Friday, October 17, 2008

Cape Cod weekend

Ah, the enjoyment of a couple of days off.

We drove up to Cape Cod last Friday to spend the long holiday weekend there at the charming and cozy Whalewalk Inn, a lovely bed and breakfast located in Eastham. The grounds were beautiful, the room was lovely and the owners were very cordial. Our room, on the second floor of the rear house, was like a treehouse...the house was built into a rise so that the second floor was actually high above the ground, and our terrace looked out over a large, secluded clearing. It was so nice to step just outside the room onto the landing at the top of the stairs, where coffee was waiting each morning, and then slipping quietly back into the room and onto the terrace, where the slight chill in the air was just enough to wake you up without being bracing.

Our ulterior motive to be accomplished with this trip was meeting Greg, our blogging friend from The Midnight Garden, whom we decided was real, after all! Greg has recently moved into a new place and had done a nice job of decorating. His cat, Badum (or should I say, "ba-dum!"), was a charmer...he was really very un-catlike. Surprisingly, Greg's place was less than a quarter-mile down the same road our bed and breakfast was on! We had a nice bit of conversation before Jess drove the three of us to Hyannis to pick up another blogging friend, Patrick, from the bus terminal, and when we returned, it was time to make dinner...and drinks.

I had brought some of the chicken and noodles I had made and frozen a few weeks ago, along with a loaf of challah that I had baked and frozen a week or so earlier. That was Friday night's dinner. The chicken and noodles weren't thawed by the time we were ready to eat, so I had to finish thawing them in the pan as I heated them up, and the noodles promptly disintegrated from all the stirring. That was disappointing. So we wound up with very thick chicken soup. Oh, well. The challah wasn't as moist as I would have liked, having lost some moisture from freezing...but it was still good. I thought the blackberry cosmopolitans turned out great, though. Overall, I'd give the meal a B-, but the company was an A!

That was Friday night. Saturday, Greg had to work, so we had lunch together at this great little hometown place called Home Port. What a terrific place. Jess and I had clam chowder, fried clams, french fries and slaw. The chowder was quite good and the fries – oh, the fries! – were some of the best I had ever eaten. Really crispy, really brown and potato-y and just incredible. Then Greg was off to work while Patrick, Jess and I took a drive to Provincetown.

P'town was quite busy for it being so late in the year. I didn't mind it, but Jess was less than amused with the traffic and the crowds. I was on a mission to get a shirt and some fudge. Fortunately, many of the shirt shops were clearing out their 2008 inventories and had big discounts. I bought a nice t-shirt for 50% off, about $12. Jess also bought some great coffee mugs at a shop that was having a 70% off sale. I hit two different fudge shops on Commercial St, south of the pier, remembering that somewhere along Commercial, there was a shop that made really great fudge. Those two shops weren't it: their respective offerings looked totally unappetizing. In fact, there was a penuche product in one of the shops that literally looked liked someone threw up in the pan. But a little further up Commercial, we walked into Provincetown Fudge Factory and found the chocolate bliss I had been searching for. The peanut butter chocolate fudge was the best of the three we ordered (rocky road and chocolate coconut were the other two) and it was truly delicious. They ship anywhere. Yum.

Leaving P'town, we briefly stopped at a beach to snap a photo or two, then went back to Orleans for some dinner, which we had at a local seafood place. It was okay for me, but Patrick and Jess really enjoyed their dinners. After dinner, we went back to the B&B, had some more of those blackberry cosmos, and sat outside, enjoying the chill in the air and the stars in the sky.

Next day, I was on another mission for some chocolate, but not fudge. I had noticed an article in one of the magazines in the room about the large number of chocolatiers on the Cape, and one in particular had my attention. The Wellfleet Candy Company, located in South Wellfleet, about 9 miles north from Eastham, was everything the magazine promised and more. I was very excited when I called them to see if they were open that day: the owner herself answered and replied, "we're not only open, we're in production today, so it's a great day to visit!" That would be Jade Huber, a positively delightful person who was there in the kitchen working on a batch of turtles and was truly engaging as we discussed chocolate and candy theory and we sampled some of the things they were making as well as some of the truffles they had ready for sale. Trust me when I tell you that her truffles are magnificent, especially the oyster-shaped ones which are genuinely works of art. There was a peanut butter and jelly truffle that was excellent; a mint truffle that was bursting with the flavor of freshly pressed mint direct from the garden; the Elsa truffle, which was sinfully rich with a dark chocolate coating covering a dark chocolate center.

