Friday, June 14, 2019

Get Off the Beaten Path to Find PTown Treasures, Public Art and Hidden Jewels

This lovely string of bleeding hearts on Freeman Street caught my eye
Sighting this simple, gorgeous vine of pink bleeding hearts was my reward for venturing down Freeman Street the other day, behind the old public library.

The garden strip that winds around this property, leading toward the entrance to Napi's restaurant, features all sorts of plant life blooming at different times throughout the year. If we pay just a little attention along the way, the ever-changing sights of PTown will reward us.

The work of the late Jackson Lambert abounds on Freeman Street as well. In and around this spot, splendid blossoms emerge amongst hand-painted "cat crossing" signs and brick wall art, along with a variety of sculptures and several other creative bits of man-made entertainment, all blending with Mother Earth's simple, yet astonishing, displays of her own works of art.

In Provincetown, odds are you'll spot something  remarkable in some way, just by taking a slightly different route to a familiar destination. Try taking a little side street or some other alternate path to get to your destination, just to see what hidden jewels you might run into along the way.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Box Lunch Clam Chowder Earns TheYearRounder's 'Best Bite' Award

The outstanding clam chowder at Box Lunch was my favorite of the five Provincetown chowders I tasted this past week, earning TheYearRounder's first Best Bite award of the 2019 season.  
I generally like my clam chowder medium thick, and though this one leaned a bit to the thicker side, it was somehow quite light, not overly heavy, with plenty of tender clams.
Fresh cream lent a luscious, silky consistency to this hearty pottage of chunky quahogs (say kwo•hogs) and potatoes, both cooked perfectly. Altogether, this fine soup is quite a worthy competitor in the ongoing debate over who serves PTown's best "chowdah.".
Box Lunch is at 355 Commercial Street, across from the library, tucked away a few feet off the road in the lovely brick courtyard leading to Angel's Landing. This unique little eatery is widely hailed for its Rollwiches, with a great selection of tasty, rolled-up sandwiches you ought to try.
We congratulate Box Lunch on earning our Best Bite award,
Serving Provincetown for about 40 years now, Box Lunch offers great soups, salads, mac n' cheese, gigantic cookies, breakfast (served all day,) and, as it turns out, a really good clam chowder. Give 'em a whirl!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Liz's Cafe Offers Dinner Bargains in Provincetown's West End

Mr. Brown's Famous Fried Chicken, Jamaican style coleslaw, side of mac n' cheese.
I had dinner last night off the beaten path, at Liz's Cafe, where they serve "comfort meals at comfortable prices." Dinners here are all $16 or under.
There are choices ranging from house made meatloaf with mac n' cheese to mussels steamed in white wine, garlic, shallots and butter, served over spaghetti.

Chicken or eggplant Parmesan are each served with spaghetti and house made marinara sauce. Sole Florentine, in a delicate white wine lemon broth, is served over a bed of spinach and cannelloni beans. The traditional spaghetti Bolognese is on my list to try, along with the burger and the fried sole sandwich, each on a toasted brioche roll and served with fries.

Candlelight at our table made this simple, tasty clam chowder look a little golden.
I started out with the clam chowder, which had a rich clam flavor in a smooth, creamy base, not overly thick, with a little potato and tender bits of minced clam. The flavor was quite good.
From there I went on to Mr Brown's Famous Fried Chicken. There were three golden pieces, along with a generous serving of a Jamaican style slaw, made with slivered carrot, sweet peppers and other garden veggies joining the shredded cabbage, all in a light marinade with just a bit of sweetness to it. A side of mac n' cheese completed the meal, and I'll likely be back to have it again soon.

This gorgeous Chocolate Mousse Cake Bomb uses chocolate in four delicious ways.
The star of the meal was the chocolate mousse cake bomb, which was among four dessert choices brought over that evening from Angel Foods, the very well known neighborhood market/deli/bakery in the heart of PTown's Gallery District. There, Liz has been turning out decadent desserts and scores of glorious treats for many years now.
This great finish to my meal started with a thin layer of rich, moist, dense chocolate cake, topped with a really good, velvety chocolate mousse, covered in chocolate ganache and then drizzled with a bit of white chocolate.

