Our 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…
Our sponsor Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. is all about community. They 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). First up: Shipyard Galley in Mattapoisett. S & B has used Shipyard Galley to cater their past holiday parties and they know what a treasure it is.
Time to make the donuts debone the chicken.
Every morning, for the last thirteen years, Joe Sousa spends his morning deboning chickens, by hand. It’s not glamorous work but the owner of Shipyard Galley in Mattapoisett wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s used to putting his all into everything he serves at Shipyard Galley, his “scratch-made operation” that’s open 360 days a year.
The chickens are the star of one of his signature dishes: Tuscan Chicken. Other menu items may come and go but Tuscan Chicken is forever. One customer served it at a party. He came in the next day to tell Joe that one of his guests, who had travelled all
There have been reports of fields of onions buried in Idaho; milk dumped in Wisconsin and Ohio. An irony during this pandemic is that while shoppers have faced supermarket shortages, some farmers and fishermen are inundated with too much food because their normal chain is off as purchasing by restaurants, schools and hotels has cratered.
Photo: Jim Mahaney
Shopping Moves Directly to the Piers and Farms
Ironically, Troy Durr has never eaten a lobster in his life (he hates seafood). But his uncle and plenty of his friends are lobstermen. When he saw them struggling with this supply/demand dichotomy, the 25 year old Mattapoisett resident decided to do something about it. He let people know via Facebook that a lobster boat had lobsters that couldn’t be sold. Friends and neighbors came down to the pier and the lobsters sold out.
Troy created a Facebook group called SouthCoast Direct Source Seafood which is spreading exponentially (so good to hear about exponential growth not involving a virus). Fishermen hauling in fish, lobster and shellfish alert him when the boats are coming in. He lets the public know through the Facebook page.
We gathered four of the region’s most acclaimed confectioners and bakers for a little friendly competition: Whose signature dish makes for the best holiday dessert? Here are the entries for our Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off…
CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MOCHA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
by StacyCakes, Westport
LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE who stumbled into their life passion later in adulthood, STACY SILVA-BOUTWELL didn’t dream of being a baker when she was younger. She was a social worker for years until one day a friend asked her to make a Mario Brothers cake for her son.
Soon, she was taking all of her friends and family up on their requests for cakes, and eventually she left her career in social work because she became “so tired of everyone being sad and upset all the time. But cakes bring people joy.”
Her chocolate cake is rich and full of flavor. The frosting is light, but made with real espresso. The homemade white chocolate snowflakes, raspberries, sliced figs, and rosemary sprigs give a lively all-natural décor in the stripe of ganache over the top.
A GIFT-WRAPPED TIRAMASU
by Molly B’s Cakes of Distinction & Design, Berkley
EVEN THOUGH MARLENE SOUZA was quite successful making cakes, at 50, she decided to go back to school because “I wanted the qualifications behind me. I knew the cooking techniques, I just couldn’t name them.”
Two years later, she opened Molly B’s (it’s her childhood nickname). She takes great pride in her work: If a cake needs edible violets, she’ll grow and nurture them herself; if she has to pull an all-nighter to finish an elaborately designed wedding cake, she will.
A layer of ladyfingers is soaked with a coffee syrup, followed by a layer of tiramisu mousse topped with a layer of hand-shaved chocolate and coffee beans. The whole thing is repeated, topped again with the mousse and tied in a great big bow. Pirouline rolled cookies frame the dessert and Marlene adds edible decorations on top.
byArtisan Bake Shop, Rochester
IN 2005, MEREDITH CIABURRI-ROUSSEAU opened Artisan Bake Shop to produce delicious pastries AND whimsical cakes.
She trained at the Culinary Institute in the Hudson Valley and came back to New England for her food management bachelor at Johnson and Wales. She interned in restaurants on Lake George and in Vermont. Her most interesting custom cake assignment? She had to do a full-scale model of a Model T engine for the 80th birthday of a Model T club member.
“What I love about this cranberry fool is that it requires no baking,” she says. “Even though it is a cool dessert, it can be enjoyed in any season.”
CHOCOLATE YULE LOG
by Confections, Fall River
JIM KENNEDY’S SUGAR CREATIONS are pieces of art. His flowers look like the real thing. Hostesses from as far away as New York City and Newport call him when they need a unique and spectacularly designed cake for a celebration.
He has been working in restaurants since he was 16. When he graduated from dishwasher to prepping the desserts, he knew he had found his calling. One Christmas, in between restaurant jobs, he peddled gingerbread houses door-to-door in Newport before spending years at Seekonk’s Café in the Barn, owned by the television chef Bernard Devodet.
