Good Taste

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Islanders are ready for the summer spots to open, such as Faith's Seafood Shack in Aquinnah. — Photo by Kaylea Moore

Kaylea-MooreIt’s finally spring, though the weather doesn’t quite feel like it. For me, this time of year is about scrambling to finish the projects and accomplish the things I had planned to do over the winter. The sunshine filled days that last until seven o’clock get me excited about the summer and motivate me to stop procrastinating and finish spring cleaning. They also get me excited about my favorite restaurants opening for the season.

A Dirty Banana from Donovan's Reef at Nancy's in Oak Bluffs is a sign of summer.
A Dirty Banana from Donovan’s Reef at Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs is a sign of summer.

April 1 is right around the corner, and so are the openings of many seasonal establishments, such as The Lampost in Oak Bluffs, with its inaugural April Fool’s Day opening. Expect to see a facelift to the façade of the Circuit Avenue institution, with the addition of patio seating and windows.

Atlantic Fish and Chop House in Edgartown will reopen on Wednesday, April 2, with the addition of a new street-side outdoor cafe section, as well as a completely private dining room that seats 12.

Chesca’s Restaurant in Edgartown celebrates its 20th season this year and opens its doors on Thursday, April 10. Be on the lookout for celebratory specials.

Coop deVille will open on April 18, and Petey says he’ll be stocking at least 100 beers this summer. And The Red Cat Kitchen at Ken ‘n’ Beck in Oak Bluffs opens Tuesday, April 15.

One of my favorite spring traditions is eating my first slice of Gio’s pizza of the season, which will happen on Thursday, April 24, when Giordano’s takeout opens.

What places are you excited about? Here’s what some Islanders had to say:

Duck confit salad from State Road Restaurant, which opens for the season on March 27.
Duck confit salad from State Road Restaurant, which opens for the season on March 27.

“I’m really excited about most recently State Road Restaurant reopening this Thursday [March 27], and then after that The Lookout [opens April 3]. That’s a sign of the summer. The Lookout is always good because of the location, seafood, and sushi. I’m also excited for The Port Hunter to open [opens May 15]. I’m really excited about local food being served, it’s a sign of spring and summer,” says Sarah Soushek of Vineyard Haven.

“A place that I am really excited about this summer is definitely l’etoile [opens April 24]. Their desserts are really good, they’re not overdone, and the prices are right. I like the bar menu too,” says Denis Toomey of Edgartown. “I also like The Lookout, sushi is always good, and I like eating outside on the deck, seeing the boats coming in. It’s always nice to get seafood right on the water down-Island. The outdoor seating and quickness of The Net Result is always pretty good. You walk in and order, and in three minutes it comes out. I like how much they give you on the fish and chips. They give you two big solid pieces of fish, and also the fries are pretty good. Also The Port Hunter rocks.”

“I can’t wait for Faith’s Seafood Shack to open: sushi, fro yo, and really good coffee. I also long for 7a [opens April 1]. I want to sit in the sun with my coffee, see my friends, and eat my Liz Lemon sandwich. Cannot wait,” says Aretha Brown of Chilmark.

“I’m excited about being on the harbor in Oak Bluffs and just being outside more, because it’s been very cold and I’ve been hibernating,” says Elyse Madeiras of Oak Bluffs. “I like to go to Donovan’s [Reef] to visit him. I love being on the beach with friends. We always manage to go to Norton Point to cookout. The best is when everyone starts to go fishing, and we grill on the porch at my house, and quahogs, quahogs, quahogs. Quahogs for days, that’s my candy. I do miss The Lookout a lot, but definitely look forward to spending time on the harbor in Oak Bluffs, people watching and seeing everybody outside.”

Word on the street is that there will be a few surprises this summer with new restaurants opening and changes in ownership. Stay tuned for updates.

It's almost time for a Lookout Lemonade.
It’s almost time for a Lookout Lemonade.

Noteworthy

Chef Chris Fischer of Beach Plum Inn & Food, Chef Dan Sauer of 7a Foods, and Bennett Coffey and Kyleen Keenan of Not Your Sugar Mamas are being recognized by StarChefs.com as coastal New England rising stars. They will be honored at the Rising Stars Gala on Tuesday, April 15, at the Providence Biltmore Hotel, where they will showcase their signature dishes. Tickets start at $95. For more information, visit starchefs.com.

Last call

Sadly, this will be my last article for Good Taste. It’s been a fun ride. Thank you to all who have been so encouraging, helpful, and supportive. Keep cooking, and be sure to support Island restaurants and local food.

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Too cold to grill outside? Some grill in their wood stoves. — Photo By Kaylea Moore

Kaylea-MooreIt is March on Martha’s Vineyard, the awkward month that yields snow yet is the gateway to spring, the month that plays host to daylight savings and the vernal equinox. This time of year confuses me: one day I’m scraping the snow off of my car and the next I’m driving with my sunroof open. This confusion extends to other aspects of Island living. Constant questions flow through my head, such as what time does the library open? Is the dump closed on Tuesday? Arbitrary hours of operation continuously haunt me while I try to open locked doors and peer into dark establishments wondering why they are closed on Monday. Some restaurants have taken a brief hiatus; while others such as Copper Wok in Vineyard Haven will have its grand opening this weekend (check out their Facebook page for opening party information).

March is full of random holidays and national days that celebrate things like potato chips, clams on the half shell, and peanut butter lovers’. March is also national frozen food month, so be on the lookout for coupons for your favorite frozen treats. But above all, March is the month to make your own fun. Why not find an excuse to celebrate and host a party. I love throwing dinner parties, and I think that they are way more fun when there is a theme involved.

Here is some inspiration to make the month of March a little more exciting.

Keep celebrating Fat Tuesday this weekend with a Mardi Gras party. Bring the French Quarter to your house with purple, green, and gold beads and feathery masks. Create a menu full of Cajun and Creole flavors featuring dishes like gumbo or étouffée, beignets, po’boys, muffuletta, and a king cake (don’t forget the baby). Sip on Sazeracs or Hurricanes and play some zydeco and your favorite brass band music.

Make your friends do some of the work by throwing a potluck party. It’s always fun to choose a country or region and have guests bring a dish they’ve created inspired by that location. Another fun way to host a potluck party is through a cooking contest. During past holidays my family would decide on a dish and have everyone take their best go at it. For the pizza competition, my father’s shrimp pesto pizza still reigns supreme.

