Back exploring food and more in Boston and Cape Cod

If you’ve followed this blog for a few years you would’ve seen a post or two from my visits to Cape Cod. Well I’m back for another visit by way of Boston for the week to escape the Arizona heat. After my first 3 days I have enough to tell you about from my morning in Boston to the days on The Cape.

Breakfast in Boston

I flew into Boston early Saturday morning and was greeted by my friend who re-located from Phoenix to the Boston area 20 years ago. It was pretty early so we decided to head into the city to wake up and made our way to the newly built Seaport District along Boston Harbor. On the south-side of downtown Boston the Seaport District is full of high rise office and apartment buildings, restaurants and attractions. The big attraction for us was the Harbor Walk that led us towards Boston’s North End for breakfast.

Italian market in Boston’s North End

The North End is Boston’s “Little Italy” neighborhood full of narrow streets lined with Italian markets and restaurants. We made our to Theo’s Cozy Corner for breakfast on Salem St. The small cash only breakfast joint serves up traditional breakfast fare at good prices. Eggs, pancakes, etc and good portions Theo’s was full of neighborhood regulars and a few of us outsiders looking to start our day. My friend and I both went with corned beef hash with 3 eggs, home fries and toast. A good choice leaving us both satisfied.

No trip to the North End is complete without a stop at Mike’s Pastry for cannoli for a my mid-morning snack. We also stopped into a traditional Italian market for sliced prosciutto and other meats and fresh bread.

After a walk back along the harbor to the car we headed to the south bay so I could continue down to the Cape.

Saturday and Sunday on the Cape

For years my family has been spending a few weeks every August in Harwichport which is on the south side on Nantucket Bay on a part of the cape that is considered Mid-Cape. A cute town we venture to restaurants to get our fill of fresh seafood. Whether it’s $1 oysters for happy hour at The Port or trying to find the “Best” lobster roll we have our favorites and are always on the lookout for new restaurants to try.

By the time I arrived in mid-afternoon Saturday I was ready to get my fresh seafood feast going. My nephew, brother-in-law and I went across the street to The Port for the $1 oysters from Chatham and Wellfleet. The week before I hear they polished off 90 oysters during one sitting but that wasn’t going to happen on this day as the restaurant was shorthanded with shuckers and we weren’t the only ones there for happy hour. 48 oysters were good enough to satisfy us on this day.

Oysters at The Port in Harwichport

Most days on the cape are lazy with a later start than had I been home in Arizona. Sunday morning started out foggy(the weather, not me) but by late morning the sun was out we’re off to Bank St. beach for a little sand and sun. After a few hours on the beach it was back to relax and decide where to do dinner. We decided it was time to get lobster rolls so we made our way to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis. Sesuit on the north side of the cape about a 15 minute drive from Harwichport. Like other “seafood shacks” on the Cape and in New England, Sesuit Harbor Cafe offers fried, broiled or raw seafood. Place your order, find a table outside and wait for the servers bring your food. It’s fast casual before fast casual became a restaurant trend.

Lobster rolls for most of us were served with fries and cole slaw, my nephew went with half a broiled lobster. All were happy as we sat among the sea gulls, marina plotting our next move. We saved room for desert and made our way for homemade ice cream at Schoolhouse Ice Cream in Harwichport.

Sunday or Monday its all the same

When you’re on vacation all the days run together and you realize the work week has begun when the weekenders head back. Not us as Monday has us sleeping in, getting coffee and starting the day. After coffee and my morning walk I made my way to Brew’s Coffee Bar & Beer Garden for breakfast. Disappointing as they stopped serving many of the breakfast sandwiches I remember from 2017.  Only 4 choices to choose from that we’re pre-made and warmed up. My egg and bacon burrito was good but not really worth the $9 I paid for it.

Lunch had me craving fried oysters so I drove down the road to the Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport. The place has been around since the 1950s and had the old school drive-in feel. Seafood, burgers, hot dogs and more, my fried oyster craving was fulfilled.

Oyster roll at The Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport

After a lazy afternoon walking off my lunch and visiting with family it was time to think about dinner. My nephew and I were on our own and debated which pizza place to go to. The debate was George’s or Ember Pizza and Wings. Ember won out since we’ve never been so we decided to try their coal fired charred pizza. Getting their early before the dinner rush we ordered boneless Buffalo wings which were chicken tenders tossed in Buffalo sauce. Not my idea of wings and going forward I will always order bone-in wings.

