Author: James Cooper

Donald Trump: I’ve had it with you!

Donald Trump: I’ve had it with you!

Enough! I’ve had it with Trump’s destructive non-governing!

Trump defunded Planned Parenthood. Trump hates women.
Trump canceled insured contraception for 55 million women. Trump doesn’t know some will die.
Trump said white supremacists are “good people.” Trump is a racist.
Trump’s cabinet is so corrupt it is a kakistocracy. Trump can’t pronounce it.
Trump wants to deport 800,000 young  DACA dreamers. Trump is cruel.
Trump’s Congress didn’t renew CHIP taking 9 million children’s health care away. Trump hates children.
Trump thoroughly bungled aid to Puerto Rico. He doesn’t think they are Americans.
Trump will take health care from 1 million poor people. Trump is a cruel racist.
Trump wants to increase our nuclear armament. Trump is an effing moron.
Trump undercuts Tillerson on North Korea. Trump wants a nuclear war.
Trump has gutted the State Department. Trump is abysmally ignorant.
Trump wants to undo NAFTA. Trump doesn’t get economics.
Trump thinks the stock market cancels out the national debt. Trump doesn’t understand money.
Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accords. Trump doesn’t understand science.
Trump threatened to cut funds to Puerto Rico. Trump is a monster.
Trump screams at his staff and berates senators on Twitter. Trump is cracking up.
Trump doesn’t know what the 25th Amendment says. We do.
  1. Trump privately signs anti-Planned Parenthood Law.
  2. Trump rolls back contraception mandate.
  3. Trump defends white nationalists
  4. American Kakistocracy
  5. Trump moves to end DACA and calls on Congress to act
  6. Congress misses deadline to extend Childhood Health Insurance
  7. Trump and his team do “heckuva job” in Puerto Rico
  8. 6 Ways trump slashing Obamacare could affect you
  9. Trump wanted tenfold increase in nuclear arms
  10. Trump undercuts Tillerson on North Korea
  11. US Diplomats say Trump budget would gut State Department
  12. Trump might actually wreck NAFTA
  13. Trumps nonsensical comments reveal he has no idea how national debt works
  14. US staying out of climate accord
  15. Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery effort
  16. Losing it: Trumps public crack-up
  17. Told about 25th Amendment, Trump asks “what’s that?”
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Roger Sherman Inn excels with new chef

Roger Sherman Inn excels with new chef

Recently, the Roger Sherman Inn owners Nes and Joseph Jaffre announced that their new Executive  Chef would be prominent chef and Greenwich resident Francois Kwaku-Dongo. Originally from Ivory Coast, Kwaku-Dongo has been the Executive Chef at L’Escale in Greenwich and has worked and trained with prominent chefs all over the world, who made the best recipes and great fillets, with some filleting tips you can find online.

We visited the Roger Sherman Inn last Saturday night and were extremely impressed. The lovely formal dining room in the19th century house is unchanged (although they have plans there, too) and the service is better than ever.

BreadWe started with excellent, fresh, house-made bread, interleaved with little wheat chips.

The imaginative menu features six Small Bites from $9-$12, eleven appetizers from $10 to $18, ten entrees (Land and Sea) from $24 to $42 and five vegetable sides at $9 each, as well as Artisanal Cheeses at $9 each. They also retain several Roger Sherman Inn Classics: Vichyssoise($22), Escargot Maison ($15), Dover Sole Meuniere ($42) and Sauteed Calves Liver ($38).  Note that this menu is quite a bit more elaborate than that on line.

rilletes

We decided to share one Small Bite, Potted Pork Rillette with toast points and Pickled Peaches for $12. This turned out to be an entire jar of potted pork that while absolutely delicious was more than we could possibly finish, but they were happy to package it up for us to take home. It was still excellent the next day!

For one of our appetizers we ordered a beet salad: Baby Beet and Burrata ($14) with sliced pear, Vin Cotto (a sweet wine reduction) and champagne vinaigrette. This was a beautiful presentation with both red and yellow beets, although the soft Burrata cheese had an unexpected skin on it.

