Authors Posts by Kelsey Perrett

Kelsey Perrett

Kelsey Perrett
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Scott Jones and Kell Hicklin, owners of Lambert's Cove, with a few new members of their family. — Kelsey Perrett

Imagine waking up on a summer morning to the clucks of chickens and the bleats of baby goats, walking through sunlit gardens to the chicken coop, collecting freshly laid eggs, and delivering them to the kitchen, where they are prepared into an omelet, with fresh herbs and veggies, just for you. It’s not some dream of your great Aunt Mabel’s farm in West Virginia, it’s now a reality at the recently renamed Lambert’s Cove Inn, Farm, and Restaurant in West Tisbury.

Nathan Gould, harvesting herbs from one of the Harborview's 11 gardens.
Nathan Gould, harvesting herbs from one of the Harborview’s 11 gardens.

Capitalizing on the farm-to-table dining trent, Lambert’s Cove Inn proprietors Scott Jones and Kell Hicklin have taken advantage of their spacious seven and a half West Tisbury acres, and converted as much as possible into farm and garden space. Their property now includes an herb garden, several greens and vegetable beds, a coop of 50 chickens, and two (unbelievably cute and friendly) baby goats, Eva and Zsa Zsa, who are expected to start producing milk for cheese next year.

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Mr. Jones said of the endeavor. “We’ve just been looking for someone to help us.” When they hired chef James McDonough, formerly of the Beach Plum Inn, to take over the kitchen last season, the pieces fell into place. Mr. McDonough brought in Chris Riger as a farm and garden manager, and got planting. “We let the kitchen dictate what we planted, based on James’s menu for each season,” Mr. Jones said.

Now, the chickens are producing 35 to 40 eggs daily. Herbs and spinach have popped up, and other produce such as micro-greens, tomatoes, and berries are growing swiftly. Kitchen waste is composted and cycled back into the gardens. A greenhouse is in the works to get a head start for next season. “Anything you see on the menu that can be grown here is being grown here,” Mr. Jones said. “What we can’t produce, we buy from local farms.”

Lambert's Cove's two baby goats will start producing milk and cheese next year.
Lambert’s Cove’s two baby goats will start producing milk and cheese next year.

“It’s been incredible having fresh eggs, the baby spinach, the herbs,” Mr. McDonough said. “I can’t wait for the strawberries.” And the best part is: “it’s just getting going.”

In other farm-to-table news, 7a Foods has moved their farm from Aquinnah, closer to their sandwich shop and bakery in West Tisbury. “We’re starting from square one,” chef and owner Daniel Sauer said. “I’m still assessing the space and the soil, and it will probably be a while before we get anything in the ground.” That doesn’t mean 7a won’t be offering fresh and local foods this summer. Right now they are offering an Island Grown Salad featuring lettuce and cherry tomatoes from Thimble Farm, bok-choy from North Tabor, hard-boiled eggs from The Grey Barn, and radishes and herbs from Morning Glory. One dollar of every salad sold benefits Island Grown Schools.

Chef Chris Fischer has been bringing products from the five acres of Beetlebung Farm to the table at The Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant for years. The most recent harvest to make it to the menu is wild asparagus. Mr. Fischer has also started offering weekly recipe baskets: featuring Beetlebung Farm’s latest produce and other local ingredients with preparation instructions designed by the chef himself. Next week, it’s Beetlebung Farm leg of lamb marinated in Mermaid Farm yogurt, chickpea and herb salad, collard greens, and a spinach salad. So, if you don’t feel like putting pants on, you can bring the farm to your home table. The recipe serves four, though, so for the sake of your company, please reconsider those pants.

Mary Kenworth, owner of State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury, says their 3,000 square feet of gardens are delivering herbs and greens already. “Last night, I had the swordfish with our Swiss chard and romesco sauce,” Ms. Kenworth said. “It was delicious.” Her kitchen staff oversees the planting and harvesting of the three gardens on the West Tisbury property, but “it really is a team effort.” Using food from their own garden “speaks to our mission,” she said. “That’s using what’s most local, travels the least distance, requires the least processing, and tastes the freshest. It doesn’t get any fresher than than coming up from our own soil.”

At the Scottish Bakehouse in Vineyard Haven, garden manager Zephir Plume is working hard to keep their garden producing for the long haul. Ms. Plume says she has been harvesting Russian red baby kale for the last month, and turnips will turn up this week. The chefs at the Bakehouse are preparing the kale underneath a pesto chicken with mozzarella and tomato salad. “A lot of what we grow is ingredients they either use regularly in the kitchen, or that can be canned,” she said. “I know our chef is very excited about the cherry peppers. We have about 200 plants, and she has very big plans for them.” Also look out for rhubarb, strawberries, and blueberries later this season.