Since my nephew doesn’t eat anything green most vegetables were out so we went with the Meat Lovers Pizza. Topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni and meatballs the thin crust pizza was good and service was good too. Time for a walk and a relaxing Sunday night before we start another day on the Cape.

Check back for more eating adventures and exploring for the next few days. For more images of my trip follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

 

 

 

Maple & Ash to open August 20th at the Scottsdale Waterfront

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019, Maple & Ash has announced an opening date of Tuesday August 20th. The restaurant will open at the Scottsdale Waterfront and will be the first location after the original in Chicago. Two star Michelin chef Danny Grant and partners opened the first restaurant in 2015, before that worked in Scottsdale.

“This has been an incredible journey, and we can’t wait to open our doors to the Scottsdale community,” said Chef Danny Grant. “It has been a dream of ours to come home to where I began my culinary career and show off the Maple & Ash experience.”

What to expect at Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash uses wood fired cooking and although they don’t use the word “Steakhouse” in the name it’s considered a modern take on a classic steakhouse. Local chef Sean Currid joins chef Grant to execute the menu that includes the famed “Fire Roasted Seafood Tower” and “I Don’t Give a F*K” (IDGAF). The two chefs met when they worked together at Elements Restaurant at Sanctuary Resort & Spa on Camelback.

Guest will enjoy a world class selection of dry aged beef and fresh seafood. The IDGAF is Grant’s take on a chef’s menu and he thinks is the best choice from the menu. No mention of what’s included with the IDGAF so you’ll have to leave it up to chefs Currid and Grant. Currid boasts an impressive resume having worked around town at Michael’s at the Citadel, Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho and Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician.

Sommelier Jason Caballero curates a wine list from around the world that won’t be your traditional steakhouse wine list. Caballero comes to Maple & Ash from Bourbon Steak at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

The centerpiece of the 10,000 plus square foot restaurant will be the 14 foot wood burning hearth. It will be surrounded by the dining room and lounge along with an outdoor patio and private dining rooms.

Maple & Ash will be open daily at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and until 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. The restaurant is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd #130 Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.

The 9th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival set for Aug. 22 -25

The culinary stars shine bright on southern California when the 9th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine festival launches for four days in August. Celebrity chefs and local food icons show off the coastal cuisine of southern California cooking. Jerimiah Tower and Nancy Silverton are two of the chefs cooking for guests at diners, cooking demonstrations and more.

The four days start with a series of dinners Thursday evening at restaurants around the city before shifting to the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport for the weekend.

Los Angeles Food & Wine festival events

14 culinary events will span the weekend including…..

The Legends Dinner at Chi SPACCA: The widely credited father of California cuisine Jeremiah Tower joins queen of the Mozza-Plex Nancy Silverton at her white-hot Chi SPACCA. This epic, one-night-only pairing promises a lifetime of bragging rights to the 40 festival-goers fortunate enough to snag a ticket.

Dinner at Otium: Fans of Netflix’s “The Final Table” can pull up a chair to watch 2018 season winner Tim Hollingsworth share the spotlight with rising star chef Travis Swikard at Hollingsworth’s downtown masterpiece, The Broad museum-adjacent Otium. 

The Epic Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan: In a city known for great burgers, the best are going bun to bun to win the coveted LAFW Golden Burger Show Trophy. Host Alvin Cailan, of YouTube’s “The Burger Show,” joins celebrity judges Seth Rogen, Tiffani Thiessen and Adam Richman in this juicy battle of the beef.

LA’s Faves & Craves: In one short stroll, festival-goers can take in the breathtaking diversity of L.A.’s culinary landscape as the city’s own Jet Tila hosts a showcase of the most crave-worthy dishes of 25 local chefs. L.A’s finest tacos, pizza, hot dogs, donuts, fried chicken and Asian-inspired specialties will share one location for one afternoon.

Meat Me at LAFW’s Great Steak-out & BBQ: Meat master Curtis Stone of Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant and 25 other great tamers of the flame are bringing their A+ game to LAFW. Surf, sides, caviar and Big Cabs will complement the slabs at this event evoking the nation’s greatest steakhouses and BBQ joints.

Sunday Brunch So Hard: Those lucky enough to score one of the very limited VIP tickets to LAFW’s grand finale enjoy rare pre-event access to Jeremiah Tower, the illustrious self-taught chef dubbed “The Last Magnificent” by Anthony Bourdain. Standard tickets are anything but shabby, too, at the culinary legend’s brunch-to-end-all-brunches.