Last year, on a ski trip I went on, there was some serious competition in the kitchen. The first night was a meatball contest, where people brought meatballs already made and everyone voted on which they liked best. Another night was devoted to the game “Stir Crazy” where two teams battled it out in the kitchens to create an Asian inspired appetizer, entrée, and side dish with pre-selected ingredients and no recipes. For your own “Iron Chef” or “Chopped” experience, have guests bring random ingredients and collaboratively make a meal together or divide into teams and throw down.

Expand your wine knowledge by having a wine tasting party. Invite guests to bring a bottle of red or white wine, depending on which varietals you want to try. Put bottles into brown paper lunch bags and fasten using a rubber band or twine. Judge the wine based on its characteristics, and try to determine its value, region, and varietal.

Plan your next party around a game night featuring poker, Monopoly, or good old-fashioned charades and create no-mess finger foods that are easy to pop in your mouth between turns (you don’t want sticky cards). Or whip up some Super Bowl inspired snacks to watch during a March Madness game.

Keep dinner parties simple by creating one pot meals such as pasta, risotto, or jambalaya or throw something in the slow cooker like pulled pork. I love serving dishes that are interactive, that guests can participate in creating such as personal pizzas or tacos and chili that can be doctored with toppings of choice. The same topping bar idea holds true for dessert, where build-your-own ice cream sundaes are always a crowd pleaser (make sure to have chocolate chip cookies or brownies on hand).

It’s always fun to celebrate a food or ingredient and make it the center of attention at a dinner party. I have attended parties that have celebrated crabs, oysters, lobster, scallops, and bacon. Choose something that is in season or that is fun to cook with and create a menu that highlights the ingredient in each dish that you serve.

Themes can focus on food or on cooking methods. Recently, a friend fired up his wood stove for some winter grilling of New York strip steaks. It was a fun conversation piece and warm spot for people to congregate. Try your hand at an outdoor smoker or just in time for St. Patrick’s Day fix your friends a boiled dinner to serve with green beer.

Parties don’t have to be limited to evenings. One of my favorite parties to host when living in Boston was a Sunday brunch. I would do most of the cooking the night before and serve items such as stratas or frittatas, muffins, roasted vegetables, prosciutto, fruit, mimosas, and bloody Marys. Most of my friends lived walking distance from my house and it was always a fun way to start off the day.

We shouldn’t need excuses to get together during the winter and spend time with friends. Get out of the house, plan a party, attend a party, or check out a restaurant you haven’t been to. Make haste, summer will be here before we know it.

On that note, Dairy Queen in Edgartown opens Tuesday, March 11.

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Josh Aronie, chef, framed by the door of The Food Truck in front of the Chilmark Store. Josh will operate his truck again this winter. — File photo By Kaylea Moore

The Food Truck, operated by Josh Aronie, formerly of the Menemsha Café in Chilmark and Café Moxie in Vineyard Haven, celebrates its one-month anniversary this week. Parked in front of the Chilmark General Store, you can’t miss this mobile hotspot on State Road in Chilmark, serving food from 10:30 am to 2 pm, Mondays through Fridays.

Most of the menu items are $10 and under, and they change daily. Past offerings have included chili, chicken tacos, meatloaf sandwich, pulled pork, chili dogs, lemon rosemary French fries, and soups such as mushroom, kale, and carrot ginger. Don’t miss out on the fresh baked cookies and coffee from the Chilmark Coffee Company.

This past Monday I visited the truck, enjoyed a falafel salad, and asked Mr. Aronie a few questions.

The Food Truck is open rain, snow, or shine. "We've been open throughout everything," Josh Aronie said.
The Food Truck is open rain, snow, or shine. “We’ve been open throughout everything,” Josh Aronie said.

What has been your most memorable day so far?

I think it was the day that we had to close the windows half way because the snow and rain were coming in, snowflakes sizes of golf balls were coming in through the window. It was probably one of the most memorable. We’ve been open throughout everything. We are a little like the post office only we are getting it done.

How late in the season will you be open and what are your plans after you close?

Right now this is pretty much just until the middle of April, and then I haven’t really made my decision on what I’m doing going beyond that.

How do you come up with items you are going to serve? Does it change daily?

We always have the breakfast burrito [made with local eggs], the falafel [served as a wrap or salad], and the chicken sandwich, and then we try to put in one or two fluctuating sandwiches or specials. Today we have the veg wrap and American chop suey. With the American chop suey we kept getting requests for it so we thought, let’s just do it, we’ll see how it goes. We know that some of the guys up here that work in the town like it. It’s actually sold pretty well today. And the veg wrap always sells well. We just go by the feel of people.

How is cooking in a food truck different than your experience cooking in a restaurant kitchen?

It’s kind of nice because it is tight and limited and you can’t do as much, so you kind of get to focus a little more, but it’s definitely limiting at times. We are far from our home base, so when we are out of food, we are out of food, we don’t have an option.

Have you run out before?

We’ve run out of a few things here and there, but we usually try to over pack. There have been days when we didn’t expect to do as many people as we did, and it’s really hard to predict how many people will show up.

A falafel salad, a regular offering at The Food Truck.
A falafel salad, a regular offering at The Food Truck.

What is the most popular item on the menu?

The chicken sandwich is definitely the number one seller, though the falafel is pretty close, but I would say definitely the chicken sandwich, we probably do somewhere around 40 a day.

Can people call ahead for big orders?

Yes, or even for single orders. The phone number is designed more for texting than calling. We are hoping that they will see the menu online or through Twitter or whatever and order ahead of time. It helps us to be prepared especially when a lot of the construction workers are up here and they don’t have the time to be waiting around, so we try to go as fast as we can.

Any new specials on the horizon?

We’ve been using some of the old standbys that we had from the Menemsha Café. We will probably do a sausage sub and a steak and cheese. We are going to do a burger tomorrow [this past Tuesday]. We are playing it by ear, we are going by how much we sell. If we’re sold out of something, then we need to make something new tomorrow.

Are you having a good time doing it?

Yeah, it’s fun.

Visit The Food Truck Facebook page or follow them on twitter @thefoodtruckmv for the daily menu. To order ahead, call or text: 508-560-5581. The Food Truck is cash only.

