Tag Archives: dining solo

Off Season is On

Traveling off season can offer wonderful opportunities to explore.  It sometimes seems that life is in such fast motion that it’s hard to recognize the special moments until they’ve come and gone.  And it seems, they come and go far too quickly.  The speed that we all move at these days, creates a blur.  It’s difficult, if not impossible to focus.  There’s always one more thing to rush on to.   One more issue to address.  Not enough time in a day.  Off season can be slow and savoring.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”                                    Soren Kierkegaard

The fact is, that most of the things we’re in a hurry about won’t really matter in the long run.  It’s so important to understand this and to do all you can to really “experience” your life.  Planning with purpose is an important aspect to exploring things on your own.  Here’s a great example:  having come and gone from Nantucket to New York so frequently and seemingly always in a rush, there are some things I just haven’t had a chance to do.  Especially in the off season.

Nantucket Scallops Fresh from the Bay!

Nantucket Scallops Fresh from the Bay!

So this year, I decided to slow down the manic travel plans in November and take time out to enjoy a uniquely Nantucket Island experience.  The anticipation of getting one of the first batches of succulent Nantucket Bay  Scallops fresh from the sea can’t be overrated.  This happens in the “off season”, specifically in November for the commercial fishermen.  The bounty is fragile and every year, lately it seems somewhat diminished due to environmental changes.

Glidden's Seafood Store

Glidden’s Seafood Store

 But it’s not just the future peril of this delicacy that draws special attention.  It’s the fact that you can literally shop for them on the same day they’ve been harvested from the sea by the scallopers.  We all love the “Farm to Table” movement.  There’s something equally amazing about the “Sea to Table” phenomenon.

Fresh From the Sea

Fresh From the Sea

 Glidden’s, one of my favorite fish shops sells daily catch, huge lobsters and the first scallops of the season.  I decided to buy 2 pounds and freeze some of them for winter trips to the island.  When the scallops are first in, most of the restaurants that remain open, make their own special recipes.  As for me, I love to prepare them in EVOO with a bit of garlic and butter to finish.  Salt and pepper to season, with fresh lemon, parsley and red pepper flakes.  Keeping it simple allows the sweetness of the bay scallops to shine through.  Nothing could be better.  Visit the island, shop the fish and cook a delightful meal.  “A Table For One.”  Let the off season begin!

Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady

Summer Daze

Let’s face it.  Summer ends way too early and not according to the actually season.  The hectic pace of our society demands artificial deadlines, starts and finishes to almost every season. Most noticeable among them, is summer.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”   Mahatma Gandhi

When you’re on your own, you have a unique opportunity to follow the rhythm of the seasons as they’re meant to be.  Even if you have to adhere  to the artificial timing of a season, due to work or other obligations, feel free to follow the flow of mother nature too.  Indulge yourself.

Augustine's Farm

Augustine’s Farm

I have found that the best bounty is available on the cusp of every season.  While you have to wait for a season to begin without knowing the exact time and day it will blossom, the change of seasons is something you can sense, feel and predict more easily.

Farmstands that speak to the seasons

Farmstands speak mother nature’s language of the seasons

If you follow the farm stands in your area, you can connect with this precious phenomenon in a very real way.  To my mind, there is no better way to celebrate the seasons than to simply find a local farm.  Get on their calendar.  It’s perfect.  It’s accurate.  And it’s true to the earth’s own finely tuned clock.  Farm stands speak mother nature’s language of the seasons.  They are also very specific to your exact location.

Seasons Change on Mother Earth's clock

Seasons Change on Mother Earth’s clock

Today, I woke up with an anxious feeling that summer was escaping and I may not have captured its essence in every way I hoped to.   So it was time for “A Table For One” adventure.  I wanted to bottle the flavors of summer in a fresh tomato sauce and to freeze summer’s sweet corn to brighten the coming winter’s days.  I could have gone to my local market, to shop. They’re still stocking much of summer’s delicious bounty.

Augustine's Farm in Connecticut…simply the best!

Augustine’s Farm in Connecticut…simply the best!

But instead, I made this a special outing.  It’s such fun to go hunting for a local farm.  You can meet the farmers, experience the delightful sights and smells of the harvest and learn more about the foods you love to prepare.  Most of the people who run these stands will also have time-tested and proven recipes to suggest, if you ask them.  On this trip, I came away with pounds of heirloom tomatoes for my sauce, lots of ears of summer’s last sweet corn, ripe yellow peaches, all kinds of fresh berries and the delightful experience of a day fulfilled.  Summer at it’s very best.  Never pass by an opportunity to break out and make something ordinary, extraordinary.  “A Table For One”.

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

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Summer, Hot Dogs and History!

“Life is like riding a bicycle: you don’t fall off unless you stop pedaling.”                                Claude Pepper

It’s summer.  If you ask me, among the most “iconic” foods of summer, the simple and forever humble hot dog ranks among the best.  Everyone loves them.  And although humble, the hot dog holds an elevated place on Coney Island, street corners everywhere, barbecue grills and in out-of-the-way places.  Hot dogs are fun.  Who knew that they’re also historic?

History in a Hot Dog!

History in a Hot Dog!

“A Table For One” is all about the art of being alone.  Look for ordinary things, like hot dogs, and find a way to elevate them.  It’s all about making the most simple outing different and memorable.

Simple Summer Food In An Historically Designated Place!

Simple Summer Food In An Historically Designated Place!

I’d venture to guess that everyone has a sweet memory of hot dogs, discovered and consumed somewhere on a summer day that evokes all the divine memories of family, love and summer.

Although you can eat a hot dog anytime of year, the art of enjoying a really good hot dog goes along with a steaming hot, beautiful mid-summer day.  Wherever you chose to go for one, be sure to linger.  Layer it with whatever are your favorite condiments.  Mine include Walter’s special mustard.  It’s dark mustard with just the right amount of chopped up pickles in it.  And they even sell the mustard so you can re-create the experience at home, or use it on other things, like your sandwiches.

Eating a really great hot dog on a sultry, lazy summer afternoon can transport you back to childhood, happiness and the simple joys of summer.   It’s a perfect outing for “A Table For One”.  Go eat a hot dog!  And by all means…take the time to enjoy it.

Department of the Interior Landmark!

Department of the Interior Landmark!

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady



Go For Lunch

If you’re just starting out on your “A Table For One” adventures, I would suggest lunch as another alternative for a first “fine dining alone” experience.  Lunch can be a less intimidating meal to enjoy on your own.  It can be delightful and casual too.

“A well spent day brings happy sleep.”  Leonardo da Vinci

Small Cafe

Small Cafe

For your first choice, you might want to opt for a small cafe or restaurant.  You’re likely to get good service and the meal will be no doubt be delicious.  In addition, even if it’s crowded, it will feel intimate and you’re less likely to feel like you’re “on stage” dining alone.  I think lunch is a great way to begin your “Dining Solo” adventures!

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady