New Bedford – it’s a catch!

8 Aug

NB1

Sir Eatsalot has been on a hiatus thanks to several life-changing events. That does not mean he has stopped eating or opining on food, if you’ve been following twitter. If anything, he has been hogging more. Namely, fresh catch and tons of shellfish, thanks to the move to the country’s biggest fishing port — New Bedford.

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For those who don’t know, this is a small city with a big history. Once the whaling capital of the world (I highly recommend the free film “The City That Lit The World” at the Visitor Center downtown) and home to the world’s biggest Whaling Museum, it boasts a working fishing port and, as a result, great fish markets and good value restaurants.

Ethnically diverse, it also presents unique Portuguese and Cape Verdean delights that I have only begun to explore. Watch this blog for a tantalizing glimpse of the delightful meals I’ve tried at Inner Bay – my local favourite!

Fisherman’s Market and Kyler’s Catch have been a haven for fresh and reasonable purchases, prompting me to cook lots of my favorite crab curry in my new home. But the specialty here are the scallops.

Fancy restaurants in Boston will boast of having New Bedford scallops on the menu (pronounced sco-lup by locals, btw, who laugh if you say scal-lup!) which are really to die for. Fresh, large, meaty, watery and sweet, I find they are best when slightly seared in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper and a splash of white wine. Here’s a dish made at home this summer with local scallops and clams.

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Churrascarias have a great spread of options here — Aveirense, Novo Mundo, Celia’s — as do hole-in-the-wall joys like El Caribe which fully satisfied my craving for ethnic food after the initial weeks of eating eggs and soup all day.

Local Portuguese haunts like M&C Cafe, Vasco da Gama and Alianca have presented me with mouthwatering and cheap plates of littlenecks, shrimp mozambique, fried shrimp and cod cakes, and yummy clam boils – a clear winner.

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Ice cream shacks in a the area serve Giffords of Maine. hands down the best ice cream ev-er (I highly recommend the strawberry, chocolate lovers and buttercrunch scoops). Of course these shacks serve snacks freshly fried golden clam fritters – a local favorite. They gave me a couple extra ones at Clark’s Point Cremery near Fort Taber, btw.

Perhaps the craziest experience so far was at the annual Feast last weekend, packed with people and madeira flowing. At one end was the biggest charcoal pit I have ever seen.

Folks bought meat, veggies, paid a $10 deposit on a giant skewer to make their own. I have serious plans of doing this next year by hauling in my own marinade and tupperware.

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I haven’t even mentioned the beaches and farms with their fresh produce, easily-available and affordable lobster, the awesome Market Basket in the North End, the welcome unpretentiousness of the locals, the shady-looking but perfectly great bars once you venture in, and landmark events that celebrate a half marathon and The Whaleman statue.

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This is just a quick overview but I will share my insights on the South Coast in the months to come. Drop me a line if you are in the area, or email your favorites recommendations any time.

And I encourage my Boston-area friends and foodies to continue to keep me on their mailing lists. I am happy to post upcoming events and food finds always.

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