Cape Cod & The Islands [General]

2008 Aug 6
Just returned from our annual "pilgrimage" to Cape Cod. It was great to get away and be by the ocean, and the weather was wonderful... mid 80s everyday (and no rain).

This year in addition to Cape Cod, we also ventured over to Nantucket. What a glorious spot, much unlike The Cape, very old world.

The food on this trip was fantastic! Here are some of the highlights:


The Vermont Pub & Brewery (Burlington, Vermont) - Stopped here for lunch on the way down. They only serve their inhouse microbrewed beers (about 10 different kinds), and they have a decent wine list by the glass (including sparkling). Not your greesy pub fare, really good and fresh ingredients. I had the "Ploughman's Lunch" it featured two Vermont Cheddars (one smoked) an individual loaf of bread, Vermont Westminister Crackers, homemade apple chutney, and two types of local mustards (one creamy, one grainy). Although it was quite evident that this location is very popular with the College Crowd, it was great to see decent food at student prices.

New Hampshire State Liquor Store (Concord, Massachusetts) - This state run liquor store is at a rest stop (and Tourist Info Centre) along the I93 just south of Concord. A MUST STOP for anyone travelling in either direction along I93 (there is a twin one across the Interstate for northbound traffic). New Hampshire has the cheapest liquor in the continental USA. The State of New Hampshire has no sales tax, so everything is unbelievably cheap... it is not unusual to see Wines and Spirits at half price compared to the LCBO. "The Man" was pleased to find a couple of Coppola vintages that are not readily available in Canada.

British Beer Company (Hyannis, Cape Cod) - A large assortment of beers on tap. For Lunch we shared "Mojito Grilled Shrimp" and "Vietnamese Shrimp Fresh Rolls". The Jumbo Shrimp were marinated in mint-rum-sugarcane and were served with bean sprouts, and a pineapple mango salsa (very spicy). The Shrimp Rolls were a combination of shrimp, fresh mango, cilantro, mint, carrots, beansprouts and noodles all handrolled in a delicate rice paper. They were served chilled (not fried) and served with a sweet red chili dipping sauce. Admist all the other upscale restaurants on Main Street in Hyannis, it is nice to see a decent pub (that just happens to serve interesting fare). They also have entertainment in the evenings.

The Black Cat (Hyannis, Cape Cod) - Alongside Hyannis Harbour, this is both an upscale Pub and Restaurant. The Pub has an extensive drink list including, Wine (about 15 by the glass), Beer, Spirits and Cocktails, and there is entertainment in the evenings. We had dinner here one night. We started with the Crabcakes, they came served on a bed of lettuces with cocktail sauce and mayo. "The Man" ordered the Stuffed Sole. The Sole was stuffed with Crab and Shrimp, and accompanied by Veggies and a Potatoe / Rice choice. I had the "Thai Coconut Shrimp" they were served on a bed of Spinach, Noodles and Veggies. A popular spot, and our Server was very busy, but we felt the food, location and decor were great.

Pepe's Wharf (Provincetown, Cape Cod) - This is an annual spot for us. Right off Commericial Street, this restaurant is as close to the waterfront as one can get. There is an inside restaurant, and a deck that sits upstairs atop the roof. As long as you can get a table in the shade it is perfect. The sun beats down pretty hard otherwise (although some do chose to sit in the sun). Every table as a view of the ocean, and busy Provincetown Harbour with its fleet of Fishing Boats, Ferries, Whale Watching Boats not to mention the Sailboats, Yachts and a bobbing assortment of dingys, kayaks and other small craft. Pepe's makes the best Gazpacho I have ever tasted, and it goes down well on a hot summer's day (it was close to 90 Degrees that day). Pepe's also has an extensive bar menu, and specialize in "girlie" cocktails, Lime Rickey is the house favourite, but they also make a mean homemade Hard Lemonade (lots of Rum among other things). Seafood is the specialty here... they make a wonderful Lobster Roll (a Cape Cod delicacy) but I prefer their Lobster Salad (same great taste, just minus the roll). There is the meat of one whole Lobster on a House Salad (greens & a few veggies). Diners have the choice of House Salad, Caesar Salad or Iceberg Wedge. "The Man" not a Lobster fan, had the "Stuffed Chicken", it was a Chicken Breast stuffed with Gouda and topped with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. The plate also came with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans. The food was delicious and the view outstanding!

