Saturday, August 30, 2014

PTown's Best Lobster Roll, Chapter Four

This week's trek takes us to four sit-down restaurants that each serve more of a lobster salad type of roll, a little sloppier, perhaps, than those served with only the barest touch of mayonnaise, and with a bit of celery or other ingredients added. Each also includes an accompaniment, like chips or fries.

Sage's toothsome lobster sliders are perfect for sharing.
The "Lobster Knuckle Slider" at Sage is about 5 chunky ounces of fresh lobster claws and knuckles mixed with a little mayo, a bit of diced red onion and roasted sweet corn kernels, served on a pair of warm sesame-seeded brioche buns that have been basted with a touch of melted butter. These tempting little lobster rolls are served with about a half-dozen or so house made chips, cooked just a bit dark and tasty. This dish sells for $16, which makes it a better bargain than many others, too. I generally like my lobster fairly unadorned, but I  liked this dish quite a bit.
Find Sage tucked away at the end of a little alley that will lead you just a few steps off Commercial Street, at number 336.

Frozen lobster just doesn't float my boat with great fresh lobster available. 
Bayside Betsy's looks out over the harbor at 177 Commercial Street, with new owners since the spring, serving a lobster roll only on their lunch menu, which calls it a "Maine Lobster Roll, simple and delicious."
When I asked the waiter why Maine lobster instead of local lobster, he said it was because Maine lobsters are the best. So I was a bit puzzled when I bit into it and found it was made with frozen lobster. To be fair, I have one friend who actually prefers the texture of frozen lobster over fresh, but that opinion is certainly in the minority around here.
It's made with just a tiny bit of mayo and just a hint of celery, but what puts it in the slightly sloppier "lobster salad" category is the extra moisture inherent in frozen lobster. My waiter told me there were 6 ounces of lobster in this brioche bun lined with lettuce, but having eaten about 40 lobster rolls for this series over the last couple of months, I find I can ballpark it pretty accurately on sight, and this looked light. Thinking that the extra water content might raise the weight a smidgen, I called later to inquire, and was told that "there's 6 to 8 ounces of lobster" in this sandwich. An 8 ounce lobster roll would be double the size of the average lobster roll served in any Provincetown restaurant. Look at the photo and draw your own conclusions...
Their lobster roll is $19.95, served with some very good fries.

Tin Pan Alley's lobster roll makes a nice lunch.
Tin Pan Alley, new this year at 269 Commercial Street, serves a "traditional lobster salad" roll at lunchtime, made with about 5 ounces of fresh local lobster, with a little dollop of mayo, some finely diced celery and a dash of salt and pepper stirred in.
This makes a slightly creamy lobster salad that sits on a bit of chopped iceberg lettuce in a brioche roll that has been toasted over the flame of the grill.
This tasty sandwich is $17, served with your choice of a side salad, some barely salted hand cut fries, or coleslaw, which is not their forte, so stick with the salad or fries. They also serve a Lobster Quesadilla with jack cheese, mango salsa and guacamole for $15.

The Purple Feather's lobster roll is a bargain for lunch or supper. Check hours.
The Purple Feather, at 234 Commercial Street, serves 4 ounces of fresh lobster mixed with finely chopped celery and a minimum of mayo, on a grilled New England style frankfurter roll lined with leafy green lettuce and sliced tomatoes. What makes this roll a little sloppy is probably the juicy tomatoes in the sandwich, and there are extra tomatoes and a couple of pickle chips on the side, along with a small bag of Cape Cod potato chips. At $14.95 this is a bargain, at a better price than many others.