Our other appetizer was Tuna Carpaccio ($15) with baby arugula, roasted tomatoes and Moroccan olives. This was a very light and delicate dish, with the thinly sliced raw tuna nicely offset with the tomatoes, olives and arugula.

One of our entrees was labeled “From the Farm this Month,” and was Roasted Pheasant two ways: Breast and Leg, for $34 (shown above). It was served on a ragout of autumn mushrooms. The mushroom ragout was a brilliant touch that offset the pheasant flavors nicely, and the breast portion was spectacular. Some of the leg portion seemed a bit dry, but there was so much, we couldn’t finish it all anyway.

lamb

The other entrée was Grilled Lamb Porterhouses ($38) with roasted eggplant, spaghetti squash and pomegranate. This was the night’s winning entrée: the two lamb steaks were perfectly cooked to medium rare, and tender and juicy.

walnut cakeFinally, the dessert menu features creations from the Pastry Chef, Alexandra Ayala: six pastries plus a choice of gelato and sorbet. We ordered the Chocolate Walnut Cake($12) with toasted coconut and chocolate sauce. This turned out to be a delightful surprise. While we had expected a chocolate cake with walnut filling, it was actually the other way around: a walnut cake with a chocolate crème filling.

As you can see by the individual prices, this is not a really expensive restaurant, and we will certainly be back soon.

Probably the only amusing service faux pas was the butter ballet. When we found that the provided dish of olive oil was really drippy, we asked for butter. The waiter brought us a dish with a single square of butter in it. When he noticed that we had polished that off he  offered to bring us another, and eventually did, but by then our food and arrived so we never got to finish it.

But no matter, they’ll fix this one, and the service was otherwise utterly impeccable, with both the waiters and the owner checking in with us regularly. This opens a great new chapter at the Roger Sherman inn, and you should definitely check it out.

The Roger Sherman Inn is on Route 124 (195 Oenoke Ridge) in New Canaan. They  are open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner, and also offer Sunday Brunch. Reservations are recommended.

Oh, and below is our pork rillette the next day, spread on our own toast points.

home rillette

‘Sex with Strangers’ opens at Westport Playhouse

‘Sex with Strangers’ opens at Westport Playhouse

Laura Eason’s romantic drama “Sex with Strangers” opened Saturday night at the Westport Country Playhouse to a nearly full house. Eason, who was a writer/producer of Netflix House of Cards, has written a 2 character drama that at first appears to be a romantic sit-com, but turns into a more nuanced consideration of the craft of writing.

Directed by Katherine M Carter, the play opens in what the program calls a “bed and breakfast,” but which actually appears to be an elaborate two level ski chalet, designed by Edward T Morris. Olivia (Jessica Love), a 30-something writer and teacher has booked time there to work on her novel, and is surprised when Ethan (Chris Ghaffari) pounds on the door one snowy evening after the B&B proprietor has left. Ethan is a younger 20-something writer who is brash, over confident, and as it turns out a successful writer.

His improbable book, “Sex with Strangers” is a memoir of his having sex with a different woman each week for a year. While we eventually learn that Ethan is actually a skilled writer, this rather schlocky Hefner-esque book has unbelievably been on the NY Times paperback best-seller list for 5 years.

Meanwhile, we learn that Olivia had published one book, to some good reviews but poor sales because of inept marketing of her novel as “chick-lit.” She is currently at work on another, but is quite sensitive about it. Ethan, however, had actually read her first novel, which was recommended to him by a writing teacher they both had worked with.

6_WCP_SexWithStrangers_JLove_CGhaffari_byPChenotWith this setup, you would think they would fall in love, go to bed and live happily ever after, but this is not quite what Eason has in mind. Since the wireless is down, they of course do go to bed at least 4 times during blackouts punctuating the two acts, but as Olivia gradually regains her confidence with Ethan’s help, they begin to drift apart.

In the second act in Olivia’s Chicago apartment, (another spectacular 2-story set) they spar about their writing and careers and the movie Hollywood is making of Ethan’s trashy book. The story ends as they move on to audience acclaim.

