Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nantucket: Town

It had been a long day of traveling. We had left Bar Harbor, not without regret, at 8:30 in the morning on another beautiful sunny day, after another tasty breakfast at Cafe This Way (where we sat again at the Wonder Woman table...maybe it's reserved for gay people?). It was hard to guess how long the drive to Hyannis would take given the need to drive through the middle of Boston and fight Cape traffic. During the drive the clouds thickened and a drizzle started and it rained more or less consistently from Portsmouth south. But in the event, traffic was not too bad and even allowing for a brief shopping stop in Freeport, and a unplanned and worrisome detour through a very obscure part of Hyannis, caused by my ill-conceived decision (contrary to Michael's advice) to follow the GPS rather than the clearly posted signs...despite all of this, I say, we found ourselves parked and at the ferry terminal in time to catch the 3:15 ferry to Nantucket, which was well ahead of what I had dared to hope for.

We got on the ferry just as the skies really opened up and the downpour began. Fortunately an hour later when we arrived in Nantucket, it had diminished to just an occasional drizzle. Even with a considerable amount of luggage left in the car in Hyannis, we still struggled to transport our four pieces of luggage and two bicycles to the inn near the harbor, but after a few tense moments (and two stops to ask directions) we finally made it.

After settling into the inn, fending off the helpful but overly chatty receptionist, and cramming our assorted gear into our pleasant but compact room, we set off on an exploration of town. I had deliberately, and uncharacteristically, failed to make dinner reservations for that night because I wasn't sure exactly when we would arrive or how tired we would be. We had a delightful walk around town...Michael was as entranced as I had hoped he would be...but we had trouble settling on a place to eat. Well, what to do? What we normally do, which is go have a drink while we contemplated the situation.

We found ourselves just east of Main Street and fell into a stylish and attractive looking place called Town. The bar, and bartender, were welcoming and we settled ourselves happily on a stool for closer examination.

Being hot and thirsty, I started with a quick beer, followed by a ginger martini, which served as our initially, and ultimately costly, introduction to a ginger liqueur called Domaine de Canton. Michael was tempted by, I think, an Asian pear mojito but quickly switched to the ginger martini for the second round.

We were having such a good time that we decided to stay for dinner; a great deal of this was due to the friendly and welcoming presence of bartender Graeme Fleming, a Scot who came to Nantucket 19 years ago and never left. The menu at Town is heavily Indian-inspired. Well, mostly. We started with a couple of tiny "truffled sliders" which were just as good as they sounded...outstanding in fact. I could have made a meal of them, but it would have taken about a dozen. Following most of Graeme's recommendations, I started with an appetizer portion of Weeping Tiger Shrimp (with coconut milk and chilies) and followed with a lamb vindaloo...very tasty, but not nearly as spicy as a true Indian vindaloo, which was probably just as well under the circumstances. Think well seasoned lamb stew and you have the picture. Michael had a nice green mango salad to start and a dish combining soba noodles, broth, and braised short ribs. All delicious. With it Michael had a Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, no surprise, while I had what I think was a Blue Pirate Pinot Noir (after rejecting a Hangtown as too thin...or maybe it was the notes are very sketchy as Graeme was extremely generous about keeping our wine glasses topped up plus treating us to a bit of a taste of Domaine de Canton as a digestif).

All in all, a wonderful evening and a great introduction to the delights of Nantucket.

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