Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Linda Jean's Restaurant

After spending our first day in Edgartown, we decided to explore Oak Bluffs on day 2.  We started by heading to Linda Jean’s Restaurant for breakfast.  Located in the heart of Oak Bluffs on Circuit Avenue, the restaurant had a long wait but we didn’t mind sitting outside across the street for some quality people watching.  When we finally entered the restaurant, the decor reminded me of a suburban diner.  It was crowded but appeared to be well run.  I was pretty quick to order the Spinach and Cheese Omelette.

It was served with potatoes and a biscuit.  The omelette had a little too much cheese for my liking.  The biscuit was FANTASTIC. Light, flaky and buttery I had no choice but to devour it immediately.  The potatoes were also well flavored, but I wish they put more on my plate.  Z’s Cinnamon French Toast was also quite scrumptious.

It worked out well because the platter had everything Z was looking for, sweet and savory.  That’s one of the reasons I like eating at diners. The food at Linda Jean’s was great. Nothing too fancy, but definitely hit the spot and provided fuel for our walk around Oak Bluffs and eventually Vineyard Haven.

Hungry yet?

Linda Jean's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Atria Martha's Vineyard

Months before our trip, we spent time reviewing the menus of several island restaurants. With only two opportunities for a sit down dinner we knew we had to choose wisely. The menu at Atria looked amazing so I chose that as my must try. When we arrived, it looked like someone was having a party that had spilled out of the house and into the lovely lantern lit yard. 

We had a slight wait before our table was ready which was annoying but only served to increase my appetite. When our server presented the menu, there were only a couple of items I recognized. That's the problem with getting excited about a place with a daily menu. There were a couple of items I was interested in, but in the end my heart fluttered at the sight of lobster. Specifically I coerced asked Z to share the Stuffed Three Pound Island Lobster. I was sooooooo excited. It took a little while but when it arrived I was thrilled!

The lobster was stuffed lobster, prawns and breadcrumbs. It was also covered with lemon butter.

OMG it tasted incredible!! Seriously it was so fresh and eyes rolling in the back of my head good.

It did require some hard work cracking the huge claws but it was totally worth it! Huge pieces of meat in there that tasted great alone and even better when dipped in the lemon butter.

The prawns and breadcrumbs were also fantastic. Lightly seasoned but packed with flavor. That lobster never stood a chance.  After we polished it off, we made sure there was still room for dessert. I ordered the Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée.

The crème brûlée was disappointing to say the least. The top that I always look forward to was definitely not delicious. It tasted like the pastry chef had caramelized the top hours earlier before he left for the night. The Chocolate Praline Mousse that Z ordered wasn't that much better.

It lacked the richness that chocolate desserts often have and instead fell flat. In the end even the underwhelming dessert couldn't prevent me from loving Atria. The atmosphere is lively but not obnoxious and the lobster was to die for!

If you get a chance to make it up to MV, you should have dinner at Atria. Skip the dessert though and head to Mad Martha's for ice cream.

Hungry yet?

Atria on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Seafood Shanty

We had every intention of making it over to Grace Church for the delicious lobster rolls on Friday afternoon, but it was just too far and the weather was not cooperating.  We walked around the shops for a while and at one of the galleries, we received a recommendation to Seafood Shanty for lunch.  Typically the best place to sit is outside but with scattered thunderstorms we decided inside with a great view of the water would be just fine.  The menu was extensive and I had a difficult time deciding.  I chose the Shrimp and Scallops Scampi.

I’ve said many times before that I’m hesitant to eat non-tomato based sauces, but I figured the fish up here was fresh so how bad could it be.  It was actually really good! The scallops were great and the shrimp of course tasted like it was fresh out of the water. I absolutely loved it.  I must say I did have a little bit of food envy when Z’s lobster roll arrived.

HUGE chunks of tail and claw meat with a tiny bit of mayo and some celery.  Thankfully Z was in a sharing mood so I took a bite and was floored by the intense flavor. That was definitely one of the best lobster rolls I’ve ever had.  YUM!

The Seafood Shanty was a great afternoon lunch. The menu has lots of great options, including sushi! The atmosphere is great and the view is fantastic.

Hungry yet?

Seafood Shanty on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Among the Flowers

My summer has been filled with lots of weekend activities.  Most have been fun, but all have been exhausting.  Good thing that earlier this summer I planned a long weekend in Martha’s Vineyard with Z.  It was such a relaxing weekend and I totally needed it. It was my first time up in MV and I must say in many respects, it gave the Berkshires a run for its money.  (eeep!) Our first breakfast was not one of those occasions.  We went to Among the Flowers.  A cute little restaurant with tons of outdoor seating…you guessed it, among the flowers.

