By Cathy Huyghe | Thursday, June 2, 2011
We've said it before and we'll say it again. The Nantucket Wine Festival is THE place to kick off the summer season of wine. Now that it's come and gone, we can put on our hindsight-is-20-20 sunglasses and review the Festival's best highlights. Last weekend's highlights, fortunately, will be there all summer long. Consider this your hit list for the island.
KIDS MENU AT AMERICAN SEASONS. This secret is so hidden that it literally doesn't exist. American Seasons restaurant, with arguably the best chef on an island of very, very good chefs, does not have a kids' menu. But take some kids in there, and they will not be "cooked down to." No chicken fingers with French fries here. The kitchen will prepare anything from their menu in a plain-ish, kid-friendly style — Wild King salmon, say, but cooked all the way through and minimally seasoned — that wind up being so pure that they may just make the adults at the table jealous.
FRANZ HILL VINEYARD WINE AT CURRENTVINTAGE. Price inflation is the immediate effect for most wines that receive a 90+ rating from uber-critic Robert Parker. Except if your wine is Zinfandel from Franz Hill Vineyard in Napa despite a stellar score of 93 from Parker for their 2005 vintage, this Zin stays at a very earth-bound price of $30 a bottle. Production is extremely, extremely limited but currentVintage on Easy Street has a direct line to the producer. Find it there. Show it off. Whether you tell your guests what a bargain it is is completely up to you.
BEST NANTUCKET STORY. The tagline for Donelan wines is "Wine is a Journey Not a Destination." For founder Joe Donelan, that journey's gone from college at Holy Cross in Worcester to supplying paper for LL Bean catalogs in Maine to trailing one of Nantucket's greatest sommeliers around the world. Donelan is old-school (he hand-writes some 3000 thank you notes every year) which, in addition to some incredible winemaking, add up to a super-high ratio of customer loyalty. Today Donelan splits his time between his vineyards in California and a kitted-out (for wine lovers, that is) home close to his roots on Nantucket. Look for his wines in shops and restaurants on the island and all over Massachusetts.
BEST BOOKSTORE. There are two, actually— Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell's Book Corner. Both are excellent because both are oozing with personality. These are not corporations. These are people. They have literally read the books and will gladly share their opinions. But even if you don't actually engage in conversation with anyone working in the shops, you'll feel invited to browse until you find Just The Right Book for your Nantucket getaway.
BEST GUEST SERVICE. It's the high season now and Nantucket's service in dustry has officially shifted into gear. The standard-bearer for guest service is, hands down, the White Elephant hotel and residences. Sure there are the things they offer every guest, like van service to the ferries or into town or to a partner restaurant. But come to them with a particular request or problem and they kick it into overdrive. They take it personal. Call it Humane Hospitality. Or just call it whatever it takes to get you one heck of a restful night's sleep.
MUST-DO ACTIVITIES. Rent a bike, or bring your own. Take a Pilates workshop. Visit the Whaling Museum. Take a walking tour with the Nantucket Preservation Trust. Try ice cream flavors you've never had before. Cake batter, anyone?
We tend to think of seasonal ingredients as the good stuff that we patiently wait for all year as it slowly rises from the soil and that is certainly true, but a summer staple I look forward to all year comes from the ocean—I’m talking about striped bass.
Yield: 4 servings
Bluefish, also abundant in Martha's Vineyard waters, works well in this dish, too.
1 cup pesto
1-1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 8-ounce fillets striped bass or bluefish, skin on
Place pesto and breadcrumbs into two separate shallow dishes. Divide vegetable oil into two medium-size frying pans over medium-high heat. Press each portion of fish, skin side up, into pesto and then into breadcrumbs. Place fish, crumb side down, into the hot oiled frying pans and sear 3 minutes.
Turn fish and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Arrange on serving plates and top with Tomato Vinaigrette.
4 medium tomatoes, cut into half-inch chunks
1 small red onion, diced
3 scallions, finely sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all recipe ingredients in a non-aluminum bowl and let stand, covered, at room temperature 30 minutes.
Adapted from Doug Hewson, Mediterranean Restaurant, Matha's Vineyard, MA ___________________________________________________________ Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
Co-Artistic Directors are Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode.
Serkin had been Artistic Director until his death in 1991.
Marlboro is 1.5 hours from Williamstown, MA, and 2 hours from Tanglewood.
The 2012 festival begins on July 14 and concludes on August 12, with concerts every Saturday and Sunday, as well as the final two Friday evenings.
The festival is known for an egalitarian approach to music-making among seasoned mentors and exceptional young professionals.
Repertoire for each week's concerts is determined a week before each performance.
Concerts take place at Persons Auditorium on the campus of Marlboro College.
The iconic welcome sign to Marlboro
Its location in southern Vermont makes Marlboro an idyllic getaway, two-and-a-half hours from Boston and four hours from New York City. Many options are available for lodging and for exploring area attractions.
By James David Jacobs | Thursday, January 6, 2011
Today's 4:00 request is from Chris of Falmouth, Maine: "I'm requesting that you play Barber's Knoxville Summer of 1915. Its a really beautiful and nostalgic piece that evokes images of a quaint midwestern town in the 1920s. It really means something to me because it reminds me of my own childhood and also Barber is my favorite composer. Thanks! Chris S. Age 14 Falmouth, Maine". Even though it's the middle of winter in New England and about as far from a Tennessee summer 96 years ago as can be imagined, we here at 99.5 couldn't pass up the opportunity to fulfill the nostalgic longings of a Maine resident born in 1996. And there's no arguing with Chris that it is indeed a beautiful piece that may bring us some evocative warmth this chilly weekend.
The text is adapted from the prose piece of the same name by James Agee, which was posthumously incorporated into his novel A Death in the Family (which I highly recommend, by the way - very intense, and for me evokes a reaction similar to Chris's reaction to the Barber - though it should be said that the two works are not really related and should be considered independent of each other.). Barber took it upon himself to edit the text, which Agee begins “We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville Tennessee in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.” These words, while left unsung, were inscribed by Barber at the top of the score to this work. You can learn more about the piece and even hear Barber himself in an interview about it at NPR Music.
And here is the text of Barber's piece:
It has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently, and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds' hung havens, hangars. People go by: things go by. A horse, drawing a buggy, breaking his hollow iron music on the asphalt: a loud auto; a quiet auto; people in pairs, not in a hurry, scuffling, switching their weight of aestival body, talking casually, the taste hovering over them of vanilla, strawberry, paste-board, and starched milk, the image upon them of lovers and horsemen, squared with clowns in hueless amber.
A streetcar raising its iron moan; stopping: belling and starting, stertorous; rousing and raising again its iron increasing moan and swimming its gold windows and straw seats on past and past and past, the bleak spark crackling and cursing above it like a small malignant spirit set to dog its tracks: the iron whine rises on rising speed: still risen, faints: halts: the faint stinging bell: rises again, still fainter: fainting, lifting, lifts, faints foregone: forgotten.
Now is the night one blue dew. Now is the night one blue dew, my father has drained, he has coiled the hose. Low on the length of lawns, a frailing of fire who breathes . . . Parents on porches: rock and rock. From damp strings morning glones hang their ancient faces. The dry and exalted noise of the locusts from all the air at once enchants my eardrums.
On the rough wet grass of the backyard my father and mother have spread quilts. We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there. They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near. All my people are larger bodies than mine . . . with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth, and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening. among the sounds of the night.
May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble, and in the hour of their taking away.
After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.
(image of Knoxville Botanical Garden: Wikimedia Commons)
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