A friend, J, invited us up to Gloucester yesterday, where we haven’t visited in ages. Lunch was at Blue Collar Lobster at the Gloucester House, which our friend likes (we’d never been). We sat outside (and it was surprisingly not too crowded at ~ 2 pm). Blackened haddock tacos for her and B, fried fish sandwich for me, hot dog for Spring Onion (not pictured). Sysco-esque fries, but quite competently fried, like the best beach fries. My friend said the fish portions in the tacos were smaller than usual - they were gobbled up. B was still a little hungry, so I gave him some of my large fish sandwich. I love that the roll was toasty/buttery. The fish clearly outgrew it’s roll. Needed a touch of salt, but it hit the spot. Lots of tomato and lettuce, which I appreciated. Standing at the pickup window, you can see the hard-working cooks (mostly slightly older guys) and I was amazed by the speed and deftness with which they pumped out their orders.
We then took a stroll through downtown. B and I were sad to see the Cape Ann Brewing space still empty but according to J, it’s been taken over by the owners of Tonno. Their is the name of the new joint, but I’ve already forgotten it. Here’s a tidbit about it. J wanted to take us to Pastaio Via Corta. We felt like the proverbial kids in a candy shop. This place might already be known to many of the fine GBA Onions but it was new-to-me. I limited myself to 2 bottles of wine (lambrusco and a delightful summer-weight primitivo [we cracked it open as soon as we got home that evening]), 3 fresh pastas (bucatini, malfadine, and wagon wheels for Spring Onion), and marinated olives. The olives were a little disappointing. B and I both wanted a bit more oomph, so I added lemon juice + zest, and crushed garlic cloves. I let it sit overnight and we’ll give it a try tonight.
As for today…Canobie Lake Park, here we come! We plan on being there all day, which means lunch at the Park.
I intended to visit Pastaio Via Corta last Friday and Cake Ann’s new location near Blue Collar Lobster to enjoy their outside seating and excellent desserts (save the macarons which I can’t get excited about in general). So happy to read your report as well as see your pictures. That fish sandwich is right up my husband’s alley, big piece of fish. Looks as if it was fried perfectly! Alas, what was supposed to be an all day adventure was shortened to 4 hrs roundtrip. Lunch at The Studio in Rocky Neck was glorious weather wise, underwhelming food wise. Clearly, the new owner is timing how long you are occupying your table. The food was not as well seasoned or carefully presented/plated as on my initial visit. Our server did her best, but was not 100% open. After ordering two apps ( steamed mussels w/frites and fried calamari) we wanted to wait to place anything additional. Told it would be on her computer, the kitchen won’t see it, you tell me when to put it in. Nah, a runner showed up with what the kitchen wasn’t supposed to see, didn’t remove empty plates or bring clean dishes. I went and got clean plates as no server was in site. Our server was huffy when she did show up, proceeded to read what time we sat down and how long we had been there. Anyhow, be aware.
I forgot to mention another place on Main Street in Gloucester, The Cave, which would be fun to visit in conjunction with PVC. We are overflowing with cheese at the moment, so we passed on it. For now.
That’s kind of par for the course in western mass and albany area, i’ve seen it all over mass at fish fry kind of places, not fancier/expensive spots…I prefer that. Sounds like not what you experience.
the other bizarre note at a lot of the spots I enjoy is the mysterious “red sauce” - doesn’t matter if you ask for cocktail sauce, hot sauce, bbq, chili sauce, etc, this is what you get…enjoyable tho to me and much preferred to iterations of mayotard like tarter (for me). I think it’s like cocktail sauce, relish, ketsup, salsa, hot sauce a bunch of stuff!
Used to be if you asked for milkshake you’d get chocolate milk and needed to order a frappe…i’m older now, things change!
Ha, ha! Love it. Charlie’s Kitchen in Gloucester (closer to Good Harbor Beach) also does a very nice fish sandwich, although it’s been a few years since I’ve had it as their hours can be a little tricky.
Also, @Digga the closeup of the pasta texture- fantastic! And, pro-tip, I’ve never gotten grief for packing sandwiches at Canobie Lake Park. I usually bring something far superior and far cheaper than the concessions, and buy some Dole whip or something to supplement.
The last time we went to Charlie’s was in the depths of the pandemic, when restaurants had moved to a takeout model. We were desperate to get out and B needed his lobster roll fix, so that’s what we got (Spring Onion got his requisite hot dog). We took them to Halibut Point on that sunny beautiful day and enjoyed them al fresco, far away from any other humans (the packie, of course, was open so we were able to brown bag it). The lobster rolls weren’t particularly memorable but I will always remember that meal as one of the first we had out during those dark days (even in an old-school place like Charlie’s, they had 1 cup for sanitized pens, another for used pens - we thought, what is this world coming to?!).
PS B didn’t think Canobie would let us in with even our empty water bottles, much less outside food, but they didn’t even check our bags. We had a sad lunch at the Tavern next to the Boston Tea Party ride. It never got old, watching unsuspecting spectators get drenched.