To see a full list of events, more information and to purchase tickets visit their website.

Customers and staff help Liberty Market create 31 unique burgers

When you wake up tomorrow it will be August 1st or as Gilbert’s Liberty Market calls it “Burger Days”. For 31 days in August the restaurant serves a unique burger for their annual celebration of the American comfort food. For this years event executive chef David Traina created the list of burgers with input from loyal customers and staff.

Customers ordering a burger on a given day may find other than locally raised beef between the buns. Bison, elk and a veggie burger will be served and all will have unique flavor profiles and toppings. All burgers are a 1/2 pound and many will have an international spin.

Miso Sticky burger. All photos courtesy of Sarah Roberson

Customers save your receipts

Save your receipts from each burger visit as you will be rewarded with gift cards. A $50 Liberty Market gift card will be given to customers who eat 10 different burgers. If you stop by for all 31 burgers a $250 gift card is yours. Customers will have until the end of the first week of September to redeem their gift cards.

Here is the list of 31 burgers.

1- Short Rib – AZ raised beef patty, blue cheese sauce, roasted onion and arugula on onion bun.

2- Carne Asada – AZ raised beef patty, drunken beans, grilled green onions, cotija cheese, and guacamole on onion bun.

3- Buffalo Blue Cheese Fry* – bison patty, curly fries, buffalo cheese sauce, blue cheese, and chives on a pretzel bun.

4- French Onion – AZ raised beef patty, sherry caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese, fresh garlic aioli, and au jus, on a Ciabatta bun.

5- Philly Cheese Steak – AZ raised beef patty, Cheese Whizz, roasted peppers, provolone cheese and onions on Ciabatta bun.

6- Torta Style – AZ raised beef patty, topped with adobo braised pork, beans, jalapeño salsa, crema, cotija cheese, avocado, and cabbage slaw, on a bollio bun.

7- The Issac – AZ raised beef patty, pesto aioli, fried fresh mozzarella, bacon, and tomato on an Italian rosemary bun.

8- Chicken Katsu – AZ raised beef patty, fried chicken, jalapeño aioli slaw, and Katsu sauce on a sesame bun.

9- Cajun Shrimp – AZ raised beef patty, roasted red bell peppers and onions, and Tabasco aioli on a Ciabatta bun.

10- Breakfast Nduja – AZ raised beef patty, sunny side up egg, grain mustard, Seahive cheese, and arugula on ciabatta round.

11- Anti-Pasto – AZ raised beef patty, fried mozzarella, salami, marinated artichoke, roasted red peppers, pesto, and arugula on a Kalamata olive bun.

12- Korean BBQ – AZ raised beef patty, Korean bbq sauce, cabbage nauc cham slaw, sesame seeds, rice wine cucumbers, on a brioche bun.

13- Whiskey Onion – AZ raised beef patty, BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese, and whiskey onions on fried cheddar cheese as the bun.

14- Hatch-Frito – AZ raised beef patty, brisket patty, pepper jack cheese, chipotle bbq aioli, and Fritos on a chili cheese bun.

15- Bourbon BLT – AZ raised beef patty, bourbon brown sugar bacon, oven dried tomato aioli, and butter lettuce on onion bun.

customers
Buffalo Blue Cheese burger

16- Piggly Wiggly* – AZ raised beef patty, hatch cheddar, pulled pork, sliced ham, fried onion straws, yellow BBQ sauce, and chicharrones on an onion bun.

17- Crab Salad – AZ raised beef patty, marinated crab salad, cambozola cheese, Tabasco aioli, and butter lettuce on a brioche bun with 9 grain topping.

18- Burrata Burger – AZ raised beef patty, truffle dressed arugula, bacon, tomato, and black pepper aioli on Italian olive oil bun.

19- Miso Sticky* – AZ raised beef patty, miso and maple glazed pork belly, pickled cucumber and carrots, red onion, thin jalapeño slices, butter lettuce, sesame seeds, and gochujang aioli, on a bollio bun.

20- Pepper Jack Sausage – AZ raised beef patty, Beehive Barely Buzzed cheese, roasted onions, cajun aioli on a ciabatta roll.

21- Ma’s Meatloaf – AZ raised beef patty bacon meatloaf, arugula, roasted garlic onion and horseradish aioli on a brioche bun.

