Authors Posts by Kelsey Perrett

Kelsey Perrett

Kelsey Perrett
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The "Rasputin's Revenge" pancakes from the Black Dog. —Photo by Michael Cummo

Before you bite into your next breakfast, do you know where it’s been? I’m not talking about your cook’s loose interpretation of the five-second rule. Nor am I suggesting that your food once shook hands with a molecule of gluten (for shame!) and didn’t wash. I won’t even discuss the farm whence your eggs came, and whether or not that farmer’s neighbor allowed the chickens to play in his yard. I’m talking about the metaphorical “been.” The big been. As in, does your meal have a history, a backstory, a name worthy of something other than “eggs and bacon”? If you’re eating at an Island restaurant, the Magic 8 Ball says: “Outlook good.”

Sure, there’re plenty of restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard where you can order eggs and bacon. Or two eggs and two strips of bacon, and so forth in various numerical increments. But this is a land of artists, and writers, and creative types who shun the straightforward. At many Island restaurants, you may have to read the fine print to know just what it is you’re ordering. There are a lot of geographical locations on the menu: Chops and Beaches and Katamas (which almost always have avocado — whether or not there’s a reason for that, Magic 8 Ball says: “Better not tell you now”).

The menu names get even weirder, but if you want to know why, the 8 Ball won’t tell you. Yes, there is a limit to everything, even omniscience. You’ll have to ask the cooks.

Biscuits in Oak Bluffs generally favors the straightforward menu items, until you scroll down and reach “The Stormin’ Norman” omelette. Owner Chris Arcudi says he named the menu item after a hyperactive childhood friend. “He was always storming around, so I called him Stormin’ Norman. I wanted to name a dish after him, and it has all the things he likes: bacon, ham, sausage, and onion.” ($7.99.*)

The Art Cliff Diner in Vineyard Haven has a few quirky names on its menu, but most of them are coded to the ingredients inside. The Smokin’ in the Shower, for instance, is a toasted bagel with smoked (get it?) salmon, red onion, tomato, cream cheese, capers, and a shower of lemon. ($10.50.)

Some menu items on the Vineyard have been around so long that the staff can’t remember exactly why they are called what they are called. Nadine Barrett, a server at Linda Jean’s, can confirm that the “Jacob” was named after one of the cook’s kids “back in the day when Linda Jean’s first opened. He would come in here and eat home fries with onion, tomato, broccoli, spinach and cheddar cheese all the time.” ($7.99.) The “Sampson” (two pancakes, two eggs & two sausage patties, $9.99) she wasn’t so sure about, but she believes it was the name of someone’s pet. “We’ve had a lot of menu items named after beloved animals and pets,” she said.

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“Bozo on the Bus”: poached eggs over French toast at the Black Dog. —Photo by Michael Cummo

Jeffrey Hefflin, fondly known by his staff as “Heff,” has been a cook at the Black Dog Tavern since 1986. He can remember the stories behind most of the menu items because he named them himself. After a stint in the military, Heff came to the Island to teach, but found himself drawn instead to a little shack called the Black Dog. “I saw the last of the old hippie days here. Back in the day we used to have stereo wars over Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix vs. punk rock.” Those days live on in the “Are You Experienced?” omelette with asparagus, mushrooms, and cheese. (Grass and shrooms are kitchenspeak for asparagus and mushrooms, respectively.) “They’d never let us play that type of music now,” Heff says, but he still gets to have an awful lot of fun with the menu. Here are a few of his favorites:

  • Bozo on the Bus: The “bus” in this breakfast is the French toast, which provides a sort of vessel for the poached eggs. The “bozo” used to be a customer’s name, but the customer — who definitely can’t be named now — complained and demanded to have his name taken off the menu. Heff obliged, and the next day “the so-and-so on the bus was off the menu, and the Bozo on the Bus was on.” ($9.)
  • Candy Ghost in the Big House: “Our friend got sent to Framingham for driving without a license too many times. It’s two poached eggs surrounded by four walls of French toast.”
  • Charley on the Fence: “Charley was a cook here one summer, and he was a little out of control. He crashed three cars that summer, and one was up on a fence. He’s since cleaned up his act, but he was rather infamous that summer.” (Omelette with mushrooms, onions, bacon, and melted cheese, $9.)

