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Cape Cod Doldrums

The local food scene is stuck in a rut. At least I am, I guess. The SE board has been dead as can be. Anything happening to excite a SE Mass native languishing on CC?

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  1. Lots happening in Falmouth!! I hate to get too excited, less I get my hopes crushed. A new breakfast/sandwich shop opened where Arties used to be on Main St called Parkside Market. I heard the owner's also have a place on the Vineyard. I've been there twice in the past two weeks and have been thrilled with my sandwich choices both times. They have a large list of speciality sandwiches, all on fresh bread. The first time I got roasted chicken (which they roast in house...you can see them all in the open kitchen), avocado, bacon, cheddar, and ranch on ciabatta. The chicken was sliced thin on the roll...not the usual thick breast slapped on the bread. The bread wasn't the usual thick, chewy ciabatta either. It was crisp on the outside, but soft and light inside. The second time I got roast chicken, bacon (a trend of mine, I guess), a goat cheese/walnut blend, and spinach on ciabatta. Again, delicious. Both times I had to wrap the second half to eat the next day. I haven't tried the breakfast menu yet, but it's served all day. A mix of breakfast sandwiches, burritos, pancakes and eggs.
    The inside is small and cozy but nice to relax with a friend for lunch. Prices were average in my opinion ($9-$12).
    I saw your post about Maison Villatte, which I also found wonderful. I'm trying to resist an afternoon run for a chocolate croissant. Bought a loaf of their smoked bacon and gruyere bread to have with a souffle last week and it was decadent.
    I heard a rumor that a higher end English style pub is going in where Roo Bar used to be. They are just starting work on the inside now, but I haven't heard a firm confirmation yet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dordalina

      Great news but for me, a mid Cape resident, Falmouth feels so far away...the pub sounds fun and might be a venture in the winter when I am back from my Caribbean sojourn...

      1. re: phelana

        I'm with you Phelana, Falmouth is just a million miles away from this Mid-Caper. Although with Maison Villatt now open, I'm sure to make the trip every now and then as it's a bit closer to me than PB Boulangerie and the selection, to my eyes at least, was superior.

        Sadly, I had high hoped for the 3 new Hyannis spots that opened this summer, but unfortunately only one puts out a great product and even that is just artisan pizza when you come down to it.

    2. Wow...you aren't kidding! Cue the crickets and the tumbleweeds for the Cape Cod area in this Southern New England forum! It is verrrrry CT-centric right now. Thanks to dordalina for the recs, but I am in the same boat as phelana and CCG...I feel like I need a passsport to go to Falmouth from the mid Cape (she probably feels the same way about coming to Chatham).

      4 Replies
      1. re: ciclista

        Ciclista, so true! I have a bucket list of mid to lower Cape recs that I need to make it to, I just never seem to make it thataway.

        1. re: ciclista

          Falmouth seems far for us, too, but we did make it down to La Civetta for dinner last night. We shared the salume and cheese platter as usual--very good quality meats. My ravioli filled with duck was fine, but not WOW. What I really loved was my husband's pasta choice (to the extent that he was willing to share). He had a short pasta, similar in shape to elbow macaroni but I forget the name, sauced with sausage and mascarpone cheese. It was wonderful, savory comfort food for a winter night. Tried to get the recipe, but it turns out that their sausage is house-made, so it would be hard to replicate with supermarket sausage. We shared a secondo of the pancetta-wrapped chicken, also very good, although I ended up bringing some home because I couldn't eat another bite. Could not manage a dessert.

          Thanks again to Cape Cod Guy for bringing La Civetta to my attention. Both the food and the decor take me back to Italian trattorie.

          1. re: lisaonthecape

            I concur with your feeling about La Civetta. Worth the special trip IMO. I actually think it's better than most of what one can find in Boston's North End.

            Off topic: Over Christmas I bought a few fresh pasta sheets and some homemade mascarpone from the West Village Pasta and Cheese shop in W. Barn. I made an open faced ravioli with Cape bay scallops and lobster knuckle meat and a tomato cream sauce. WOW. (hint, sometimes Joe's Fish & Lobster in Sandwich sells bags of knuckles for $9/lb. A bit of a pain to pick the meat but it's a great deal. A pound and half of knuckles yielded almost a pound of meat. To me, the knuckle meat is the best of the lobster, firm and sweet.

