Yarmouth and MV weekend help needed
We have reservations for a late September weekend at a cottage in Yarmouth. Originally we had planned on MV but have to be very fiscally conservative this year. We're 4 friends who spend a weekend together each year. We plan to go to MV as a day trip on Saturday so need a suggestion for a tasty and moderately priced lunch that we can get to by walking or the bus.
We're arriving Friday and also need a lunch place suggestion somewhere between NH and the Yarmouth vicinity. We all like seafood but top priority would be a wonderful place to have a good lunch. Recently we met at Lucca's in Keene NH for trip planning and loved it - small with interesting dishes.
Then we have Friday night and Saturday night dinners to cook at the cottage. I don't think we'll have a grill but have a real stove/oven. Where is a good seafood market or truck? We might need some good muffins or bagels, too. I have a fall back recipe for simple seared scallops but it's September on the Cape ... is there a local fish that's perfect for that time of year? We're considering a big meal to include appetizers/tapas for Friday night and chowder on Saturday night. Should we make it easier and buy some chowder/stew/bisque at a local market?
I'm a decent cook but not well experienced with fish so would also appreciate being pointed to a good recipe. If I should just keep it simple with crumbs and EVO, tell me.
We plan to visit the Gorey Museum Friday afternoon but will have a cooler if the best fish market is in Brewster. I don't think we want to drive much past Yarmouth since we'll already have been in the car for a long ride.
I have done research but have 3 finicky friends to please. Last year's trip planner had us eating twice at mediocre NYC Italian restaurants during a festival weekend. It seems we always waste a good opportunity when we don't do enough planning.
If you're driving through Boston during the lunch hour, stop at Neptune Oyster for a terrific meal.
If you make it all the way to Yarmouth, and it's a nice day, go the extra 15 minutes to Sesuit Cafe in East Dennis and get some fried seafood or lobster rolls. Sit outside on the Jetty and watch the boats come in and out of the harbor.
There's a reasonable fish market in Yarmouth on Rte 28 across from Cap't Parkers Pub where you could get clams, lobsters and fish. It's called the Cape Codder Market I think. There's also a good, albeit pricey fish monger next door to Peterson's Market (best butcher shop on Cape) on 6A in Yarmouthport. Its about 3 miles past the Gorey Museum. My favorite local fish is Striped Bass, a firm white fish. If not on the grill on high for 10 mins, then under the oven's broiler for 8-10 mins. I like to top the fish filets with a duxell of mushroom, garlic, shallots and parsley sauteed in butter and evoo with breadcrumbs. Easier still is a simple seafood topping of crushed Ritz crackers toasted in a sautee pan with a little evoo.
Lobsters are reasonable this season at prices around $6.99-7.99 per pound. So 10 bucks buys a nice meal that you can steam at home for 12 minutes and you're good to go with some melted butter on the side. Feeling adventurous? Google "butter poached lobster" and give it a go. Easy enough and quite terrific. Steamers, soft shell clams, are easy to cook and a great local appetizer. Making your own chowder is quite rewarding and the results are better than anything you'll ever get at any restaurant. Here's my go-to recipe and I find it incredible. My tweeks are to finely chop the bacon instead of 1 inch pieces, three tablespoons of garlic instead of 1/2 cup, and I skip the hickory flavoring. Make it the day before you want to eat it and you'll thank me later.........enjoy!
For an MV restaurant, something moderately priced and it could be a take-out place. One friend who doesn't have to be fiscally conservative said she wanted to go to the Black Dog but I haven't read anything good about it. We can't do sushi or even dim sum because they are finicky. One always wants Italian and tends to order a salad if it's lunch. Another loves goat cheese. A great sandwich place would work. I brown bag it 5 days a week and don't get to interesting restaurants very often. I'm not an old lady yet but I think the others are. One loves Indian and that worked fine one year when she helped the rest of us order nothing too spicy.