I bought three oysters and two regular truffles to take back to my employees at work, as well as a small box for Jess and me, and what a response I got from my employees as they sampled them! These are some of the most expensive chocolates you will eat, but worth it. If for nothing else than to see the beautifully, artfully designed oyster truffles, you must make a stop at Wellfleet Candy Company when you visit the Cape. Or order online, of course. And tell Jade I told you about her! Remember, people: Wellfleet Candy Company. Jade Huber. Fabulous.

We made a stop for lunch at Arnold's Restaurant. The fried clams and onion rings were so light they nearly floated off the table, and the clam chowder was wonderful. The lobster roll sandwich we ordered was okay, but I have had better, and for what they were charging, it should have been larger. The place was expensive for the type of restaurant it is. Overall, I'd say it was good, but not worth a long wait in line like we saw on Saturday afternoon and evening. The place is an order-at-the-counter, grab-a-table-and-sit-down affair, very low overhead, very loud. We were lucky enough to get a table outside and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful temperatures.

After an afternoon of candy shopping in Chatham and Dennisport I was unimpressed. I can make better candy at home than either of the shops those towns offered. We headed back to Orleans.

We met Greg after his short workday and drove into town for a wonderful dinner at Abba. It had been highly recommended by our innkeeper and she wasn't wrong. The food was very good: local foods with an asian influence, all delicious. Very much like what you'd expect in New York, and I don't offer that kind of praise lightly. Afterward, we went back to Greg's for some relaxation and conversation, and Greg brought out a blueberry peach pie he had ordered, which was a very nice cap to the delicious restaurant meal. Stuffed and tired, we headed back to the room for our last evening.

The next morning, we all went back to breakfast at Home Port. I can't say enough good things about the simplicity of good homestyle food, and they have it down. I had eggs with toast, canadian bacon and homefries. Terrific. If you want good homestyle food at good prices, this is where you want to go. Everything is delicious. Great call, Greg!

We drove back home with few traffic snarls (except the one where the nav system in my car pulled one of its famous Magellan moments and attempted to lead us in an out-of-the-way big circle. Fortunately, my bullshit meter was working well that day and I caught it before we went too far out of the way. I have advice for any of you buying a GPS. Don't buy Magellan! It SUCKS. Magellan is also the famous maker of NEVERLOST, or, as we like to call it, EVERLOST. Magellan sucks as a GPS. Never buy one. I should make sure that all search engines pick this up so that others are not led astray: Magellan GPS systems are the worst I've ever had experience with. The worst. Don't buy them.

But I don't want to end on a sour note. The little getaway was wonderful, and it was great to meet Greg and spend time with him and Patrick.


At 10:24 PM, October 17, 2008, Blogger Jess said...

Yes, Magellan sucks, but it's what came with your car. Sadly, my 5-year-old Garmin is far superior, but you knew that. BTW, you forgot to mention that when I turned the car around after realizing the Magellan had steered us wrong, I almost made a hood ornament out of that dopey kid who was riding up the wrong side of the road on his bicycle. While he was technically wrong, I felt really bad for the scare it put into him! Well, thank the FSM that I didn't hit him!

Not to end this comment on a sour note, I will second your conclusion. It was a great weekend!

At 8:42 PM, October 22, 2008, Blogger Michelle Ann said...

I am so jealous...this sounds fun despite your lackluster description of the soup and challah. Made from the heart, it has to taste delicious. But no pictures? Porquoi?

At 8:48 PM, October 22, 2008, Blogger Michelle Ann said...

By the way....LOVE the music on the blog. I totally forgot about that Corrs song. I actually got up in my study and danced with Nadine (after she stopped looking at my like I lost my mind)

At 11:08 PM, October 25, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

What fun to hear more of what the weekend involved for you while I was stuck at work! I was sorry we didn't get to spend more time together, but sure enjoyed the time we did share!

And to all you readers out there, don't let Marc fool you, the Chicken and Noodles was still completely delicious and yummy, the challah, too...and the perfect first home-cooked meal to christen the Nest's kitchen! And those blackberry cosmos, ooh, la la.

The Magellan?? Not so much. ; )

At 9:01 PM, October 27, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

Michelle Ann: Oh, it was okay. No, sorry, no pictures. Jess didn't take any (evil grin).

Oh, and thanks for the mention of the music! Yeah, I love that song. I sing it to the dogs in the morning: "Ohhhh-ohhh, ohhhh-ohhh, c'mon, feed me breakfast!" Try it with Nadine! She'll love it.

Greg: you're too kind re: the chicken and noodles and challah, but I will take the compliment on the cosmos! I do love blackberry cosmos.


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