My new thing is tourist destinations in the off season. I was first introduced to Tavern on the Wharf at the Norwell Farms Farm to Fork dinner. I kept dreaming of the short rib dish that I had at the event, so Leah, Robin and I decided to head down to Plymouth and try them for lunch. We always go down Route 24 to the Cape, never go Route 3, so this was a nice change of pace. While the weather was chilly and threatened rain, we still had a great afternoon out! The restaurant is fairly new, less than 6 months old, and has a young chef at its helm. Chef Johnny Sheehan put together a diverse menu and has managed to execute every dish with precision. I was a bit surprised, as he is in his early 30’s, but he mentions that he has trained in Ken Origner’s kitchens, and it all make sense. It feels like they have found their stride and I can only imagine what it will be like here when summer comes around again!
The main dining room feels open and airy and has great views of the water. Apparently the previous restaurant was all booths. Tavern on the Wharf only kept 2 of them in the back, which was such a smart move. The tables give them a lot of flexibility with their layout – they can handle a large party from 6 or 18 in the main dining room.
Chef Sheehan put together a wonderful tasting menu for us, showcasing his creativity and the local seafood. We started off with the oysters that tasted like the sea. The oysters come from right off shore, so you know they are fresh!
Next up, a not on the menu item, but the Yellowfin Tuna was too good for chef to pass up having us taste. The sushi grade tuna melted in my mouth and had a super clean taste.
The Szechuan shrimp ($15) comes flavored with Szechuan peppercorn, chili flake, garlic and scallions. I loved the flavor and the little kick the dish had.
Next was the beef carpaccio ($16), sliced filet of beef (it was paper thin), served with black truffle vinaigrette, Greenway Farm herbs and crispy sunchokes.
The fried burrata ($10) came out next. I have never seen burrata served this way, it’s usually served fresh on a bed of tomatoes. Chef described this as the adult version of a mozzarella stick – a totally approachable way to introduce burrata. The cheese is breaded with a panko crust and served with cream, roasted tomato, olive oil and basil. The roasted tomato in the dish was inspired by an evening meal on the beach, where they threw the tomatoes directly onto the coals to get a wonderful smoke char taste. I loved this dish – such a great twist on a classic.
The tamarind bbq ribs ($12) were a hit. The St. Louis style ribs were served with crispy onions and Korean chili. Trying to be lady like, I went at this with a fork and a knife, but the meat was so tender it just fell off the bone (no knife needed). I loved the flavor, a little sweet and a little salty.
The Portside Biscay ($26) was a great dish, another twist on a classic. Lobster bisque covered the bottom of the plate and was topped with a seared scallop, shrimp, lump Jonah crab and a roasted potato. It was finished off with hand torn biscuit croutons. I started with the potato and fell in love, which only meant great things if I hadn’t even gotten to the seafood yet. The bisque by itself was a little salty for my taste (and I do love salty) but was less so when you had it with the seafood.
At this point, well probably 3 dishes ago, I was stuffed. I should have worn sweatpants. Chef brings out one last dish with a grin on his face (we are so stuffed but of course we want more!). We were well fed and ready for a nap! Last up is the rootbeer glazed short rib ($26) that comes with a sake infused onion puree, crispy and roasted new potato, a charred cippolini onion and bok choy. He has definitely saved the best for last. The short rib is so flavorful – this is the ultimate comfort dish.
In addition to their main dining room, they have a great back bar – a great place for a party! The artwork on the wall was done by a local artist and the room has great views of the water. Off of the bar area, there is an outdoor patio (seats 80) that they will be renovating for the summer (adding in a bar and accentuating the view). They are open 7 days a week from 11:30am – 1am and they offer live music at night. On Tuesdays they have Italian night that I am dying to go back and try. They offer discounted Italian dishes and a $10 bottle of Cabernet or Pinot Grigio with the purchase of 2 entrees.
After lunch the general manager took us on a tour of the restaurant. It’s not every day that you get to check out behind the scenes in the kitchen. This kitchen boasts a HUGE line, one of the biggest kitchens I have ever seen. Another cool feature is this wall where all the employees leave their handprint. To me, this shows what kind of restaurant this is, one that really invests in its employees. And you know what, it shows. Our server was great, really personable and appeared to really enjoy being here. I can’t encourage you enough to head over to Plymouth and try out Tavern on the Wharf – I know that I’ll be back soon – tell the bulgogi and the buttermilk fried chicken that I’m coming for them!
