Monday, March 30, 2015

A PTown April Fool

This may be Provincetown's most ridiculous traffic sign,
and that's saying a lot! What does it instruct us to do?
This extremely obtuse sign, in a very busy location, may well be the most confusing of all of the nonconforming, oddball signs on Provincetown roads. Where is this sign, and what could it possibly be trying to tell us?
If you can successfully answer those questions, or even if you can't, you could win TheYearRounder's annual April Fool's Contest, and a great lunch for two at a popular PTown restaurant.
Just send in your entry by 2:13 AM on Sunday, April 5th, 2015, by e-mailing the answers to both of these questions (where can this sign be found, and what does it mean?) to, or dial 42423 PTOWN to leave a voice mail or text with both answers, your name and phone number. You can also snail mail your answers, name and phone number to TheYearRounder, P O Box 1632, Provincetown, MA, 02657. The postmark determines the time of arrival on all mail submissions.
Here are a couple of links to get you into the April Fool's spirit. See how I turned out to be Last Year's April Fool, and watch my all-time favorite April Fool's prank on video, the BBC Penguins April Fool. Then watch BBC April Fool Penguins - How They Did It. If you have a favorite April Fool's Day prank or two, send them to me.
If one set of correct answers is received before the deadline, obviously that entry wins, but, as usual, if more than one correct entry is received, the winner will be chosen in a random drawing from all entries arriving on time, so you may not even have to be right to win a prize. Any really funny answers, right or wrong, will be awarded a special prize, as determined by a small panel of year-round Townies. And, as usual, TheYearRounder reserves the right to award additional prizes for no conceivable reason whatsoever, so be sure to enter.

Friday, March 27, 2015

PTown Winter Breakfast Spots?

Breakfast can be hard to find in Provincetown in the wintertime, especially mid-week, and parking has been quite a challenge during this unprecedented snowfall we've endured since 2015 began. At this time of the year, and with the consistently snowy weekends and bone-chilling winds and storms that have kept visitors at home rather than here this winter, you'll only find a real, full breakfast being served in just a handful of PTown restaurants, and mostly just on the weekends, when a few hardy travelers still make the frosty trek to the tip of the Cape.

Slow-cooked pork, green chilies and tomatillos, with cheese and sour cream,
make a great omelet choice on Chach's menu. I added a side of black beans.

But you can find yourself a tasty, hearty breakfast any day of the week, if you just know where to look, so here's the scoop. Let's start with spots offering a full meal...

   • Chach, at 73 Shank Painter Road, is making her famous breakfast, with eggs, hash browns, omelets, breakfast burritos, a killer French toast, muffins and, of course, her stellar blueberry pancakes, all from scratch, available Friday through Sunday. A Townie Favorite and a current Best Bite. Free parking, too, in their small lot.
   • Governor Bradford, at 312 Commercial Street, does breakfast Saturday and Sunday at this time of year, with their central location, at Commercial and Standish streets, being their primary appeal. Parking is free right now half a block away at the town's main parking lot, near MacMillan Pier, or sometimes found on Commercial Street.
   • Napi's, tucked away at 7 Freeman Street, does a couple of brunchy sort of egg dishes, like an eggs Benedict, but only on Sundays, and not till 11:30 AM when they open for lunch. The artwork and decor enhance the meal, and you'll find there's plenty of free parking in their lot.
   • Bayside Betsy's, at 177 Commercial Street, is open this winter Thursday through Monday, beginning at 9 AM for breakfast. Lots of selections, like steak and eggs, pancakes or choice of three french toasts; frittatas, omelets or seven Benedicts, including a veggie version with grilled Portabellos, roasted reds and sautéed baby spinach. On my last breakfast visit there, the homemade Hollandaise seemed not to be their forte, but that was before the new owners took over, so I will try them again. The splendid view out over Provincetown Harbor to Long Point, from any table in the dining room, is perhaps reason enough for a visit. Parking might be found on Commercial Street.
   • Fanizzi's, at 539 Commercial Street, offers their all-you-can-eat Sunday Brunch Buffet from 10 AM till 2 PM, with over a dozen dishes like French toast, scrambled eggs, frittata, Benedict, corned beef hash, bacon, sausage, chicken wings, steamed mussels, pasta of the day, assorted pastries, fresh fruit, green salad, yogurt and granola, with a full bar available. The panoramic view of Provincetown Harbor is superb. There is limited parking on-site, and perhaps on Commercial Street.