Jim’s gluten-free yule log is pillowy soft and deliciously pairs chocolate with coffee. The edible holly leaves and white chocolate snowflakes with a dusting of edible gold are festive and fun. Customers come back year after year for their yule logs.
PLEASE JOIN US NOVEMBER 16
THE GREAT SOUTH COAST HOLIDAY DESSERT BAKE-OFF will take place at Bristol Community College’s spectacular Sbrega Building. The four bakers will each present and talk about their dish to a panel of judges including Bristol Professor of Baking and Pastry Arts Gloria Cabral, the co-owner of Little Moss Restaurant (and winner of our readers’ vote for Best Dessert) Lisa Lofberg, and our editor Scott Lajoie. This will be followed by a tasting for audience members. All profits from the event will go to Bristol’s Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. For more details and to buy your $25 ticket, go here.
To read this and other great stories in our Holiday issue, subscribe right here and have the next 4 issues delivered straight to your door.
A few dairy farms that dot the landscape of the South Coast have persevered despite massive changes to the industry. Their secret to survival: going beyond pasteurized milk and venturing into products that both bring a better return on investment and broaden the flavors that characterize our local food stock.
At 63 years old, Wareham’s David Paling decided to embark on a second career as an oyster farmer. He shared his story with us in the current print issue of South Coast Almanac and we’re reprinting it here. Settle in and read his story (and join us for a boat ride to his shellfish grant on July 20th — details below)…
On good days being an oyster farmer can feel like you’ve got the best job in the world. When cool weather and low tides sync, and your boat is running well, and the tasks that day are not back-breaking, and all around you have hundreds of thousands of happy oysters suspended in their floating bags silently gobbling up planktonic food and growing like crazy, it is easy to reach the level of happiness that is elation. The miracle of farm raising Crassostrea virginica — Eastern oysters — can do this. Bliss comes in many forms: an hour or two wading in quiescent water and finding nothing wrong with gear, nor any evidence of human or natural predation; the freedom of being the master of your own liquid domain, driven by tide and weather rather than artificial schedules imposed by more traditional occupations; the thrill of seeing your crop — fingernail sized when you bought them from a hatchery — achieve the three-inch length, deep-cupped status required by today’s market forces; the wonder of nature all around you with cobalt skies and shimmering sun overhead and teal water below giving life to the likes of so many species. The list is simply too long to capture. In times like these, the work doesn’t seem like work, and you feel lucky to be amidst these marvels, a part of the ecosystemic, global spin.
David & Steve with the All In
But there are bad days as well, and it becomes quite clear that oyster farming is not easy money and physically not something that anyone can get up from their chair and do. To wit: Steve Patterson and myself, general partners and owners of Crooked River Shellfish Farm, have accidentally dumped our oysters on the substrate by miscalculating the mesh size of our containing bags. We’ve had closure flaps fail, spilling yet more of our young spat along the shallow bottom. We’ve bounced our boat — the ‘All In’ — off the docks. We’ve gone home bleeding from contact with razor-sharp barnacles and oyster shell edges. There have been other low points. The first day we found dead oysters, natural victims of the expected mortality rate dealing with them, I got a whiff for the first time of this necrotic slop and it smelled as bad as, no worse than, a dead oyster. The constant repetitions of hoisting some 183,000 oysters in and out of the boat for culling purposes has escalated degeneration and my arthritis has me hurting from topgallant mast to stern. And once, when replacing the drain plug after emptying the boat of sea water at full throttle, I threw myself, my wife and oldest daughter Carly all out of the ‘All In’ when it took a violent right turn the moment I let go of the wheel.
From time to time, we take our advertisers out to breakfast to review a local breakfast place for our readers. We recently invited Pete Covill of Humphrey, Covill & Coleman to join us for breakfast and he instantly said, “Why not lunch?”
Pete wanted us to check out the re-opened Lebanese Kitchen. But shhhh, it’s kind of an open secret…it’s not officially open yet. There’s been no grand opening. Although you wouldn’t know it from the crowds already heading there. The Lebanese Kitchen relocated to Mattapoisett after a fire 4 years ago decimated the family’s New Bedford location and their home. They’ve got super fans all over the South Coast going back over 35 years who have been waiting patiently for the last four years for the Moujabber family to reopen their restaurant.
It’s a family affair. Nabih and Nouhad Moujabber own the restaurant and their son Gary helps run it. Gary says,”My mom is the back of the house, I’m the front of the house. My dad is the whole house!” Nouhad arrives each day by8:00 to start making all the staples homemade from scratch: tabbouli, hummus, babaganoush. She’ll be there until after midnight many nights.