There are still a few lobster rolls in town that I haven't gotten to yet, so there's more to come. Next week we'll be off to the Post Office Cafe, among others. If I haven't mentioned your favorite, let me know where it is, and I'll taste it and feature it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

West End Waters Lure Anglers

These gentlemen are loading up to go after the striped bass.
These two men are getting ready to launch their canoe and get out into the water in the far west end of Provincetown Harbor, down near the breakwater, and with any luck they might bring back a few striped bass. And it may not take much luck, because bluefish and stripers have been found in pretty good numbers recently in many spots off PTown shores.
This particular spot most often has calm waters, so there isn't a great deal of skill or experience required to paddle out and try your hand at fishing, or you can cast a line from the breakwater when the tide is in. You can easily rent a boat or a kayak in many spots in Provincetown, or visit the hardware store or beach shop to pick up a simple rubber raft.
Nelson's Bait and Tackle will rent you rods and reels, which come with bait and lures, or you can buy your equipment if you're ready to really commit yourself, and the experts at Nelson's can give you all kinds of advice on technique, location and equipment to help you get out and land that big striper.
If you're up to some serious hiking and wading, traversing the tidal flats, marshes and tributaries of the outer cape, Nelson's can arrange a trip led by a legendary certified fishing guide like Steve Kean, who spends nearly every waking moment from spring through the autumn fishing somewhere on the outer cape, wherever the fish are biting. And if you're ready for some deep sea fishing, they can arrange a fishing trip for you on Beth Ann Charters, on a 35 foot boat that can take you out after anything from cod to haddock to blue fin tuna.
Nelson's is also a certified weigh-in station for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, so you can weigh your catch for official entry into the state's saltwater fishing record books. Don't forget your hat and sunscreen, and get out and go fishing in this gorgeous weather we've been having all summer.

Friday, August 22, 2014

This Year's Carnival Brings "Comic Book Capers" to Provincetown Streets

With a different theme every year, Provincetown's annual week-long Carnival is a summer celebration that brings thousands to town, raises money for a number of local charities, and gives people a chance to transform themselves, to see and be seen, whether they merely don a few strands of beads or dress in elaborate costumes, with some people changing their look for different occasions during the week.
Carnival week in Provincetown brings all kinds of folks out in various sorts of costumes, sometimes adhering to the year's theme, and sometimes just dressing up in whatever they'd like, strutting down Commercial Street and around the town, and attending various events. And, of course, at Drag Bingo, anything goes...

A trio of Little Orphan Annies was spotted having supper at The Canteen,
on Commercial Street. These friends had travelled from three different cities
to spend Carnival week together in PTown.

13 -year-old A J and his family love Provincetown, and came
from Weymouth to kick off our Carnival Week celebration. 

Two men from Montreal were found strutting down Commercial Street,
thoroughly enjoying our week-long series of Carnival events.

Joe and Dennis wouldn't miss coming to Provincetown for Carnival Week.
After 50 years together, they've now gotten married. Read what I wrote
about them two Carnivals ago. I will write an update on their story soon. 

These Gaywatch gals were found in front of Town Hall, complete
with their trademark red swimsuits and lifesaving buoys.

A bevy of beauties in party dresses and swanky evening gowns were
found strolling along Commercial Street, on their way to Drag Bingo. 

I knew someone would dress as Ace and Gary, Robert Smigel's cartoon superhero duo from Saturday Night Live's TV Funhouse series of cartoons. Click this link to see The Ambiguously Gay Duo in one of their hilarious cartoon adventures, followed by a live action version with Jon Hamm as Ace and Jimmy Fallon as Gary, with various Comedy Central alums. Above, Captain Awesome follows behind The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Spectacular Provincetown Sky, Opus 2

The Provincetown breeze forms a series of rolling waves in the clouds as the sun sets over the rooftops.
If I had turned the corner from Carver onto Commercial Street 30 seconds earlier, or later, I'd have missed this shot of an insistent breeze gently swirling the clouds into a series of rolling ocean waves.
I happened into a crowd that had gathered spontaneously in front of the Aquarium Marketplace, at the beginning of Provincetown's West End, where people were looking up over the rooftops toward the western sky, exclaiming over the sight they were seeing as they fumbled for their cameras. The wind was twirling the clouds into neat little curlicues as it blew them along the horizon. I heard someone say there was a name for this phenomenon, but no one seemed to know what it was.
You might think these clouds have been "photoshopped" into the picture, but there is no trickery here. This is simply Mother Nature doing what she does… turning the natural elements around us into  stunning, elegant little displays that magically appear wherever you go in Provincetown.

