Good Taste

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Martini from Henry's at the Harbor View Hotel. — Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murra

The Edgartown Board of Trade’s annual Pink & Green Weekend May 8 through the 10th is quickly approaching. Pink & Green is a celebration of the arrival of spring on-Island, an annual weekend where local businesses open their doors for the season, welcoming visitors and locals after a long, cold winter with a variety of events.

One of the highlights of the weekend this year is the Pink & Green Prom, featuring DJ Rockwell, at the Harbor View Hotel on Saturday, May 9. Sydney Mullen, vice president of the Edgartown Board of Trade, told The Times, “I love to see the town transformed by Pink & Green Weekend, from all the store windows to the mini lighthouse in the mini park, the burgees on the lampposts, and the lanterns on the Harbor View Hotel’s porch. It’s a great way to shake off the gray of winter and get ready for summer. But if you’re looking for a real event, I’m most looking forward to the prom. We’ve got a great DJ, delicious food, and a fun silent auction. I can’t wait to see how everyone dresses for the night!”

The event we’re most looking forward to is the pub crawl on Friday, May 8. Edgartown restaurants are teaming up to showcase their best Pink & Green cocktails, and today we are sharing cocktail recipes that you will be able to sip at these local favorites: The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn, Among the Flowers, and Henry’s at the Harbor View Hotel. Enjoy the deals all over town at shops and restaurants.

 

Charlotte Club

By Justin Melnick of The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn

Sometimes you need a strong libation to relax you after a long day, and this one is just what you need — the gin adds herbaceous flavor notes that balance well with the St. George.

 

3 oz. Oxley gin

1 oz. simple syrup

1.5 oz. lemon juice

2 dashes St. George raspberry liqueur

1 egg white

Shake all ingredients vigorously to emulsify egg. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh lemon slice.

 

Melon Magnolia from Among the Flowers features Midori and prosecco. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray
Melon Magnolia from Among the Flowers features Midori and prosecco. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Melon Magnolia

By Among the Flowers

Perfectly light and refreshing, with a hint of fresh melon balanced with tart sparkling wine, this is just what we want to be drinking on a warm spring day!

 

1 oz. Midori

5 oz. prosecco or sparkling wine

 

Pour Midori in champagne glass. Add sparkling wine and garnish with melon and fresh mint.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Martini

By Greg Fournier of Henry’s at the Harbor View Hotel

If you love berry pies, this drink is just the one for you — sweet and tart from the berries and rhubarb; we’re loving it!

 

1.5 oz. Bacardi Silver Rum

2.5 oz. house-made strawberry rhubarb purée

crushed graham crackers (optional)

 

Shake the rum and purée together. Pour into chilled martini glass that has been rimmed with crushed graham crackers.

Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a rhubarb ribbon.

 

For more information and to get involved in Pink & Green Weekend, check out edgartownboardoftrade.com or email them at info@edgartownboardoftrade.com.

 

The Campground Café at the Methodist Church offers weekly eats from across the world.

Chef Jucimar Perim was on hand to cook Brazilian food for guests during World Cuisine Saturday. – Photo by Michael Cummo

The Campground Café, located inside the Methodist Church House at the Oak Bluffs Campground, is a place that offers not only a remarkably welcoming atmosphere but an enticing menu as well. The café began dishing out food about three years ago, following a kitchen renovation, but the church has been offering meals and a setting for community gatherings to all since the 1800s. Pastor Richard Rego stresses the importance of the church’s café, and says, “There is no other greater way to get all members of a community involved and feeling a part of it than to break bread together, sharing meals and ideas across the table. Our hope is to continue to engage the community and to enhance the visitor’s experience of the Island.”

Rose Kaszuba, a Chicago native and chef for 25 years, first began attending the café’s community dinners last September in an effort to socialize and meet new people. Soon after, Ms. Kaszuba was drawn to contribute to the café’s expanding program, due in large part to her propensity to be of service to the community and her deep respect for Pastor Rego. She recognized an opportunity for a venue that could introduce locals to the various cuisines available on the Island, while providing an outlet for Islanders to come together. Fast-forward seven months, and Ms. Kaszuba is now the executive chef at the Campground Café and the culinary mastermind behind the cafe’s weekly offerings of international fare that they call World Cuisine Saturdays.

The World Cuisine Saturdays series began its season on Saturday, April 4, and will offer a range of world cuisine every Saturday until October, each week featuring a guest chef that specializes in preparing the food of choice. To date, the café has hosted three different cuisine nights: Polish, Italian, and Brazilian.

Guests enjoyed Brazilian food at World Cuisine Saturdays at the Campground Cafe. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Guests enjoyed Brazilian food at World Cuisine Saturdays at the Campground Cafe. – Photo by Michael Cummo

This past Saturday, the guest chef was Jucimar Perim, a Brazilian native, who is occasionally in the kitchen at the Brazilian restaurant Sophia’s in Edgartown. Ms. Perim decided on dishes that would accentuate the spiciness and the eclectic taste that is so distinct in Brazilian cooking. Her menu included a choice of chicken stroganoff and/or spiced pork with orange glaze, salad, the widely favorite Brazilian cheese bread, and flan for dessert.

