Once the waitress blended the avocados, cilantro, lime, and onion right beside our table, I knew this was going to be unlike any guacamole I had ever eaten. And as it turns out, Añejo Mexican Bistro and Tequila Bar, which opened last August on Falmouth’s Main Street, is unlike your average Mexican restaurant. Founded by Bay Area transplant Jesse Kersey and Five Bays Bistro owner Jamie Surprenant, the restaurant’s menu boasts gourmet Mexican fare with the authenticity to impress purists and the creativity to satisfy any culinary adventurer. I ordered the Chile Rellenos ($17), a classic dish of chile peppers stuffed with cheese and pico de gallo, and chile rojo sauce. My wife ordered the Langosta enchiladas ($18)—“a taste of the Cape with a Mexican flare,” Kersey calls it. The glazed lobster meat, corn, and jack cheese wrapped inside the chipotle-drizzled tortilla gave the dish a complex sweetness that makes it a stand-out on an all-around wonderful menu. Añejo also has a prodigious tequila selection and margaritas so fresh you taste the pulp through the straw. Just don’t forget to try the guacamole.
188 Main Street, Falmouth, www.anejomexicanbistro.com, 508-388-7631. Dinner: 4 p.m. to close; Sunday Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Located in the heart of Marstons Mills, Serendipity: A Good Eats Boutique is the perfect place to kick off your day with a quick, delicious breakfast or to enjoy a delightful take on tried-and-true lunch favorites. The eatery, run by Tracy Trewhella and Doug Taylor, features a menu of go-to dishes with snazzy, unique twists, and a whimsical atmosphere: S-E-R-E-N-D-P-I-T-Y is spelled out in playfully arranged Scrabble letters and Mickey Mouse-themed artwork adorns the walls. A menu includes hearty breakfast fare, to-die-for panini and wraps, salads, and baked goods. Try the spicy lentil soup or the sensational tomato veggie ($4.95 per cup).
Panini and wraps (all $6.95) include glorious medleys such as turkey, apple, brie, and apricot preserves; chicken, mozzarella, pesto, and tomato; or you can invent your own. They also offer a vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free menu to accommodate every type of eater. Pick up a treat from the great selection of baked goods and desserts. As Tracy jokingly said to a customer who just needed that extra slice of chocolate torte, “What happens at Serendipity, stays at Serendipity.”—Lindsay Oliver
211 Route 149, Marstons Mills, www.serendipitycapecod.com, 508-420-1518. Open daily: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Presented by GreatBrewers.com, South Shore, Cape & Islands Beer Week is a great opportunity to enhance your knowledge of different beers and increase your appreciation of tasty brews with a week of events throughout Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Boston’s South Shore. The event, which takes place during the week of May 9 to 14, features more than 150 events including beer dinners, tastings, educational seminars, and local brewery tours. Here are a few regional highlights of the week:
- On May 12 at 6:30 p.m., Garrett Oliver, renowned brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, hosts a beer dinner at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham.
- Cisco Brewers of Nantucket will conduct free VIP tours all week and is also hosting the national launch of the new Pechish Woods line at British Beer Company, Main Street, Hyannis on Wednesday, May 11 at 6 p.m.
Throughout the week, there are opportunities to sample many unique offerings from both international and regional brewers. South Shore, Cape & Islands Beer Week seeks to inform the public of the many kinds of beer and to illuminate the relatively unknown art of beer and food pairing. Traditionally, wine comes to mind as a beverage companion for a delicious meal. However, unlike wine, which is made from various grapes, beer is made of up millions of different ingredients from maple syrup to coriander. The vast and various ingredients in beer, along with carbonation (which acts as a natural way to cleanse the palate), makes beer easy to pair with many culinary choices.
In support of the local economy, South Shore, Cape & Islands Beer Week will donate $5 from every dinner served during Beer Week events as well as any donations received to local charities, including the Needy Fund of Cape Cod and the Childrens Hospital Boston. L. Knife and Son, a local distributor based in Kingston, Massachusetts, will match the proceeds raised.
