Food & Fun: Blending edibles with excitement

Here are some combos that were just meant to be together. Their unions, like Romeo and Juliet, were written in the stars. Chips and salsa, or a shower and recklessly off-key singing, come to mind. One combination that is particularly plentiful here on Cape Cod is good old-fashioned food paired with entertainment, which when experienced together, is twice as much fun.

Meals and Music
If you’re looking for dinner and a little music, take a spin through Hyannis, where there are many worthy options—each with their own flavor and flair. The Roadhouse Café (488 South St.; 508-775-2386) is in its 29th season and is a well-known hotspot for its flavorful fare paired with jazz and piano. Owner Dave Colombo’s famously musical father, trumpet player Lou Colombo, can often be heard performing with his jazz band in the Back Door Bistro piano lounge.

Also owned by Dave Colombo, along with business partner Scott Brownlee, is The Black Cat (165 Ocean St., Hyannis; 508-778-1233). The pair recently bought and renovated the harbor-side restaurant and reopened it serving New England-style comfort food—seafood, meat and potatoes—alongside musical entertainment, including more opportunities to hear a little jazz with dad, Lou, and sister, Lori, a singer.

Just a couple of streets over and offering a completely different vibe from The Roadhouse Café and The Black Cat is emBargo (453 Main St., Hyannis; 508-771-9700), with its urban- chic atmosphere. Specialty martinis, tapas and musical entertainment, usually danceable, are on the nightly roster. Although, on Thursdays and Saturdays, much like their neighbors, there is jazz to be heard.

Hyannis doesn’t have a monopoly on food and music. The lower Cape has Del Mar Chatham Bar & Bistro (907 Main Street; 508-945-9988), a sleek restaurant that serves a menu full of creative international cuisine and crispy thin-crust wood-fired specialty pizzas. During the summer months, they have jazz on Wednesday nights, a steel drum band on Thursdays and a late night DJ on Sundays.

Views and Vittles
Since Cape Cod is surrounded by water, there are ample opportunities to sit back and enjoy a good view—Mother Nature’s version of a picture show. One notable opportunity rests on Barnstable Harbor. Jutting out into the harbor, Mattakeese Wharf Waterfront Restaurant (271 Millway, Barnstable; 508-362-4511) is the perfect place to catch a perfect sunset. As the sun does its twilight thing, the waters surrounding the restaurant glow in shades of orange and lavender and Sandy Neck, visible across the water, is bathed in an ethereal aura. Choose cocktails and the café menu in the lounge or opt for a full dinner in the dining room; either way, walls of windows and a seafood-rich menu offer the perfect complement to Mother Nature’s fabulous show. Also on display are a wide array of wildlife and an even wider array of gorgeous boats.

Beach Blankets & Picnic Lunches
No food and fun catalogue would be complete, at least on Cape Cod anyway, without the mention of the beach and picnics. Planning and preparing a beach picnic shouldn’t have to cost beach-goers valuable time in the sun. Luckily supermarkets know this and many have a pre-made sandwich section filled with tasty selections. Roche Bros. (11 Donnas Ln., Mashpee; 508-477-5558) features a food section that is fast and fresh and perfect if you’re headed to South Cape State Beach. Box Lunch, with its eight locations and affordable prices, reigns supreme with its Rollwich®. They offer nearly 50 varieties of roll-up sandwiches—such as the “John Alden,” which is turkey paired with cranberry sauce, mayo, lettuce, tomato and even stuffing if you’d like—as well as the option to create your own. Call ahead to order and they’ll have you beach-bound in no time.

Baseball and Burgers
Mention a baseball game and sweet thoughts of beer and ballpark franks are bound to follow not too far behind—a classic all-American combination. Attend a Cape Cod Baseball League game at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth and you might be surprised to learn that their concession stand serves something called “The Hurler,” a huge hit with fans. Created by Bob Phillips in 2004, The Hurler is a hamburger sandwiched inside a lightly grilled jelly donut and covered in spray cheese. All Cape Cod Baseball League games, which are played by the best collegiate athletes in the nation, are free to attend and will have you rooting for your favorite hometown team; in between trips to the concession stand-—of course.

Hy-Line Cruises (138 Ocean St., Hyannis; 800-492-8082) sails an “Ice Cream Float” harbor cruise at 3 p.m. every Sunday out of Hyannis during the summer season. Sailors, young and old, can design their own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sundae while sailing around Lewis Bay. Reservations are recommended.

Hot Dogs and Handlebars
A leisurely bike ride is a great time to stop and refuel at one of the convenient hot dog stands that set up shop along the bike trails during the summer. One of the most well-known stands is Cap’s Hot Dogs at the corner of Route 137 and Underpass Road in Brewster. Cap’s is right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail and just down the street from Brewster Bike rentals (442 Underpass Rd.; 508-896-8149). The busy location is run by Walter Capone, who sells hot dogs for just $2.50 and for 50 cents more you can add sauerkraut or chili and cheese, which he recommends topping with a crumbling of Nacho Cheese Doritos®.

Dinner and a Movie
Dinner and a movie, that old dating standard, has been upgraded at the Falmouth Cinema Pub (137 Teaticket Hwy., East Falmouth; 508-495-0505 for show info or 508-548-0073 for general info). At this cinema you don’t have to worry about dinner running over and missing your show time because dinner is served during the movie at private tables in plush, swivel-chair seating, making it easy to volley back and forth between film and fork. The menu is full of concession-stand staples and pub favorites such as hamburgers, sandwiches, pizza, and even includes a beer and wine selection. Admission is $9.50 for adults and $6.75 for the youngsters. (Tip: the portions are gigantic, so a sandwich could easily feed two adults and one basket of fries could possibly put you in a carb coma.)