Monday, August 15, 2011

Lobstah Fest 2011

Each July, I venture back home to Massachusetts to meet up with my family at a beach house on Long Beach in Rockport, MA for our annual Beach Blast.  It's my absolute favorite time of the year.  Great times with family and friends, days at the beach playing in the surf and sipping cold beer, and plenty of New England seafood to go around.  This year, I invited my great friends David, Paula, and Jackie along for the ride.  Not only did they have a great time but their presence upped the fun quotient considerably.  Here is a photo recap of our adventure:

Low tide at Long Beach, Rockport, MA

Some serious bocce went down...
On our first day with the gang all together, I took everyone on an excursion to Bear Skin Neck, an old historic area of Rockport with tons of shops and little spots to grab some grub.  It's a tourist must do.  Hell, it's a must do for me each visit!


Along our walk up the neck, we made a stop at the Roy Moore Lobster Company.  This place pumps out a boatload of lobstahs every day and has been providing the lobstahs for our Beach Blast for the past 6+ years.  So, I thought it fitting that we stop in and preview the catch and maybe sample a lobstah roll...or two.

The lobstah roll in all its glory (though personally I'd go without the lettuce)
After a stroll around "the neck" which included Jackie dropping a few quarters in the automatic piano/band thing at the penny candy store and David and I making sure to enjoy every last note, it was time to head off for our real lunch (we only shared 2 lobstah rolls).  The Lobster Pool has been a favorite of mine since I was a wee lad.  They have some of the best fried clams around and the view is spectacular so we hopped in the car and off we went.

Waiting to order.  The early bird crowd just beat us...

Not much health here!  Fried clams, fried scallops, fried baby shrimp, smoked seafood, slaw, and some corn on the cob.
As if we hadn't had enough of eating for the day, we headed on down to the market to buy provisions in order to make breakfast for the crew staying at the beach house the following morning.  More on that later plus the Beach Blast Lobstah Fest!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Playing Ketchup

Sorry for the corny title, couldn't resist.

It's been a long time since I've sat down to post...  So goes the story of this blog.  A lot has gone on since my 30 day alcohol challenge that was definitely worthy of posting about, I just never got around to it.  It's a combo platter of being really busy and being lazy when it comes to posting on the blog.  Here's what's been going on since the last post...

In June, I kept the 30 Day Challenge thing going and attempted to rid my diet of fried food for an entire month.  It's pretty funny because just now I realized that I wrote about this exact same topic about a year ago.  I'm happy to say that I made it the entire 30 days this time!  Though it wasn't nearly as hard as quitting alcohol for 30 days, it was an eye opening experience.  Depriving yourself of things you enjoy is hard!!!  But I made it and now try to focus a little better on eating vegetables instead of fried sides.

July was action packed!  In early July, I found myself really enjoying two newcomer restaurants starting to hit their groove - The Local and Blue Piano, the latter really being more of a bar than a restaurant.  Both spots have great bites with The Local being a better spot for a meal but that's not to say Blue Piano doesn't hit any culinary high notes.  Both spots also have incredibly good craft beer selections with The Local having about 25 on tap to choose from.  The Local also has a decent spirits selection that I'm hearing is set to expand in the near future.  Wine is a specialty of Blue Piano and the live music there can't be beat, especially Tuesday nights when Big Poppa E is there to play the blues.

Next up was my annual trip to Long Beach in Rockport, MA for some R&R on the beach as well as all the fried clams, lobsters, and steamers I could find.  This year, I took good friends Paula, David, and Jackie with me so they could get a taste of New England summer eatin'.  It was a great time and we lucked out with the best weather I've ever had up there for four consecutive beach days.  More details coming soon...

 Long Beach, Rockport, MA

A day after returning from Rockport I had back to back dinner events starting with Cobaya at Market 17 and then moving on to a charity dinner supporting Common Threads at Area 31.  My friend Mr. Frodnesor did his usual kickass job of summarizing the Market 17 dinner so I invite you to check out his recap.  I thought the dinner was fantastic and really appreciated all of the thought Chef Daniel Ramos put into the menu, a menu that included kangaroo(!) which was a first for yours truly.  They also have an insane happy hour that offers 1/2 priced drinks and apps until 7pm daily and it's not limited to "well drinks" or beers only!!  If you are up in the Fort Lauderdale area, Market 17 is a strong recommendation.

I have supported Common Threads via their charity dinner events on a few occasions this year and this one in particular was a phenomenal experience.  Chef E. Michael Reidt (who replaced my good buddy Chef John Critchley at Area 31 when John left for Urbana in D.C.) orchestrated a well-thought-out menu with help from Chef Sean Brasel of Meat Market (one of my favorite spots on Miami Beach) and Chef Kris Wessel of Red Light (another chef with an insane amount of talent and doing things his way to great success).  An all-star lineup led to a home run of a meal.

Before I could get my bearings again, it was time to head to Vegas for my annual 7-night business trip.  Boy was that a doozy.  Business was very good and I enjoyed an incredible meal at one of my favorite spots in Vegas - Michael Mina's Stripsteak at Mandalay Bay.  The food there is phenomenal but the staff and service are what sets this spot apart from other great restaurants in Las Vegas.  Quite possibly the best service and staff in any restaurant I've ever been to.  The wagyu filet I had on my 3rd night in town was extraordinary.  I definitely recommend checking this place out when you're in Sin City.

I returned in time for one more "farewell" dinner with David and Paula at Michael's Genuine, aka "Cheers".  We have had so many fantastic meals there over the years that it was only fitting that it be the location of our final meal together before David and Paula left for Houston.  As usual, everything was on point and we ate, drank, and laughed for hours.  I will miss my friends a lot.

That dinner was held a mere 5 hours after I returned from Vegas and after 4 hours of sleep that night, I was off again.  This time the destination was Paradise Island in the Bahamas to spend a few days with my cousin, his wife, daughter, and my godson.  Seeing those kids run themselves ragged all over the water park at Atlantis was a lot of fun, albeit a bit draining haha.

I'm now back in Miami once again, enjoying some nice quiet time at home.  It won't be long before it's "wheels up" time again, Boston and Rockport being on the agenda first then a little time in New Hampshire and Maine for business.  Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things with this blog and start posting a little bit more regularly.  I hope all of my readers are having a kickass summer enjoying the beautiful weather, spending time with family, and eating well.  Until next time...