It was a little chilly outside so when they offered us a seat indoors we were happy to take it.  I was definitely looking forward to sampling some of the treats on the menu.  They took a little while to get our orders but once the waitress arrived it was no problem.  Z ordered the Wild Mushroom, Herb & Goat Cheese omelette.

I must say that although the omelette looked good, I was instantly turned off by the fact that it was served on a paper plate. I instantly started to question whether they had running water and if they valued the environment.  They brought the coffee in a mug so I’m not really sure the logic behind their actions.  When my French Toast arrived, I was equally annoyed with the paper plate.

However, the deliciousness of the dish made it easy to forget why I was upset. I scarfed it down and was left staring at the bottom of a paper plate. Hmmph!  The French Toast wasn't enough for me, so I also ordered a side of Home Fries.

They were well seasoned and the pan fried effect definitely was a good idea.  Overall the food at Among the Flowers was quite good, but the paper plates were a major turn off. I’m sure there were other breakfast spots that we could have tried out but this one was close, the food was good and the price was right. If you’re staying in Edgartown, you should try out Among the Flowers. Just close your eyes to the paper plates.

Hungry yet?

Among The Flowers Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pulled BBQ Chicken

I can't say it enough times how much I love my Crock Pot slow cooker. I never knew I could get so much use from it! Earlier this summer I was in a grilling mood but with NYC's harsh anti-grill law, I had to use my indoor tools. I was in the mood for some BBQ but in different form so I decided on pulled BBQ sandwiches. I don't dig the swine but I bet this recipe would probably work well with the other white meat.

8 pieces of chicken
1 bottle of spicy BBQ sauce
1 medium onion, chopped

Arrange the chicken in the slow cooker. Add chopped onions. 

Pour the BBQ sauce so that it covers the chicken. You may end up not using the entire bottle depending on which pieces of chicken you use.

Turn the slow cooker on high and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Once the chicken is cooked, fork the pieces out one at a time and using two forks, pull off the chicken. 

The chicken will literally fall off the bone. 

It's hot though so be careful! After you've pulled the chicken off, put it back in the pot for another 10 minutes so it can soak in more of the BBQ sauce.  I served it on a hot dog bun with potato chips. 

I was incredibly satisfied as were my dinner guests. I also had a lot of leftovers! I ate it with yellow rice and it was incredible! I highly recommend this easy recipe when you really don't know what to make but would like to feed a crowd.

Hungry yet?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Graffit Restaurant

After several rescheduled dates, MM and I were finally able to get together for dinner. I chose Graffit, a restaurant remarkably close to MM's house so it was the perfect location.   The restaurant is a few steps below ground level but they manage to keep it well lit so you don't get the sense you're in a basement. We initially sat in the dining room but were dissatisfied with the menu options. After reviewing the menu, we asked for the tapas menu. That looked a lot more promising but we were told we had to move to the other room. Oddly enough we were allowed to order from the dinner and tapas menu. Keep in mind when I say room, it's not as though there is a door separating the space. Fine the tables are higher in one part but it's still the same restaurant! I still don't understand why they operate in that manner. It's distracting and could cause confusion for guests that don't know they can use different menus in different parts of the restaurant.

After we got past the table swapping and menu-changing ordeal, we were pretty quick to agree on the items that we would order. Gambas al Ajillo was an easy first choice.

The shrimp in garlic sauce looked very different from what I'm used to. The pinkish color led me to believe there would be a spicy bite, but no such bite existed. Don't get me wrong it tasted good but I think their point was to make sure nothing tasted like it looked. They were successful but I don't know if that was a good thing. The Patatas Braviolis were delicious.

The presentation was great and they tasted incredible. The bravioli sauce was sweet and spicy. This was definitely my favorite dish.  The Empanadillas de Vieras y Mejillones were also pretty good but a little strange.

They were filled with scallops, leeks and mussels. They tasted more like egg rolls than empanadas. By far the most disappointing thing we ate was the Bocaditos De Pescado En Adobo.

It looked pretty good but in the end I was disappointed. It's already difficult to fry fish whole, it's far worse when you decide to cut it into pieces. The batter was falling off and the pieces were extremely greasy. I think they have since taken this item off the menu.

Overall Graffit was a strange experience. The seating and menu fiasco is jarring and makes for an unappetizing start. The tapas menu is more promising than the dinner menu but that's not to say the items on there are all well executed.  The concept of each dish is great but in the end the execution often falls flat. There are lots of tapas restaurants in NYC that far surpass Graffit. I recommend you try one of those instead.

Hungry yet?

