Thursday, March 29, 2012

cahoon hollow beach

Well I slightly eluded to our Saturday beach hike in this post and on instagram, naturally, so here's some more footage from that gorgeous St Patrick's Day on Cape Cod. We were at Cahoon Hollow Beach - or as it's commonly nicknamed "The Beachcomber" for the eponymous bar that sits perched at the top of the main dune catering to surfers, beach bums and music lovers a like. This stunning stretch of Atlantic Ocean front seashore is one of my favorite beaches; I'm fond of it in the heat of summer (packed with crowds) but I appreciate even more the sweeping dunes and untouched sandbars when there's hardly another person in sight. I know everyone associates Cape Cod with summertime, but, for me, these off season weekends are some of the best times to visit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Brunch at Mistral

Among the cities most celebrated fine dining restaurants, and one of my personal favorites for french cuisine that achieves the eloquent balance of being sophisticated and comforting is Mistral. For 15 years Mistral has been catering to crowds of longtime regulars and newcomers a like, welcoming Bostonians into a contemporary space tastefully decorated with Provencal inspired accents. On Sunday morning the restaurant is bright and airy as opposed to the dramatic low lighting that envelops during dinnertime. A handsome slate floor underfoot, rows of potted cypress trees climb towards soaring ceilings which meet sweeping yellow curtains and pale green upholstered booths. The rustic-chic bar and lounge area is empty at this hour, but the dining room is bustling. It was my first time here for brunch (you can read my dinner review here. Also - I didn't formally review it on the blog but they do a great job during restaurant week!) To start we were served moist crumb cakes wrapped up in a neat and tidy package. Alongside came a duo of soft, creamy butters, the apple was definitely a nice touch. They offer an array of fancy breakfast cocktails and although I was still a little fuzzy headed from the night before, I knew one would do me some good. The Strawberry Bellini ($10) was equal parts sweet and fizzy, laced with a juicy house made strawberry puree. It presents a fresh alternative to the same old mimosa (though you still have the option to keep it traditional.) My friend ordered the Graham Cracker Crusted Challah French Toast ($15) which came with vanilla poached seckel pear and mascarpone chantilly. This brunch staple can usually benefit from an inventive twist, the graham cracker crust added an extra layer of both a mildly sweet flavor and slightly crunchy texture. Additionally, the syrup presentation was rather charming in a vintage looking glass bottle. A skillet of hearty Lyonnaise Potatoes come with the french toast, they are tender and well seasoned laced with slightly charred red onions. I wish I could have enjoyed more of these Provencal style home fries, but I had my work cut out for me with a large skillet containing Confit of Duck and Root Vegetable Hash ($19) with three sunny side up farm fresh eggs. I though the confit was exquisite, the range of textures beautifully done with flavorful meaty bites mingling with crispy seared pieces and the root vegetables, particularly the carrots added genuine brightness necessary to offset the rich and succulent duck. The eggs were not especially runny but still gooey enough to add their ideal compliments. The roasted cherry tomatoes were a perfect finishing touch. Not unlike dinner, brunch at Mistral is certainly a worthy splurge, where a fanfare of Southern French inspired cuisine celebrates the region with consistently excellent food and cocktails.
Mistral on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 23, 2012

neon.

The Cape Cod sunset on Saturday, March 17th, was one for the books. The evening sky unfolded in an orderly fashion, like each neon orange ray had a precise path to follow through the stretch of parallel purple gray clouds. We watched in awe as the casts of hot pinks illuminated the creek and as they dulled to fluffy pastels across the periwinkle blue sky. No matter how many brilliant sunsets you are lucky to witness in a lifetime, they never get old. Most of these were photographed at Paines Creek - the first beach in the town of Brewster (moving east to west, on the bay side.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

home cooked meals.

One of my favorites parts about visiting my Mom on Cape Cod is spending time together in the kitchen. Usually, she is doing most of the cooking and I am lingering about snapping photographs and we're both drinking a fun St. Germain cocktail. She combined vodka and the ever versatile liqueur with pineapple juice and a dash of lime. Shaken vigorously, the pour yielded a frothy and nicely balanced martini to kick off the festivities. We were celebrating my birthday (yes it was on February 21st) but since we hadn't seen each other, she treated me to a home cooked meal and the obligatory birthday cake. Often times my birthday celebrating might begin on February 21st, but with lots of friends and family to plan celebrations, and only so many weekends, Adam likes to call this month long stretch "the never ending birthday." (Sung to the tune of, "The Never Ending Sto-orryyyyy"). I'll take it. For dinner she prepared a panko and pistachio encrusted Mahi Mahi in a lemon herb cream sauce and served it with roasted brussels sprouts and a baked sweet potato. The cake was a chocolate ganache torte from Trader Joe's served with Cape Cod Creamery coconut ice cream. This gourmet ice cream is some of the smoothest, creamiest and most flavorful this side of the Sagamore bridge. If you visit the mid cape, get some!We stayed up late drinking red wine and watching this awesome BBC cooking show Two Fat Ladies (that originally aired in 1996). Has anyone else ever watched or heard of it? These women are thoroughly entertaining home cooks who travel to kitchens in the British countryside and prepare family style meals using traditional techniques and fresh, local ingredients, with a side of quick whit and dry humor. I was an instant fan. Breakfast after Yoga on Saturday morning was mango apricot Greek yogurt (another fantastic Trader Joe's combination) which we mixed with even more fruit - some blueberries, banana and a dash of cinnamon and shaved nutmeg. Alongside we enjoyed fluffy, lightly toasted croissants with orange marmalade and rose petal jam. This morning marked my first yoga class ever, and it felt really good to finally try it out. I never had much interest though my Mom has practiced for years and would always invite me to a class with her. Her persuasive argument "you're 28 now, you should try something new!" this time around resonated. I stretched muscles I didn't know existed, focused on my breathing and loved that it presented me with a work out and a relaxation session at the same time. I would definitely take another class!
The final home cooked meal of the weekend was breakfast on Sunday morning, which consisted of thick cut french toast made from a lust worthy loaf of bread purchased at PB Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet. A must visit when we're about the towns of the lower cape, we usually just pop into the boulangerie for bread, sweets and cappuccino, but every time we leave I'm craving a sit down meal in the adorable Parisian meets beachy inspired bistro. Maybe this summer!
Mom paired the french toast with blueberry infused Vermont Maple Syrup and a generous dusting of powdered sugar.
It was a delicious weekend! More on the rest of our Cape Cod adventures (beach combing, sunsets, shopping at Atlantic Spice Co.) to come!

Monday, March 19, 2012

weekend preview.


1. vodka.st germain.pineapple.lime
2. my weekend companion (Mom!)
4. favorite beach
5. wellfleet
6. how we spent St. Patrick's Day
7. sand bar
8. paws
9. low tide
10. sunset

Friday, March 16, 2012

daylight savings begins.

We went for a walk after dinner on Monday to celebrate the extra hours of light. Then we got chocolate (her) and strawberry (him) frappes. Tuesday rolled around and we frolicked in the park and drank dark n stormys on the deck at The Sail Loft, before dinner this time, because there was that much more sun to enjoy.Even after a mild winter that lacked the epic snowstorms I was craving, the early burst of spring weather felt pretty darn amazing. Let there be daylight!