Saturday, June 28, 2014

PTown Portuguese Festival 2014 is a Hit

Squid stew and porco were popular dishes at the Lions
food court during PTown's annual Portuguese Festival.
Provincetown's annual Portuguese Festival is in full swing, with many Portuguese dancers in costume on the streets, entertainment on Ryder Street (always renamed Portuguese Square during the festival,) the parade all along Commercial Street this afternoon, and Portuguese food galore at the Bas Relief park behind Town Hall.
I went to the big white food court tent myself this afternoon, where the local Lions club was running the restaurant for the day, and I had the spicy, really tasty squid stew, along with the porco. That's thin sliced pork steaks marinated in vinegar and spices and piled high on a Portuguese roll.
I hung around and talked to a few people as they came and went, and then stayed for the afternoon's entertainment, The Portuguese Kids, a well-known comedy sketch troupe that is a crowd favorite, speaking in mixed Portuguese and English, with Portuguese music interspersed between sketches. The troupe played to an enthusiastic audience both young and old, with even kids singing along in the Portuguese language. It seemed to be a crowd of people who had come from all over New England, most of them speaking Portuguese as they greeted each other.
Chourico with peppers and onions was served with Portuguese
rice once the buns ran out. Cold drinks also sold out.
I stayed long enough to be hungry again, so I ordered the chourico (say choo•ree•so, or shur•rees, depending upon how Portuguese you're feeling.) It was grilled with onions and peppers and had been served on Portuguese rolls all afternoon, but by the time I got some they had run out of buns, so they were serving it with a side of Portuguese rice, which was fine by me. They had had such a busy day that they eventually ran low on other food items as well as sodas and water, although the beer and wine supply held out a little while longer.
It was a nice afternoon of food and entertainment as I became an honorary member of Provinctown's Portuguese community, as I do every year at this time, even if only for a few days during the festival.
Get the Portuguese Festival schedule online, or stop by the booth at the corner of Ryder and Commercial Streets, because there's still more to enjoy tomorrow, like the Blessing of the Fleet, and the band concert, and more Portuguese food down on the pier. Get out and enjoy this last day of the festival. See you there.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Couples Day on the Breakwater?

Provincetown's breakwater offers couples a romantic stroll across
the west end of this spectacular harbor, and perhaps a picnic along the way.
On one of these glorious spring days we've had recently (although the date on the calendar insists that it's now summer) it almost looked like couples day out on the west end breakwater.
With calm waters near high tide, and the charm of the Wood End Light in the distance, the stroll out onto the granite breakwater can have a certain romance to it, especially for those who are taking in this breathtaking sight for the first time. On this particular afternoon, everyone I could spot out on the breakwater was paired up in a couple of one sort or another, and that gave me a smile.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Native Cape Cod Seafood Does it Again With Their New Portuguese Stew

This mildly spicy fisherman's Stew is a great new PTown dish.
I had been trying to get to Native Cape Cod Seafood, in the Aquarium Marketplace, since they opened. I'd been looking forward to having their amazing lobster scampi all winter, along with their succulent fried clams, fish pockets, and basically anything that comes out of their kitchen. I ended up putting off my scampi fix, though, because Andrew, the owner, was so excited as he was telling me about their new Portuguese fisherman's stew.
I ordered this new dish instead of my favorite, and it was wonderful. Damn! Another really good dish makes it that much harder to choose what to eat on my next visit to Native Cape Cod Seafood. Will I ever get back to that killer scampi that started my romance with this little takeout joint?
The fisherman's stew shown above is made with impeccably fresh scallops, squid, mussels and shrimp, with fingerling potatoes. It gets its Portuguese flavor from a generous helping of choriço (say cho•ree•soh,) a traditional, slightly spicy Portuguese sausage with just a bit of heat to it, simmered in a delicate tomato-based broth. The result is a delectable dish that's hearty and satisfying, and a bargain as well.
Find Native Cape Cod Seafood at 209 Commercial Street, tucked away inside the old Aquarium, where you can have your meal on the deck at the edge of Provincetown's majestic harbor, along with an icy cold beer from the Aqua Bar. Life just doesn't get much better than that!
For its flavor, quality and value, the Portuguese Fisherman's Stew wins Native Cape Cod Seafood its third Best Bite award from TheYearRounder's Guide to Provincetown.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wildflowers Blossom in PTown Forests

A family hikes the Beech Forrest trails.
As our recent weather proves a bit more tolerable every day, we're finally able to really get outside and enjoy a little recreation. This cold, windy, rainy spring seems like one for the books to me.
I don't remember such chilly weather hanging on into June in the 26 years I've been here…
This family grabbed their sweaters and headed out on the bike trail near Herring Cove. The air was still a bit brisk this day, but the sun was glorious, actually casting shadows for a change.
Lady's slippers are jewels along the trails.
Soon the lady's slippers will be in bloom on the Beech Forest trails and on the Old Colony Nature Pathway, where Harry Kemp Way meets Howland Street.
These showy wildflowers are part of the orchid family.  They are becoming a bit harder to find these days. Look for them in the shady spots in the forests, often beneath the pitch pines, and also sometimes amongst the oaks and maples.
Try to resist the urge to pick them. It takes the seedlings several years to mature, and each plant grows a single stem with one lone flower. They're also a food source for white-tailed deer.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Great Seafood and Friendly Faces Welcome You at John's Footlong

 Marian, Shirley and Jeremy at John's Footlong turn out some of the best fried seafood on the Cape.
I'm having the scallop roll, piled so high with John's excellent scallops that you can't see the bun.
For more than 50 years John's Footlong hot dog stand has been feeding hungry PTown visitors and Townies, too. This is a favorite eatery for many, and part of what makes it special isn't just the great food and reasonable prices; it's the people behind the counter. Marian and Shirley have each been working at John's for about 25 years or more, and Jeremy has grown up here, working on the fryer and the grill for the last ten years. It's great to see these friendly faces reappearing behind the counter each spring as John's opens up for the summer season.
John's Footlong is found at Lopes Square, near he corner of Standish and Commercial Streets, where the giant anchor sits in the square amidst the benches and all the people who have stopped to rest for a moment, or who are eating something from one or more of the little takeout joints that line the street there. John's customers will also find seating on the roof deck above the takeout windows, reached by the stairway at the South end of the building, and a view of the harbor from some of those tables.
John's terrific lobster roll is a PTown favorite, and a Best Bite.
I've written about John's before, and their great fish sandwich for about $6, their Portuguese kale soup, and their lobster roll, which I believe might just be the best in all of Provincetown. In fact, I gave it TheYearRounder's Best Bite award for its excellent quality and bargain price.
Stop by John's, have something great to eat, and enjoy the friendly service and these smiling faces behind the counter. We're happy to have them back at Lopes Square for another summer.