CapeCodGuy, thanks for the striped bass recommendation and chowder recipe. I appreciate the tip to make a day ahead and that would be perfect to do on Friday for Sat evening's meal. I'm surprised to see so much garlic in a chowder recipe but I'll trust your judgement. Too bad scapes are out of season, I'm still learning what to do with them (I garden).
I've tested three cherry tomato jam recipes that should work well on goat cheese spread on bagels or other firm bread. My plan is to make some things ahead of time and bring some things from home. My garden got hit by frost last year on Sept 18 but I have my fingers crossed that I'll have some fresh vegetables from the garden to serve with the fish.
Girardi's only serves lunch during the summer. Does that mean until Columbus Day or Labor Day? Hopefully we'll be on the Cape by lunch time or a late lunch.
Many thanks for the help and suggestions. With Friday and Sat night dinner menus targeted, I can do the food planning and grocery list.
The Black Dog is a tourist destination that many tourists are obsessed with, however it is not always popular among people who appreciate top quality food and service. The business started as a small restaurant and has now become a major business with their primary emphasis being the t-shirts, which certainly helps market The Black Dog. Those t-shirts are everywhere. Sadly, many visitors to the island limit their dining experiences to The Black Dog, but so be it. You may find that people in your group insist on nothing else. Living year round on the Vineyard for close to two decades has convinced us that The Black Dog is the number one destination for most tourists.
If you are going to be in Edgartown and are willing to do take out try Humphrey's which has amazing custom made sandwiches. The most popular are the Cuban and the Gobbler which seems like an entire Thanksgiving feast between two huge slabs of homemade bread. (Try the oatmeal bread.) If you want sit down in Edgartown it sounds like your group might like The Wharf or even Alchemy. The Wharf is more low key and family friendly, with basic food. Alchemy is a more sophisticated place but has better food. And it is more expensive.
In Oak Bluffs, you could try Offshore Ale or Giordano's which would probably satisfy everyone in terms of price and they type of food.
Vineyard Haven is not as food friendly these days, in my opinion, but you could try Waterside Market. They have sandwiches and a large seating area. They have sandwiches and salads.
11 Main St, Edgartown, MA 02539
76 Main St, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568
Not sure how long Girardi's will be serving lunch as they just started doing so this season. It's really just average at best anyway. Nothing is really distinctive, from the food to the room. I find the sauce rather bland and the pasta of the cheap boxed variety. For really fine Italian, Alberto's on Main Street, Hyannis, does lunch year round. Sit outside on the sidewalk if weather permits. It's quite a bit more expensive than Giradi's, but head and shoulders above it in food prep, quality, selection, ambiance, and service.
Just got back from an 8 day trip to Cape and a larger post will come. But my 2 favorite meals of the trip were Norabella (on Rte 28 in Yarmouth) and Pisces (on 28 in Chatham, but just inches over the Denis line).
We did Girardi's with kids and grandparents and it was good - - - but no match for the other 2 noted.
Foley, I too enjoyed Norabella. Was your large party comfortable? When it was Girardi's and was packed all the time it did get a little confined. When I was at Norabella it was empty. Pisces was great but I again felt it was too confined and had a few bad service experiences so stopped going. So many great choices. What was lacking Foley, at Girardi's? I am heading their tonight for my first Cape Cod meal after arriving back. It is my daughter's last night working there. I know the waitresses and owners well and whilst I am sure everyone has an off night, they strive hard to offer a great dining experience. Thanks for sharing Foleyd7.
Girardi's typical Italian-American red sauce fare falls somewhat flat to this taster. The sauce is rather bland and uninspired. It could be out of a jar given it's lack of taste. The pasta is the real disappointment, IMO. It's just not that hard to make homemade, or at least offer a high quality boxed or store-bought fresh variety. Especially disappointing is their gnocchi. Compare it to the lovingly crafted versions at Columbo's, Tomatoes, or even Barolo's and you'll see what I mean. Also, I was happy to see the stuffed "lobster" tail off the menu. Barely a whisp of lobster in buttery breadcrumbs for $11 I believe. The veal, in the veal parm, was quite good, however, and they prepare it well (although the cheap pasta and basic sauce are still present.).
