We are hosting a James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef dinner tonight, raising money for Falmouth Hospital. One hundred lucky guests will dine under a tent next to Quicks Hole (our farm-to-table restaurant) overlooking Woods Hole harbor and under the stars.
This will be a summer meal to remember…
The meal is being prepared by Chef Cal Peternell (of Chez Panisse, Berkeley CA), Anna Kovel (former food editor Martha Stewart Living) and our own Stephanie Mikolazyk (executive chef at Quicks Hole). You can read more about the chefs here. The guests come from Woods Hole and all over the world, foodies who unite in their passion for fine dining and a great cause.
Preparations for this special meal began over a year ago when I met the amazing and talented Cal Peternell, continued this winter when we went to cook with his crew at Chez Panisse, and heated up this spring with the help of many volunteers who came together to plan all the details for tonight.
Today, the parking lot next to the Inn will be transformed with a tent, shrubs, hydrangeas, long wooden farm tables, linen napkins, stylish rental chairs, flowers. At the same time, the kitchen will bustle with a different energy as lobster tacos are put away for the day and our crew boils stock, shucks oysters, steams lobster, mixes chickpea flour panisses, prepares smoked blue fish pate and much more.
I am eternally grateful to our sponsors, local companies who understand partnership, ambitious food and creative friendship: Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Bank of Martha’s Vineyard, Robert Paul Properties, and the Sea Crest Beach Hotel.
I am holding my breath, fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly….
Much happens behind the scenes to get Quicks Hole ready to re-open in the spring — dusting off the bar stools, scrubbing the floors, fire inspections and so much more!
But the most exciting thing each year is rolling out our mascot, the lobster. This large fiberglass object is the source of endless street happiness with kids smiling and parents snapping his photo all summer long.
At the end of last season, our lobster was pretty beat up. Faded from years in the sun, too many toddlers had crawled on him and his left claw had fallen off. Off he went to the lobster hospital (yes, that’s what it’s called) and he came back with all his body parts re-attached. Add a sturdy metal base, plus a great new paint job by Steve (artist, lobsterman and Steph’s dad). Sweet!
How much did all that cost? Really, don’t ask. I mean what does price matter when it comes to things like life-like fiberglass lobsters? This baby has watched Luscombe Avenue for decades now. He has seen owners come and go. He has witnessed countless ice cream disasters, seen ferries grounded, watched hurricanes blowing through. He has posed with thousands of toddlers, hundreds of drunks and a few famous guests. To us, he is priceless.
We are pleased to see him back at his perch. Enjoy the photos that follow, and consider a trip to Quicks Hole for our famous lobster tacos. Quicks Hole at 6 Luscombe Avenue on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner in season.
I know it’s getting warmer because I have forgotten to put my slippers on three mornings in a row. Now, when it’s really cold outside, my kitchen floor feels like ice and there is just no way that I can “forget” the slippers that wait under the radiator for me with their soft lambswool lining. I went out yesterday with no scarf or hat. And the time change means its light until well after 6 pm. So, it’s coming, my dear friend called spring. Maybe not here yet, but soon.
Yesterday was gorgeous, sunny calm no wind, and all of a sudden the streets of Woods Hole came alive with people. St. Patricks Day green was observed on many, and the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Black Dog was packed with business owners and new friends.
I took another photo walk this week, and here are my spring-is-around-the-corner photos:
You won’t see a parade like this one anywhere else on the planet.
On the Fourth of July, the citizens of Woods Hole line Water Street to watch one of the more unusual parades I have ever seen. The marine biological labs empty out and students dress as single cell amoeba, dance like algae and wear crustacean costumes to ring in our nation’s birthday. Its a fabulous amalgamation of science and patriotism and I can’t imagine a better spot to enjoy this important holiday.
On the porch of the Woods Hole Inn, we offer free lemonade, ice tea, cookies and a great view of the festivities. Our guests mingle with locals as festive floats and scads of graduate students dance and laugh their way from School Street across the drawbridge. Kids and their parents line the streets and enjoy the antics. After the parade, the shops and restaurants are filled with hungry revelers eager to get a nice lobster taco, ahi tuna burrito or cold draft beer by the waterfront. This year was one of the first great days of the summer weather-wise, so it felt especially festive and crowded. Hot in the sun, the steady southwest breeze off of Vineyard Sound kept everyone cool.
We open the inn up on the Fourth and give tours. This year a grande dame from Juniper Point came in to look around and see if we were “up to snuff” (as my own grande dame of a grandmother used to say) for later in the summer when her large house by the water would be packed to the last maids room and she might need some overflow space. I toured her through the renovated property and in her own quiet and WASPY way she seemed impressed. She had that wonderful lockjaw that distinguishes the generation that grew up listening to Katherine Hepburn and living in the world chronicled by movies like “Philadelphia Story.” She told me she was 84 years old, she had been coming to Woods Hole her entire life and she had never before set foot in the Woods Hole Inn. “We always thought it was a house of prostitution!” she exclaimed. Well, I said, who knows, maybe it was?
But it’s not anymore, and next year when you are scratching your head about what unique way to spend the Fourth, consider the Woods Hole Inn. We may not have any “ladies of the evening,” but we promise to show you a good time:)
Lobster Tacos are a sublime idea. Cold succulent lobster lightly dressed. Fresh cut red cabbage, a touch of lime on a hot corn taco?? Incredible.
New to Woods Hole this summer, the lobster taco is an inspired fusion of traditional Cape Cod with a dash of innovation from the surf shacks of Baha California.
Don’t miss this treat, and much more at the all new Quicks Hole restaurant. Its on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn, right next to the t-shirt shop and facing the Martha’s Vineyard ferry hides the hottest new joint in town. Word is leaking out about this place, and while it opens at 10 for lunch there is often a line of impatient ferry-goers at the door, jonesing for their fix that will be bagged and consumed on the the ferry. What’s better than the upper deck of the “Island Home” with a lobster taco, a 360 degree view of the Sound and the gulls circling jealously overhead?
Also on the menu — amazing local salads served in a fried tortilla bowl, rare yellowfin tuna burritos, sweet potato fries, hot chips with fresh salsas, made-to-order quacamole…see where we are going here?
Woods Hole Inn guests get a discount at Quicks Hole at check in.
See you soon!