Henry’s Bar and Water Street at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown are reaping the bounty from the 11 raised garden beds started last season by Harbor View’s Executive Chef Nathan Gould and Jennie Slossberg of Garden Angels. Several types of edible flowers and herbs are growing, along with fennel, four types of heirloom tomatoes, a few breeds of chile peppers, parsnips, carrots, spring peas, and a full bed of strawberries.

Chef Gould says right now, he is primarily taking advantage of the “fun clipping greens,” the flowers, herbs, and other garnishes that add flare to a salad. He is looking forward to “having summer in full effect” when the tomatoes and strawberries flourish. Mr. Gould says the tomatoes make a delicious jam to serve with a cheese plate, while strawberries, which coincide with striped bass season, pair well with a crudo or sashimi with smoked salt and olive oil. “It’s exciting for any chef to try their hand in gardening,” he said. “It provides day-to-day inspiration, and allows for creativity in the menu, based on what’s growing.”

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The Oak Bluffs Harbor is stirring to life after Memorial Day weekend with new restaurants and menu additions. — Kelsey Perrett

Last week, I helped edit a cool time-lapse video by Dick Iacovello, showing the Oak Bluffs harbor fill in with boats bound for Memorial Day fun. The traffic wasn’t quite heavy enough to indicate true summertime, but it was evident that something was starting to happen, the first notions of summer in Oak Bluffs bubbling up from some still very cold water. In the evening shots of the video, some friendly little lights beamed Gatsby-like across the water, reminding me that the restaurants lining the harbor had opened up, in the words of my Editor in Chief, “like tasty little clams.” So on Saturday night, I went to visit these old food-flames and find out what’s new.

Coop de Ville

The most noticeable addition to the harborfront this year is the conversion of Dinghy Dogs to a colorful food window called The Shuck Shack, owned by its neighbors at Coop de Ville. The raw bar and snack shack will have eight outdoor seats, and — take note ladies — will be run by a “handsome man named Jack,” according to manager Susie Radcliffe.

Ms. Radcliffe says specials this summer at Coop’s will include $1 littlenecks all summer, Monday lobster rolls, Tuesday “lobster fests,” and Thursday “dockside clambakes.” Coop de Ville will amp up their impressive selection of more than 100 beers with promotional events and 8 to 12 beers on tap at all times.

They are also proud to announce the new “Shuck Shack Extra Pale Ale,” made specially for Coop’s by Offshore Ale Co. Coop’s is also a hotspot for viewing the World Cup, which starts June 12. They will air coverage on three different screens, so soccer (fútbol) fans can watch in the open air. “We love being right on the water, in the sunshine where the boats dock,” Ms. Radcliffe said. “It’s a beautiful view.”

Lobsterville

The Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA, on tap at Lobsterville.
The Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA, on tap at Lobsterville.

“We’re starting off slow,” said manager Leslie Graham of the Lobsterville Bar and Grille, but she promises to add exciting new menu items throughout the summer. One of the newest additions is swordfish bites with a pineapple mango salsa. A tenderloin bruschetta on a tower of garlic toast is also planned, as well as a grilled artichoke and romaine salad, and lobster or crabmeat stuffed avocados on salad. Lobsterville will stay true to its name this summer, with its signature lobster-stuffed meals including grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and burgers. “We try to use anything fresh we can,” said Ms. Graham of the ingredients used in the summer menu.

On tap, Ms. Graham favors a “really nice” Allagash White Ale, a “very refreshing” Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Sam Adams Summer, and the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA, because “it has a really cool tap handle with a skull and crossbones.” Ms. Graham also hopes to book Island Thunder for musical performances this summer. “It’s just always buzzing,” she said of the harbor. “The water, the boats, the people, the sunsets — it’s a fun atmosphere with lots of activity.”

Nancy’s Restaurant and Snack Bar

Nancy’s, on the corner of the harbor, will stick with their menu of “standard seafood” this summer, said manager Steve Ansara, but there are a few new items hitting the harbor. For lunch, additions include a steak tip sandwich with arugula, braised onions, and tomato garlic aioli; and a pulled smoked chicken sandwich with roasted poblano slaw, onion strings, and Hoisin BBQ sauce. They have also returned the fish tacos, which Mr. Ansara called “a huge hit.”

For dinner, Nancy’s is introducing a seafood pasta with truffle cream sauce, a veggie risotto, steak tips, and a half roasted chicken with New England style gravy. Down at the snack bar, they will serve up all the old favorites plus new housemade chicken wings. The entire restaurant will feature Bad Martha’s Brewery beer this summer. On tap now: the Vineyard Summer Ale and the Island IPA. “It’s just the epicenter of Oak Bluffs,” Mr. Ansara said of the harbor. “There are two or three different styles of dining at Nancy’s depending on what you’re in the mood for, and they’re all great for people watching.”

There are a few other restaurants on the harbor readying for summer, including Fishbones Cafe, which was recently purchased by Lookout Tavern owner Michael Santoro. The crew at Fishbones isn’t ready to announce their opening quite yet, but they promise it is coming “very, very soon.” Stay tuned for Harbor Happenings, Part 2.

