Good Taste

Mixologist C.J. Cohen makes a specialty drink created by Beetlebung staff this past winter. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Beetlebung is well known for its gourmet coffee beverages, featuring Barrington espresso carefully crafted with top-of-the-line La Marzocco equipment from Italy. What’s less known is its impressive list of wine, spirits, and cocktails with fresh local ingredients that yield some of the highest-quality beverages on the Island, at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Beetlebung owners John and Renee Molinari know their beverages. The duo have owned the Menemsha location for years, as well as the recently closed Vineyard Haven location, and just last year introduced Beetlebung to Circuit Avenue as a coffeehouse by day and a “speakeasy” by night.

This year they’re upping their game by opening the bar and making the lunch and dinner menu available starting at 11:30 am, versus 6 pm last year. “That’s a huge leap for us. And we’ve changed the menu by maintaining the best-selling things. Our drunken noodles were a grand-slam home run,” said Mr. Molinari during a recent visit with The Times.

The down-Island location welcomes a new executive chef this season with Danny Finger at the helm. Mr. Finger most recently served as the executive chef at Lucky Hank’s, and spent time at Chesca’s and the Harbor View before that. Fresh from a winter working in Sarasota, Mr. Finger returns to the Island to take over the Beetlebung kitchen.

“We learned that stuff we have a proven track record with [at other locations] really didn’t fly that well here. There’s a lot of noise in the signal in this town, and here we are being told other things we’re doing are amazing. Let’s double down on that, and let’s make lunch a subset of dinner, and let’s get the bar open at 11,” said Mr. Molinari.

This year’s food menu will feature a lot more green salads and local seafood. There’ll be some more kid-friendly options, including their popular flatbreads and truffle cheeseburger sliders. The menu boasts predominantly locally sourced ingredients, including poached Vineyard lobster ceviche, Morning Glory bok choy prepared in a wok, local black sea bass tacos, and more.

Beetlebung's Trade Secret margarita features agave and lime foam. - Photo courtesy of Beetlebung
Beetlebung’s Trade Secret margarita features agave and lime foam. – Photo courtesy of Beetlebung

Where the restaurant is really focusing its energy this year is on the beverages. The Molinaris   had a busy off-season doing their homework and applying lessons from last year. To refine and optimize their list of 30-plus varieties of wine, the couple has been conducting blind taste tests with locals. “There’s no wine on our list that hasn’t been tested,” said Mr. Molinari during a recent visit with The Times: “It’s a version of what we’ve been doing all along … At night people want alcohol, and we didn’t want to just open up bottles of beer and mix gin and tonics. We wanted to take the type of sophistication that we were applying to our daytime business and build an entire evening business around that. No one is doing that on the Island.”

The cocktail menu is made up of eight signature cocktails that feature locally grown ingredients (some even harvested just feet away, in their backyard garden), housemade syrups, and house-infused spirits. They are even replacing several of the more popular brands, like Absolut vodka, with higher-quality options, like Hanson vodka, an organic, hand-crafted, gluten-free version made from grapes from Sonoma County that has garnered a lot of national attention for its high quality and smooth finish.

They’re especially excited about their new featured rum, Privateer, from a small-batch distillery in Ipswich. The rum will be used in their Raspberry Mojito Crush, along with fresh garden mint and fresh raspberries, and the Inkwell Bay cocktail,      along with St. Germain and housemade ginger syrup.

The owners are excited to get people comfortable with their new homemade cocktail recipes, and to introduce them to higher quality ingredients. A standout from last year’s drink list was the Trade Secret, their version of a margarita, with fresh lime, agave, and their signature trade-secret lime foam. “They’ve had a margarita, but they haven’t had Trade Secret, they haven’t had our margarita. And they certainly haven’t had something that is so physically beautiful.” Over the past few years, the couple has spent a great deal of time tracking trends across the restaurant industry, and taking notes at successful Boston bars, including Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster bar.

The backlit bar at Beetlebung's Oak Bluffs location. - By Michael Cummo.
The backlit bar at Beetlebung’s Oak Bluffs location. – By Michael Cummo.

Last year they saw a lot of business from other service-industry professionals as well as visitors who were looking for more sophisticated cocktails. This year they have their eyes set on anyone looking for high-quality food and drink at an affordable price (cocktails average $14; wine is available by the glass from $7 to $12, and lunch and dinner menu items start at $5).