Approximately 50 people turned out to sample Ms. Perim’s plates, many perhaps trying Brazilian food for the first time, just as Ms. Kaszuba had intended. While Brazilian music played throughout the café, second servings and laughter were abundant.

The next World Cuisine event will be this upcoming Saturday, April 25, at 6 pm, and admission is $15. The guest chef will be Brenda Piland, director of Clothes to Go (a free Island program providing clothes to those in need), and she will be offering a taste of the American South, complete with fried chicken and waffles, peach compote, collard greens, potato and beet salad, and butter cake for dessert. Iced coffee, the not-to-be-missed lemonade, and iced tea, all freshly brewed by Ms. Kaszuba, will be served as refreshments.

The café also offers a crab cake dinner every Wednesday until October, where guests can enjoy two “family recipe” crab cakes, a vegetable, herb focaccia, citrus coleslaw, tangy tartar sauce, and a drink for $17.95, available for eat-in or takeout. Additionally, the café will host a Mother’s Day Tea on Sunday, May 3 at 2 pm, a week before Mother’s Day to accommodate the fact that many people eat out on Mother’s Day for brunch or dinner. The special occasion will feature the Church’s finest golden vintage china, the men serving will be outfitted in suits and the women will be wearing fancy hats. The guests will be serenaded by Pastor Rego, who will be singing Frank Sinatra, accompanied by a violinist, pianist, and trumpeter.

The café offers a 10% senior discount for those 65 and older, a 10% discount to Island Club Card holders, and their own loyalty card (purchase 5 full price suppers and the sixth supper is half price). Volunteer and receive a $15 gift card as well as enjoying the meal free of charge. Discounts cannot be combined.

 

For more information on continuous programs and upcoming events, follow the Campground Café’on Facebook or give the café a call at 508-693-1608.

 

by -
0

A guide to seasonal restaurants reopening this spring.

Coop de Ville on the Oak Bluffs harbor reopens Thursday, April 16. – Martha's Vineyard Times file photo.

Now is the time to start making the rounds of your favorite seasonal restaurants and watering holes, and indulging in those treats you’ve longed for all winter. Before long you’ll be battling tourists to get to the front of the line, or to wait an extra hour to be seated, so carpe diem!

With your help we’ve compiled a thorough list of the Island’s seasonal staples and the dates when their kitchens will be back in business, pumping out those savory bites and filling the sidewalks with those heavenly smells we’ve longed for since fall.

We’ve also added our favorite must-have items from each, so if you’ve been meaning to try some of these mainstay locales, now you have an even better excuse. We recommend you cut out this article, tape it to the refrigerator, and let the feeding frenzy begin!

 

20 by Nine in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Friday, April 24.

Don’t miss: Their impressive selection of hand-crafted beer and whiskey, and their ham and cheese croquettes.

 

Among the Flowers in Edgartown. Reopening Saturday, April 18.

Don’t miss: The cinnamon roll and a fruit bowl while dining outside on the patio, perfect for some Edgartown people-watching.

 

Art Cliff Diner in Vineyard Haven. Reopening at the end of April.

Don’t miss: Their daily specials are always interesting and creative, like the crushed Frosted Flakes French toast.

 

Bad Martha’s in Edgartown. Reopening for the weekends of May 8–9 and 15–16, with grand opening Friday, May 22.

Don’t miss: The joint old English ale they worked on this winter with Offshore Ale, called Old Colony.

 

Back Door Doughnuts in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Friday, April 17, at 7 pm.

Don’t miss: The apple fritters, obviously. Yes, the line is always worth it.

 

The Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha. Reopening Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t miss: Pizza from their wood oven.

 

Beetlebung in Menemsha and Oak Bluffs. Reopening Monday, May 18.

Don’t miss: The Bungaccino frozen delight, blended with espresso, chocolate syrup, milk, and half-and-half, and topped with fresh whipped cream.

 

Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Saturday, April 18.

Don’t miss: Chocolate peanut butter cookie dough ice cream.

 

The Bite in Menemsha. Reopening the weekend of May 15.

Don’t miss: The clam chowder.

 

Blissed Out in Vineyard Haven. Reopening Saturday, May 2.

Don’t miss: Their organic green juices.

 

The Blue Canoe Waterfront Grill in Vineyard Haven. Reopening Wednesday May 20.

Don’t miss: Watching the sunset over coconut shrimp and a champagne mojito.

 

Chesca’s in Edgartown. Reopening Thursday, April 16.

Don’t miss: The grilled salmon with sweet Thai chili glaze.

 

Chilmark Chocolates in Chilmark. Reopening Thursday, April 30.

Don’t miss: Almond Chocolate Toffee and Tashmoo truffle. Enjoy it now while there’s still parking.

