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Category: Food

The Great South Coast Holiday Dessert Bake-Off

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…

Great South Coast Bake-OffCHOCOLATE 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.

8 Great ThingsA 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.

Great South Coast Bake-OffCRANBERRY FOOL

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.

Great South Coast Holiday Bake-OffPLEASE 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.

 

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Got Milk? Dairy Farming on the South Coast

Dairy Farming on the South Coast

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.

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Hello Oysters! Reflections from a Wareham Oyster Farmer

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.

oyster farmer

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.

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A Tour of Lebanon and At the Beach By 3:00…

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 by 8:00 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.

Find Lebanese Kitchen at 79 Fairhaven Road, Mattapoisett. Find Pete at Humphrey, Covill & Coleman Insurance Agency at 195 Kempton Street, New Bedford.

And, finally, to keep up with South Coast Almanac’s restaurant hopping and lots more going on in the area, sign up here.

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The Best Homefries We’ve Ever Had

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.”

homefriesWhen 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.

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8 Great Things! February on the South Coast

Things to do

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!

Nature Valentines

February on the South CoastThe 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

Frederick Douglass Read-A-ThonYou 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!

February on the South CoastBYOSS (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.

February on the South CoastCatch 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.

February on the South CoastGet Cookin’!

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’

February on the South CoastEvery 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.

That’s all — enjoy this short month!

Do you want to keep up with everything local and wonderful — from nature walks to food to people to shopping to events? Sign up for periodic updates here.

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The Buzziest of Buzzes: Nitro Coffee on the South Coast

Nitro brew South Coast

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.

Nitro Brew Onset

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.)

Scientists are trying to figure out why it tastes better (I love the headline in the otherwise pretty staid Chemical & Engineering News: What’s nitro cold brew, and why is it so damn delicious?). But if you’re more a humanities major, don’t worry about it and just try it.

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.

Where can you find nitro brew?

Dog Days Coffee, obviously. 2W West Central Avenue, Onset, (508) 295-2328.

Cup2Cafe, 3175 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, (508) 743-0410.

Onset Bay Cafe, 1B West Central Avenue, Onset, (508) 273-0178.

Simmons Cafe & Market, 78 Crandall Road, Little Compton, (401) 635-2420.

Flour Girls Bakery, 230 Huttleston Avenue, Fairhaven, (774) 202-5884.

Charred Oak Tavern, 57 Center Street, Middleboro, (508) 923-9034 (note: for diners only, Charred Oak Tavern does not serve coffee for takeout).

Are there other local places serving nitro coffee? Let us know…

To keep up with this and other trends on the South Coast, sign up here for updates on what we’re up to…And shoot us an email at [email protected] if you have suggestions for us.

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Good Eats: Breakfast at Coffee Milano in Middleboro

Coffee Milano Middleboro

As you might expect, from time to time we meet with our advertisers, usually at their offices. We’ve decided to make these meetings even more efficient (and fun) than they were before. The idea: meet them for breakfast, at a favorite place of their choosing, and review the place for this blog.

Today, Kristi Cornuet from T.M. Ryder took us around the corner from her Middleboro office to Coffee Milano. Kristi says her office orders either breakfast or lunch from there nearly every day. The restaurant staff will see the Caller ID on the phone, know that it’s her and answer: “What’ll it be today?” Then, they’ll ask after others in the office “How about for your Dad? Your sister?”

Here’s the lowdown on our meal:

Coffee Milano is a no-frills place where you order at the counter and they bring your food to the dining area when it’s ready. Kristi told me she usually gets the Breakfast Sandwich (sausage, egg & cheese) on a croissant with a side of spicy jam. That sounded so good to me that I ordered it too. Side note of apology: sorry we didn’t order different dishes so we could give you a sense of the variety but, honestly, that order just sounded so good.

Coffee Milano MiddleboroKristi says she orders the breakfast sandwich about 90% of the time. But she sometimes chooses the Cali Burrito. At lunch, she often has the turkey and brie sandwich but there’s even more variety for lunch here than there is for breakfast. Kristi loves the flatbreads and quesadillas. Her father gave a shout out for “The Steak Bomb.” And her sister Kira says, “the Big & Juicy Cheeseburger is amazing.”

But back to our meal! Kristi ordered an iced green acai tea, made to order. I got a plain coffee, nothing added, because although there is an extensive menu of coffee drinks, I felt like I needed something simple to justify my leap into the hedonism of a fully loaded breakfast sandwich on a croissant.

The sandwich was everything I hoped for –and I’m grateful for Kristi’s insider trick of ordering the spicy jam on the side. It put the sandwich over the top. Hours later, my stomach is still happy.

You Can Ring My Bell

Coffee MilanoWhile we were eating, we heard a bell clang cheerfully. We found the bell by the door as we were leaving, and got the scoop on it. If you feel you’ve gotten good service, you can ring it on the way out. Kristi rang it. She smiled. I smiled. I saw an older man drinking his coffee smile.

It was a great way to start the week.

The verdict: 2 thumbs up!

Where to find them: Coffee Milano, 58 Center Street, Middleboro. 508-946-4006. Open for breakfast and lunch daily.

