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Kicking Off Summer in Ptown, part 1

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As cliche as it sounds, Memorial Day weekend truly is my annual kick off of summer. Yes, we cheated a little bit earlier this month with the MVwinefest (which I also called our ‘summer kick off’) but there’s something about heading to Provincetown (or Ptown) on the Cape for a long weekend that really makes it feel like summer is just around the corner. Also making it feel like summer: my incredibly crispy sunburn. I forgot my SPF… sorry Mom.

With Dave in Chicago for the weekend, my best friend (and owner of Sadie James Boutique) Chelsea flew into town to savor an evening in Boston, then join me for the ferry ride to Ptown. Friday night we hit some of my favorite haunts in the city including the patio at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for their $9 Happy Hour Specials. Sunday- Friday, Ruth’s Chris offers menu items (including a crab BLT and steak sandwich) for only $9 on the patio and in the lounge. Wine and cocktails are also $9 buck and Narragansett Beers, only $4. It’s really one of the best deals in town. From Ruth’s Chris, we took a quick UberPOOL over to the seaport for our next patio stop, Gather. Of all the great places in the seaport, Gather has a laid back vibe, huge patio, and really really good food. We stayed until sunset eating, drinking, chatting with our awesome waiter (hi Austin!), and being dumb with snapchat filters. Once Austin had enough of us, we took a long walk to the North End for a nightcap.

Saturday morning we headed to the Boston Harbor Cruise Fast Ferry to Provincetown. One of the easiest ways to get to Ptown, the ferry is 90 short minutes and, there’s a bar (open at 8:30am!) If you opt for a midweek trip, tickets through Goldstar are only $70.35 which is a savings of nearly $18. It’s well worth the price considering you get to completely skip Cape traffic and get dropped off right in the middle of town at MacMillan Wharf. The ferry ride was a beautiful way to spend a Saturday morning and we were able to chat with some other Bostonians that were headed to Provincetown for the weekend. Because it's such a popular weekend on the Cape, we decided to ditched hotel life and booked the Waterview at Norse Wall House in the West End of Ptown which turned out to 100% be the right choice. A Greek revival, the house was a picture perfect place to stay. I’ll fill you in more on The Norse Wall House (and their resident golden retriever) with Part 2 later this week.

Sipping Beers with Chelsea at Aqua Bar

Shopping, eating, and drinking and the 3 main activities in Ptown all of which happen to align perfectly with my 3 main activities. Popping over to Aqua Bar for oysters and beers, I took a quick Skype call with The Huffington Post for an interview that should roll out by the end of the week. REALLY excited to share it! Just up Commercial Street at 4pm each day, The Boatslip hosts “tea dance” on their deck for hundreds of guests. A way to see who’s in town for the weekend, “Tea” allows you to meet new people, grab a drink, and dance dance dance for hours. I ran into a few familiar faces from Instagram and got to chat up some new friends as well. When tea wrapped up around 7pm, Chelsea and I hustled down the street to The Sage Inn for dinner.

Tea Dance at The Boatslip

Located in Provincetown’s quieter East End, Sage Inn feels more upscale than the rest of Ptown, but still has a laid back Cape Cod feel about it. After chatting on Twitter, Sage invited me to come try an expanded version of the Chef’s Tasting Menu, and man am I glad they did! General manager Chris Schultz seated us in the dining room for what would unfold into a standout meal. Each of the 7 courses was presented to us by Head Chef Lucio Garnica starting off with a delicious Wellfleet oyster topped with hickory & raspberry fluid gel, lemon & chive olive oil, and lemon confit. As an oyster fan, it was great to enjoy a take on the shellfish that went beyond cocktail sauce or a mignonette. The meal then moved on to a deliciously braised mushroom and turnip ragu, before the braised leg of lamb, my personal favorite, was served. Braised to perfection and topped with green tomato jam on buttery toast, this was some of the best lamb I’ve ever had… and I love lamb. The depth and complexity of flavors were rich and satisfying without being gamey or greasy the way lamb sometimes tends to be. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was a real standout dish for me at The Sage. (Please excuse the quality of photos. These were all taken with my iPhone in low light)

Braised Lamb on Toast. My favorite course!

From savory and rich, to almost candy-like, our fourth course was roasted beets with truffle honey, bitter greens, and pink salt. Having been roasted to perfection and drizzled with truffle honey, the modest beat was transformed into what I like to call ‘adult candy’. For a long time I didn’t believe that a little bit of salt could amplify the taste of an entire dish, but I’m very happy I’ve come around to the idea. Course 5 was a crispy pork belly with cured spanish lomo and fresh peas which was followed by course 6; the most beautiful ravioli I’ve ever seen (aka the title of my upcoming memoir.) A squash and ricotta ravioli doesn’t sound like a showstopper, but topped with fresh carrots, charred cauliflower and turnips, it really was the star. It was sweet, but earthy and really light too. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente with that nice little bite. Regardless of the meal, dessert is always my favorite course and Chef Garnica did not disappoint with a deconstructed marshmallow lemon tart. Layered with lemon, crumbled cookie, a bit of raspberry, and marshmallow, the dessert was beyond delicious and the perfect ending to a very satisfying meal. The layering was a nice touch with each spoonful getting a perfect sampling of each component. Generally speaking, I don’t like marshmallow, but Chef Garnica’s homemade variety was just sweet enough and whipped to perfection.

Deconstructed Lemon Tart

Chelsea and I both agreed that the meal was spectacular, filling, and delicious. If you're looking for a special dinner (and a break from fried seafood) the Sage is a 'must do' while in Ptown. After a quick tour of the inn, we headed back out on Commercial Street to window shop, people watch, and make our way back to the West End to turn in for an early night. Part 2 is coming later this week complete with more info on the Norse Wall House, our bike riding adventures, and my obsession with Bucket Tees.

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