morning pretty chill, and hung around for a bit. But soon we headed  towards Cobies, a popular clam shack in Brewster. We used to come here as kids, and the wait was always unbearable! But there was no problem this time, we got a table with plenty of shade and our order was ready almost instantly. With plenty of tarter sauce and ketchup to go around we dug into fried clam plates and fries, not kind on our health, but definitely delicious. Only problem was the food coma (but actually this time) afterwards.

With mid afternoon approaching it was beach time!

And then before we knew it, dinner time. We ate at Captain Linnell House, a typical Cape Cod restaurant but located inside of an old Captain’s mansion. It is a romantic restaurant that takes you back in time, with a beautiful garden out back and a large ballroom. Their menu has so many wonderful options but I decided on the summer salad, with tomatoes, basil, corn and ricotta, and the duck with a rich cherry sauce as a main. Very good, but I was a tad jealous of my mom’s pasta with mussels, lobster, and shrimp. We were all so full, we didn’t even have dessert! Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

All Things Around: The Cape

Vacation isn’t necessarily the most fun for your pet. Even if they are allowed to come along they are subject to crates whenever you leave, which happens to be often. So when we spend time at the rental we try to make the most of Mandy’s free time, tossing her toys about or playing peek a boo with the railing of the stairs are particular favorites.

After play time, we went to the Cottage St. Bakery for some morning treats. We’ve been going here for the past couple of visits, and keep returning for what they call a “Dirt Bomb”, essentially a muffin coated in butter and covered in cinnamon sugar. Along with a sticky fig bar, and a chocolate croissant we were ready to get going.

Next was a trip to the Brewster Store, an old favorite. We’ve been going there since we were too short to see over the candy jars. They always have the same stuff, but it is fun to browse their selection of intriguing panty goods, dishware, penny candy, and more. The front is the most iconic for me, and the allure of $.10 candy never gets dull.

Cape Cod is filled with many gift shops, but none live up to The Strawberry Patch. Housed within a converted horse stable, this gift shop offers an array of charming goods from strawberry themed hand towels to children’s toys. In the back is a garden featuring a giant railroad track and maze. My sister and I used to chase each other in that maze, and still do. The trees planted within the maze have grown as much as we have. It was a no brainer to come back this year.

It was time for a quick lunch, and with all of the the nostalgia it seemed fair enough to try something new. Craving some  seafood, we went for the $10 lobster rolls from Young’s Fish Market. A small shack near the water, Young’s has a great selection of fresh seafood, as well as fresh lobsters in the tank. They’re known for their lobster rolls, so we decided to give it a go. Much different from a certain lobster roll I am a fan of, these rolls were like lobster salad, the flavor you want, at a price that is hard to beat. With some Cape Cod chips, a lunch was made.

With energy still kicking we headed to play miniature golf at Cape Escape, again, another family tradition. Perhaps one of the nicest miniature golf courses, we like this place for their incredible selection of golf ball colors and incredible layout. It was not busy at all today so we were able to enjoy the game, rather than rush. Plus, it was the first time the entire family golfed a hole in one on one course!

If all of that wasn’t enough we drove out to Wellfleet for dinner at Mac’s Shack. Last year when we went we were stunned that our old favorite, The Lobster Hutt, was replaced by a busy sushi bar and restaurant. We gave it a try, and after over an hour wait, had a great dinner. This year we expected the same craziness, but it might have been a combination of being earlier in the season and the week that made the conditions ideal. We were seated right away, and enjoyed Wellfleet oysters and a mix of sushi that I washed down with a drink of club soda, pomegranate, and mint. I also enjoyed a dish of coconut curry scallops which I could eat once a week at least. Close to the pier, we finished off the night checking out the sights by the water. Most days at the Cape are not as eventful, but traditions keep us coming back each year for some new, and of course, the old.

All Things Around: The Weekend

I’m in Cape Cod for the week, so I am going to take a week off from the typical blogging schedule (or at least the one I pretend is completely organized…) Instead, enjoy a travelog of photos. Look out for updated posts about a few of my favorite restaurants in the coming weeks by searching “The Cape”.

I’ve been coming to the Cape for my entire life, so I know a thing or two about where to eat and have fun locally.

The first day is always the same, after a bleary drive in we start the vacation off with a full lobster dinner from The Lobster Pound, a trip to the supermarket for anything from Cape Cod chips to deodorant, and we end on a sweet note with hot fudge sundaes from our favorite place, Emack and Bolio’s. This year we were able to sneak in a couple innings of the local baseball. Sunday usually involves a lazy brunch, and our first trip the beach. We usually go to another favorite restaurant, so this year we went to the Nauset Beach Club for some plate-licking Italian food.