 

Chilmark General Store in Chilmark. Reopening Friday, May 8.

Don’t miss: Their Island Grown Pizza, which features fresh produce of the day, like roasted squash and broccoli rabe, from local farms.

 

Chilmark Tavern in Chilmark. Reopening mid-May.

Don’t miss: Good Farm Fried Chicken brined in sweet tea made with Chilmark Coffee Co. Tea.

 

Coop de Ville and Shuck Shack in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, April 16.

Don’t miss: The hand-shucked oysters, complemented by an impressive selection of craft beers.

Chef and owner Kevin Crowell behind the bar at Détente. – Martha's Vineyard Times file photo
Chef and owner Kevin Crowell behind the bar at Détente. – Martha’s Vineyard Times file photo

 

Détente in Edgartown. Reopening Tuesday, May 5.

Don’t miss: Peach and Taleggio Salad.

 

The Dunes (formerly Lure) at the Winnetu Resort in Edgartown. Reopening Friday, April 17.

Don’t miss: Lobster pot pie (we hope they’re keeping it on the menu!).

 

Farm Neck Cafe in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Friday, April 17.

Don’t miss: The prime rib carving station at their Sunday-brunch buffet.

 

Fishbones in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Friday, April 17.

Don’t miss: Fresh crabmeat roll with sliced avocado and curly fries.

 

Giordano’s Clam Bar in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, April 23.

Don’t miss: Pizza, pizza, pizza.

Giordano's Clam Bar on Lake Avenue is back in business Thursday, April 23. – File photo by Lynn Christoffers
Giordano’s Clam Bar on Lake Avenue is back in business Thursday, April 23. – File photo by Lynn Christoffers

 

Giordano’s Restaurant in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, May 21.

Don’t miss: Peanut butter cup bread pudding.

 

The Home Port in Menemsha. Reopening Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t miss: Lobster roll.

 

Island Bar and Grill in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, May 21.

Don’t miss: Chicken parm sandwich.

 

Jimmy Seas in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Friday, April 17.

Don’t miss: Zuppa di Pesce.

 

John’s Fish Market/Sandy’s Fish ’n’ Chips in Vineyard Haven. Reopening Wednesday, April 22.

Don’t miss: Grilled salmon sandwich.

 

Lambert’s Cove Restaurant in West Tisbury. Reopening Friday, May 15.

Don’t miss: Grilled Pesto-Crusted Atlantic Salmon.

 

Larsen’s Fish Market in Menemsha. Reopening Thursday May 7.

Don’t miss: Anything from the raw bar and their stuffed quahogs.

 

L’Etoile in Edgartown. Reopening Thursday, April 30.

Don’t miss: Grilled asparagus, wrapped in prosciutto with truffle cheese.

 

Lobsterville in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, May 14.

Don’t miss: Scallop po’boy.

 

Lola’s in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Friday, May 8.

Don’t miss: Lola’s famous crawfish boil.

 

Mad Martha’s in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven. All locations reopening for Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t miss: Birthday cake ice cream — cake batter base with buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles. For the kid in all of us!

 

Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown. Reopening Friday, May 1.

Don’t miss: The produce! The cheese! The homemade jellies and jams!

 

Nancy’s Restaurant and Snack Bar in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, May 21.

Don’t miss: The lobster tacos.

 

The Outermost Inn in Aquinnah. Reopening Friday May 22.

Don’t miss: The fresh seafood, especially the roasted scallops.

 

The Port Hunter in Edgartown. Reopening Wednesday, May 13.

Don’t miss: The mussels, with red and green curry and toasted coconut.

 

Porto Pizza in Vineyard Haven. Reopening Friday, April 10.

Don’t miss: The whole wheat pizza specials.

 

The Quarterdeck in Edgartown. Reopening Saturday, May 16.

Don’t miss: The fried clams.

 

Right Fork Diner in Edgartown. Reopening Friday, May 15.

Don’t miss: Crab cake sandwich.

 

The Seafood Shanty in Edgartown. Reopening Wednesday, May 13.

Don’t miss: The Cajun-style popcorn shrimp.

 

Smoke ’n’ Bones in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t miss: The ribs and fried pickles.

 

Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs. Reopening Thursday, May 14.

Don’t miss: The seared sea scallops.

 

Tisberry in Vineyard Haven. Reopening Wednesday, May 22.

Don’t miss: A green smoothie with whey protein and chia seeds.

 

Dates and menu items subject to change. Call the restaurant in advance. Know about any more? Email us at calendar@mvtimes.com.

 

The Portuguese staple inspires many different recipes.

Kale and Linguica Portuguese Soup. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

One of Portugal’s most recognized recipes is caldo verde, a kale-based soup that’s served all over Portugal. Whether you find yourself in a five-star hotel’s restaurant or at a neighbor’s home on the Island, this delicious soup is served with pride. Each family has its own version, each chef creating his or her own twist on the traditional dish. It’s also the best soup to ease you into spring. With a light broth and some hearty greens, it’s a great meal to welcome the new season — while we patiently wait for the winter chill to leave the Island.