Wait, I’m sensing a theme here, Heff. Just how do you get your name on the Black Dog breakfast menu? “It’s usually something you’re not real proud of,” he admits. The menu is a way to immortalize the stories surrounding Black Dog customers and staff, a way to make sure what happens on Martha’s Vineyard stays — forever commemorated — on Martha’s Vineyard. Then sometimes, they just paint a funny picture.

  • Vlad Surfing the Net: “Back when the Iron Curtain fell, we had a bunch of Czechs come to the Island. Some of them worked here and some were our friends. Vlad was all into the Internet, he was just amazed by it. We couldn’t get him off the computer. I think that item was originally called Vlad has a Techno Party.” (Scrambled eggs with bacon, tomato, onion, and cheese, $8.)
  • Rasputin’s Revenge: “We had this dishwasher that looked just like Rasputin. Long hair, crazy, wild eyes. Every day he would eat strawberry chocolate chip pancakes. Dishwashers are either young kids, foreigners, or people that could have gotten a degree from MIT, but they dropped out. They’ve always got something a little wacky in their head.” (Small $6, large $8.)
The Black Dog's "Happy Heff": scrambled eggs with spinach, tomato, mushrooms, and cheese. —Photo by Michael Cummo
The Black Dog’s “Happy Heff”: scrambled eggs with spinach, tomato, mushrooms, and cheese. —Photo by Michael Cummo

Heff himself has made the breakfast menu hall of fame, twice, for his love/hate relationship with the morning shift.

  • Happy Heff: “They switched me to doing breakfast. I didn’t want to get up that early. I was doing lunch or dinner and I liked it because I wanted to go out at night. The happy Heff was kind of a play on my rather grumpy mood in the morning. It worked out well though, I’d much rather get up early and work now.” (Scrambled eggs with spinach, tomato, mushrooms, and cheese, $8.)
  • Crabby Heff: “They’re the same thing. The only difference is it has fresh crab in it.”

The next time you come across a funky name on a breakfast menu, don’t pass it over in favor of a list of ingredients. Ask your waiter. You might hear a funny story. And if you’re ordering from any of the above restaurants, you’ll surely get a breakfast that lives up to its name.

*Some menu items are specials, and their prices and contents are subject to change.

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After 23 years of exploring Chappaquiddick, Carl Treyz gets a whole new view.

After 23 years of vacationing on Chappaquiddick, Carl Treyz thought he had seen all of the island there was to see. He’d hiked and biked all the trails, driven out to the most remote beaches, and fished every shore. Then last year Treyz bought a quadcopter — a remote-control aerial mount — for his GoPro camera. He began to see the island from a whole new perspective: from above. In an email to The Times, Treyz answered a few questions about his videography, and how it can be applied to conservation efforts.

 

Do you have any background in photo/video?

I first got into photography and videography when I bought my GoPro three years ago. I bought it for a college study-abroad trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands. I ended up making a series of films (like blog entries) of my time there so that my friends and family could get a glimpse of what I was doing. Since then I have been making short films and doing photography on the side. I have filmed everything from sharks to woodpeckers.

When did you get into doing aerial photography?

Just over a year ago I ordered the quadcopter specifically for my GoPro. It opened up a whole new world. Now I take it with me whenever I travel. When I traveled to the Bahamas I was able to get some great footage, and aid researchers by giving them an aerial perspective. I was working at the Cape Eleuthera Institute for the Shark Research and Conservation Program from August to December of 2013.

How do you keep track of the quadcopter when it’s in the air?
The quadcopter is controlled by a single controller with a range of up to about 2,000 meters, depending on trees, hills, and weather. I do “line of sight flying,” and always have eyes on the quadcopter to keep it to a safe distance. Fortunately, the quadcopter has a setting which allows the controller to be the center point, so no matter which way it is facing, if you pull back on the controller it will head back toward it. It is also equipped with GPS, and will hover at a set altitude without any input from the controller. When all else fails, it comes with a safety feature, so if the batteries in the controller die or the controller gets dropped in the water, the quad will automatically sense that it has lost connection and fly back and land itself where it was first turned on.

