Restaurant Review – Luciano’s, Wrentham MA

Restaurants in Wrentham, Ma. appear to be on my list of favorites lately. Luciano’s is one of them. My husband and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. Where to go? Saw a Facebook post from Luciano’s in Wrentham, MA with a picture of their baked stuffed lobster and I was sold. We have been to Luciano’s before, but not since before Covid, so this was going to be a treat.

Established in 1991, Luciano’s is hidden away in a very unassuming location on Rte. 1 in Wrentham, MA. When you enter you are brought back to a classic Italian steak house of old. Great bar with weekend entertainment and a classic, sophisticated ambiance. This was just the “lets get dressed up and celebrate” location that we were looking for.

As we were being seated it occurred to me, “What if the baked stuffed lobster was a special that night and not available tonight…. I should have called first!”

Our waiter was wonderful and told us the long and complicated list of specials (Baked stuffed lobster was there!!). Explaining them all perfectly. I ordered a chardonnay and my husband got the house red wine. I don’t usually go for red wine, but the waiter’s recommendation was fantastic. The waiter noticed me stealing sips and brought a glass for me, so my husband could be left in peace with his drink. This is the kind of service and attention to detail that Luciano’s is famous for. We started our meal with the focaccia and Italian bread with olive oil for dipping. I could have had this for my meal alone it was so good.

For the appetizer we got the classic shrimp cocktail to share. It was prepared perfectly and served ice cold. For something so simple it is so easy to get wrong. They did not get this wrong. It was wonderful. We knew we were getting big meals, so we did not want to fill up on appetizers.

Ordering for me was easy and I told the waiter it was the Facebook post that got me here. He let me know that I would not be disappointed. He was correct. I cannot even remember how long it has been since I had a baked stuffed lobster. A very classic dish that isn’t on a lot of menus these days. It was my late mother’s favorite and I cannot help but have fond memories of this wonderful woman while I am eating it. Anyone who knows me knows that I feel food is love and food is memories and this meal checked off quite a few of those boxes.

The lobster came and to say I was speechless was an understatement. A two and a half pound lobster, prepared and stuffed to perfection. I actually couldn’t even finish it. The waiter chuckled at my reaction. I brought the leftovers home and my college student, home for the summer, finished it in a flash.

My husband got the Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romana and was thrilled with it. I am not a huge fan of veal normally, but I would order this. It was an amazing dish. I had every intention of getting dessert because it was a special occasion but I was just too full to get anything else.

Going to Luciano’s was the perfect choice for this special occasion. The waiter even noticed the breast cancer pin on my purse and asked if I was a survivor. I am and this year will be five years since my diagnosis and we had a very sincere chat and I appreciated his thoughtfulness. As we were waiting for the check, there were a few elderly ladies sitting across from us having a grand celebration of some sort. One woman had a walker and was tired and was having a hard time using the walker on the carpet. This wonderful man that was our waiter (I wish I could remember his name), had her sit in a chair and he slid the chair across the rug until she was in a place to use the walker more easily. He was charming and made her feel special and she had a great smile on her face throughout the whole adventure.

I cannot recommend Luciano’s in Wrentham, MA any more highly. It is the perfect special occasion restaurant. But let’s be honest, life is short, every day should be a special occasion.

Easy Linguine With Clam Sauce

When I was a young girl we had a summer house on Cape Cod and my godfather would go clamming and make steamers.  I loved them… I would eat more than most of the adults.  Then I got a little older and turned into a squeamish teenage girl and that was the end of that.  Well this dish made me love clams again.  I was so intimidated to make it, but my husband told me to give it a try. It is so easy to make and everyone is always impressed with how it looks even if they won’t eat it. This one is so good, all my children eat love it!