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Beetlebung Oak Bluffs is Circuit Avenue’s hottest new coffee house and lounge.

If you’re going to do something, do it right. That’s John and Renee Molinari’s mentality behind the newest branch of their Beetlebung franchise, set to open on Circuit Avenue on May 31.

The Bittah-Bung, a barrel-aged cocktail batch recipe in 3 liter barrel: Boyd & Blair Vodka, Sandeman Founder's Reserve Port, and Bittermens Boston Bittahs.
The Bittah-Bung, a barrel-aged cocktail batch recipe in 3 liter barrel: Boyd & Blair Vodka, Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port, and Bittermens Boston Bittahs.

Beetlebung Oak Bluffs has a lot going on. It’s a sun-soaked coffee house, featuring Barrington Coffee beans by day. At night, it slips into its evening attire as a bar and lounge, with a menu by executive chef Jerry Marano, and a creative cocktail list by “the Cocktail Guru” Jonathan Pogash. There’s a lot to drink in, so let’s just focus on the coffee and cocktails.

A latte love

Barrington Coffee, based out of western Massachusetts, is not new to the Island. Beetlebung has been using their beans since 2005, first at their Vineyard Haven location, then in Menemsha. “We were looking for the best coffee beans we could find, quite simply put,” Renee Molinari said. “We wanted it to be close by, so it would be as fresh as possible. We also wanted a partner who would be able to provide training. We were looking for people that were experts at the whole process.” Barrington Coffee owners Gregg Charbonneau and Barth Anderson were exactly those people.

“The vast majority of the coffee we buy comes from very small and often multi-generational family farms,” Mr. Charbonneau said. “The coffee is carefully tended every step of the way, picked and processed by hand.”

Every harvest season, Mr. Charbonneau and Mr. Anderson pick out beans from Kenya, Guatemala, Sumatra, and Hawaii and bring them into their tasting facility. They pick out beans to offer consistently year-round, as well as “unique and interesting coffees we might only offer for a week, a month, six months,” Mr. Charbonneau said. “We’re willing to pay the price that lets these farms do what they do.”

When Beetlebung calls in a coffee order, Barrington roasts it on demand, and ships it the same day. Nothing is warehoused or roasted ahead of time.

Barrington has trained the staff at Beetlebung to pay the same attention to making a cup of coffee. “There’s so much that goes into it, so much that can get screwed up,” Mr. Charbonneau said. “It’s a miracle anyone can get it right sometimes.”

Thai Basil Blackberry Tea: Thai Basil Syrup, blackberries, fresh lemon juice, and house-made iced tea.
Thai Basil Blackberry Tea: Thai Basil Syrup, blackberries, fresh lemon juice, and house-made iced tea.

Water quality, for instance, is one of the most overlooked factors in the brewing process. But it’s also the easiest way to ruin a cup of coffee, according to Emma Blair, coffee manager at Beetlebung Oak Bluffs. Beetlebung has installed a water filtration system to ensure quality, which Ms. Blair tests regularly. They’ve also made the switch to bottomless portafilters, a device that allows baristas to see that the espresso shot they’re pulling has the correct color.

Then there’s the water temperature to be considered. And the ratio of coffee to water. And the length of time the water is in contact with the coffee. And the coarseness of the grounds.

“What’s going to set us apart is the knowledge that goes into getting our beans and delivering a cup of coffee,” Ms. Blair said. “It starts with proper training. And exciting a passion in the baristas.”

Beetlebung’s baristas undergo a rigorous two-week training process, which includes a 54-page manual and a four-page training checklist. “It’s very technical,” said Ms. Molinari said. “There’s a science to it. You have to really understand what you’re doing, and you have to be able to troubleshoot and problem solve.”

And you have to do it all with a certain flair. The perfectly swirled “latte art” that each barista signs onto their espresso and steamed milk beverages is insurance that they’ve done their job right. “It’s not just cool looking and pretty, it’s also a control device for the coffee,” Mr. Charbonneau said. “You can’t make this beautiful thing if the components aren’t just right. The milk has to be aerated and textured just so, the temperature has to be perfect, the espresso has to be pulled right, otherwise it won’t work. It’s not just cool, it means your drink has been made properly.”

A cocktail tale

The evening drinks at Beetlebung are new to the Island, but they are crafted with the same attention to detail.

When vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard two summers ago, beverage consultant Jonathan Pogash noticed an empty storefront on Circuit Avenue that he felt would lend itself to an upscale lounge, so he offered his services to the Molinaris.

Mr. Pogash’s vision for the Beetlebung Oak Bluffs bar menu was a “farm to bar” concept. That includes using fresh juices, local herbs, and organic ingredients whenever possible. Mr. Pogash draws his inspiration from local markets, choosing ingredients in peak seasonality. “It really is about fresh ingredients,” he said. “It should look, taste, and smell appealing.” He added, “It’s the whole package deal. It’s not only drinks that taste nice, they have a nice presentation, there’s a story behind them, and it’s a conversation starter.”

