Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hyannis Port

Before we left P-Town, we had to make a stop at the Portuguese Bakery, which is written up on every Cape Cod list of places to eat. They are known for their malasada's, huge pieces of fried dough covered in sugar. Yum. We also tried the breakfast sandwich with linguicia, a fried egg and cheese on a Portuguese bun. Did not suck.

Appropriately fueled, we joined two others on one of Art's Dune Tours. We drove out on the highway, and entered the sand dunes via the fire road. The driver was really passionate about the area and had a lot of information to share about the different plants, flowers and animal tracks we saw. It was a really interesting and pretty 1-hour drive in an area we wouldn't have been able to see on our own. There is one walking path that leads from the highway, across the dunes and to the seashore that I would love to do next time. Other than that, there are no vehicles allowed (except the tour) so it is a very pristine area.
There are also a handful of shacks scattered throughout the dunes and we learned that you can rent them for a week at a time. There is no electricity, running water or bathrooms so it is a very off the grid experience. I'd highly recommend taking this tour if you find yourself in P-Town.

Leaving Provincetown we passed all these cute little cottages along the beachfront. Some were quite posh, others a bit run down, but all were tiny and cute- I'd love to see the inside of one!
We drove the scenic 6A down through Rock Harbor to Chatham, before stopping for lunch at Chatham Fish Market for, you guessed it! A lobster roll! Well Dayne had a roll and I asked for a small basked of fried clams, what came out was a huge basked that the two of us could barely make a dent in! Note that CFM's fried food is all gluten free for those of you who shun the flour.

The towns in Cape Cod are adorable, some so small that if you blink you will miss them. Shingled houses, American flags, mini golf, ice cream shops, and Main Streets all look plucked straight out of 1950. Route 6A is definitely the way to go, highway 6 drives you straight through the middle which looks like SoDo.

Hyannis Port is quite a bit larger in size than the towns we had just driven through. And in fact, it is just a subdivision of Hyannis which seems like a city comparatively. Our hotel, the Anchor In, was right on the water, giving us only views of the harbor, the marina, and the boats, coming and going. It was also right near the ferry docks which made taking the ferry to Nantucket super easy.

On Main Street you'll find an assortment of cute shops and restaurants, one place in particular we had great cocktails and dinner at, was The Naked Oyster. Of course lobster was on the menu!
Hyannis Port is known for their Kennedy's. We didn't do it but the town has a self-guided walk you can take to see some of the sites and places they frequented.  Using Google street view to identify it from a photo in a brochure, we did see the Kennedy compound from the ferry. We also went to the JFK Museum which houses a collection of family photos as well as two videos about the family. 
Strangely, we saw the name of one of Dayne's classmates on the family tree that is displayed. During the reunion we told him about it only to find out he had no idea he was listed in the museum as he had just married into the family 3 years ago or so.

Having grown up hearing about the Kennedy's all playing lawn football at the compound and summering in Hyannis Port, it was fun to see the places and be in the small town for a couple of days.


Cape Cod photos are here




Saturday, June 16, 2012

P-Town

We left Boston, in not so nice weather, and headed south towards Cape Cod, making a quick stop in Plymouth. Striking out on any of the nicer, recommended restaurants for lunch due to it being late in the afternoon, we had some pub grub and shandy's on tap at the wacky T Bones Roadhouse. Saved from starvation, we braved the crazy wind, rain and cold and toured the Mayflower II. It's pretty damn interesting; the tiny ship, a replica of the Mayflower, was built in England and crossed the Atlantic in 1957.

The staff on board are dressed in period garb and answer your questions as if they are actual passengers and crew. A little hokey, yes, but still very informational. Those quarters were small!! Those beds were small (the few beds there were!). The whole ship was damn small for 102 people.