Today, I’m sharing my version of this classic soup, which is not by any means traditional. This version includes tomatoes, which is not in the original recipe, but I love the sweetness it adds to the soup. Some people add white beans, as well as other variations like sausages or bacon. What’s your version? You’ll have the opportunity to share it at the upcoming Kale Throwdown event, to be hosted at the Portuguese-American Club on Sunday, April 19, from 5 to 7 pm. There, Islanders from all over will bring their four gallons (that’s the required amount for participation) of kale soup to be judged and awarded in the following categories: Best Kale Soup, Best Alternate Kale Soup, Is It Kale Soup?, and Best Professional Entry. With $10 admission for adults and $5 for children, the event will benefit the Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund, a fund created by Islanders for Islanders in need, and a popular group on Facebook where locals and wash-ashores alike come together for the latest Island news, updates, and more.

“I belong to the nearly 4,000-strong Islanders Talk Facebook page run by Lori Robinson Fisher,” says Jessica Burnham, the ringleader of this Kale Throwdown. “Just before Christmas, I came up with the idea to start a charitable fund built by the members of Islanders Talk. There were about 3,000 members at the time. I figured if every member gave $5, we’d have $15,000 to use to help other Islanders in need going into next holiday season. It seemed there was a new post every day about someone else in our community who was having a really hard time. This was my response to it. I went out and got a tax ID and a bank account, and started the fund. I asked someone from each town to be on the board, and the Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund was up and rolling. The other members include Lori Robinson Fisher, Margaret Oliveira, Debby Lobb Athearn, Laura Bryant German, Corrine Dorsey, and June Manning.”

The next Kale Throwdown planning meeting for the event is Sunday, March 29, at 1 pm at the P.A. Club, and the group is still looking for silent auction donations. If you have any questions or would like to know more about the group and the work they do, join the Islanders Talk group on Facebook.

 

Kale Linguica Soup

 

1 pound linguica (Portuguese sausage), finely chopped

3 large carrots, diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

2 medium white or yellow onions, diced small

1 garlic clove, minced

1 bunch fresh kale, chopped

28-oz. can of peeled and diced tomatoes

2 quarts stock (vegetable, chicken, beef — your choice)

 

In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, sauté the sausage until seared. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Sauté until it is all transparent. Add the kale and can of tomatoes, and stir until combined. Pour in the stock, and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

 

Our seasonal favorites will be here before you know it.

Fresh seafood from Home Port Restaurant. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

We’ve been getting warmer weather — up to an incredible 50° last week! Even though some of the ground is still covered in slush, we can finally start dreaming of spring and summer as a reality. We can start visualizing those afternoons with iced coffees while walking around town, and fantasizing about outdoor date nights at local restaurant patios. And to make your dreams come true, we’re providing our (soon to be reality) dream bucket list. Perfect whether you’re an Islander that’s a regular at most of these restaurants, or a recent washashore wanting to discover the culinary community on Martha’s Vineyard: This list will get you salivating for what’s to come.

The Atlantic — Lobster Arugula Salad

Oh, how we can’t wait to sit on the deck of the Atlantic and bask in the sunlight while sipping on a cool cocktail and eating their refreshing Lobster Arugula Salad. Tossed in a strawberry vinaigrette and sprinkled with cranberries, walnuts, and fresh lobster meat, it’s the perfect meal to welcome spring. (Reopening April 1)

Détente — Peach and Taleggio Salad

Another favorite salad of ours, but for this Peach and Taleggio salad, we’re going to have to wait for those plump, juicy summer peaches to ripen. This salad is a must-have at Détente, where the sweet peaches are topped with warm, melted Taleggio cheese and topped with greens. (Reopening in May)

Right Fork Diner — Crab Cake Sandwich

One of our favorite spots for lunch once the weather warms up, it’s the spot to watch the biplanes take off and land while enjoying this delicious Crab Cake Sandwich, made with sweet crabmeat and very few fillers for that true crab flavor. (Reopening May 15)

Lure Grill — Lobster Pot Pie

If you have reservations at the Lure restaurant at the Winnetu Resort, you definitely must take the water taxi out there. A 20-minute boat ride in the sunshine while having the best view of the harbor is just the way to start your dinner date. Make sure to try their Lobster Pot Pie, where creamy lobster filling meets light and airy puff pastry topping. (Lure reopening April 18, water-taxi service begins June 10)

Lookout Tavern — Sushi

Craving sushi on-Island? Head to Oak Bluffs and give the sushi at the Lookout Tavern a try! It’s fresh, and the combinations are delicious and impressive, just like you would find on the mainland. (Reopening April 2)

Beetlebung Lounge — Eastern Soup Tasting

We know, you can’t stand to think of another soup after such a long winter of warm soups and stews, but we promise you that this soup tasting, which includes Malaysian coconut laksa, Thai lobster bisque, and Indian dahl, will blow your winter taste buds away! Also one of our favorite restaurants for small plates and sharing with friends. (Reopening to be announced)

