Authors Posts by Kelsey Perrett

Kelsey Perrett

Kelsey Perrett
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The Startini cocktail from l'etoile.

The Vineyard has a different flavor after Labor Day. We all know there’s a change of pace once school starts up, the college kids ship out, and the out-of-state plates take off on the last of the full ferries.

Before long, vineripe tomatoes will be vine-ripe pumpkins, and fall flavors will be in full swing in our bars and restaurants. For many, this Labor Day weekend will be the last chance to grab a drink on the waterfront, and sip up the last drops of summer. Strawberries…watermelon…lemonade…an icy glass dewey with condensation — these drinks simply won’t be the same come September. Thirsty yet? There’s a lot of great summer drinks on the Island, so to ease your decision-making process, we surveyed a sample of bartenders for their favorite recipes.

The Island Girl: Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka with watermelon and basil from Atria.

The Island Girl: Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka with watermelon and basil from Atria. — Photo by Nicole Jackson

Jay Bergantim of 20byNine

Whiskey is a great way to warm up in winter or fall, but our friends at 20byNine, which opened up on Kennebec Avenue in Oak Bluffs earlier this summer, understand the importance of a cool summer cocktail. Their in-house whiskey guru invented this unique cocktail as a lighter addition to their menu of old-fashioneds and other traditional whiskey cocktails.

The Number Four

  • Peach Moonshine
  • Pineapple
  • Lemon
  • Shake and strain over ice into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

Goes best with: 20byNine’s quinoa salad. “They are both light; they balance each other nicely,” Bergantim said.

 

Lawrence Labounty of Copper Wok

Sale of hard alcohol is prohibited in Vineyard Haven, but Lawrence Labounty doesn’t let that stop him from mixing up a great cocktail. He recommends this White Peach Sake Sangria for a summer’s day.

White Peach Sake Sangria

  • 1 1/2 ounces white peach sake
  • 1 1/2 ounces pre-mixed juice of equal parts lemon juice and orange juice, half part sweet agave, and a splash of pomegranate juice
  • Shake over ice, strain, and top off the rest of the glass with prosecco
  • Garnish with blueberries and orange slices, or “get really fancy” and use raspberry and mint

Goes best with: “Any kind of spicy or ethnic cuisine,” Labounty said. Coconut green curry chicken anyone?

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Harbor View Prosecco cocktail with lemon and St. Germaine. — Photo by Nicole Jackson

Mike Brown of The Wharf Pub and Restaurant

Anyone with a garden is probably drowning in cucumbers right now. If you’re tired of salad, slice them into some water with lemon for a refreshing blast of hydration. Better yet, use them to garnish this cocktail that they serve at The Wharf in Edgartown.

Cucumber Lemon Martini

  • Pearl Cucumber Vodka
  • Splash of St. Germain Elderberry Flower liqueur
  • Splash of sour mix

Goes best with: The Wharf’s Pan Roasted Cod entrée with littlenecks, linguica, onion, tomato, garlic, and herbs over mashed potatoes.

Brad Tolbert of Park Corner Bistro

What says summer like a tangy-sweet lemonade? Make a grown-up lemonade stand at your home bar with this recipe from Park Corner, located in Oak Bluffs.

Strawberry Lemonade

  • Fresh muddled strawberries
  • Limoncello
  • Ginger purée
  • Tito’s vodka
  • Club soda

Goes best with: Park Corner’s crispy pig wings.

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The Trade Secret margarita from Beetlebung in Oak Bluffs. — Photo by Eleni Roriz

Kate Shea of The Seafood Shanty

The Shanty, on Edgartown harbor, is known for their mojitos (also a great summer drink), but their namesake is this Shan-tea, a tasty take on a vodka John Daly.

The Shan-Tea

  • Fresh muddled lemon
  • Firefly Sweet Tea vodka
  • Water
  • Shake and pour over ice

Goes best with: The Shanty’s lobster rolls and vinegar fries.

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Janie Bryant talking about her work on Mad Men and how Scarlett O'Hara and the movie Gone with the Wind influenced her life and career choice

What is the common thread that sews Don Draper’s suits to the sails of a Black Dog tall ship? It has something to do with “Insanity, Genius, and the Creative Process,” the theme of the inaugural TEDx Martha’s Vineyard event, which took place at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center on Tuesday, August 19.

Proud event staff Ken Wentworth (Production Director), Maggie Bryan (Co-Organizer) and Liz Witham (Production Coordinator).

Proud event staff Ken Wentworth (Production Director), Maggie Bryan (Co-Organizer) and Liz Witham (Production Coordinator) Not pictured: Katy Decker (Organizer). — Lisa Vanderhoop

The independently organized event, brought to the Island by Katy Decker of Chilmark, was based on the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) model of “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and hosted 14 live speakers and a handful of video presentations. Those who missed the sold-out event can access recordings of the talk on YouTube and at tedxmarthasvineyard.com after September 1.