Matching the drinks to the atmosphere of the lounge was key to designing the menu. “What always inspires me is the locale, the vibe of the place and the concept,” Mr. Pogash said. “Through many discussions with Renee and John, we were able to really focus in on what these cocktails should look like and taste like.” The decor, the music, and the lighting all influenced which drinks should be served.

Not to mention the food. “People are going to love how well the food works with drinks,” Mr. Pogash said. “It’s going to be seamless, you can order any drink so it will work with any meal. For those interested in food and drink pairings, it’s going to be awesome.”

Some of the cocktails offered at the new Beetlebung play off Mr. Pogash’s love for savory herbs. “The Flying Dutchman” uses a house blueberry-thyme syrup. Beetlebung is also offering an A&P cocktail (a nod to the building’s history as the home of the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company), which includes muddled sage with an apricot peach house syrup.

In addition to creating the menu, Mr. Pogash trained Beetlebung’s bartenders to ensure quality control. “You can have the fanciest cocktail in the world, but your bartenders need to know how to make it right,” he said.

The training, which includes an emphasis on customer hospitality, will also cover cocktail history. “A lot of drinks are versions of classic cocktails, so it’s key to know where they came from and how to make them,” Mr. Pogash said. “We’re even using steel straws so the drink stays cold while you’re sipping it.”

Oh, and don’t think your caffeine buzz has to die when Beetlebung makes its shift to the evening lounge. The barbacks double as trained baristas, so orders for espresso cocktails can be expertly filled.

For more information, visit beetlebung.com.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s new exhibit shows the subtleties and extremes of Martha’s Vineyard 1960’s metamorphosis.

Sea Change: Martha's Vineyard in the 1960s is currently on exhibit at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. — Lynn Christoffers

“Sea Change,” the newest exhibit at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, is not just a haven for history buffs. Music lovers, art fans, fashionistas, and activists young and old will appreciate the broad collection of artifacts, photos, and oral histories that paint a picture of Martha’s Vineyard in the 1960s. The exhibit only takes up a small room at the museum’s Edgartown location, but there’s a lot packed into that space.

The walls are decked with photos, artwork, posters, and home movie clips. A timeline encircles the room, guiding museum-goers through the major events in Vineyard history, and national history, from 1960 to 1969. At center are whimsical skirts and paisley shirts. And if you plug in a set of earphones, voices from the past stream in to tell the story of it all.

“When we were setting out trying to tackle an entire decade in this tiny little room, we knew we were going to have to use a lot of stories,” said the museum’s assistant curator, Anna Carringer, who formulated the exhibit with chief curator Bonnie Stacy and oral history curator Linsey Lee. “You can’t tell one linear story, because it is experienced differently by every single person. What we decided to do was explore the stories through the eyes of the people who were here.”

The staff turned to Ms. Lee’s extensive oral history collection for many of those stories. They also held a photo collection day where they scanned community members’ 1960s photos. Word of mouth got out, and eventually the collection grew to include several promotional posters from the legendary Mooncusser Cafe, and a variety of clothing ranging from Merrily Fenner’s old prom dress to a funky velveteen jacket Janet Messineo once donned.

“It’s hard to encapsulate one 10-year period,” said Ms. Lee. “This is not a comprehensive exhibit. It’s weaving together all of these elements. But the same things come up every time.”

Those topics include hearing and playing folk music at the Mooncusser; the beginnings of an environmentalist movement that spurred the founding of the Vineyard Conservation Society, and the preservation of Vineyard gems such as Cedar Tree Neck and Menemsha Hills. The exhibit also covers civil rights, the joyous fellowship surrounding the founding of the NAACP, and the controversial founding of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. At the same time, national events trickled down to affect the Vineyard, including the inauguration and assassination of President Kennedy and the war in Vietnam.

Ms. Carringer and Ms. Lee say the “endcaps” of the exhibit are the 72-day ferry strike in 1960, and the infamous Dike Bridge incident involving Senator Edward Kennedy in 1969. In the midst of the Steamship Authority strike, Islanders lent one another a helping hand by offering their own ferry services. “It was this really wonderful community spirit,” Ms. Carringer said. Adversely, Mary Jo Kopechne’s drowning at the Dike Bridge made Chappaquiddick a household name. Ms. Carringer said, “Whatever shred of that last vestige of old, quiet community feel,” sank with Senator Kennedy’s Oldsmobile Delmont 88 that July. “We couldn’t go back from that. The Island was changed in a way it couldn’t be unchanged.”’