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              Sounds delicious. I wish I could get my boys (incuding my husband) to eat seafood. Joe's sells wonderful fish--his son is actually a good friend of my younger brother. (We grew up in Sandwich after my dad retired from the Air Force.)

              We made ribollita last weekend, which is a great Florentine recipe. We'll make some ragu soon, which we'll use for a traditional lasagne bolognese. The best Italian food is always at home.

        2. I really hear y'all about Falmouth being light years away...I get the same feeling when someone mentions Hyannis as a food destination. And I could go on forever as to why the good people of cape cod can not drive across the military reservation to navigate the sand bar is a sham....ecofriendly short cut! I digress. I have taken matters into my own hands and i am doing the Bon appitit food lovers cleanse. It's fun,provocative, delicious and a great new year jump start. I am cooking out of my usual comfort zone, dairy limited, flour less and chocked with fresh veggies and whole grains. Check it out and join the fun.

          1. Check out Better Butter Bakery in Hyannis. On the side street behind the cookware store. Super!

            Also a new Guappo's in Orleans, no better or worse than the one in Brewster. If you like the one in Brewster, you'll like this one. if not, give it a miss. Bigger and music sometimes.

            4 Replies
            1. re: OuterCapeFoodie

              Wow! I'm shocked there has been a new bakery just off Main St. that has been there since October. This is the first I've heard of it, although I've enjoyed her Salty Oats Cookies in the past. The new Barnstable Market carries them. I'll have to check it out.

              El Guapo's a pretty good for what it is, but pretty expensive for Mexican fare. That said, it's miles above the dreck that Sam Diego's serves up. Still haven't been to Anejo in Falmouth. Beech Tree Cantina is decent on Main in Hyannis, but still not very authentic. Love to be able to get a good mole on Cape. Alas.

              Stopped into the airport of all places as I heard Chef Ralph had moved there from Mashpee Commons. To accommodate outside patrons, they will give you 30 mins. free parking. Sad to say, the new spot for Ralph is just depressing. The airport just doesn't have the traffic to support a vibrant business. It was completely empty on a Sat. afternoon when we checked it out. Shame, I loved his food at Millway Marina several years ago.

              Thanks for the mentions.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                If you like Terri's Salty Oats, you'll be blown away by her baguettes. Best I had since Paris and equal to anything there. I don't know if she has any bread or pastry distribution except the shop at the bakery. Let us know if you find it other places.

                  1. re: OuterCapeFoodie

                    Sign on doorway at Better Butter says "closed for winter"

              2. the fish tacos at the new Guapos remain the same as the recent past at the previous location..a major miss. They had it right for years..will have to try something different there..my kiddo got take out from the new digs and thought it looked pretty good. The taco, as mentioned was blah...

                6 Replies
                1. re: phelana

                  The best fish tacos that I've found on the Cape, since I don't care for them deep fried are the grilled ones at McGrath's Saloon in Hyannis. A serving of 3 grilled cod tacos loaded with house made pico and fresh avacado plus a healthy dollup of guac. comes with basic frozen seasoned wedge fries or a pretty good house made slaw and only about $8. The other, believe it or not, are the blackened haddock tacos at British Beer Company.

                  Where is the Orleans' Guapo located?

                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                    It's in Staples Plaza. The prior Blockbuster Video space. Have you also found the Brewster Jo Mama's. Opened this summer in the prior farmer market building, just west of Ocean Edge.

                    1. re: OuterCapeFoodie

                      Yes. Picked up a few bagels at the Brewster Jo Mamas last weekend.

                    2. re: CapeCodGuy

                      CCG, this is even further out than Falmouth, but Quicks Hole in Woods Hole makes a fantastic, fresh grilled cod taco (amongst other things). It's small and it was counter service last time I was there, but Mr. Dordalina and I each had a great meal and couple beers after walking downtown last summer. They often have music in the evening and it beats ANYTHING in Woods Hole. Sadly, closed for the winter.

