Posts Tagged ‘Cape Ann’

The Other Cape

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016



Welcome to The Other Cape, a new online magazine celebrating Cape Ann. (Click that link.)

Stories and beautifully curated photographs of Cape Ann’s best – the old, the new, and the fringe, The Other Cape is a kind of magazine-as-compass. If you don’t live here, you will want to visit. If you do live here, The Other Cape will remind you why.

As a local food writer who sometimes ventures into style, I think our “other” Cape is having a renaissance. I can’t keep up with the growers, makers, bakers, coffee roasters, picklers, and even gorgeous terrarium designers hanging signs (and posting websites) on Cape Ann everyday.

A small flock of young farmers has grown up in the last five years, and they are talented, tireless, and, as farming on rock demands, inventive. Today, you can find Cape Ann-raised eggs, chicken, turkey, pork – and in the spring Salt Marsh Farms in Essex will have lamb – for dinner.

Nationally prominent Boston chefs – you know who they are, and if you don’t you can read about them soon in The Other Cape – are not just calling Cape Ann a beautiful place to live, but they are betting on this to be the next great place to have a restaurant. They are putting Gloucester fish, Essex clams, produce from Cape Ann farms, pasta from our new pasta-maker, Danielle Glantz, on their menus.

The Cape Ann AirBnB business is busting out, a certain sign that people are discovering the unique culture on our granite peninsula, which, by the way, is supposedly a great chunk of North Africa left behind by a glacier on its slide to Canada.

Cape Ann has had its share of renaissance times; Gloucester is, after all, “America’s oldest seaport.” Post 1623, fishing and quarrying attracted immigrant communities that salted cod, braided Nisu and celebrated saints galore. A-list artists writing, painting, and chiseling on Cape Ann were once almost thick as fishing boats in Gloucester harbor. Almost. For heavens sake, we have an organ company! (C.B. Fisk, Inc.)

There are many stories to write about Cape Ann’s past, and more to write about its exciting future, the crafts people, the innovators, the renovators, the incubators. And there are hundreds of beautiful places to see, from the best Dogtown trails to the best works at the Cape Ann Museum.

“The Other Cape” will be an almost monthly way to check in on what’s new, what’s interesting, and what’s beautiful here.

About that “other” thing: Cape Ann is the other Cape, why? It has more granite than sand? It’s “uphill” from Boston? We have no Kennedys?

Or, maybe it’s because one of our best keep secrets is the sensual pleasure of lying on a warm slab of granite, not sand, beside the Atlantic ocean. Maybe it’s because, while we’re “uphill” from Boston, we’ve got a highway blessed by an orange dinosaur and the Rockport Line from North Station, not the Southeast Express Way, that links us to the city. Maybe it’s because we have no Kennedys.

We have Sefatia. Check out my piece on the mayor who cooks – or on Pastaio via Corta – in the first issue of The Other Cape.

Buried Baked Beans, Homemade Sausage, Gino’s Fishcakes, and Rockport Festivals.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

buried beans

 Last Friday night Tim Sullivan dug a large hole in his back yard. He backed a truckload full of lumber and firewood up to the hole, unloaded the wood into it, and threw in a match. A good, hot fire began spitting flames.     beans and hole


hot coals

beans ready to cook

just out of the ground

  Sullivan, the burly bearded bagpiper and maple syrup purveyor at the Rockport Farmers’ Market, then stirred together soaked kidney beans, maple syrup, onions and a few mystery ingredients in a large black caldron. He placed the lid on the pot, and set it down into the hole of now inferno-worthy embers. Grave-digger style, he shoveled the dirt back on top of all, burying the pot of beans within the glowing coals. Then he turned back into his house, had dinner, and went to bed.

That same Friday, I pulled out the best cod cake recipe I know, from Gloucester’s Gino Mondello at the Dory Shop. I made a bechamel, which mixes gently into a bowl of freshly steamed cod and potatoes. I tossed in an egg, and a few stray ingredients, mixed all, covered the bowl, and refrigerated it. Then I went to bed.

Early Saturday morning, Sullivan shoveled the soil off his sweet, bubbling, ruby-colored beans; I patted my mixture into fishcakes, rolled them in breadcrumbs and fried them in a pan shining with a shallow layer of hot olive oil. All this while, Mike Ciaramitaro was mixing together his Trupiano’s sausage, like he does every week for Saturday’s Rockport Farmers’ Market.

This – the steaming brew of smokey beans, the tender fish cakes and the grilled savory chunks of Trupiano’s sausage – we served for a very special breakfast at the Rockport Farmers’ Market last Saturday.

Beans and Cakes Sign



  Admit it, you’re sorry you missed it, right? Besides lumber camps in Maine, and maybe some history-serious boyscouts, nowhere in the world are people still making baked beans this way. Homemade sausage is the only kind to ever have. Gino Mondello will serve you fishcakes browned in a big copper pan on his woodstove, but you better know when he’s making them.

Proceeds from the breakfast went to benefit The Rockport Farmers’ Market. This is the kind of quirky event we do at Rockport Festivals, the group that manages the Rockport Farmers’ Market – events that blend old and new, always with a nod to the granite, ocean and history that is Cape Ann. Thanks to Tim Sullivan and Mike Ciaramitaro for donating their time and deliciousness.  – and thanks to Tim Sullivan for most of these photos.

Tim Sullivan