Change, the curators say, is the prevailing theme of this exhibit. The 60s were a decade of change throughout the nation, but especially on the Vineyard, with its constant exchange of people, and the Island’s unique ability to remain isolated from the rest of the world, while still mindful of it. Multiple opinions were juxtaposed on just 100 square miles of land. “Like we always have and like we continue to do, people found a way to work together, to live together,” Ms. Carringer said. “It’s not always easy, but these people, like any other group of people — religious, cultural, ethnic — find their place, then change the Vineyard in a very subtle way.” Ms. Lee said that subtle change brought the Vineyard from “a ‘Leave It to Beaver’ type feeling, to a feeling of ‘anything is possible.’”

The stories and emotions surrounding those changes are complex and conflicted, but they are outlined thoroughly in the Sea Change exhibit’s displays and oral histories. “This exhibit is so dense, there’s so many layers,” Ms. Carringer said of the exhibit that will be up through April of 2015. “We hope people will come back and learn a little more each time.”

“Sea Change: Martha’s Vineyard in the 1960s” opened to the public last Friday. Admission is free for museum members, and $7 for non-members. For more information, visit mvmuseum.org.

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"King" Paul Domitrovich and Kathy "Lola" Domitrovich, proud owners (once again) of Lola's Southern Seafood. — Kelsey Perrett

Well, I’m not the world’s most passionate girl, but I do feel very enthusiastically about the way a Sunday morning should be spent. Some people go to church, I eat breakfast. The easiness of a Sunday morning, the internationally recognized day of rest, warrants a big, homestyle meal. There’s just something about a Sunday that makes it okay to eat a deep fried waffle. With a hunk of fried chicken. And half a watermelon. And two more plates worth of southern style brunch.

The staff at Lola's named this crispy Yellowtail Snapper with mango corn salsa "Pharrell" because he looked so happy sitting up on his plate.
The staff at Lola’s named this crispy Yellowtail Snapper with mango corn salsa “Pharrell” because he looked so happy sitting up on his plate.

So I’m happy to welcome Lola’s Southern Seafood back to its old home at the Island Inn in Oak Bluffs, where owner Kathy Lola Domitrovich and her husband, Paul, are serving dinner five nights a week and brunch on Sundays.

The past two summers, the restaurant was Hooked, owned by Christian and Greer Thornton of Atria. So where has Lola been all this time? In Florida, soaking up the rays and working as a restaurant consultant. “We really thought this time we were going to retire,” Ms. Domitrovich said.

But when the Thorntons decided not to return for a third season, the Domitroviches, who still owned the property, opted to bring back the old Lola’s. “We still have a lot of spirit,” Ms. Domitrovich said, on coming out of retirement. “When I’m not Lola, I’m kind of bored.”

The buffet style brunch at Lola's has everything from scrambled eggs and bacon to jambalaya and collard greens.
The buffet style brunch at Lola’s has everything from scrambled eggs and bacon to jambalaya and collard greens.

Ms. Domitrovich brought back a little of Florida back with her, in executive chef Chad Ford and sous chef Mark VanSchaick. Both men have cooked on islands in the Caribbean, and they bring a tropical flare to Lola’s Cajun-inspired menu.

“I was so tired of the same old tuna, swordfish, ribs, and chicken,” Ms. Domitrovich said. “This year, I’m going to put my money into good chefs and let them fly.” She told Mr. Ford and Mr. VanSchaick to “make it young, make it hip, twist it up, but people are still going to look for the Lola’s experience.”

And people have come looking. Out of the woodwork, actually, to see if the rumors of Lola’s reopening are true. “They’re just flipping out,” Ms. Domitrovich said of her customers. “It’s like we created this monster that we can only run.”

The new chefs at Lola's: Executive Chef Chad Ford and Sous Chef Mark VanSchaick.
The new chefs at Lola’s: Executive Chef Chad Ford and Sous Chef Mark VanSchaick.

Watching the customers come in to brunch on a Sunday morning is like witnessing a family reunion. “Thank God you’re back,” I heard on more than one occasion, as the old friends hug Ms. Domitrovich and shake Mr. Domitrovich’s hand. “We don’t have a restaurant,” Ms. Domitrovich said. “It’s more like coming to someone’s house.”

The social media response to the reopening has been overwhelming as well. The restaurant’s Facebook wall hosts comment such as: “The Vineyard is not the Vineyard without Lola’s,” “I was there from day one and will always be there,” and “Lola’s is back…YEAHHH!”

There are a few changes since Lola’s was last open in 2011. Mainly, the interior design, altered under Hooked’s ownership, and Mediterranean before that. The dining room is airy, light, and clean. “It looks very different,” Ms. Domitrovich said, “but it’s fabulous for weddings. I’m booking more weddings than I ever did.”

Still, Ms. Domitrovich wanted to add a bit of color, some New Orleans flare, to the place. The mural that once greeted Lola’s customers is still there, but currently hidden. “If we do expose it, we want to uncloak it with a big Lola thunder,” Ms. Domitrovich said.

In the meantime, she’s decorated the bar and dancefloor with New Orleans style art and old instruments. She started with two of Mr. Domitrovich’s old accordions. Soon, friends were digging up old guitars, trumpets, and flutes from their basements and closets. “It’s starting to look more like Lola’s,” she said.