Home Port Restaurant — Fresh seafood

Yes, the trip up-Island is worth it. Yes, that view will make anything taste amazing. We can’t wait to order anything from the takeout window at the Home Port and bring it over to the beach. Digging our toes into the warm sand and watching the sunset while eating fresh seafood is what summer is all about. (Reopening in May)

The Port Hunter — Mexican Street Corn

Raise your hand if you anxiously await the harvest for Morning Glory’s summer corn: We sure do, and once the Port Hunter staff get their hands on that magnificent corn, they create their Mexican Street Corn: layers of queso fresco, fresh cilantro, and mayonnaise make this summer in a bite. (Reopening in May)

Back Door Donuts —- Bacon Maple Donut

Hey, we love being tourists for a day and making that endless line in Oak Bluffs for warm, decadent doughnuts like Back Door Donuts’ Bacon Maple Donut. Maybe this summer they’ll come up with an even more exciting flavor? Wait … what’s more exciting than a bacon doughnut!? (Reopening in April)

Tweet us at @GoodTasteMV and @nella22 and let us know what you’re excited to taste this upcoming spring and summer 2015!

What’s the difference?

Warm up with some hot chocolate, or hot cocoa, while the weather still warrants it. – Photo courtesy of chocablog.com

During these cold winter months, I’m going to bet, your hot beverage consumption has gone up. Whether it’s tea, hot chocolate, coffee, or hot cocoa — we’re drinking gallons more of it. Did you notice how I mentioned both hot chocolate and hot cocoa? It’s not a typo; they are two distinct things. These two recipes are not the same, and we’re going to dive into the world of their differences.

Legally, there is no difference, and brands can label their products interchangeably, but historically and methodically, there are definite distinctions.

Hot cocoa is a thin, chocolate-flavored drink that’s made with cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. Some hot cocoa mixes have dried milk powder integrated, so they can also be made with hot water: Think Swiss Miss (even though the box says “hot chocolate,” hence my earlier point about labeling).

Unlike hot cocoa, however, hot chocolate (also referred to as sipping or drinking chocolate), is traditionally made from actual chocolate. Whether using a chopped chocolate bar, ground-up chocolate, or chocolate shavings, it results in a thicker beverage. Much richer than hot cocoa, due to the high fat content of chocolate, hot chocolate is a creamy, almost decadent beverage. Both hot cocoa and hot chocolate can be flavored in a variety of ways, such as with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or vanilla extract.

Hot Cocoa

Serves 2

2 cups milk

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Simmer milk until hot and then quickly whisk in the cocoa powder, granulated sugar, and cinnamon stick. Turn down heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until everything is dissolved and incorporated. Serve immediately.

Rich Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

2 cups milk

1 8 oz. chocolate bar, or ¾ cup chocolate chips

2 Tbsps. granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch whisked into 2 Tbsps. hot water*

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Simmer the milk until warm, and add the chocolate and sugar. Whisk until chocolate is melted, then quickly whisk in cornstarch mixture, vanilla, and cinnamon. Turn heat to high, and quickly bring to a boil. Serve immediately.

* Note: Adding cornstarch thickens the hot chocolate even more, making for a decadent winter treat!

On-Island, Mocha Motts makes a delicious hot cocoa with whipped cream; Black Dog Bakery creates its own housemade cocoa mix; and Espresso Love has a hot chocolate all its own, with Monin USA dark chocolate sauce and steamed milk. Go forth and conquer those hot chocolates and hot cocoas of the Island and beyond, before the snow melts and we’re back to craving the cold, refreshing goodness of a chocolate shock from Slice of Life.

Local restaurants satisfy Sunday-morning cravings.

A “Bozo on the Bus” from Black Dog Tavern. —Photo by Michael Cummo

If anything can get me through this winter, it’s going to brunch. Brunch is the one time it’s acceptable to have mimosas and bloody marys before noon on a Sunday. And for those of us who love to sleep in, we can can still wake up in time for our favorite weekend meal.

But where did brunch come from? Were breakfast and lunch not enough for us hungry people? Well, as is the case with many other food stories, historians can’t seem to agree on where or how it originated. Three of the most popular theories are: It was rooted in England’s hunt breakfasts of lush, endless courses; it derived from Catholics fasting before Mass, coming together for a big Sunday meal afterward; it started in New York City, considering the rich history of brunch items that were created there. But no matter where brunch comes from, I’m just happy it’s here.

Brunch is a great meal to connect with friends, come out of hibernation, and relax while having a great meal off-season. Wondering where you can congregate during these winter months? Check out our list of trusted brunch spots on-Island.

