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Author: Marlissa Briggett

Food & Family: Valentine’s Weekend on the South Coast

Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is sending us around town to their favorite food spots because they know that this year, more than ever, our favorite restaurants need a shout-out. S&B wanted to focus on Valentine’s Day this month — so we found a pair of restaurant love stories….

restaurant love storiesCarol Lareau sees a lot of date nights at her restaurant, Tastebuds in Mattapoisett. She can often tell when there’s a special spark. But she says there are 2 seats in particular that have proved lucky for love: seats 7 and 8 at the bar. She even has conjured a special rhyme for the phenomenon, “Bar seat 7 and 8, Bring a date, Soon to be your mate!”

More than one couple have had their first date at those seats and gone on to long term relationships. We caught up with one of them…

Michael & Jennifer

restaurant love stories

Jennifer & Michael in seats 7 and 8

When Michael and Jennifer showed up on their first date to take seats 7 and 8, Carol says, “I could feel the energy, I called Jennifer’s sister, ‘Hey, something’s going on!'” Before Jennifer made it out the door, she had a text from her sister “Are you on a date with Mike?!” By the time she got home, she says everyone knew.

It wasn’t supposed to be a date. After bumping into each other while separately running, Jennifer and Michael made plans to run together after work. They enjoyed each other’s company so much, they wanted to extend it so they decided to go eat. “We were both so excited, we didn’t even want to go home to shower first,” Jennifer says. On that hot July day, they showed up at Tastebuds sweaty and dirty.  Jennifer wants to be clear about one thing: Tastebuds is a nice restaurant, not the kind of place you show up with your phone tucked into a sports bra, but the connection with Mike was so intense, “apparently I didn’t care. The whole world didn’t matter.”

Restaurant love storiesOver 5 years later, they’re still excited to sit in seats 7 and 8. They’ve bought a house together in the Village “walkable to Tastebuds — it had to be walkable to Tastebuds.” And whenever they can, they sit in those special seats. The magic’s still there.

restaurant love stories

Pictured right: fire roasted shrimp with housemade salsa and wonton chips.

Tastebuds will be open this weekend (including Sunday brunch) for your own love story. They’ll be serving their special Valentine’s menu on Saturday and Sunday. Seats 7 and 8 still have some openings but they’re going fast.  For takeout, preorder on Friday for Saturday pickup and Saturday for Sunday pickup.  Tastebuds, 42 Main Street, Mattapoisett.

Chris & Jen

Chris & Jen Thibeault

Just down Route 6 in Marion, you’ll find chef-owner Chris Thibeault in the kitchen of Atlantic Bistro who has his own very personal restaurant love story. He met his wife Jen when she was a bartender and he was a sous-chef at Mount Blue in Norwell (owned by Joe Perry and Steven Tyler). Unlike our previous couple, Chris’ love story was a little rockier. Jen had a boyfriend when they met but that was not the only obstacle. The problem was that she didn’t really like Chris. He says, “she thought I was particularly cheesy.”

He persevered in proving her wrong. Then, when Jen and her boyfriend broke up, “I saw an opening and made my move,” he says. That was more than 20 years ago so it’s worked out pretty well for him. Jen was instrumental in helping Chris launch Atlantic Bistro in 2017 where he brought his European inspired dishes to Marion.

Atlantic Bistro is closed on Sundays so this year, Chris will be spending Valentine’s Day with Jen. You wonder what a high end chef does for Valentine’s Day? They’ll likely go to brunch for bloody marys and eggs benedict, their usual Sunday treat. But it doesn’t have to be even that elaborate, he says, “if someone makes me a grilled cheese and I don’t have to cook it, I’m happy.”

In the meantime, he’s also happy to transport you away on Friday and Saturday with his food. You can’t jump on a plane to Paris for Valentine’s Day but you can have some French-inspired food at Atlantic Bistro (think duck confit poutine, mushroom tartine, classic pate). You can also try some other specials that will make you feel like you’ve travelled far away from 02738.

After dinner, while you’re savoring the Moroccan-inspired Cardamom and Coriander Cake with chai syrup, topped with a whipped honey syrup (courtesy of Chef de Cuisine Tom Kilbourne), give a silent thanks to Jen for giving Chris a chance two decades ago.