The front dining area and the back bar will feature two distinct menus. Ms. Domitrovich says the back will harbor a more casual, local pub vibe, while the front will be more formal. Ms. Domitrovich plans to add an outdoor raw bar too, to complement the outdoor games area carried over from Hooked.

Old Lola’s standbys such as the mussels and grilled calamari will still be on the menu, but Ms. Domitrovich already has some new favorites. One creation is Mr. Ford’s stuffed lobster recipe from the Dominican Republic. He takes everything out except the claw meat, tempura fries it, tosses it in a “bangbang” sauce with a mango corn salsa, then reintroduces it to the lobster on a bed of rice with pecans and bok-choy.

Mr. Ford is also serving up a dish from Key West: yellow snapper, complete with head and bones, sitting up on a plate. “The meat just flakes off,” said Ms. Domitrovich. “It’s a really beautiful dish, so exciting looking.”

And of course, the elaborate all-you-can-eat brunch has returned for Sundays from 10:30 am to 1 pm. “Sunday brunch is right back to where it was. It’s such a local summer thing,” she said. When the brunch resumed on Mother’s Day Weekend, Ms. Domitrovich welcomed back customers that had been coming to eat there every Sunday for 20 years.

Lola’s also hosted the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s prom last weekend. Ms. Domitrovich was surprised to see some familiar faces all grown up. “The kids I employed here or who got married here 20 years ago have their own kids now. Those kids are starting to work for me,” Ms. Domitrovich said. “It’s come full circle. It’s very comforting to see.”

Overall, Ms. Domitrovich is happy with her decision to return from Florida. “It’s cold, I still have my coat on, but it’s nice to see all my old friends.”

It seems fitting to welcome Lola’s back this week, as it also marks the return of the Good Taste column in the MV Times. I’m psyched to take on this project. I’d also like to apologize for all the references to the song “Lola.” Ms. Domitrovich bears no resemblance to the cross-dressing love interest of Kink’s fame. They asked me to make the column young and hip, so of course I revolved my lede around a song from 1970. But the song simply would not stop playing on my broken internal record player. And who am I to turn down The Kinks on vinyl?

Send me your dining news and questions to kelsey@mvtimes.com.

For more information on Lola’s Southern Seafood, call 508-693-6093, visit lolasmv.com, or search Lola’s Martha’s Vineyard on Facebook.

Matt Cancellare works out on his body and mind in his home gym. — Kelsey Perrett

It’s well known that exercise boasts just as as many mental perks as physical benefits. It relieves stress and anxiety, releases mood enhancing endorphins, improves self confidence, creativity, memory, and sleep. Almost any type of exercise can produce these results, but those who really want to test their mental and physical limits should try lacing up the boxing gloves.

Boxing instructor Matt Cancellare of Vineyard Haven likens the sport of boxing to a physical chess game. The sparring participants react to one another’s moves, requiring tremendous focus, perseverance, and an ability to remain calm under pressure: desirable skills for any of life’s fights.

In fact, it was boxing that helped to turn around Mr. Cancellare’s troubled adolescence. When his family moved from the States to San Juan, Puerto Rico, the thirteen-year-old Mr. Cancellare started down a dangerous path. “It was a different lifestyle than I was used to,” Mr. Cancellare said. “A lot of poverty and crime to get mixed up in. A cop told me I was going to end up in the wrong situation, that there were two outcomes for me: death or jail.” Fortunately, the police officer offered the young Mr. Cancellare a third option. He took the teenager to a local boxing ring.

“It gave me the same adrenaline rush the streets gave me,” Mr. Cancellare said. “It’s a battle, and you’ve got to be 100% dedicated. In other sports, when you don’t do well, you just lose. Maybe your pride gets hurt. In boxing, you’re going to get beat up, and it really hurts.”

Once he began boxing, the young Mr. Cancellare found himself too exhausted to get into trouble. Given the choice to fight a peer after school, or keep his 5 pm boxing appointment, Mr. Cancellare always chose the ring.

“I can’t say boxing saved my life or anything like that. I still fell in and out of trouble, but I found boxing definitely could keep me away from what I shouldn’t be doing. I learned where to put my energy.”

Eventually, Mr. Cancellare moved back to the States, boxing in the amateur circuit in Brooklyn, followed by a two-year spell of pro fighting. When his wife, who is in the Coast Guard, was transferred to Menemsha station, Mr. Cancellare brought his passion to the Island as a trainer and mentor. “It’s a gift to be able to give back,” Mr. Cancellare said. “Whether you’re specifically trying to be a fighter, or you just want to work out, it feels really good to box.”