TM Ryder Middleboro

Kristi & Kira of T.M. Ryder Insurance

This review has been brought to you by T.M. Ryder Insurance Agency. After breakfast, Kristi and I walked just around the corner to her office. Over breakfast, she had told me that T.M. Ryder has been invested in the Middleboro community for over 100 years (started in 1877 by Mr. Ryder, Kristi’s great grandfather took over one hundred years ago in 1917). But when I looked at the photos and old equipment prominently displayed in their offices, I got a more tangible sense of how much time (and experience) that really means.

I snapped pictures of an antique adding machine:

TM Ryder Middleboro

 

 

 

 

 

 

vintage filing cabinets;

TM Ryder Middleboro

 

 

 

 

 

and old photographs of the business:

TM Ryder Middleboro

 

 

 

 

 

More than that, I experienced a business actively engaged in its community. In the short time I was there, two gentleman separately came in to make inquiries about their policies. You sure don’t see that personal service with the giant insurance companies.

If there were a bell at the door of T.M. Ryder, I would have rung it loudly.  T.M. Ryder Insurance Agency, 8 Thatchers Row, Middleboro. 508-947-7600. 


If you want to stay in the know about other cool breakfast spots, as well as stories about the people, places, food and other things that make the South Coast special, sign up for our free emails right here.

Look for more in our series coming soon. And feel free to tell us your favorite breakfast nooks by commenting below or emailing us at [email protected]

Maybe we’ll see you there sometime soon.

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The Perfect Burger: In the kitchen at dNB Burgers

We’re big fans of dNB Burgers here at South Coast Almanac. Every burger we’ve tried there has been a home run so we decided to do a little investigative journalism—figure out what really makes the dNB burger perfect.

The answer? Balance.

Owner Josh Lemaire wisely reminds us that the perfect everything begins with balance. In the case of his burgers, he says “you gotta have a good bread ratio to your meat ratio, the meat has to be seasoned properly, there’s a fresh element, a greens element, spicy, sweet…it’s just a balance.”

Watch our quick behind the scenes video to get a closer look right here.

Use Josh’s zen-like approach to burgers when you’re grilling this weekend.

Sign up here to get more tips, secrets and insights about South Coast living. And let us know in the comment section where else we should go behind-the-scenes.

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Fun, Fun, Fun & a Bonanza of Food Trucks!

Heritage Food Truck Friday

Nothing screams summer quite like food with lawn games and Heritage Museums and Gardens has cornered the market on this summertime fun! Heritage will be hosting Food Truck Fridays from 5-8 pm on Friday June 23rd  when the museums and grounds will be filled with laughter, games, and some of the most delicious food around. A discounted ticket price of $5 per person* will provide access to the event, which includes a mélange of food trucks, family fun activities, and exclusive access to the exhibits and grounds. Some of the must-see exhibits that are the classic auto gallery exhibit and this season’s special exhibit, Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views. (Folks, this is such a deal from the regular rate of $18/per person for admission — don’t miss out on it!)

Food trucks will include Cape Cod Cannoli (over 170 different flavors of cannoli!), The Pineapple Caper Catering (grilled cheeses galore!), Wolf Pizza, and The Local Scoop (homemade frozen yogurt and ice cream). In addition to the food trucks, the Magnolia Café on Heritage’s grounds will serve their usual fare with beer and wine and The Casual Gourmet will offer some classic cookout food with a gourmet twist!  Heritage Museums and Gardens, 67 Grove Street, Sandwich, 508-888-3300. (Note: the food at the event is not included in the ticket price.)

Family Fun at Heritage. Photo courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens.

Family Fun at Heritage. Photo courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens.

If the Heritage event has given you the food truck bug, we’ve found some other great, local food trucks where you can get your fix throughout the summer.

The Mad Batter Bakery

The school bus that every kid dreamed of! This bakery on wheels sells gourmet cupcakes in all your favorite flavors and then some. Beside the more predictable chocolate and vanilla, Mad Batter isn’t afraid of mixing things up so they also serve flavors like lemonade or Guinness. They can be found on Facebook and often they are in Onset on Wednesday nights at the Summer of Love concert series.

Flip N Roll

Find Flip N Roll driving through the streets of Fall River. A brand new food truck opened just this past spring, Flip N Roll serves delicious American and Portuguese food. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on their location.

Mad House Grill

Also in Fall River, Mad House Grill serves fresh American classics with a Portuguese influence. Keep an eye out for the hot pink truck as it drives through the streets. Find them on Facebook or on their website  for updates on their location.

Fenway Sausage Works

If your favorite part of Fenway is the food, then Fenway Sausage Works is the food truck for you, providing the ballpark food experience right here in New Bedford. At Fenway Sausage Works, you can order everything from linguica dogs to classic ballpark hot dogs, sausages, nachos and more. On hot days, they even offer shaved ice. Check out their Twitter to see where they’ll be located next.

Big Daddy’s

Chicken, chicken, and chicken! Located in Wareham, Big Daddy’s has all the fried chicken that you could ask for. Its specialty are chicken tenders in a variety of different sauces (anything from Teriyaki to Extra Hot Buffalo), but it also serves up delicious wings, BBQ, ribs, burgers, dogs and more. Check them out on Facebook to see where they’ll be next!

Did we miss your favorite food truck? Leave a comment below to let us know about it!

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