Disclaimer: I was invited to sample the new fall lunch menu. My meal was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
Tavern on the Wharf
6 Town Wharf, Plymouth, MA
The Cottage is at Stowe Mountain Lodge’s private golf club and is open to members and guests of the hotel. Make sure that you wear proper club attire, collared shirts for men are a must. That being said, you couldn’t ask for a better view of the mountain while you eat lunch. We are the only ones at the restaurant as the club is quite exclusive. They have indoor and outdoor dining, but the day is beautiful so we sit outside. The menu is limited as the season hadn’t started yet, but we still enjoyed everything we ordered. The burger was delicious, topped with bacon and cheese with a side of fries.
The service was good, seeing as we were the only people there. Although we have been before while the season was in full swing and we had good service then as well.
The turkey club was delicious, piled high with meat, this triple decker sandwich hit the spot.
The black bean wrap was light and is perfect for those looking for a lighter option.
The Cottage at Stowe Mountain Golf Course
7412 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT
Located between the Cambridge Side Galleria and the Lechmere train station is Tahaza Hummus Kitchen. It’s a great healthy option when you just can’t bear to have a food court meal (and it’s just as quick!). They’re open 6 days a week (closed on Sunday), 11am – 9pm, so head in for lunch or dinner (or both!). So here is how it works: Step 1: go up to the counter, choose a hummus bowl ($9.25), a warm grain bowl ($9.25) that has a brown rice base, a salad ($9.25) or a wrap ($8.75). Step 2: add your hummus. They have 3 great flavors, an original, a roasted red pepper and a seasonal flavor. Step 3: choose your contents: all natural shredded chicken, mushrooms, baked falafel, slow cooked beef (additional $2.25) or lamb with chickpeas (additional $2.25). Step 4: add your toppings: fresh tomato and cucumber, pickled turnips, sundried tomatoes, cumin pickled carrots, olives, feta, roasted garlic, toasted quinoa, sliced almonds, pita strips, lemon wedge, parsley or paprika. Step 5: pick your side (if you chose a salad, bowl or grain bowl): a warm fluffy whole wheat pita, baked pita chips or fresh carrot sticks.
So I chose the bowl and let me tell you that there was so much food that I took half of it home and had it for lunch the next day! I had mine with 1/2 mushroom and 1/2 chicken and original hummus. The chicken was tender and the mushrooms were drool worthy! I added cucumbers, feta cheese and the pickled carrots. YUM! They also have your choice of dressings: a chili vinegar (hot), a spicy harissa (hot), a sriracha tahini (mild), a fresh mint yogurt (non-fat) and a lemon mint vinaigrette. In addition to Maine Root fountain sodas, they also have house made specialty sodas – check out mine – I had the raspberry lime.
Disclaimer: I was invited to try out Tahaza. My meal was provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
Tahaza Hummus Kitchen
1 Canal Park, Cambridge, MA
While walking around we happened upon the Plaza Food Hall. The hall opened in 2010 with Todd English’s as the anchor. It has since added on to become 32,000 sq. ft of deliciousness. The shops are carefully curated. Some well know favorites and some new names pop up in the list. We started out our night getting Lady M cake slices to go.
The cake slices are not inexpensive at $7.75 a slice, but the mille crepes…totally worth it. The cake features no less than 20 paper thin handmade crepes layered with pastry cream and the top is caramelized until golden. The cake is so impossibly light with just a hint of sweetness. I love it!
Strawberry Shortcake ($7.75) is another favorite of mine. Lady M’s version is made with flour imported from Japan and it produces a vanilla sponge cake like no other. The filling is whipped cream with fresh strawberries throughout. The cake was light as air!
Chi Noodle Bar was our next stop. It was hard to decide what to get because everything sounded so good! They offer ramen, wontons, spring rolls and delicious dumplings.
The chicken dumplings were delicious, they were light and flavorful. They were not greasy at all, which you know some dumplings can be. Looking forward to going back and trying some of the other items on the menu.
Next stop Ora di Pasta, a cute little shop with a few tables inside to dine in at. We took ours out to the communal seating so that we could get a little something from a few different places.