Boxing is a full body workout, and a tough one at that. It’s not only punches and blocks, but footwork, core rotations, and stability. It also consists of metabolism-revving interval training, usually three minutes of work, followed by just a minute of rest. “Boxing works every muscle in your body,” said Mr. Cancellare. “I’ve played a lot of sports in my life, and I think boxing is one of the hardest.” (Mr. Cancellare is not alone. A 2004 ESPN study ranked boxing the toughest sport in the world).

Mental tenacity has a lot to do with that ranking. “A lot of people think boxing is just throwing punches,” Mr. Cancellare said. “The majority of it is mental. As you fatigue, your mental clarity goes, and you have to fight through that. When you feel like you have nothing left, but you still have to go two or three rounds, you start to realize ‘wow I can do a lot more than I knew I could.’ You find it in your heart, your mind, to say ‘yes I can do that.’ You start to build confidence, you walk differently. It transitions into regular life; that’s one of the beauties of it.”

It may seem strange to outsiders that this elevated state of mind arises from what appears to be a violent, event brutish, sport. But Mr. Cancellare says there is little room for aggression in the boxing ring. “I can’t just go in there swinging like crazy, I have to be mentally controlled. In the heat of chaos, I’ve still got to be calm, cool, and collected. Which is crazy. Someone is trying to punch me and take my head off, but I’ve still got to be calm, cool, collected. Boxing teaches you that’s the best way to be in any situation in life.”

Calm, cool, and collected.

For more information on boxing on Martha’s Vineyard, call 850-316-5918, or check out the MV Boxing Club Facebook page, run by local boxing enthusiast Chuck Noonan.

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— Image Courtesy Pixabay

When the sunshine brings out those first green leaflets and blades of grass, a feeling wells up inside of you. Could it be joy? A sudden urge to recite Walt Whitman? And then — ACHOO! — it’s a sneeze, the ominous reminder that the arrival of spring means the arrival of torturous bouts of blubbering and itchy eyes for many Vineyarders. Before you confine yourself indoors for the rest of the season, check out these pro-tips from our panel of health experts, and find a remedy that works for you.

jackie-kane.aJackie Kane, Holistic Health Practitioner, Vineyard Energy Medicine

As a former allergy sufferer and Holistic Health Practitioner, I can share that there is true relief in sight without the drowsiness from prescription medication.

For acute allergy relief, try a combination of organic apple cider vinegar (1 Tbs) diluted in water, cayenne, un-squeezed lemon, and sweeten with pure Stevia. This remedy has an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent irritations and build up immunity. Try a glass in the morning and evening, and sip during the day.

For lasting results, we at Vineyard Energy Medicine feelit is important to detox the substances causing the allergic reaction as well: commonly mold, bacteria, and dust mites. You can experience quick relief with the right combination of professional liquid homeopathics.

The best long-term and permanent remedy we have found comes in the form of a professional grade homeopathic taken in the form of drops under the tongue. Within three weeks, you can feel relief from environmental allergies and food allergies. Within three months, clients have experienced complete relief and absolutely no side effects. So what’s the catch? Consistency. After two to three years most allergy sufferers are able to complete the process. For long-term allergy sufferers, we know that three months to feeling completely allergy free is truly sweet relief.

Laura-Denman.jpgLaura L. Denman MS, RD, Abundant Life Nutrition

Spring allergies…fortunately, this has never been a thorn in my side, but I have seen numerous people who are in utter misery as a result of what appears beautiful to some of us: the arrival of spring. I feel the best defense for spring allergies is healthy adrenal glands — easier said than done in this fast-paced world that we live in. Get plenty of rest, let some things go on that ‘to do’ list, breathe when you feel stressed, especially if you realize you haven’t taken a deep breath all morning. When allergies do strike, I use Standard Process Antronex and Allerplex which work beautifully. I also use a homeopathic remedy, Allium Cepa.

Kristin-Henriksen.JPGKristin Henriksen, Certified Herbalist/Aromatherapist, Reindeer Bridge Herbs

Seasonal allergies can be very challenging for many people, but for most, they are the body’s way of inhibiting pollen ingestion/absorption by causing extra mucous to line the membranes. Interestingly enough, allergies are often tied to congested livers, which are unable to handle flushing histamine out of the blood stream efficiently. In these times, more people seem to be sensitive to pollen, and this can be explained by the toxins from our environment and by the Standard American Diet (SAD). For allergy sufferers, I suggest and blend a gentle liver cleansing tea with burdock and other hepatic (relating to the liver) herbs, and combine that with stinging nettle herb in different forms. Paired with the herbs, aromatherapeutic oils put into an inhaler can relieve nasal congestion and inflammation very quickly, and can be used throughout the day.

