American, boston, Burgers, Cape Cod, Italian, Seafood

Laurino’s- Brewster, MA

Home. A lot of people think of their family when they think of home. The atmosphere, the people, the food. The same goes for restaurants. Yes, you remember the food if you’ve been to a great place, but many of us also remember the experience we had. Were the waiters/waitresses nice? Did the hostess greet you cheerfully? Were you told a wait time that fit the means of a normal time frame? Those are things that can make or break a restaurant just as much as the food being good or not. Laurino’s checks off everything and does it with love. 

Just off Route 6A sits Laurino’s, a humble and welcoming establishment on Cape Cod. We came here as a second choice actually, after our first choice treated us less than spectacular. We learned our lesson and know to make Laurino’s our first choice. From being greeted with a smile, to delicious food, to seeing hardworking people work together, you feel better knowing your money is going towards a restaurant like that than one with snotty hosts. 

The vibe at Laurino’s is that of home, with fun posters and pictures all around and a community feeling. They welcome all, seeing that we’ve taken my autistic sister here and seeing an autistic boy the night we went. Our waitress was bubbly and happy, exuding vibrant colors that made us feel cheerful and happy to be there. She made our experience amazing and we noticed all the waitstaff helping each other, from running plates to cleaning and turning over tables. True teamwork.

The food, on top of everything else, was superb. The SOB Burger was juicy and delicious, all the ingredients cooked perfectly. The specials that evening made it difficult to decide what to get, but one special that night screamed incredible. Scallops with tortellini in a red pesto sauce was just too good not to get. The tortellini had to have been homemade, with ample filling and tasty pasta. The scallops cooked to perfection, complimenting the tortellini in a delicious sauce that popped with flavor and spice (and everything nice).

From now on Laurino’s is the place, where everyone is welcome to enjoy drinks, food, and company. Ultimately that’s what matters when you go out to eat, not necessarily where everyone else goes, but the place that leaves you feeling bright and your tummy full. 

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Cape Cod, Seafood

Orleans Inn Waterfront Dining- Orleans, MA

It’s summertime and that means one thing for this Critiquing Carnivore- Cape Cod. I spend most of my summer up on the Cape, living in Orleans. We have our favorite spots (see my Cape Cod Food Trail post) and I’m surprised at myself that it’s taken me this long to post about The Orleans Inn.

The inn, not only an award winning restaurant but also a beautiful hotel, sits on and overlooks the Orlean Town Cove. It is the quite the view to take in while waiting for your food! The interior of the inn is very classy and the restaurant and grille certainly has the best seating, whether you’re on the deck downstairs or inside upstairs. 

Now onto the food! Again, I’m shocked at myself that it’s taken me this long to write a post on the infamous Lobster Ravioli. This ravioli is the main reason I have my family go to this restaurant. Besides awesome service, a beautiful view, and plenty of other fantastic food the Lobster Ravioli is amazing. Always cooked perfectly filled with lobster meat and sitting on a base of bisque…I always end up licking the plate, no matter if I look classy or not. 

The latest meal I had was the Coquille St. Jacques, which with Google I found to mean or refer to “King scallop”. The dish is described as “a richly savory gratin of scallops and mushrooms broiled to perfection, served with orzo and vegetables”. Now a gratin is a type of culinary technique where an ingredient (scallops) is topped with a browned crust by broiling it using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg, and/or butter. This certainly was a true gratin, the scallops topped with cheese and swimming in butter. The dish was quite rich as described and there really was a lot of butter, but the scallops were cooked perfectly and the mushrooms were chopped finely, you hardly noticed them but they are still in there! The orzo served with it was delicious, being served in a tomato type of sauce along with broccoli rabe. 

Orleans Inn is such a beautiful Cape destination, how could you pass up a fantastic dinner with a great view! The food truly is fantastic, no matter what you order you’ll get a delicious meal served with great service and hospitality. You feel at home when you stay here and special when you get a five star meal here, too.