Angel Foods' generous, overstuffed breakfast sandwich
is probably the best in Provincetown.

If you can do with a breakfast sandwich, you'll find three spots that serve them every day, and one just on Sundays...

   • East End Market, at 212 Bradford Street, makes breakfast sandwiches on their grill from 8 AM daily (9 on Sundays) till 11:30 AM, despite what their website says.  Freshly baked muffins, too, and other pastries. They've recently reopened after remodeling, offer seating, limited parking is usually sufficient.
   • Far Land Provisions, at 150 Bradford Street, makes a great breakfast sandwich every day, with lots of choices, including the options of cage-free or organic eggs, and a lighter turkey sausage. Some days they offer a pancake special, with real Vermont maple syrup as an option, and fresh baked goods are always available. They open daily at 7 AM, 8 on Sundays, and serve breakfast only till 11:30 AM, when they switch into lunch mode. Homey seating, free wi-fi, great music, friendly service, ample parking make this spot another Townie Favorite.
   • Angel Foods, at 467 Commercial Street, serves a very generous breakfast sandwich, and probably the best in Provincetown. Eggs beaten with a little milk make a sort of big, fluffy omelet folded around lots of ham, bacon or homemade sausage, with a choice of 4 cheeses, on a Portuguese muffin. Open daily at 8 AM, with seating only on outdoor benches, or walk 40 feet down onto the beach on one of those warmer days we're starting to get. Limited on-site parking is usually enough, or park on Commercial Street at this time of year.
   • 141 Bradford Natural Market is doing a breakfast sandwich, but only on Sundays, from 9 AM till 1 PM. You can get 2 organic eggs with cheese, avocado and chipotle mayo on a fresh roll, for example, or have it with other ingredients that might be in the kitchen on any given Sunday. They're quite flexible. They also offer a sort of Sunday Brunch Buffet from their hot bar, ready by 11 AM, with varying choices, like last Sunday's brioche French toast bake, sweet potato hash, egg in a cup, maple vegan sausage, broccolini with shallot and dill, or roasted zucchini.  Choose what, and how much, you'd like, and pay for it by weight. Fresh baked goods daily. Seating, limited on-site parking.

Art is served in a cup at the Wired Puppy.  Photo from their website.

If you've got to eat and get moving early, or if all you need to get you going in the morning is a cup of coffee and a muffin, or if you want a designer latte or cappuccino made by a talented barista, there's a choice for you, too...

   • The Wired Puppy, at 369 Commercial Street, is open daily from 6:30 AM till 6:30 PM in the winter, with a wide variety of fancy coffees and teas, and depending on the day, perhaps a muffin or scone of one variety or another, baked in their oven. A favorite with early morning caffeine junkies as well as those who want a certain sophistication in their cup, and a light, continental breakfast. Free wi-fi, and even a couple of computers for the public to use. Seating, parking may be found on Commercial Street.

You'll also find early morning coffee, breakfast sandwiches, muffins or donuts, yogurt and so on, available all day, at three local convenience stores over the winter months...

   • Highland Farm (The Gulf Station) at 130 Bradford Street, open at 5:30 AM daily, usually till midnight, but occasionally closing about 15 minutes early, so don't push the clock. This is a small, local business, not a corporate chain. No seating, but friends gather in front to shoot the breeze and sip their coffee, even on a cold winter morning. Limited parking is usually adequate.
   • The Tedeschi Station, at 137 Bradford Street, 6 AM till 11 PM daily. Seating only on an outdoor bench, with parking sufficient for a grab-and-go.
   • Cumberland Farms, at 100 Shank Painter Road, open 24 hours every day. Read the label if you want to know about the long list of ingredients in their "egg patty" or other items inside that pre-assembled muffin or croissant. No seating, plenty of parking.

