10 BEST FRIED CLAMS list from Yankee Mag New England today

A friend in New York just emailed me this link: 10 Best Fried Clams in New England, courtesy Yankee Magazine’s New England Today. A couple of local Cape Ann favorites made the list. The comment board is climbing fast. I have friends that swear by the Cupboard in Stage Fort Park and various restaurants in Gloucester, Rockport and Essex. Did yours make the 2018 list?

10 best fried clams 2018

Oracle Rubber Duck Says: Winter of Our Discontent is Over!

It’s March! What’s so awesome about March Rubber Duck? It’s followed by April! And April is when we start making “Seasonal Openings 2015!” From Top Dog usually the last day of March to The Rudder right around Tax Day with Lobsta Land, Capt Carlos, Dairy Train, sprinkled in between. What tastes like spring more than a Fish and Cheese sandwich at The Cupboard? And the snow will melt soon! Look at WeatherSpark for next week:

This next week spends most of the time above that nasty freezing line.
This next week spends most of the time above that nasty freezing line.

So here is my lineup starting today for things to do to get you in the mood.
Friday March 6: Stones Pub for a Blue Duck Spring Burger. (Blue Cheese Portabella mushrooms, bacon, hold the sprouts between your knees.
Saturday March 7: Wash the car at Maplewood Carwash. It’s not for the car, it’s for you. You will feel better! Drive home slowly. Do not splash.
Saturday March 7: There is something else big today, what is it?
Sunday March 8: Spring Forward! That’s right, drive home from work and the sun is still shining!
Monday March 9: Big Apple announcement. Buy a watch? A retina MacBook Air?
Tuesday March 10: If you are going to grow tomatoes from seeds, sow them now!
Wed March 11: Run around in shorts! It’s 44 degrees out! After this winter that will feel like 85!

Thurs March 12: Have you ever seen Uranus? I have never seen Uranus! But you can this week. As Mars and Venus set in the evening if you scope them out with binoculars they will be very easy to find. Venus is wicked bright. Very close by will be an unblinking tiny blue dot. That is Uranus! Now you can say Rubber Duck showed you Uranus!

Saturday March 14: Pi Day! Biggest Pi Day ever because it is 2015 which means 3/14/15 9:26AM and 53 seconds all nerds head’s will explode with nerdiness!
Sunday March 15: Ides of March: Greg Bover posts an awesome quote from Caesar or Brutus et tu?
Tuesday March 17: Saint Patrick’s Day! Plant your peas! Still two feet of snow in your garden? Start digging. You have to plant them on Saint Patty’s Day or the world will end.
Wednesday March 18: EJ and Brenda Malloy and Jeff Amero and everyone else who has been rubbing it in on Facebook that they are in Florida will be dragging their sun tanned butts back to Cape Ann!
Tuesday March 31: Get your boat in the water by today and you win a prize!

Friday, March 20: at 6:45 PM EDT First Day of Spring, Equinox, equal day, equal night!

Wednesday April 1: Seasonal Openings really get underway. You can make it. Meet me at the Rudder or The Studio, who is going to open first?

Then this happens Sunday April 5th
Then this happens Sunday April 5th

Seasonal Openings Part III

The list of what has opened is long so I am switching modes to only speak of Cape Ann eateries about to open or changes in hours as spring turns to summer. Speaking of summer, how do you like the summer weather? It only rains on Monday and Tuesday? Last year and 1986 it seemed like it only rained on Saturday and Sunday. No more of that. Hot and humid here on out.

The Cupboard: Latest rumors all point to the Cupboard Opening tomorrow, Thursday, May 6. Today is Cinco de Mayo but tomorrow is “Seis de Mayo por la almejas fritas”. Works for me. Please do not chase me down if they do not open on Thursday. Their Facebook page is requesting job applications. Unfortunately my daughter has another month of eighth grade.

They have to be open by Saturday and I will be there to get some onion rings and a fish sandwich. I just got my camera out of hock so I might even be able to take a photo instead of these blurry iPhone shots. (Sorry about that again Jerry Remy burger.)

The Rudder: I was all excited about reading in the Gloucester Daily Times yesterday that the Rudder was going to be open year round. But reviewing Joey’s interview of Jeanie Boland last fall after the renovation and using my keen reading comprehension on the GDT story I now realize they may be open only to private functions in the winter. We need to change that. Every time you eat there make sure you mention how much you want The Rudder to stay open year round. Duckworths can do it and so can the Rudder.

But for now, The Rudder is Thursday to Saturday open at 5PM then on June 17th they will be open all week through the summer.

Fun Fact: My brother Chris just told me he ran the raw bar at The Rudder in the 80s. So did he kill anyone off? 8)

Seasonal Openings Part II

More openings:

Popo’s Gourmet Hot Dogs on Rogers Street open.
Nate’s at Front beach open.
What used to be Frank’s Subzone now Surfside Subs on Thacher Road open.
Captain Carlo’s open

And to repeat from part I

Topside Grill open (Tuesday is Oyster night)
Top Dog on Bearskin Neck open
The Rudder open Thursday to Saturday
Lobster Pool open (see video of seafood quesadilla on this blog)
Lobsta Land open (at 5:30AM for breakfast too!)