As Olivia, Jessica Love is brittle and protective at first but eventually connects with Ethan at least physically and she slowly grows with Ethan’s encouragement. Chris Ghaffari as Ethan is pretty aggressive and at first pretty obnoxious. However, after he struggles through the production of the movie version of his novel, becomes more thoughtful, but also more distant. Both do an excellent job with their characters and you easily can identify with both of them.

While the playwright, in interviews, has suggested that her play is about young people getting by in the digital internet world, I don’t see it that way. Rather, it seems to me to be about two writers trying to learn their craft and eventually succeeding in different ways. This would have been true even if the wireless connection at the B&B had stayed down for the whole show.

“Sex with Strangers” is a charming, funny play with some really challenging ideas buried in the couples and coupling, and was fun to watch. The show continues through October 14, with performances on Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays at 2 and 8 pm, Thursdays and Fridays and 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 and 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are available at westportplayhouse.org.

Shrimp scampi carbonara

Shrimp scampi carbonara

If you think Shrimp Scampi is great, imagine it served on spaghetti carbonara instead of boring old spaghetti! This is the the perfect meld of two excellent dishes, resulting in shrimp on a rich, creamy spaghetti base. And the whole recipe still takes only half an hour.

For the scampi

  • One pound large (or larger) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced. Save the zest, too.
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 5 Tb butter
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

For the carbonara

  • 2 strips bacon
  • ½ to 1 lb vermicelli
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

  1. Start by frying the 2 strips of bacon from the carbonara recipe. Cook until dry, and drain on a paper towel. Chop the bacon up and reserve in a small dish. Pour the bacon drippings in the bowl as well.
  2. Rinse out the pan, removing any excess “bacon tracks,” dry and add the olive oil.
  3. Saute the shrimp 2-4 minutes, depending on size. They should be pink and firm, but don’t cook until they shrink. Set the shrimp aside.

 

  1. Add the minced garlic and pepper flakes and a little more olive oil. Saute for a minute or so until fragrant.
  2. Add the lemon juice and wine and cook down for a couple of minutes.
  3. Stir in the butter, a Tb at a time until the sauce is smooth and uniform.
  4. Cook the vermicelli in boiling water until just past al dente. For this recipe, we prefer starting with dried, rather than fresh, pasta, because it will hold more heat for the next step.

 

  1. Drain the pasta and return to a bowl. Using two forks, mix in the eggs one at a time so they cook in the hot pasta.
  2. Add the parmesan cheese and stir in so it begins to melt.
  3. Mix in some or all of the bacon.
  4. Reheat the shrimp in the sauce, briefly and pour both over the spaghetti.
  5. Sprinkle parsley on top.

There! Done in half an hour or less, and creamily good. Serve ladling the shrimp, sauce and pasta onto each plate.

plated

Buon appetito!

Easy peel hard-boiled eggs

Easy peel hard-boiled eggs

Some people get frustrated when they can’t get the shell of their hard boiled eggs and we’ve done the experiments to tell you what actually works to make them peel easily.

A lot has been written about how to hard boil (actually hard cook) eggs, and much of it is wrong. Bittman suggests that you should put a pinhole in each end of the egg before boiling, but McGee says that studies have shown that this is ineffective. McGee gets two other points wrong though about  fresh eggs and boiling temperature, though, so we tried all these things for you.

The single greatest secret is that it is best in acne spot treatment! Chilling the cooked egg is helpful but less significant. And as for fresh versus older eggs, wait and see!

farmers cowIn this article we used Extra Large eggs from The Farmers Cow cooperative, with a Julian packing date of 238 (August 26) which means they were 3-4 weeks away from the hens when we bought them at Stop and Shop.

Our favorite way to cook 2-4 eggs is to put them in a vegetable steamer over boiling water. This is way easier and safer than putting the eggs right into the boiling water.

