A Public Quest for Interesting Food Finds in Huntington

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Monday, June 7, 2010

GETAWAY - Block Island, RI

There should be no blame. It was probably both our faults…stopping for gas, stopping for coffee… but privately I believed it was more Nat’s fault than my own. As we passed through Amagansett, heading toward Montauk for the Block Island ferry, we both realized we were likely going to miss the one trip of the day. We got snippier with each passing mile when suddenly the phone rang. There’s a benefit to making reservations – they realized we hadn’t arrived. When I told them our coordinates they said they couldn’t wait… then I pulled the sympathy card, “but it’s our 20th anniversary and we’re celebrating on Block Island – we got engaged on Block Island and this is very meaningful to us”. They waited. They even announced our plight to the waiting passengers over the loudspeaker – who all cheered on our arrival. That was the start of Memorial Day weekend.

There are some very good restaurants on Block Island. The wait staff can be amusing on this first weekend of the season… they’re all green, young and beautiful, many from other countries. Patience is a must. Within fifteen minutes of docking I had our dinner reservations made at the Manisses. Having been to the island many times before, I had a hit list. The entire weekend was such a ridiculous and shameful exercise in self indulgence, it’s worth sharing.

Day One:

  • Lunch at the National Hotel (anyone who’s been there, that’s the one with the big outdoor porch). We each had a bowl of their famous clam chowder and shared a grilled salmon sandwich with basil pesto. And of course, a few vacation cocktails to get started.
  • After a bit of shopping we felt parched and stopped at Ballard’s outdoor bar overlooking the water.
  • The Spring House, (toward the lighthouse) with the red roof and sprawling lawn was our home for the weekend. Apparently they serve drinks on the lawn.
  • Dinner at the Manisses, a three minute walk from our inn, began with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon called an Educated Guess. Naturally, we selected it for the name alone. My asparagus soup was silky smooth with a little truffle oil I’m sure. I had lamb stuffed ravioli and Nat had Man-loaf, a hearty meat loaf with a rich brown gravy and appropriate sides. For dessert we shared a goat cheese cheesecake. By far, Manisses is my favorite restaurant on the island.

Day Two:

  • The Spring House offers a lovely Continental Breakfast selection. Open access to food is always difficult for me - there’s no off switch. My husband often tempts his fate to delicately let me know it's time to finish eating. He’s a good man.
  • For lunch I enjoyed every morsel of my Lobster and Avacado salad with a Pinot Grigio at the Harborview, another big porch venue. Nat offered me a bite of his hummus wrap… “uh, no thanks”.
  • The rest of the afternoon was even more indulgent. While Nat went for a two hour bike ride to work off his hummus; I had a massage and some spa services. We had already made our dinner reservations so I was able to relax.
  • Dinner was an attempt to recreate the moment. Twenty one years prior, on the day we became engaged, we had dinner at a lovely, out of the way restaurant called the Highview. It has since become the flop house for island workers. The restaurant served us and one other couple the whole evening and still the service was painfully slow. I had Prime Rib, Nat had Striper caught that day and we finished up with a shared warm apple pie a la mode. Simple, good food that filled our bellies for the 20-minute walk back to our hotel.

Day Three:

  • Continental Breakfast with slightly more restraint (the banana bread was excellent).
  • After yesterday’s massage I felt up for some exercise – we spent the day biking, hiking and kayaking. Somewhere in between we had another stop at Ballard’s for a lunch not worth mentioning.
  • And before dinner we stopped at The OAR, a very hopping restaurant/bar with outdoor picnic tables for families and a very good rum punch on the drink specials.
  • Dinner at the Spring House was undoubtedly the most indulgent dinner. I had seen people eating these interesting flatbread pizzas during the afternoon and had to try one… so I ordered a whole pizza as an appetizer. Arugula, pancetta, chicken… very similar to the pizza I tried at Porto Vivo not long ago in Huntington. We each had two small slices and saved the rest. The gnocci we shared melted into a rich, velvety puddle of flavor and I finished up with a course of pan seared duck medallions over an arugula salad. Thankfully we skipped dessert.

Day Four:

  • Leftover pizza for breakfast…

1 comment:

  1. Funny - I was cooking at the High View ~ 20 years ago....

    no, wait - more like 25 - did you have swordfish?

    Put Winfield's (next to the kittens) and Eli's on your dining list for next time. Glad you enjoyed your trip!