Atlantic Bistro, 167 Spring Street, Marion. 

 

We hope you enjoyed this post, which is part of a series of blog posts celebrating local food spots, sponsored by Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., the premier estate planning and elder law practice serving clients in Southeastern Massachusetts. Surprenant & Beneski, PC  can help you prepare the foundational documents needed to facilitate healthcare, financial and legal decisions should a medical crisis occur. Early planning can save money, heartache and angst during a temporary bout of incapacity or a long-term care event. Getting your estate plan in order gives you peace of mind – is it on your to-do list for 2021? Find out more about them here.

In the meantime, if you want to make sure you don’t miss learning the next of S&B’s other favorite food spots, sign up here.

Last post in the series: Margaret’s in Fairhaven — Catch the seafood at Margaret’s right here.Margaret's in Fairhaven

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8 Great Things: February on the South Coast!

Forget about whether the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2. February 2 is also known as Candlemas, an ancient festival marking the midpoint of winter, halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox! Doesn’t that sound more positive than pinning our hopes on a groundhog? To nudge us even closer to spring, we’ve rounded up 8 Great Things for you to do in the month ahead, with many thanks to Anne Whiting Real Estate for sponsoring this!

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Food & Family: Catch the Seafood at Margaret’s

Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is sending us around town to their favorite food spots because they know this this year, more than ever, our favorite restaurants need a shout-out. S&B loves Margaret’s in Fairhaven and they had a special reason for sending us there this month…

Margaret’s chef-owner Doug Buker started as a dishwasher at Seekonk’s Cafe in the Barn when he was 15 years old. Mostly, he was drawn to the kitchen because it paid better than his other gig: caddying at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth. But soon, he was moving up in kitchens from Houston to Providence: from washing dishes to prepping the food, he joined the line, moved up the line, and then eventually landed at head chef. He is now owner-chef of the beloved Margaret’s and its sister restaurant Elisabeth’s (note: Elisabeth’s is hibernating until spring).

Margaret's in FairhavenHe’s there every morning at 6 am (usually earlier), literally playing with fire. The sauté pans sit on open flames ready for action, even when they’re empty. “If you’re cooking, and you’re a sauté chef, you better have a hot pan!” he says.

Margaret's in FairhavenFor Doug, it’s all about colors. That’s what he’s thinking about when he creates a dish. He wants greens, reds, whites, and oranges on the plate. It’s pretty, yes, but it’s also the way we should be eating for heart health. That is one of the reasons we approached Doug about healthy eating choices for this series. Our sponsor Surprenant & Beneski’s senior partner, Dan Surprenant had some very personal reasons. It was just one year ago that Dan had major heart attack followed by a quadruple bypass, at just 51 years of age. Happily, Dan has had a great recovery but, like many of us, is looking for ways to incorporate heart healthy eating into his diet. We thought that Margaret’s, with its focus on seafood (within sight of the scallop and fishing boats plying the Acushnet River), seemed a great place to turn.

Margaret's in FairhavenWhen we asked Doug to recreate one of his favorite seafood dishes, he suggested four (!). Sure, we said, because why not? Doug started flying gracefully around the kitchen prepping the food: grabbing some greens, grilling some asparagus, frying up some sweet potato shoestrings and more. In less than half an hour, he was ready for the photo shoot.

Margarets in FairhavenOne of his favorite dishes is the fresco haddock which is also one of Margaret’s most popular. You’ve got the haddock, which is lightly fried, set atop a bed of greens and a fresh tomato-basil relish and then garnished with shoestring sweet potato fries. He garnishes it with some lemon aioli and lemon zest and, bam, you’re getting all your colors. He wasn’t done with haddock though. He grilled some and combined it with grilled asparagus, pesto and almonds. Then he wowed us with grilled scallops with a maple-mustard sauce that he used for a scallop salad. He also paired the scallops with corn relish, greens and mashed potatoes for yet another variation.

