Valet Confidential

Find out what I've been keeping under my hat


THAT doesn’t taste like wild hickory nuts …,

… at least, I don’t think so.  To be honest, I’m not sure I know what wild hickory nuts taste like.  All I know for sure is that I think my granola tastes pretty damn good, and it seems as if a few others agree.

This year for Christmas I made several batches of granola and gave them out to various friends (If you didn’t get a jar, don’t be shy – I can make more!).  It has gotten some good reviews from folks, as well as a couple of requests for the recipe.

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What a cupcake

Via Universal Hub, I was directed to this blog entry about a cupcake shop in Davis Square (Somerville, MA). Two things:


2) Among all the cupcakes they sell are DEEP FRIED cupcakes!

Of course, the place has a great name, Kickass Cupcakes.

I just have to get to this place – Chandler, can we please play Johnny D’s again sometime soon?

I hope they last longer than Coolidge Corner’s Pudding It First did.


Girl Scout Cookies

I bought a box of Girl Scout Cookies from some scouts who had a table setup at the grocery store the other day and was handed this along with the box of cookies and my change:

I never got a thank you note with my cookies before … I thought it was a nice touch.


Mmmm … burritos

I read this restaurant review the other day, and I have to say that this place sounds pretty good. I have a few questions:

Have any of you been to one of the Boloco’s?
Would any of you like to meet me in Boston and give it a try?
How can we get one here on Cape Cod?

Not that our burrito options are bad here on the cape – far from it, really – but we don’t have much in the way of the more non-traditional options offered by Boloco’s.


Our long national local nightmare inconvenience is over

Yes, Harwich Center has a breakfast spot again! And in the same place that housed our previous breakfast spot, the “Stewed Tomato” – o frabjous day! callooh! callay!

[OK … in all honesty, we’ve had a breakfast place in the area for a little over a year, since Harwich Central Cafe opened … but for whatever reason, they never really seemed to quite fill the loss of the Stewed Tomato … don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place – hell, they even have free internet access there – but it’s definitely more of a funky coffee house than a diner-style breakfast place.

Hey, allow me a little artistic license and cut me some slack here, OK?

Whew. Glad we got that over with.]

Anyway, back to the new restaurant in Harwich Center. It’s called “Shenanigans” and I hear it is run by the folks who run Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Hyannis. They are open from 6 am to 3 pm, serve breakfast the entire time, and add lunch items to the menu at 11 am. There’s probably around 8 counter seats (I didn’t count), along with several tables. I went there for the first time the other day with Lady Trout, Princess Pinky, and Prince Stinky.

The restaurant has a very nice menu – for breakfast, there are the traditional egg/toast/bacon/homefries combos, various omelets (including make your own), breakfast sandwiches, a couple of benedicts (standard and one with, if I remember correctly, hash), pancakes, french toast, and even fruit-filled crepes.

The two young royals split an order of chocolate chip pancakes, which they both liked quite a bit – and you don’t even have to go to the children’s menu to order them! Her Highness Lady Trout ordered a veggie breakfast sandwich, which came with a little veggie patty in place of bacon or sausage. I had two eggs with bacon, toast, and homefries. Good bread options for toast, including a multigrain, which is what I got – nice and nutty! The homefries are just potatoes, and were pretty tasty, if not all that exciting. I prefer mine with some onions, but they were quite good. Adding some hot sauce would probably help – next time, I’ll see if they have any. My only real complaint with my order was with the bacon (quel surprise, I know!) – there were only two pieces. I guess I’m used to 3 or 4 pieces to an order at other restaurants – the 2 pieces just seemed. Certainly not a deal-killer, and next time, I’ll know and order an extra side of bacon. Breakfast prices were all in a reasonable range, too.

The lunch menu looks good as well. They have various types of sandwiches – panini, wraps, traditional sandwiches, almost all of which were $7.50 a pop. Bargain on the lunch menu at first glance looks to be the grilled cheese for only $3.99.

I’m definitely looking forward to going back to Shenanigans and trying out more of the food there. It looks to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

If you’re in the area and want to give it a try – call me, I can usually be there in 5-10 minutes!


Have you seen this bowl?