  1. Put the steamer in a pan, and add water until just below the surface of the steamer, and bring the water to a boil. Using a big, slotted spoon or a set of tongs, lower the eggs into the steamer basket. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil, and cover the pan for 10 minutes.
  2. Then, remove the pan from the heat and run cold water into it. Dump the water (which is now luke-warm) and add more cold water to chill the eggs. This isn’t supposed to be a big deal, it is just to get the eggs down to a temperature where you can hold and peel them.
  3. Peel each egg under running water. This will wash away any eggshell shards and help separate the egg from the shell. The shells should come right off without sticking.

pan boilAnother simple way is to simply use boiling water without the steamer. Bring the water in a pan to a gentle boil and quickly slip the eggs into the water. Let them cook, covered for 10 minutes as above and cool them the same way. The advantage of this method is that you can get more eggs into the pan. The disadvantage is that it is hard to get a lot of eggs into the pan quickly so they all cook for the same length of time, and if there are too many, they may bump together and crack.

Using the Instant Pot

eggs in IPA third way that works really well is using an Instant Pot or any other counter-top electric pressure cooker.  It’s very simple, but most of the on-line recipes get it wrong, resulting it overcooking or tough eggs. You put the trivet in the Instant Pot (or use a vegetable steamer) and add one cup of water. Then add all the eggs you want (you could do a dozen or more) and close the pot. Use the Steam setting (high pressure) rather than the Manual setting, which will result in higher pressure and tough eggs.

Nearly all of these cooker have a “rest” or “cool down” setting. This is intended for cooking meats and allows them to draw the juices back into the meat before you depressurize and open the pot. For eggs, however, this is silly. A typical recipe suggestion is 5-5-5, meaning 5 minutes cooking, 5 minutes cooldown and 5 minutes in ice water. This is way too long: the eggs will be overcooked. If you play the recipe writer’s game, you should cook using the High Pressure Steam setting, and then let the eggs cool for at most 3 minutes.

To cool the eggs, just lift the whole stainless steel pan out of the pot and remove it to the sink. Then run cold water into the pot, drain and run cold water again. When the eggs feel cool enough to handle peel them under running water. We tried 5+5, found that they were overcooked, and settled on 5+3. A half of each is shown in the right hand bowl below.

It’s interesting to note that the 5+5 (10 minute) egg was just a little more difficult to peel, because the egg was harder and less flexible. Slightly less done eggs are easier to peel!

3 boiled


3 cut openThis photo shows eggs cooked in the vegetable steamer, in a pan and in the Instant Pot for 5+3 and 5+5.

A simpler way to use the Instant Pot, is to forget the cooling period and just cook the eggs for, say, 8 minutes, release the pressure and cool them in running water as above. To see what different times do, see the photo below, which shows cooking times of 7, 8, 9 and 10 minutes.

What about fresh eggs?

fresh wggA pervasive legend, perpetuated by McGee is that really fresh eggs are more likely to stick to their shells than older eggs. We decided to test this out by getting a dozen fresh eggs from a neighbor who raises chickens, and cooking two on a vegetable steamer.  These eggs were probably laid within the past 3-4 days and are about as fresh as we could get.

They cooked perfectly. There was no difference whatever!

Do you really have to use boiling water?

Since everything worked perfectly, we decided to see what it would take to produce an egg that peeled terribly. All we had to do was to start the eggs in cold water and then cook them for 10 minutes from the boil. We chilled them as usual by running cold water into the pan until the egg was cool to the touch. Trying to peel this egg was a disaster. Everything went wrong, just as we predicted.

boil fail

What about the chilled water?


chill failDo we really have to chill the eggs after cooking? Well, that’s easy to try as well. We cooked one egg in the veggie steamer for 10 minute as usual, and left it on the counter for an hour to cool. The result was an egg that peel pretty well, but was not as perfect as the ones that were chilled right away. Obviously the quick chilling causes the white to draw away from the shell a bit, making peeling easier.

You don’t have to chill the eggs for 5-6 minutes. Just get them to room temperature so you can peel them. This takes a minute or less.

Conclusions

  1. Always start your eggs in boiling water.
  2. Always chill the eggs in cold tap water or ice water after cooking. You only need about a minute of chilling.
  3. Always peel the eggs under cold, running water.
  4. Slightly less done eggs peel more easily.
  5. Farm fresh eggs are no more difficult to peel than older eggs.
  6. Don’t bother with pinholes in the eggs. They don’t do anything.