How do you get to the spots you film?

I usually just drive up to these places, like The Trustees of Reservations and Land Bank trails. After all the time I’ve spent on Chappy, I thought I had hiked and explored every part of it, but since using the quadcopter I’ve found spots I never knew existed.

Such as?

One of the new spots I found was across from the Gut on North Neck Road. I had been to the Gut many times before, but had never been on the other side on Cape Pogue Bay. After flying over the Gut, I saw another pull-off by The Trustees of Reservations, which I then decided to stop at and have a look around. I ended up getting the intro shot to my video from that location through the winding pines and out over the steady drop to the bay. Unfortunately, I was not able to fly at my favorite stop, the rock pile, along East Beach due to wind conditions, but it was great to see the Cape Pogue Lighthouse looking back, from the ocean’s point, of view.

How long did it take to film this and edit/produce it?

The whole process took me about two weeks to complete. All of the filming for this video was done over a few days when the winds were just right, and the rest of two weeks was spent editing. I took over an hour of footage, which got condensed down to almost three minutes. I can get around 15 minutes of film from one flight, so there is a lot of footage to go through.

What do you think of the fisheye distortion effect you get with aerial photos? Do you like it, or does it pose a problem when editing video, etc.?

I think the fisheye is a defining characteristic of the GoPro cameras. I have learned to embrace it over the years, and feel that it gives a much broader perspective and feeling of landscape. It is actually fairly easy to get rid of the fisheye effect of the GoPro. There are settings where it can shoot in a narrower field of view, negating the fisheye lens. GoPro also has free software that can take the fisheye effect out of the video and pictures.

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The Chappy ferry and Edgartown beyond. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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The Chappy ferry and Edgartown in the fog. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz

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The breach. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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The breach. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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Wasque. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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The Chappy Community Center. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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Dyke Bridge. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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Dyke Bridge. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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Cape Pogue Pond to Cape Pogue Bay. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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Dyke Bridge and Cape Pogue Pond. — Photo by Carl Treyz

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The Gay Head Light —Photo by Carl Treyz

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The Gay Head Light —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

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Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

Any other Vineyard projects? What’s next?

I have flown briefly over Oaks Bluff and Gay Head, but am planning on making a similar video containing all of the lighthouses on the Island. I am also producing films and working on more projects for the EnTidaled Project.

Tell us more about EnTidaled.

I co-founded the EnTidaled Project with several friends I have met over the years through my time in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In a nutshell, we’re striving to connect people to conservation and sustainability efforts around the world, using engaging photos, stories, and short films. We hope to help bridge the gap between science and the public, because there is a lot of amazing, important work being done that people just don’t know about. In a time when everyone is connected to the Internet, fewer and fewer people are connected to the outdoors and things happening in their own backyard. Most people would rather watch a short, two- or three-minute entertaining video than read a scientific paper. We just started, but are getting ready to launch our community page, which will be featuring several well-respected organizations and individuals who want to work with the EnTidaled Project to increase visibility for their efforts and hope to reach new audiences.

What else do you do?

I am currently living in Westchester, New York. Right now I am working as a dental assistant for a private dentist as well as at a local dental clinic. I recently applied to dental school, and hope to start next fall. Outside of dentistry and videography, I am an avid fisherman, PADI divemaster, and just love spending time outdoors.

For more info on EnTidaled: enTidaledproject.org.

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Frozen fruits and vegetables can be dehydrated right out of the bag.

It’s no secret that processed and packaged foods are laced with weird preservatives and pumped with way too much sodium. Camping food is no exception to the rule. Normally, so many calories are burned and nutrients depleted on a backpacking trip that the body can handle a couple of not-so-ideal ingredients. Unless, of course, you have food intolerances, and at least one item on that long list of packaged ingredients is guaranteed to set off your stomach.

Use a dehydrator to make a trail mix from dried fruit and your favorite nuts or seeds.

This was the problem I contemplated when planning a recent backpacking trip through Glacier National Park. Fresh food wasn’t an option four days in, and if I was going to carry my food over fifty-something miles of trails, it had to be light. Most backpackers get by with little pouches of dehydrated meals, like Mountain House or Backpacker’s Pantry brands. It’s not that they aren’t tasty (though pretty much anything tastes good when it’s freezing and you just hiked 20 miles), but they are full of junk, the vegetables are skimpy, and the meat comes from an unknown source which is made doubly scary when the water is sucked out and it turns to a dry, pallid gravel.

