I like the challenge of cooking on vacation. I like the different stove. The different equipment. The weird spices. The limited cupboard. I think just being in a different kitchen and a different place can spark your creativity.
Of course, after a day in the sun or a day touring the sites, sometimes you don’t want to cook. You just want something easy. Or for someone to put a plate in front of your hungry face.
We spend a lot of the summer weekends in Brewster on Cape Cod and we take plenty of advantage of all the local, fresh seafood to make some great meals, but sometimes vacation means taking a break from everything, including cooking dinners.
After almost 10 years visiting Brewster during the summer months, here are our favorite places to grab coffee, lunch, smoothies, healthy things, ice cream and takeout.
The Snowy Owl and it’s neighbor Karma are relative newbies on the scene. Right in Brewster Center near the hardware and book store, I was happy to see them both last more than one season (the biggest test on the seasonal-driven Cape).
The Snowy Owl is a ramshackle coffeehouse with everything to satisfy your caffeine urge from pour overs, to Chemex, to cappuccinos. They’ve also been slowly expanding their food offerings each year from local pastries and croissants to chocolate, pre-made sandwiches and juices.
If you need your speciality, fresh-roasted coffee that goes beyond the styrofoam of Dunkin or Cumbie’s, the Snowy Owl is a friendly and welcoming place to get that buzz you need before you hit the beach.
No meat. No wheat. Karma is an organic, gluten-free place that specializes in a vast array of smoothies, healthy salads and grain bowls. If you are feeling like you might have overindulged or just really need to start your day with that green smoothie, Karma is the place to go to give your body a little break.
They serve breakfast like gluten-free waffle bowls and vegan scrambles plus lunch bowls like bibimbap along with customizable salads. They also have some healthy sweet treats like black bean brownies and granola cookies.
Note, this is a small place and it can quickly back up. The wait is worth it, but prepare for a line. Also, they are closed on Mondays.
If you head to Karma to feel a little virtuous, you head to Cobie’s to feel a little decadent. This long-running seafood shack has been serving up great fried sea food plates and soft serve ice cream since 1948. There’s a reason its been in business this long besides its convenient location off the Rail Trail.
These are the best fried clam strips we’ve found on the mid-Cape. They are a great balance between the breading, the clams, and the frier temperature.
Cobies’ menu is exactly what you’d expect from a shore-style seafood shack. A plethora of friend seafood plates, chowder, lobster roll (above average, light on the mayo, the way I like it), fish sandwiches and a kid’s menu.
They also have a selection of hard and soft-serve ice cream to help wash down all the fried seafood. If you’re going to go all in, why not finish with some dessert, right?
If you are vacationing on the Cape, but find yourself craving some Baja-style fish tacos or burritos, Guapo’s is your answer. Made with battered-fried Cod, guacamole, cabbage and lime sauce, I haven’t found any better on the Cape. Even light fried, they taste fresh and light. Located right off the Rail Trail, if you stop for lunch, they won’t bog you down when you get back on your bike.
Beyond the traditional burritos and tacos, you can also get burgers, chips and guac, salads, street corn and quesadillas.
The Brewster location also has a liquor license so you can end your day with a margarita or a tequila flight.
Brewster Scoop or Kate’s
If you are on summer vacation, you need to end at least one night (preferably multiple or every single one) with some ice cream. Located a few miles from each other, neither one makes their own ice cream, but do offer a solid cup or cone that doesn’t skimp on the heavy cream.
We’ve never found a big difference between the two ice creams, so it might just come down to personal preference on some of the more unique flavors that each one offers. Kate’s is a little pricier for a small, but does tend to be more generous with the scoops (for better or worse!)
Note, neither one offers soft-serve, though both have a small selection of frozen yogurts, sherbets and shakes available.
Local Flavor is a breakfast and lunch place used to be more centrally located near Guapo’s and Stony Brook Field, but moved a few miles down the road to take over the Pleasant Lake General Store.
This is a great place to grab a quick egg sandwich for breakfast or to grab some to-go deli sandwiches or salads for a later picnic. Of course, you can always get a lobster roll. Every place on the Cape has one.
They do also carry a variety of other odds and ends like frozen take and bake pies, pastries, bagels, along with some local crafts and trinkets.
They do have a selection of penny candy (not as big as the Brewster General Store) but it’s a good bribe to get your kids to pedal down the bike path.
If adults need a bribe, they also sell beer and wine!