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Chocolate mascarpone tart with pistachios in olive oil from "The A.O.C. Cookbook." — Photo by Kaylea Moore

SS_Kaylea Moore-webI have always eaten copious amounts of cake during the month of February. As a child, I may have been on a permanent sugar high for 28-29 days in a row. February kicks off with my mother’s and brother’s birthdays two days apart, which equaled cake for a week, with all of the leftovers. Valentine’s Day usually brought some sort of confection: cupcakes, chocolates, or a combination of both. One week later, my birthday resulted in two cakes, one to be eaten with my family and one for my usually themed party. Classmates’ and friends’ birthdays brought more cake into my belly. I would consume it right until last day of the month, at my friend Catie’s birthday, who was born on leap year.

Some say that cakes are served at special occasions because they represent the pinnacle of culinary talent, and only the best should be served during a celebration. Traditionally, cakes were made from ingredients that were expensive and difficult to obtain, (such as sugar and spices) and could only be afforded once or twice a year. They have long been associated with ceremonial occasions such as weddings and birthdays, and have become an integral component of these rituals. To this day, my mother insists that you eat cake and blow out candles on your birthday.

With my big day quickly approaching, I have received multiple phone calls from my parents asking what kind of cake I want. It got me thinking about the cakes that I have eaten and made over the years, and which I enjoyed the most.

Buying Cakes

There was the Nickelodeon green slime cake that my friend Alison had at one of her birthdays: whipped cream sandwiched between yellow cake, topped with vanilla pudding dyed green with food coloring. October meant a Dairy Queen ice cream cake at Erin’s party, a favorite of mine, with the chocolate cookie crumbs and gel icing. In high school, Eleni would get a strawberry white chocolate cake from M.V. Gourmet Café & Bakery in Oak Bluffs, topped with glistening strawberries and white chocolate stalagmites, a tradition that still exists today.

Over the years I have eaten my fair share of Black Dog Bakery creations, including their trademark “Triple Chocolate Mousse” majesty of white, milk, and dark chocolate mousse, whipped cream and chocolate ganache. Or the “Black-Out” Cake: dense chocolate cake with fudge and chocolate frosting, topped with chocolate cake cubes and powdered sugar. And, of course, their moist, dense traditional birthday cakes enveloped by rich buttercream.

Many birthday meals have ended with confections from Cakes by Liz. Past favorites include white cake with hazelnut crunch filling and a raspberry frangipane tart. Last year I remember drooling over Leslie Hewson’s pineapple upside down cake at a co-worker’s birthday. I have heard great things about the custom made cakes from Scottish Bakehouse — I’m excited to try their pumpkin cake with caramel cream cheese frosting and their pineapple cake with coconut frosting.

Bake your cake and eat it too

I love the challenge of baking a cake, and I’m not talking about with help from Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker. Here is a peek into the process of mastering the art of cake making (or at least my adventures along the way):

bouche de noel.jpgIn culinary school, we were asked to make a buche de noel, the classic French rolled cake decorated to resemble a Yule log. I remember it taking forever, baking the chocolate genoise sponge cake, melting the chocolate with hot cream for the ganache, whipping the coffee Swiss buttercream, making and assembling the meringue mushrooms, and decorating the cake. But it was so much fun to make, reminiscent of arts and crafts as a youngster.

Chocolate Macadamia Cream Satin.JPGThis Christmas, I decided to try and conquer a cake that I have wanted to make for 20 years. I flipped to the back of my parents’ dog-eared, stained copy of “Mrs. Field’s Cookie Book.” There it was — the chocolate macadamia cream satin cake — what I’d considered the most magical of desserts as a child. The labor-intensive recipe took all day to make and was a disappointment to me, after spending years of fawning over the glossy photo, but at least my parents liked it.

The thing with making a cake is it’s not just one or two steps. You usually have to bake the cake, let it cool, make the filling and frosting, assemble, then frost and decorate it, and sometimes, refrigerate it for multiple hours.

In one of my articles from last year, Liz Kane of Cakes by Liz gave great advice to home cooks looking to make the perfect cake. She said, “don’t try to make a cake and ice it all in the same day. Putting it in the freezer for a couple of days adds moisture.” Then you frost it.

Unfortunately, I have yet to take Ms. Kane’s advice. I spend the whole day slaving in the kitchen over a recipe I swear said took one hour to make, but doesn’t account for letting the cake cool or refrigerating the filling for two hours.

This happened to me again, two weeks ago. My mother is obsessed with mascarpone cheese, so for her birthday I decided to make her a chocolate mascarpone tart with pistachios in olive oil, a recipe from “The A.O.C. Cookbook.” The four-page recipe should have been an indicator that I needed more than the time that I allocated, but it didn’t look too difficult.

Another tip: read the recipe and ingredients carefully before you make it. I didn’t account for how long it would take to roll out the dough, form it in the tart pan, bake, and cool it. Or the amount of time it took to unwrap and chop bars of chocolate and shell almost a cup of pistachios.

Chocolate mascarpone tart.JPGThe tart was a bit weepy; it should have had a few more hours to set in the refrigerator, but I was at the birthday candles’ beck and call. It ended up being a new and interesting dessert that my mother said she enjoyed, and that’s what mattered.

So for you amateur cake makers, learn from my mistakes. Make sure to read and re-read the recipe and make the cake the day before. If it is a disaster, at least you’ll have time to run to one of our great Island bakeries for some reinforcements.

Layer cake tips

Cakes tend to dome when you bake them, so after they have cooled, make them level by cutting off the tops with a serrated knife. This will prevent a lopsided cake. When the cakes have been leveled, and the cut side of the bottom cake is topped with filling, invert the cakes on top of each other — so that the cut sides are facing each other — and brush off any loose crumbs. Next is a thin coat of icing called a crumb coat. Use an offset spatula to apply a small amount of icing all over the cake, to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake until the icing is set and then frost with remaining icing. This will leave you with a smooth surface.

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Susie Middleton of Green Island Farm in West Tisbury has a new book, "Fresh From the Farm."