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Burgers, Cape Cod, Seafood

Orleans Public House- Orleans, MA

Vacations are a time to relax, be with the ones you love, and enjoy your favorite places to eat. When it comes to food, we tend to go to the same places because they are our favorites, they make great food, tradition, etc. It can be hard sometimes when you go on your yearly vacation to try a different place. It’s like “why would I go here when I need to get this dish at this restaurant?” Well, for you Cape Codders I have the restaurant that you need to make an exception for. 

I too fall victim to the ‘tradition restaurants’, but now that going to the Cape is a more frequent thing I can afford to save the favorites for actual vacations and try new places on the short trips! So this trip we decided to try Orleans Public House

Located on Cove Road, a bit off the beaten path, sits the little restaurant OPH. At first glance you can tell it’s a nice place, not necessarily made for the six crazy kids kind of place, but perfect for a casual yet fancy dinner. The main parking lot is pretty tiny, but there is additional parking across the street.

Upon walking in you immediately feel the warmth of the restaurant. Don’t worry there is air conditioning, but it has a sophisticated, welcoming feel to it. The dining area is pretty small, but there is a bar and outdoor patio, when available. The waitstaff were just darling, girls from Eastern Europe who come to America to work over the summer and pay their way through university. Props to them and their work ethic, the tips go a long way and I know makes me feel good knowing what the money is going towards. 

Onto the food: the restaurant had just changed their menu to the seasonal fall menu. I’m sure a good amount of the menu items are year round though. We started with the Shrimp and Grits. Living in Texas now, I said to my parents “I come all the way to Cape Cod to have grits” but these grits were something else. They were crispy and divided into three triangle patties. They were cooked beautifully and tasted amazing. The shrimp was also cooked beautifully. I’m not the biggest shrimp fan, but I could have ordered this as my meal and be happy as a clam. In the dish was also ham and fried brussel sprout leaves. Now ham is ham, hard to go wrong, but brussel sprouts can either be really good or not, depending on how you cook them. When you fry them, how could you! Again, not a brussel sprouts fan, but I could have eaten a plate of them. The sauce they came in was extraordinary too, be sure to save some bread to eat it all up (since licking the bowl is socially impolite). The chef really wowed us with this dish, and it was only the appetizer!

  
As a family we decided to order separate dishes, but we almost always share them around. We settled on the house made gnocchi, Public House burger, and cod cake sliders. 

Gnocchi can be a hit or miss, not every chef is capable of cooking them properly. However, this gnocchi was cooked to perfection. I’m going to use that word a lot in this post, but this meal truly was perfect. It came in a fall vegetable ragout with pan roasted mushrooms, parmesan, and truffle essence. Now I would say, if you’re not a truffle fan (truffle=mushroom), then I wouldn’t recommend this dish. Between the amount of mushrooms and the extra essence it was very ‘truffly’. If you are a fan, though, I highly recommend this fall menu item.  

I’ve had my share of burgers, as you can see from my past posts, so when this burger came out I was truly amazed.  I ask that you all, before, continuing to read, quickly refer to my Cape Cod Food Trail post and read about the Rock Harbor Burger. Have you read it? Proceed:

The Public House burger was better. From the first moment it was placed in front of me to the last bite, this burger was better. The meat was cooked superbly, each ingredient complimented each other, you got everything in one bite and it worked harmoniously. The house pickles were definitely house made, they were actually sweeter pickles than I expected, but they weren’t overly sweet. The bacon bourbon aioli and smoked jalapeƱo ketchup really gave the burger a nice smoky flavor, so much so you would have thought they had a smoker in the back. The bun was also very complimentary, it wasn’t dense and didn’t make the burger feel like this huge monster as you ate it, it just condensed and fluffed up as you enjoyed it. With the burger we got the parmesan truffle fries and they were fried exactly the way you want them. Not as good as the Sesuit Harbor fries (see previous post) but very close. The truffle wasn’t overpowering either, which can be another thing chefs tend to overuse, but this chef really knows his stuff and knows when to stop adding.  