 

The Club Car goes for the veggies

The Club Car goes for the veggies

The Club Car, right on the way to Straight Wharf has been a popular dining destination since Joe Pantorno and Chef Michael Shannon opened it in 1977. It was a white tablecloth restaurant with tuxedoed waiters and well-regarded food and service. After Shannon retired, sous-chef Tom Proch took over, continuing treasured dishes like Shannon’s Shrimp Scampi and Beef Wellington, but in recent years, especially after Proch retired, the restaurant’s service had become tired and the food repetitive, but much less impressive, while maintaining their high prices, where a number of entrees were over $40. You may check out the best foodsaver reviews and model to choose the better one which suits your needs and you may even get a discount.

tablesSo it is with some excitement that we learned that Pantorno sold the Club Car to a new team: head Chef Mayumi Hattori (formerly the chef at Straight Wharf) Ty Costa, director of operations, and general manager Tanya McDonough. In addition, the interior had been completely redesigned by Tharon Anderson with a lighter and brighter and less formal look (and apparently no white tablecloths).

Hattori, who is of Japanese and Spanish descent, wanted to include some of her home cooking and has overhauled the menu, doing away with the formal dining experience, and replaced it with 6 tapas ($5-$9), 4 toasts ($9-$15), 12 small vegetable plates ($12-$17), 7 Land and Sea plates ($18-$31) and for and for people who want a traditional main course, there is limited availability of 3 larger plates: roast chicken ($39), lamb sirloin ($45) and grilled sirloin for a jaw dropping $65.

We decided to forgo the large plates and play the game the way they wanted us to, ordering toasts, veggies and small plates from Land and Sea. Note that The Club Car does not provide bread, so you are left with your water and wine until the first plate your ordered arrives. The Toasts are probably some of the quicker things you can order and we started with them.

We started with the House Cured Sardine Toast ($10) with basque peppers, capers and olive oil. It was served on a baguette toast, and was interesting but only about 4-5 bites and it was gone.  The Roasted Mushrooms Toast ($15)with crème fraiche and at least 3 types of mushrooms was a much larger portion and truly delicious, with plenty to share. This was probably the dish we liked the best: reminiscent of a mushroom stroganoff with better mushrooms.

squash

For an intermediate plate, we settled on the Roasted Summer Squashes ($17) with corn, cherry tomatoes cilantro and lime. This was a huge portion that you could share with two or three people, and while there was a lot of it, it wasn’t really particularly filling. We suspect that may be the case with any of the Garden plates.

skateFinally from Land and Sea, we ordered Spice Crusted Skate($26) with long slices of cucumber ribbons and walnut tarator (sauce). There were two slice of skate and this was fairly spicy rather like the old Cajun blackened fish, except not black. It was very good, but there wasn’t much of it. We suggested they call it “Skating on Thin Cucumbers.”

king oyster crabFinally our other Land-Sea dish was called King Oyster Mushrooms ($24), with peeky toe crab, Bartlett’s corn and jamon (ham) broth. This was really an excellent dish, but needed a bit more crab in it.

Overall, this was a pleasant meal with very friendly and helpful servers. Our bill, with 3 glasses of wine  and tax was only $143, making the Club Car a much more reasonable choice than it used to be. Our server said that despite the major change in style, they had had a very active summer and done quite well. We liked everything they served, but there was only one available dessert, so we walked down the wharf to Jack and Charlie’s Ice Cream instead.


twoshirts
This is the last of our 2017 Nantucket restaurant reviews, but it is not too late to order Nantucket T-shirts from The Nantucket Store, and if you use the discount code MILLIE17, you can get about a 15% discount through the end of September.


 

The Company of the Cauldron reopens under Joseph Keller

The Company of the Cauldron reopens under Joseph Keller

externalChef Joseph Keller who worked with his brother Thomas at the French Laundry and at Per Se has purchased The Company of  the Cauldron from long-time owners All and Andrea Kovalencik. Keller also was the chef at the Woodbox on Nantucket some 18 years ago and developed a beloved popover recipe which is now featured at TCotC. Keller was able to keep the same staff and promises to maintain the same style of a single prix fixe meal.