So there you have it. As always, there are more choices in the off-season than you might think of right away. Call a friend, get out of the house, and go try someplace you might not have visited before, or return to an old favorite. Support these local businesses that have stayed open for us during a very lean, tough winter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jewels Appear in Melting PTown Snow

When the sun is at just the right angle, it makes jewels appear in the
mountains of snow and ice slowly melting all around Provincetown.
Melting snow and ice turns into heaps of diamonds when the light is just right, in the early morning on one mound of snow, and late afternoon on another.
As the days slowly warm a little, and when the sun hits just the right angle, the light refracts through snow that's been turned to ice by varying temperatures and the rain we've had between snow storms, turning all these banks of snow and ice into potential piles of jewels for anyone paying attention at just the right moment. Keep an eye out for these crystals, appearing briefly, and gone in an instant.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Enjoy Far Land's Townie Winter Dinners While You Can

Far Land's dinner specials for this week offer
great diversity, something for everyone,
and reasonable prices, as always.
There aren't many nights left to get in on Far Land's popular dinner specials, unless we can persuade them to extend their Townie Winter Dinners into the spring…
Monday through Thursday, till the end of March, Far Land Provisions, found at 150 Bradford Street, offers special dinners to eat in or take out, with a choice for meat-eaters and one for vegetarians.
This week's menu is at the left. I'm torn between Tuesday's Mediterranean Night selections, and the Wednesday night choice between Southwest Favorites.
I crave ethnic foods, and I don't know why more PTown restaurants don't offer more culturally diverse foods like these. But then, I'm also a sucker for a good Yankee pot roast, and the mushroom fettuccine Alfredo sounds delicious, too… Add a dessert, with a different one featured every evening, for just $5 more.
Of course, you can choose from their entire deli case of prepared foods as well, and desserts available usually number about two dozen, so that might make your choice easier if you have a favorite, or maybe harder if you want to taste everything, the way I always want to.
It's been great to have these dinners available this winter, for weeknight choices when very few restaurants open beyond just the weekends, and we thank Far Land for their innovative, creative support of PTown's little year-round community.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beach Forest Trails Snowed Under

It's a rare winter in Provincetown when there aren't any bicycle tracks on snowy
trails. With several feet of snow in Beech Forest, this winter has been that rare one.
This photo was taken on the bike trail, the branch that runs from Beech Forest to the Province Lands Visitor Center, early Sunday morning.
As we've had a little warmer weather this week, what with temperatures finally above freezing most days, and lows at least in the mid-twenties, the snow pack in the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the endless drifts and mounds found all around Provincetown, slowly begin to melt away. Don't hold your breath, though. The amount of snow we've had, and the tremendous banks and heaps of this unique winter, will likely take a very long time to disappear.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Crown & Anchor Shovels Out, Reopens with Celebrity Chef

The Crown & Anchor's Central House restaurant is now open, Thursdays through Sundays.
It was good to see the restaurant sign dug out of the snowbank at the Crown & Anchor not long ago. That means they've returned from their annual brief winter vacation, and that means there's once again a bright spot on Commercial Street for those in search of a good meal. The Central House at the Crown is now open Thursday through Sunday, with lunch and dinner on an "all day" menu, with favorites like their baked lobster mac and cheese, and new dishes featuring seasonal ingredients.
Executive Chef Michele Ragussis and Sous Chef James Cunningham
will put a new twist on dishes served at Central House at the Crown.
I've been eager to get there for a meal and taste the food of new Executive Chef Michele Ragussis. You may know her from a number of appearances on The Food Network, or from many New England restaurants where she's been Executive Chef over the years.
We welcome Michele, along with Sous Chef James Cunningham, and can't wait to see what they have in store for us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Don't Miss the 2015 Provincetown Year Rounders Festival

