Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I still cannot believe it. Yesterday morning on my run, I was heading home and pretty much ran right into the Nantucket Lightship parked in the Battery Park harbor! I honestly thought I hadn't quite woken up and that I was still dreaming. Seeing the red lightship brings back all kinds of amazing childhood and even adulthood memories - we have been going there every year of my life. I wanted to grab the person running next to me and jump up and down pointing, sharing with them the excitement I was feeling. Nantucket really is my happy place. And of course, with happy places, comes great food shared with family and friends. I spent the rest of my run thinking about all that I love about Nantucket. Immediately, my thoughts turned to my favorite culinary adventures while on island - definitely the complete opposite of any cheap eats I have currently been frequenting. I decided I would balance out the Recession Edition with a Splurge Issue and write about a few of my favorite restaurants on the island.
If there was only one restaurant I was able to go to while in Nantucket, it would be The Company of the Cauldron. This is a tiny restaurant located in the middle of town where the menu changes each night. For two separate seatings each night, the entire restaurant is served the same meal - usually consisting of an appetizer, a salad, a main course, and a dessert. The first day we arrive in Nantucket, we stop by the restaurant to reserve the night with the best menu of the week. The rest of our nights are based around this crucial decision. Not only have I never been let down by a night out at the Company, but I actually even get a little sad when the night is over. I cannot decide if its the cozy setting, the delicious farm-fresh food, the friendly staff, or the live harp that make you feel like you never want to leave.
Another must is a newer addition to Nantucket - Water Street Restaurant. Located in the old Vincent's Pizza joint, this is a great spot for nearly all occasions. From an informal meal to a take-away lunch to even an elegant dinner - whatever you are in the mood for, the food will not disappoint. The bottom floor is the formal dining room where the concentration is new-American, organic fair. While the food is amazing on all levels, it seems that the regular crowd is usually found on the top floor in the bar-room. I think the vacationers appreciates the more relaxed setting and the flexibility to order from both the bar menu as well as the dining room menu. The final option is the bakery located on the ground level to the left of the restaurant. This is a wonderful choice for treating yourself to a gourmet day at the beach. Don't forget to grab one of the homemade cookies - hopefully they will have some ginger ones left by the time you get there.
I could go on and on about the culinary scene in Nantucket, but I'll wait to do that after my next trip out there in June. However, one last spot to think about is Black Eyed Susan's. I go here for two small reasons - brunch or BYO dinner - and one big reason - excellent food. While the restaurant is tiny and takes no reservations, it is well worth the wait. The food is prepared behind the bar that takes up the majority of the restaurant. In the mornings, you will not be disappointed by any of the egg dishes and the grits. By evening, you will find everything from the freshest seafood to hearty pasta dishes to even Asian-fusion items. While this would not quite make any form of cheap eats list, the BYO aspect will make you feel a bit better about some of the other splurges you have been indulging in while on island. Although, just remember, it wouldn't be a vacation without treating yourself in one way or another.
Even after my run, I spent much of my day dreaming about Nantucket - and how it was only a mere 7 months until I would be back there. I am still not certain what the lightship is doing in the heart of New York City. It seems so out of place with the high-rises of wall street on one side and those of Jersey City looming in the distance. But, I guess it just goes to show that I am never really that far from my happy place. No matter the season or the place, there will always be a piece of my heart in Nantucket - and it just so seems that a part of Nantucket will always find me.