SS_Kaylea Moore-webDuring the winter we yearn for bursting cherry tomatoes, snappy green beans, sweet golden kernels of corn, and earthy fingerling potatoes. Our minds and appetites are filled with the not-too-distant memories of crisp apples and wrinkled squash and we look forward to the future arrival of vibrant peas and syrupy strawberries. One flip through Susie Middleton’s new cookbook, “Fresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories,”gets you in the mood for foods from any season.

Part cookbook, part memoir, “Fresh from the Farm” chronicles the adventures in farming and cooking that Ms. Middleton shares with her partner, Roy Riley, his daughter Libby, and their rescue black Lab named Farmer, as well as the parade of various critters and creatures along the way. The book is full of seasonal recipes highlighting fresh local food all year long and features breakfast items, soups, salads, veggie centric sides, hearty main dishes, and desserts.

This is the third book for Ms. Middleton, who moved to Martha’s Vineyard in January 2008 after living in Connecticut for 11 years and acting as editor-in-chief of Fine Cooking Magazine (she is now editor at large for the magazine). Ms. Middleton had previously visited the Island in the summer and fall, and when she decided to go on sabbatical she knew exactly where she wanted to be.

Ms. Middleton's colorful of deviled eggs.
Ms. Middleton’s colorful of deviled eggs.

“Something just resonated with me, in terms of the natural beauty and peace of the Island,” she said. “I really don’t know why I came here in the middle of the winter, but I really needed to decompress. So I came here to relax and start writing.” Her first cookbook, “Fast, Fresh & Green,” dedicated to preparing vegetables using easy cooking techniques to develop complex flavors, was born that winter on the Island.

Like most wash-a-shores who decide to brave the offseason, Ms. Middleton was hooked; she had found a place to put down roots. She was introduced to farmers and people involved with the local food system on the Island. “I had this longing to connect better to the source of my food,” she said. “I got out here and was in awe of what people were doing to support local food.” And that’s when the transformation began.

First it was with a tiny vegetable garden, then she met a boy named Roy, actually a man, who is a builder and carpenter, and they decided to rent a plot at Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark to use as a market garden. Next came a 19th century farmhouse, and a little farm stand built by Roy using salvaged materials. Fifty chickens arrived, and a bigger market garden was planted. Then came 200 laying hens, followed by 300 more, a hoop house, and tilled fields ready to be sown. Green Island Farm was open for business.

“The Fresh & Green Table,” Ms. Middleton’s second cookbook, moved vegetables to the center of the plate, making them the main attraction of the meal. In “Fresh from the Farm,” vegetables still play a starring role, but they are supported by meat and fish.

“Vegetables are so versatile and incredibly fun to cook with,” she said. “For me they are more creative than meat is. While I like meat, I think vegetables are beautiful, the colors, the textures, the flavors. I try to bring my enthusiasm for them and I try to create vegetable dishes that everybody is going to like.”

Ms. Middleton and Mr. Riley pride themselves on their award-winning blue ribbon green beans, cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, lettuce and salad mixes, as well as baby bok choy, peas, and playful veggie varieties like fairy tale eggplant. And of course their eggs, which they sell at their farm stand 365 days a year, and which are also available at Up-Island Cronig’s.

 

Gingery strawberry rhubarb crisp, made by Ms. Middleton.
Gingery strawberry rhubarb crisp, made by Ms. Middleton.

“One day you wake up and your fantasy has become reality, and you are more surprised than anyone at what you’ve managed to pull off,” she writes in the introduction to “Fresh from the Farm.” Her journey and transition from writer and trained chef, to market gardener and then to farmer, is told in a story that borders the recipes and photos of the farm and her food, photos taken by herself and photographer Alexandra Grablewski. Cooks’ tips are scattered throughout the pages, teaching the reader how to boil eggs and what to substitute for ingredients they may not have on hand.

The 125 accessible recipes have been tested by a home cook as well as a professional chef, using both fresh vegetables off the farm and those found in the grocery store. The recipes feature food harvested from the farm, focusing on eggs, berries, and vegetables.

“My recipes are detailed but designed to work; people will want to cook them again,” Ms. Middleton said. “There are still some trademark-Susie really killer vegetable focused dishes, but it also has a really good meatloaf, French toast with berry syrup, a roasted tomato rustic tart, and all kinds of fun stuff.”

Deciding what to write for the book was easy. “I think cookbooks have to be personal, there has to be something really close to your heart, that you’re either living or doing well that’s different,” she said. “We’re living this incredible story, creating this small farm out of nothing, having a total blast doing it — and it’s becoming our lives.”

Ms. Middleton will speak about her new cookbook on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 3 pm at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven. Enjoy an author’s talk, cooking demonstration, drinks, and a tasting of recipes from her cookbook.

Green Island Farm is located down a dirt road directly across from the new Ag Hall on State Road in West Tisbury. Look for the chalkboard sign. The farm stand is open seven days a week from 8 am to 7 pm.

Visit sixburnersue.com for more information on Susie Middleton and Green Island Farm.

 

Susie’s favorites

Favorite recipes from “Fresh from the Farm”: The farmhouse French toast with backyard berry syrup. It means a lot to me that every Sunday Libby asks for that and we sit at our little table in our tight kitchen after chores and eat it. It’s family time, I love the fact that I’m able to make recipes that Libby asks for and enjoys and that we get to share at the table together as a family.

A little more complicated but also really delicious is the Summer Veggie-Palooza Paella. A good friend of mine is married to a Spaniard, and she taught me to make authentic paella. It’s so fun and so delicious. She came up to the farm with her kids and made it and Roy fell in love with it. I decided for the book to honor that great memory, of Sarah making it for us and plunking it down in the middle of the table and everyone sharing from the pan which is the tradition with paella.

Favorite cooking technique: Roasting really concentrates the flavor of vegetables. Caramelizing brings out subtle flavors. It’s a great way to preserve vegetables. Roasted tomatoes are my favorite.

Favorite ingredient: Other than garlic, fresh ginger, and lemon and lime zest for perking up a vegetable dish. I’m really big on using a little acid on most vegetables, caramelizing them and hitting them with vinegar or lemon juice. It’s the sweet tart thing.

Favorite kitchen tool: Circulon non-stick stir frying pan. It has a bowl shape with surface area that can brown and steam at the same time. If you cut vegetables small, you can make delicious dishes quickly with only a little oil and high heat. It’s good for grain dishes like fried rice. I also love my Kyocera ceramic knife.