There were two options, as far as I could see. A) Eat packets of tuna three meals a day for five days, constantly attracting hungry grizzly bears, or B) Skip the middleman, and make my meals at home with a food dehydrator.

The food dehydrator is an intimidating object. Mine turned out to be way bigger than I expected, taking up half the kitchen table in my small apartment. It resembles a UFO, and though there are no blades to cut yourself on, it looks like it could easily warp you into another dimension if you pressed the wrong button. Then of course, Google complicated things by showing me “about 232,000” different ways to use it. Could I dehydrate the meat and veggies at the same time? Should I turn them halfway? Would I ever use this ginormous appliance again after my vacation? Some web sites said yes, some said no.

Eventually, I ignored all directions, cooked five homemade meals that I felt would taste good as mush, threw them into the dehydrator at 160 degrees, and waited eight hours until they felt dry to the touch. Then I poured them into plastic bags and hoped to God they would work.

“What if they don’t rehydrate right?” my boyfriend asked. “Are you sure they won’t make you sick?” my mom asked. There are ways to ensure success, I told them: You weigh the food before and after dehydration, so you know how much boiling water to add. To kill off bacteria, meat has to reach at least 145 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Of course, I hadn’t actually checked either of these things, so there was only one way to test my meals: The night before my flight, I boiled up some water and made a sampling of each. Beetlebung Farm zucchini noodles with Black Water Farm ground beef and pasta sauce. The Good Farm chicken curry. Pulled barbecue shoulder roast from Grey Barn with sweet potatoes. FARM Institute eggs and bacon. I was bringing my local ingredients on the trail with me, and they tasted just as good as the day I got them at the farm stand. And no, Mom, they did not make me sick.

It was easy cooking on the trail. I brought along my trusty insulated canteen, boiled some water on a mini fold-out stove, mixed it with my meals, and gave it about 15 minutes to come back to life. The temps drop this time of year in Montana’s mountains — we even got a little snow — and I was glad to have a hot meal in place of cold tuna fish. Plus, there was something extremely satisfying about having done it all myself. I felt like a true pioneer, preserving my food from the harvest to take up into the mountains with me. Sure, the technology of my UFO dehydrator made it easy, but the skill set is one that can benefit any self-sufficient kitchen dweller.

Maybe you don’t backpack, but maybe you have a garden on Martha’s Vineyard, and it’s harvest time, and you are still drowning in tomato and zucchini and who knows what else. Dry the extras to use in recipes. Maybe you love kale chips — try making them in the dehydrator. Maybe you love potato chips, but your bag got a little soggy at the beach — pop them in the dehydrator and they will be good as new.

Jan Buhrman, caterer and food educator at the Kitchen Porch, says a dehydrator is an especially good tool on Martha’s Vineyard because “the air is too moist, you can’t dry anything.” She uses her dehydrator for drying herbs, raw foods like corn tortillas, and preserving tomatoes “because they taste so wonderful at the peak of the season.” She’s also a big fan of making fruit leathers (kind of like a healthy Fruit Roll-Up) in the dehydrator. Looks like I may be using my dehydrator again after all.

Jan Buhrman’s Fruit Leather

  • Fresh fruit (quince, peaches, beach plums, berries, apples, pears, grapes)
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar (if needed)
  • Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

Rinse the fruit. If you are working with peaches, plums, etc., take out the pits and chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If working with grapes, remove the stems. You will need to adjust the sweetness based on your taste, so sample the fruit before proceeding. Note how sweet the fruit is; add sugar as needed.

In a large saucepan, add a cup of water for every eight cups of chopped fruit. Bring to a simmer, uncover, and let cook on a low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked through. Place the fruit in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste the fruit and add sugar in small amounts to desired level of sweetness. Add lemon juice one teaspoon at a time, along with a pinch or two of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or allspice.

Continue to simmer and stir until any added sugar is completely dissolved and the fruit purée has thickened, another 5 or 10 minutes.