Keller has maintained the single menu per night for a fixed price that had been the policy of the previous owners  (their kitchen is probably smaller than yours), but that fixed price has gone up somewhat. We decided to go on Wednesday night, which is always fried chicken and waffles, for $89. Other nights have differing prices depending on the ingredients.

Reservations are a must, since there are little more than 40 seats in the restaurant, and they require a credit card to secure your reservation and they give you a better price depending on the rates for the card. And you will be charged if you do not show, or perhaps if you cancel too late, people with all these buts, sometimes decide to just to go online and find another restaurant, since they are some many great options with online site as ninesmequon.com/. We got an Email reminder Monday when we made the reservation, a text message on Tuesday asking us to confirm, and another text message at 5:30pm Wednesday reminding us of our reservation in 30 minutes. This was starting to get like the old joke about the man who keeps calling to say he is the viper and he will be coming tomorrow, today, in an hour and so forth. It turns out he has come “to vipe your vindows.”

In any case, Chef Keller has put together excellent menus and utterly delicious food coupled with excellent service by his experience staff, several of whom we recognized from the previous regime. The dining room remains elegant, and each table features a candle, a pepper mill, a salt bowl and butter. Some of the dishes are labeled “Josef’s Brasserie.”

We always start by ordering wine to go with the meal, and usually splurge on a whole bottle since there are several courses: popovers, salad, entrée and dessert. There are also half bottles, or you could skip it and drink water or soft drinks.

popoverEvery meal at Keller’s Cauldron starts with his famous Woodbox popovers, which were piping hot and delicious and served with Vermont Creamery butter. His popovers are perhaps slightly saltier (and maybe less sweet) than ours are, but they really are exceptional. And turning out 40-50 of them all hot at the same time to deliver to the tables is an excellent trick. We ever were offered seconds.

CaesarThe second course was a classic Caesar salad with garlic bread croutons made with the finest Village Bakery bread machines, fried capers and parmesan cheese. The fried capers were an unusual twist, being both crunch and capery at once. But the smaller ones were closer to carbony. Still, a nice variation, and the salad was large enough for each of us to take a second helping.

 

As rumored, the chicken and waffles course was excellent. The fried chicken was six separate pieces of crispy ,boneless chicken, some thighs and some breasts, and all were moist and perfectly cooked. The waffles came with a pitcher of maple syrup, as well as a light dusting of powdered sugar. They also provided delicious buttery mashed potatoes and buttered fresh corn on the cob.

The corn seemed a little waterlogged but everything else was outstanding. With six pieces of chicken we had enough to bring home a couple for lunch, and we did.

dessertFinally, the dessert was potted vanilla cheesecake with salted caramel sauce, graham crumble, and Chantilly cream. Utterly delicious.

As you can see, the food is both delicious and in substantial quantities. Others who have come on other nights have also mentioned the large portion sizes.

The meal closed with coffee($8) and tea($4). The coffee was a special Sumatran blend that Keller has created and is only available here and at the French Laundry. You can also buy it for home consumption at The Bean, across the street.

Chef Keller has done an admirable job in creating a new version of a beloved restaurant, and we can hardly wait to come back!

The SeaGrille: one of Nantucket’s favorites

The SeaGrille: one of Nantucket’s favorites

facadeThe SeaGrille has been a favorite of islanders and vacationers for over twenty years. Located mid-island at 45 Sparks Ave, E J Harvey and his staff serve deliciously prepared seafood (there are also steaks and chicken on the menu) at reasonable prices. We have been going there for years and have never had anything but outstanding. Service is always excellent.

One thing we learned this year is that the Tuesday after Labor Day is when the islanders come out of hiding to enjoy the Sea Grille, too. It was packed and reservations are recommended.

They started us with a bread basket of three kinds of bread and three butter balls to go with them.

chowderWe each started our meal with E J Harvey’s excellent  Island Quahog Chowder ($9.00). Harvey’s recipe has some celery in the soup and a trace of lemon. The clams are plenteous, and the potatoes minimal. We never skip it!