Favorite cookbook: I grew up on “The Joy of Cooking” and “The Silver Palate Cookbook,” but I love British cookbooks right now, they are doing really cool things with vegetables. “River Cottage Veg” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, “Tender” by Nigel Slater, and “Plenty”by Yotam Ottolenghi are a few favorites.

 

Roasted Beet "Jewels" made with cranberries, toasted pecans, and balsamic butter.
Roasted Beet “Jewels” made with cranberries, toasted pecans, and balsamic butter.

Recipe: Roasted Beet “Jewels” with Cranberries, Toasted Pecans, and Balsamic Butter

Serves 4

This easy and delicious side dish is a great way to introduce people to roasted beets — or beets in general. You’ll love it, too, because the small-diced beets cook in only 25 minutes — no boiling or long, slow roasting here. This is also the kind of dish that’s as nice in winter as it is in summer. If you can find golden beets, use a mix of colors here. Or you can also substitute carrots for half of the beets.

Recipe copyright Susie Middleton, 2014, from Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press)

1 1/2 pounds beets (preferably half red and half golden), topped and tailed but not peeled

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

1 tbs orange juice

1 tbs seedless red raspberry jam

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled

1/4 cup very finely chopped dried cranberries

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

small fresh parsley or mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Heat the oven to 450°F. Cover two heavy-duty sheet pans with parchment paper. Keeping the red and golden beets separate (if using both colors), cut them into medium-small dice (no more than about ½ inch). Put each color in a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer each bowl of beets to separate sheet pans and spread in one layer. Roast until the veggies are tender and shrunken, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Put the orange juice, raspberry jam, and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir or whisk continuously until the jam is completely melted and the sauce is slightly more viscous (it may be steaming, but it should not boil), about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cold butter. Swirl the pan until the butter is melted and the sauce is slightly creamy. Add the cranberries and thyme and stir. Pour and scrape the balsamic butter with the cranberries over the roasted beets and mix and toss gently. Add most of the pecans and stir gently again. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining nuts and herb leaves (if using).

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Oysters, oysters, oysters will tempt tasters at Wednesday's benefit for the M.V. Shellfish Group and the Edgartown Growers Assoc. at the Harbor View Hotel. — Photo by Kaylea Moore

SS_Kaylea Moore-webFebruary is one of those months when people don’t want to leave their house. They hunker down with stocked fridges and pantries and catch up on past seasons of hit T.V. shows, bestselling books, and Oscar-nominated movies.

People claim that there’s nothing to do on Martha’s Vineyard in the winter, that it’s too cold to go outside, that the light dusting of snow prohibits them from driving for the rest of the day. But the reason why a lot of us choose to live here is because we like being part of our small Island community. During the winter, various organizations and groups make sure there are plenty of activities to keep Island living vibrant. There are also numerous fundraisers and benefits that count on the support of the community.

Make February the month to try something new. Check out all the Island has to offer, and be on the lookout for community events centered around the Olympics, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, or Black History Month. Here is just a selection of what’s happening in the next week.

Local Farmer’s Brunch

This Sunday, Feb. 9, from 10 am to 1 pm, join Island farmers over brunch at the Chilmark Community Center to hear tales about the joys and challenges of raising food on Martha’s Vineyard. This intimate event, hosted by Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard, will feature local ingredients paired with stories from local farmers. All you can eat offerings include organic buckwheat waffles, greens, frittata from Island eggs, Mermaid Farm yogurt, Massachusetts apple crisp, and Chilmark Coffee. The feast of local food will be served from 10 to 10:45 am.

Featured farmers who will share their stories include Jim Athearn of Morning Glory Farm and Liz Packer of SBS, who will speak on family farming; Richard Andre of Cleveland Farm who will talk about poultry processing and slaughtering; and Mike Holtham of Menemsha Fish House who will address the farmers of the sea.

This is a zero waste event, so make sure to bring your own plate, mug, utensils, and napkin. The cost for the brunch is $12 per person, $10 if you are a Slow Food member. To purchase tickets in advance, visit slowfoodmarthasvineyard.org.

Calling all oyster lovers

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, head to the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown at 6 pm for Romancing the Oyster, a benefit for the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group and the Edgartown Growers Association.

Executive chef Nathan Gould will create oyster inspired dishes highlighting this treasure from the waters of Martha’s Vineyard. There will be a buffet as well as passed hors d’oeuvres and for the purists, more than five raw bars. Meet your local growers and help support the shellfish industry on the Island. The cost is $45 per person and $80 per couple. Tickets are available at romancingtheoyster.brownpapertickets.com.

Valentine’s Day staycations

Many restaurants and hotels are offering special menus and overnight packages for Valentine’s Day. Here is just a selection:

Visit Water Street at The Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown for a three-course dinner and overnight stay on Friday, Feb. 14. The indulgent menu, created by executive chef Nathan Gould, features a choice of appetizers, entrées, and desserts with ingredients ranging from oysters and sous-vide local lobster, to porcini-dusted petit rib eye and pan roasted pork tenderloin. For dessert, make the tough choice between the pastry chef’s “tasting for two” of chocolate macaroons, mousse, and truffles; or the tasting of sorbets and chocolates. Dinner is $48 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Those wanting to make a night of it can reserve a guest room starting $179, which includes Valentine’s Day dinner for two. For more information, call 508-627-3761.

Stay the night at the Hob Knob in Edgartown on Valentine’s Day and enjoy a three-course dinner. The menu features celery root veloute, local bay scallops and saffron, surf and turf of petite prime filet with exotic mushroom ragout, Menemsha lobster ravioli, and warm chocolate cake with strawberry gelato and almond brittle.

Seatings begin at 6 pm. The cost for dinner is $75 per person, excluding liquor, tax, and gratuity. Or make it an overnight affair. Purchase a room for the night and for an additional $150 per couple, enjoy dinner for two, and welcome amenities including six roses, a split of Champagne, and oysters on the half shell. For reservations, call 508-627-9510. For more information, visit hobknob.com.

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One of the columnist's cold remedies: Orange, carrot, and ginger juice. — Photo by Kaylea Moore

SS_Kaylea Moore-webIt starts with a tickle in your throat, then you start to sneeze, and before you know it your glands swell to the size of hard-boiled eggs. It seems as though everyone I talk to is feeling under the weather or coming down with something. The common cold plague is slowly sweeping Martha’s Vineyard, so be sure to wash your hands, boost your immunity, and stock up on the necessities in case you catch it.

