Middle of the week fun and exploring in Harwich Port

Mid-week on the cape finds laid back days at the beach and exploring what goes on around Harwich Port. Waking to foggy and humid mornings for coffee and my morning walk lead to sunny and warm days.

Tuesday was a beach day and lingering around town before heading to dinner in Dennis Port at The Oyster Company. A family favorite for dinner we shared quite a bit of oysters, Portuguese and Bangkok mussels and more for appetizers. Still needing to get my fill of lobster I went with the Lazy Man Roasted Lobster. The stuffed lobster with crab meat stuffing satisfied my craving for the local delicacy.

Harwich Port
Nauset Marsh

Fun and adventure around Harwich Port

Wednesday had us checking out a few attractions within a few miles from the house. Stopping at Cape Cod Lavender Farm was new to me and had me enjoying the aromas of one of my favorite scents. From there we needed to keep my 10 year old niece happy going to the go-kart track and bumper boats. The adults acted like kids as we all had fun trying to beat each other around the track and getting soaked on the bumper boats. A fun afternoon of playing like a kid.

Dinner had us going to the highly rated Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich Port. Plenty of shared appetizers including polenta, charcuterie, proscuitto wrapped artichokes and Aracini had me practically full before our entrees arrived. A grilled romaine salad before my Buca’s Bolognese arrived had me packing up it after only a few bites. It made for a great breakfast the next couple of mornings with the wild boar ragu spread on crispy bread leftovers for my homemade breakfast bruschetta. A breezy sunset made for a great after dinner walk on the beach and through town during its weekly festival with live music and more.

Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger at Mooncusser’s Tavern

Kayaking the marsh

Thursday brought out our adventuresome side with a 3 hour guided kayak tour through the Nauset Marsh. After meeting up with Matt of Cape Marsh Kayaking we made our way with the outgoing tide towards Nauset Beach. Paddling through the marsh Matt pointed out native birds looking for fish. Did you know there is no such specie as a “sea gull” as it’s a general term for the gulls found in and around the water.

Arriving at the beach 70 minutes after of paddling we had time to explore the beach and watch the seals bathing in the sun and poking their head out of the water to greet us. Before heading back Matt taught us about the different kind of clams, scallops and horseshoe crabs found in the area. Horseshoe crabs are related to spiders more than they are crabs. Paddling back to the boat launch made for quite the workout as we were paddling into the outgoing tide.

Getting hungry

Working up quite the appetite after kayaking we headed up Route 6 to Arnold’s Restaurant in Eastham. Packed with families getting their fill of fried seafood for lunch, my Wedge Salad with lobster meat was well earned. Hanging by the pool for a little while it was time to freshen up for dinner at Mooncusser’s Tavern.

Steamers at Arnold’s Restaurant in Eastham

Mooncusser’s is a inn and tavern built in the 1700s for retailer Jordan Marsh and his family. Mooncusser’s were land pirates who destroyed lighthouses and set fires on the beach so ships would run a ground to be robbed of their cargo.

My nephew and I shared an appetizer of PEI Mussel Dijonaise followed by my duck infused Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger. The first burger I’ve had on the cape in several years was delicious topped with the melted blue cheese, Crimini mushrooms, Cabernet caramelized onions, garlic aioli and smoked bacon. Saving room for dessert we made our way back to Schoolhouse Ice Cream for the homemade sweet treat.

Heading home from Harwich Port

Friday has us packing and getting ready to head out for the 5 hour drive down I-95 to NJ for the weekend before I head back to Scottsdale. Another great week on the cape full of fun, adventure and eating.

To see more of my visit Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

Where to eat on Grand Cayman Island

Whether you’re heading down to scuba dive, check on your money or warm up from the winter blues Grand Cayman Island has its variety of dining for everybody. Considered by many to be the culinary capital of the Caribbean (say that a few times after a few Pina Coladas), Grand Cayman is a rather small island in the western Caribbean Sea with several influences native to island or imported. The majority of the dining scene is on the western side of the island near George Town, but throughout the island you’ll find several other restaurants (in some cases barely that) frequented by locals which is the best way to taste the flavor of the island and the region. This is exactly what we did on a recent visit.

Surrounded by turquoise blue water, you’d be correct if you guessed that a lot of seafood is being served along with “jerk” food. “Jerk” is a mildly spicy seasoning found throughout parts of the Caribbean including Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The use of cloves gives it a distinctive flavor than most other spicy seasoning and it’s most commonly found on chicken and pork.

After getting some recommendations from hotel employees and checking local guide books we made our way to Rankins Jerk on Shamrock Rd. on the border of Bodden Town and Lower Valley. No big menu at this walk up restaurant just a few daily specials and couple of staples that include Jerk chicken($8), Jerk pork ($10) both w/ red beans and rice and small salad which were very tasty as was the Mahi Mahi filet and the chicken soup. We knew it would be good as we walked in to the minimal looking dining room to await our food, which was packed with locals eating lunch. So quiet you could hear a pin drop. It was also one of the few places I saw goat on the menu but decided to pass.

