Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone!

I am heading out to Martha's Vineyard this weekend for one last time for the season! Stay tuned for posts on my island favorites; Mocha Motts, Slice of Life, Giardano's Pizza and THE OCEAN! (duh, this is a blog about food & my love for the ocean!)

First things first, I have been thinking about my previous posts where I ramble on and on about my favorite things.  I have decided that instead of bombarding you all on a random basis with all things I love that I would devote Friday's to my favorite things.  Each Friday I am going to pick a topic and tell you all why I love it, where to get and/or how to make it.  This list will most likely vary widely and I am open for topic suggestions. 

I was going to kick off the list with my favorite burgers/burger joints in New England but I thought in honor of the long weekend and my trek to the Cape/Islands area that I would fill you in on my favorite places to go when cape bound!  Without further adieu the first Friday Favorites List!

Mary Lou's Coffee
This well known coffee spot has a ton of locations up and down the South Shore of Boston.  Most famous for their elaborate coffee flavors and NEON pink signs.  All shtick aside, they make a fantastic ice coffee which is just what this girl needs at 630am on her way to the ferry!

Cape Cod Bagel
When RT28 narrows to one lane you begin to see the buzzing town of Falmouth come to life. At your first intersection there is an unassuming gas station and plaza.  In this plaza exists perhaps the greatest bagel buisness on the planet (yes I did just say the GREATEST!!!).  These bagels are everything a bagel should be and more!  Not only are the bagels chewy and moist, but they have great coffee and a HUUGE selection of sandwiches, salads and bagel toppings.  Unless this Sailing foodie has a reservation to take my car to the Island, you best believe I will miss a ferry and take the next one so that I can stop and enjoy a Spinach & Garlic Bagel w/ bacon cream cheese and a slice of tomato.   SOOOOOO tasty!!

A Pie in the Sky
Another hide away, this small bakery is tucked behind the Steamship Ferry terminal as you enter into downtown Woods Hole.  While waiting to board the ferry you must take a walk up the hill and enjoy a fresh bakery item, hot soup or a delicious sandwich.  Everything is made on site and is the perfect way to kick off any vacation to the island!

Mocha Motts
I am pretty sure that if my family was to worship a false idol (think the movie Dogma) than Mocha Motts would be it!  I know not one family member, close friend or acquaintance that we bring to MV that does not get addicted to the perfection that is this establishment!  A small coffee shop that gets it right.. Good fair trade coffee, yummy treats and service staff that will make you want to come back 2, 4, 6 times a day!  Having worked at the rival coffee shop all thru high school and college (The Old Stone Bakery, home of the back door donughts) I had to sneak my trips into MM back then.  Sadly the Old Stone was sold but with that it gave me the freedom to promote my love for all things MM.  My personal favorites are their dark roasts which change daily.  My top 3 are Italian Dark Roast, Ring of Fire and Shark Bite.  No trip to MV can officially begin or end without a trip here!

Slice of Life
Ok, I mentioned I wanted to tell you all about my favorite burgers at some point... well this tiny little restaurant will be in the top 5 (maybe 3) of that list! There burgers are juicy, meaty, fresh and have toppings that enhance the flavor of the burger, not mask it. You will eat one, and contemplate going back for a 2nd! This little gem is known for great dinners, but they also make a FANTASTIC breakfast with a hashbrown that is more like a fried pillow of mash potatoes!  HEAVEN!!! 

Sandbar Bar & Grille
What can I say about this bar except it is not summer to me, until Heidi and I are sitting there with our feet in the sand, cold beverage in hand and sushi on the way.  Sheer summer bliss my friends, sheer bliss!  Located right on OB harbor this bar has become a local favorite.  The atmosphere is perfect with live music many nights, great seafood menu and sushi so fresh you swear that salmon are swimming right out in the harbor!  Go now and get there before they close for the season!