During Classical and Medieval times, theory held that the four bodily humours — blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile — determined one’s temperament and health. The humours were kept in relative balance to maintain well-being, but if the balance was upset, food was often used as a remedy to bring a person back to equilibrium. Cold, moist, hot, and dry qualities were assigned to foods. If you were deficient in one of the humours, you could eat a food associated with it to restore your health.

Either this was one of the earliest fad diets or these folks from the middle ages were on to something. I’m not a doctor, but I love to cook and eat, and when I’m sick, I try to listen to what my body is craving.

At the first sign of symptoms I dug out my Airborne and Emergen-C with the hope that it would nip it in the bud. As I prepared my morning smoothie, I excitedly dumped in each ingredient, naming their so-called curative properties: blueberries, high in antioxidants; banana, packed with potassium; kale, the healthiest food in the world; yogurt, probiotics and good bacteria; coconut water, electrolytes; chia seeds, omega-3; orange juice, full of vitamin C. I thought that I was good to go.

As the day progressed, I started feeling worse, so I decided to go out for oysters. Thinking back, I should have stayed home on the couch, but in my mind, oysters would surely cure me. I knew these bivalves were packed with zinc; isn’t that supposed to be good for you? After eating about a dozen, I returned home and started to cook.

Prudence Levy of Vineyard Nutrition suggests eating soup when sick. Pictured is Kaylea's kale and turkey-pork meatball soup.
Prudence Levy of Vineyard Nutrition suggests eating soup when sick. Pictured is Kaylea’s kale and turkey-pork meatball soup.

The last thing you want to do when feeling under the weather is shop for food and cook. But there is nothing worse than being sick with nothing to eat at your house. I keep a bag of bones (I know it’s creepy) in my freezer for just this reason. When I cook chicken, I debone it, and save the carcass for stock. I also have a bag filled with vegetable scraps. So that night, when I was congested and coughing, I filled a pot with water, dumped in the remnants from the freezer along with some parsley stems, carrots, garlic, onion, and celery, and lay on the couch as it worked its magic.

My culinary professors would most likely scoff at my impromptu stock, but it did the trick. After spending the night in the fridge, I skimmed the fat off the strained stock and had my cure-all.

The modern-day restaurant began in France when a shop owner began to serve a simple nutritious broth called a “restorative” that was meant to boost one’s health. For centuries, meat broths were served to invalids to give them strength, and everyone knows that Grandma’s chicken noodle soup makes everything better.

With my curative broth I could make one-cup soups, adding greens or pasta or whatever I had on hand. One of my favorite concoctions was simmered garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chilies, and red miso with thinly sliced beef, topped with scallions. I felt better by the spoonful.

“One of my quintessential [foods to make you feel better] is chicken soup,” said Prudence Athearn Levy of Vineyard Nutrition. She recommends making your own bone broth soup ahead of time and having it in the freezer for when you feel under the weather. Ms. Levy also recommends eating small frequent meals that include protein. “Reducing calories can help you feel better. A less calorie load can help you rest and won’t over-stress your body.” Hydration is also imperative; she suggests soup, water, and smoothies. Ultimately, “Reducing the bulk of food and increasing hydration,” is Ms. Levy’s key to feeling better.

In addition to sipping on broth, I tried to drink, drink, drink. I was always told that to stay hydrated and push liquids was the most important thing to beat a cold. I started with ginger, known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. I steeped it in hot water, making ginger tea, and juiced it with carrots and oranges. The hot tea was soothing and helped break up my congestion and I felt rejuvenated after the juice.

Another panacea is local raw honey. When my throat begins to get scratchy I eat it by the spoonful. The thick syrupy sweetener coats the back of the throat, temporarily alleviating any discomfort. It also has antimicrobial properties.

A few years back someone introduced me to Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. The vinegar is raw and unfiltered and contains part of the mother vinegar. I use it to make vinaigrettes, as a facial cleanser, and it is my secret weapon when I get sick. I mix it with hot water and honey. Although it doesn’t taste the best, it is said to leave you sniffle free.

Everyone has their tricks when they get sick, swearing by an old wives’ tale or whatever is in vogue. People swear by different potions, gargling this, not eating that, loading up on OTC medicines or herbal remedies. I believe that being a couch potato is the cure, eating whatever you crave and getting plenty of rest. And if all else fails, eat a box of popsicles.

But don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself.

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From left: Eliot Coutts, Jeremy Scheffer, and Owen Maloney, at Offshore's Wings and Oyster special. — Photo by Kaylea Moore

Here is just a selection of Martha’s Vineyard eateries with new specials and promotions.

This past Friday was the inaugural wings and oysters winter special at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs. Patrons packed the pub from 3:30 to 5:30 pm enjoying 25-cent buffalo and teriyaki wings and $1 oysters. This year, a disclaimer came with the menu, informing customers that the wings and oyster special is dine-in only, that wings can be ordered in a minimum of five, increments of five, and a maximum of 20 per person at one time (you can order more after your initial serving), leftovers will not be packaged, and if you are on the waitlist for seating that extends past the promotion end time of 5:30, they may have to stop taking names prior to 5:30. In addition, during the promotion, a limited menu is available, including a hummus platter, Bavarian Pretzel spears, chicken or veggie quesadillas, and brick-oven pizzas.

Offshore is still offering their ever popular two-for-one entrée special on Monday nights. Also new to the brew pub is cribbage night, every Thursday at 8 pm, starting this week. Bring your own board or use one of theirs. All levels are welcome, and check out the pub’s Facebook page for more information.

Tisberry in Vineyard Haven has expanded its offerings to include soup, salads, and smoothies in addition to frozen yogurt. Hearty winter soups, such as New England clam chowder, winter vegetable with dumplings, beef stew, and pasta fagioli, change daily. All soups are served with a big hunk of crusty baguette. Similar to the toppings for frozen yogurt, the salad bar has their own add-ins. Customize your chopped salad, made with organic greens, or choose from one of the five classic salads, such as the Modern Asian made with edamame, crispy Chinese noodles, slivered almonds, Mandarin oranges, carrots, organic spinach, and romaine topped with a miso ginger dressing. Enjoy a soup and salad combo for $9.99. Also try their pour-over coffee, a Japanese method that makes individually brewed cups. Tisberry is open 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays, with the hopes of soon being open seven days a week. Check out the Facebook page for daily offerings.