22- Cuban Mojo –  house blend patty (orange, lime zest, garlic cumin oregano, cilantro, Fresno chiles) Manchego cheese, grilled yellow onions and Anaheim chiles, avocado, and tequila-lime aioli, on an onion bun.

23- Cheesy Tot* – AZ raised beef patty, onion dip ranch, tater tots, hatch chile cheese curds on an onion bun.

24- Crispy Carmen – AZ raised beef patty, chilaquiles, sunny side up egg, tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese, on a ciabatta bun.

25- Mac Daddy* – AZ raised beef patty, jalapeño bacon mac and cheese, BBQ short rib, grilled red onion, cheddar cheese, and sriracha aioli on a jalapeño Ciabatta bun.

26- Pastrami Style – AZ raised beef patty, sauerkraut, and 1000 Island dressing on marble rye.

27-Veggie – house made red bean and rice patty, Cajun tofu, and cashew butter on rustic bun.

28- Far East – AZ raised beef patty, topped with greens, wontons, hoisin aioli, tamarind-ginger glaze on seeded Kaiser roll.

29- Green Goddess – AZ raised beef patty, Green Goddess dressing, fried zucchini, roasted portobello mushrooms, lemon ricotta, and arugula on a rustic bun.

30- Lobster-Prosciutto* –  AZ raised beef patty, brie, Boston lettuce, classic aioli on a french bun.

31- Elk Burger – AZ raised beef patty, speck, peppadews, Gruyere cheese, spring mix, and whole grain mustard sauce on a garlic bun. 

Liberty Market is at 230 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert.

Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” achieved at Hearth ’61

Building an award winning wine program is no small task and Jim Gallen is no stranger to building them. Gallen, Food and Beverage Manager at Mountain Shadows Resort, built the Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 “Award of Excellence” wine list for Hearth ’61. Criteria used to judge restaurants for the award include wine pricing, wine director experience, cuisine type & menu pricing and overall wine selection.

Wine Spectator
F & B Manager Jim Gallen. Photo credit Skyler Scott.

Gallen has over 25 years of experience wine buying having been the wine buyer for Phoenix’s Tarbell’s Restaurant and others. It’s the restaurants first honor by Wine Spectator for its diverse list of over 180 wines from around the world.

It’s important for Gallen to build a wine program that compliments Executive Chef Charles Wiley’s cuisine and culinary events.

Hearth ’61 was one of over 3,800 restaurants around the world to be awarded the honor by Wine Spectator. Gallen will grow the wine program to earn the magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence” and its highest honor “Grand Award”. The restaurant was one of several Arizona restaurants to earn honors from the magazine including Tarbell’s Tavern and Cafe Monarch.

Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort is at 5445 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

Oysters are 1/2 off at happy hour as Ocean Prime re-opens

Popular seafood restaurant Ocean Prime re-opened last week after plumbing repairs and a new look to its dining room. The north Phoenix restaurant located at High Street also added more seating to accommodate the areas growth and restaurants popularity. To thank their patient customers the restaurant is offering 1/2 off oysters during happy hour.

Every Monday until September 16th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. guests can enjoy a half dozen of the days featured oysters with frozen granita for $13. Pair your oysters with a glass of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs for $8.50 a glass or $42. 50 a bottle. Enjoy Schramsberg Rose for $10.50 a glass or $52.50 a bottle.

Other Ocean Prime specials include wild and fresh caught Alaskan Halibut($48) paired with Cakebread Chardonnay. The white, flaky fish is in season and is prepared with seasonal ingredients including celery root puree, spring peas, asparagus, fava beans and buttered lobster claw. The fish is finished with a lemon pesto vinaigrette. “The mix of spring vegetables complements the fish well, and the citrus-forward vinaigrette with the lobster elevates the entire dish,” says Ocean Prime Regional Chef Ian Rough.

Beverage Director Andrea Hoover chose the family owned Cakebread Chardonnay for its citrus and orange-blossom flavor profile. “Chardonnay is weighty on the tongue, yet well-balanced with acidity, complementing the dynamic nature of this dish,” says Hoover. The chardonnay is available by the bottle.

From July 31st – August 10th guests can purchase Ocean Prime gift cards online of $100 or more and receive 20% off when using promo code Prime19.

Ocean Prime is at 5455 E. High Street, Phoenix 85054.