UPDATE: My thanks to a reader who e-mailed me a name for these clouds, enabling me to look up some information on them. It turns out this sort of cloud formation sometimes results when there is more than one layer of air above us, moving at different speeds on a windy day. A thinner layer of air might move more quickly over a denser, heavier layer, rolling a bank of clouds into a shape that resembles a series of cresting waves.
These cloud formations are known by a number of names around the world, and are often called "Kelvin-Helmoltz" clouds or billows. They were named for Lord William Thomas Kelvin, a Scottish physicist and mathematician, and for Hermann von Helmholtz, a German physicist, physician and philosopher (say that five times really fast,) both of whom were born in the 1820s.
"Shear-gravity clouds" is another monicker for these whimsical swirls of condensed water vapor that most often indicate instability in the atmosphere, and are a predictor of likely turbulence for airplanes. And they make a dandy bit of sculpture in Mother Nature's sky.

Friday, August 15, 2014

TheYearRounder Names Front Street's Caramelized Key Lime Pie as a 'Best Bite'

The Caramelized Key Lime Pie at Front Street is the best thing I tasted in Provincetown all week long.
During the average week in a Provincetown summer I'll taste somewhere between 20 and 60 dishes served in restaurants, takeout joints, bakeries, neighborhood markets and delis. Out for dinner with friends the other night, as usual, we all tasted around the table with each course that came out of the kitchen, so I sampled 9 appetizers, soups, entrées and desserts that night. That brought my total number of tastes around the town to about 42 for the week.
This week I sampled everything from breakfast sandwiches to late night-night menu items served after 10 PM. I tasted things ranging from a chilled gazpacho to a hot apple crisp. I had striped bass, stuffed clams, three different lobster rolls, and the ubiquitous clam chowder. I ate Portuguese kale soup, Jamaican jerk chicken, Mexican chile rellenos and Chinese dumplings. I tasted everything from pizza to roasted duckling.
Without a doubt, the best thing I ate during the entire week was the Caramelized Key Lime Pie served at Front Street restaurant, at 230 Commercial Street. We all tasted it, and the next day we were all still talking about it. It had a thin, crisp, buttery graham cracker crust filled with a firm, sumptuous, custardy mixture that perfectly balanced the sweetness with the vibrant tartness of Key limes. A bit of sugar had been sprinkled on the top of the pie, and then it had been torched to caramelize it, à la crème brûlée. It was topped with a thick dollop of whipped cream and a couple of slivers of candied Key lime peel.
A generous slice of this splendid pie was surrounded by a velvety pool of mango coulis, adding another stratum to the flavors in this flawless dessert. It was perfection on a plate. That’s what earns it TheYearRounder’s Best Bite award. I hope to find it appearing frequently on Front Street’s ever-changing menu of Chef Donna Aliperti’s Mediterranian-American fusion delights, featuring the superb desserts created by Chef Kathy Cotter. This was, hands down, the best dish I tasted anywhere in Provincetown all week long.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tidal Extremes in Provincetown Harbor

The high tide can easily rise above this level, so be cautious on the breakwater.
Last month I wrote about the extremely high and low tides we've been having. If you notice the level of the harbor as the water creeps up the side of the west end breakwater as the tide is rolling in, you'll see extra high tides, especially around the time of the full moon, followed by very, very low tides.
I wrote about the astrological reasons for these extreme tides, and you can click this link or just scroll down to the bottom of this page to find out what is making the tides so high and low.
Suffice it to say, just be cautious if you venture out onto the breakwater as the tide is coming in. We'll continue to have these extreme tides at least through the month of September. The safest time for this stroll is still after the crest of the tide, as the water begins to recede. And be sure to wear sturdy shoes, not a pair of flip-flops.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tonight Only, Provincetown Film Society Presents the Sing-Along WIZARD OF OZ, Celebrating the Film's 75th Birthday

Join the Tin Man, Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion tonight in Provincetown, at the
Waters Edge Cinema, in a special sing-along screening celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

