The Nantucket Wine Festival Recap

Chefs Angela Raynor, Sam Mason and Cesare Casella

Chefs Angela Raynor, Sam Mason and Cesare Casella

Chowder’s sojourn to the Nantucket Wine Festival, though less than 24 hours old, has already resulted in a number of memorable bites. Contributors Alexandra Hall, Austyn Ellese Mayfield, and Erin Byers Murray weigh in on their noteworthy edibles thus far.

Austyn Ellese Mayfield
Egg Salad Wrap with Lettuce and Provolone
Where: The Coffee Table Cafe, Hyannis (3:02 pm)
Notes: This was a bit too reminiscent of the papier mache I once ate in preschool but with a sprinkling of field greens. I tried to spruce it up with salt and pepper but ended up leaving most of it for the gulls.

Bite: Cheese Grits with Veal Gravy
Where: American Seasons (9:50 pm)
Notes: A subtle take on a comfort food staple. The grits were creamy and not overly cheesed which set the stage for the veal gravy, which played a savory supporting role.

Bite: Spinach Mushroom and Ricotta Tart with Beet Vinaigrette
Where: American Seasons (10:15 pm)
Notes: The sauteed greens and mushrooms were the perfect excuse to indulge in the buttery dessert-like crust and I thoroughly enjoyed snagging bits of yummy ricotta on pieces of beet and dragging them through the fresh vinaigrette.

Alexandra Hall

Bite: Hot Dog & Ketchup
Where: The Coffee Table Cafe, Hyannis (3 pm)
Notes: Basically, rubber encased in Wonder Bread.

Bite: Skewered Foie Gras Pate with Date Chutney
Where: The Harbor Gala, The Pearl table (8:34 pm)
Notes: Smooth and creamy. Like a salty sundae on a stick.

Fried Green Tomatoes Topped with Crawfish
Where: American Seasons (9:32 pm)
Notes: Forced to give away the crawfish (I went to MGH with an allergic reaction to shrimp last year). Though there were slight traces of the shellfish left behind, the tomato (breaded and tart offset by a buttery sauce) itself is worth risking a trip to the emergency room.

Pan-seared Fluke Topped with Lobster
Where: American Seasons (9:46 pm)
Notes: Devoured lobster immediately. Flaky, incredible goodness.
Bite: Banana Split (chocolate peanut butter ice cream, vanilla bean ice cream, and maraschino cherry ice cream, with caramelized banana, over banana bread, and caramel)
Where: American Seasons (11:10 pm)
Notes: Was supposed to share with the rest of the table. After three bites, hoarded the whole thing.

Erin Byers Murray

Bite: The Nantucket Bloat
Where: The Coffee Table Cafe, Hyannis (3:06 pm)
Notes: This aptly named glorified BLT was bursting with fresh greens, massive tomato slices, a slather of mayo, avocado and bacon. But in the process of scarfing it down minutes before boarding the 3:15 ferry, half the tomato and a glob of mayo landed on my white shirt. No matter. I wore it like a badge all the way to the island.

Bite: Foie Gras and Date Chutney
Where: Harbor Gala, The Pearl table (8:32 pm)
Notes: A grown up nibble of PB&J: the foie terrine was dotted with white and black sesame seeds and finished with a date chutney — all served on a single fork. The Pearl’s Angela Raynor along with NYC chef Sam Mason (pictured, with chef Cesare Casella) didn’t blink when I ate the second…and laughed when I sneaked the third.

Bite: Korean BBQ Slider with Kimchee
Where: Harbor Gala, Tremont 647 table (8:49 pm)
Notes: Chef Andy Husbands wore a pig necklace while slicing down a few Korean-style briskets. The kimchee added a tart and tangy topper to the plate.

Bite: Pickled Lamb’s Tongue over Focaccia
Where: American Seasons (10:40 pm)
Notes: Table mates questioned the choice of pickled tongue, then bit their own after trying a sliver off my plate (that was all I would allow). The silken slices had the same texture of that foie gras from earlier along with a tangy bite of mustard seed. A tiny quail egg on top initiated yet another argument on whether eggs should be served on top of, well, anything.

And since this is a wine festival, we have to mention a pretty slammin’ rose we tried at American Seasons: the 2010 Arriviste Rose by Blackbird Winery. Even our most rose-ambivalent table mates were turned on to its savory, pinkish charm.

Stay tuned for more.