                      1. re: dordalina

                        Thanks. I've read a few favorable reports on them here, but just as Falmouth seems so far away, Woods Hole may as well be in another hemisphere! Seriously, I live in West Barnstable and can get to Plymouth or Wareham in 20 minutes or so. Takes more than that to get to Falmouth. Heck, Boston is only a little over an hour without traffic. these days, I find myself more and more going up to the city, or environs south like Hingham or Quincy.

                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          I agree. It took us nearly 50 minutes to get from West Barnstable to La Civetta, which makes Hingham or Quincy more comparable than Falmouth.

                  2. Jillian swears by the fish tacos at Starvin Marlin..anyway, the pasta shop in Barnstable is indeed a find. We do have some great eateries on Cape. Who knew about lobster knuckle meat. Lisa, I seriously wish I were your friend. Your culinary experiences impress me...and make my mouth water...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: phelana

                      I meant to host a pizza party last summer, but the days slipped away. This summer, we will really do it.

                      1. re: lisaonthecape

                        I can promise to bring amazing wine..and if inspired, Armenian Kadayif, my specialty...early summer or late please..

                    2. Yes! Eat at Pizza Barbone. I've been living on the Cape for a year now... and lurking on Chowhound for years... Pizza Barbone in Hyannis is very good. The service is lacking a little. I asked about a moscato d'asti and the server replied: "I wouldn't know." (Maybe she was under 21 but "I wouldn't know") That's the Cape though.

                      The pizza on the Cape is pretty much... uh... bad (some exceptions) but this is the first of this kind I think (there might be a place in Falmouth). I would whole-heartedly recommend Pizza Barbone. They serve Neapolitan-style pizza cooked in a beautiful imported wood-burning oven, wine and beer served in tumblers and a bunch of small plates, meatballs with ricotta and zesty sauce, cauliflower with golden raisins, crostini etc. It's good... go.

                      1. Speaking of excellent pizza, does anyone know if Chef Toby Hill is still manning the original wood oven at the old Roo Bar location in Hyannis (586 Main Bistro?) I had a clam pizza there that he made me early this summer which was the best Neapolitan-style pizza I've had on the Cape, including Barbone's which is indeed very good. Fresh shucked clams, with fresh chopped garlic and a quality parmesan for about $12. We enjoyed the full menu, plenty of good apps, full bar, good service. Was thinking of going later this week but I thought I heard he had moved on, though. Anyone know?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          I saw Chef Toby's mom at Capabilities Farm long ago and she told me he moved on. In turn, I read an abysmal review I think on Yelp about this spot.

                          By the way, I did not get to Red Pheasant. My friend had to leave early..they dropped by for a quick visit and had to head back off Cape..another time..the perfect winter spot..

                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                            I saw Chef Toby's mom last fall at Capabilities Farm. She said he had moved on. I read an abysmal review of Bistro 586. I'd go to Pizza Barbone any day. Even oysters at Naked Oysters (.99) would be great..


                            1. re: phelana

                              Thanks Ann. I'm less trusting of Yelp than you as I've been steered wrong on more than one occasion. I find here to be a better source for what is good. That said, the only reason to go to 586 was Chef Toby. I know it was lousy before him, so it's no surprise it would be lousy after he left. Shame.

                              Barbone does have a nice product, but I prefer Columbo's for a full service pizza. I like the room and the full menu better. Plus they have a full liquor license, not just beer and wine. As to Naked Oyster, too many bad experiences to give them any more business.

                              Anyone try the new place at the old Asa Bearse? Prova Brazil? I had an uninspired lunch right after they opened but that wasn't really a fair sampling. I had high hopes as the renovation was outstanding and first rate.

                          2. I went by the closed Regatta and there is a sign on the side saying "Opening under new management Spring 13". Anyone know anything about that.

                            Also we went to the indoors farmers market at Mahoney's in Falmouth last Saturday. It is held between 10AM-2PM. There was a guy making pretty good wood fired pizza. Several vendors with vegetables, several with canned products, and other vendors were selling meat, fish, honey, coffee, rye bread and other things I have forgotten. It is a nice market with a lot of space and all the plants flowering.