Park Corner Bistro in Oak Bluffs: Make your way to this Sunday brunch haunt, and start your meal with a freshly squeezed blood orange mimosa. People rave about almost everything on their menu. (Serving from 11 am – 2:30 pm)

Oysters complement a Water Street brunch at the Harbor View Hotel. – Photo by Eli Dagostino
Oysters complement a Water Street brunch at the Harbor View Hotel. – Photo by Eli Dagostino

Water Street at Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown: This is probably the only spot serving brunch 52 Sundays a year on the Vineyard; it’s a seasonally inspired brunch with everything from cheese platters to made-to-order omelets, prime rib, and more. (Serving from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm)

Lucky Hank’s in Edgartown: Back from a short winter break, they offer a variety of breakfast items like local cod cakes and eggs, crepes, and eggs Benedict, among other tasty offerings. (Serving from 8 am – 2:30 pm)

Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven: The latest brunch you could have if you’re still in bed at 3 pm (which is a separate story in itself). Classics like their Fishcake Supreme — poached eggs on a fish cake with Black Dog marinara — are bound to get you out of bed earlier! (Serving from 7:00 am – 4:00 pm; lunch items start at 11 am)

Little House Cafe in Vineyard Haven: This is the brunch for those of you too busy on Sunday morning: They serve it on Saturdays! Definitely the place to go for delicious pancakes served with Northern Lights Farm maple syrup, making it a sweet start to your weekend. (Saturday brunch served from 7:30 am – 11 am; restaurant reopens March 2)

Scottish Bakehouse in West Tisbury: If a burger for brunch is your thing, you can’t afford to miss out on “The Local,” featuring local farm-raised beef. Their breakfast burrito is also a must-try; order it with linguiça and sriracha if you like it hot. There’s not much seating in the winter months, but take it to go and you’ll be glad you did. (Serving 6:30 am – 5:30 pm)

7aFoods in West Tisbury: More of an early Sunday-morning breakfast option. Head up-Island for one of their famously delicious egg sandwiches on a homemade biscuit. It’s worth the drive, I promise. (Serving from 7 am – 11 am; restaurant reopens March 10)

State Road restaurant in West Tisbury: Their famous brunch pulls out all the stops. There are ricotta pancakes with blueberries, or their heavenly brioche French toast with maple-glazed apples, if you want something sweet. If savory is your thing, their Sunday hash changes weekly, but is consistently delicious. (Serving from 8 am – 2 pm; restaurant reopens at the end of March)

There you have it — two months of brunch options to get you through the rest of the off-season. It’s a great way to start a Sunday for anyone, unless you’re a chef — because after a busy Saturday night, no chef wants to get up early to create a lavish meal for several hours. So don’t be too fussy at brunch, and be ever so grateful for that bottomless cup of coffee.

Celebratory food options on-Island and at home.

Five-Minute Wonton Soup is packed with flavor, including ginger, cilantro, and soy sauce. – Photo by Liz Della Croce

2015, the Year of the Sheep, is upon us, per the Chinese zodiac. Years of the sheep include 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, and 2015. Known as calm and peaceful people, those born in the year of the sheep tend to be private, and prefer to not be the center of attention. They tend to be healthier, focusing on eating greens and less red meat than others. If you’re looking to celebrate the Chinese New Year, we’ve put together a short list of restaurants where you can celebrate deliciously!

First up, a popular favorite of locals and visitors alike, is Copper Wok Pan Asian House and Sushi Bar in Vineyard Haven. Start your meal with pork dumplings, either fried or steamed, and stuffed with spicy pork and vegetables, served with a bright citrus-soy ponzu sauce. If it’s a chilly winter day, we recommend a bowl of their hot and sour soup, packed with cabbage, bamboo, black mushrooms, bell peppers, and a splash of red vinegar. Not too hungry? This soup serves as a great entrée, since the portions are plentiful. To celebrate the Chinese New Year and keep with tradition, order the house special lo mein cooked with flavorful Chinese sausage, chicken, and shrimp. Eating noodles during this time is said to be good luck. Just make sure to keep the noodles long, to represent a lengthy life ahead!

For those craving Chinese food in Edgartown, you can head to the China House, a local staple, across the street from the Stop and Shop. Warm up with their egg drop soup or take advantage of their lunch specials, which offer a great deal for anyone looking to satisfy Asian food cravings.

Need another option? Peking Palace in Falmouth offers delivery to the Island via the Steamship Authority. For an extra $10, they will deliver your food all the way to Vineyard Haven Harbor. The logistics are as follows: Delivery is offered Monday through Friday, three times a day. Order with plenty of time in advance, an hour being the recommended time frame. Deliveries happen on the boats arriving at 2 pm, 3:15 pm, and 4:30 pm in Vineyard Haven. Now that’s a special delivery!

Thinking about tackling Chinese cookery at home? New York food blogger Brandy O’Neill of nutmegnanny.com shares this Easy Beef and Vegetables Stir Fry recipe. Visit her website for more delicious inspiration!