Smoke N' Bones
As this blog goes on, one common theme that you will start to notice is my undying love for pork! As the great Anthony Bourdain once said "God is found between the skin and bone of a pig"  I will never say no to bacon or pulled pork, NEVER!  This BBQ joint has been open in Oak Bluffs since I was in college.  They pride themselves on smoking meat for 15 hours a day with a variety of woods and make a BBQ sauce that I would gladly cover my cereal in and still eat it!  They have also opened a smaller take out location on the main drag "Circuit Ave".  If you go to MV, love BBQ and have a large appetite that I cannot emphasize enough how much you HAVE to go to there!!! Bring your appetite and plenty of wet naps and hunker down for some of the best BBQ outside of Nashville!

Menemsha Blues
So its not food, but one cannot only eat while on MV. I know that many people feel they need to buy certain shirts with a certain animal logo on it when they go to MV but not I.  I do own one of those shirts but it is from 1994 and that was before they had stores off-island as well!

This t-shirt shop has been around since 1994 and seems to capture the laid back environment on MV. Great Ts, sweatshirts and hats. They are a favorite of mine and hopefully will become one for you too!

Mad Martha's Ice Cream aka Maad Mahtha's
Once you have stuffed yourself full of burgers, bagels and BBQ you are going to be craving something sweet right?! No, is that just me... oh well.... If you are so inclined to partake in what seems to be a New England tradition of ice cream while on vacation then this is the place to go.  My sis and I are somewhat obsessed with their Oreo Cookie Ice Cream.  It is no regular oreo ice cream. They actually mash the oreo into the ice cream so it becomes this great mocha color and then add it more large bits of cookie.  It is utopia on a cone!  If you are really hungry or have a large group than you can always tackle the famous OINK!  This massive sundae involves aprox 20 scoops of ice cream, a plethora of banana's and whatever other toppings your 5 year old self can dream up!

Chilmark Chocolates
This tiny homemade chocolate establishment is another one of those items on the list that my BFF Heidi and I cannot not visit while on MV.  A small one room store front that leads to a single person line style service means that you get in and get out with your treats.  However, that doesn't mean that the most delicious cared for chocolates you have ever tasted are not waiting for you behind the class!  They make everything from classic caramels and nut clusters to chocolate covered fruits (whatever happens to be in season).  My biggest tip is go early and buy a bigger box than you think you want... you will surely eat half of the box before you make your way back to town!

Alright, so that is my first Friday Favorites, I hope you enjoy the list and get a chance to test out some of the locations on the list!  Now for an update on my training!  Have a great weekend everyone!

A walk into the past:
As part of my training for the Devil's Chase in a few short weeks, Alaina and I decided that we needed to take advantage of one of the few remaining sunny evenings here in MA and go for a walk/hike outdoors after work.  Beverly actually has a ton of great outdoor trails and one happens to be just over a mile from our office!  After work we set out for the J.C. Phillips Nature Preserve.  Below is some history on the preserve. 

"The park's history is also interesting. The famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead designed part of the Phillips estate and that of Moriane farm, which borders the property. Olmstead's original carriage path runs along the lake, just below the esker, according to the Conservation Commission.  At the reservation's high point, you'll find the remains of a home that belonged to the Phillips family. The house was destroyed by fire in 1968 and what remains is a concrete and iron gate and several foundations, overgrown with weeds." Source

Of course we had no idea walking there that we were about to encounter a large estate ruins! Just imagine the two of us walking at dusk and coming across the foundations of a large estate.  My sarcastic nature got the best of us and I spent the next 20 minutes convincing Alaina that we were in the beginning of a Wes Craven Horror flick!  That being said, it was a great hike with a few steep hill sections and AMAZING scenery right in the heart of Beverly.  I am looking forward to making this trail a regular training location. Here are some shots of our walk taken from my Blackberry, sorry for the poor quality.

Wenham Lake from trail

Stone Pillars and Iron Gate to the entrance of the Phillips Home... spoooky!

Abandoned stairway on trail.. (I can just imagine the ghosts floating up the stairs!)
 I may or may not have been telling Alaina that we were in the beginning of a horror flick... sun setting, abandoned estate... nothing to be frightened of at all.....
Random broken gargoyle on path... still not frightened Alaina? ( I think she is totally lying!!)

Another shot of the lake as we left the creepy but beautiful trail through time!