When the snow stops falling on Cape Cod, you can be sure that the grills are about to come out of storage. Instead of the scent of woodstoves, the air fills with the smoky waft of baby back ribs and porterhouse steaks seared to mouth-watering perfection. With summer just around the bend, we need to pick wines that can stand up to charred foods slathered with sauces or seasoned with fiery dry rubs.
Foods that mingle with smoke and spice beg for well-structured, fruity, bold wines. For instance, a full-bodied red, like a young zinfandel with raisin fruit and spicy flavors, pairs well with the tangy sauces and the charred flavors of meats off the grill. A youthful shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley, with its distinctive black pepper spice, can also be a good partner for these heftier foods. The tannins that make your lips pucker in these big wines are offset by the fat and richness of grilled beef.
At the Brazilian Grill in Hyannis, steaks and other meats are pleasantly cooked on an indoor charcoal grill, and the restaurant complements the menu with a selection of wines from Argentina and Chile. Kelly Ayer, the co-owner of this churrasqueria (Brazilian steakhouse), finds malbecs from Argentina to be a good match for the restaurant’s grilled steaks, which are seasoned only with kosher or sea salt. “Malbecs have a lot of fruit, and the meat doesn’t take away the wines’ flavors,” says Ayer. The grape was originally grown in France and is used there mostly for making wines blended with other grapes. But in Argentina, malbec thrives in the Mendoza region and produces wines with grip and black fruit flavors—and sold at reasonable prices. Malbecs are some of Argentina’s best wines.
A traditional pairing for grilled steaks is an earthy cabernet, and Ayer serves selections from Chile where she says the “wines are very smoky and you can taste tobacco, in a good way.” Cabernets, which especially stand out for their quality, are some of the best wines in South America, and they possess a complexity that resonates well with beef.
At Trevi Café and Wine Bar in Mashpee, general manager Robert Rose makes selections for the wine list. When pairing with chicken and meatier grilled fishes like swordfish or salmon, Rose often picks red wines from France’s Rhône region, especially the Côtes du Rhône wines, made from blends of several grape varieties like grenache, mourvèdre, and syrah. There are many producers with a range of styles, but the wine typically has plumy fruit and softer tannins that don’t overpower. Rose also recommends some California pinot noirs because of their cherry and herbal flavors.
To enhance a plate of grilled shrimp or scallops, try the white wine albariño, from the Rias Baixas region of Galicia in northwestern Spain, one of the best seafood regions in the Iberian Peninsula. Albariños have peach and citrus flavors, a refreshing quality, and the right weight to match the day’s catch. Verdicchio, a creamy wine with punchy mineral and pear flavors from central Italy’s Marche region, is another fine selection.
Those with adventurous palates might experiment with contrasting flavors. Try pairing a sweeter wine like an off-dry riesling with a spicy grilled fish. The flavors offset one another, and they might provide a pleasantly surprising dining experience.
Picking wines to enjoy alongside grilled fare requires experimentation, but it’s not an exact science. Be bold, and keep an open mind.
The Nantucket Wine Festival commemorates 15 years of bringing some of the most celebrated winemakers to the island during this year’s four-day event, which takes place May 18 through 22. Presented by Nantucket Combined Charities, the 2011 festival once again toasts world-renowned wines paired with superb cuisine against the backdrop of some of the island’s most beautiful locations.
The festival traces back to 1990 when Denis Toner, then working as sommelier at Nantucket’s distinguished restaurant, Chanticleer, realized that there was no better place than the island for a wine and food festival. The festival got off the ground in 1997 and word spread organically to wine makers and wine lovers. Read more…
Chatham’s Wequassett Resort and Golf Club has long been famous for its cuisine in four superb restaurants appealing to diners from near and far of all culinary inclinations. In our dining section this month, we asked the Wequassett’s executive chef Bill Brodsky to share some of his favorite seaside grilling recipes.
In addition to offering dining choices in unmatched seaside settings, the Wequassett is a world-class resort. Nestled on 27 beautifully manicured waterfront acres overlooking Pleasant Bay, the resort features 120 guest rooms and suites, magnificent pools, a beach, and opportunities for boating, tennis, and championship golf.
Wequassett is Cape Cod’s only AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four Star resort and is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. The resort has also been named on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List for six consecutive years. The Wequassett accommodates vacationers from around the world as well as hosting a variety of national and international business meetings.
