The setup: take our 20 month old daughter to play at the beach. Eat some yummy stuff while there.
The location: borrowed house in Orleans, MA- the "elbow" of the Cape
The specifics: looking for some quick meals in casual to mid-level settings (see: toddler. Also: pregnant mom). I noted a lack of general Orleans threads with a search, so decided to add my notes. Obviously not a high-level chow experience for our family vacation, but hopefully will be helpful for other travelers and families. Clearly we would have preferred to try Abba or any number of places out in P-town, but not to be...
Sunday- dinner at Cookes- had read a back-and-forth about food there vs Sir Crickets, but we decided the covered outdoor dining was a plus, as was the availability of high chairs. Fried clam platter was good, I'd give it a B+, and a bit pricey at $22. The clams just weren't as big and juicy as one would hope, but my standards are high (Neptune Oyster in the North End has the best I've ever had; the Clam Box in Essex is second, and I've had better at Kelly's in Revere Beach) Fries were limp and pretty poor. Fish was good- side of rice pilaf was as to be expected at a seafood shack- greasy and salty. Slaw was tasty. Clam chowder was extremely thick- bordering on gluey. Good flavor, but could have used more clams. I can't believe anyone voted this "best on Cape" but then again every single seafood joint seems to have received that accolade at some point. I would call it "serviceable, especially if you're hungry and in a rush."
Ice cream from Hot Chocolate Sparrow- they serve Richardson's. Nothing special but still tasty.
Monday- followed a rec for breakfast at the Cottage Street Bakery- I would call this our only total miss. Maybe our fault, because in reviewing the rec was technically for baked goods and after our fried food feast the night before, we decided whole grain bread with omelette sandwich was a bit healthier than pastries. However, they also advertised sandwiches and homemade bread so we thought we would be good to go. I think they microwave the eggs- sandwiches were composed of a rubber disk of egg-like material on completely dry toast which had just a hint of whole wheat. I had veggies on mine which turned out to be slices of raw red onions and jarred roasted red peppers. For $5, they need to step up the game on these because any airplane breakfast I've had was better. Coffee was fine.
Lunch was sandwiches from the Hot Chocolate Sparrow. Turkey on focaccia with pesto and artichokes. Good option for a picnic at the beach.
Dinner- went to Mahoney's Atlantic Bar and Grill on Main St. This was a pleasant surprise. We really wanted to get some healthier food into our kid, and it's hard to avoid the ubiquitous fries-for-dinner syndrome on the Cape, but we were worried this would be too fancy. We went right at 6, plenty of seating although there was a wait by the time we left at 7, and pretty casual and family friendly. I had blackened striped bass with mango salsa, a special at $28. Sides of mashed potatoes and asparagus were delicious, fish was tasty although a smidge over-cooked. My husband had the roasted half duck special with cherries with a side of cous cous and asparagus which for $24 was a very nice plate and only $2 more expensive than fried clams and greasy french fries. Our toddler happily chowed on cous cous and some duck. No time for dessert- sent a representative out to pick up ice cream from the Ice Cream Cafe after bedtime for the baby-- homemade, delicious! Highly recommended, especially the dark chocolate chip.
Tuesday- breakfast at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow. Excellent drip coffee, excellent iced mocha latte. Pastries- broke down and decided to go for the junky option- not sure if they make them in house, but the almond croissant was very good and the muffins were good too.
Lunch- swung by Young's Fish Market in Rock Harbor for their rumored $10 lobster roll. They're pre-filled and wrapped, which does not help with the sogginess of the untoasted roll, but hey, they're $10. I would have preferred a bit less mayo, but the meat was delicious. Did I mention they're $10?
Anyways, that's our wrap up. Would be eager to hear of others' similar experiences as we hope to make this an annual trip and maybe come up with some favorite places to look forward to.