I’ve been meaning to write this up since Memorial Day weekend, when I first went to Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet for this season, ordered the tuna poke, and met the perfect rice bowl. Unfortunately, I was sans camera that trip, and I wasn’t sure if I could adequately describe the perfect rice bowl in all of its perfection, so I decided to wait until I went back and remembered to bring a camera. Well … that was … oh … three weeks ago … and I did get some pics … I was just too dang lazy to do anything about writing this up … until tonight, anyway.

So … here’s the deal … they have these great bowls at Mac’s Shack this year … they’re flat on the bottom, so they sit just fine on the table, but they’re also just a little off-center so that they rest comfortably in your palm, your fingers cupping the straighter edge of the bowl, and have an indentation for your thumb … in short … perfect.

[what looks like milk in those wine glasses is unfiltered sake – really!]

Well … almost perfect … the problem with them being … I CAN’T FIND THEM FOR SALE ONLINE!!! I even got the name of the vendor where the restaurant bought them, but it’s definitely a wholesale vendor in New Jersey without any online ordering capabilities (and almost certainly not in the lot of 4 or 6 that I want).

If any of you faithful readers have any bright ideas (other than liberating a bunch of bowls from the restaurant), please let me know. Especially if you’ve seen these bowls for sale somewhere with your very own eyes. I was thinking of offering some sort of reward, but I don’t know if there’s anything I can really offer other than my eternal gratitude (and a public thank you via this here blog thingy).

If all else fails, once summer ends, I suppose I just might swing by and ask Mac if he’d order a few more if/when he next places an order with the vendor.



The Juice

“Crazy-stupid good” – this is the phrase I’ve been using this summer for food which, in a snootier time, I might have called “sublime”. I’ve run into a few examples of crazy-stupid good food this summer, and last night there were a few at the Juice, in Wellfleet.

I’ve been to the Juice several times, both last summer and this summer, and every meal I’ve had there has been great – and several items on the menu are most certainly crazy-stupid good (the clam fritters for absolute sure – they’re purt-near perfect). Last night, I tried three things I hadn’t had there before:
oysters in the rough (a half dozen raw oysters)
spinach & mushroom quesadillas
chocolate ganache tort

The oysters are local, Wellfleet oysters, and are served with a housemade cocktail sauce which was tasty. The really cool thing about the dish was the little leaf of fresh cilantro added on each oyster. Damn, that really made things great! Also, the price practically can’t be beat – $9.95 for a half-dozen oysters, where most restaurants on the Cape charge *at least* $2.00 an oyster.

The oysters made a nice appetizer, and then came the quesadillas – holey schmoley, where have these been all my life?!?!?! How have I skipped over them on the menu all the other times I ate there?!??! Every bite brought a smile to my face. Really tasty, meaty mushrooms, and the cheese they use was gorgonzola, so there’s a nice blue-cheese bite to it (though not super-strong). Definitely a new fave dish for me, and something to go into the rotation of meals to eat there.

While the quesadillas brought a smile to my face with every bite, the chocolate ganache made me positively giddy – I swear, I actually giggled as I was eating this, it was so damn good.

There are many fine restaurants to choose from in Wellfleet – there’s Mac’s Shack, the Wicked Oyster, Sol, to name a few – just be sure to keep the Juice on your list of possibilities when you’re there – try anything on the menu – it’s all good, and a whole lot of it is crazy-stupid good.

update (later Sunday, around 2pm): I forgot to mention a couple of things about the Juice.

First of all, the building housing the restaurant – let’s just say it looks as if there’s a right angle in the place, I think it just might be a mistake.

Second – if you’re hippy-phobic, don’t let the look and name of the place scare you – sure they have funky pizzas and great smoothies and the staff is filled with surfers and hula hoopers (seriously – at least a couple of waitresses are members of a hula hoop group – look for them around town and at this year’s WOMR “Boogie By the Bay”)

Third – they have Rain organic vodka – I don’t like it as much as my fave vodka of all time, Tito’s, but it’s pretty darn good. Also, when beets are in season (we’re getting into beet season now, I think), they make this really amazing beet martini with local beets and the Rain vodka.