It's worth finding this out-of-the-way spot, in the West End, right at the corner of Bradford and Pleasant Streets. There's even a small parking lot on site. Liz offers a great breakfast menu, and you'll find a couple of specials that are throwbacks to the old Tip for Tops'n restaurant, which occupied this spot for many years.
The lunch menu features soups, salads, wings, burgers and sandwiches, and includes the renowned Italian sandwich from Angel Foods' menu. Mr. Brown's chicken is available at lunch, too, as well as a daily Jamaican special. Mr. Brown is well known among folks seeking the best Jamaican food in Provincetown.
Find Liz's Cafe and Anybody's Bar at 31 Bradford Street. The bar features top shelf cocktails as well as beer and wine. It was named for Anybody's Market, a sort of general store that operated on this spot dating back to at least 1942.
The restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch, serving dinner every night except Tuesdays, when the whole staff takes the evening off.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Find Bargain PTown Meals at Governor Bradford, Before Spring Turns to Summer

Governor Bradford's Monday night slider special: BBQ Brisket, Cuban, fries, $2 each.

Enjoy PTown's great off-season restaurant specials before they come to an end. By Memorial Day, most of the winter and spring bargains in Provincetown's restaurants will be long gone.

Over the winter, the Governor Bradford bar is in full swing, while their restaurant offerings are very limited, but they offer terrific bargains on  weekday lunch and dinner specials.

For only another week, you can drop in at dinnertime for whatever meal is offered, at a remarkable price. The sliders and fries pictured above, for example, were delicious, and cost me a paltry $6 for dinner that night.
Tonight is Monday, slider night, so we all have this one last chance  to choose from three or four different sliders for $2 each, adding fries for just $2 as well. On the left, above, is tender beef brisket in BBQ sauce, topped with coleslaw. On the right is the Cuban sandwich slider, made with roast pork, grilled ham, Swiss cheese, pickle and a bit of mustard. Roast beef, burgers or other choices could pop up, too, since it's a little different each Monday night.

Tuesday is Taco Night at Governor Bradford, with a choice of fillings and hard or soft shells. Order as many as you'd like, mix and match fillings and shells, for $2 each. Every order comes with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and a bit of refried beans on the side, so you can dress up your tacos any way you'd like.
Pictured here are a beef and a chicken taco in crisp, corn tortilla shells. I think my favorite has been the BBQ beef in a soft, flour tortilla.

On Wednesday nights, the kitchen makes ribs, consisting of two barbecued pork spareribs, a mini cornbread muffin and a little coleslaw, at $3 per order. So a triple order gets you 6 tender, tasty ribs (isn't that about a half-rack of ribs?) with 3 cornbread minis and a large cup of slaw, all for just $9. This might be my favorite of all the weeknight specials.
Thursday is wing night, with an order of six pieces for $3; order more if you'd like.

The Friday night special draws quite a crowd, so get there before they run out of prime rib dinners for a mere $12.99! A salad and choice of baked potato or fries are included. If you're forgoing red meat these days, there's also a baked, stuffed shrimp dinner for the same price. Either way, you just can't beat it.
Monday through Thursday lunch specials are already done for the season, because the kitchen staff is so busy getting ready for the full reopening of the restaurant on Friday, but there's one last Friday lunch special. It's Bubbles' fish fry, and it always sells out.

Bubbles' famous fish fry offers a generous portion of golden fried fish served with lemon, tarter sauce, coleslaw and a big pile of really good French fries.

"Bubbles" came by her nickname years ago, when she worked as the shampoo girl at a local salon, but her greatest fame may have come from the amazing fish & chips lunch she has been turning out for years now, on Friday afternoons at the Governor Bradford, offered in the off season only.
Lunch specials run from 11:30 AM to maybe 2 PM or so, or not. A sell-out could easily close the kitchen early, so get there early. The same goes for dinner specials, which generally run from 5 to 8 PM, but if they sell out before you get there, you'll have only yourself to blame.

