I grew up near Toronto and summers often meant a rustic cottage by a lake in the region known as Cottage Country. Dinners were always on the porch or by the dock and we often had pike or other fresh fish that we had caught that afternoon. A plate of food that comes from underfoot always tastes better (whether it’s feet that walked to the farmer’s market or the ones that dangled in the lake off the dock). It isn’t just the setting, it is the freshness of the food as well that makes each bite seem to have an extra dimension.
New England has traditions of their own. Maine folks head out to their “camps”. Bostonians go to the Cape, the Islands and the North Shore. Ever since becoming a New Englander, I have a new summer dream. I have seen photos of Martha Stewart‘s famous beach-side lobster bakes in Martha Stewart Living. Similar scenes are described and photographed in Yankee Magazine, Gourmet, Edible Boston, Bon Appetit and Boston Magazine. My husband’s office even once had an “urban” lobster bake in a city park and I thought it was pretty fabulous. My dream, though was to one day stand around a fire on the sand and enjoy a classic lobster, corn, and steamers of a true New England lobster bake (magazine-worthy or not).
My fantasy became a reality a few weeks ago when I scooted out to Plymouth to experience the Mirbeau Inn and Spa‘s version or my dream al fresco dinner. Little did I know that this particular version would exceed any vision I had of what a meal on the beach could be. From the setting and menu to the atmosphere and company this was beyond anything I could dream up. I was invited to experience Mirbeau’s Oyster dinner which they will offer again next year for both Mirbeau Inn and Spa guests and those who just want to join for the Oyster dinner experience.
The Mirbeau Inn and Spa’s Chef Stephen Coe and his crew created a perfect fantasy out on the water along with family run Plymouth Water Sports and Plymouth Rock Oyster Growers. The evening began with a boat ride out to what felt like the middle of the ocean just off of Long Beach in Plymouth. We arrived to a scene of chairs set out, a table and a few sunflower adorned high tops laid out ready for a party. Chef Coe was working over the fire and guests were being handed glasses of wine upon arrival to the sound of oyster shells clinking against one another as the Plymouth Bay Oysters were being shucked for our indulgence.
Here are a few photos of the fantastic experience.
The entire party was packed up and put away on the boat. The sun was setting and the tides were rising. Guests reconvened on the boat. Chef and crew had the entire dinner and “dining room” packed up on their boat. As the captain started up the engine, looking back there was not even a trace of the land we dined on. Soon we were headed back to Mirbeau Inn & Spa with our bellies full, cheeks smiling, eyes sparkling, and one pretty fabulous memory to hold on to.