We were fine at Girardi's in terms of space. My biggest issue with them is over-saucing. I had a grilled veal chop with potatoes and garlicy spinach. Problem was, the entire plate had a ladel of red sauce laid down first which I thougth was unnecessary and hurt the other ingredients a bit. We have experienced the oversaucing on a few other dishes too.
Norabella was packed solid for our 8:30 reservation on a Sun night (just me and my wife). Seating came in after us too, including a party of 6 at 9 pm.
Smallish tables don't bother me too much when I'm not with kids, so Norabella and Pisces were fine for me and my wife.
As for Pisces service we had a very good server at our table - - - but I did notice a few servers who didn't appear thrilled to be working. Maybe we had the luck of the draw with our guy.
Reporting back: We made it to Alberto's for a late lunch. The menu was perfect for us and despite the beautiful weather last Friday we chose to eat indoors away from traffic but many people were enjoying the sidewalk tables. I enjoyed my Italian quesadilla and we all loved the house salad. Our only complaint was the service may have been too quiet, too reserved. The young woman was very professional but we missed feeling welcomed.
We visited the Gorey museum and then checked in at the cottage. My dubious compadres wouldn't shop until we saw the size of the refrigerator and what kind of supplies we might need. I was disappointed that striped bass was not available at the Fish Market but the haddock was very good. I asked to have the skin removed (I had to learn to like fish after I was married) so the customer before us cheerily told me to leave the skin on next time because it adds flavor. I used a recipe for sauteed garlic and tomatoes to top the filets and baked in a foil packet to minimize clean up. (Darned but I forgot to add the garden fresh thyme sprigs I had picked that morning.) I also thought the fish at the Super Stop & Shop looked dry so I'm glad we got ours at the Fish Market.
While buying the fish we noticed that Captain Parkers looked very popular and advertised award-winning chowder. We bought some bread in Oak Bluffs and stopped for chowder take-out on the way back from the ferry on Saturday. Although one friend is the serious cheddar type of cheese eater they all enjoyed some goat cheese topped with tomato jam I had made from my cherry tomato surplus. It was chilly but sunny as we enjoyed pumpkin beer. Had to fend off a one-legged seagull. We knew better than to offer him even a tiny morsel. He looked like he was doing just fine on one leg.
We took a short van tour of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. The driver recommend Nancy's or Offshore Ale and also Ben and Bill's ice cream. It was too early for lunch so of course we ruined our appetites with ice cream first. Very hard to choose from the multitude of flavors and I'm still kicking myself for not getting two of the gelato flavors. Nancy's was too crowded and noisy with a limited menu and my friends wanted Mexican. We liked Sharky's cantina very much. The other three had dishes that included guacamole which they thought was very very good and liked that it was a little chunky. The cole slaw that came with my sweet pulled pork sandwich appeared homemade which is rare nowadays. I asked that the slaw be served on the side. I had to eat half the pulled pork before I dared to bite into the sandwich. The waitress was very patient with us and we appreciated that. Although MV wasn't as busy as it is in summer she must get very tired of people who can't make up their minds and ask questions that have nothing to do with the food and the restaurant.
We had breakfasted at the cottage since research had shown we would need to leave two hours ahead of the ferry schedule because of the drive and the remote parking lots and shuttle buses. On Sunday the other three got their breakfast out that they wanted and chose the Pancake Man. Nice service. Great selection of breakfast items. Good family place. The veggie bowl got raves from one friend, another liked a Mexican style omelet and I was happy with my plain ol' pigs in a blanket. Only complaint was from the person who ordered an eggs benedict type of dish and didn't care for the sauce which she didn't think was even close to Hollandaise.
Thanks for all the advice. The four of us debate at trip more than we plan. Would have gone to the spice company in Truro if they had been open on Sunday.
RR 28, Yarmouth Port, MA 02675