It’s a big change from their small 35 seat place on Purchase Street in New Bedford. The Mattapoisett location has seating for 250 and includes a large bar area. Gary says they’re still in the soft opening phase because they want to make sure they iron out the kinks for this much bigger operation. He wants everyone to be patient while they do this. Based on the crowds, I’d say they’re doing a great job of smoothing out the kinks.
We settled in and ordered the Maza, billed as a “tour and taste of Lebanon with our chef’s exotic Lebanese specialties served family style.” It is like a tasting menu, a smorgasbord of everything, in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. It seemed the perfect introduction to the Lebanese Kitchen and to Lebanese food in general.
It arrived and could probably have fed a small family: falafel, hummus, baba, tabbouli, chicken and kafta kebabs, mjadra (a thick lentil stew) and loubieh (string beans, tomatoes, onions and garlic sauteed in olive oil – so yummy!). Despite the abundance of food, we quickly made short order of it because you have to sample everything and one thing is better than the next. A special shout out for their special garlic paste which looked a little like mayonnaise but is actually almost entirely garlic emulsified in the blender to become a thick and creamy spread that makes everything taste even better: kebabs, pita, french fries. Gary jokes, “I brush my teeth with that stuff!”
As full as we were, we tried the baklava for dessert, homemade of course. Flaky pastry with sweet honey, pistachios and just a hint of rose water. I’m thinking next time I go, I may have my dessert first before I get too filled up.
We peeked into the kitchen to say goodbye to Nouhad who had overseen all this deliciousness. She was far younger than I thought. Her food made me think she was an ancient woman because her skill in the kitchen seems based on ages and ages of experience.
Pete Covill was a regular at their Purchase Street location, just a short jaunt from his insurance agency. Pete can fully appreciate the art in Nouhad’s cooking because he is an avid home cook. He knows good food. Follow Pete’s lead and become a regular at the Lebanese Kitchen. (We’re thinking of following his lead on all things culinary!)
When the Moujabber’s original place burned up, Pete was there helping to carry things out. He cried with the family. His clients become his family. He does all sorts of things for them: he bought a tuxedo and waited tables for one client, he gets up in the middle of the night when their pipes burst, he even helped pick out the wines for the Lebanese Kitchen. His father Raymond instilled in him this conscientiousness. He remembers an elderly woman coming in with her car which had graffiti all over it. It was an older car and she had no coverage for this kind of damage. Raymond and Pete went out to the parking lot, got some polish from Raymond’s car and they polished the graffiti right off her car. Pete proudly notes, “My cell phone number is on the front door.” His clients know how to reach him and he picks up the phone. No matter where or when it rings.
Pete is pretty passionate about insurance. It’s not put-on, it’s really genuine. Over lunch, he told me with enthusiasm that there’s never been a better time to be in insurance than right now because with the de-regulation of the coastal flooding programs, he can get significant deals for homeowners who need flood insurance. It makes him almost giddy when he’s able to reduce homeowners’ insurance sometimes by thousands and thousands of dollars. He’s the guy that real estate agents call when their clients are having trouble getting a mortgage because they’ve been told that a coastal home is uninsurable. If you want to check in with him, give him a call. His number is plastered on the door of his agency so he said it’s okay to plaster it here: 508-264-0130.
From time to time, we take our advertisers out to breakfast to review a local breakfast place for our readers. Because, really, who doesn’t love breakfast? Most recently, we had breakfast with Cindy Parola of LaForce Realty…..
Cindy Parola is a local’s local and she really knows her stuff, whether that is real estate or home fries. I knew she’d be a good person to ask about breakfast spots. When I asked her to pick a place to review, she chose the Riverside Cafe on Wareham’s Main Street.
I got there a few minutes early and took a look at the menu. I had settled on the Green Pig (spinach, sausage and mozzarella cheese omelet) before Cindy arrived and the waitress came over to give us the specials. There were a half dozen specials but one stood out and made me forget the Green Pig: morning glory pancakes. Like a morning glory muffin, but in a pancake form. With coconut too. I know people have strong opinions about coconut. Me, I love it. Put it in any dish and I want that dish. (“Coconut infused fried kidney livers?” Sure! Sign me up!)
So I put away the menu and ordered the morning glory pancakes. Cindy chose the Main Street Special. She told me she picked Riverside because the hash is amazing. Then she realized she hadn’t even ordered the hash. “Yeah,” she said, “the problem is that it’s all good.” She also likes that everything in Riverside is mismatched, like our coffee cups were. She took a second glance at one of them, “I think this is my Black Dog mug.”