In addition to “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant and Black Dog tall ship captain Ian Ridgeway, the diverse pool of speakers included illusionist Brad Barton, fashion designer/boxing champion Nellie Partow, film producer Gary Foster, composer and music theorist Dmitri Tymoczko, neuroscience professor Bevil Conway, designer Sebastian Errazuriz, musician Devonte Hynes, sommelier Andre Mac, social-emotional educator Brian Gordon, musician Alan Palomo, artist/philosopher Ignacio Rodriguez Bach, and author/screenwriter Jon Ronson. A dance performance by ChristinaNoel & The Creature and a surprise reading by poet Justin Ahren were interspersed between the lectures. All performances either discussed or demonstrated how their creative processes toed the border of insanity and genius.

Many an audience member was seen scribbling notes during the quotable talks when not enraptured by music, or a striking image on the projector. Memorable moments were plentiful. After wowing the audience with a card trick, Mr. Barton encouraged everyone to “turn off the analytical mind” in order to make room for more wonder and astonishment in life. Ms. Partow discussed the discrepancy between living a dream and working toward one, insisting it should be about “the measure of joy along the way.” Mr. Foster told of a frightening episode in actor Jamie Foxx’s creative process as he strove to capture the schizophrenic mind on film. After engaging the audience in a rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” Mr. Tymoczko demonstrated the complex mathematical and geometric forms that illustrate rock music. Mr. Conway discussed color and optical illusion, insisting that “like a toddler smashing blocks,” we must “cut up our world to increase our understanding of it.” Ms. Bryant mused that her obsession with Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” fueled her future.

Dmitri Tymoczko, a music theorist at Princeton University, discussed the geometry of music.

Dmitri Tymoczko, a music theorist at Princeton University, discussed the geometry of music. — Lisa Vanderhoop

Perhaps the greatest takeaway from Tuesday’s event was the mantra, “be yourself.” Several speakers acknowledged that their creativity, though it set them apart from others, was a blessing. “We can create how we want, as long as it makes sense to ourselves,” said Mr. Hynes, a musician with synesthesia. Mr. Mac embraced the role of the black sheep, saying “You have to get used to being criticised by people who have never created anything original in their life.” Mr. Ridgeway discussed the importance of self-reliance as “something the ocean demands of us with all its indifference,” and Mr Errazuriz encouraged perseverance in the face of failure, saying, “If you work really hard, even those who missed your ideas will gather around you to see what you’re building.”

The sold-out crowd took the advice of charismatic co-organizer Maggie Bryan, by not just listening to the talks, but actively participating in the conversation and discussing the concepts with their friends and neighbors during breaks. It was a long day in a dark room, but thought-provoking topics kept the audience sharp.

“This was such a great mix of speakers and performers,” Wendy Jacobs of Vineyard Haven said. “Certainly a few of them took me by surprise. I watch TED a lot, and I think each speaker here brought a great message. I hope they do it again next year.”

Plans for another TEDx Martha’s Vineyard in 2015 are in the works, and more info can be found at tedxmarthasvineyard.com.

Beadniks in Vineyard Haven is up for sale.

As Beadniks owner and creator Sally Roesler prepares to relocate to Virginia Beach, the future of her 24-year old Vineyard craft store hangs in the balance. Ms. Roesler hopes to find a buyer by the end of the season, but if not, she may take the business with her. “There is a time in everyone’s life when you turn the page and start a new chapter,” Ms. Roesler said.

Ms. Roesler, a graduate of the University of Texas, honed her beading skills while sewing costumes for the Broadway musical EVITA. The work inspired Ms. Roesler to travel, and she spent several months gathering beads from locations such as Bangkok, Denpasar, and Kathmandu, before opening Beadniks on Church Street, Vineyard Haven in 1990. Since then, the craft store has become a popular rainy day destination for both Islanders and visitors. Ms. Roesler travels abroad annually to keep her customers interested with new and exotic beads. “The business and the travel opportunities it provides have been my life for the past 24 years, and now I am torn about taking it from the Island and the people who have memories here” Ms. Roesler said.

Ms. Roesler relocated her wholesale business, The Bead Goes On, to Virginia in 2008, where she joined her husband, television and film director Craig Sexton. Her hope is to find a buyer for Beadniks who can match her passion for travel, crafting, and beads from around the world. “It is my intent to sell Beadniks to an Islander who loves beads,” Ms. Roesler said. For more information on Beadniks, contact Sally Roesler at beadniks.com or 508-776-5798.

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Elijah Dunn-Feiner prepares to tackle a root beer float in 2012.

Ninety percent of the time I make really healthy choices. I eat right and I exercise. Most days of the year I spend in the gym, trying to squat or pull up more than my body weight. But then —  three glorious days of the year — I spend trying to eat more than my body weight. The first is Thanksgiving. The second is Christmas. The third is whichever day I go to the Ag Fair.

Julien Sapirstein munches on popcorn in 2011.

