In a whirlwind trip of a few days, there isn't enough time to do an extensive restaurant tour of the Cape. Besides, there's always the desire to stay home and just eat in. That was Friday night, when my mother took a semi-random selection of leftovers and put together a delicious chicken and gravy dinner. There wasn't enough time for me to cook for my parents, either, but hopefully there will be next time. After some waffling on Saturday, we decided to eat out before I headed home the next day. We decided to have an early dinner at Land Ho! in Orleans because the food is good and the setting is casual.
Arriving early was the right idea; although the season is just starting on the Cape, Land Ho! is always a popular hangout and never more so than on a Saturday night. It has a casual bar-type atmosphere and the decor is dominated by a raft of signs and license plates hanging from the walls and ceiling. It can get loud, but the noise level wasn't too bad this time. The clientele encompasses everyone from locals out for a simple dinner to vacationers looking for a night on the town.
I had the fried shrimp, a traditional choice. You get a basket of medium-sized shrimp with a crisp fried coating and a dish of cocktail sauce. Unfortunately, the shrimp weren't local on this night, because a red tide stretching down from Maine has wiped out the local shellfishery this season. The red tide is the biggest news story on the Cape right now, as many locals have lost their livelihoods. It is the worst it has been for years. It's a sobering instance of how precarious a living fishing can be.
My mother had a roast beef sandwich au jus with extra gravy. My dad had a cheeseburger and let me sample some; it was rich and juicy, just a phenomenally good burger. I have to say I've had some great burgers lately. A hamburger can be awfully routine or worse, even bad, but when it's cooked well, you regain your faith in at least one eternal American verity.