Thursday, July 29, 2010

Best Vacation Bites: Cape Cod (Part 1)

92 degrees, zero breeze and feels like 97? The vacation is OVER and I am definitely back in the sweltering District of Columbia! While I readjust to the heat and humidity I can't help but conjure up memories of the Cape: the sharp smell of clean water, the cool breeze off of Nantucket Sound, and of course the freshest most delicious seafood I ever tasted.

It is no secret that New England has incredible seafood and I made a point to try every type I could, shunning all other types of protein for the length of my journey (with one delicious exception). Over the next few days I will be sharing some of my favs.

After attending my first Quaker friends meeting, I was introduced to something even closer to God: The Fishmonger Cafe in Woods Hole on the southwestern tip of the cape. This small, simple restaurant offered a great view of the harbor and more importantly the Water Street drawbridge that opens on the half hour to let recreation and fishing boats through to the marina.

The Fishmonger's menu proved just as exciting as the view. For our first course we tried the fried calamari with crispy linguica -spicy Portuguese sausage- and hot peppers tossed in a garlic-herb sauce. The calamari rings were cooked perfectly and not at all chewy.

Fried Calamari

Next we tried the Lobster Roll. For those of you not in the know (like i was) a lobster roll is basically lobster salad on a hot dog roll. This particular roll was 1/3 pound of insanely fresh lobster, lightly tossed with celery and herbs in mayonaisse and served on a baguette with orzo pasta salad on the side. There are no words to describe the experience. Go get a lobster roll ASAP.

Lobster Roll

Finally, we had the fish tostada - perfectly crispy fried scrod, shredded greens, and a wonderful melon salsa served on grilled flatbread and drizzled with chipotle aioli. I will be honest and say I had no idea what to expect when I placed my order, but I was ecstatic when I took my first bite. The combination of the warm crispy fish, slightly acidic salsa, and fresh greens was bliss. And for someone who doesn't usually like melon, I couldn't get enough. It was REALLY hard to share this one.

Fish Tostada

So how can you enjoy the wonders of the Fishmonger here at home?

For some insanely good and spicy calamari try Soussi in Adams Morgan. Their pan-fried calamari with hot sherry peppers is always delicious and has quite a kick. Sit on the patio to avoid the smoky interior and wash it down with an ice cold beer.

Want to try a lobster roll? Head to the Burger Joint on Connecticut Ave in Dupont. Fresh Maine lobster claw meat served on romaine lettuce with slider rolls. As the lobster rolls we had up north ran about $17 a pop, don't expect this to be cheap. But it's worth it. Locations also in Bethesda, Alexandria, and Arlington.

Craving that tostada? Why not go for a pupusa? This is DC after all and you can't throw a rock without hitting a pupuseria. Hit up Ercilia's in Mount Pleasant and try the shrimp pupusa - a yummy combo of fresh fish and gooey cheese inside a corn cake and paired perfectly with repollo - a zesty cabbage slaw. While Ercilia's will definitely not have anything as bougie as melon salsa, you will leave smiling like the Chestershire cat.

If you want to enjoy it all at once, head to Tackle Box on M Street in Georgetown. Take your pick of fried calamari, lobster rolls, fish tacos, or try the seacoast salad with your choice of fish (fried or grilled), served on their Maine salad with a sauce (can you san garlic aioli?) YUM!

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