Monday, May 26, 2014

Recycle It, Right on PTown Streets!

Now we can easily recycle coffee cups and lids
as we're walking down the streets in Provincetown.
I found a stack of these flyers on the information table in the Town Hall lobby. We've been able to recycle bottles, cans and paper in these green recycling containers for a few years now. You'll find them on street corners and in many spots in Provincetown's downtown area. But now you can (and should) put your empty coffee cups and lids in these green bins, too!
It's easier than ever to recycle more and more of our trash these days. Provincetown now uses the "single stream" model of recycling our solid waste, like glass, plastic, paper, aluminum cans and other trash left behind after we've shared a bottle of wine, read the paper or polished off a soft drink.
In single stream recycling, it is no longer necessary to separate plastics, for example, into different varieties to recycle them. We no longer have to keep plastic #1 soda bottles separate from plastic #2 water jugs. Heck, we don't even have to separate the glass, cans and plastics into different loads to be hauled off to be recycled. We can toss it all together, into our blue recycling bins at home, or into these green receptacles on our streets, with just one exception: corrugated cardboard. It has to remain segregated from all the other materials, but everything else can be mixed together. Put loose papers into a paper bag or cereal box to recycle in your blue bin at home, along with clean glass bottles, aluminum or steel cans, and, finally, any kind of plastic. And when you finish reading the paper on a bench in front of Town Hall, recycle it right there, in this green bin.
Our recyclables will now be sorted at their destination rather than having to be shipped in separate trailers for each commodity. Kindly remember to put your clean paper, along with empty bottles, cans and cups, into these bins. Finish off that last sip of coffee before dropping the cup and lid into these containers. You don't want to turn the newspapers inside into a pulpy mess that can't be recycled. The last few ice cubes from your cup of soda can be poured out at the base of a tree or shrub, giving our plant life a little extra water as it melts, and making your cup ready to be recycled. And please, please... only clean paper in the bins. No greasy burger wrappers or oily pizza boxes. Those are still trash, not recyclables.
Adding coffee cups to the list of things we can now recycle right on the street will literally amount to tons of waste that will be recycled rather than trashed in Provincetown over the summer. We thank the DPW and the town recycling committee for their ongoing efforts to make recycling easy as pie.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Red Shack's Stuffed Clam is a 'Best Bite'

The Red Shack's gigantic baked stuffed clam is the best I've found in PTown.
When I heard that Mylan and Pamela had sold The Red Shack, my heart dropped perceptibly. But it perked right back up again when I learned that the new owner wasn't some out-of-town rich guy swooping in for a quick buck, but a local man who's been here for years, and working hard all the while, who's finally gotten the chance to own and operate a business of his own.
Scott Munson bought the business, and he's been working alongside Mylan to learn the secrets of The Red Shack's recipes. Mylan, a hometown boy who was a personal chef and cooked for various country clubs in California before returning to Provincetown, is happy to pass his knowledge on to Scott.
Scott and his ever-present skateboard in Lopes Square.
We're happy, too. I stopped in last week for my favorite dish there, the enormous baked stuffed clam, and it was as good as ever; full of tender clams, linguica and chourico, and a nice bread stuffing with a little spice to it… I went back again for another one a few days later.
Having tried nearly every stuffed clam in all of Provincetown, I name this humble Portuguese peasant dish, served up in style by The Red Shack, as my first Best Bite of the season, and talking with a friend the other day, neither of us could think of a better one we'd ever had. If you have a different nomination, please let me know. I'm always happy to find, and taste, something new.
If you don't know The Red Shack, it's at Lopes Square, across from the Chamber of Commerce and John's Footlong (also a recipient of TheYearRounder's Best Bite award for their lobster roll,) near the corner of Commercial and Ryder Streets. In the height of the summer season The Red Shack makes breakfast, lunch and supper, with a wide and varied menu of seafood, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and lobster rolls served 6 different ways.
Stop in, try the stuffed clam, or dozens of other choices, like their homemade lemonade, and wish Scott good luck in his new endeavor. Call ahead, at 508 487-7422, and he'll have your order ready for pickup.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Where Are We? Finding This Auto Bumper Zebra Could Win You a PTown Prize

This five foot tall zebra is sculpted mainly from automobile bumpers.