When her order arrived, she told me Riverside makes the best home fries she’s ever had and she let me try them. She’s right. They are stupendous. Crispy like no others I’ve ever had. They are seriously worth a trip, even if you hail from the other end of the South Coast. Even if you’re coming from Boston.
While we happily ate our breakfast, we talked about Cindy’s work and life here.
Her family story reads like the American dream. Her grandfather came to the United States from Greece. He started working as a shoeshiner, then got a pushcart in downtown New Bedford selling produce before purchasing a wholesale route and opening a storefront on Wareham’s Main Street (where Mumma Marys is now). Then he started buying bogs at Mary’s Pond in Rochester and started farming cranberries. Real estate was important to him and Cindy absorbed his lessons (“always buy corner properties” and “you can always make more money but you can’t make more land.”)
Cindy inherited his worth ethic. “I don’t do anything half-assed,” she says frankly. “I was taught that an A- wasn’t good enough. The bar was set high. I was also told I had to participate.” At Old Rochester Regional High School, she participated in theater, track, volleyball, band and chorus. She took the late bus home every day which set her up for the grueling schedule she’s maintained throughout her life. In many ways, she has carried on her grandfather’s legacy of land and cranberries — she’s been president of Decas Cranberries for 20 years and she’s also a real estate broker affiliate at LaForce Realty. But she’s done so many other things: she owned a liquor store in Wareham when she was just 17 [before she was legally of drinking age!]; she finished college in 3 years; she served on the Wareham School Committee and Board of Selectman; she’s hosted two dozen Cape Cod League baseball players.
She’s got a sharp wit and is full of surprises. She seems tenacious and tough but I thought I detected something else under all toughness. I’ve noticed that she’s the first to support the members in our 6 Degrees Networking group. I told her I thought I had cracked her secret. That underneath it all, she is kind. She laughed. “I’m not kind,” she said, definitively. “No,” she repeated for emphasis. “I’m not.”
I was a little surprised because who doesn’t want to be seen as kind? I tried a different approach. “Well, you’re loyal then.”
“Nope,” she countered. “I’m not loyal.”
“But you’re such a great supporter of all the small businesses in our group,” I argue back. “I go to sign up for a yoga class and you’ve written the testimonial on the website.”
She was having none of it. “I’m fiercely protective of my reputation,” she said. “I want to try people out before recommending them. I’m not going to recommend people who I don’t use myself.” Fair enough. She knows a lot of people and a lot of people know her. “If you own a liquor store when you’re 17, trust me you know everyone,” she says. It makes sense that she is fierce about her reputation. (Still, I think there’s at least a little kindness mixed in there too.)
So here are the takeaways from breakfast with Cindy Parola.
The Riverside Cafe is amazing. We both give it an A.
The home fries are the best we’ve ever ate.
Morning Glory Pancakes with warm syrup should be a regular part of anyone’s life.
Cindy is supposedly neither kind, nor loyal.
She is a connector.
I should go back to Riverside for the hash.
Check out the homefries yourself at Riverside Cafe, 189 Main Street, Wareham, 508-295-2050. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, 6 am to 1 pm.
To find out more about Cindy’s real estate practice (commercial, residential, you name it — she knows it all), go here.
And, finally, to keep up with breakfast place reviews and lots more going on in the area, sign up here.
Put January behind you! We’re chugging toward spring and we’ve got 8 Great Things to keep you busy in February. March will be here before you know it!
The perfect way to get the whole family into the Valentine’s Day spirit! The Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Saturday at the Sawmill series is hosting a Nature Valentine making program, including a short walk around the Sawmill to find natural materials to create the valentines. The program is free, bring your little ones and learn about wildlife around the Sawmill while getting an early start on your valentines! The Sawmill, 32 Mill Road, Acushnet. February 3, starting at 11 am (the Hawes Family Learning center is open 10am-1pm). Learn more here.
Frederick Douglass Read-a-thon
You know how much we love a good community read-a-thon (see our January pick for the Moby Dick Read-a-thon). If you missed January’s event, you’ve got a second chance! 2018 is the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’ birth, and the New Bedford Historical Society is celebrating with its 18th Annual Frederick Douglass Community Read-a-thon. Celebrate Douglass’ life (and his connections to New Bedford!) by reading along to excerpts from his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Sunday, February 11, 2-6pm at the First Unitarian Church, 71 Eighth Street, New Bedford. See here for more information. If you’re interested in being a reader, contact the New Bedford Historical Society by emailing [email protected]
Snowshoe the Shoreline!