In the same way that Doug juggles multiple dinners, he also juggles running both kitchens — he credits his amazing team for making it work (shout out to Brad!). Doug likes that the two restaurants each have their own flavor. Margaret’s is a breakfast and lunch place, where you can BYOB. Elisabeth’s is for lunch or a night out, with a full service bar.

Margaret's in FairhavenYou may see Doug darting between the two kitchens during the day in the little alley between the two buildings. But you won’t see him out front as he prefers staying in the background. When we asked him to sit down in the dining room to try his own scallops, he said it was a first, “I’ve never sat out here before,” he said. He took a forkful and nodded, “tastes good.” That’s definitely an understatement. Everyone else thinks it tastes great.

Longtime waitress Diane Downey says she loves working at Margaret’s. “I love the locals coming in. The food – everything is fresh, nothing from a box. I’m proud to serve it.”

Photos by Liam Connor Photography

Margaret’s, 16 Main Street, Fairhaven. Elisabeth’s is closed until spring.

We hope you enjoyed this post, which is part of a series of blog posts celebrating local food spots, sponsored by Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., the premier estate planning and elder law practice serving clients in Southeastern Massachusetts. This month marks one year since Managing Partner Dan Surprenant personally recognized the value of being prepared in the event of a medical crisis. Read Dan’s heartfelt story here. Surprenant & Beneski, PC  can help you prepare the foundational documents needed to facilitate healthcare, financial and legal decisions should a medical crisis occur. Early planning can save money, heartache and angst during a temporary bout of incapacity or a long-term care event. Getting your estate plan in order gives you peace of mind – is it on your to-do list for 2021? Find out more about them here.

In the meantime, if you want to make sure you don’t miss learning about more of S&B’s other favorite food spots, sign up here.

Last post in the series: New Bedford’s The Baker — Click here to see Brandon Roderick whip up some cronuts….

The Baker

Margaret's in Fairhaven

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Food, Family & Holidays: The Baker’s Cronut Pop-ups

The Baker

Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is sending us around town to their favorite food spots because they know this time of year is all about food and family (and also because this year, more than ever, our favorite small businesses need a shout-out). S&B loves to get lunch from The Baker in downtown New Bedford so we went to find out what Brandon Roderick was up to…

The BakerWhen it was first introduced by Dominique Ansel in 2013, the cronut — a combination croissant/donut — caused a bit of a ruckus in NYC. People lined up around the block to buy them at his bakery. Scalpers bought and resold them for many times the original price — at one point, they were charging $100 per cronut and $5,000 for a 20-piece order.  This winter, The Baker in New Bedford brings the cronut to the South Coast.

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8 Great Things: January on the South Coast!

We’ve already thrown out our 2020 calendar and we’re excited to greet 2021! To get us off on the right foot, we’ve found 8 Great Things for you to do in the month ahead, with many thanks to Anne Whiting Real Estate for sponsoring this fun list!

1. Run Away!

Some of us may have picked up some bad habits in 2020. Start some good ones this month by joining the

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Food, Family & Holidays: Dorothy Cox’s Cocoa Bombs

Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is sending us around town to their favorite food spots because they know this time of year is all about food and family (and also because this year, more than ever, our favorite small businesses need a shout-out). Dorothy Cox Candies & Ice Cream is where S&B went for holiday gifts this year, so we paid them a visit… 

Cocoa bombs have a much better ring to them than Zoom bombs. Dorothy Cox’s Candies & Ice Cream is working overtime to end 2020 on the cocoa bomb note.

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Malasadas & Moonshine: Food, Family & Holidays

Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is sending us around town to their favorite food spots to find out their holiday specialties because they know this time of year is all about family and food (and because this year, more than ever, our favorite restaurants need a shout-out). Tia Maria’s European Cafe is a favorite spot from which Suprenant & Beneski frequently orders lunch…. 

Tia Maria'sShe had me at malasadas. Then she added “we make it with moonshine and lemon zest” and I was setting up the photo shoot.