Julien Sapirstein munches on popcorn in 2011. — Lynn Christoffers

At this point in my life, I’m over stuffed animals, and I understand carnival games are money-sucking scams. I still hate clowns. But I’ll never be over Fair food.

Let me start by saying the Martha’s Vineyard Ag Fair is one of the nicest fairs on earth. I didn’t grow up here. I didn’t even summer here as a kid. But back on the New Hampshire border where I’m from, we had our own version of a county fair. It’s actually gotten a lot nicer in recent years, but it used to be the kind of place where the people belonged in barns more than the animals did. Still, I loved it, because I got to have fried dough and lemonade for dinner, and even though it meant cutting sticky sugar out of my hair for weeks, my mom would let me try to eat a whole candy apple on my own.

Now, on the Vineyard, I attend the Ag Fair with several friends. Within minutes of arriving we all lose each other, because everyone scatters immediately to their favorite food stand. When we find each other again, we swap bites, then break for round two.

I don’t need to wax scientific to tell you how strongly food and memory are related. We remember food smells best, and our olfactory bulb is connected to the part of our brain that registers emotion.

I thought I’d ask a few Islanders on Facebook about their favorite Fair food. It turned out I was asking them about their favorite Fair memories.

“Definitely the fried dough,” said Cody Chandler of Edgartown. “It’s our family tradition.” Claire Lindsey of Oak Bluffs is a fan of Football Tempura “mostly for nostalgia’s sake.” Dick Iacovello of Vineyard Haven likes the corndogs because he has fond memories of visiting with the guy who sells them.

My friends in the office confirmed my suspicions. “Root beer floats,” said Nicole Jackson, our graphic designer. “It reminds me of being a kid.” Eleni Roriz, our Calendar editor, shares my fondness for the strawberry shortcake stand. “I know it’s lame, but it’s something I’ve gotten every year since I was little,” she said.

Abigail Wilkinson enjoys cotton candy at the 2009 fair.

Abigail Wilkinson enjoys cotton candy at the 2009 fair. — Meg Higgins

Food at the Fair haven’t changed much. Corn on the cob and West Tisbury Firemen’s burgers have been around since anyone can remember, and newer ventures like Local Smoke’s pulled chicken and pork, and Floaters root beer floats were natural fits to the world of carnival food: the same cotton candy based meals that grace all fairs everywhere.

There’s something of an American tradition to it, and I like to think it’s more than a culture of obesity trying to eat as much sugar as possible. My parents took me to the fair and let me eat caramel apples, because a long time ago their parents took them to a fair and let them eat caramel apples. It was for the same reason we pass down our grandmother’s apple pie recipes through the generations, and bake them on the holidays.

One day, maybe my friends and I will take our own kids to the Ag Fair, and I like to think the strawberry shortcake lady will still be there. But we’re not quite ready to let go of our own childhoods yet. I still get an awful lot of caramel apple in my hair.

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The egg salad sandwich, featuring FARM Institute eggs, roasted red peppers and house made chips.

It’s a rare occasion when I trade out my preferred wardrobe of gym shorts and Dumptique-procured flannels for fancier garb. Usually it takes a funeral. Needless to say, the idea of putting on “real people clothes” just to eat has never much appealed to me, and the day my boyfriend puts on a suit coat it will probably be funny enough to go viral on YouTube.

The sunny dining room at The Terrace is a great lunch setting.

The sunny dining room at The Terrace is a great lunch setting. — Kelsey Perrett

But on jaunts into Edgartown, land of boat shoes and high heels, party dresses and pink shorts, I start to question my own poor fashion sense. Not because I care to hop on a yacht, but because I really want to eat at some of the delicious upper-scale establishments. My unwillingness to put on a dress often means I miss out on some key dining news. So when I walked into the Charlotte Inn this week on an entirely unrelated assignment, I was excited to learn that The Terrace has been serving lunch all summer long, and will continue to do so through Labor Day weekend.

The Terrace is one of the most aptly named restaurants on the Island. Situated just off Main Street in Edgartown, the Charlotte Inn is basically one big English garden. Actually, owner Gery Conover has been back and forth to England about 28 times, and in addition to furnishing the entire inn with an art gallery, he has engineered the grounds with beautiful private gardens worthy of cucumber sandwiches and high tea.

The restaurant itself is situated on a pleasant, brick-paved veranda, with indoor and outdoor seating. The glow of the afternoon sun through lush greenery mingles with the trickle of a fountain — it’s like eating in the world’s classiest greenhouse. The sheer aesthetics of it were enough to encourage the staff to start serving lunch. “It’s such a beautiful setting in the afternoon to be sitting outside and having a nice lunch,” executive chef Justin Melnick said.

The return of lunch with Chef Melnick is actually a nod to the Inn’s past. “Lunch used to be a big thing at the Charlotte Inn,” Chef Melnick said. “We decided to try it out again with a soft opening this summer.”

The Terrace Spinach Salad: sliced apples, house cured bacon, blue cheese, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, and warm vinaigrette.