Easy Beef and Vegetables Stir Fry takes 20 minutes to prepare and cook, making it a quick way to ring in the Chinese New Year. – Photo by Brandy O'Neill
Easy Beef and Vegetables Stir Fry takes 20 minutes to prepare and cook, making it a quick way to ring in the Chinese New Year. – Photo by Brandy O’Neill

Easy Beef and Vegetables Stir Fry

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes plus marinade time

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

For marinade:

2 pounds sirloin beef tips, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. grated ginger

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

For sauce:

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 (12-oz.) bag frozen Asian vegetable blend (also called stir-fry blend)

For serving:

White or brown rice, steamed

Directions:

In a medium-size mixing bowl add beef, garlic, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, dark brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

After your meat has marinated and you’re ready to start cooking, mix your sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, dark brown sugar, and flour; set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the beef (with all the marinade) and half of the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink. While the meat is cooking, steam your vegetables until just warmed.

Once the meat is cooked, add in remaining sauce and steamed vegetables. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are coated.

Once ready, remove from heat and serve over steamed rice.

Another favorite, wonton soup, is the perfect way to warm up on these cold winter nights. Food blogger Liz Della Croce of thelemonbowl.com brings us a quick, five-minute wonton soup recipe that’s packed with flavor.

Five-Minute Wonton Soup

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

3 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. minced ginger

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

½ Tbsp. sambal oelek (chili paste)

16 frozen dumplings

2 cups sliced mushrooms

4 cups baby kale (or baby spinach)

8 oz. rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions

hoisin sauce (optional garnish)

fresh cilantro (optional garnish)

Ingredients:

Bring chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and sambal oelek to boil in a large soup pot, whisking occasionally.

Add frozen dumplings, mushrooms, and baby kale to the boiling broth, and simmer for 3 minutes, until dumplings are warmed through and kale is wilted.

Divide noodles between four bowls, and cover with equal parts of soup.

Garnish with a drizzle of hoisin sauce and fresh cilantro, if you wish.

The Ritz brings flavors of the Southwest to Oak Bluffs.

Chef Scottie Blue in The Ritz kitchen prepares tasty Southwestern inspired fare. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Winter restaurant options on-Island are limited, and as someone who’s relatively new to the Island, and still adjusting to these cold winter days and nights, I’m often left craving a different type of food. Honestly (and don’t scoff at me for saying this), I’m tired of the endless bowls of clam chowder. My taste buds are worn out, and my waistline could use some relief from the creamy soups. That’s why when I ventured out to Oak Bluffs, where friends and true Texans Larkin and Jackie Stallings have bought The Ritz, I was excited to sample and taste Southern-inspired eats from The Ritz’s kitchen.

The Stallings bought The Ritz last July, and since then have become an integral part of the Oak Bluffs community. Maybe it’s because they own a bar, or maybe it’s because they’ve been coming to the Island for the past several decades; regardless, the locals have embraced them and their new venture. The Larkins intend to improve upon the popular Circuit Avenue bar’s infrastructure (they just put in a squeaky-clean beer system) and develop a bar menu that’s not only affordable, but delicious and made with fresh ingredients — which you can’t say about a lot of bar food.

Their resident chef is Scott Southworth, better known as Scottie Blue, who also cooks at Jimmy Seas during the summer. On the menu you’ll find their Texas Chili (which recently won third place in the best professional chili category at the Big Chili Contest), Chili Frito Pie, and a variety of soups of the day. Their truck-style tacos come with two tacos nestled between four warm corn tortillas and topped with fresh chopped onions and cilantro — like you’d find at any taco place in the Southwest. Housemade salsa, guacamole, and cool sour cream top them off. Don’t skip the quesadillas they offer — especially the shrimp one! Packed with fresh shrimp and cheese, it’s a steal at $9. Last, but definitely not least, are their burgers. Made with a special hamburger blend that Reliable Market makes exclusively for The Ritz, it’s a flavorful patty with the usual suspects, but they’ll top it off with Texas chili and cheese if you’d like. That, my friends, is just what my winter needed. The kitchen is open daily from 12 noon until 9 pm, and they also offer takeout if you give them a call at 508-693-9851. For other Southwestern inspired fare on-Island check out The Wharf on Monday nights, and Park Corner and The Newes from America on Tuesdays, for their taco and burrito nights, respectively.

Below is the recipe for Texas Truck-Style Carnitas: served at The Ritz and now you can make them at home. Hands down, a favorite — so simple, yet so full of flavor!

Truck-style tacos at The Ritz come with two tacos nestled between four warm corn tortillas and topped with fresh chopped onions and cilantro. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray
Truck-style tacos at The Ritz come with two tacos nestled between four warm corn tortillas and topped with fresh chopped onions and cilantro. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Texas Truck-Style Carnitas

Recipe courtesy of Jacqueline Stallings, co-owner of The Ritz

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 cup of chicken broth

¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste

to serve: corn tortillas, avocado slices, chopped cilantro, chopped onion

Preparation

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add chicken broth, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and enough water to cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours.

After two hours, bring heat to medium-high. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally while turning the pieces, for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently because they will be ready to fall apart.