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Food, Family & Holidays: Brick Pizzeria

Brick PizzeriaOur sponsor Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. asked us to feature some of their favorite local restaurants during the holidays because they know this time of year is all about family and food (and because this year, more than ever, our favorite restaurants need a shout-out). S & B likes to order lunch regularly from Brick Pizzeria because the pizza is oh-so-good. While they are in the know about Brick’s secrets for a stand out pizza, most people we asked were as surprised as we were to learn just why Brick’s pizzas are so good… 

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8 Great Things: December on the South Coast

December is that super busy time of year when we’re overwhelmed with parties, shopping, cooking, entertaining. Except not this year. Sure, we’ll still be busy getting ready for the holidays but our calendars are going to be a lot more open. So use this year as an excuse to slow down a little and build in  some quality time celebrating all the wonders the South Coast has to offer. Enjoy our 8 Great Things for the month ahead, with many thanks to Anne Whiting Real Estate for sponsoring this fun list!

The Symphony Shop’s ChrisMoose sporting a ukelele that could be yours!

1. Uke Can Do It!

Just say the word ukulele and the corners of your mouth start turning up. It just conjures up the feeling of  happiness and good times. So there has never been a better time to pick up the ukulele than now. The Z is obliging by offering us a 4 week virtual classes for kids and adults, beginners and advanced beginners. And may we suggest you check out the Symphony Shop in Dartmouth to buy your ukulele. See here to register for the classes.

2. Say Bakery Bike 5 Times Fast

The Starchasers are meeting at the Buzzards Bay Coalition headquarters in New Bedford’s downtown for a slow ride around the city that they’ve dubbed the Casual Bakery Bike Tour. We love every word in that name: Bakery, Casual. Bike. Tour. Join them on Saturday, December 5 at 9:30. Registration is free but you must register here. Register early because space is limited.

3. To Market, To Market

Tiverton is keeping its farmer’s market going through the winter in the airy and light-filled community hall at Sandywoods Center for the Arts where they’ll open all the windows and doors to let the outside in (and increase air flow). With safe, easy access to fresh and local produce, meats, seafood, art, and music every Tuesday — rain or shine — from 2 to 6 pm, we bet it’ll be the highlight of your winter weeks. 43 Muse Way, Tiverton. Starting December 15, through the winter. See more here.

4. Snow Place Like Home

The 1834 Rotch-Jones-Duff mansion is dressed to the nines for the holiday season and the garden will be illuminated from sundown on, seven days a week. Even better — on Fridays in December, they will have family friendly themed nights (like Ugly Sweater Spirit Night and Hoe, Hoe, Hoedown!) See more here.

5. The Show Must Go On

The New Bedford Symphony’s Holiday Pops concert is an annual tradition and they’re not letting us down this year! They’ve got lots of treats: the NBSO musicians will be performing holiday favorites at festive South Coast locations, the Showstoppers will be there, and — special treat — Broadway’s Elena Shaddow will sing holiday songs with Yaniv’s virtual accompaniment. Tickets are just $10 and you’ll receive a private Youtube link — you can watch the performance when it first airs on December 19th and for the month following that. See more here. 

6. Celebrate the Solstice

Start the shortest day of the year off with a little nature and community. The Buzzards Bay Coalition has a sunrise stroll on the Solstice. It makes our list every December because we love the idea of joining together on the solstice. We also love the idea that from here on out guys, each day gets a little longer! Monday, December 21 at 6:30 a.m. Registration is free but you must register here. 

Artisan Bake Shop7. D-I-Y Christmas Fun

We love cookies. And we love decorating them. What don’t we love? We don’t love gathering all the things needed to create beautifully decorated treats. Meredith Rousseau jumps in to rescue us! Order her Artisan Bake Shop kits to make cute cottages or colorful mittens and you’ll be able to throw yourself right into the decorating. Everything you need comes in the kits. And you know the cookies are made locally, with love. Artisan Bake Shop, 265 Walnut Plain Road, Rochester.

8. Wander A Bit

We’re adding something a little outside our borders because this will make you feel like you’ve really travelled across space and time. Rather than a stuck-at-home resident of 2020, pretend you’re a nineteenth century resident of the Gilded Age. The Breakers mansion in Newport is all gussied up for guests for the holidays and has a sparkling light show starting daily at 4 pm. Guests can purchase hot beverages (including adult beverages) to enjoy while strolling the grounds outside. See more here. 

