An Eastham vacation isn’t just about the beach, riding bikes, flying kites, and enjoying all the wonderful things Mother Nature has to offer. It’s also about the food. If you’re like me, vacation means indulging in stuff that’s forbidden or unavailable the rest of the year, and doing so without apology or regret–cardiologists’ recommendations be damned.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of my favorite things to eat in Eastham. It has been curated over many years and it represents the foods my family and I look forward to enjoying, starting with our first trip to the Cape in the spring and throughout the summer and early autumn.
1) Lobster roll at the Friendly Fisherman: This is my number-one food obsession at the Cape. Go there, taste it, and you’ll understand why. A gigantic portion of mostly claw meat on a romaine-lettuce-lined toasted bun = summer-eating nirvana. Believe me, it doesn’t get any better than this. (For more info see Best. Lobster. Roll. Ever.)
2) Onion rings at Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar: Available in two sizes: “regular” and “are you kidding me?!” Order the smaller size and you’ll get a pile of sweet, thinly-sliced rings that easily feeds four. No, they have no redeeming nutritional value but you’re on vacation so you can stop caring for one day. You know you want them. Just do it.
3) Almond croissants at PB Boulangerie: Arrive early and get on line if you want these swoon-worthy and much-coveted treats. They fly out of this charming bakery at an amazing rate.
4) Clam chowder at Sam’s Deli and the Eastham Superette: They get it from Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth, not far from Eastham, but who cares if it’s not made on-premises? It’s just so thick and rich, and it passes the spoon-stands-up-in-it every time. Absolutely yummy. (For more info see Clam Chowder Champion.)
5) Fried clams at Cap’t Cass: My family, friends and I adore the plump, sweet whole-belly clams here. I don’t know what they put in the coating but it sure is delicious, and the fried clams never are greasy. The environment at Cap’t Cass is genuine Old Cape Cod, so everything just naturally tastes better. (For more info see Our Favorite Clam Shack.)
6) Chocolate-glazed donuts at Hole-in-One: I’m not a donuts-for-breakfast type of person. Really, I’m not. I eat a slice of dry toast and cut-up fruit every morning and think nothing of how boring and one-dimensional that is. But when I get to Eastham I turn into a donut-devouring machine. Maybe that’s because there are so few places left where homemade donuts are available, and most people have forgotten how great they can taste. These are amazing, well worth every calorie. (For more info see If Donuts are Your Obsession.)
7) “Serious Chocolate Addiction” ice cream at Emack & Bolio’s: Our favorite ice cream flavor is aptly named because, once you’ve had it, you won’t want to order any other flavor of ice cream. Ever.
8) Cape Cod Salad at Moby Dick’s: It’s big, delicious and refreshing. Salad greens are topped with dried cranberries, candied pecans, sliced pears, bleu cheese crumbles and a raspberry vinaigrette. Order it with grilled chicken or shrimp and turn it into an entire meal.
9) Sandwiches at Sam’s Deli: The sandwich menu is large and creative, and they use top-quality meats and cheeses and homemade breads. Our favorite is the “Nauset Light”: roast beef, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and scallion-horseradish cream cheese on focaccia. Most of Sam’s sandwiches will serve two people. While you’re there, you might want to try the enormous and very delicious chicken pot pie, available in the prepared foods case.
10) Cod Piccata at Stewart’s Seafood Restaurant & Tavern: The lemon-butter-caper sauce dressing the huge portion of perfectly-cooked cod is simply delicious. It sits atop a flavorful rice pilaf. This is our go-to meal when we’re tired of eating fried seafood.
(Photographs: top, Carolyn Gatto; bottom, Foodspotting.com)