And of course you can't go to Plymouth without seeing the rock. A plain grey boulder with 1620 engraved on it. It's housed under a grand cement canopy which seems all together crazy, but I didn't get a photo of that cuz it was damn cold and stormy and my feet were soaked!
From the looks on the drive in and out of Plymouth it seems like a really quaint place with old houses and shops, but that storm had us back in our car and back on the road to Cape Cod. As we crossed the Sagamore Bridge onto the cape, here was our view, ugh.
We stuck to Route 6, the fast but boring highway, all the way to Provincetown, the northern most point. We found the Brass Key Guesthouse easily and were so happy that we had chosen it for our stay! The owners purchased surrounding houses over time, creating a bit of a compound, with a lovely patio, pool and hot tub in the center. Each "house" has its own feel, we were in the Captain's House which was where the evening wine and cheese hour was hosted and also had a roof top deck with lovely views.
Wine and cheese hour over, we went out to explore the town and being as it was the opposite of flip flop weather, I went in search of a new pair of more suitable shoes. Luckily, Commercial Street is full of cute boutiques and I was wearing new shoes in no time. We made our way down to the very old and divey, Govern Bradford for a pre dinner drink (not great but we've had worse) and then on to dinner at Jimmy's Hideaway. This was such a great spot! The owners, Jimmy and Raife, were so fun, we moved to the bar after dinner and had a blast. And if Jimmy isn't the spitting image of George Clooney...
We ran into them twice the next morning and they shouted a friendly "hi!", too bad that when we tried to have after dinner drinks again there that night they were closed. Don't try to go on Tuesdays!

In the morning grey, drizzly skies greeted us again so we took a little tour around the lower/outer cape as the area is called. Most people don't realize that before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they landed at Provincetown. There is a 252 foot memorial tower in their honor and Dayne decided to climb the 116 steps to the top, I decided to map out where we were having lunch :)
Our afternoon consisted of the BEST lobster rolls at The Friendly Fisherman in Eastham (really, we ate lobster rolls everywhere and this was the best!), a drive along the beach to the famed and much photographed Nauset Light (they leave off the word "house" those wacky Cape Codders!) and finding the strange and tiny Three Sisters, lighthouses that have been moved away from the coast and into a park.
We also visited the Marconi Station site and took a nice walk on the White Cedar Swamp Trail. Our stop in Wellfleet for afternoon oysters was ill timed as most places weren't open for the season yet, so after a nice drink at Winslow's Tavern we visited the oldest lighthouse on the Cape, Cape Cod Light, before returning to our hotel for wine and cheese hour and a soak in the hot tub.
Another fantastic recommendation from our hotel concierge and other guests led us to Victor's for a wonderful dinner.  And no visit to P-Town is complete without a visit to the Crown and Anchor. Being right before the "season" it was quiet but we still met a cast of characters to entertain us.

Boston/Cape Cod photos

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Back to Boston, Part 2

Seven months later I was back in Boston, this time with Dayne on our way to his Andover reunion. Since we've both been multiple times, we were mainly just in to check out some restaurants and bars before heading to Cape Cod for a week. This post should be titled, Booze & Food in Boston.

We decided to stay at the Kimpton Marlowe in Cambridge since we hadn't stayed in that area before. The hotel was very good and had great service, we'd absolutely stay again. They have kayaks and bike you can borrow when the weather is nice, and of course the Kimpton wine hour each evening.

















 Our first stop was at the semi new Brick & Mortar to say hi to Misty who had since left Drink, and to have a fantastic cocktail which she is so good at making. The bar also has some very good food including chicken confit wings. Before we left Misty poured us shots of house bottled and chilled Diamondbacks. Now that is a shot I can get behind.



Next stop, Island Creek Oyster Bar. This is the sister restaurant and bar to Eastern Standard and was really fantastic with a great cocktail menu and raw bar. Seasonal, as well as innovative mains, like my fluke with spatzel and favas and Dayne's lobster roe noodles with braised beef and lobster tail were excellent.

We finished the evening with a nightcap at The Hawthorn Bar, connected to both the restaurant and The Commonwealth Hotel. We had been chatting with the restaurant manager and he offered to get us into the bar, past the line, with fantastic seats in the small bar. I'd like to go back and have a few more rounds here as well!



Sunday morning started at Eastern Standard for brunch. We found the drinks as good as when we originally visited 5 years ago but the food itself was just meh.

The rest of the day was spent shopping around Harvard Square as well as grabbing a quick salad and drink at the Russell, after finding the new location of the Brazilian restaurant Orinoco closed between the hours of 3 and 5pm.

We had happy hour at the recommended Green Street, a funky old bar and grill that made me feel like I was drinking at Paul Revere's house (small, low timbered ceilings...)