Where are we? If you can identify this Provincetown location, or perhaps another one in the coming weeks, you could win a nice little prize from a PTown restaurant, bakery, boutique, gallery, psychic, entertainer, gardener, massage therapist, hardware store, coffee shop, bike shop, babysitter, taxi, personal trainer, hair stylist, deli, harbor cruise, vegan chef, seamstress, photographer, fudge shop, farmer's market, bookstore, crafts person, kayak rental, florist, web designer, beekeeper...
Restaurants, shops, galleries and service providers of all stripes are contributing to an on-going and ever-growing pool of prizes, little rewards for your attentiveness, as you make your way around the town. Your acute powers of observation could win you a specialty cocktail at a local restaurant or bar, or perhaps a gift certificate for the hardware store, a Tee shirt, Sunday Brunch, a gourmet coffee drink, or any number of nifty Provincetown prizes both large and small.
The life-size animal above is the creation of world renowned sculptor John Kearney, who divides his time between his homes in Chicago and Provincetown. Each summer the Berta Walker Gallery displays one of his large metal creatures out front. Click to see more John Kearney sculpture. I'll tell you more about him when I announce the winner. Keep an eye out for this amazing work of art as you make your way through the town and you could win a beautiful calendar of Provincetown and the National Seashore by famed local photographer Charles Fields.
To enter the contest, send an e-mail with its location to, or send a text or voice message by dialing 42423-PTOWN (424 237-8696) by 2 AM on Saturday, May 31st, 2014. If more than one correct entry is received on time, a random drawing from all entries will determine the winner.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

PTown Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Marriage Equality in the United States

A Provincetown pedicab carries two just-married husbands
down Commercial Street as the couple is cheered by passersby.
On May 17th, 2004, Massachusetts became the first municipality in the United States, and 6th in the world, to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
That day, hundreds of people lined our sidewalks all day long, cheering each couple who walked out of Provincetown Town Hall with their license in hand, and there were even weddings taking place right there on the Town Hall lawn as tears of joy were shed not only by the couples, but by strangers who witnessed the events of that day.
75 volunteers had been enlisted and trained, and by day's end they would help in the process of issuing marriage licenses to 154 couples, with nearly one third of them traveling here from other states. During that year a total of 873 marriage licenses were granted in Provincetown, with 848 of them issued to same-sex couples. To date, well over 4,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot in PTown.
Since Massachusetts opened the door for marriage equality in America on that day 10 years ago, 17 states, along with 16 foreign governments, now recognize same-sex marriages, with many more decisions in process across the United States and around the world. Arkansas became the most recent US victory this past week.
In the summertime photo above, two grooms are being pedaled down Commercial Street in a pedicab festooned with paper hearts and wedding bells, and the noise from strings of tin cans tied to the bumper and clanking down the road behind them is now a familiar sound that brings cheers from strangers as freshly married couples are applauded by folks they pass on their way down the street.
I'll say it again… Ya gotta love a town like this!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Outer Cape Chorale Performs 'Carmina Burana' in Their Annual Spring Concert

The Outer Cape Chorale's annual spring concert, always one of the most highly anticipated performances on Cape Cod, takes place this weekend, beginning tonight. This season's performance will be Carmina Burana, the 1936 cantata composed by Carl Orff, based on poems from the medieval collection of the same name.
This marvelous choir, founded in 2002 by director Jon Arterton, has grown to a chorus of some 130 voices from various Cape Cod towns, united by their love of music of all varieties. They will be joined by musicians on two pianos, and various percussion instruments as well. This is a free concert, open to the public, and all are invited. A good will collection will be taken.
There will be three performances, as follows:

