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Dana’s Kitchen in Falmouth is the kind of place you dream about. Set along a quiet stretch of Palmer Avenue just north of the center of town, we stumbled upon this tiny breakfast and lunch spot on one of our famous “get in the car and go” days. It quickly became this Cape Cod innkeeper’s favorite lunch spot.
Tucked in among the trees, Dana’s Kitchen and its gracious proprietors, Art and Dana Tillman, welcome you as soon as you open the door. Behind the counter you’ll find Art, Dana’s husband and business partner. Dana herself is scurrying between the sandwich prep area and the enormous ovens where she creates her mouth-watering breads, scones, muffins, cookies, and pies. Greeted with a big smile and a kind word by these two graduates of Hyde Park’s Culinary Institute of America, you are immediately handed the menu of daily specials that you just know will be prepared with the freshest ingredients in a simple yet creative way.
Once the site of the Peachtree Farms restaurant, the cozy “Kitchen”, as it is known to locals, strives for a casual atmosphere and a “homey” feel. In the winter, you are warmed by the gas fireplace and the tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen. In the summer you have a choice of dining inside or outside on the deck surrounded by perennial gardens, shade trees and blooming flower boxes. A large flat screen TV on the wall is tuned to the cooking channel, and wireless internet is available so that folks feel free to linger over a cup of coffee and a pastry. It is, in essence, a place where comfort is king and relaxation reigns supreme. Exactly the kind of place a weary innkeeper wants to retreat to in the middle of the day to recharge the batteries.
The lunch menu is a classic mix of soups, salads, and sandwiches, but each item is given its own signature styling by Art and Dana that keep locals coming back time and again for their favorites. Rich’s new favorite is the smoked Scotch salmon on toasted marble rye with cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions and capers. It’s melt in your mouth wonderful and, judging by the expression on my husband’s face each time he orders it, just shy of culinary nirvana. I am a fan of the cranberry walnut chicken salad on Dana’s homemade wheat bread. The portions are so large, a half of a sandwich is all I can eat, especially if I’ve had a cup of one of their delicious homemade soups to start. On Fridays, they serve their haddock chowder, a yummy concoction made with chunks of meaty haddock and diced potatoes in a silky cream base. But get there early if you want to try it, because people start streaming in around 11:30 on Fridays.
In addition to their breakfast and lunch offerings, Art and Dana offer take-out and business lunches along with catering for private functions. Located at 881 Palmer Avenue in Falmouth, MA, Dana’s Kitchen is open daily from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM; closed on Tuesday. Call ahead for take-out. 508-540-7900.
Recently, Rich and I tried a new Mexican Bistro called Añejo. Located on Main Street in Falmouth, Añejo opened it doors in August of 2010 and very quickly became a fixture on the local restaurant scene. We were introduced to it by Rich’s son, Ethan, and our daughter-in-law, Melissa. Passionate about good Mexican food, they raved about the inventive stylings of this new bistro, its fresh take on Mexican cuisine, and the vast menu of refreshing cocktails. So in our quest to find the best and most unique restaurants for guests of our Inn to try, we set out to meet friends for a new dining adventure.
The dining room itself is small and intimately lit. A charming bar buffets the dining area, and is set against an exposed brick wall that is adorned with the works of a local artist. We were greeted by a friendly waitress and shown to one of the hightop tables at the front of the bistro that line the wall of glass overlooking Main Street. The extensive menu offers an array of starters, soups, salads, and appetizers, along with house specials and sides, and, my favorite, an ample selection of Mexican street food.
The waitress took our drink order and brought a basket of warm lightly salted tortilla chips and a bowl of hand-crafted salsa. Rich and I opted for the house Margarita, unsalted of course, and one of our companions tried the house Mojito. Drinks are served in enormous glasses that have been well-chilled.
To get us started, we shared the Añjeo Nachos, an appetizer of handcrafted fried corn tortillas layered with pico de gallo, home made refried beans, cheddar jack cheese, pickled jalapeno, avocado, lettuce, cilantro, queso añejo and picante crema. It was divine. The tortilla chips were individually layered with all the ingredients, rather than swimming in a pool of ingredients the way many Mexican restaurants serve them.
After such a filling appetizer, we all opted for the Mexican street food offerings. Rich and I chose the classic burrito, which consisted of a large flour tortilla filled with your choice of carne asada beef, chili marinated chicken, or slow roasted pork, and pinto beans, served with pico de gallo, Mexican rice, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream and topped with a choice of salsa verde, salsa roja, or mole poblano and jack cheese. The slow roasted pork with mole poblano was the best I’ve ever had and Rich concurred. Our companions went with the enchiladas and declared them superb.
Añejo is likely to continue to be a popular spot, not only for its authentic Mexican fare and refreshing south-of-the-border cocktails, but for its casually intimate setting along Main Street in Falmouth. My only complaint was that they turned up the volume on the music at 8:45 pm, leaving us and the rest of the lingering diners with no choice but to up the volume on our own conversation or leave the comfortable restaurant for some peace and quiet.
If you’ve ever been a guest at the High Pointe Inn on Cape Cod, you know that I am a crafter with a passion for rubber stamping. It’s an art form that doesn’t require any real talent, just an eye for detail and a willingness to get covered in ink from time to time. I got hooked on stamping quite a few years ago when I was looking for a creative outlet to while away the long winters of North Conway, NH where we had our first inn. I stumbled upon an adult education course offered by a Stampin’ Up rep and signed up with a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” attitude.
By the end of the first class I was totally obsessed with creating unique and beautiful cards with just some rubber stamps and an ink pad. Of course, after each succeeding class I found myself lusting over all the tools and accessories I could invest in to feed my stamping habit. My instructor/Stampin’ Up rep hit the mother lode with me, and I soon found myself loaded to the gills with stamping paraphernalia.
Over the years, I have expanded my repertoire of stamping techniques to include stamping on velvet with a heat technique, creating my own stamp to “wallpaper” my powder room in a leaf pattern, and my latest venture: stamping on tiles!
My housekeeper, a crafter in her own right, and I researched the process online and decided to give it a whirl one afternoon. The process was relatively simple and resulted in dozens of beautifully designed tile coasters and trivets that took us under three (3) hours to make in my kitchen. We were so pleased with the results, we’ve decided to sell them in my little gift cupboard at the Inn. We’re convinced that they will make great gifts for our guests to bring home with them.
Here’s all you need to create beautiful stamped tiles in your own home:
That’s all there is to it. So go ahead and experiment. Have fun in your kitchen with stamps and tile. We did.
[Note * If your design calls for a background stamp in one color and a second stamp in another color on top of it, be sure to heat set the first color before stamping the second color over it, or you will find that the colors bleed. Bake a second time to heat set the second color.]