Yes, my friends, I have been to another beautiful locale and bring back tales of foodie bliss. I went to the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival to support a wonderfully talented filmmaker whose feature, Money Matters, was showcased and nominated for the HBO feature film award. The movie was excellent – the best movie of the festival. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit some great local restaurants and see some cinematic gems from great up and coming independent artists.

First, a word of caution: while a great place to visit and chill, Martha’s Vineyard is not the place to go if you are looking for a 24-hour good time. If you are the type that likes to actually relax and go with the flow, then Martha’s Vineyard would be the ultimate vacation destination for you.

Getting to Martha’s Vineyard can be somewhat of a challenge. There are numerous ferry services from Woods Hole and Hyannis, MA, but you would have to fly into Boston or New Haven, CT and then drive to the Steamship Authority, and taking a car to Martha’s Vineyard on the ferry can be pricey. I would suggest flying into Providence, RI and taking the Vineyard Fast Ferry (www.vineyardfastferry.com). The company has a shuttle that operates inside the airport and delivers you to the ferry port for $30 roundtrip. The boat ride to Martha’s Vineyard is about an hour and a half, and takes you to the town of Oak Bluffs, where I would suggest you stay.

The Vineyard is full of charming hotels and B&B’s – and there is nothing like sitting on the front porch in a rocker or porch swing and watching the world pass by. We stayed at the Nashua House Hotel (www.nashuahouse.com) which was in the center of Oak Bluffs and steps away from the ocean. If you plan to visit, definitely check them out – and tell them The Fab Foodie sent you!

Between movie screenings, I had a chance to sample some great food at 3 wonderful restaurants on the Island. Before I step foot in an airport or pack a bag, I research my dining options – I call it my “foodie due diligence”. I found Deon’s Restaurant, whose menu is described as “contemporary American Caribbean fusion”, and was smitten. I think I was as excited to eat here as I was to be in Martha’s Vineyard. I was able to have an early lunch with my favorite filmmaker (did I mention how AMAZING his movie is? AMAZING!), and my meal definitely met my expectations. We started our meal with Rum Punch (hey, we were on vacation. Don’t judge me.) and that was the BEST Rum Punch I’ve had. It was fruity, yet the spiciness from the rum still sparkled on my tongue after each sip. The bartender was also very generous with the alcoholic portion of the recipe – a great opening act for the meal. Our first taste of Deon’s was a plate of conch fritters. My regular readers know that I like to be adventurous when it comes to food, and I had never tried conch anything before. The fritters had a wonderfully crispy shell, and a moist center – similar to the texture of a hush puppy. They were served with a spicy pineapple salsa – the heat mixed with the sweetness of the pineapple made for an addictive combination. A huge plate of jerk chicken was my entrée. It was seasoned perfectly for lunch – not too spicy, but the heat from the jerk spices was definitely present. The side orders were a bit disappointing, but still good. Fab Foodie: 1 Martha’s Vineyard: 0

My next foodie stop was actually for dessert. Lola’s (lolassouthernfood.com), a restaurant/bar frequented by a lot of Vineyarders at night, was my next destination after a long day of sightseeing and movie watching. After a lot of deliberation, I settled on the Pineapple Bread Pudding with a White Whiskey Sauce. It was simply divine. It was served warm and also had blueberries, whose tartness contrasted well with the richness of the dish, and walnuts, which gave the dessert an amazing texture. I actually ended up going back to Lola’s for a meal, and wasn’t impressed with my selection. That dessert saved Lola’s for the Fab Foodie!

 My last stop in Martha’s Vineyard was the Slice of Life Café (sliceoflifemv.com). I walked past this place a few times but decided to try it after meeting two women who were staying at Nashua House and raved about the food there. Of course, the Fab Foodie had to check it out. The café is small, with the option to eat in or take out. I sat down and perused their generous selection of hot and cold sandwiches and started with a bowl of New England Clam Chowder. I could not leave the New England area without tasting some authentic clam chowder. Made with local clams, onions, celery, potatoes, and bacon in a light cream broth, it was a wonderful balance of flavors. The thyme really brightened the creamy broth. The vegetables were just done and stood well against the fresh clams. I also tried the Fried Green Tomato BLT, which was served with a basil mayonnaise on Rosemary bread. The tomatoes were wonderfully sweet – I loved the juxtaposition of sweet vs. savory in the sandwich. The Applewood smoked bacon added a wonderfully salty crunchy texture to the sandwich. Arugula served as the lettuce for the sandwich, and I must admit, the sharp peppery flavor can be off-putting for me. All in all, it was a great lunch. Definitely plan to stop by for lunch or dinner.

It’s been a pretty exciting summer for the Fab Foodie. I’m excited to see what the Fall has in store! Football season is quickly approaching – get ready to turn those stoves on!

Happy eating!

The Fab Foodie

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