And last but not least the Cupboard will be opening May 1.

From Fred Bodin’s suggestions I had to go to Topside Grill and Captain Carlo’s and neither disappointed. The only complaint was from my bathroom scale the next day. I may have to walk the Blackburn Challenge on the sea floor.

Topside Grill on Tuesday. Oh I love oysters. I love them so much my iPhone photo is just a pile of shells. But I did snap a photo of my martini. I only needed one of these.

Captain Carlo’s was a treat from the parking lot to the check. We were walking up and a gruff old guy was getting to the door before us. (Not really that gruff or that old but he may have pulled his share of lobster pots.) He held the door and waved us all in with a “Welcome to Captain Carlo’s!” The whole place was like that. Are these people hired as method actors to give the place the salty friendly atmosphere? It works. I can imagine on a warm night the back deck is the place to be.
Fun Fact: Captain Carlo’s is named in honor of Capt. Carlo Ciaramitaro. Now where have I heard that name before?

I really have to cut back on the caloric intake but I want to go back to all of them and hit all these new places. I don’t think I can even be called a tourist if I haven’t had the fried clams at the Cupboard yet.

Keep the names of seasonal opening coming.

Summer Tourists, Some are not.

But Cape Ann is a tourist draw so if you don’t go with the flow you are missing out on some great fried clams, onion rings, and all sorts of other stuff to clog your arteries but what the hay it’s almost summer and winter is a long way away.

With that long intro, I want to know what seasonal restaurant is open. I love walking into a place that has been closed up all winter and the formica is all shined up and hopefully the fryolators are lubricated. Ice cream too, is there a better feeling than ordering that first mint chocolate chip from the Dairy Train in Rockport? (side note, my daughter was asking to go and I pretended to be deaf, not a real hard task, and I said “Scary Train?” and she repeated and I said “Scary Brain?” and we went on and on until she had to hit me over the head, anyway, Dairy Train is Scary Brain in our house.)

So what am I missing? I know some places are open and nobody told me. Stop that. I hate that.
So I want anyone who knows of a seasonal place that has opened or has posted the date at which they will open, send the info to me or post a reply and I will make a list and check it twice.

From my own personal ramblings I know that:
Top Dog: open
The Rudder : open Thursday-Saturday
Lobster Pool: open
Lobster Land (I mean Lobsta Land!): open
Top Siders: open (Oyster night is Tuesday night)
I’ve heard mention of this Cupboard at the end of the Boulevard and I will admit I have never eaten there. I’ve never played 18 holes of golf so sue me. But does anyone know when they might open?

Mail me or reply here, I will check it twice: paul_morrison@dfci.harvard.edu

Gloucester Classic- The Cupboard Counter

The counter at the Cupboard is made from a classic formica.  All those years, all those patrons served and that old formica countertop is still holding up.  Sure it’s well worn in certain spots, but polished up over the years it’s certainly timeless.  I’d go as far to say that there is something  comforting about and old worn formica countertop.  You know if the establishment that you’re eating at has one like it that they serve the kind of grub that will leave you satisfied.

Gloucester Classic- The Cupboard

Gloucester Classic- The Cupboard, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

Here are Grover and Cindy, long time owners of The Cupboard at Stage Fort Park.   My grandparents Joe and Felicia Ciaramitaro (The Captain Joe) lived up the hill from The Cupboard on Tolman Ave.

Both of my grandfather’s names were Joe Ciaramitaro.  One, Captain Joe who started Captain Joe and Sons with my father and uncle and the other- Joe Popcorn who owned Pat’s Center Grocery which started in the location where Sclafani’s is and then moved across the street to the location where the plaza housing Tedesci’s Market and Yama Wok are currently.

Grandma Felicia (although I never called her Grandma Felicia, it was always Grandma with the wharf) would go down to Stage Fort Park and knit with her sisters under one of the trees.  She’d walk down the bottom of the hill behind The Cupboard with her knitting bag and they would kabbitz and knit.

I remember way back then what a treat it was to go down to The Cupboard after ball games or when we would all go down as a family and eat on the benches outside, always finishing up with ice cream.  Some things are traditions and even though Cindy and Grover are not from Gloucester, you’d be hard pressed to say that there are  many more people woven into the fabric of  Gloucester memories over the years.

An imprint in my mind from yesteryear is the mural of Mother Hubbard hanging on the wall behind the counter.   It’s been there as long as I can remember and I wanted to be sure to take a picture of it.  The signature in the bottom right reads “Franklyn Hamilton”

A Taste of Summer

It’s only 3 months away. Once this snow melts, we’ll be able to believe that summer will actually come again with the Red Sox, ice cream at the Cupboard after supper, walks on Good Harbor, and of course, FIESTA! Here’s a little teaser of good things to come! Enjoy!

Santo Militello and grandaughter Marissa
Santo Militello and grandaughter Marissa