The spaghetti with meatballs is so simple and so classic that it is a good test of an Italian restaurant. This did not disappoint with the noodles cooked perfectly al dente and the meatballs were tender and flavorful. We gobbled this up in an embarrassingly short amount of time!
We re-visited Luke’s Lobster, but decided to get something besides the lobster roll.
Ok, well not really because we did get the lobster roll, but not a whole one! We got the combo that is 1/2 crab roll, 1/2 shrimp roll and 1/2 lobster roll. I was diggin’ this trio and the spices on the shrimp roll!
No. 7 Sub is a small chain that started off in Brooklyn. Two college friends started the restaurant together in 2008 to critical acclaim by publications like Bon Appetit.
While they have tasty subs like ‘the frito kid’ made with cold balsamic chicken, black bean hummus, lettuce, tomato and fritos or the ‘tuna toastie’ made with tuna salad, mozzarella, tomatoes, pickled red onions, thai basil and wasabi grape nuts, our dining companion went with the less than adventurous turkey with lettuce, mayo and tomato. While boring, the sub was still tasty.
The Plaza Food Hall
1 West 59th Street, New York, NY
Last weekend I was invited to attend a farm dinner (at Appleton Farms in Ipswich) and lecture featuring Patrick Martins, author of The Carnivore’s Manifesto: Eating Well, Eating Responsibly, and Eating Meat.
I arrived a little early and was able to walk around the farm. The Trustees manage the 1,000 acre property that was a gift of Colonel Francis R. Appleton Jr and his wife Joan. The property has goats, sheep and pigs that you can visit, along with a dairy barn, where you can see the cows being milked at 3pm daily. The milk from the cows is bottled or made into cheese (on site!) and is available for sale at the dairy store.
Guests are encouraged to climb on board the antique carriage outside of the Carriage Barn.
I was lucky enough to sit next to the architect who designed the Carriage Barn and his lovely wife at dinner.
Martins is the founder of Heritage Foods USA, Slow Foods USA and Heritage Radio Network. He was an engaging speaker with a great sense of humor, adding in little personal stories here and there. Martins talked about how to make smart and informed choices about the food we eat and participated in a Q&A session afterwards.
The dinner was served buffet style and featured Appleton’s grass fed beef prepared by Bonne Bouche catering. The farm has a growing White Park herd and the public can buy meat at the farm store. Heritage breed cattle have been growing in popularity due to the local food movement and the farm has a strong commitment to sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals.
The evening started out with hot cider and a sampling of the farm’s own artisanal cheese.
Roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with bacon, grapes and shallots.
Starting at top right and moving clockwise: crispy kale with mixed bell peppers salad, topped with Parmesan; chicken with lemon, mushroom and capers; bread pudding a la mode; beef short rib pot pie with mushrooms, pearl onions, carrots and parsnips.
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest of the Trustees to attend this event. My ticket, which included the lecture and the meal, were provided complimentary. All opinions are my own.
219 County Road, Ipswich, MA
It’s hard to find good Chinese on the Cape. Our neighbors at home get takeout from the Hong Kong all the time and suggested that we try it out.
Located right on the main road, this little restaurant does a huge takeout business. Be prepared to wait – even if you call in your order.
The chicken teriyaki comes in a small or large appetizer option. They are pretty basic.
The boneless spare ribs were pretty tasty, probably one of the better items that we ordered.
The lo-mein and the pork fried rice were again, ok – not great, not bad.
The dumplings were pan fried and a little on the greasy side. I was disappointed that they weren’t more flavorful.
Tell me where you go on the Cape for great Chinese food!!
165 Teaticket Highway, Falmouth, MA
Ben and Jerry’s partnered up with New Belgium Brewing to create a delicious new flavor called Salted Caramel Bown-ie Ale ice cream. It’s New Belgium Brown Ale ice cream with salted caramel and huge pieces of fudge brownie. The ale ice cream balances out the sweetness of the caramel making this an “eat the whole pint in one sitting” kind of ice cream. You can get it in scoop shops or buy pints of it – I tried this out at the Newbury Street location! It’s a limited batch flavor, so try it while you can!
Eat ice cream and do good? You bet! a portion of the proceeds for this ice cream will benefit Protect Our Winters, an organization founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones. The organization bridges the gap between the winter sports community and the necessary action to address climate change.