   

The third entree we ordered was the Cod Cake Sliders. How can you not eat cod on Cape Cod? The sliders were an excellent portion, three was even too much! Of course you nibble on the fries at the same time, which are equally as delicious. The cakes were cooked beautifully, they had a nice crispy fry. As you bit into the slider, the inside was soft and full of tender cod. The funniest thing about the cod cakes was there was something the chef used, a spice, that we just couldn’t figure out! Our last prediction was thyme, but please if you go and get it, comment what you think it may be! 

  
Being that this was their fall menu, the dessert and drink menu had fall inspirations. Everything was pumpkin spice and fall flavors. With that being said, how could we even pass over the thought of Pumpkin Spice Gelato? Now, let’s be real, pumpkin doesn’t really have a taste. It’s the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and other fall spices that makes it ‘pumpkin’. Still, it all tastes of fall and it’s hard to resist those flavors. The gelato was very delicious, it was denser than ice cream however it certainly didn’t take me back to Italy… For those who don’t know gelato starts with the same base as ice cream, but has a higher milk proportion and less cream and eggs (or no eggs at all). Gelato is also churned at a slower rate so there is less air being incorporated into the gelato leaving it denser than ice cream. Again, it was delicious, but I think they used the word ‘gelato’ to make it sound fancy. The spices were not overpowering, there was a nice hint of them. It came with a delicious ginger snap that was soft and complimented the ice cream wonderfully.

  
Orleans Public House is definitely going to become a regular vacation restaurant, at least the fall menu convinced me! I am assuming, with having a fall menu, this means it’s a year round restaurant. You never know with the Cape though, it may close come October/November. When it’s the Cape Cod season it may be hopping, but we won’t know until next year! It’s off the beaten path, but Orleans Public House is worth the adventure…and the food! 

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Cape Cod, Seafood

Sesuit Harbor Cafe- Dennis, MA

I think all of my followers can make this conclusion: I love Cape Cod. It’s always been the one constant home in my life. On top of the amazing beaches and atmosphere, the food is amazing (refer to my Cape Cod Food Trail post). 

This visit we decided to try a classic fish shack or ‘cafe’ as they call themselves down in Sesuit Harbor in Dennis, MA. This little place is right on the harbor, having you drive past docked boats and even working fishing vessels. 

To sample all the delicious food, we got a plate of their best fried seafoods: scallops, cod, and clams. Along with that we had to try their lobster roll and clam chowder. 

The lobster roll was pretty good, wasn’t all mayo, but it wasn’t anything memorable. The plate of fried seafood was really good though! The fish was delicious and the scallops were cooked to perfection! And funnily enough the french fries and coleslaw were amazing! If anything I would go back just for the fries, but they are known for their scallops and like I said, they were perfect. 

I highly recommend stopping in Sesuit Harbor for a bite to eat here at this little cafe and the bonus is there is great scenery looking out into Cape Cod Bay!  

    
    
 

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American, Bakery, Cape Cod, Food Trails, Seafood

Cape Cod Food Trail

Today’s post takes us to the beautiful island of Cape Cod, more specifically Orleans! Home of the best beach on the Cape, Orleans is located in the “elbow” of the island just about thirty minutes past the Sagamore Bridge. The Cape in general is home to the best seafood in New England, but Orleans is home to many delectable treats. Here’s a little food trail to follow in case you ever end up in Massachusetts and can make a getaway to the Cape!

Hole in One

Located in the middle of downtown Orleans on Cranberry Hwy, off Main St sits Hole in One, a little donut shop with a lovely restaurant to go with it. Whether you’re just craving a good donut or are treating family to brunch, Hole in One is a great, casual sit down for everyone. If you do plan to have a sit down meal though, prepare for a line. More times than not though the take out line for donuts is a breeze! The donuts all look so amazing it can be a bit overwhelming trying to choose what kind. My favorites? The classic powdered is amazing as well as their classic chocolate cake donut. If you’re looking for a cool flavor the toasted coconut is spectacular, cinnamon too!  