If you’re craving kangaroo or crocodile Make your way to the Gun Bay area of the Eastern Districts to Tukka www.tukka.ky where Chef Ron who hails from the Queensland area of Australia will introduce you to Australian food with a Caribbean flare at his beach side restaurant. With an extensive menu we were there for his Walkabout Wednesday tasting menu which included 3 courses for $40 C.I plus gratuity. Crocodile and Conch Fritter, Breaded Brie and a Lobster & Shrimp Spring Rolls were the 1st course followed by a choice of pan seared Barramundi, Grilled Mahi Mahi and Prawn Skewer, Mixed Grill Brochette consisting of lobster, shrimp, chicken and lamb cutlet or Angus beef filet and Kangaroo sausage. All the food presented tasted great and the presentation was the best we’d seen on the island. The Date & Walnut pudding w/ Butterscotch sauce was my choice for dessert delicious and had me wanting to lick my bowl. This was by far the fanciest restaurant of our visit.

Walkabout Wednesday appetizer sampler at Tukka
Tuuka’s Date & Walnut Pudding with ice cream and Butterscotch sauce.

If you make it to the North Side be sure to visit Over the Edge Restaurant www.over-theedge.com over looking Old Man Bay. With a variety of sandwiches, salads and main courses served in a nautical setting this was the restaurant we kept saying we had to get to and finally did for our next to last lunch. With a nice variety of fish that included Snapper, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Codfish and Lobster just to name I few. I went with the Fish & Fries (fish n chips). This was not your battered and fried fish that I was expecting but a seasoned and breaded then pan-fried filets which was a pleasant surprise. It was also the only place I noticed turtle steaks on the menu for those that crave it. Also be sure to ask for the jar of pickled peppers if you want to add a spicy kick to your meal.

If you find yourself hungry in George Town or along Seven Mile Beach and want to avoid the touristy places you can watch the waves rolling in at The Royal Palms Beach Club www.royalpalmscayman.com Part beach club, part patio restaurant this was slightly more mainstream with burgers, pizzas, salads and sandwiches. I went with the Mahi Mahi sandwich ($10.50 C.I.) with the Jerk mayo which was very good.

We also ate a couple of good meals where we stayed at the Morritt’s Grand Resort on the northeast corner of the island at Colliers Point. At David’s Restaurant the seafood risotto and coconut shrimp salad were winners.

Other good choices we visited was the Wreck Bar and Grill at Rum Point www.rumpointclub.com for eating at picnic tables and under the palm trees after a visit to Sting Ray City. On one visit I went with the Traditional Style Jerk Pork ($11 C.I.) which was a generous portion
of pork along with red beans and rice, corn on the cob and coleslaw. For my final meal of our trip we returned I had the Jerk Chicken Wrap off the special board which was very flavorful. Definitely the most kicked back place of our visit with its hammocks and clear blue water to stare into.

A few other places were recommended to us that we could not get to were Chester’s Fish Fry in Bodden Town, South Coast Bar & Grill on the water by Frank Sound and Vivine’s Kitchen in Gun Bay that looked like someones home and identified by a sign hanging on a street side mailbox. All of these were in the Eastern Districts part of the island.

The Cayman Islands have their own currency (C.I.), some places quote both C.I. & U.S. dollar prices & U.S. prices are 20% higher due to the exchange rate and any change given from U.S. dollars is given in C.I.

So whatever your reason for visiting Grand Cayman Island be rest assured you won’t go hungry and if you take these recommendations and others from the locals you should be leaving very satisfied and a few pounds heavier.

Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod

While on a vacation on Cape Cod recently I had the opportunity to taste some wines from Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod and talk with Emerson, a winery cellar rat. The winery has been owned by Dave Roberts and his family since 2007 when he retired from the wine & spirits industry. Aware of their location near a National Seashore they do what they can to preserve the ecosystem and environment around them with their recycling, composting and other sustainable practices in the vineyards and winery.

Co- wine makers David Roberts Jr. and Matyas Vogel make 13 different wines and only 5 acres planted to vines, so they also purchase grapes from Mass., New York and California. The vines were planted in 1991 and today they grow only Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Merlot and are all hand harvested.

I tasted 2 white blends and a Merlot and thought they were all solid wines.

The Right White is a nice blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Vignoles and is a nice crisp and clean blend with good fruit and a light mouth feel. Great for a summer afternoon.

The Diamond White ($17) is a semi sweet blend made for a very aromatic nose and pleasant taste and went well with my clams and a burger later in the day.

The 2009 Merlot ($21) is comparable with Merlots from around the country and has good fruit and medium tannins after being aged for 20 months in American oak.

If you find yourself coming back from whale watching in Provincetown or checking out the nearby lighthouses, Truro Vineyards in just of Rt.6 at 11 Shore Rd. Route 6A Truro Ma. 02652 (508)487-6200. Call for hours as they vary by time of the year. http://trurovineyardsofcapecod.com/index