Get double bang for your buck on Wednesday and Sunday at Atria in Edgartown. Visit Atria mid-week for the two-for-one taco night on Wednesday, and Sunday for the two-for-one burger night. Choose from 13 burgers with bases made from grilled portabella, falafel, chicken, lamb, turkey, shrimp, salmon, and beef with specialty toppings galore. The Brick Cellar taco menu includes roasted pork and poblano tacos, crispy cornmeal crusted fish tacos, crispy Baja shrimp tacos, and lobster tacos. Atria is opened Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, visit atriamv.com.

Water Street at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown’s weekly deals are two-for-one small and large plates on Wednesdays; Throw Back Thursday, which features vintage food with a modern twist, $30 for three-course prix-fixe; and on Fridays, $10 per half dozen of Honeysuckle Farm Oysters. For more information, call 508-627-3761.

Along with the two-for-one entrees Thursdays through Saturdays at The Grill on Main in Edgartown, the restaurant also offers a $36 three-course pre-fixe dinner Mondays through Wednesdays. Offerings include seafood marinara with shrimp, scallops, and littlenecks served over linguini; chicken saltimbocca; grilled duck; loin lamb chops; and beef and pork tenderloin. Be on the lookout for a new bar menu featuring grilled pizzas, burgers, and lighter fare that will start in the next week. For more information, visit thegrillonmain.com.

Stop by The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven for lobster and prime rib night. $20 gets you the lobster dish on Friday and a Captain’s cut of prime rib on Saturday.

Visit the Ocean View in Oak Bluffs for roast prime rib on Saturdays and lobster on Wednesdays, both for $19.99.

The Wharf in Edgartown has different special dishes for almost every night of the week. Check out shepherd’s pie Sundays, fried chicken Mondays, twin lobster Tuesdays, and prime rib Fridays. Visit The Wharf from 3 to 6 pm for half off chicken wings, also available during NFL games. Don’t forget trivia on Wednesday nights.

State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury is also on the burger bandwagon, hosting their own burger night Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Enjoy meatloaf Mondays, burrito Tuesdays, fisherman stew Fridays and prime rib Saturdays at The Newes from America Pub in Edgartown. On Friday, enjoy live music and Motown classics on Sunday.

Wear your craziest hat to Park Corner Bistro in Oak Bluffs on Saturdays and get 50 percent off an appetizer with the purchase of an alcoholic beverage. Make your way to wok Wednesdays, prime rib Thursdays, fish fry Fridays, and “get your pig on” Sundays, with pork as the main attraction.

Be sure to check out Facebook and use your Sharky’s card for daily promotions and discounts at Sharky’s in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown as well as the M.V. Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs.

More details coming soon on the possibility of a food truck in Chilmark run by chef Josh Aronie.

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Earlier this season, Al King and Jeff Wingo expanded Skinny's Fat Sandwiches to The Lampost. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

2013 was a year filled with hellos and goodbyes. We welcomed new faces and businesses and said farewell to Vineyard standbys. There have been changes in ownership, the yearly chef shuffle, and renovations to spaces and menus. Here is a selection of what’s happened in the restaurant world on the Vineyard in 2013:

In early February we mourned the closing of a longtime hangout, Season’s Eatery and Pub, a mainstay on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs for more than 20 years. The restaurant and bar were popular for late night dancing, karaoke, pub grub, and sushi, and during recent winters, the ability to play in the game room next door. The building has remained vacant since the closing; what will 2014 bring for the location?

The Lampost in Oak Bluffs, known for its nightclub atmosphere, pool tables, and bars, branched out this spring when they started serving food. Al King from Skinny’s Fat Sandwiches partnered with The Post to offer burgers, wings, and more. Next-door neighbor The Ritz also started serving food again.

New to Circuit Avenue this summer was Fat Ronnie’s, a burger joint with an open storefront, inviting customers to build their own burgers with a range of toppings at no additional charge. The sleek space with a cool vibe was a welcome sight to the late-night munchies crowd, who enjoyed burgers until 1 am.

Also new to Circuit Avenue was Pear Tree Pastry and Provisions, a takeout and specialty food store, owned by Jennifer and Peter Smyth of A Slice of Life, located across the street. Along with packaged artisanal goods, patrons picked up pre-made sandwiches, salads, smoothies, coffee, baked goods, and desserts.

Edgartown was big on beverages in 2013. Three liquor stores and three coffee shops opened this year, offering a range of libations. During the summer, hip duo Coffee Culture and sister boutique Vintage M.V. Wine & Spirits opened in Nevin Square, under the ownership of John Clift and Sara Webber.

Tocco Puro next to Pure Touch Salon, both owned by Jay and Mindy Kirwin, created made to order coffee in an Italian-inspired setting.

Behind the Bookstore, literally tucked behind Edgartown Books, offered a wide selection of drinks and goodies that could be enjoyed in the secret garden-like atmosphere outside.

The Port Supply Co., owned by the Courtney Family, across the street from the Courtney’s restaurant The Port Hunter, opened its Main Street liquor and supply store, ready to outfit summer soirees, picnics, and parties.

Just in time for the holidays, M.V. Wine & Spirits opened its doors to their new airport location. Formerly Town Provision Company, the McGroarty family’s expanded location offers a wider selection of beverages and food items.

Right around the corner at the airport, The Plane View Restaurant started serving beer and wine.

Bob and Sarah Nixon, owners of The Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant and The Home Port in Menemsha, gave a facelift to both properties in 2013. Chef Matthew Safranek and manager Angela Vezzose joined The Home Port team and revamped the menu while still offering classic Home Port favorites.

Chef Chris Fischer took the reins at the Beach Plum Restaurant and renovated the dining space as well as the cuisine, focusing on sourcing seasonal food from Vineyard land and sea. His celebrated Sunday supper series were a favorite among locals.

Sweet Life Café in Oak Bluffs transferred ownership to Kevin and Suzanna Crowell, owners of Détente Restaurant in Edgartown. While the building and atmosphere remained the same, the menu was crafted to reflect the innovative cuisine coming from Détente.