“I think when people come to Martha’s Vineyard, they come with an open mind … The Island has an exoticism, because it is an Island and you have to cross the water, and people are in a mode of discovery. They want to find out about new things, and they want to hear from the locals, and that gives us a special opportunity and a bit of a responsibility to really have our message clear.”

 Beetlebung is located at 53 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs. Beginning May 18, the restaurant will be open seven days a week from 7 am to 1 am.

 

 

Local Brazilian restaurants cater to all.

Tropical Restaurant in Vineyard Haven features a Brazilian buffet and traditional desserts. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Brazil is a country rich in its cooking heritage. It boasts appealing cuisine influenced by the many nations represented in the country: Portugal, Italy, Germany, Lebanon, and Japan, to name a few. Given the impact that all of these cultures have had, Brazilian cuisine has evolved well beyond an endless line of rotisserie-grilled meats. There are selections for all tastes, including vegetarian options such as four-cheese grilled eggplant, and many different salad combinations.

Like many cultures, Brazilians believe that food is the highlight of any gathering and the catalyst to bring people together.

If you are craving the taste of Brazilian food, there are three Brazilian restaurants and two Brazilian stores on-Island offering a wide selection of food from every corner of Brazil. There are the famous cheese rolls and Brazil’s national dish, feijoada, a stew of black beans with pork (and/or other meat), traditionally served over rice and garnished with fresh orange slices.

When I spoke with the owners of these eateries, they shared that Americans and Brazilians sing praises over some of the dishes they offer, and enjoy the atmosphere they’ve created to accommodate anyone that would like a glimpse (or reminder) of Brazilian culture. As a Brazilian, I’m especially grateful for their offerings at those times when I’m feeling a little homesick.

Elio Silva, the owner of Vineyard Grocer in Vineyard Haven and North Star in Edgartown, said that his store in Vineyard Haven offers a wide selection of American and organic products (many gluten-free) as well as some Brazilian products, but that his store in Edgartown is well stocked with any Brazilian product one might need. The one product that continues to attract customers to both stores is the Brazilian cheese roll, pão de queijo, made with tapioca flour.

Vineyard Grocer, 294 State Road, Vineyard Haven; 508-693-2000

North Star, 241 Edgartown Road; 508-627-5353

Another Brazilian business is Bite on the Go, owned by Valerio Destefani and his family, a buffet-style restaurant located at the Shell gas station in Vineyard Haven. The restaurant has a dining room overlooking the harbor, and takeout is available. It serves not only Brazilian food but food from all over the world. Bite on the Go also offers catering and special orders around any holiday.

Bite on the Go, 86 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven; 508-684-8257

There’s also Sophia’s One Stop Mart in Edgartown, a buffet-style restaurant and convenience store with a wide selection for all tastes, featuring many mouthwatering desserts, including passion fruit and lime mousse, chocolate bonbons, and one of the most famous Brazilian desserts, flan.

Sophia’s One Stop Mart, 199 Upper Main Street, Edgartown; 508-627-4661

Finally, there’s Tropical Restaurant in Vineyard Haven, which lures its customers in with a flavorful feijoada on the weekends, and the owner, Joelson Chirliani, has kindly shared the recipe below.

Tropical Restaurant, 13 Beach Street, Vineyard Haven; 508-696-0715

Tropical Restaurant’s Feijoada Recipe

Serves 10

2 pounds of black beans

1 pound of salted pork ribs

1 pound of bacon

8 Tbsps. olive oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped

1 pound of fresh sausage, such as chorizo or Italian sausage

1 pound of corned beef, cut into chunks

1 pound of pig’s trotters

5 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cooked rice, orange slices, kale or spring green as accompaniment

Soak the beans in cold water overnight, making sure they are completely covered. Also soak the salted ribs and bacon in cold water overnight.

Drain the beans and put them into a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.

Rinse the soaked salted ribs and bacon well, add to the beans, and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat. Heat a very large saucepan and pour in the olive oil so it covers the bottom. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add the sausage, salted ribs, bacon, corned beef, pig’s trotters, pepper, and bay leaves and cooked beans together and top off with water. Simmer for about 1 hour, until the meat falls off the bone.

