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Tag: valentine’s day

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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5 More South Coast Couples We Love

5 More South Coast Couples We Love

Last year, we shared our favorite South Coast couples and it was the most popular post of the year (check it out here if you missed it). We guess everyone is drawn to a good love match, just like we are. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we continue the tradition this year right here, with 5 More South Coast Couples We Love. A special shout out and thanks to A.J. Marks Jewelers for sponsoring this post! If you’re looking for something for your sweetheart, check out A.J. Marks — they’ll take good care of you.

Justin & Megan at the 2016 South Coast Almanac launch party

Justin Tonnessen & Megan Bruce

Together since: 2011

Why We Love Them: We love the patience of this Fairhaven couple. Their courtship was the longest we’ve ever heard of. When mutual friends tried to set them up, they went out for a lunch date in 2009. Then they went on another date in 2010. In 2011, they ran into each other at Cork in downtown New Bedford. Something clicked that night and they’ve been together non-stop ever since.

Our favorite Valentine's couples

Tim & Howe at the annual Picnic on the Lawn

Howe Allen & Tim Evans

Together since: 2003

Why We Love Them: They bring a sense of adventure to everything they do. On a whim and having never visited Fairhaven before, they decided to drive to West Island because they were looking for a second home and they liked how it looked on a map. Within a month, they were West Island homeowners. Three years later in 2010, they had moved permanently from Boston to Fairhaven. They settled in and together have created new treasured traditions in the community like the annual Picnic on the Lawn (which we adore!) and the Fairhaven Short Film Festival (which we’re going to check out this May). We’re so happy they moved to the South Coast.

Mark Medeiros

Mark & Gayle on Martha’s Vineyard

Mark & Gayle Medeiros

Together since: 1972

Why We Love Them: They’ve been together for over 40 years since they first met at Bristol Community College but you’d never know it. They still look like two kids in love. Perhaps it’s because they make sure to go out on a date every weekend. That’s pretty impressive (and is perhaps the reason for their longevity). They still enjoy each other’s company enough to work side by side at Slocum Design Studio in Dartmouth (where they help us keep this website up-to-snuff!)

Dave Richardson & Jan Schmidt

Dave & Jan

Dave Richardson & Jan Schmidt

Together since: 2014

Why We Love Them: They met when Jan was a guest performer at one of Dave’s weekly blues gigs. They were both “reluctant relationship people” but they liked each other and started following each other’s musical careers. Dave remembers being an audience member at one of Jan’s shows, mesmerized by her and just thinking “wow, look at that!” After that show, they hopped on his motorcycle, went out for sushi and decided to go to see Boyhood at the Cable Car Cinema in Providence. Settling into the leather couches that night, they both realized they had something special.

A detour from the South Coast: Dave says, “When we met, I was planning to move back to Maine. I told her, ‘If I’m moving to Maine, I’m not leaving you behind.'” Sadly, they did move to Maine. Happily, they moved back to New Bedford last summer.  Check them out performing together at Fathoms Bar & Grill on February 24 and March 10 or at Tavolo on March 4.

Ashley & Riley

Ashley & Riley at a farmer’s market

Ashley Payne & Riley Mello

Together since: 2015

Why We Love Them: They’re always thinking of the next big idea. And then making it happen. In November 2015, they made a batch of dog treats made from spent grain left over from Riley’s home beer brewing. Turns out, the treats were pretty darn good. They applied for permits and went into business last spring as French BrewDog Bakery, attending events and farmers markets all over the South Coast. We ran into them at the Fairhaven Farmers Market and fell in love with them and their adorable booth. We won’t be surprised if they open a cafe for humans someday soon. Their Dartmouth home is the experimental base for creating all sorts of funky edibles like kombucha, wine, beer and things you’ve never even considered (like fermented granola, fermented salsa and fermented ginger beer). Keep an eye out for expanded offerings…


Keep up with South Coast Almanac updates, news and events, by signing up for our free emails here.

Special shout out to AJ Marks Jewelers in Wareham and Hyannis for sponsoring our Valentine blog posts. Thanks, guys!

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Five Great Valentine Dates on the South Coast

Valentine’s Day is coming up and we asked Rebecca of the Almanac team to give us some suggestions for celebrating. We’re not surprised she came up with a great list! Read on….

Chocolate and Wine. What Else Do You Need?

Stop by Portugalia Marketplace for its Annual Chocolate Festival this Saturday  from 11 – 2 p.m. and enjoy tastings from chocolatiers and vintners, with live music by Birdtalk jazz trio to get you in the mood. February 11. See more here.

Maybe Some Music…

While you’re in the neighborhood on Saturday, the Narrows Center for the Arts welcomes singer-songwriter Paula Cole to the stage. With an extraordinary voice, she has opened for Peter Gabriel, Melissa Etheridge and Sarah McLachlan.  Book reservations for dinner beforehand at The Abbey Grill, a restored former monastery with an open kitchen and sprawling bar.

Or A Romantic Walk?

Break out your wellies and head to Destruction Brook Woods for a short or long walk exploring the rolling woodlands and the old mill and farmstead. Grab a map, or just get lost here. Make sure you find the footbridges and bubbling waterways.

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s with the kids or with some canine friends, bring them to walk at the Bogs in the Mattapoisett River Reserve. With four miles of dog-friendly woods, wetlands and cranberry bog trails to wander through, there’s plenty to stimulate conversation pondering who and what was there before.

A Nightcap (or two)…

New Bedford is bursting with plenty of new spots and established favorites where you can enjoy good drinks and food.  Check out Cultivator Shoals, a chic new bar serving up craft cocktails. A Rose By Any Other Name is their ode to Valentine’s Day, designed by Devon McGrath and featuring rose petal infused Tito’s vodka, fresh lemon juice & strawberry puree. She gave me the recipe but it takes three days from start to finish. Trust me, let them do the work!

Or try The Bitter End Lounge on Route 6 in Fairhaven. Intrigued by its name and sign, I made this a launching spot for a date night recently. It’s a self-proclaimed dive bar where you can sidle up to the bar or shoot some pool. Wrap up the evening at Gilda’s Stone Rooster a little further east on 6 in Marion where you’ll find local legend Gilda tending bar (Secret tip: Gilda opens the house to the fabulous South Coast Jazz Symphony Orchestra periodically on Monday nights. The upcoming dates are February 27, March 13 and 27, April 10 and 24, May 8 and 22, June 5 and 19. Always from 8 -10 pm.)

The Morning After…

Great pancakes. That’s love. The Barn in Little Compton, RI is the perfect spot to indulge in a romantic breakfast. They’re serving up a Valentine’s special of fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh strawberries, chocolate kisses (yes, chocolate kisses!) and whipped cream. Afterwards you might want to walk it off at South Shore Beach, a true gem no matter the time of year.

We hope we’ve inspired you to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Be sure to check in with all of these locales before you go to make sure nothing’s changed since we posted. All of us at South Coast Almanac wish you and your sweethearts another day filled with love and adventure!


Keep up with South Coast Almanac updates, news and events, by signing up for our free emails here.

Special shout out to AJ Marks Jewelers in Wareham and Hyannis for sponsoring our Valentine blog posts.  Thanks, guys!

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