Graffit on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spicy Thai Cornish Hen

I love Food & Wine magazine. Of all the subscriptions I have, it is definitely the one I get most excited about. Once it arrives, I flip through and mark all the recipes I plan to try.  When the July issue arrived, I knew there were many things I would try. The first was the Spicy Thai Marinade with Basil and Cilantro.  Although the recipe showcased steak, I decided a Cornish hen would be the perfect protein to feature the marinade.

¼ cup basil leaves
¼ cup cilantro leaves
8 peeled garlic cloves
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
2 tables Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
½ cup vegetable oil
1 Cornish hen

In a food processor, pulse the basil, cilantro, garlic, sambal oelek and fish sauce until finely chopped.

Add the lemon and lime zests and oil. Pulse until the marinade is smooth.  Rinse and pat the hen dry.  Place it in a mixing bowl and pour the marinade on the hen. Rub the marinade on the outside and inside the hen.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the flavors sink in.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the hen in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  

You want it to cook but not dry out so keep a close eye on it.  The finished hen should have a brownish tint on the outside and the juices should run clear.  

Carve and serve with yellow rice.

Again another simple dish that just required a little bit of planning.  I highly recommend it!

Hungry yet?

Spicy Thai Red Curry Shrimp

I’ve always said if you are what you eat then I would turn into a spicy Thai shrimp plantain.  So one night a few weeks ago, I thought I should combine some of those ingredients.  I bought some Thai curry paste and whipped up a delicious meal for myself.

14 oz can Thai Coconut Milk
1 tbs Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs brown sugar
2 Thai chilies
1 tbs Sambal Oelek (ground fresh chili paste)
1 pound large shrimp
½ cup frozen vegetables
1/3 cup water

In a large skillet, simmer the coconut milk with the red curry paste over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the fish sauce, brown sugar, chilies and Sambal Oelek.  

Then add the shrimp and frozen vegetables.  

Cook the shrimp for 3 – 5 minutes until pink.  

Serve over white rice.

This was suuuuch an easy recipe to make and totally worth it.  Feel free to adjust the spiciness to your liking.

Hungry yet?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mr. A & Ms. A are married!

It feels like it wasn’t long ago that I had the pleasure of spending a nice weekend with Mr. A & Ms. A (still not the same A). So how excited was I when their wedding day finally arrived! Everyone looked wonderful. Mr. A was swaggerific when he made his way up the aisle, and Ms. A was stunning and certainly wowed the on lookers in Battery Park.  While I was thrilled that everyone looked great, I was also excited about how great the food looked and tasted. The cocktail hour was filled with so many delightful appetizers.  The Seared Tuna was one of my favorites.

Served on a carved piece of cucumber and topped with a tropical salsa, I loved every bite.  I unfortunately found myself eating so many of these I may have actually eaten a ½ pound of tuna.  I stayed away from the Lamb Chops but they looked magnificent.

They also disappeared quite quickly. I wonder what they were topped with. Looked like chimichurri to me, but how can one really know if you don’t eat it.  Perhaps one of the guests will leave it in the comments. These little puffs were a pleasant surprise.

I was convinced they would be filled with mushroom, but instead it was duck confit.  OH heavens! I definitely popped a number of those in my mouth.  Where there is shrimp, I find happiness.

These shrimp sat on a dollop of guacamole and were served on a tortilla chip.  YUM! I had no objections to the selection at the cocktail hour and although I may have missed a few items, I was already feeling satisfied when I sat at the dining table.  A colorful salad was served.

I’m typically not big on the idea of having a bunch of cold leaves served, but on occasion there are a few ingredients that make the prospect of a salad more appetizing. On this occasion, the blood oranges were it! They were so sweet and juicy. I definitely wish I could have picked the oranges off of every plate.  Our entrées soon arrived.  The Beef apparently was out of this world.

I wish I knew more.  It was a beautiful looking dish. Plated on a bed of mashed potatoes and what looked like some nuts.  I opted for the Chilean Sea Bass.

It was magnificent. The rice was also a fantastic accompaniment. My only disappointment was that there was so little rice.  Eventually it was time for dessert.  They were very creative and decided to serve two types of desserts at every table.  The only problem with that is each person didn’t get both.  In my case, that was just not an option. I regrettably had to borrow someone’s dessert. Luckily he was fine with it.  The Chocolate Mousse was spectacular.

I licked my spoon several times until it was clear there was no more chocolate…just metal.  The other dessert tasted like custard but I can’t be sure.

All I know is I definitely finished mine.  And then of course there was the cake.  Regrettably I am missing an image of the full cake and them slicing it with a sword ..yes, a sword.  I did manage to get a picture of my second only slice. 

The cake was fluffy and incredibly delicious. It was definitely worth the wait.  Overall the wedding was beautiful and delicious! Congratulations to Mr. A and Ms. A!