Serve the feijoada with cooked white rice, slices of orange, and very finely sliced kale or spring greens fried in olive oil with finely chopped onion and garlic.

In Portuguese – Em Português

O Brasil é uma nação rica na sua herança culinária. As diversas influências que recebeu de países como Alemanha, Itália e Portugal tornaram o país extremamente rico na variedade de sua gastronomia. Há opções que agradam a todos os gostos, que vão do famoso churrasco a opções para vegetarianos com pratos como berinjela grelhada a quatro queijos.

Como tantas outras culturas, os brasileiros acreditam que a comida servida em quaisquer ocasião é o foco principal, é a forma como as pessoas confraternizam em harmonia.

Se você está com vontade de saborear comida brasileira, há três restaurantes e duas lojas brasileiras na ilha de Marthas Vineyard oferecendo opções de todos os cantos do Brasil, como os famosos pães de queijo e o prato brasileiro mais reconhecido pelo mundo, a feijoada.

Quando conversei com os donos destes estabelecimentos, todos compartilharam que brasileiros e americanos apreciam a comida oferecida em seus restaurantes, e que o ambiente criado oferece um gostinho da cultura do Brasil. Como brasileira, tenho imensa gratidão por este espaço, principalmente quando sinto saudades de casa.

Elio Silva, o dono da lojas Vineyard Grocer em Vineyard Haven e North Star em Edgartown, disse que a sua loja em Vineyard Haven tem diversas opções de produtos americanos e orgânicos – muitos sem o glutén do trigo – assim como alguns produtos brasileiros. A sua loja em Edgartown está sempre muito bem estocada com produtos do Brasil. Mas o que, sem dúvidas, continua a atrair as pessoas de volta é o pão de queijo feito com farinha de tapioca.

Vineyard Grocer, 294 State Road, Vineyard Haven; 508-693-2000

North Star, 241 Edgartown Road; 508-627-5353

Outro restaurante brasileiro é o Bite on the Go. Localizado em conjunção com o posto de gasolina Shell e criado por Valerio Destefani e sua família, o estabelecimento não só oferece um buffet com comidas brasileiras mas também opções de todo os lugares do mundo. O restaurante possui uma área onde as pessoas podem se sentar e ter a vista do mar, além da opção de take out. Bite on the Go também oferece entrega de encomendas em todos os feriados.

Bite on the Go, 86 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven; 508-684-8257

Um outro restaurante brasileiro é o Sophia’s One Stop Mart em Edgartown, um buffet em conjunção com uma loja de conveniência repleta de todos os sabores. Destacam-se as sobremesas de dar água na boca, como mousse de limão e maracujá, bonbons e pudim de leite.

Sophia’s One Stop Mart, 199 Upper Main Street, Edgartown; 508-627-4661

Por último, o Restaurante Tropical, localizado em Vineyard Haven, que continua atraindo seus consumidores com uma saborosa feijoada nos finais de semana. E o dono foi muito gentil ao dividir conosco a receita utilizada no preparo.

Tropical Restaurant, 13 Beach Street, Vineyard Haven; 508-696-0715

Feijoada do restaurante Tropical

Serve 10

2 quilos de feijão preto

1 quilo de costela de porco salgada

1 quilo de bacon

8 colheres médias de azeite de oliva

1 cebola descascada e bem cortada

6 dentes de alhos descascados e bem cortados

1 quilo de linguiça

1 quilo de carne seca cortada em pedaços

1 quilo de pé de porco

1 colher pequena de pimenta do reino

Arroz cozido, rodelas de laranjas e couve para acompanhamento

Deixe o feijão em água fria na noite anterior. Coloque de molho também na noite anterior a costela de porco e bacon.

Escorra o feijão e coloque em uma panela grande com água fria, deixei ferver e em fogo brando por 30 minutos até amolecer.

Enxague bem a costela e o bacon, adicione o feijão e cozinhe por 30 minutos.

Esquente uma panela grande com azeite e adicione o alho e cebola até amolecerem. Adicione a linguiça, a costela, o bacon, a carne seca, o pé de porco e a pimenta do reino. Cozinhe tudo junto adicionando um pouco de água. Deixe em fogo brando por uma hora, até a carne sair do osso.

Sirva a feijoda com arroz branco cozido, rodelas de laranja e couve bem picada frita com azeite, cebola e alho.

 

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.

 

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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.