Saturday, June 27, 2015

Portuguese Festival Celebrates Provincetown's Heritage

Artist Nancy Whorf painted this scene of our annual Portuguese Festival.
The 2015 Provincetown Portuguese Festival is underway, bringing folks from far and wide to PTown to celebrate our Portuguese Heritage. Many of our early sailors and fishermen came from Portugal and the Azores to work in our fishing fleet, and eventually brought their families to live here as well. Many went on to become captains of their own fishing vessels, or became entrepreneurs as they started operating bakeries, restaurants and many other businesses of their own.
In the painting above, Provincetown artist Nancy Whorf portrays people on the pier dressed in typical Portuguese costumes, along with a marching band, and fishing boats decorated for the annual Blessing of the Fleet. Click on the link above to get this year's schedule of events, running through Sunday night.

The rooster is a Portuguese symbol of good luck.

The Portuguese rooster symbolizes good luck, and will no doubt be found in this afternoon's parade, scheduled to begin in the Far East End, at the Harbor Hotel, at 3 PM. The procession will travel the length of Commercial Street, through the center of Provincetown, ending at Franklin Street in the West End.
Portuguese dancers, in costume, perform along the parade route.

Portuguese dance troupes will march in this annual parade, performing along the way, and will be found at various times dancing in "Portuguese Square" as Ryder Street, next to Town Hall, is transformed into an outdoor theater and stage during the festival.
This couple, visiting from New Haven, Connecticut, enjoys a great meal
of Portuguese favorites, under the tent top at the Bas-Relief park.

Of course, tasting Portuguese food is a big part of the festival every year. A huge tent top is erected at the Bas-Relief park behind Town Hall, with traditional foods like Portuguese rice and linguica rolls being served, along with other favorites like porco, which is pork marinated in wine, herbs and spices, and cooked on charcoal grills set up here for the occasion. Sunday's schedule includes an outdoor cafe set up near the far end of MacMillan pier.
Entertainment during the festival includes music from many bands performing near Town Hall, dance, comedy, an old-fashioned band concert, and traditional Fado singers, performing songs of Portuguese fishermen and others.
Check the schedule and get out and enjoy our annual Portuguese Festival. Many of the events are free.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Breakfast at Pop + Dutch

I had my Pop + Dutch breakfast sandwich with their tasty, thick cut bacon.
I'm making the rounds, tasting breakfast in all of Provincetown's neighborhoods, and stopped in at Pop + Dutch the other day, in the West End. They took over the spot of the former Provincetown General Store last Summer, and are carrying on some of the traditions, like the excellent quality of their food, and the unusual variety of merchandise found there. They also greet customers with the same genuine smile and friendliness.
They offer a breakfast sandwich of soft scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and arugula on a beautiful brioche roll from the famous Iggy's Bread company in Cambridge. The basic sandwich is $5.50, and for $1.50 more you can have it served gluten-free, or you can add smashed avocado. $2 will get you bacon or ham added on, or their spicy pimento cheese.
As much as possible, foods and treats in this little store are made in-house.
There are also pastries, and their southern style buttermilk biscuit is right out of the oven, to which you can add their house made jams, like honeyed peach, or that spicy pimento cheese. Add their excellent cup of coffee and you're in business.
You can get smashed avocado, lemon, chili flakes and Maldon salt on Iggy's 7 grain toast, served for breakfast or lunch. We'll take up the topic of their unique lunchtime sandwiches another day.
They have a small selection of fresh produce, locally grown whenever possible, along with basic groceries and sundries, like an old fashioned general store would carry.
Find this little spot at 147 Commercial Street, at the foot of Conant Street. Call ahead at 774 538-6472 to have your order ready to pick up on the way to the beach.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Great PTown Photo Ops - Wood End Light