•  Friday and Saturday, May 16th and 17th at 7 PM, at Provincetown Town Hall
•  Sunday, May 18th at 3 PM, at Nauset Middle School, in Orleans

Don't miss this wonderful performance!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Street Performers Make Their Annual Pilgrimage to Provincetown

Another fine musician joins PTown's summer lineup.
This woman is dressed for the chill that still hangs in the PTown air. She plays her accordion with great skill, and it will be a pleasure to have her in town. She spent a good bit of the winter in the Florida Keys, and most recently has played on the streets of Burlington, Vermont.
In the few moments that I talked with her I learned that she's been playing and traveling extensively, busking for a time wherever she has found the opportunity, and hopes to find a way to be able to spend the summer here in Provincetown. We would all be the richer for it.
Within that same few moments, three prominent local musicians, known for street performances and cabaret appearances, stopped to welcome her and to make connections.
Ya gotta love a town like this!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PTown Restaurants' Opening Parties Have Been Fabulous, With More to Come

Charcuterie is a selection of cured meats and sausages, usually
with a variety of cheeses, and is a real specialty at The Crown.
The Central House at The Crown & Anchor started off the week of opening parties in grand style with a 20-foot-long buffet table of Charcuterie.
There were dozens of choices of splendid dry cured meats and specialty cheeses from around the world, along with breads, pickled vegetables, olives, and unusual condiments. I loved the jalapeño jam. Among my favorites were a sweet and a hot coppa, various prosciuttos, and a great Spanish chorizo, which is dry cured, a bit more dense, and has a deeper, heartier flavor than the common variety used in flavoring Portuguese soups and stews.
The staff was circulating through the crowd with trays of various hors d'oeuvres as well. One of my favorites was the house-smoked kielbasa with fingerling potato, aioli and dill. There were giant ripe strawberries, and petit fours of Chef Devon Gilroy's curry cake with coconut glaze. I'm lobbying for this superb cake, with a little bit of heat, to become a permanent part of the season's dessert menu.
My dessert plate, on the cocktail rail that runs the length
of The Red Inn's spectacular deck on the edge of the harbor.
On to round two, at The Red Inn…
With the harbor as a backdrop, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting for this dining room full of treats. There were platters of roasted vegetables, and pickled ones, too. There was a wheel of brie baked in a phyllo crust, plates of prosciutto, cheeses, and seafood galore. There were trays heaped with big, plump peel-and-eat shrimp, and two or three varieties of smoked seafood, including a beautiful smoked salmon. In another room there was The Red Inn's famous spicy seafood and penne pasta.
Servers carried plates through the crowd offering oysters, clams and other delights from the sea, including bowls of crawfish Creole served over grits, one of my favorites on their menu. And don't forget about those delectable baby lamb chops.
Out on the deck, dessert included brownies, blondes, and The Red Inn's delicate, delicious bread pudding, with a sauce of Frangelico, vanilla and white chocolate for drizzling. I drizzled my strawberry, too. Once people had eaten, they whiled away the evening on the dance floor The Red Inn builds outdoors for this party every year. This is always a great night.
This plate shows a fraction of Patio's offerings.
Thursday night was a challenge, because that night Patio and Saki were both throwing opening parties, so I had to be careful not to hurt myself on too much great food.
I started at Patio, with chilled jumbo shrimp, and bushels of fresh oysters were being shucked as quickly as the staff could manage.
Patio's party always has a stunning array of great tidbits streaming out of the kitchen. Some of these are menu items converted to hors d'oeuvre-style servings of just a bite or two, so we can taste a bit of everything.
This plate has an oven roasted meatball with parmesan cream and chive oil, seared tuna with black bean sauce, a fried whole belly clam with a lemon aioli, and a tasty sample of Patio's famous lobster grilled cheese. I tasted some wonderful crab cakes, and I can never pass up Patio's chilled gazpacho because it's one of the best I've ever had.
There were so many tempting samples that I had to tear myself away before I had tried them all, because I had more tasting ahead of me that night at Saki's party.
Samples of Saki's award winning sushi.
Saki serves sushi and Asian specialties in a big old barn of a building that was once a church, then a movie house, and then a popular drag performance and theater space. It is now a very chic restaurant and nightspot, and the perfect place to hold a celebration, with terrific food. The lounge area near the cocktail bar has couches and several low tables, making a comfortable place to relax and talk with friends, and food can easily be served there as well.
While the kitchen was turning out favorites like a teriyaki style strip of steak on a skewer, Sushi Chef Goufu and his assistant were turning out beautiful boat-shaped platters of sushi for the crowd to sample. You can watch these two at work behind the sushi bar near the center of the restaurant.
The menu also includes a full list of appetizers and entrées, some Thai and Vietnamese specialties, and, of course, Saki's award winning sushi. In fact, there are over 60 varieties of sushi, sashimi and makimono rolls on the menu. The Beihia, a makimono roll made with fried sweet potato, is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes in Provincetown. The plate above shows a sample of the spicy tuna roll, and another with a shrimp filling and a layer of crunchy tempura crumb rolled inside.
Any party isn't the same without the Hat Sisters.
The famous hat sisters have been attending most of these opening parties, including Saki's. I saw them earlier that evening at Patio, and I've seen them at openings ranging all along Commercial Street, from Tin Pan Alley to
The Red Inn.
There are still a few openings to go, and these two perennial partiers will likely be attending the event at Backstreet restaurant, at 133 Bradford Street, tomorrow night. Don't confuse the place with the Backstreet bar at the Gifford House. This party is finally scheduled for  Wednasday, May 14th, from 5 till 8 PM. It was rescheduled after a licensing snafu changed the original plans for this new restaurant's opening. See you there.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pearl Shows "A Driving Perspective" - Photographs on Canvas, at Spiritus