Disclaimer: I was invited to the scoop shop to sample the new flavor. I received a complimentary sample. All opinions are my own.
Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shop
174 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
The Hilton in Midtown is conveniently located and has a great dining space to boot.
Just outside the restaurant, there is a convenient market of sorts where you can get breakfast to go or a late night snack (they’re open until 1am).
They offer healthy options as well as things to cheat with!
The restaurant has many different options for seating, traditional tables for those who may be here with their family and a cool bar area, shown above, if perhaps you are on business and are having breakfast alone.
The restaurant offers a hot buffet from 6:30am-11am. Fruit, yogurt, pastries, eggs, bacon, cereal, you name it, they have it.
The service is attentive and your server is always near by to clear your (not so) empty plate away or get you a new fork. For a hotel buffet, it was a pretty decent option.
Herb N Kitchen
Inside the Hilton Midtown
1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
To view their menu, click here.
I’m so backed up with blog posts it’s sad. This summer we took a day trip over to Nantucket – our first stop after getting off the ferry was Cru Oyster Bar (it’s right next to the dock).
You have a great view of all the boats coming and going – we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. The restaurant has oversized navy wingback chairs, yellow and white striped armchairs and distressed wood everywhere.
I had the special of the day, littleneck clams with bacon and corn – a really delicious dish, very summery. The toast was exceptional (the spread was delicious).
The grilled atlantic swordfish ($26) was served on a bed of bibb lettuce and topped with sweet corn and cherry tomatoes, finished off with a buttermilk dressing.
The house made mozzarella ($19) was delicious, served with farrow, summer squash, local tomatoes and pecans.
Cru Oyster Bar
1 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA
Following up from my previous post, I had mentioned that I had seen list in Zagat for the best food halls in NY. We already went to City Kitchen, next stop was Gotham West Market. A little out of the way if you aren’t in the area (Hell’s Kitchen), but we happened to be coming home from the water taxi!
The space is industrial and plays the music just a tad too loud for conversations to be had at a normal tone. 9 vendors have space here and all of them looked delicious, it was hard to choose!
Our first stop, Genuine Roadside.
The menu offers a sampling of burgers, pork, chicken and vegetarian options.
Poke style ahi tacos ($13) were top on our must try list. They came with spicy mayo, avocado and border slaw with sesame in crispy corn shells. This puts tacos in a whole new light – it may be hard to go back to traditional tacos after this! Really delicious – salty and creamy, I love everything that was going on in this dish.
I had been dying to try out Ivan Ramen’s Slurp Shop. Ivan Orkin is a world renowned ramen expert and his shop serves classic ramen. If you can’t make it to Hell’s Kitchen, they have a location on Clinton Street.
Here’s what I love about this place, they keep the soup separate until you’re ready to eat it so the noodles stay in tact. I ordered the Shio ramen that came with sea salt, dashi, chicken broth, pork belly chashu and rye noodles.
Tokyo Shio ($12). Don’t worry if you’re not in the mood for ramen, they also have some delicious rice bowls. And, if you happen to be there in weekend mornings, they have a tasty brunch men complete with breakfast buns, rice porridge and even a breakfast ramen.
Choza Taqueria serves up a variety of tamales, burritos, tacos, torts and ceviches.
The burritos are enormous ($8.73) and come loaded with black beans, rice and pico, along with fresh cilantro in a flour tortilla.
The chicken tacos were delicious, they came 3 to an order for $8.04 – double corn tortillas served with citrus marinated chicken and queso fresco.
And how can you forget dessert? Zagat rated Ample Hills the #1 ice cream shop in New York City.
This Brooklyn based company serves up hand crafted ice cream in flavors like ooey gooey cake batter, snap mallow pop, chocolate milk and cookies and peppermint patty.
I had the orange dreamsicle, sherbet made with orange juice, pure vanilla cream and a splash of Grand Marnier. Super delicious!
Nothing starts the day or ends the evening better than a cup of coffee. Blue Bottle has locations in SF, LA, New York and Tokyo. For the serious coffee drinker, not those that are looking for milk and sugar with a touch of coffee, Blue Bottle offers a variety of coffee options. If you’re stopping in in the morning, they also have some delicious baked goods.
Gotham West Market
600 11th Ave., New York, NY