The Terrace Spinach Salad: sliced apples, house cured bacon, blue cheese, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, and warm vinaigrette. — Kelsey Perrett

The menu is short and sweet, featuring classic American fare with a twist of creativity. “I try to work with as many local ingredients as possible,” Chef Melnick said. The lunch menu features lots of eggs — such as deviled eggs and egg salad — all from local chickens at The FARM Institute in Edgartown. Salads are founded on a bed of Morning Glory greens. “The main focus is finding the best ingredients and manipulating the food as little as possible,” he continued. “It’s about just letting the food speak for itself.”

One item that’s definitely making a splash is the lamb burger, with meat from Northeast Family Farms, caramelized onions, blue cheese, garlic and dill pickle, on a grilled brioche bun, with house-made chips. Chef Melnick also enjoys serving chilled soups on a hot summer afternoon, but he puts so much care into each dish, it’s hard to pick favorites. “People ask me all the time what’s the best thing on the menu, and now that I have two children, it’s sort of like choosing between them,” he said.

But here’s the best part (in my humble opinion): according to Chef Melnick, “lunch is certainly more casual than dinner.” That means no suit coats required, but do respect your location (you’re going to look damn silly in gym shorts). With quick service, only one course, and extremely reasonable prices ranging from $8 to $26, lunch at The Terrace is an all-around treat. It’s like buying a fancy dress half off, looking fantastic in it, and finding out that “real people clothes” are pretty comfy and breathable after all.

The Terrace: serving lunch Friday through Sunday through Labor Day; dinner nightly. For reservations and more information, call 508-627-4751 or visit thecharlotteinn.com. Also check out the new book, “The Charlotte Inn: Behind The Times on Purpose,” available now from Vineyard Stories.

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David Melly and Sheridan Wilbur each won a five-pound lobster.

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Winners David Melly, 21, of Newton and Sheridan Wilbur, 17, of North Smithfield, RI seemed hardly winded. Photo by John Zarba.

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By feet or by wheels, 1,600 racers crossed the finish line on Saturday. Photo by John Zarba.

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Chilmark Road Race winner David Melly enjoyed a scenic backdrop as he ran to the 5K finish line. Photo by John Zarba.

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Ben Bosworth, center, keeps pace with eventual winner David Melly (left) at the halfway point of the race. Photo by John Zarba.

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It was a crowded field at the start of the Chilmark Road Race Saturday morning. Photo by John Zarba.

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Hugh Wiseman, longtime race organizer, put the finishing touches on the finish line. Photo by John Zarba.

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Amelia and Tobias Russell Schaefer, of Edgartown, pose for a quick photo before the race begins. Photo by John Zarba.

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From left, Isabelle Hoch, Emma Corcoran , Tess Pellegrini and Isabelle Washkurak man the water station near the starting line. Photo by John Zarba.

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Sunny skies graced Saturday's 37th annual Chilmark Road Race. Photo by John Zarba.

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Boys 9-11 winner, nine year old Jack Lionette of Chilmark, at the finish. Photo by John Zarba.

More than 1,600 runners lined up on Middle Road in Chilmark at 10:30 am, Saturday morning for the 37th annual Chilmark Road Race. The ritualistic clapping at the starting line united runners in high adrenaline and high spirits, while the sun rose higher in the sky, transforming a chilly morning into a hot but beautiful day for a race.

The notoriously hilly section of Middle Road — heading up-Island from near Mermaid Farm toward Beetlebung Corner — makes for a difficult 5K, but runners are always encouraged by friendly faces on the sidelines, and sweeping views of the south shore.

This year’s winners in the were David Melly, 21, of Newton, a two-time winner, and Sheridan Wilbur, 17, of North Smithfield, RI.  Each first place finisher claimed the prize of a five pound lobster from Larsen’s. Mr. Melly finished at 15:43, followed by Ben Bosworth of Dorchester, MA in second place and Hugh Parker of New York in third. Ms. Wilbur came in at 18:26, with Kara Leonard of Providence, RI and Anne Preisig of Falmouth taking second and third in the ladies division.

Complete race results are available at coolrunning.com.

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The "Bananas Foster" sweet panini at BeeDees.

It’s August. We’re all busy. We all feel overworked and overtired. And we probably are, but in the spirit of “there’s always a bigger fish,” let’s consider this: at least four new restaurants have opened on Martha’s Vineyard in the past few weeks.

Anyone who has worked in food service — especially here, especially in summer — knows that the restaurant business is notoriously taxing. Long hours spent on tired feet in hot kitchens are already a hassle, but imagine doing it all from scratch in the busiest month of the year. Our brave friends at these new restaurants are marching fearlessly into August, reviving old haunts and adding new hotspots to the Island restaurant scene, maternally serving up food to strangers, some of whom have faces only a mother could love — and attitudes to match.

Truthfully, our servers and managers, hosts and cooks deserve culinary medals of honor. So take some time from your busy schedule and enjoy these newly opened spots. And don’t forget to tip your servers, and send compliments to the chef.

