Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cape Cod

Cape Cod in late September. And our first visit to the Cape. What a lovely time. We stayed at a sweet little cottage off of Main St. in Chatham for the week owned by a couple of artists. Perfect for two and within walking distance of Chatham Light and the quaint and upscale shops and restaurants in town. The weather maintained a breezy 65-70 degrees during the day, heaven. Of course, it had to pour one of those days, but we were able to get in our early morning beach stroll before the deluge.

We stuck to the exploration of the Lower and Outer Cape. While we ventured into Hyannis one day, we quickly retreated to the more natural landscape of the National Seashore. Highlights included visiting several light houses, experiencing the unique and festive Provincetown – right before the place closed up for the season, whale watching, climbing Pilgrim Monument, seal communing, wild turkey lurking, meandering rocky and eerie seascapes along the bay at Wellfleet, trekking tidal vistas that had previously captivated Edward Hopper, learning about natives and washashores, wine-tasting at Truro, and consuming a whole heap of incredibly delicious seafood!

Check out a few photos:

And now, on to the food. As stated earlier, we had seafood most lunches and dinners. A few so-so, most mouth-watering and delightful. I’ve listed all of them with a few comments about each. You’ll see where I waxed rhapsodic.

First up, the interesting food-related shops:

Chatham Cheese Company – good stuff, good variety

Gustare Oils and Vinegars – Probably some upscale chain, but all they feature are infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. All can be tasted before purchasing. We bought lavender infused balsamic vinegar.

Chatham Jam and Jelly Shop – An expanded salt box house where the living room is the shop. Featured jellies include rose hip, cranberry, and wild beach plum (from locally harvested wild plums). Once again a taste before you buy establishment. We bought several.

Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod – the cab franc grapes looked fantastic in the vineyard, but the wines left a lot to be desired, lighthouse wine bottles keep sales brisk as well as the cranberry wine. Except for the cab franc, all other grape varieties are trucked in from other places

Now the restaurants:

Seamen’s Inne at Mystic Seaport – on the way, decent fried shrimp, abysmal service . Next time if the weather is nice we will check out the seafood shacks we saw before we arrived at the historic area and eat outside

Vinings Bistro – housed over top of the Dunkin’ Donuts and sharing space on the second floor with the Town Hall. Looks great, but a bit sketchy on the hostess service. The spitted and roasted chicken was delightful – a perfect mix of smoked, grilled, and roastedness. Decent lobster and spinach soft taco. The scallops competed with too many flavors and were not enjoyable. Crusher Petite Sirah from Clarksburg, CA took the edge off

Vining's Bistro on Urbanspoon
Chatham Village CafĂ© – locally roasted coffee, very expensive sandwiches – but open every day starting at 6 AM (so one can enjoy coffee during an early morning beach stroll)

Chatham Squire – so good we ate there twice, a list of mouth-watering daily specials including seafood (all sorts), other meats, and a pate of the day. We had shrimp scampi over spinach and pasta one night, excellent and succulent shrimp, and the best snapper ever. Our 2nd night was another scampi dish with gulf shrimp (Maine gulf), scallops, and big lobster chunks over lobster-stuffed ravioli, and get this – a bottle of Perrier- Jouet was only $45!! This is a must-eat place if you are ever in the neighborhood – relaxed, casual, reasonable bar drinks and a ditzy, yet friendly and fun waitress. They also have a great bar for four-legged companions

Chatham Squire Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Pepe’s Wharf (Provincetown) – excellent view of the bay while we ate on the sheltered lower deck, waiters definitely paid more attention to my hubby than me, good lobster roll with a lot of the succulent white meat, decent margaritas, too

Wild Goose Tavern – Chatham clams (or steamers) and shrimp Caesar salad. The clams were good, but very gritty, they were served with broth, but I was not able to figure out how to use the broth to get rid of the grit (yeah – I’m such a tourist), Hitching Post Pinot Noir – yum

The Original Gourmet Brunch (Hyannis) – 50 different variations of omelets from this mom and pop place

Marley’s – we were suckered in by the cat, but this locals place had great fried shrimp and a waitress that kept our wine glasses full of Wolf Blass Yellow Label the entire evening, best wait service

Marleys of Chatham on Urbanspoon
Moby Dick’s (Wellfleet) – fantastic lobster shack. I took great delight in tackling a steamed lobster, yummy, yummy. Hubby tried the Wellfleet oysters and while he liked them, he prefers the Virginia variety. For lobster, a must-eat place

MOBY Dicks on Urbanspoon
Impudent Oyster – very busy, even mid-week, very good filet and grilled lobster tail, delicious Seafood Putanesca, tasty Cabernet Sauvignon from Moon Mountain Vineyard in Sonoma

Impudent Oyster on Urbanspoon
Chatham Pier Fish Market – take out only with a large variety of seafood choices, we were thrilled with the fried shrimp and onion rings

Chatham Pier Fish Market on Urbanspoon
Woody’s Lobster Pool (Eastham) – probably a real rocking place during the summer, order at the counter and enjoy the huge bar, really good fried clam strips

Woody's Eastham Lobster Pool on Urbanspoon
Chatham Bars Inn – our big splurge night, fantastic clam chowder, 2005 Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru Les Peuillets from Rodolphe Demougeot (HUGE splurge, but very yummy), exquisite duck breast and leg confit, enjoyable tuna, very dark dining room, service was unfortunately second rate

Bottom line – if you go, devour the local seafood and enjoy the nature of the Cape.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great trip and loads of good sounding seafood. How if you could only tell me how to get the husband past Fredericksburg I might get to enjoy some of this good stuff.