Life, style & food in the District
Greetings from Wellfleet, Massachusetts — a quaint, gallery-run town in the Outer Cape. I’ve only been here for the better part of two weeks, but feel as though I’ve done this town justice.
I’ve indulged in lobster almost every day (bad vegetarian!), I’ve slept in and have started the day with an iced coffee before logging onto the computer (applause!), I’ve visited some amazing art galleries, stuck my toes in the sea, plowed through a novel, shopped at boutiques, made new friends and I’ve even found the time to buckle down on some writing projects. Yes, this slow-paced town is incredibly relaxing, but refreshing and energizing at the same time. And damn, who ever thought I would love linen shirts and flip-flops so much?… Who ever thought I’d write an entire paragraph in passive voice? …
For all of you Southerners out there (something about living in Boston for two years makes me think I am not a Southerner, never mind my Virginia roots), northern Cape beaches are much different than those in the South. (Yes, living at one for a month makes me an expert – don’t argue.) The oceanfront is protected (aka: not commercialized) and “beach houses” look like any other historic home in Concord, Brookline or Salem. It’s absolutely beautiful, peaceful and creepily charming and authentic.
One of my favorite places in Wellfleet is a no-frills café on a side street in the center of town, called The Flying Fish Café. (In fact, I am writing this post from the deck of the Flying Fish, with a Brooklyn Summer Ale in-hand and a linen shirt on my back…)
I fell in love this place for a variety of reasons:
But what really makes me love this place is a conversation I overheard on my first day in town from the table next to me. It went something like this:
“What are you going to do today?”
“Nothing, really. This (breakfast), maybe go sailing, probably grilling tonight… Nothing, really.”
[Sigh – perfection] – And that is what makes Wellfleet so special; it’s the sea, the people, the artists, the food and the laid-back atmosphere.
I’ve noticed one place in town that is somewhat of a daily ritual for residents and vacationers, alike. There is no grocery store in Wellfleet – just a tiny little market and a liquor store – but there is a place called Hatch’s. And come 4 pm, Hatch’s is the busiest place in town. The local shack (located in a church parking lot) sells the freshest fish on ice and local produce, eggs and butter out of cartons. On any afternoon in the Hatch’s parking lot, you can get a peek into everyone’s plans for the evening:
“I have the grandchildren coming over for dinner – I need enough to feed about five adults and two kids that don’t eat much. What should I get?”
“My girlfriend and I are doing a clambake on the beach. I need clams, corn, bread and some appetizers.”
“We’re just grilling out – I’ll take what you caught this morning and will pick out the salad fixin’s from the cartons.”
But there is one thing I’ve had to curb in the Cape (clearly not eavesdropping, relaxing and indulging), and that is cooking. This is because I am staying in a guest cottage that has a kitchen counter and a refrigerator, but no stove, oven or microwave. And while I’ve enjoyed eating-out and dining-in with my hosts, I feel as though I am missing out on the chance to be creative in the kitchen with all of these local, fresh and somewhat new (to me) ingredients.
But one afternoon (after spending the morning at the beach), I decided to try something that requires both fresh fish and no cooking. Yes, I am talking about ceviche – a dish that uses the acidity from limes to cook the flesh of the fish. So I counted out all of my change and headed to Hatch’s with a mission to make ceviche…
To be quite honest, I was expecting a total bust; a waste of money and time. But surprisingly, the mission was successful and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I’ve had ceviche a few times before – both times in Costa Rica. I remember the fish and accompanying ingredients being cold, sharply citrusy and incredibly refreshing. And, well, mine lived up to these memories.
There is one thing, however, I wish I included in my recipe – and that is a jalapeno (so I included it in my revised recipe, below). I think a little bit of spice would pair so nicely with the citrus flavors. Other than that, just make sure you use a dish shallow enough to marinate the fish so that it is all covered with the limejuice. I started out in a mason jar, but then moved everything into a shallow glass pan (don’t use aluminum – it will react with the citrus “cooking”) for the overnight process.
So other than those side notes, I encourage everyone to try this! It’s such a perfect appetizer or light dinner for these last weeks of summer…
Until next time – love, peace, lobsters and linen shirts <3
¼ lb of fresh sea scallops, chopped into small pieces
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ red onion, diced
Juice of 5 limes, freshly squeezed
1 jalapeño, diced
1 handful of cilantro, chopped for garnish
Sliced avocado for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chop everything (scallops, pepper, jalapeno and onion)into small, bite size pieces and throw the ingredients into a shallow dish. Cover the ingredients with the limejuice, a drizzle of olive oil (and a pinch and grind of salt and pepper) and let the dish marinate in the refrigerator until the fish is no longer translucent. (Note: I made mine around 4 pm and let it marinate overnight.) Serve in small dishes, with the cilantro and avocado to garnish.