Pork is done when lightly browned all around, even a little crispy on the edges (my favorite part!). Serve in chunks, with warm corn tortillas and freshly chopped cilantro, onion, and avocado.

Notes: The key to good carnitas is making sure you have enough fat on your cut of pork, otherwise they’ll just come out too dry. Fat is good! You can add your favorite salsas, play with juices and spices, during the two-hour simmering process. Some Texans like to add Dr Pepper instead of chicken broth. This basic recipe is a good place to start.

Local restaurants share go-to Super Bowl party recipes.

The Wharf's chowder fries are loaded with clam chowder, cheese, bacon and scallions, and are perfect for the big game. – Photo by Michael Cummo

There are two types of Super Bowl fans: the true sports fans, faces painted and yelling at the screen, rooting for their team; and the fans who don’t care who wins or loses, as long as there’s food at the party. Personally, I fall into the latter category, and the only way you’ll get me to attend a Super Bowl party is by rattling off the menu and letting me know what I can bring to the table. If you’re like me, you’re bound to enjoy these indulgent Super Bowl–inspired recipes. If you’re the true-sports-fan type, just sit back and mindlessly eat while the big game is on.

Nothing says football like chili, and Offshore Ale Co. has shared their famous chili with us. For a Super Bowl party, set up the chili in a Crock-Pot to keep warm, and create a chili bar by placing a variety of toppings on the table, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh herbs, and cornbread.

Offshore Ale Co. Pork and Black Bean Chili

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ tsp. dried red chilies

1 medium jalapeño, minced

1 large white onion, diced

1 pound lean pork (loin or butt shoulder), cut to ½-inch cubes

½ cup Offshore Ale Brown Ale

1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 14-oz. cans black beans

¼ cup root beer

2 Tbs. ancho chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

½ 16-oz. bag frozen corn (optional)

1 sweet red pepper, diced (optional)

2 Tbs. salt

3 Tbs. hot sauce

Preparation

In large heavy-bottom pan, heat oil, crushed dried red chilies, and jalapeño until sizzling. Add onions and cook until lightly browned.

Add pork and sear. Pour in the brown ale to deglaze the pot, stirring constantly.

Add tomatoes, beans, root beer, and dry seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low simmer. If desired, add corn and red pepper; heat through.

Adjust seasonings, if necessary; add salt and hot sauce. Simmer 10–15 minutes on low, and it’s ready to serve.

If you don’t have a lot of time, and need to bring a delicious recipe to a Super Bowl party, we’ve got you covered. Make these simple, New England–inspired Chowder Fries, just like they make them at the Wharf Pub!

Wharf Chowder Fries

1 bag of frozen fries

1 quart clam chowder

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

½ cup bacon, cooked and chopped

¼ cup fresh scallions, chopped

Preparation

Cook the fries as directed on package until crispy and golden.

Place in individual oven-safe bowls and top the fries with clam chowder, cheese, and bacon. Broil for 2–3 minutes until bubbly, and top with fresh scallions.

We all know you can’t have a Super Bowl party without wings, so to help us make the crispiest, most delicious wings, Chef Tony Saccoccia of The Grill on Main in Edgartown offered some great tips and tricks. Seriously, try these wings — they’re amazing. Also, Chef Saccoccia recommends that everyone own a FryDaddy, an electric deep fryer that will make your life a crispy heaven!

Chef Tony Saccoccia of the Grill on Main in Edgartown shares his recipe for Louisiana-Style Fried Chicken Wings. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray
Chef Tony Saccoccia of the Grill on Main in Edgartown shares his recipe for Louisiana-Style Fried Chicken Wings. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Louisiana-Style Fried Chicken Wings

2 pounds chicken wings

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups Louisiana hot sauce

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Preparation

The evening before, mix the chicken wings with the buttermilk and hot sauce. Let marinate overnight.

Preheat your fryer oil to 350ºF.

Drain the buttermilk/hot sauce mixture from wings, and make a dredging flour by whisking together the flour, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Focus on coating every area of the wing — commit to the dredging, it’s essential to the crispy coating.

Shake excess off, and fry until golden brown.

And instead of the usual bruschetta, make The Newes from America’s Roquefort Stilettos: warm, toasted French bread with bacon and a blue cheese spread that will knock your socks off!

The Newes from America’s Roquefort Stilettos make an easy and delicious Super Bowl snack. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray
The Newes from America’s Roquefort Stilettos make an easy and delicious Super Bowl snack. – Photo by Elizabeth Cecil

Roquefort Stilettos

1½ pounds cream cheese

1½ pounds blue cheese

½ oz. Dijon mustard

½ oz. Cholula Hot Sauce

2 French baguettes, sliced lengthwise and slightly toasted

1 cup bacon, crispy and chopped

Preparation

Whip together the cream cheese, blue cheese, Dijon mustard, and hot sauce.

Slather on baguettes, and broil until bubbly and golden brown.

Sprinkle with chopped bacon and serve.