Helltown is just one of Pearl's wonderful photographs on canvas, debuting tonight at Spiritus.

Inimitable Provincetown character Pearlene Dubois is known to most of us here in one way or another. As a taxi driver in Provincetown for a number of years, Pearl has hustled us up Commercial Street to work, picked us up with our groceries from the Stop & Shop, or carried us home after a night on the town. Driving through every square inch of PTown on a daily basis tends to reveal some interesting sights, and eventually came to be the inspiration for an engaging photo series entitled "A Driving Perspective, scenes from the driver's seat of Cape Cab." Each photo in the series was taken from behind the wheel, while Pearl was on duty for the taxi company, carrying locals and visitors alike to every conceivable destination in Provincetown, with three cameras of different types in the cab at all times, ready for any sort of shot that might present itself.
This exhibit of photographs on canvas by Pearl will be on display at Spiritus Pizza, a long-time supporter of Provincetown artists and imagery, at 190 Commercial Street, through May 21st. There will be an opening reception tonight, May 9th, from 6 to 8 PM. In typical, self-deprecating form, Pearl tells me this will be "…a grand, catered affair, with Ritz crackers, Cheez Whiz, and box wine with bubbles." Sounds like fun. See you there!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bayside Betsy Bids PTown Farewell

Bayside Betsy's welcomed one and all.
If you are a fan of Bayside Betsy's Commercial Street restaurant, near the beginning of Provincetown's West End, you'll want to get there quickly for one more meal and that fantastic view out over the harbor, and to give Betsy a hug…
Betsy is retiring. She's selling, and giving up restaurant life after 15 years of feeding hungry visitors and residents alike in this busy little spot right on the edge Provincetown's magnificent harbor. In fact, she's been feeding us for the past couple of decades.
I first met Betsy Melamed back in the '90s when she and husband Steve, who passed away in 2010, were running Stormy Harbor, a popular restaurant and nightclub at the corner of Commercial and Ryder streets, across from Town Hall. When their lease on that space ran out they found the building at 177 Commercial Street, which would become the home of their new restaurant, Bayside Betsy's, and a cozy little bar they named Mixers. Both developed a following and quickly became a "must" for many people returning for their vacation escapes to PTown each summer.
Betsy is always a gracious host, and there's a pretty funny two-part YouTube video where she manages to remain affable in an interview with Stephen Holt (quite a character,) who hosts a small TV series on a New York cable access channel. Stephen, God love him, bungles Betsy's name on camera, and misspells it on screen, while he dips his lobster in the ketchup meant for his fries. Click these links to find Betsy, along with legendary server Mrs. A., on the Stephen Holt Show at Bayside Betsy's, and part two explains how "Mrs. A" got that name.
Visitors and Townies enjoy their last meal at Bayside Betsy's.
I was recently at Bayside Betsy's for breakfast myself, and I met this group, who lucked into a lovely, warm day in the midst of this chilly spring weather we've been enduring.
