Cape Ann Delights

And, delight it does in more ways than one! Cape Ann is made up of Essex, Rockport, Gloucester and Manchester-by-the-Sea (not to be mistaken with Manchester, NH). I was working out of Manchester-by-the-Sea recently, which is famous for its Singing Beach which has never sung for me no matter what I did and will soon be famous for one of the best restaurants to dine at in the New England area.

I worked to this glorious sea view and the sound of waves crashing on the beach 10 feet away.



An amazing sunset like the one below usually signaled the end of yet another productive day and time to hit the town in search of great meals.


My drink of choice was martinis simply because the two restaurants that I am going to rave about made smashing martinis. Dinner one night was had at Alchemy Bistro in Gloucester. Crispy Eggplant Napoleon with a Mango Martini. A delicious dinner in a tastefully decorated bistro setting. My girlfriend and I let our hair down and had a blast!

A green-apple martini...

Dinner on another night was had at Cala's. My meal at Cala's was one of the best meals I have had in a restaurant in the U.S. to date, second in taste only to Charlie Trotter's. There was a 5 minute wait even on a Tuesday evening and Cala's does not take reservations. Red lampshades add a warmth to the comfortable atmosphere. I got a tour of the kitchen à la Charlie Trotter style and our dinner was supervised by Chef Geoff Cala. And what a treat it was!

I ordered fire roasted Alaskan halibut with clams, king crab meat, whipped potatoes, braised spinach and beurre blanc.

I love potatoes and whipped potatoes have never tasted better. The braised spinach was to die for. When the bed for the halibut was so mind-blowing, could the fish itself be any less? It certainly did not disappoint. However what was even more difficult to believe was that my meal was not the best on the table!

Two specials that night were ostrich and orange roughy. The orange roughy took the prize as the best tasting meal. The ostrich took the honors as being exotic meat, wonderfully moist. I surprised myself by trying it. My memories of ostrich are linked closely to beady eyes supported by a long neck craning over a fence to peck at me. I remember the horror and fright I suffered even today! Was this payback time, I wondered?! I expected the meat to be stringy, smelly and tough.

Ostrich meat as presented to us that night at Cala's was none of those. It was not like chicken or duck or lamb. It was less like poultry and more like a red meat. It was simply delicious. The ostrich was topped by crispy turnip!

So while not much Indian food was had, my tastebuds were exposed to a range of culinary delights thanks to Geoff Cala. Cala is the mastermind behind both restaurants, Alchemy Bistro as well as Cala's. If you're ever in the Boston area, it's well worth the drive of about an hour or so north to Cape Ann on Route 128 to experience 'coastal cuisine at its best!'

4 comments:

Ashwini said...

This is making me really jealous. You are talking beach, seafood and martinis to a Goa girl now in the desert :-(

Manisha said...

Ashwini, you've still got the sun! I can't tell you how much I enjoy the sunny days out here in Colorado.

Cape Ann was nothing like Goa. Not in spring and certainly not in winter or summer, which are the other seasons that I have spent time there. Now Jamaica or the Caribbean? That's Goa! But I know what you mean. I remember my first visits to Cape Ann: the seafood was amazing. But there was one missing ingredient: spice. This time though, I didn't miss spice at all!

Hope you're settling down well in Scottsdale!

Teri said...

I've been to Cala's restaurant in Manchester and was wowed by the experience. The atmosphere is made even more interesting by the glow of the red lights. My meal was absolutely outstanding! I had orange roughy which was simply exquisite. Every bite was different and complex due to the sauces and garnishes. I would classify my meal as work of art by Chef Cala.

Manisha said...

Hi Teri! Yes! I loved the warmth of the red lights, too. I wouldn't have thought it would work so well for a restaurant until I saw it do just that. I remember walking towards the restaurant and it's like a beacon, pulling you in with its magical glow.

Mmmm! I remember the orange roughy!! Delicious.