Weekly dinner series starts at Nico Heirloom Kitchen

Thursday nights will be better than most the next 12 weeks at Nico Heirloom Kitchen. The downtown Gilbert restaurant is launching a weekly dinner series on Thursday, July 25th. The chef driven restaurant will offer 4-courses with drink pairings for $70 which includes tax and gratuity.

Guests can expect dishes that may include hand-rolled pastas, fresh and locally grown produce and family recipes. Below is a preview of the first weeks dinner.

  • Sweet Corn Fritter | Green Chili Aioli |Tomatillo Chow Chow | Ferrari Carano Rose
  • Warm Cauliflower | Crispy Kale | Caper | Golden Raisin | Girard Sauvignon Blanc
  • Porchetta | House Made Sausage | Tomato Barley | Arugula | Jackson Estate Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
  • Strawberry Olive Oil Cake | Burrata Cream | Picked Rhubarb | Pink Peppercorn | Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling

To reserve your spot for the weekly dinner series head to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/travel-the-us-nico-heirloom-kitchen-dinner-series-registration-65133691625

Nico Heirloom Kitchen is at 366 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234.

Rick Bronson to open coffee bar & speakeasy on High Street.

Things are perking up on High Street with the announcement of The Stir and Gin and Reel opening later this year. Comedian and entrepreneur Rick Bronson is behind the “old school” coffee shop and speakeasy concept. If all goes as planned with construction coffee, cocktails and conversation will begin in September.

“The Stir and Gin and Reel is unlike anything in the North Phoenix/North Scottsdale area,” says owner and proprietor Rick Bronson, who also owns Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy on High Street. “I take great pride in creating concepts with environments that encourage the spirit of human connection as it once existed and that people long for today.”

Coffee, cocktails and food.

The Stir will be serving coffee beverages, coffee cocktails, food and ice cream daily at 6 a.m. Enjoy a “Kick in the Pants” made with cold brew, rum, cold brew liqueur, Mexican Coke & cream or a Coffee Old Fashioned.

For breakfast or lunch diners can enjoy pastries, sandwiches and salads including the BBLT(bacon, lettuce, tomato and turkey). Small plates at the bar will include Deviled Eggs, Lobster Canapes and a Caprese Salad. Boozy milkshakes and alcohol-less ice cream treats will also be available.

At 3 p.m. Gin and Reel opens if you can find the hidden entrance at the back of The Stir. The intimate speakeasy will have the atmosphere of Old Hollywood with vintage photos, directors chairs at the bar and black & white films playing. Prohibition era cocktails like the Manhattan or Sazerac will be served until 10 p.m. weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekends.

The Stir and Gin and Reel will be at 5415 E. High Street, Suite 103. Phoenix 85054.

Oyster Shucking and a prix-fixe menu at Modern Oysterbar Chophouse

Chances are you probably don’t get many opportunities to shuck oysters living in the desert. Modern Oysterbar Chophouse will show you oyster shucking along with a 5-course oyster dinner.

The week of August 4th – 10th the popular Scottsdale restaurant is celebrating National Oyster Day (Aug. 5th) with a prie-fixe menu for 2. The $80 per couple dinner will include oysters on the 1/2 shell topped with caviar to Oysters Rockefeller.

Modern Oysterbar Chophouse is at 10050 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253

Mark your calendars for 2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week

Hot off the heels of 2019 Spring Arizona Restaurant Week the Arizona Restaurant Association announces dates for Fall 2019. Foodies and foodies in training mark your calendars for Friday September 20th- 29th for 10 days of culinary discovery.

Arizona Restaurant Week showcases local restaurants creating special menus that offer 3 or 4 course prie-fixe menus. For $33 or $44 per person guests can visit restaurants  for dishes not served during the rest of the year. Wine pairing are extra.

“Consumer demand for restaurants in Arizona has been the highest it’s ever been and that’s why we see such support each year during both Spring and Fall Restaurant Week,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “We are proud to be leading the charge in an initiative that helps diners discover some of the best local, chef-driven restaurants as well as support some of the most well-known restaurants in the state.”

This is the 12th anniversary of the twice yearly event with the list of participating restaurants growing every year. Over 70 restaurants around Arizona are confirmed to participate in 2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week. To see the list of restaurants participating & menus go to https://arizonarestaurantweek.com/. Restaurants are being added weekly so check back for updates. Photo courtesy of David Blakeman