Josh-Levy.jpgJosh Levy, Registered Nutritionist, Vineyard Nutrition

Focus on your nutrition and you may able to stop your runny nose, itchy eyes, and scratchy throat. The probiotics in yogurt have been shown to reduce allergy symptoms. Quercetin, a compound found in apples, citrus, onions, and tea can help reduce watery eyes and runny noses. Anti-inflammatory properties found in Omega3 fatty acids (wild salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts, tumeric) help reduce mucus membrane swelling. Water helps you stay hydrated and make less mucus. Lastly, your immune system can be boosted by loading up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein while limiting processed foods, fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, added sugars, and salt.

sheila-muldaur-3.jpgSheila Muldaur, Certified Classical Homeopath, Integrated Health Care

When allergies strike, cell or tissue salts — low potency homeopathic preparations — can help relieve symptoms. A few common allergy symptoms are paired with cell salts below:

Nat mur 6X: effective if allergies start with fits of sneezing.

Calc phos 6X: can be used leading up to allergy season and alternated with Nat mur when allergies begin. The tip of the nose will be icy cold.

Mag phos 6X: coming and going of allergies, sudden fits of sneezing and discharge.

Kali mur 6X: postnasal drip, clogged nose and ears with thick discharge.

Kali sulph 6X: sense of smell is gone with chronic nasal allergies.

Silicea 6X: helpful when itching of the nose and in the back of the throat dominate.

Chose the cell salt(s) that best matches your allergy symptoms and follow package directions. Available at health food stores.

Tamara-Conroy-Herch.jpgTamara Conroy Hersh, Owner/Pharmacist, Conroy’s Apothecary

The best strategy for allergy sufferers is to start treating yourself early in the allergy season. If you know you react to grass or oak pollen, start with an antihistamine before your symptoms start. There are several remedies available without a prescription: Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra are all plain antihistamines that work well without causing drowsiness. Benadryl is an excellent antihistamine but causes extreme drowsiness and is best reserved for bedtime use. Nasacort has just gone over the counter as well: this is the first steroid nasal spray available without a prescription and is very effective, especially if combined with the oral antihistamines mentioned above. Sudafed or other decongestants can be added to antihistamines to quickly reduce runny noses and teary eyes. I always like to recommend starting simple, and build on that if your symptoms are not responding.

Sian Williams, Power Yoga Instructor, teaching at the YMCA. — Courtesy YMCA of MV

Some people just aren’t into sitting quietly, meditating, chanting, or moving at a slow pace. That’s cool, but don’t think that’s all there is to the art of yoga. There are thousands of ways to practice yoga, and a handful of those methods are available on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard — including power yoga. It’s not that power yoga leaves out the fundamentals — the flowing movements, the quiet room, and the deep stretches are all still there. But there will be sweat. Oh, there will be sweat.

Power yoga takes a quicker pace than most yoga classes, and it includes a lot of isometric holds: poses that lock your muscles in a contracted position. One Vineyard ambassador of power yoga, Sian Williams, teaches power yoga sessions which include lots of planks, and even pushups, to get your blood pumping. A common power yoga flow takes you from plank position, through chaturanga (lowering yourself through the shoulders, hovering), into upward facing dog. This sequence can be challenging, even for the physically fit, and especially tough on the shoulders. If you lift weights, or do any other athletic activity that stresses your shoulders, make sure they are well rested before taking a power yoga class. Power yoga is especially great for core stabilization too (again, lots of plank variations). For those in decent athletic shape, power yoga will be challenging, but not unbearable. Most classes end with one or two challenge moves. It’s okay if you can’t get it right the first try, most of the people that nail these moves are seasoned veterans. But it’s fun to put your strength, flexibility, and balance to the test while trying. And that clear, meditative state of mind that comes with the sitting quietly, meditating, chanting, and taking it slow? Yeah, you get that too.

Power yoga by Sian Williams is offered at the YMCA of M.V. Wednesdays at 6:30 pm and Saturdays at 10:15 am; the Mansion House Health Club Mondays at 4:30 pm; and Island Co-Housing Thursdays at 5:30 pm. 508-696-0037. Additional power yoga classes are offered at One Hot Yoga, The Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Center, Fit’s Possible, and Yoga Haven. Call your favorite studio to see if they have a power yoga class on the schedule.

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The Steamship Authority has diverted the arrival of the 1:30 pm trip of the freight boat Katama from Woods Hole from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. The Katama’s 2:45 pm departure from Oak Bluffs has also been diverted to Vineyard Haven due to weather.

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Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs is closed to traffic for the Little League Parade Saturday morning. — Photo by Ani Godbout

The annual Martha’s Vineyard Little League parade is Saturday morning at 10 am. Coaches, players, and parents from every Major League, Minor League, Farm League, and T-ball team will assemble at the Oak Bluffs police station, then walk up Circuit Avenue, ending at Veira Park. The opening ceremonies will commence at 11 am. Lorne Lewis will give a season-opening speech, followed by the National Anthem and player introductions.

Every team in each league will be in action. In Major League play, the Cards meet the A’s at noon, followed by the Pirates and Cubs at 2 pm and the Red Sox vs. Tigers at 4 pm. Minor League games will be at Nunes Field in Edgartown and at the West Tisbury School. Farm League and T-ball games will be held at the Tisbury School.