Set a large pot with salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water for later. Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until garlic is translucent. Add the white wine and simmer a few minutes. If you can use a good wine. It always helps to use a good white wine. But if you don’t have it, anything will do. Add the reserved water. Bring to a boil. Add the clams and cover the pan. (I always buy my clams at our local fish monger, Fresh Catch. The employees are great and always help me find quality stuff). Leave the cover on and cook for approximately five minutes. Until the clams have all opened. If you need a few more minutes, take it. If after that there are any clams that have not opened, discard them. Add the juice of half of a lemon. Frankly, in my opinion the more lemon the better, so on my plate, I always add more. Take off the heat and add the pasta to the pan and very gently toss. At the last minute, add the parsley, some lemon zest and serve. Garnish with lemon and grated parmesan cheese. This meal is so easy and I was always so afraid to make it. If you swap out the linguine for a gluten free version it makes a great gluten free meal.  I have even done this recipe on the grill outside and it works great. This meal is fantastic paired with a great with a Chardonnay and crusty bread. Enjoy!

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Easy Linguine With Clam Sauce

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. linguine Regular or Gluten Free (reserve a cup of the pasta water)
  • 2 lbs. clams Washed and scrubbed clean to get ride of the sand that may have been left on.
  • 3 cloves garlic Diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup White Wine I use a good Chardonnay
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley Chopped. In a pinch you could use dry but fresh parsley is a game changer here.
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper To taste.
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese To taste.

Instructions
 

  • Set a large pot with salted water to boil for the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water for later.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet with a cover.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until garlic is translucent.
  • Add the white wine and simmer a few minutes.
  • Add the reserved water. Bring to a boil
  • Add the clams and cover the pan.
  • Leave the cover on and cook for approximately five minutes. Until the clams have all opened.
  • If you need a few more minutes, take it. If after that there are any clams that have not opened, discard them.
  • Add the juice of half of a lemon.
  • Take off the heat and add the pasta to the pan and very gently toss.
  • At the last minute, add the parsley, some lemon zest and serve.
  • Garnish with lemon and grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

This meal is so easy and I was always so afraid to make it. If you swap out the linguine for a gluten free version it makes a great gluten free meal. 
Goes great with a Chardonnay and crusty bread. Enjoy!
Allergens: Shellfish, Dairy, Gluten (Does work good with gluten free past also)
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Fishermen’s View, Sandwich Ma

This week we were driving home from Cape Cod and got stuck in a massive traffic jam. One of the Cape Cod Canal bridges was closed and all the traffic was diverted to the other one. After two hours of following Waze all over the place, we decided to stop for something to eat. After consulting Google to see what was close by we were very lucky to be around the corner from Fishermen’s View Seafood Market and Restaurant in Sandwich, MA.

The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its nets of wonder forever”

– Jacques Cousteau

Located directly on the Cape Cod Canal in beautiful Sandwich, Ma., Fishermen’s View Seafood Market and Restaurant was a very pleasant surprise and my favorite new find. The amazing outdoor deck was full, so we were welcomed in to their beautiful dining room. With walls of windows overlooking the canal you felt like you were outside. Since this was our first experience with indoor dining since the pandemic, we were watching things very carefully. The staff all work masks, the place was spotless and the tables were spread far apart. We felt very safe with the procedures they had in place.

We started the meal with a perfectly portioned order of steamers and some of their piping hot, homemade cornbread. It was a great start. My daughter ordered the children’s chicken and french fries. It was a huge order and we were all picking at it because it was so good. Above and beyond the normal chicken and french fries for kids at most restaurants. My husband got the Double Decker burger and it was huge and wonderful.

I got the crab cake appetizer as my meal. Now let me explain that I am crab cake snob. I order them whenever they are on the menu. The crab cakes at Fishermen’s View were without a doubt the best crab cakes I have ever had. As we were leaving, the staff let us know that the bridge had been cleared and gave us some tips on avoiding the traffic. The owner also came by and thanked us for stopping by. All in all it was a wonderful experience.

If you are looking for great food, reasonable prices, good service and a fabulous view, stop by Fishermen’s View Seafood Market and Restaurant in Sandwich, Ma. It is my new favorite.

Cooking Trick – Soaking Fish or Shrimp in Milk

My mother Patsy (she hates that name) taught me this trick and it has helped so much over the years. We have all experienced how when you get the fish home from the market sometimes it smells a little fishy. I always smell the fish before I buy it , but occasionally when I get home it still smells. I am not talking, time to throw it out fishy, just a little.