A bunch of friends who had been invited by a couple of part-time PTown residents to come and spend the weekend had arrived from Boston, New York and as far away as Michigan (or was it Minnesota?) for a get-together at the tip of the Cape. They were enjoying cocktails and brunch, and, of course, the view of Long Point, the very tip of Cape Cod, just across the harbor from Betsy's panoramic windows.
Townies and visitors will all miss Betsy and her kindness, and that easy charm that has made us all feel so welcome at Bayside Betsy's over the years. We wish her well.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Provincetown Starts the Season with Opening Parties all Around the Town

The Red Inn party always spills out into their lovely garden.
I call it hors d'oeuvre season... that time of the year when so many of the really great PTown restaurants treat us to tastes of some of their best dishes served at "opening" parties as a way to kick off the new season and to thank all the Townies for their support and recommendations when visitors ask about the food in PTown. There are some 90 restaurants, delis, takeouts and coffee shops here, and word-of-mouth is still probably the greatest advertising tool to bring visitors in for a meal. And we Townies definitely have some opinions on our favorite restaurants. Some of us make hundreds of recommendations for entertainment, shops, galleries and restaurants over the course of the summer.
These parties are a great way for restaurants to share a taste of some of the dishes that have made them famous, and to acquaint us all with new items scheduled to appear on their menus in the coming season,
The Red Inn's new seafood pasta dish was an instant hit.
like the spicy penne with shrimp and lobster introduced by the Red Inn at their fabulous opening party last spring, shown at the right. They always do it up in high style, erecting a tent top and a dance floor on their gorgeous grounds, right at the edge of the harbor, with a DJ spinning music and dance tunes into the night, not to mention the array of great food they always bring out.
There will be openings of various kinds, all over town, every week over the next month, and there are at least 8 new restaurants opening for their first season. Watch for announcements here, in this blog, and also in Provincetown Magazine, and in the Provincetown Banner.

Parties this week include:
• Monday, May 5th - Central House at the Crown, in the Crown & Anchor complex at 247           Commercial Street, from 5 PM till 8:30 PM
• Tuesday, May 6th - Shipwreck Lounge "Fire & Ice" 10 Carver Street, from 6 PM till 8 PM
• Wednesday, May 7th - The Red Inn, at 15 Commercial Street, from 6 PM till 10 PM
        (Remember, please! No stilettos on the dance floor)
• Thursday, May 8th - Patio, at 358 Commercial Street, from 6 PM till 8:30 PM
• Thursday, May 8th - Saki, upstairs at 238 Commercial Street, beginning at 6 PM

This dazzling outfit added to the ambience at Saki's 2013 opening.
There will be a number of other openings and parties in the next few weeks; some with food, some with music or dancing, some with folks dressed for the occasion, and all with the  friendly spirit of community that Provincetown is famous for. It's a great chance to see friends and neighbors before the craziness of the busy summer season sets in.
We're always happy to welcome back favorite restaurants and staffs each spring, and to wish good luck to new friends we'll meet as they start their adventures in new restaurants, springing up all around the town this year. May we all survive and prosper.