Veggie pizza by the slice at Isola.

Veggie pizza by the slice at Isola. — Photo by Kelsey Perrett

Isola: Back in the day (if you consider the 90s back in the day) Isola was the name of a Martha’s Vineyard restaurant owned by Todd and Olivia English, Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox, and Boston Bruins great Cam Neely. As of July 25, 2014, Isola (it’s Italian for island) is the name of the restaurant in Edgartown’s Post Office Square where Lattanzi’s used to be, owned by the Sullo family and featuring chef Max Eagan, all of Rocco’s fame. By day, Isola’s store front serves organic coffee, baked goods, pizza slices, and other lunch options. “I wanted to do a lot of raw foods,” said Gabrielle Sullo, manager of the store front. Healthy treat options, like the “amazeballs” are naturally dairy, sugar, grain, and gluten-free. When the bell tolls 5:30, the bar and restaurant open up for drinks and tasty Italian style entrées. “We’re getting busier as the word gets out,” said Gabrielle. “We’re definitely getting a lot of local business.”

Takeout window now open from 11 am to 7 pm. Bar and restaurant open for dinner every night from 5:30 to 10 pm. 774-549-9428.

Southwest style shrimp wrap from BeeDee's.

Southwest style shrimp wrap from BeeDee’s. — Photo by Kelsey Perrett

Bee Dees:

No offense to Pirate Jack’s Burger Shack, which used to grace this location on Oak Bluffs Avenue, but a peanut butter slathered bacon burger with fries isn’t exactly proper beach take-out. Pirate Jack’s replacement, Bee Dee’s, specializes in lighter fare, especially healthy to-go options such as salads, wraps, and paninis. The coolest part is they now deliver via tricycle to The Inkwell and Oak Bluffs Town Beach (Pay Beach), so sun soakers don’t even have to get off their sandy beach bums for lunch (order online at beedeesmv.com, or use their delivery app).

“We’ve had a lot of enthusiastic response about the delivery,” said co-owner Barbara Ciccolini. “It’s something Oak Bluffs has needed for a while. We were longtime visitors to the Island, and we always had that argument about who was going to go to town to get food. We also wanted to fill that void of food that was fresh and not always fried.”

Create-your-own sandwich options are available for omnivores, herbivores, vegana-vores, and glutenfree-a-vores, as well as flavorful salad combinations that can be rolled into a wrap. It’s not all rabbit food though: sweet-toothed O.B. dwellers can try a sweet panini on sweet bread or pound cake, filled with a combination of chocolate, bananas, sweet preserves, and topped with vanilla bean ice cream and housemade sweet sauces such as caramel. Bee Dee’s is friendly to Islanders and vacationers alike, offering a 10 percent discount with an Oak Bluffs hotel room key, and 10 percent Wednesdays for Island employees.

Now serving lunch and dinner from 11 am to 9:30 pm. Breakfast available at 7:30 am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 508-338-2220; beedeesmv.com.

"Amazeballs" at Isola's take out store.

“Amazeballs” at Isola’s take out store. — Photo by Kelsey Perrett

Fishbones: This prime piece of real estate on Oak Bluffs Harbor was bought out by Santoro Hospitality Group, owners of The Lookout Tavern, earlier this year, and strollers along the harbor have been anxiously awaiting its revival.

Though the name and logo of the waterfront bar and grill haven’t changed, manager Lisa Hawkes says the new Fishbones has updated it all. Not just the building, but chef Justin Stenuis has helped reinvent the menu with a Caribbean twist on seafood. Items such as coconut shrimp and blackened mahi mahi with mango salsa made their debut at Fishbones for the July 26 season opening.

“It was hard finding staffing in the middle of the summer, and we wanted to complete the new kitchen and the new menu,” said Ms. Hawkes of the late-season opening. “But we wanted to make sure if we were going to do this, we were doing it right.”

Now serving lunch and dinner from 11 am to 10:30 pm (bar until 11). 508-696-8227; fishbonesgrille.com.

Jimmy Sea’s:

After a brief hiatus, Jimmy Sea’s returned on July 17 under new ownership, but with the same old beloved experience of eating pasta straight from a pan bigger than your head.

Chef Scotty, who has been with Jimmy Seas for almost 20 years, is still manning the kitchen. Specializing in seafood and Italian flavors, Jimmy Sea’s offers linguini, scampi, and ravioli dishes with shrimp, lobster, beef, chicken, and more with tomato, pesto, and cream bases.

They’ve also hopped on the gluten-free bandwagon with some of their pastas, and new this year, they are offering house special pastas every night. “It got busy instantly,” said manager Olga Brown. “But our crew caught on right away, and it’s been a pretty smooth start.”

Now open for dinner from 5 pm to 10 pm. 508-687-9702; jimmyseaspanpasta.com.

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Island Cove co-owner Mary Gosselin fires up fuel on the outdoor grill for hungry mini golfers.