Well if you put it in a bowl and add cold milk, cover it and let it sit in the fridge for about a half hour the smell goes away. Then just rinse it off, pat it dry and cook as you normally wood. I have used this trick on haddock, cod, swordfish and shrimp. I have never tried it with salmon or anything else.

I don’t know why it works, but it does!

Sharing the Sunday Fun

 

I just love that my family is embracing all this. My sister and her husband have always made Sunday Dinners a priority and I have been so jealous. With the loss of our father, who was such a fabulous cook, I feel that my children have been missing out on this wonderful tradition. My brother-in-law made this very impressive Ginger Swordfish on Sunday and he got the recipe from the fabulous website Yummly. I will need to make this soon. Pair it with a great wine and you are good to go!

My hope is for family and friends to share their stories of fun Sunday Dinners …the good, the bad and the ugly! Thank you Kathy and Ron, Hopefully this is the first of many….

Swordfish courtesy of Snug Harbor Fish Company. Wine courtesy of Snug Harbor Wine Company. 

A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal – Pat Conroy

 

 

Fish Chowder

This is the recipe that started it all – Aunt Betty’s Fish Chowder. Aunt Betty was the best, I don’t know where to begin to even describe her. Betty was my dad’s sister and was like his second mother.  My dad was the baby and the only boy and she loved him fiercely.  Betty never had children of her own, so she doted on him, even though he would never admit it.  She also showered us with love and treated us like her own children as well. Her house in South Boston, Ma., by the beach, was a warm and welcoming place that we would gladly allow our parents to leave us there whenever they wanted. Sadly, Aunt Betty died when I was in college and never got to meet my children, she would have been so thrilled to see our children and to spoil them rotten.

I was cleaning out a drawer one day and found this recipe for a simple fish chowder in her hand writing and remembered it immediately. (As a bonus, it is a great recipe from a food allergy perspective. It is very easily adaptable). I was a very picky eater as a child, but I loved this chowder. I can still see her in the kitchen on Ticknor Street making it for us.

I made the chowder that night and had such a flood of memories that I sat at the kitchen table and cried. My only explanation for the tears is that making her recipe made me remember the love.

The next morning I told my father about the recipe and he said “I make that all the time, what’s the big deal?” My response was, “You have changed it over the years and made it your own, this is the original, just make it.”

He called me a few days later to thank me for the memory. He loved it. Food is love and food is memories, so that is why I have chosen to write this blog. My children have never met my husband’s late parents but maybe making the food they loved and passing on the recipes will help them get to know their loved ones a little better.

What is done in love, is done well. – Vincent Van Gogh

Easy Fish Chowder

Sunday Chefs
This recipe is a simple basic chowder fabulous on its own but can be adapted in a lot of different ways.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, irish
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium Onion Diced
  • 3 tbsp Butter Salted or unsalted
  • 1 8 oz bottle Clam juice I use Snow's Bumblebee Brand
  • 1 12 oz Evaporated Skim Milk Can
  • 2 cups Potatoes Cubed
  • 1 lb. Cod Any white fish (haddock or cod)
  • 1 cup Water

Instructions
 

  • Brown onions in butter. After the onions have browned add the potatoes, clam juice Snow’s,Clam Juice All Natural, 8 oz and water. Lay fish on top, skin side up. Simmer, peel skin off fish (most times, I find there is no skin on the fish).  Stir, breaking up fish a little. When the potatoes are tender, add the evaporated milk and simmer a few minutes.  Add butter a few minutes before done.

Notes

Possible additions: crisp bacon, green onions, corn, heavy cream, substitute clams for fish, carrots.
TIP: If you get the fish home and it smells a bit fishy, soak in milk for at least a 1/2 hour and it usually takes most if not all of the smell away.
Allergy Information: Contains shellfish (clam juice), Fish, dairy, but egg free, nut free, peanut free and gluten free. 
Serve with Chowder Crackers
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