This poster by Zachary Luster details some of the events and performers to be found at this year's
annual Provincetown Year Rounders Festival, to be held on Saturday, on March 14th at Town Hall.
The 2015 Provincetown Year Rounders Festival will be held this Saturday at Provincetown Town Hall, at 260 Commercial Street. This terrific community event always includes displays and information about many local nonprofit and service organizations, town committees, and this year there will be a greater presence of artists, writers, photographers and crafts people of all sorts. This event runs from 11 AM to roughly 4 PM in the Town Hall auditorium, which will then be converted to a banquet hall for the free buffet dinner, beginning at 5 PM, followed at 7 PM by entertainment. Don’t forget the Pet Parade (after all this is Provincetown) at 2 PM, in the auditorium as well.
This year’s dinner will include dishes donated by local eateries such as Angel Foods, Sage Inn and Lounge, Fanizzi’s, Twisted Pizza, Mac’s, Kung Fu Dumplings, George’s Pizza, Far Land, Ciro and Sal’s, Napi’s, The Squealing Pig, and perhaps others as well.
The evening’s entertainment will include live music, drag and other performances by local entertainers, with raffle drawings spread throughout the evening. Raffle tickets will be available throughout the day, along with a silent auction, with the proceeds helping to pay for this wonderful, day-long celebration of life and community in Provincetown.
Don’t miss it!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Quick! Register for PTown's 2015 Community Education Courses

Provincetown Community Education courses begin in just a few days, but there's still time to enroll, if the classes you choose still have space available.
Maybe you'd like to learn to speak a little French, say, enough to ask for directions and order a good meal in a French-speaking country. French for Travelers will be taught over six Tuesday evenings beginning on March 17th.
Maybe you'd like to learn to develop your lungs, improve your voice, and gain the confidence to sing. That course runs Thursday nights, beginning March 19th. Perhaps you'd like to learn how to roll your own sushi, or make a Japanese noodle salad from scratch, starting Wednesday, March 18th.
Other choices include four different fitness courses ranging from very gentle yoga, suitable even for beginners, to a mixed cardio - free weights - kick boxing regimen that promises great music for this a high intensity workout, which you can take at your own pace.
You can sharpen your writing and communication skills, or build your own fold-up beach table in a woodworking course. Learn to create video with your camcorder, cell phone or DSLR, or borrow equipment from PTV for this FREE class. All others cost $60, and some may have a material fee as well.
For info about fees, schedules or other questions, call 508 487-5203, but do it right away so you don't miss the proverbial boat.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Seining Was an Early PTown Fishing Method

Seiners are likely after mackerel in Provincetown Harbor in the early 1900s.
Two fishermen have cast a purse seine in Provincetown Harbor in this postcard sent in 1906.
Imagine a very long rectangle of netting with floats attached along the length of one of the two long edges, so the net hangs in the water like a curtain.
The long bottom edge of the net is weighted down a bit by a series of metal rings running the length of the bottom edge, with a long rope, or "purse line" threaded through the rings. The net is set in a large circle, as you see in the postcard above, around a school of fish swimming near the surface. When the purse line is pulled the rings are drawn together like a drawstring purse, so the fish can't escape by "sounding" or diving down and swimming away. Then, as the net is drawn in, the circle gets ever smaller, bringing the fish alongside the boat to be scooped in. On a larger boat the whole net full of fish might be pulled into the boat.
This was a common way to catch "schoolers," which are any of a number of fish that swim together in schools, like herring, mackerel, some varieties of small tuna, and others. Provincetown had a sizable mackerel fleet, numbering into the dozens of larger mackerel boats in the late 1800s, and seining was an efficient way to catch this abundant species.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bird-watching in Beech Forest

One of Beech Forest's cardinals among husks of seeds thrown by hikers.
There are at least a couple of pairs of cardinals in Beech Forest, along with jays, doves and a number of others whiling away this
very cold, snowy winter in the woods along the edges of Provincetown.
The park rangers have removed the map box that used to hold trail guides at the beginning of the boardwalk next to Blackwater Pond. People would pour seed onto the lid of the box year-round to feed the birds that had grown accustomed to dining at this easy source of food stocked several times a day by hikers as they set out on their walk around the pond.
Chickadee cracking seeds piled here by well-meaning bird lovers.
With the best of intentions, and in the absence of the map box that used to serve as a bird feeder here, people deposit handfuls of seeds in the crotch of this tree, or simply scatter birdseed on the ground.
This has now become a spot where you can routinely find a fox or two hanging around nearly any night of the week. I seldom visit this spot after dark without finding a fox lurking here.
The debate about whether we should feed the wildlife or not, for their own good, goes on, but meanwhile, you can spot a variety of lovely birds all around Provoncetown, whether or not you bring them something to eat.