Sometimes the most satisfying food comes from the most unexpected places. No,
I don’t mean the time that you late-night dumpster dived at Dunkin’ Donuts in college (though in my…I mean YOUR defense, they do pristinely package their still-fresh baked goods before disposing of them).

What I’m talking about is those hidden gems of food spots. Holes in the walls. Best kept secrets. Like finding out Tisbury Farm Market might be one of the best coffee spots on the Island: the coffee is hot and strong, the price is right, and there’s never a line. I was going to keep that tidbit to myself, but I’m offering it up as my reward to you for reading my column, and continuing to read it after I discuss dumpster food.

So here’s another one for you: go play mini-golf, and make sure you work up an appetite, because the grill at Island Cove Adventures in Vineyard Haven is heating up. This shady cabana-style food stand has been around since 2002, but few people realize that Island Cove’s menu ranges far beyond ice cream. Mary Gosselin, who owns Island Cove with her husband, Ray, has a long history with food. A nutrition major, Ms. Gosselin came to the Island after college, where she learned the choreographed art of short order cooking at Island restaurants such as the Dock Street Coffee Shop.

“I wanted to own a restaurant, my husband wanted to own a mini golf,” Ms. Gosselin said. She gave her husband the go-ahead, on the condition that “I don’t have to be involved.” As it turned out, getting involved opened opportunities Ms. Gosselin didn’t know existed. She had already decided that the hospital work available for a nutritionist was not for her.

Grilled chicken, onions, and peppers on flatbread with Mary's special marinade.

Grilled chicken, onions, and peppers on flatbread with Mary’s special marinade. — Photo by Michael Cummo

“I was the first person people met when they were diagnosed with medical conditions. I was dealing with 40-, 50-, 60-year-olds who were scared, sick, and I was taking away their comfort foods,” Ms. Gosselin said. So she turned her attention to preventing health issues instead. “I decided I wanted to work with children, because then we could avoid that scary conversation. I wanted to teach kids to like chicken and vegetables, and make good food that tastes good.”

The mini-golf business provided the window to working with children that Ms. Gosselin sought. “I like to cook for kids because they are so spontaneous. If they like it, they’ll tell you, if not, they will too,” Ms. Gosselin said. “Most kids can deal with grilled cheese or a hot dog, but I have a lot of kids that love my grilled chicken. I feel like that’s a personal win for a child to fall in love with chicken.”

Having healthy choices at the mini-golf course was a given. Families were playing together, kids were powering up the rock wall, expending huge amounts of energy. Ms. Gosselin felt it necessary to provide them with the right fuel at the right price. In addition to burgers, dogs, and flatbread pizzas, there are vegetarian and gluten-free options such as fruit smoothies and a sweet potato black bean veggie burger. Prices range from $3.50 for a hot dog, to just under $7 for Mary’s specialty: chicken breast and veggies in a secret marinade, served atop a toasted flatbread.

“Everybody needs to eat, and we made a decision to keep it reasonable,” Ms. Gosselin said. “It’s hard to find good food at a reasonable price, especially in a venue like this. It’s what I would want to find if I were traveling with my family. What a surprise that I can have a veggie burger, or my child who’s gluten-free can join the family for dinner. And it tastes good.”

Island Cove manager Taylor Rasmussen holds out a "Dinosaur Crunch" ice cream cone covered in rainbow sprinkles.

Island Cove manager Taylor Rasmussen holds out a “Dinosaur Crunch” ice cream cone covered in rainbow sprinkles. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Ms. Gosselin says offering quality food and ice cream just adds to the positive family atmosphere. “It’s the only place I see families not texting,” she said. It instills the nostalgia for a perfect childhood vacation that Ms. Gosselin says families come back and thank her for year after year.

When I was a kid and went on vacation, my brother and I would always insist on playing mini-golf, mostly so we could beat each other with the putters behind my parents’ backs, or climb over the features into the appealing neon-blue ponds to fish out extra balls (also frowned upon). To bribe us into less-obnoxious behavior, my parents would dangle the possibility of ice cream in front of us. Looking back, a muggy night, a round of mini-golf, and a dripping ice cream cone defined what it meant to be a kid in summertime. Add to that a healthy meal, and a scramble up a rock wall, and you’ve got a real hole in one.

For more information, call 508-693-2611, visit islandcoveadventures.com, or look for Island Cove Adventures on Facebook.

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The 36th Annual Art Buchwald Possible Dreams Auction on July 27 will benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

Cambridge comedian and auctioneer Jimmy Tingle helped get the most out of each auctioned item at 2013's Possible Dreams auction.

The Possible Dreams Auction to benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) has changed a lot in recent years. The date, the venue, the auctioneer, even the name of the event — now the Art Buchwald Possible Dreams Auction, in honor of the longtime auctioneer who died in 2007 — have been reworked. That’s not to say different is bad. The team behind the highly anticipated auction is confident that the new direction leads towards a promising future.