So get out for the last lunchtime fish fry of the season, the last of the weeknight dinner specials, and one last Friday prime rib or shrimp dinner, each of these meals at an unbelievable price, with the regular menu available starting Friday as well. Thanks to the governor, found in the heart of Provincetown, at 312 Commercial Street, for keeping us going over the winter, and we wish them a great 2019 season.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Lobster Pot is Now Open, Celebrating Their 40th Year Serving Provincetown

This fine lobster was flambéed in brandy and roasted to perfection.
As May rolls around, Provincetown's 2019 season begins with favorite restaurants, like the Lobster Pot, springing open.
A friend took me there on Saturday, insisting that we needed to kick off the season with a little "lobster celebration." She was right.
We had a delightful meal in the upstairs dining room, with that fabulous view, watching the twilight slowly taking over as the Long Point lighthouse and various lights around the harbor flickered on.
With a few boats on the water lighting up as well, and the flock of people strolling Commercial Street, and with the throng of diners and revelers packing into the restaurant, it felt like the summer season was off to a pretty good start. 
A large, festive crowd had gathered at The Top of the Pot, celebrating the Kentucky Derby with a cocktail or two, and watching the race on the TVs at the bar as they each cheered on their favorite horse. There were folks with costumes or props, too, like top hats, outrageous jewelry, and even fur coats, since it was a bit chilly out. But I also saw sleeveless summer frocks paired with huge, flowery hats, despite the 49 degree temperature and a wind chill much lower. There's no one braver than a drag queen. 
I love the fresh bread basket at "The Pot."
Our dinner started off with the Lobster Pot's great bread basket, with dinner rolls, a crispy, herbed flatbread, and their signature pumpkin bread, made daily in their own kitchen.
We each ordered a house salad, served with a carousel of their from-scratch dressings. Most Townies, myself included, will tell you they drizzle a little toasted sesame dressing and creamy garlic on their salad for a unique taste. I'm also fond of the blue cheese.
My friend ordered a pound-and-a-half pan roasted lobster, pictured above. It's served on a pool of fine herb butter sauce, which has a surprising bit of sweetness to it, probably from the brandy they use to flambé the lobster before they slide it into the oven to roast. Served with roasted red potatoes, this is a very popular dish.

Being a bit of a purist, I most often order my lobster steamed (sometimes referred to as "boiled,") which is the old-fashioned cooking method that has made New England lobsters famous the world over. It's the simplest possible preparation of this noble crustacean, unadorned except for a dip in melted butter and maybe a squeeze of lemon. The deep, cold waters surrounding Provincetown are just right for raising happy, sweet, succulent lobsters.

This beautiful lobster was bigger than it looked on this huge platter.
My steamed lobster weighed in at 2 1/4 pounds, cooked perfectly, served with a side of roasted red potatoes.
Any size lobster in the tank can easily be served in myriad preparations, but part of the fun for me is in cracking it open myself, and spending 40 minutes or more, depending on its size, digging out all of those tasty morsels.
Since the two-pounders were all sold out, I happily bumped up my order. The biggest one in the tank on this night was a portly 11 pounds.

Of course, the Lobster Pot also serves a few wonderful Portuguese specialties, along with chicken, steak, burgers, vegetarian choices, and there's a gluten-free menu, too. "The Pot" serves nearly any kind of seafood you can name, any way you can imagine. Lobster alone is done in over two-dozen ways, from bisque to bouillabaisse, from lobster ravioli to lobster mac n' cheese.
There are great desserts as well, plus a full service bar, attentive service, and a view of the water from nearly every table. And the McNulty family couldn't be more gracious hosts. All of these things have made the Lobster Pot a favorite Provincetown restaurant ever since they opened their doors in 1979. We welcome them back for the 2019 season, as they celebrate their 40th year serving our community in so many ways.
There's no better place in town to get your lobster fix. Bon appétit! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Moonlit Provincetown Harbor Sparkles in Gorgeous, Rarely Seen, Vintage Postcard

Click to enlarge ithis gorgeous image of PTown Harbor by moonlight., ca 1907.
This unusual postcard view of Provincetown Harbor by moonlight shows a fisherman and his young son setting out in their dory in the wee hours of the morning, heading off for a day's work, long before the sun would rise behind them.

