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Category: Food

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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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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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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Food, Family & Holidays: Shipyard Galley Spotlight

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.

Shipyard GalleyEvery 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

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South Coast Food, Direct from the Source

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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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