Our friend Joel happened to be in town on business from Seattle so the 3 of us met up for a wonderful dinner at Craigie on Main (which also has a really stellar cocktail menu). We opted for the 6 course $65 tasting menu which was awesome. This dish of squid ink pasta and clam followed a dish of three amuse, one of them being squid noodles. I loved the natural succession of the courses. 




Before leaving for Cape Cod (and then Andover) in the morning, we had a tip from Woodinville distributor Steve Williams to check out Grand Ten Distilling in South Boston. The tasting room is still under construction but the gin is bottled and ready to be purchased. It's a great American style gin, similar in flavor to our own San Juan's Spy Hop but it includes the local cranberry as the acid note. Additionally they are aging a gin, have their own apple brandy in barrels and are going to be bottling a Medford style rum soon. Check them out the next time you are there!




Heading south to Boston, from the reunion the next week, we checked out a few more places before flying home.

Just north of Cambridge we stopped in Somerville to taste our way through a nice bitters selection at The Boston Shaker. They have loads of fun stuff for drink geeks including bar ware, books and bitters/syrups/garnishes. Highly recommend a stop if you have the chance.

Back in Boston we had one more taste of the Cape at Summer Shack, a casual fun eatery in Back Bay. Oysters on the half shell, lobster rolls, clam rolls and house made chips. All delicious.

Then we spent some time exploring the New England Aquarium, home of Myrtle the 600 pound turtle, shark and ray touch tanks, jellies, penguins and seals before catching our flight back home.




All Boston photos here

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Location:Boston, MA

Monday, June 11, 2012

Back to Boston, Part 1

Last November Forest & I met up in Boston for a girl's weekend, basically a halfway point between Seattle and Paris. Also handy that our friend Prerna was living there at the time, making it an especially fun catch up!

I arrived in the evening and the three of us immediately headed out to Eastern Standard where another girlfriend, Kitty, was hosting a launch party for No. 3 Gin. Girlfriends, gin & well made cocktails; what better way to kick off a weekend.
photo "borrowed" from Forest

On the way home we stopped off at Citizen, a cute place for drinks and food, to say hi to another friend from Seattle who is in Boston for law school (natch).

In the morning we took a beautiful drive out along the coast. The fall colors were still holding on and it was a gorgeous sunny day. Our first stop was Marky's Lobster Pool just across the border in New Hampshire, for lunch of lobster rolls, fried clams & onion rings. Not bad, not the best I've had but a great atmosphere right on the shore and certainly a good stop if you are up in the area.

We then headed to Newburyport which is a very cute New England town, lots of brick and cobblestones. We found a huge antiques shop in a big old barn and spent some time wandering around the boutiques and windows shopping.

Back in town, we headed over to Drink for pre-dinner cocktails. The space and the libations here are excellent. We had a great time and got to see yet another friend, Misty, who was mixing behind the bar.

Dinner that night was at Bondir in Cambridge. Wow! This place is just fantastic! It's a tiny spot so reservations are essential. There is a lovely fireplace, where they were roasting chestnuts to serve as a snack with our wine while we waited for our table.

Kitty had joined us and with the menu being full of easy to share, delicious sounding dishes we had a really hard time deciding what to get. We finally settled on it all, minus the soup and the chicken dish. Restraint you know?
Also "borrowed" from Forrest

The chef, French born and bred, was happy to come out and chat with us. The staff was excellent and the food was really, really good. I'd love to go back and highly recommend it for those heading to Boston. One of the stand out dishes for me was "Hand-Rolled Cavatelli, Tamworth Sow and Venison Ragu, Red Wine, Bitter Cocoa". Gorgeous.

Full on excellent wine and food we headed back to Prerna's for nightcaps and girly chat until the wee hours.

Because we were all a bit worn out from the night before, we opted to hang out around the house, work on our upcoming Costa Rica trip and rent Rom-coms.

But the next morning we walked down to Prerna's neighborhood Venezuelan restaurant and bar, Orinoco,  for some seriously decadent arepas and Brazilian sours. Now that is the way to start a day! They just opened a new location in Cambridge that is mostly restaurant, this one had a cute little bar too, but I hear all the offerings are the same.

After dropping Forest off at the airport, Prerna and I spent the beautiful fall afternoon walking around Harvard Square and shopping. We also had very good drinks & dinner at the Russell House Tavern.

Beantown never disappoints!


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