Last Day in Massachusetts & Neptune Oyster (8/12/12)

Pin It

Our last day at Clark Farm started just like the others, with an egg-ceptional breakfast! (Punny, right? RIGHT?!? Actually, I hate puns.)

I already miss my daily meal of farm-fresh eggs, kraut, and sausages.

We begrudgingly crammed our belongings into our luggage while wistfully peeking out the windows at the peaceful tableau outside.

Meanwhile, the kids conspired to hide the Double-Os. Our boys had no qualms about missing our flight home. “I’m going to stay here forever,” Lil-O insisted. And he meant it. Hence the uncooperative face in this farewell photo:

But it was time to go. With heavy hearts, we piled into the car and headed for Boston to spend our final afternoon in the big city. We arrived in the North End at noon…

…and made a beeline over to Neptune Oyster for lunch.

This tiny, unassuming raw bar and seafood restaurant was a welcome oasis in a cluster of kitschy Italian tourist traps. 

I know we should’ve slurped up a bunch of shooters, but instead, we shared a “Tuna Ribbons” salad with raw ahi, potato aioli, olives, capers, boiled egg, and green beans…

…a lobster, mozzarella, and tomato salad…

…and seared striped bass over ratatouille.

Everything was fresh and meticulously prepared. Definitely one of my favorite meals in Massachusetts.

After lunch, we acted like typical bumbling camera-toting tourists (which we are) as we meandered along the Freedom Trail

…and wandered over to Faneuil Hall

…to witness America’s NEXT! MILLION! DOLLAR! ACT! 

Every time the Double-Os spot a street performer, they mercilessly judge the act like mini Howard Sterns on America’s Got Talent. (My heart bursts with pride.) According to my boys, this fellow was entertaining, but he did not have what it takes to fill a Vegas theater with clambering fans. “It was good, but was it a million dollar act?” asked Big-O. He answered his own question with a firm “No.”

In the late afternoon, we finally arrived at Logan Airport where the boys downed some sushi for dinner before we boarded the plane.

And that, my friends, is the end of my interminable presentation of What I Did On Summer Vacation. You can wake up now.

Tomorrow, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming of daily eats — which means it’s back to cold food for me. Have I told you how nice it’s been not to have to take photos of everything that goes in my mouth this week? But for you, I’ll dust off the camera again — at least until I get sick of blogging.

A Day at the Beach & Dinner at Woodman’s of Essex, MA)

Pin It

Oh, how I miss being in the country. The beauty of Clark Farm is unparalleled, don’t you think?

Last Sunday started at the crack of dawn, when the roosters started crowing and the boys barreled down the stairs like a herd of buffalo.With AHS ‘12 in the books, Henry and I finally had time to hang out on the farm with the Rodgers family. 

We were expecting Bill, Hayley, and Diane to pop by for brunch later in the morning, but I was too hungry to wait four hours to eat. For my first meal of the day, I fixed myself a rolled omelet with farm-fresh eggs, sauerkraut, sautéed greens, and a slice of cantaloupe. 

(Now that I’m back home, none of the “farm-fresh” pastured eggs I’ve purchased locally come even CLOSE to holding a candle to the pert bright orange yolks and thick albumen of Clark Farm eggs.)

By the time our pals arrived mid-morning, I was ready to eat again. Breakfast Part Two!

Diana baked trays of wild boar bacon…

…fried venison sausage…

…and sizzled some eggs in butter.

She also picked some Japanese eggplant from their garden…

…that were tossed in coconut oil before spending a short stint in a hot oven.

Mmm…mmm…good.

Once our bellies were full, we all trudged outdoors for a guided tour of the grounds and the animals.

Bill got up close and personal with the piggies that foraged in the shrubs.

Farmer Andrew spent his day off teaching a bunch of city slickers how he raises the food we eat.

Before heading back to the farmhouse…

 …we stopped by the mobile hen coop to gather more eggs.

Before long, it was time for Bill, Hayley, and Diane to head home, so we said our goodbyes.

Our plan for the rest of the day was to soak up some rays at Crane Beach. First, we stopped at a local Whole Foods…

…and picked up some meat and vegetables at the deli counter.

And then it was off to the beach to splash in the surf for hours.

The weather was gorgeous and the waves were gentle. At the end of the day, we managed to haul back a haf-dozen pails of seaweed and sea shells for the farm animals. Andrew told us that the hens peck the calcium-packed shells, which makes their egg shells harder. And the seaweed provides a natural source of iodine for the animals. Who’da thunk it?

The farmer’s walks (for realz!) on the beach made me hungry. For dinner, we drove over to Essex to inhale platters of seafood at a local spot called Woodman’s — the birthplace of the fried claim! — that’s been in business for almost a century.

A big plus: With just a few exceptions, all the menu items are gluten free.

Yes, I know that “gluten free” doesn’t mean “Paleo-compliant,” but I never said I was Paleo perfect. Besides, you know the saying: When in Essex, get the “Down River Combo” — a pile of crunchy fried clams, shrimp, scallops, and fish.

The gigantic plate of fried seafood also comes with a side of cole slaw and your choice of fries or onion rings. I opted to sub sweet potato fries for a small upcharge.

Crunchy, moist, and tasting of the sea.

We also shared some steamers…

…and Diana showed us the proper way to devour ‘em.

Butter makes everything taste better, no matter how ugly or phallic.

It was the perfect end to an exhausting, fun-filled day at the beach.

Only one more day of East Coast eats remaining!

AHS’12 Day Two (8/10/12)

Pin It

Yeesh. We got home from Boston late last night, and I’m already feeling the crush of all sorts of work-related and mommy duties to tackle — not to mention a backlog of several days worth of posts to write. 

Well, I guess I best get crackin’. Let’s pick up where we left off: Last Friday.

As you’ll recall, we were staying as the guests of Diana and Andrew Rodgers on Clark Farm, their place in Carlisle, Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, Friday’s breakfast of eggs, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe that Diana whipped up was incredible.

The eggs were freshly collected from the chickens on the farm, and were bursting with color and flavor. 

I savored it with a steaming cup of coffee and some zesty, crunchy homemade purple cabbage sauerkraut. Diana has mad skillz in the kitchen, and it was a rare luxury to be able to just sit back and enjoy someone else’s cooking for a change.

Meanwhile, the kids were already up and running around the farm. Before we were even done with breakfast, the boys had already caught a couple of catfish in the pond.

And then, we were off to Harvard Law School for Day Two of the Ancestral Health Symposium. If you followed my Twitter feed and/or Fitbomb’s (or followed the #AHS12 tag on Twitter), you know that we tweeted furiously throughout all the presentations, so I’m not going to recap the talks again. (There are, however, a bunch of different summaries of AHS you can find online, like this one and this one.)

After all, I’m all about the food. Speaking of which, at lunchtime, we headed outside for a big catered buffet by Boston’s Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q.

I piled a plate high with chicken, ribs, sweet potato mash, pickles, and collard greens…

…and chatted with friends while we ate.

A few more academic sessions later, we drove back out to the farm for THE social event of the conference: The Sustainable Dish Farm Dinner.

It was jaw-dropping — the barn at Clark Farm had been transformed into a rustic, glowing dining hall filled with locally-sourced food and libations. Diana’s guest list included a who’s-who among the Paleosphere, international travelers and locals alike.

With our kids running around (and in and out of the goat pen) and our friends and Paleo heroes all in the same room, I spent the night laughing and eating — my favorite activities.

I had a blast. I can’t possibly do the dinner justice in just a few sentences — so I’ll recap it in more detail (and with more photos) in my next post. Stay tuned! [UPDATED: Here’s my post on the farm dinner!]