                            Stopped at Maison Villatte twice last week. I picked up a baguette and a tarte au citron both times. We also got warm out of the oven croissants on Sat which were very good. My DH says the tarte au citron is ok which is high praise from him.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                              Good new on the Regatta. Always a favorite in the past, Hope the new owner bring a fresh new quality to the place. I read that it sold in auction to the owner of a tiny motel in Mashpee, the Satuit Inn (?) I remember being surprised at the time. (Edit): Just found the article which mentions that the buyer of the property has a partner who owns both Moo Steakhouse and Mistral French Restaurant in Boston. Could have possibilities!

                              Thanks for the tip on Mahoney's. I heard about it last year but hadn't thought about it this season. I think the pizza guy is someone the owner of Barbone's hired to use his mobile rig at fairs nad such.

                              I'm glad I don't live close to Maison Villatte. I'd be as big as a house! Yum.

                              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                This does sound like it has possibilities. I don't do much dining in Boston these days (the last thing my husband, who commutes there for work, wants to do on a weekend is head back into Boston), but I have eaten very happily at Mistral in the past.

                                Must get to Maison Villatte soon. I'll find an excuse to get to Falmouth.

                            2. If you haven't found it yet, check out PB Boulangerie and Bistro in Falmouth. They have been open for a long on-season (just closed around New Years) in Wellfleet (Rt 6 and Lecount Hollow Rd) but have opened a second location in Falmouth. I Have Not Been to the Falmouth location, but the Wellfleet location is like heaven on earth, especially the bakery which is the closest thing to Paris I've seen in the US, much less off cape! My old bakery standard on the Outer Cape was Cottage Street Bakery in Orleans (still second place and open year-round.) It may be under the name Maison Villatte....sorry for confusion.

                              1. Ho freaking Hum.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                  Well, Hanger B has reopened for the season.....could get a good breakfast/lunch....... :)

                                  1. re: Science Chick

                                    True, and it is indeed quite fabulous. But I needs me something new. Not tried and true. I feel blue. Scooby Doo.

                                2. Couldn't agree more. I'll skip the entire sad saga of my birthday dinner (La Civetta was closed) and note that I made my own tagliatelle and country ragu as a consolation the next day.My temporary solution is to get off Cape Cod. We're heading to San Francisco for April (school) vacation and are excited to explore the dining scene there: reservations at Cotogna, dim sum in Chinatown, Barbacco and more.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lisaonthecape

                                    I'm jealous. SF is one of my fave foody locales. We'll be in San Diego for a vacation this summer ourselves, but that probably means 10 days straight of fish tacos.

                                  2. Two new restaurants in of all places Eastham.

                                    1. Karoo, an African restaurant I hear is a 2nd location of a place in Ptown

                                    2. Oaxaca, a not-tacos and burritos place, hopefully faithful to the Town it's named after.

                                    Karoo is open. Oaxaca is TBD but soon.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: ChowPlow

                                      Jillian and I tried to get into Karoo Kafe/Eastham Saturday 5:30. Nope, 45 min. wait. Next door at Local Break 35 minutes. We drove to Guapos and by the time we left, a huge wait. Early April on Cape Cod, go figure. I hear there is an Indian restaurant AND another Mexican in Orleans center!!

                                      1. re: phelana

                                        Yes...Karoo was packed....have never seen that many cars in that screwy sideways strip mall...Local Break wasn't worth the wait and neither is Guapo's in Orleans. There's always Abba or Beacon Room on West red in Orleans. I also usually enjoy Mahoneys. Best value on Cape Cod IMO is Ocean House in Dennisport. But don't go or I won't get to go!

                                        1. re: phelana

                                          I meant to say the new Indian is supposedly going into the former Cape Cod Cup/Carla's across from friends and the new Mexican, where Rosina's used to be...lots going on in Orleans.

                                        2. re: ChowPlow

                                          Both sound quite promising. But what about us mid-Capers? It seems like the more time that passes, the greater the divide in good chow between the mid-Cape and either Falmouth, or Orleans to Ptown.

                                          The best thing to happen in the Hyannis area in over a year is an overpriced and over hyped pizza joint for crying out loud.

                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                            Have you been to Ocean House in Dennisport...eastern mid cape anyway.....

                                            1. re: ChowPlow

                                              Oh yes, dozens of times over many, many years. In my top 3 in all of Cape Cod.