 

Cottage Street Bakery

Alright listen up, this is important: on little Cottage Street is the best bakery in town. You can’t get a bad pastry here, it doesn’t exist. The variety of options is quite decadent, from cranberry almond poppy to the fan favorite dirt bomb. Everything is made with quality ingredients, you can just taste it! The entire town raves about the ever famous dirt bomb muffin. They refer to it as a French donut puff, but it’s more than that. It’s a muffin that has everything a breakfast should have: cinnamon, nutmeg, a little crumble, a little fluff, and a lot of yum. My other favorites include their fresh apple crunch and lemon poppy muffins, and chocolate croissants.  

 

Liam’s at Nauset Beach

Picture this: you’re sitting on the best beach of the Cape, Nauset Beach. You feel the sand between your toes and the ocean breeze in your face when you suddenly realize it’s lunch time. You’re on vacation so you’re looking to splurge, but where do you go to eat? You can’t fathom loosing your great beach spot so why not find a place right on the beach? It exists everyone, it’s called Liam’s. Also referred to as “Lord of the Rings” , Liam’s is a classic beach front shack serving everything from hotdogs to lobster rolls. But nothing beats the infamous onion rings. These rings are lightly battered, thinly cut onion strips, the grease leaving their mark in the cardboard holder they come in. It’s a beautiful site and an even better taste. They aren’t heavy and thick like most onion rings, these are well worth the splurge. Warning: don’t let the sizing deceive you. Unless you’re feeding teenage boys I wouldn’t go bigger than a medium, they pack those little containers up!  
   

Sir Cricket’s

Perhaps it’s a rainy day and you’ve been stuck inside all day, but don’t really feel like cooking. A good alternative for lunch or dinner is Sir Cricket’s. Serving up the best clam and fish chowders, this little joint in located in the same building as the fish market along Cranberry Hwy on your way to the Orleans rotary. The clam chowder is my personal favorite, filled with plenty of clams and served hot and creamy. It’s a perfect dish to share, I recommend getting the biggest size and sharing a few bowls of heaven.   
 

Rock Harbor Grill

If you’re looking for more of a meal out, I highly recommend Rock Harbor Grill along Old Colony Way. Also attached to the Nauset Fish Market, Rock Harbor Grill is serving up some interesting and delicious foods. This was my first time going and I would certainly go back. They started us out with, not breadsticks, pretzel sticks! And not the hard Snyders kind, soft warm ones with an amazing mustard seed butter. To share, we got the lobster mac and cheese, which did not disappoint. It was packed with lobster, was creamy, and the pasta was cooked perfectly. Then, as if I could eat anymore, the RHG burger made its way. This isn’t any burger though. This burger was made out of chuck, short rib, and (wait for it) brisket. We all know how I feel about brisket and let me tell you if I could I would put brisket in every burger, it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. So juicy, well seasoned (perhaps a tad more salt would have helped) and cooked beautifully, this burger was just amazing. And did I mention it comes with truffle fries? Well, it does and those too were amazing, the truffle was not overpowering as some chefs tend to do. Overall, I would say this place is a keeper for my future vacationS on the Cape. Just watch where you sit, the ACs can be a bit strong and you may end up sitting in a cold spot.

*fyi not pictured or mentioned is the PEI Mussells, I’m not a mussell fan so I cannot speak about those, but the sauce they came in was amazing. I practically drank the remaining sauce off my moms plate.   
   

Ice Cream Cafe

Ice cream is a staple for summer vacation and there are three main shoppes in Orleans: Emack and Bolio’s (chain, don’t do it), Sundae School (serving what tastes like Breyer’s brand, good but not great), and Ice Cream Cafe (bingo). ICC is also along Cottage St, next to the bakery. The ice cream is homemade, the soft serve is amazing, they take the time needed for a great milkshake, the sandwiches are made with cookies from the bakery next door, and they serve it with love. They also have options, which is becoming more of a thing nowadays, gluten free options, non dairy, etc. They have so many flavors to choose from it gives you a good excuse to go back the next night. Not only do you taste how homemade the ice cream is, but the cones too! Personal favorites include their cookie dough, peanut butter cup, chocolate fudge brownie, dark chocolate chip, cocoa mint chip, and coffee Oreo. And that’s narrowing it down.   

I hope you enjoyed this Cape Cod food trail, hopefully it helps narrow down the places you oughtta go if and when you end up in Cape Cod!

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