Saturday, September 18, 2010

North Shore road trip

Decided to get out of the house for a bit in the race car (2010 Hyundai Genesis coupe...I know, this isn't a car blog -but the race car ROCKS !) and headed north. Recently acquired a great little book, Food Lovers Guide to Massachusetts ...this is a great foodie assist tool if, like me, you like to just get in the car and check stuff out. The book has everything food related - cool stores, farm stands, restaurants, recipes, name it. My goal is to go to every one...I'll never make it of course, but it's nice to dream :).

One of the places mentioned in the book is Russell Orchards , in Ipswich (on the road to Crane's Beach. This place is a pick-your-own produce place on crack...there's the picking (over 25 varieties of apples alone), the farm animals to see, the live bluegrass band out in the field, and a huge farm stand-type store with hot apple cider donuts being made while you wait. Of course, we were really there for the booze...the farm has their own winery, and they are doing some amazing stuff with fruit wines (plus things like dandelion wine) as well as ciders and perry (pear cider). These aren't sickly sweet, Boone's Farm, fluffy swill...these are serious wines, complex and delicious. They had some out to taste, all of which were excellent...we came home with wild blueberry, blackberry, a slightly sweet cider (they have sweet, slightly sweet, dry and sparkling), and a perry. Snapped a few pics at this stop, sorry I didn't get more :

the pumpkin truck
time to make the donuts...
the goods !
I have to say, the cider donuts were absolutely fantastic - piping hot, a little crunchy on the outside from the hot fat, and all apple-y, spicy goodness inside. Mmmmmm......

The next stop on our trip was JT Farnham's, in Essex. I am a huge, huge fried clam nut - have to have them at least once every summer, usually multiple times. Seriously one of my most favorite foods ever. Woodman's, in Essex, has always been one of my favorite spots, but I've been curious about Farnham's ever since they won the Food Network "Food Feud" with Woodman's this year. Finally got the chance to go there today...and while I still love Woodman's, I have to say...these were better. Excellent clam flavor, not too greasy, and crunchy right down to the bottom of the box. Perfect, perfect, perfect...a true culinary orgasm :) Farnham's doesn't have a website, so no link...but here's a picture :

not the best picture - these deserved better !
Fisherman's Brew was a perfect match, by the way...when in doubt, go for the locally brewed beer !

Last stop on our foodie tour was McKinnon's Meat Market, in Danvers. I was hoping to find a boned whole turkey breast (for an amazing looking recipe in the Guide), and Mark's coworkers speak quite highly of McKinnon's. Sadly, they didn't have a boned one (yes, I'll be boning my own :) )....but I think they had every other kind  of meat...definitely carnivore heaven ! Everything looked to be of really high quality, but what struck me the most is they had all kinds of already seasoned / prepared meats for you to cook at home...everything from bracciole to buffalo wings. Part of being a foodie girl is that I love to do my own prep, but I could see this being a great resource if you were in a hurry or were having a big party or something. We did pick up a bunch of store-made sausages, which I'm sure I'll be reporting on once we try them out. They look awesome, though !

Came home very tired, but full and happy. Just my kind of day :)


  1. I'm going to be dreaming about those donuts Karen!!! Love your writing style, and that foodie guide sounds awesome :)

  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip. You need to try browns on the North Shore. They are suppose to have the best clams. I haven't tried yet