The next 3 are what I would refer to as favourites with the locals... places that don't do a lot of advertising, but that one hears about thru word of mouth.

Doyle's Restaurant (South Yarmouth, Cape Cod) - Right off of Route 28, this is a small place, mostly a local bar, but they do have some tables, and therefore call themselves a Restaurant. It is very very basic in decor and presentation, but features the "local catch"... favourites include chowder, crabcakes and seafood linguini (they even have an appy size). But the majority of locals come here for the bar... it is a friendly bunch of regulars who enjoy the sports on the big screen (Boston rules!), "free pour" drinks and state run keno. A good spot to have a drink and catch up on "the news" when on vacation.

BarbyAnne's (Hyannis, Cape Cod) - Off the beaten path, away from Main Street near the Hyannis Rotary, closer to the Airport. BarbyAnne's for years had a more prominent location, but traded location in for a larger building (and no doubt lower rent). The money they save on rent is a Godsend... they can now serve great food at lower prices! I had a fantastic "Lobster Dinner" here for under $ 20 (comparable to $ 30 to $ 50 Dinners elsewhere). I had a choice of a Steamed Lobster or a Stuffed Lobster. The meal started with a Salad (I chose the House Salad), and besides the 1-1/4 Lb Lobster also had a veggie side, a Potatoe / Rice choice. The Lobster was fantastic! "The Man" ordered a "Steak" it was done perfectly, and also came with a Salad, Veggie and Baked Potatoe. Dinner was delicious and extremely inexpensive considering the quality and quantity of food we received.

Harry's Blues Bar & Grill (Hyannis, Cape Cod) - At the far end of Main Street a couple of blocks from the main core. Has fantastic Cajun Food and live music (gets top name acts, comparable to the Rainbow in Ottawa). I had the "Jambalaya" starter, "The Man" had a cup of Chili. For our mains "The Man" and I both chose the "BBQ Combo", a platter of a half-rack or ribs and a half-chicken. The meal came with Fries and a dish of coleslaw. I am sure there was a "secret ingredient" in the coleslaw, I believe I tasted a hint of coconut milk. The food was soul-full, the music great, and we even got in a little dancing!

Canucks open a spot in Cape Cod...

Hyannis now has a new spot next to the Harbourfront. A transplanted Canuck from Nova Scotia named Corey, has recently opened a place called Mr Dude's Fish & Chips. The "twist" here is he has taken to serving Poutine... although I take it he has "Caped It" up some how... I don't know for sure we didn't visit, I only heard about the place.

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If you enjoyed this "Eat Around The Cape", check back for Part Two and the spots we visited on Nantucket.

2008 Aug 6

We only had one full day in Nantucket, but we made the most of it. We took the highspeed ferry over in the morning (I had no issues with the crossing, in the AM the ocean was fairly flat) we even chose to sit outside on the upper deck. The evening return to Hyannis was little rougher, but I was well prepared, and did just fine.

After arriving in Nantucket, we walked around the Harbour, it was fun to look at all the yachts in dock from all over the world. We saw lots of boats registered in Massachusetts, and quite a few from other New England States (Rhode Island, Delware, Maryland). But there were also some from farther afield, The Carolinas and Florida. Besides that we saw some boats that quite frankly bordered on being a "ship" these were large seaworthy vessels with a crew. A couple of "locals" told us the largest one in port (4 stories) had a Captain and a crew of about 10. We spent the better part of the day wandering around the downtown area. It is like something right out of history (the 1600s to be exact), cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks... you have to watch your step, as there is no even footing. The downtown area is a mixture of public buildings, churches, upscale shops, restaurants and accomodations (mostly B&Bs and Inns).

I will give more detailed info about the two restaurants we visited (one for lunch, one for late afternoon drinks in seperate posts), but we did go to a very popular ice cream shop after lunch.

Nantucket Ice Cream (Nantucket, MA) – Homemade ice cream shop not far from the Steamship Authority Warf. Ice cream cones are expensive around $ 5.00 for a single, but the ice cream is delicious. One has a choice of a regular cone, cake cone (something like a waffle) or in a cup. Toppings are available (like M&Ms, nuts, etc). The ice creams are interesting combinations and have locally inspired names. I went with one called "Maddaket Mud"... it was a coffee base with ground up oreo cookies and some chocolate and caramel sauce in there too. Incredibly good. I ordered it with the FREE Sprinkles, so it really was decadent.