There you go, 8 Great Things for a wonderful December. Again, our great thanks to Anne Whiting Real Estate in Dartmouth for sponsoring this blog. Want to show them you appreciate them as much as we do? Give them a like on Facebook right here!

 

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A Westport Cottage: Space of Calm & Respite

When Liz Farley was seeking solace from the bustle of life and work in the Boston area, she started renting houses in Westport. She grew up visiting Cape Cod, but when her elderly parents sold their home in Osterville, which she had often frequented, she saw that as a sign to identify and embrace another coastal community. “Farmland by the ocean— that is my ideal place,” she says.

Somewhat surprisingly, she didn’t seek out summer rentals, but off-season ones, so as to have a place to get away for weekends. She rented on Westport Point, but while she loved the people, she knew that if she eventually retired there, summertime crowds would make it far busier and reduce her privacy.

Westport cottageHer next rental was further set back from the shore, on Fisherville Lane. She loved it, and she needed it. She had abruptly left her long-time career and now had a new full-time commitment: taking care of her brother, who had been in a bad accident.

Westport cottage

Unfortunately, when she was ready to buy, finding the right property proved elusive. Thankfully, a neighborhood a little further up the Westport River had a home for sale that jumped out at her right away. Cadman’s Neck is a little community that had once been home to a religious camp, where only a dozen or so modest houses or cabins are sprinkled about. This particular house abutted Paradise Hill Farm and Westport River Winery, with the East branch of the Westport River only a stone’s throw away.

 

It was a small 1,300 square foot Victorian cottage. Never in her wildest dreams did Farley expect to purchase a Victorian cottage in Westport, but she loved it the moment she drove up to it. She bought the house fully furnished.

Westport Cottage

She realized that many pieces in the home—brought back to life with a little Murphy Oil Soap—fit her style perfectly. Those pieces included some artwork, chairs, and the kitchen table, among other things.

She walked into Pam Manchester’s Westport shop and said, “I think I need help. I bought a house and am confused as to how to set it up.” Farley had never worked with a designer before. Even when she renovated her historic Charlestown home, she had only “hired people to reupholster and choose fabrics.” Manchester visited not only Farley’s recently purchased cottage, but her permanent residence as well. And with the boon of quality pieces left in the house, “we had the perfect opportunity to mix old and new,” says Manchester, who was in the antique furniture business before opening Manchester Interiors. She has been advising her ever since, and this year helped Farley choose all new outdoor furniture for the large outdoor patio space.

Westport CottageThey started with a color palette, working off a base of soft beige, which complements the light blue, green, and various wood tones throughout the house. Then they began addressing her needs—adding antique tables in some places, chairs and other furniture in others. “We didn’t see the need to go shopping in a bunch of antique shops,” says Farley. “Many items came from Pam’s store.” On a few occasions, they had some things custom-made. Manchester had Tiverton’s Scott James Furniture make custom beds, nightstands, and a coffee table.

Westport Cottage

Farley liked the artwork on the walls, from etchings of whales to old portraits of people. Above the fireplace is a landscape of Race Point in Provincetown. After a little research, Farley learned that it was coincidentally created by an artist in Charlestown, where it turns out, the previous owners had also lived. There are a lot of nods to nature, in fact. The organic patterns on pillows in the master bedroom are abstract shapes, looking somewhat like sea anemones. A mirror outlined by what looks to be deer antlers mimics the shape of the Victorian windows and is placed purposely in its spot as the roofline would not accommodate a normal rectangular one.

Westport Cottage

One of the final spaces to tackle was the room above the detached garage. They had a great starting point with wonderful ship lap throughout. Farley kept the two twin beds and painted the frames, but because they were narrower than usual twins to fit the space, she had to have mattresses and box springs custom made. A dresser that had been unused in the garage was cleaned and placed right between the beds to vary the color scheme. “COVID has accelerated my interest in being here full-time,” says Farley. “I love the privacy, and it’s my place of calm and respite.”

Written by Scott Lajoie, Photographs by Nat Rhea. To view more of Manchester Interiors’ work, go to manchesterinteriors.com.

This feature came from our current issue, on newsstands now. You can see the feature as it appeared in our pages right here.

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