Put the purée through a food mill or chinois. Alternatively, purée it thoroughly in a blender or food processor. Taste again and adjust sugar/lemon/spices if necessary. The purée should be very smooth.

Pour the purée on dehydrator sheets and place in the dehydrator.

We usually keep it in the dehydrator for 12 to 24 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is not sticky and has a smooth surface.

When the fruit leather is ready, you can peel it, roll it, and place in plastic wrap. Keep it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

— Jan Buhrman

 

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— Ralph Stewart

Lately, around the office, forks have been disappearing. We’re not quite sure what’s happening, but it seems we buy some silverware from Chicken Alley, and the next day, all that’s left is butter knives and a few spoons. Nelson thinks we should take a page from the bank’s playbook and attach the forks to the kitchen table via chains. Until that day, we eat our monthly birthday cake with our hands, and for those of us who pack lunch in the morning, either we remember to pack a fork, or we make sure to depend on finger food.

Finger food is a glorious thing. There’s something joyful and childlike about it. Plus, in the spirit of Labor Day, which we celebrated Monday, it’s too much work sometimes to wield forks and knives. We deserve some time off from our dependance on tools.

I’d recommend sandwiches as the all-time best handheld meal, but I already wrote about that. I’ve also been required to give up bread these days, which calls for a little creativity when it comes to finger food. You gluten-free folks will dig these meal options. (Carb lovers, don’t worry, I’ve got something for you too).

Breakfast: The breakfast burrito is a tough thing to live without. So if you’re without tortillas for some reason, try simply turning your burrito inside out. Gather your typical burrito ingredients: I like eggs, cheddar, bacon, pico de gallo, and guacamole. Instead of rolling them in a tortilla, buy some really good deli ham (I just got some delicious Boar’s Head rosemary ham from Stop & Shop). Fry a couple slices in a pan for just a minute, and then use it to roll up your eggs, etc. Result: low carb finger food, AND a filling breakfast.

Lunch: Whether you’re brown-bagging it to work, or you’ve got little kiddies who won’t eat cafeteria food, finger food is always a good idea. You never know when the office fork-thief might strike. That’s why the agriculture gods invented lettuce. Because of its mild flavor, you can wrap basically anything in lettuce — burgers, veggies, and/or hummus. Just look for large, pliable, yet sturdy leafs. Morning Glory Farm grows some nice varieties. I like romaine for the crunchy support beam that runs through the center of the leaf.

Dinner: I have to tell you about meatza. Meatza is a creation from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed paleo cookbook, and it’s the ultimate meatlover’s special, because the meat is the crust! Crazy, right? Yes, but crazy delicious. You season and bake a pound of ground beef (I always get mine from Blackwater Farm), add your toppings (go wild with the cheese if you’re not actually paleo), and pop it back in the oven for a few minutes. It’s totally grain-free, but just as satisfying as actual pizza, mostly because you get to eat a chunk of meat with your fingers.

Eating out is another story. I would not recommend handling spaghetti or ice cream with your fingers, but there’s plenty of spots on Martha’s Vineyard that are fair game when it comes to eating with your hands. Think fried. Sure, you can eat fried clams with a fork if you’re a British princess worried about the paparazzi, but otherwise I say dig in, fingers first, at these Island locales:

Vineyard Haven: The Net Result for fried shrimp.

Edgartown: The Square Rigger for french fries.

Oak Bluffs: Offshore Ale for fried ravioli.

Chilmark: The Bite for fried mac and cheese.

Aquinnah: Faith’s Seafood Shack for fish tacos.

West Tisbury is lagging a little when it comes to the fried food department, but you can always grab a slice of pizza at Fella’s or a cookie at 7a.

It’s also wise to grab a couple of plastic forks when you’re out, and stash them in your desk or lunchbox. Or, if you’re like me, maybe you have an overabundance of forks in your apartment, and you just can’t imagine where they all came from. Do the noble thing, and donate a few to your workplace. Let your co-workers eat cake.

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The Startini cocktail from l'etoile. — Nicole Jackson

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.

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.

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.

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 — Lisa Vanderhoop

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).

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.

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. — Susan Safford

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.

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.

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. — Kelsey Perrett

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.

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.

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.