For the second year in a row, the Possible Dreams auction will be held on a Sunday, July 27, at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Katama, featuring auctioneer and comedian Jimmy Tingle. Last year, this proved a winning combination, with the live auction raising approximately $213,000, and the event as a whole grossing about $450,000 between admissions, sponsorships, dinner, the live and silent auctions, and donations.

One of last year’s changes was moving the event from a Monday to a Sunday evening, in hopes of improving attendance by volunteers, MVCS staff, and weekend visitors. The auction drew a crowd of 450. The date of the event has also moved up from its traditional slot, the first week in August. On choosing this year’s date, auction co-chairman Liza May said, “This was the one weekend we found that there weren’t as many events piggybacked upon each other.”

Another recent change in venue moved the auction from its home of four years in Ocean Park to the Winnetu. “The Winnetu has been wonderful, The FARM Institute has been a huge donor of parking spaces. It’s just an idyllic spot down by the beach,” said Nell Coogan, director of development and community relations at MVCS.

Then of course, there is the return of funnyman Jimmy Tingle. “I was blown away that they would think of me in the vein of [the late] Art Buchwald, because I was a huge fan,” said Mr. Tingle. The Buchwald family was so pleased with Mr. Tingle’s performance last year that they sent him one of Mr. Buchwald’s famed auction hats, which Mr. Tingle hinted might make an appearance on Sunday.

“Anytime you’re doing something new, you’ve got to do your homework,” Mr. Tingle said, admitting he was a bit nervous the first time around. No stranger to the Vineyard, Mr. Tingle performed standup at The Hot Tin Roof and the Wintertide in the 1980s. He’s also performed at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, and shown his film “Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream” at the M.V. Film Center. “I’d done auction work in the past, and with Possible Dreams, the community is so into it and the cause is so great that people open their hearts and wallets a little more.”

The MVCS board acknowledges that Mr. Tingle’s humor has been a huge asset for the new direction they want to take Possible Dreams. “One of the biggest things we’re trying to do is add a little bit more levity,” Mr. Tingle continued. “It’s not just an auction for a serious cause, but it’s also about having fun and being entertained.” This year, Guinevere Cramer of Point B Realty will assist Mr. Tingle on stage to add a little local color.

Up for auction

The dynamics of the auction have changed slightly as well. Last year, a silent auction was added to the live auction to increase participation by businesses and bidders with lower budgets. “They like the idea that they can give back to their community too, on a smaller scale,” Ms. May said. This year, a raffle offers a third opportunity to win “dreams.”

The 26 live auction items include big ticket getaways such as a trip to Greece, and the ever-popular gastronomical vacation in Italy, as well as a special surprise auction item. “It’s nice to see more Island-grown dreams in the mix,” said Ms. Coogan. This year, locally based dreams include a day of fishing, foraging, and cooking with Chris Fischer and Jennifer Clark, a poker tournament hosted by World Series of Poker finalist Jesse Sylvia, and a jam session with Jim Belushi at Alex’s Place.

The silent auction includes 55 items, such as sailing and lighthouse tours hosted by the M.V. Museum, a staycation at the Vineyard Square Hotel with gift cards to Edgartown restaurants, artwork, fitness packages, and practical items such as gas and propane.

Raffle tickets can win guests dinner for two at The Terrace and an overnight at The Charlotte Inn, a set of Stefanie Wolf jewelry, fishing trips, a home and garden package, gift cards, and more. Tickets are one for $10, or three for $25.

“There’s going to be something for everyone, whether it’s coming to see a great comedian, or to bid on the live auction or silent or raffle,” said Ms. May. “We want to include as many people as we can whether they live here full time, part time, or are just visiting.”

Community driven goals

“I’ve been blown away with the generosity on this Island,” said MVCS board member Sandy Pimentel. “I think they recognize the importance of Community Services.” All proceeds from the event will benefit Community Services, and projects within its programs, which include CONNECT to End Violence, Disability Services, Early Childhood Programs and The MV Family Center, The Island Counseling Center, and The Thrift Shop, also known as Chicken Alley. “This event fills in the bottom line of what we do,” said Ms. Coogan. “It’s a huge one for us.”

With this year’s profits, the MVCS team hopes to cover rent for the new Family Center in Vineyard Haven, and expand the disability services program. “One of our biggest initiatives is to start a crisis stabilization unit on the Island,” said Ms. Coogan. The unit would give people in a state of crisis an “extra step” between the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Emergency Room, and an inpatient situation off-Island.

For Mr. Tingle, these positive and tangible goals are what makes the Possible Dreams auction special. He believes that Art Buchwald felt the same way. “He knew there were a lot of celebrities here, but he also lived here,” Mr. Tingle said. “He knew what it was like in the winter, and he knew the regular people who were making the Island work.”

Likely, the astute Mr. Buchwald also knew the challenges of a changing Island. “Change is always difficult, if you live on the Island you know that,” said Ms. Pimentel. “We’ve changed everything about the auction. But people love change once it happens.”

