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Weekend Escape to the Cape: Local Eats (and drinks) in Chatham, MA

Everyone needs to get out of the City every once in awhile… especially as it rapidly approaches August, and the temperature just as quickly approaches one-hundred plus degrees. Thus, I jumped on my friend Matt’s invitation to his Cape house for the weekend. The weekend trip proved to be an excellent oppurtunity to relax, catch up (our college friend and my former roommate Sara also joined us), get some sun (though Matt wasn’t as enthusiastic about tanning as I was), and of course search out some great local foods from Cape Cod.

The most obvious source of fresh local food on the Massachusetts island is it’s bounty of sea food. We stopped for a little over a dozen Wellfleet oysters at the Chatham Fish and Lobster Co. upon our arrival, and watched some seals and fishing boats off the pier behind the shop. As if this wasn’t distance enough from the sights, sounds, and smells of summer in the city, we soon ventured back to Matt’s family’s house and ate our oysters on the half shell and drank (several) beers on his spacious back porch. The afternoon sun was still warm, and his backyard was completely quiet. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the perfect brineyness of the oysters that were well worth all of our (Matt’s) labor opening them.

We ate dinner that night at Blue Coral Seaside Cuisine, an eatery set back on Chatham’s mainstreet. Shaded by a vine-covered lattace canopy, this little eatery had a lot of character– and while the food was nothing too exciting, they did serve Magic Hat’s Summer Brew- Wacko on tap– my favorite summer beer.

The next day, Matt and I ventured to P-Town. Both big Bourdain fans, we expected to find the P-Town illustrated in Kitchen Confidential, and were suprised instead to see a large number of families, cruising the quaint streets, that just happened to have a lot of posters for drag shows, bondage clubs, and the like in the store front windows. Maybe it’s more interesting at night. For food we stopped at Bubalas By the Bay a crowded place with outdoor seating, an ecclectic seafood-centered menu, and Cape Cod IPA on tap.

On the way home we stopped at a farm-stand we had noticed on the way up and picked up a bunch of new red potatoes, sweet corn, and garlic for our dinner that night. The farm-stand didn’t have a huge selection, but MA is just a little behind NY in it’s growing season. The bearded salesman with the “I LOVE BACON” tee-shirt really made it for us though.

We also stopped at Nauset Fish and Lobster Pool for all of our seafood. We selected 2 lbs of mussels, 2 lbs of steamers, 1 lb of shrimp, and 2 one-and-a-half lb lobsters for our clambake.

For the clambake, I boiled the potatoes and then added them to a blend of shallots(2), crushed garlic (4 cloves), olive oil, and a bottle of white wine. I added the lobster first (cracking them first, adding just the tails and claws), and after about 3 minutes added the mussels, steamers, and then lastly, the shrimp, and a good amount of fresh parsley. Delicious! Also for dessert I made a simple (and easy) peach and raspberry crisp following a recipe by Ina Garten, find it here.

Matt and Sara, bibs and all.

For lunch everyday we stopped at either the Chatham Bakery, or at the Chatham Village Cafe, a cute sandwich shop near the beach with New England themed names to their menu, such as the Boatyard, and the Ivy Leaguer which we had with smoked turkey, avocado, roasted peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and havarti dill cheese. We also sipped iced coffee brewed from beans from the Chatham Coffee Co.

Our favorite meal of the weekend was at the Impudent Oyster, an old Chatham establishment, with a very classic simple interior, and simply delicious food.

For more information on local food on Cape Cod, visit their extensive Buy Fresh Buy Local website, here.

All and all I could not have asked for a better weekend trip. As I have said before, you can never go wrong with good friends and good food. I look forward to visiting the Cape again, and looking a little closer at the Buy Fresh Buy Local website, and finding out what else Cape Cod has to offer besides it’s sensational sea food. and of course, thanks again Matt for having me this weekend!

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