This photo of the Wood End Lighthouse was taken
from the Provincetown Trolley, near the Breakwater.
The Wood End Light, built in 1872, is the subject of this photo, taken from the Provincetown Trolley. PTown is surrounded by three lighthouses, all of them still in operation, and each very important to navigation here at the tip of Cape Cod.
Each one has now been automated, running these days on solar power. Originally, of course, they all burned whale oil, the fuel of the day, provided by local men who made their living hunting whales.
Stopping The Trolley at this spot for a moment to talk about the Mayflower Pilgrims provided the perfect opportunity to zoom in for a photo of the lighthouse at Wood End, where the early forest grew right down to the water's edge when the Pilgrims arrived here in 1620.
Long Point Light sits at the very tip of Cape Cod, seen out across Provincetown Harbor. Built in 1875, it replaces the original, built in 1827. Race Point Light, built in 1875, can be spotted from the Province Lands Visitor Center, or from the beach at Herring Cove. It replaced the original, built in 1816. It still has the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage right next to it, and you can actually stay in the keepers cottage, with larger groups accommodated nearby in the old whistle house.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Provincetown Film Festival Begins Tonight!

More than 50 films and events will be packed into our 17th annual
Provincetown International Film Festival, running through Sunday. 

Our 17th annual Provincetown International Film Festival begins this evening with ten films and events tonight alone, and over the five days of the festival, we'll pack in more than 50 films and events all over Provincetown and beyond. Click here for 2015 PIFF schedule. Tonight's events, all over town, and at the Wellfleet Drive In, include screenings of documentaries, narrative films and shorts, and the festival's opening party at the Crown & Anchor. Thursday will offer us another 24 films and events, and each day of the festival will wow you with choices. Click here for the PIFF Calendar of events, which will quickly and easily show you, day by day, the various screenings, parties and events you will all want to attend.
Click here for the Parties and Events list to find various awards presentations, filmmaker chats, parties and other events you won't want to miss. Check out the "Breakfast With…" series, where a panel of filmmakers will discuss their work and answer questions while everyone has something to eat. Thursday's panel includes folks who have made films relating directly to Provincetown, such as Andrea Myerson's Clambake, about the beginnings and evolution of Women's Week in Provincetown, now one of the biggest annual lesbian events in the world.
Buy tickets online or visit the box office on the first floor of the Whalers Wharf, at the far end of the building, on the edge of the beach. Get your tickets early, before they sell out, and be at the venue at least 15 minutes before the scheduled showtime so you don't lose your seat. If a film you have your heart set on is already sold out, you still have a pretty fair chance of seeing it by "wait listing." You can go the the venue up to an hour before the start time and wait in line for empty seats that will become available 15 minutes before showtime. I've gotten into dozens of sold out films this way over the last 17 years of the festival. It's first come, first served, so get there before the rest of the town gets in line.
Get out and see as many films as you can, attend a few parties, meet a few stars and filmmakers, and enjoy one of the best film festivals in America!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mistral Ristorante Opens in Provincetown

Four nicely seasoned baked clams of cherry stone
size make a tasty, generous appetizer. Portion
 sizes throughout the meal were quite liberal.
UPDATE: Name changed to Mistralino a week after opening.
Mistral Ristorante opened on Saturday night, at 133 Bradford Street. I was the first guest served on their lovely brick patio. I was looked after by Sal, a woman who could not be more Italian, nor more welcoming. She's come to Provincetown from Florida, where Mistral's sister restaurant is found, here to help to get PTown's new Italian menu off the ground. And it's a sizable menu.
I started out with the baked clams, chopped into a breadcrumb stuffing with onions,  pancetta, peppers, parsley and baby shrimp, all stuffed into four cherrystone clam shells and baked in the oven. This large, tasty appetizer is suitable to share with one or more friends.

Chicken Valdosdana stuffed with Fontina cheese and prosciutto.
Next I ordered one of their daily specials not found on the menu, the Chicken Valdosdana. That's a nice chicken breast pounded out quite thin, then rolled and stuffed with prosciutto and fontina cheese, very lightly breaded and baked. It's served over penne pasta, cooked perfectly al dente, with a marsala wine sauce and lots of fresh mushrooms.