Possible Dreams auction, Sunday, July 27, 4–7 pm, Winnetu Oceanside Resort, Edgartown. Doors open at 3:45 pm. $25. 7:30 pm: Dinner at Lure Grill, $225 person. For more information, call 508-693-7900, ext. 229, or visit mvcommunityservices.com. To volunteer, call 617-834-3704.

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No plastic allowed at Porto Pizza.

I’m not a cash carrier. I find my funds flutter away much more quickly if they are withdrawn from my bank account in paper form. $20s quickly transform into $1s which fade away into lost poker games and eaten chocolate bars until my wallet is empty again anyway, so why fill it with cash to begin with? Because so many businesses on Martha’s Vineyard are cash only.

%&*$!@! is the sound I make in my head when I walk into a cash only business, forgetting I must hit an ATM before I can get a coffee or a slice of pizza. %&*$!@! is the sound many tourists make out-loud when they are tired and hungry, have just traveled for hours, are holding five pizzas and a squirming monkey in a poopy diaper, and NO they do not have any cash and NO they do not want to go find the nearest ATM. It’s a real pain in the %&*$!@!. So why do businesses bother?

There’s money saving to consider: businesses are required to pay a transaction fee for plastic, which can range from 1 to 6 percent of a purchase. Several businesses I spoke with, including Mocha Mott’s, Giordano’s, Porto Pizza, and Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, cited this charge as a deterrent for adopting card readers. All four managers and owners said the cash only policy was “simpler.” But it goes beyond that. Jirka Pavelka, owner of Porto Pizza, said he is trying to find a provider for his business to accept cards, but the service and the equipment are proving costly. “Different cards have different fees,” he said. “It’s an expensive process that we’re trying to find the best solution to.”

Carl Giordano, of Giordano’s Restaurant in Oak Bluffs, has been on both sides of a cash only business. While the take-out window of Gio’s is still cash only, the dining room section of the restaurant began accepting cards three years ago. “We’re trying to maintain an inexpensive family atmosphere,” Mr. Giordano said. “And we’re a seasonal business. In the dining room, when we began accepting cards, the extra percentage meant we had to raise our food prices. We already have the extra costs, being an Island, of food shipping, plus a town-imposed Oak Bluffs meal tax. I wouldn’t want to have to raise the cost of a slice of pizza any more.”

The hope is that some of those costs might be matched by customers spending more money paying with a debit or credit card. “Maybe they’re buying another bottle of wine that they wouldn’t have if they only had cash,” said Mr. Giordano, admitting that the cash only policy in the dining room might have deterred some customers, or limited their spending.

“The takeout window is a different animal,” Mr. Giordano said. His main reason for staying cash only at the takeout window is time saving. The line gets so busy, he said, that if everyone paid with a card, the printing and signing of receipts would inhibit the line from moving steadily.

Steady lines keep happy customers. But what about customers who find themselves lacking in cash? “It definitely annoys them,” said Kate Merges, a manager at Ben and Bill’s, “but I’ve never had a really horrible experience.”

“There’s so many ATMs near these cash only businesses, especially on Main Street and Circuit Ave., that most people don’t find it to be a huge deal,” said Laura Gilman, a manager at Mocha Mott’s. Although some might argue that ATM fees can easily turn a $2 purchase into a $5 purchase for the customer.

Still, the cash only model remains popular among small businesses. It minimizes bookkeeping, prevents fraud, and allows businesses to receive payment on the spot without waiting for transactions to process. And, of course, the tip jar is more likely to fill up when folks receive change in cash.

But anyone who has seen the line spill out into the street from a cash only Circuit Avenue sandwich spot knows that even “small” businesses on the Vineyard don’t feel so small in the summertime. Perhaps it’s time businesses find an easier solution than memorizing directions to the nearest ATM.

Finding a solution

There’s a lot of ways for small businesses, even start-ups, to work around the cash-only dilemma. Nat’s Nook and Not Your Sugar Mamas in Vineyard Haven, for instance, have adopted card swiping systems that require little more than an iPad. The technology is constantly evolving. Cash-only businesses can even accept payment online and via mobile phones with tools like PayNearMe andElavon.

Let me be clear: I love many of these cash-only businesses. They are staples of our community and serve delicious food and drink. Card reader or no, I can’t imagine an Island without homefries at Dock Street, the buffalo chicken at Skinny’s Fat Sandwiches, ice cream at Mad Martha’s, pizza at Fella’s, La Choza burritos, or a Menemsha picnic from The Bite. Even the dance floor level of The Lampost requires cash. Personally, I think the walk to an ATM is worthwhile if it means getting delicious food or drink from one of these spots. But once in a while, a little food for thought is a healthy addition to any diet.

In the meantime, since we love our cash-only businesses so much, here’s a handy map to show you where you can find an ATM before you order.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Menemsha Galley only takes cash. The popular eatery and ice cream stop with the million dollar harbor view also takes credit cards.