Tonight only, August 11, 2014, at 8 PM, the Provincetown Film Society presents a special Sing-Along benefit screening of The Wizard of Oz, the 1939 classic MGM film musical starring the 17-year-old Judy Garland. The film will be shown with onscreen sing-along lyrics, and costumes are encouraged. The event will be held at Waters Edge Cinema, on the second floor of the Whaler’s Wharf, at 237 Commercial Street. 
This screening commemorates the 75th anniversary of the film’s opening night on Cape Cod on this date in 1939, four days before its premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. There will be complimentary beer and wine along with decadent treats donated by the Purple Feather at a lobby reception preceding the film, beginning at 7:30 PM when the doors open, and there will be photo opportunities with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. Admission is $20, or $15 for Provincetown Film Society members. Proceeds benefit the Provincetown Film Society.
At 2.8 million dollars, The Wizard of Oz was MGM’s most expensive and elaborate production of its time, and for its day, it presented audiences with dazzling special effects, costumes and make-up, along with this new-fangled color photography, and “Over the Rainbow” won the Oscar that year for Best Original Song. Those of us growing up in the 50s and 60s eagerly looked forward to seeing this film once a year when it was shown on broadcast television, making Judy Garland and her “ruby slippers” the cultural icons that they are today.
The Provincetown Film Society is proud to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this priceless cinematic achievement by presenting it on the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen, in a shared cultural experience that is not to be missed. So tonight, follow the yellow brick road to the Whalers Wharf and the Waters Edge Cinema for this very special event.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Park Rangers Lead PTown Activities Along the Cape Cod National Seashore

A family canoes through Provincetown's wetlands.
This family paddles their way through the marsh and wetlands in Provincetown's Far West End, enjoying a canoe trip led by a park ranger from the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Each summer a wide variety of activities led by park rangers both educate and entertain thousands of visitors to Provincetown shores.
Here's a link to the National Park Service website, with a tremendous amount of information about park resources on Cape Cod. Here's a link to ranger-led activities on the outer cape for August, 2014. Also, the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station will be open daily from 2 PM until 4 PM, offering an open house, and the chance to get inside this historic building and see how those brave men who manned these lifesaving stations lived.
The U S Lifesaving Service was founded in 1871 in response to thousands of shipwrecks on American shores. In those days a shipwreck could occur as often as two or three times a month anywhere along the shoreline of Cape Cod. There's a re-enactment of the breeches buoy rescue drills on the grounds of the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station on Thursday evenings, and a variety of ranger-led hikes and other regular activities are available. Check the schedules and get out and enjoy the resources of the national park that surrounds Provincetown.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The West End Racing Club's Annual Fundraising Raffle is Underway in PTown

Kids socialize while learning to swim and sail at the West End Racing Club.
Over about the last 60 years or so the West End Racing Club has offered local kids and summer visitors from 8 to 16 years of age the opportunity to learn to swim and sail safely. Once they learn the basics, they race against each other in small sail boats, with pairs of kids in each boat teaching and learning from each other as well.
Read my August, 2012 post to learn how Provincetown's West End Rcaing Club started out, and how it has grown over the years, thanks to contributions from the public.
The major annual fundraisers for the organization have been the sale of their T-shirts and raffle tickets. Prizes have been donated by local businesses and individuals and have been known to include dinners in local restaurants, paintings by local artists and many other sorts of prizes for lucky ticket holders.
So when you meet these kids on the street, help this great community resource continue to serve our youngsters, simply by forking over a few bucks for a T-shirt and a couple of raffle tickets. Whether you win a prize or not, the real prize is the reward our community gets by providing equipment, instruction and a safe place for our kids to learn skills, develop confidence and make a tremendous difference in their lives.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Twilight Photo Ops on PTown Shores

Long Point Light shines across Provincetown Harbor at dusk.
I was out on the deck at WayDownTown one night, looking out over the beach as dusk rolled in, having my dessert. As the boats drifted a bit on the tide, the green beacon of the Long Point Lighthouse appeared beyond them, shining through the gloaming.
I try to always keep my camera with me wherever I go, so I was able to get this twilight photo just before the last bit of light evanesced. Keep your camera handy for unexpected photo opportunities, and Provincetown will provide them for you.