Mistral Ristorante's version of tiramisu is quite good.
To finish off my meal I ordered Tiramisu, the traditional Italian dessert generally made with an egg and mascarpone custard between cake-like layers soaked in strong coffee, usually with a little brandy added, often sprinkled with dark cocoa powder. This dessert gained instant fame in the USA when it was mentioned in the 1993 hit movie Sleepless in Seattle. Mistral's version is well-soaked and yet remains light and delicate, with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon dusted over the creamy top layer for another dimension of flavor, and drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce.
I took half of my chicken and pasta home in a box. This $25 portion was quite generous, as was the plate of stuffed clams, and I ate more of their crusty homemade bread than I should have, but I couldn't help myself. It's made with extra olive oil in the dough to give the crust that wonderful crunch, served with both a buttery kalamata olive spread and an herbed olive oil on the side so you can choose either, or taste them both. Though their liquor license is still pending, they are allowed to offer a complimentary glass of wine with your meal, so I had a nice Pinot Grigio.
Service was very good, if a little self-conscious on their first night, with lots of folks refilling my water, carrying out my courses, eager to have me enjoy my dinner. Mistral Ristorante has a fairly large menu, with some items that sound like homestyle recipes I want to taste, and I can see that they'll be bringing some interesting specials to the table as well. Living nearby, and enjoying my first meal here, I'll be back soon to taste more, and once I discover my new favorites, their "to go" menu will come in handy, with virtually everything available to take out. Call them at 774 593-5945. They're open daily from 4:30 till 10 PM. Give them a try.

Note: Shortly after this restaurant opened, its name was changed to Mistralino.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Great Breakfast at 141 To Go

One of my favorite new breakfast sandwiches in PTown, at 141 To Go
You probably know 141 Bradford Natural Market, near the center of Provincetown, with all sorts of natural and organic foods available, and with a wonderful kitchen turning out all kinds of meals and snacks ready to take out or eat in. But you may not know their little sister, 141 To Go, found at 148 Commercial Street, in the heart of Provincetown's bustling West End neighborhood.
The kitchen in this little shop turns out fresh-baked treats like wonderful muffins and cookies, along with lunch items like the smoked tempeh wrap, and you can get your morning started with a choice of custom cream cheese spreads on your bagel.
A new favorite of mine is their breakfast sandwich, made with organic eggs and a sort of chunky salsa on a fresh, fluffy roll, nicely crusty on the outside. I order mine with cheddar cheese and avocado added as well, and that makes this one of the best breakfast sandwiches in PTown. Be prepared for it to be perhaps a bit messy, because they fry the eggs perfectly, leaving the yolk just a tiny bit runny.
You can take your order to go, as the name implies, but you can also gather with friends, or meet new ones, in their little courtyard, with benches as well as table seating. Add their excellent cup of coffee, or a great organic Mighty Leaf tea, and you can't help but have a smile on your face to get your day going.
This is also a great spot to stop on your way to the beach to get cold drinks, and a lunch that is actually good for you. Pick up their menu, then you can call ahead for orders to go, at 774 538-6199.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Read PTown Newspapers Dating to 1869

A 1904 Provincetown newspaper advertised Widow Jones's Clothing For Boys.
The New York Store building is still located at the corner of Commercial and Standish streets.
This is an ad placed in the Provincetown Beacon newspaper on March 19th, 1904. In this issue we learn about burning events of the day, such as Joshua T. Small, "a well-to-do citizen of Provincetown" having been arraigned before U.S. Commissioner Goodspeed on a charge of having deposited an obscene letter in the United States Mails, to which he entered a plea of not guilty.
I found a wonderful archive of five old Provincetown newspapers, with some of these issues dating back to 1869. Ads, stories and news tidbits in dozens of newspapers found in this archive tell tales of small town life in Provincetown nearly 150 years ago. This project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, thanks to the Library Services Technology Act, which is administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. We thank the Town of Provincetown and the Provincetown Public Library for helping to bring us this wonderful resource and insight into PTown history, as recorded in these papers of the day.
In this issue, we also learn that "Miss Minnie Matthews substituted at the western school building for Miss Anna Dolan the past week." These old newspapers are full of tiny "stories" like this. Look for more of these to appear here soon, as I dig them up.

