It’s incredible that even after six years of hitting the pavement in search of restaurants, bakeries, and other eateries, I still find hidden gems out there. When my friend Rebecca Bartlett texted me one Saturday morning asking if I wanted to eat some ethnic food, my reply couldn’t send quickly enough. Rebecca and I headed out to discover the offerings of Bite on the Go, a Brazilian eatery tucked inside the Shell gas station in Vineyard Haven. Even though I love New England cuisine, I miss the variety of spices and flavors of ethnic cookery, in this case Brazilian. Granted, I am not Brazilian, but being from the Dominican Republic, I could see and taste similarities: the perfectly steamed rice, the savory red beans, the slow braising of meats, the sweet fried plantains.
It was my first time lining up at the buffet line at Bite on the Go, but it wouldn’t be my last. Last week, I stopped in to pay Sonia and Valerio DeStefani, owners of Bite on the Go, a second visit.
As you walk into Bite on the Go, you can feel the sense of pride the owners have in their establishment. Unlike typical buffet lines, this one is kept immaculately clean and tidy, with the food replaced and refilled continuously throughout the day. Even the placement of the serving utensils is in military alignment, ready to serve the crowds. And crowds there will be, as the hungry patrons shuffle in between their work shifts. It’s a Brazilian eatery, but every nationality walks through the door. Typically Latin Americans file in during lunch service, while North Americans walk through the door during dinner. The time of day when we consume our biggest meal varies, and it’s deeply rooted in our cultures, with those Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries eating a heartier lunch, and English speakers consuming a larger dinner.
Bite on the Go serves an all-day lunch, with a buffet menu that changes daily:
- Mondays: Beef Stew, Chicken and Okra, Grilled Pork Chops, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Polenta, Fried Yucca.
- Tuesdays: BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, Chicken Stroganoff, Hotdog Meatloaf, Grilled Beef Steak and Onions, Cheese Tortellini, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes.
- Wednesdays: Fried Fish Filet, Roasted Boneless Beef Ribs, Roasted Duck & Sage, Chicken Lasagne, Butternut Squash, Fried Cauliflower.
- Thursdays: Roasted Pork Spare Ribs, Roasted Chicken Drumstick, Grilled Calf Liver, Beef Tripe, Penne Alfredo, Roasted Potatoes, Fried Plantain.
- Fridays: Kingfish Stew, Beef Oxtails and Yucca, Grilled Chicken Breast, Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Spaghetti and Bacon.
- Saturdays: Braised Lamb Leg, Feijoada, Beef Stew, Chicken Cream Corn, Collard Greens, Steamed Broccoli and Eggs, Eddo Taro Root.
- Sundays: Roast Beef and Madeira Sauce, Roast Cornish Hens, Salted Codfish Pie, Salmon and Capers, Roast Pork Loin, Beef Lasagna, Tropeiro, Roasted Potatoes, Fried Plantains.
Although this menu is subject to change, it’s a fair description of their daily offerings. Also included daily is a full salad bar with about 10 fresh salads. At $7.39 a pound for anything on the buffet menu, Bite on the Go offers one of Vineyard Haven’s most economical meals.
Some people might say they don’t love buffet lines, and it’s for good reason. But I’m here to persuade you to give Bite on the Go a chance. The fresh ingredients, the delightful customer service, and the spacious dining area make it my new favorite spot for lunch. I love a good buffet packed with a variety of dishes. It’s perfect for when you crave “a little bit of everything,” and that’s the greatness of Bite on the Go. You can stick to the usual rice and beans, or you can dive into tasting any of the traditional Brazilian dishes, like Tropeiro (kidney beans, bacon, eggs, onions), Feijoada (black beans, pork, corned beef), or their selection of fried handheld pies. Make sure to wash it all down with a glass of fresh passionfruit or cashew juice.
Every meal must end on a sweet note, at least in my world. Bite on the Go has an in-house bakery with cakes, as well as single servings of flan, rice pudding, passionfruit pudding, cornmeal cakes, and Brigadeiros (traditional Brazilian truffles).
Bite on the Go is located at 86 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, and can be reached for catering orders at 508-684-8257. Follow them on Facebook, where they post daily updates of their offerings.
Recipe by Marnely Murray
Makes 10 medium-size truffles
7.5 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 oz. dark cocoa powder
pinch of sea salt
1½ Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
toppings: chocolate sprinkles, shredded coconut, cacao nibs
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the condensed milk and sifted cocoa powder. Stir in the salt, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, constantly stirring to avoid burning. The mixture will become very thick.
Swirl in the butter and vanilla extract, and place in a plastic container in the refrigerator to chill. Once chilled all the way through, grab a teaspoon and roll small truffles. Coat the rolled truffles in chocolate sprinkles, coconut, or cacao nibs. Serve chilled.