BYOSS (bring your own snow shoes or rent them here)!! Hike along the beach loop trail of Allens Pond Sanctuary with Mass Audubon. The walk is approximately 2 miles long and promises views of winter wildlife and the channel that feeds Allens Pond. Along the way, you’ll look for migrating snowy owls and waterfowl and track the signs of animal activity. The walk will continue even without snow, in that case, just bring hiking boots! February 11, 10 am – 2 pm. Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, 1280 Horseneck Road, Westport ($10 for members, $12 for non-members). Learn more here.
It’s Fat Tuesday!
Brass Bands and jambalaya buffets and auctions, oh my! Come out and celebrate Mardi Gras in style with the South Coast Brass Band at the Greasy Luck Brewery. The event benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Greater New Bedford and has a jambalaya buffet and dancing, as well as an auction to benefit the club. So get moving for a good cause! Tickets range from $50-$60 and can be purchased here. February 13, 7-11pm, Greasy Luck Brewpub, 791 Purchase Street, New Bedford.
Catch Some Magic!
As winter trudges on, we all need a little extra magic. Join the Masters of Illusion (the nation’s number one touring magic show!) to get your fill and experience a modern twist on the traditional magic show. Check out this video below for a sneak peek of what to expect! February 15, 8 pm. The Zeiteron, 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford. For more information and to buy tickets, go here.
We love Farm & Coast Market, and we love that they strive to be the front porch, kitchen, and family room of Padanaram. This month, you can get cooking with them and learn how to whip up a French Bistro style menu (including a roast chicken!). The timing of the class is perfect for a late Valentine’s Day date — and we’re sure you’ll continue impressing your friends and family with all your new skills. February 15, 6:30 -8:30pm. Reservations are required, call or email Farm & Coast to make yours (774-992-7092 or [email protected]). 7 Bridge Street, Dartmouth.
24 Hour Theater Project
Scripts written, scenes rehearsed, lines learned, shows performed; all in 24 hours!
The Collective New Bedford is hosting their 2018 Kickoff, featuring original 10 minute plays and performances that are completely created and performed in just 24 hours. You don’t have to be an actor (or a writer, or a director) to get in on the fun (although check out their Facebook page if you want to audition. Auditions are coming up this week!) The day’s creations will be performed twice, admission is $10 and you can reserve seats by emailing [email protected]. February 17, performances at 7 and 9 pm at Gallery X, 169 Williams Street, New Bedford.
A Little Fiddlin’
Every fourth Saturday, fiddlers gather on the South Coast for food, dancing, and jamming. There’s good music, great pizza, and it’s open to all. If you’re a musician, bring your instrument (it doesn’t have to be a fiddle! Guitars, banjos, cellos, and all other string instruments are welcome). Otherwise, come prepared to listen and dance. Check out this video of December’s session (and keep your eyes peeled for the cutest young fiddler jamming along, around 30 seconds in!). This month’s session is February 24 at 4:30 pm at Brick, 213 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven. See the their Facebook page for more information on Old Time Fiddle Session.
It’s 11:00 am on a weekday (and workday) morning and I’m sitting with what looks like a Guiness draft in front of me. What’s going on?
At Dog Days Cafe in Onset, Lexie just poured me a glass of nitro brew, the newest coffee trend and it may be the best so far. It’s cold brew coffee, poured straight from a keg and, although Lexie swears there’s nothing but coffee in it, it looks suspiciously creamy.
What is it?
Nitro brew is coffee with nitrogen gas percolated into it. Its resemblance to Guiness Stout is no surprise. Many light beers use carbon dioxide for the fizz, but Irish brewers have long been adding nitrogen gas to the darker stouts and ales, creating a smoother, thicker taste. It was only a matter of time before hipster coffeemakers decided to try it. Though it’s unclear where the trend started (some say in Portland, Oregon, others say Austin, Texas or Astoria, New York), it’s made its way to the South Coast.
The result: a smooth, sweet brew that looks (and tastes) like you’ve already added some sugar and cream. Lexie says that while she generally likes her coffee “light and sweet” she doesn’t add anything to her nitro coffee. (Bonus! You’ve saved those 90 or so calories for something else.)
At Dog Days, they start with kegs of their cold-brew which have been saturated with their signature Scandinavian coffee beans for 72 hours. Lexi pours a glass from a tap that combines the cold-brew with a canister of nitrogen which sits besides the keg. She’s right. It tastes smooth and creamy, delicious.
Who’s drinking it?
Lots of people! At Dog Days, it’s outselling cold brew by almost 4 to 1. Many people are willing to go with the higher price tag ($5 for a small) because it tastes so smooth (and maybe because it delivers more of a caffeine kick). People on the night shift love it. Lexie says that police officers swear by it. They come in before their 16 hour shifts to buy growlers filled with the stuff.