Devon's Food Bar Opening Party Tonight

Try Devon's Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi, served on shiso leaves.
Tonight is the 2015 opening party at Devon's Food Bar, at 31 Bradford Street in Provincetown's West End, from 5 to 8 PM.
I can't wait to see what delightful tastes, bites, snacks and tidbits chefs Melissa Ettinger and Lourdes "Uyi" Ortiz will tempt us with.
That's what this little neighborhood restaurant in the West End of Provincetown is all about this season. The menu is composed of snack-sized portions that can be ordered for yourself or for your whole party, along with small plates and bowls featuring flavors from around the world. This wonderful menu is meant for tasting and sharing.
Devon's great new full-service bar is "On The Rocks."
Check out the beautiful new bar, called On The Rocks, made from an old dory Devon found up-Cape, spruced up and transformed into an inviting place to relax with friends or meet new ones over a great cocktail and a taste or two from this new, global menu. Food prices begin at just $2!
Tonight's opening party will offer tastes from the menu and a cash bar from 5 till 8 PM. Come and socialize a bit with Townies as well as visitors, and taste some of this remarkable food.
This toothsome Beet Risotto was made of beets done in 3 ways,
topped with a creamy dollop of homemade ricotta.
I wrote about this menu a couple of weeks ago, and I was just here again last night for dinner, choosing a number of bites with Asian, Latin and European roots, continuing on my quest to taste my way around the entire menu. Then I intend to start all over again with some of my favorite new flavors from around the world. Come and join in the fun tonight, beginning at 5 o'clock. All are welcome.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

See Lonely Planet Thru Sunday at Provincetown Theater

We thank the sponsors who have brought this thoughtful, engaging play to PTown

I saw a very good play the other night at the Provincetown Theater, at 238 Bradford Street. Lonely Planet is a thoroughly engrossing story featuring only two actors, John Long and Joe MacDougal, appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association. Both are wonderful in their parts. 
The play runs only through Sunday, so you'll have to hurry to see it. Performances are tonight through Saturday at 7:30 PM, with a Sunday matinee at 3 PM. Tickets can be had for a mere $15. Here are a few blurbs describing this great evening of theater, taken from the theater's website…

The Provincetown Theater is proud to present ‘Lonely Planet’, a play by Steven Dietz, directed by Francis Kelly, and starring Joe MacDougall* & John Long*.
Lonely Planet tells the story of two friends, Jody and Carl, who use humor and their own sense of absurdity to navigate the turbulent world at the height of the AIDS crisis. Focusing on the lives and friendship of Jody and Carl, ‘Lonely Planet’ manages to capture the essence of an important moment in our history in an understated yet powerful theatrical event.
“Lonely Planet is written with compassion and concern; Dietz has known his unfair share of young people who died well before their time, and his sorrow clearly motivates the play.”
–Chicago Reader
“To describe Lonely Planet as an “AIDS play” is accurate yet incomplete. It is really more of a story about friendship and its importance in a troubling world.”
-DC Theatre Scene
“Sometimes the theatre entertains us. Sometimes it makes us think. Sometimes it can even alter our trajectory a bit. On very rare occasions it can do all three. Such is the case with the stellar production of Lonely Planet, a two-hander by Steven Dietz, which opened tonight at the Provincetown Theater. The stars have aligned for this planet and brought with them remarkable performances, gifted direction, a fantastic set and a beautifully written play
If you live in Provincetown…go! If you are visiting Provincetown…go! If you are on Cape Cod or in Boston or New York plan a trip to see this play. This production could easily be on any Off-Broadway stage or any major regional theatre stage right now for double the ticket price. Don’t miss your chance to see theatre at its best.”–