2008 Aug 6
The Club Car (Nantucket, MA) - A unique setting, this restaurant has a railway club car attached to the primary building. The club car houses a bar area and a few tables, it is the space that they utilize for lunch. We had a peek at the main dining room and it looked very comfortable. The Lunch specialty at The Club Car is an assortment of Sandwiches, Salads and Chowwwwdar. I chose a bowl of the Clam Chowder and it was fantastic! Chocked full of clams and potatoes. We didn’t have any of the sandwiches on offer (Turkey, Ham or Roast Beef) but the bartender does double duty as ‘the cook’ and makes them right in front of the patron. The sandwiches looked yummy. They are assembled on Portugese Bread (the Portugese were amongst the first settlers in this area) and we met several locals during the day, who raved about the bread and lunch at The Club Car. While enjoying our lunch we were joined by local artist Marshall DuBock who is a permanent resident of Nantucket, having grown up there since childhood. Mr. DuBock is a respected area artist, and runs a gallery in town. He recently painted a picture of The Club Car (the original hangs in the restaurant) and we were impressed with his talent. The photo here is off his website, and is a copy of that painting. Next time we get back to Nantucket I plan to visit his gallery, he does beautiful detailed work, and I'd love to buy even a print of one of his paintings.

2008 Aug 6
The RopeWalk (Nantucket, MA) – Almost every building in Nantucket has historical significance. The RopeWalk (photo) is a Bar & Restaurant right on the wharf in Nantucket Harbour, once upon a time was the building where ropes were made during the Whaling Days. Surrounded by water on 3 sides the location is spectacular. This Restaurant is the quintessential beachside building… French doors that open on all sides, white washed interior, lanterns for lighting. We arrived late in the afternoon and travelled thru the dining room (set for dinner with white linens and sparkling glassware), to the back of the building, where the bar is situated. A wonderful breeze blew thru the entire bar area, the smell of salt on the air. The views of the Harbour were fantastic. All around us boats were coming and going from their slips. “The Man” had a beer, I ordered a glass of champagne (real French Champagne) and we enjoyed this piece of history as our Cape Cod vacation came to an end.

Nothing on Nantucket is inexpensive... everything has to either come by ferry or be flown in. That combined with the fact that most businesses are seasonal and have to make their cash between May 1st and December 1st. So generally prices are 20 to 25 percent higher than on the mainland. But knowing that ahead of time makes it somewhat easier to deal with. That and falling in love with the scenery makes it easy to swallow. This place is picture perfect. No wonder so many of America's millionaires summer here! Now if I could just win the lottery.

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As an aside we had a great unexpected treat on the way home. We stopped in Albany, New York to do some "chain store" shopping at the Crossroads Mall (where I90 intersects with I87), and decided to eat at a restaurant in the Mall.

Uno Chicago Grill (Albany, New York) – This is a chain restaurant, (reminded me of a TGIFridays) we were pleasantly surprised by their Lunch Menu. For a very reasonable price one can have the Sandwich Special (there are several to pick from) that comes with either Unlimited Soup or Salad. “The Man” and I both chose the Turkey Bacon Sandwich, it came with real turkey, tomato, lettuce and onion, the plate also had a side of nacho chips. As our accompaniment we both went to the Soup Bar. There were 4 different varieties offered: Veggie Supreme, Minestrone, Italian Wedding or Cream of Broccoli. I had the Minestrone and it was chocked full of veggies and some pasta, it was more of a stew than a soup, and could easily have served as the main course. The sandwich was great as well. I will definitely add this to my very short list of USA Familystyle Restaurants. (I also noticed they had a decent by the glass wine list, 13 different offerings with a wide assortment of varietals, someone at Head Office knows their wine).

2008 Aug 6
Thought you might be interested in seeing what a good artist Marshall DuBock is... I found this photo of the actual "Club Car" Restaurant. Compared to his interpretation (photo of the painting is a couple of posts above) I think he did an excellent job in the details... the cedar shakes, the brick sidewalk and the cobblestone street.