Then, one of us went for their Free Form Ravioli ($36), which contains ravioli in name only. It is more like a seafood casserole or stew with a few sheets of house-made pasta over top. Under the pasta, you will find lobster, shrimp, scallions, ricotta, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, garlic and crispy carrots, along with a delectable seafood broth. It is fantastic, and really filling.

ravioli

For our other entrée, we went to the  Fried Fisherman’s Platter ($34) which contained excellent fried clams, shrimp, scallops, baby squid and calamari rings and cod, along with perfectly prepared French fries that were piping hot and most probably freshly made. The seafood itself was also piping hot, unlike almost anywhere else, making it utterly delightful, and way too much to finish.

platter

Our bill with three glasses of wine as only $141 and well worth every penny.

Dinner at Lola Burger

Dinner at Lola Burger

signLola Burger is a spinoff of the trendy downtown sushi and bistro LoLa 41°, and is principally known for its huge, delicious hamburgers. The restaurant at 1 Sparks Ave faces the Sparks Ave rotary, with parking in the rear. The lot is limited, but fear not, they have valet parking so you will get a spot.

There is an interior dining room, an enclosed outer dining room and outside porch dining in good weather.  Fundamentally, this is a high-quality burger joint with good service and very good food. They also offer hot dogs, pork, tuna, chicken, lamb and falafel, but everyone we saw seemed to be having the burgers.

single burgerYou can order a single 5 oz patty burger with fries for $9.75 and a double patty burger (above) for $13.75. The burgers are tender, juicy and beautifully stacked, with choices of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese. There are some additional toppings for an extra charge. We were charged  $1.50 for mushrooms.

Whether you order the single or the double patty, these are tall burgers that are kind of hard to hold onto, but they provide plenteous spare napkins as well as forks to eat the burger if (when) it collapses. Beware of ordering too many slippery toppings at once, but you’ll love them anyway.

The fries are very good considering that they came from frozen, far superior, for example to those at Charlie Noble.

customersWe were very happy with the fast, friendly service at Lola Burger, and will certainly return every year. It’s a fun experience.

The only other hamburger on the island in this class is the Languedoc Bistro Cheeseburger with garlic frites for $18.95, and that one is only a single. (But quite large.)

The Summer House: a disappointment

The Summer House: a disappointment

The Summer House restaurant and inn is on the ‘Sconset end of Nantucket, overlooking the ocean. The restaurant itself is white and colonial looking with several lovely dining areas with white table cloths and attentive staff. When last we visited in 2015, we were impressed with it quiet elegance and cuisine.

 

This year, we would have to say that the aretirement community staff was asleep at the switch. The menu is similar to other years and like many Nantucket restaurants, it dominated  by seafood.

We started with excellent Corn Crusted Oysters ($24), crunchy and delicious and with an order of Crab Cakes ($25) that were chock full of excellent crab. In fact they could easily have been a main course.

 

However our entrees were not at all up to snuff. What was billed  as Flounder Meuniere ($40 !!) turned out to be a huge piece of white, steamed, and relatively tasteless fish. A meuniere preparation starts with browning the fish and serving it with brown butter, lemon and capers, but instead, this lump of white fish had about 5 capers, with no brown butter or lemon to add flavor at all. Just to prove they did know how to prepare this dish, below is a picture of Fluke Meuniere we had there two years ago. (Fluke and Flounder are essentially the same fish.)

 

chicken milaneseOur other entrée was Chicken Milanese ($34), with arugula, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, fingerlings, lemon vinaigrette, and  balsamic glaze, which looked fine, but the underlying fried chicken patties were greasy. We suggested to the waiter when he cleared the table that the cooking oil was at too low a temperature, and he came back to tell us the chef had agreed and the “problem had been fixed.” He took the price of one of our glasses of wine off the bill, which came to $165 with tax but before tip.

With that experience under our belt, we decided to have dessert elsewhere, and decamped to the Island Kitchen for ice cream.

ice cream