Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >
Jun 29, 2008 04:41 PM

Cape Cod--What makes it unique?

I'm planning a vacation to Cape Cod in July and I wanted to know what makes Cape Cod unique from a culinary standpoint. And where are the best places to find these goodies?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Kimie- Provincetown lobster. We have bought it on the dock, moments after the boat tied up at the wharf. The lobsterman was tired after a long day, and really happy to sell on the spot. Boiled, and served with local corn and ripe local tomato,(okay, okay, okay!!!, there was melted butter,) in the most amazing evening light I have seen... remains one of my most memorable meals. Ever. And, extremely humbling, on the sides of some wharf buildings were black and white portraits of mothers and grandmothers of the fishermen. Almost as if sending off and welcoming back their families from the sea. Such difficult jobs for all concerned. Unique, here, is the tradition, endeavor and history. I imagine that is consistant throughout the Cape. Have a wonderful vacation.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rosieg

      You paint a very nice picture. Great post.

      1. re: CapeCodGuy

        Thank you, CapeCodGuy. That was nice of you to say.

    2. Hmm..I have to say when the local scallops are in, wow. I love Bluefish and Striped Bass, both local favorites if prepared nicely. Welfleet oysters are amazing. I had some Chatham Mussells in May at Naked What else, homemade cranberry jams ..rose hip jams, salt water taffy...locally made fudge, homemade ice cream......locally made wines (Truro)....

      1 Reply
      1. re: luci

        And don't forget local steamers...soft shell clams from local waters.

      2. p.s. where are you staying so we can point you in the right direction?

        1 Reply
        1. re: luci

          I'm staying in the Yarmouth area--but we'll travel any where. I wasn't planning on going to either island, though.

        2. If you are familiar with coastal New England Seafood, I am not sure that Cape Cod is unique from a culinary standpoint as compared with Ipswich/Essex or DownEast Maine. That being said, there are many fine spots for fresh seafood, excellent clam chowder (Land Ho, Orleans), fine dining (Abba, Orleans), fried fish (Arnold's, Eastham), Lobster Rolls (The Raw Bar, Mashpee), etc.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bakerboyz

            Ipswich and Downeast Maine....hmmmm.....not sure what they would have that's superior to the Cape. I'm quite partial to Cotuit or Welfleet oysters, Barnstable quahogs, cherrystones, and littlenecks, sea clams and razor clams from Dennis, mussels from Falmouth, and the local lobster is quite sweet as well. Never mind the stripers, bluefish, flounder, halibut, and cod fished in local waters. Heck, I enjoy the periwinkels and smelts...but that's probably just me.

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              What restaurants would you suggest to someone looking to eat the local seafood, as you mentioned above? It doesn't matter where on the cape I have to travel--our whole trip is focused around this activity.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                As I read his post, bakerboyz says nothing about Ipswich or Downeast Maine being superior to the cape, he simply says there is nothing particularly unique about the cape's cuisine. As a twice annual cape vacationer, that is a point with which I must agree.

                1. re: terrystu

                  As a 50 year Cape resident, and thrice annual visitor to Maine, I must disagree. While it's true that the type of cuisine found on Cape can be very similar to those other locales, it's the ingredients that are unique to Cape Cod. Local bay scallops, for just one instance, don't exist in the wild in Maine. I've been fortunate to have been well travelled in my life and have never experienced a sweeter, more tender morsal, than local scallops taken from bay waters. I feel the same about our clams, oysters and other shellfish. Maine Lobster and Maine Shrimp, now that's another story.... :-)

            2. If you stumble across anything that suggests Portuguese heritage, that's probably real, old, Cape Cod. These things are either not found in restaurants, or are more likely to turn up in non-fancy places. Examples:

              - Kale Soup -- clear broth,made with potatoes, chicken, linguica (or is it chorizo?), -- spicy sausages
              - Local breakfast places will also put those sausages in omelettes
              - portuguese bread in a round, flour-dusted loaf. Makes the best cucumber or tomato sandwiches, with just mayo, salt, pepper. Doesn't sound like much, but they are addictive.
              - JAG. What heck is jag anyway? Anyone who can answer that is really really local, probably from Falmouth or Ptown. Hint -- you can usually get it for breakfast. It may not be on the menu.

              Besides that stuff, if you go way down Cape, you might get some beach plum jam.
              - Wellfleet or Cotuit Oysters.