This summer the Wequassett hosts the eighth annual Cape Cod Jazz Festival, featuring an exciting lineup of jazz, blues, world-beat, and Latin performers every Tuesday and Wednesday evening in July and August. Additional summer highlights include a gala Fourth of July celebration with a spectacular display of fireworks as well as family and children’s programming. Read more…
The Loire is one of France’s larger wine regions where a plethora of grape varieties grow, some near the long, winding Loire River that flows into the Atlantic. Its districts produce all types of wines—white, red, rosé, sweet, and sparkling. The region is a source of many wines that are crisp and refreshing with floral scents like a summer garden. “If I take a wine to a picnic,” says Florence Lowell, owner of the Naked Oyster restaurant in Hyannis, “my number one pick is a wine from the Loire.”
Loire wines pair well with the season’s lighter fare and are perfect warm-weather thirst-quenchers after a day at the beach. These are wines you may have left behind to experience new viticulture regions, but it’s worth revisiting these well-priced, familiar selections.
Take, for instance, the white wines from Muscadet, the area in the western part of the Loire. Muscadets are made from the melon de bourgogne grape. The better ones come from the Sevre-et-Maine district and have the words “sur lie,” a process in which the wine is bottled directly from the lees to improve its flavor and complexity, written on the label. A lemon-lime and mineral taste makes Muscadet the quintessential pairing for shellfish. “Muscadet is great with clams and oysters,” says Lowell, whose restaurant features a raw bar and a superlative menu of shellfish dishes.
Wines from Vouvray, a region on the right bank of the Loire River, are made from the Chenin Blanc grape and are know to be fruity and sweeter with a golden color. There are four levels of sweetness usually indicated on the label: sec (the driest), demi-sec (medium dry), moelleux (medium sweet) and doux (very sweet). Dry Vouvrays have flavors of green apples, tastes of oranges and pineapples, and can be softer and creamier than other Loire wines. For Lowell, a sweeter Vouvray is the perfect wine with a goat cheese: “The sweetness offsets the tartness of the cheese,” she says. Read more…
There is something so elemental about vegetable gardening, putting a simple seed in the ground, watering and watching over it until one day a tiny green sprout appears. I can still remember the excitement I felt when I planted a row of radishes in my first vegetable garden. One of the easiest, quickest vegetables to grow, the sprouts popped up, flourished in no time at all and soon plump red radishes formed, perfect for salads.
Quahog. Just saying the word makes you smile. Of course, depending on whether you live in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you might call this large hard-shell clam a “qua-haug” or a “qwo-hog.” The name actually comes from the Narragansett Indian name “Poquauhock,” but this culinary favorite’s Latin name is much fancier: Mercenaria mercenaria, derived from the word meaning “wages” because the Indians fashioned beads from the quahog’s purple inner shells for their currency, known as wampum.
We step into The Glass Onion’s foyer, and it’s effervescent with happy couples sipping glasses of wine. Soon we are sipping our own wine while we wait for a table (no reservations here). Two dining rooms glow with wall sconces, illuminating dark floors, vaulted ceilings, and sage-colored walls. Bright white molding and linens serve as a delightful touch of luxe minimalism. The menu here changes seasonally to spotlight local produce, and everything is very reasonably priced ($15-$29 per entrée.) As a vegetable enthusiast, I ordered the Local Greens Salad ($7), a perfect heap of greens, radish, cucumber, carrots, and grape tomatoes, all grown close by at Coonamessett Farm. My guest went for the Boston Bibb Salad ($9), an artful combination of crisp lettuce, toasted almonds, grapefruit, and goat cheese. For an entrée, I decided on the evening’s special: fresh New England Halibut ($24), delicately crispy and cooked to perfection, served with tender beets in a horseradish dill sauce. My guest savored his Spiced Long Island Duck Breast, ($29), with wild rice, cranberries, and a velvety sweet potato puree. For dessert, we shared a serving of homemade fresh and flavorful raspberry lemonthyme sorbet: a refreshing ending to an exquisite locally-inspired meal.GLASS ONION, 37 North Main Street, Falmouth; 508-540-3730,