I'm guessing that this postcard dates back to about 1907, give or take a year or two. In a small boat like this one, these two could have gone out to sea, but perhaps working close to shore would have been more likely. They may not have even left the harbor. Not all fishermen of that day shipped out for months at a time in a Grand Banks schooner.
Although many sailed with a large crew of men, aboard a big schooner bound for the distant, rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, there were several other ways to fish close to home. The deep waters surrounding Provincetown had long been summer feeding grounds for many varieties of schooling fish such as mackerel, herring and tuna. In fact, PTown had nearly been named Herringtown when it was incorporated in 1727. There were often large schools and sizable fish close to shore, and even right in the harbor.

This pair of fishermen may have used hand-held lines, or perhaps they were seiners. See my post about seining in Provincetown, learn how it was done, and enjoy another great old postcard on that page. It shows two men fishing from a small boat right in Provincetown Harbor, using a purse seine, which was one of the most environmentally friendly fishing methods ever developed.
On that page you'll also see how tiny fishing shacks, houses, markets and big industrial buildings were packed in cheek-to-jowl along the waterfront. Some were squeezed in four and five deep between Commercial Street and the harbor beach, with little docks and enormous wharves jutting into the harbor, leaving hardly any open beach at all along great stretches of the shoreline during the height of our fishing era.
I'll bring you more of these great postcards in upcoming posts, along with vintage photos and tidbits of Provincetown's incredibly rich history. In the meantime, clicking on pictures and other links on these pages will lead you to more information and wonderful images of PTown, both past and present.
Thanks for reading and sharing my blog!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Spiritus Pizza Opens PTown's 2019 Season Today With Their Annual Free Slice for All

Get a steaming-hot, free, opening day slice at Spiritus today, beginning at 1 PM.
If you look closely, you can see the steam rising from this hot pepperoni pizza, fresh out of the oven at Spiritus,
At this time of year, with the door open almost constantly, it's always a little chilly inside, hence the steaming pizzas lining up in the front window as each one waits just a moment to be sliced and handed across the counter.
There will be dozens of folks at a time queuing up for their first Spiritus slice of the season. Today's the day, so get to Spiritus for a free slice of that legendary thin-crust pizza. Starting at 1 PM, Spiritus will offer a free slice to everyone who comes by, ushering in the new season as they do every year on March 28th.

Thick slices of pepperoni are a Spiritus hallmark.
Spiritus got it's start in 1971 at 193 Commercial, a little building across the road from the joint we've all known and loved since 1978. That's when Jingles and his merry band decided to buy the old optometrist's office at 190 Commercial Street, moving their pizza operation (and by then, ice cream, too) across the street.
This spot has been the home of Spiritus ever since, with their unique pizzas, strong coffee, premium ice creams, and a "gallery" that gives a variety of local artists a chance to display and sell their work.
Spiritus is widely known as a late-night gathering spot. At one time crowds there late on a summer night could number around a thousand people, with the street closed to cars, and police officers milling through the enormous crowd, which often resembles the after-Carnival crush of wall-to-wall revelers caught up in the party.
A lot of folks call these pies their favorite PTown pizza. There's something about that nice, thin crust, with a good bit of whole wheat flour mixed into the dough, along with the generous amount of toppings, all of which make a Spiritus pizza different from any other in Provincetown.
Be sure to get there this afternoon for a free slice of this iconic PTown treat, heralding the true arrival of spring at the tip of Cape Cod.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Frigid Cold in PTown Recalls Coldest Winter in Memory, 101 Years Ago

About once every winter season we get a brutally frigid day or two, and people ask me about Provincetown's most notorious winter, along with the ice floes that were more than 10 feet high, clogging the harbor for a month.
Robert Lewis illustrates the 10-foot-two-inch "icebergs" settled on the harbor flats
at low tide. Photo by Robert's father, Captain William Lewis.
Read my original article, which included this photo of ice floes more than 10 feet high, which took over the harbor in Februaury of 1918. Fishermen were unable to go to work, and the coal barges were unable to navigate the harbor to replenish Provincetown's exhausted heating fuel supply for weeks on end. Click on Provincetown's Most Miserable Winter to learn more about that dreadful winter.