Café Moxie in Vineyard Haven and Lucky Hank’s in Edgartown both celebrated their one-year anniversary, Moxie in its new renovated state.

Edgartown gained a chocolate store and lost a pasta shop. Not Your Sugar Mamas opened a second location on Winter Street, expanding the chocolate empire. The Fresh Pasta Shoppe, an Edgartown institution, sadly closed its doors after years of flipping dough for their specialty pizza pies. Deon Thomas, formerly of The Cornerway in Chilmark and Deon’s in Oak Bluffs, transferred his talents to the VFW, cooking hot meals for its patrons. Bad Martha, a new brew named after our naughty namesake, also arrived this year.

Trends for 2013 included outdoor seating. The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven added a 27-seat wooden covered patio where guests could enjoy their meals in the shade. Sharky’s Cantina in Oak Bluffs created an alleyway tiki-inspired seating area adorned with shark paraphernalia where diners could enjoy their food alfresco. Renovations at Farm Neck Café in Oak Bluffs included an enclosed patio overlooking the golf course.

What to look for in 2014:

In early December we said goodbye to pizza and Italian food legend Lattanzi’s in Edgartown. In 2014 we can look forward to more Italian food with Peter Sullo of Rocco’s taking over the space.

Copper Wok at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven has been on our radar for a while. Islanders have been chomping at the bit for the Asian inspired restaurant to open. When will owner JB Blau unlock the doors? We will have to wait until 2014 to find out.

The iconic location that once housed Papa’s Pizza, Pomodoro’s, and Deon’s remained vacant in 2013. What does this year hold? Renee and John Molinari of Beetlebung clothing and coffee have spread their roots to Oak Bluffs, and will open a coffee house by day, a small plates lounge by night.

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Quicks Hole Tavern opened recently at the site of the former Leeside bar and restaurant in Woods Hole. — Photo by Kaylea Moore

With a fresh coat of paint showcasing their logo, a horseshoe crab, and a new tap system featuring 12 beers, Quicks Hole Tavern, formerly The Leeside, opened its doors on December 10. Husband and wife team P.K. Simonds and Beth Colt are the new owners of the Woods Hole landmark but are no strangers to the area. They also own the Woods Hole Inn, a year-round establishment, as well as Quicks Hole, a seasonal taqueria around the corner from the tavern, specializing in burritos and tacos.

The transformation of the tavern is still underway. The second floor will have additional seating, with the downstairs staying more casual. “We want it to feel like the inside of an old boat and connect with shipping and sailing,” Ms. Colt said. Currently, only the first floor is open, serving drinks and bar snacks until the kitchen is renovated, which should be in late January, depending on construction.

On a recent Friday, the bar was packed with people enjoying house-made potato chips with blue cheese dip, steaming bowls of chicken noodle soup, and quahog chowder, voted top 10 in Cape Cod by the Cape Cod Times reader’s poll. Other snacks offered were soft pretzels with Rogue Ale cheddar dipping sauce, lemon herb mixed olives, roasted sweet and spicy mixed nuts and free “help yourself popcorn” from the machine in the corner. Three TVs were tuned into sport games and a jukebox remained silent as the standing room only crowd conversed with each other.

Along with the 12 beers on tap ranging from Bud Light and Guinness to Fisherman’s IPA and Brooklyn Lager, there is an extensive craft beer list sure to satisfy any beer drinker’s thirst. A creative cocktail menu features drinks such as Devil’s Foot, a combination of tequila, habanero puree, lime juice, and simple syrup; and The Lee Side, a classic American cocktail of Berkshire Bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters. Wines range from $6.75 to $12 a glass, and coffee, espresso, and cappuccino are also available.

Stephanie Mikolazyk, a Johnson and Wales trained chef who runs the taqueria, will also be at the helm of the tavern. “Part of my desire to grow, is to grow with her into a full-time year-round restaurant,” said Ms. Colt. The tavern will be different than the taqueria, with a full sit-down menu and even talks of an oyster tasting bar.

Ms. Colt and Ms. Mikolazyk are still working on the menu, focusing on quick and easy food such as roasted chicken, burgers, and fresh seafood. “We are really interested in farm to table and sourcing food locally,” Ms. Colt continued. This past summer, Quicks Hole hosted a James Beard Foundation Dinner, with Cal Peternell, chef at the renowned Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., that raised more than $10,000 for the James Beard Foundation and for the Falmouth Hospital.

“We want people to understand our level of commitment sourcing food responsibly,” Ms. Colt said, offering “great cooking at a reasonable price,” emphasized in their “wicked fresh” philosophy.

Although many express their dismay to Ms. Colt that The Leeside will no longer be the name, Quicks Hole has its own interesting story behind it. Woods Hole is considered by sailors to be one of the most dangerous passages to get from Vineyard Sound to Buzzards Bay. Quicks Hole, on the other hand, separating Nashawena from Pasque Island, is considered a safe passage and one of the best fishing holes. “Quicks Hole is a beautiful remote place teeming with fish and good for a safe passage for sailors. This resonated with what I wanted Quicks Hole’s food to be like and also quick was in the name,” Ms. Colt said. The idea behind the restaurant stays true to what The Leeside offered. The tavern will be “a place for passengers waiting for the boat to eat a quick bite or get quick take-out.”

The horseshoe crab logo has its own significance. In the 1960s at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, it was discovered that the blood of horseshoe crabs would curdle if exposed to bacteria. Pharmaceutical companies now use horseshoe crab blood to make sure their drugs and vaccines are free of bacterial contamination. According to Ms. Colt, only three companies in the world harvest horseshoe crab blood and one of them is located in Falmouth.

Many people were sad to see The Leeside go, a Woods Hole institution frequented by travelers waiting for the boat, and Ms. Colt shares the sentiment. She recalls stories of Steve McQueen hanging out at The Leeside challenging patrons to a game of pool, and the “Keep Woods Hole Franchise Free” bumper stickers that appeared in the late 80s when the owners wanted to lease the building to McDonald’s. “Our hope,” she concluded, “is that people who loved The Leeside will continue to come here.”

Quicks Hole Tavern is open from 11 am to when the last ferry sails or even later, seven days a week. For more information visit quicksholewickedfresh.com.