Local Thanksgiving Charities

Thanksgiving will always be one of the key holidays within everyone’s heart. It is the season of good harvest and coming together as a family to celebrate America’s history. It has also become the season of giving back. According to USA Today, in 2012 there were still well over 600,000 people who were homeless throughout our country. Some of them right in our backyards. With all of this holiday cheer filling our hearts more and more everyday, why not focus our love and care to people who need it throughout the holiday season? Here are some local charities in the South Coast that are giving back for Thanksgiving. These charities welcome love and support from everyone and would appreciate volunteers who are willing to bring joy to people who are less fortunate.

A great way to raise money for food pantries while being active during the holiday is by participating in Fairhaven’s Turkey Trot 5k! The race is organized by the Fairhaven High School Class of 1999 and will start at 8a.m on November 28, Thanksgiving morning. It is a 5k which equals out to be around 3.1 miles. The race starts at Cushman park on Bridge Street and goes straight down to Fort Phoenix. There will be Fairhaven police to make sure all volunteers will be safe while crossing major intersections and as well as Turkey Trot volunteers to guard the minor roads. You can register online now until November 24. You can register in person on November 26 from 4p.m to 8p.m. That is when everyone who has already signed up will be picking up their numbers and t-shirts. You can also try to sign up on Thanksgiving morning between 7 to 7:45 a.m but supplies of numbers and t-shirts will be limited. Tickets are $20 for adults, $25 starting November 20 and youths (12 and under) will always be $10. The Fairhaven Turkey Trot has raised over 15,000 of canned goods to support local shelters so sign up for a great cause that is great family fun!

Mercy Meals and More is one of the many shelters in the greater New Bedford region that supplies breakfast, clothing, books and temporary emergency shelter. They are a full year round organization and are always taking donations. All breakfast meals are free and a donation box is available for anyone who is able to make a contribution. They have an average of 100 meals that are served each day that cost around $3.00 per meal. They are a ministry that strives to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the homeless community. They appreciate any form of volunteer time, especially during the holiday seasons. If you would like to donate or volunteer for Mercy Meals and More, contact Reverend Russ Chamberlain.

The American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts will open their food pantries and distribute food to clients on Thursday from 1p.m to 6p.m in New Bedford. They are one of the most diverse service organizations in America and focus on 181 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. They are the largest food pantry in New England and also provide emergency shelter. 95% of their workforce are volunteers, so during this Thanksgiving season, it is very important to them and the 4.9 million residents they serve, that they have enough staff to get everyone food for the holiday. They are located on Kempton Street, so come on down to volunteer!

There will also be specific charities and food pantries designed for the elderly in Marion and Dartmouth. Dartmouth’s Council of Aging is running low for their food pantry and are seeking donations. The COA food pantry is available for all Dartmouth residents and they are open Monday through Friday from 8:30a.m to 4p.m. They will be providing a free homemade turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day. They will have coffee and pastries at 9:30 a.m and the dinner is served at 12:00p.m. For any homebound elders, the COA are available for home deliveries.

Marion’s Council of Aging will also have a Thanksgiving dinner to all tri-town elders on November 24. Old Rochester Regional Junior High students will be providing the dinners and all the tickets are free. Just like Dartmouth’s, all homebound elders will have their meals delivered.

A great place to volunteer or donate to would be to your local Salvation Army. For New Bedford, you can contact the Salvation Army if you have any items you would like to donate. They are especially looking for volunteers during Thanksgiving for their food pantry. Also, Saint Anthony’s of Padua Church, just like almost any local church, will have their food pantry open during the holiday season. Each church will have different days and times for their food pantries to open but Saint Anthony’s is every Thursday from 12p.m to 1:30p.m, alongside their soup kitchen. It is very important that the local community can volunteer and especially donate to Saint Anthony’s food pantry.

Recently, on November 15th, someone broke into Saint Anthony’s food cooler that stored all their food for their pantry. There was extensive damage to the door and over $400 to $500 dollars worth of food that was stolen. They ask if anyone in the community might know something about this crime, to contact the police department at 508-961-4584 immediately. Saint Anthony’s food pantry has always been a huge part of the hungry and homeless community in New Bedford so during this critical Thanksgiving season, they ask for food donations and any information you might have about this terrible crime.

The best way to donate to local charities is to find a cause that you are passionate about and volunteer or donate as much as you can! Thanksgiving is the holiday for being together and giving and believe me, nothing could be more joyous than giving to those who need it most. So don’t forget to check in with the New Bedford Travel Guide for any further charities during the holiday season!

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Positive Improvements: The Future of New Bedford

The once proud whaling capital of the world has seen some rough years. With harsh winters constantly deteriorating the roads and older structures going far too long without restoration, many parts of the city were looking pretty substandard. However, rebuilding the city back to its glory days has been made a priority the past few years, and things are starting to look up.

Downtown sidewalk

So far, the renovation of Route 18 has been the biggest success stories for the city; completed ahead of schedule and within budget. Aside from repaving the road, the project also included reworking intersections and other improvements. Motorists will notice the cobblestone-like pressed cement as they drive through traffic lights, along with similarly designed red crosswalks that greatly boost the area’s appearance. Along with the updated crosswalks, many sidewalks were widened in an effort to enhance foot-traffic, making the area more pedestrian friendly. The same concept is currently being applied to part of Acushnet Avenue, an area heavily populated with businesses.

Now, the bottom of Union Street is getting in on the action. The last block of the street will be widened an additional 6 to 8 feet into a patio-style side walk in front of businesses like Sláinte and Pizans. The asphalt on this same stretch will be replaced with New Bedford’s beloved cobblestone up Route 18, along with new streetlights and trees to be planted down the sidewalk.

The Riverside Landing development also has the city buzzing with excitement. This large complex is already home to Market Basket and Taco Bell, with more new businesses to come including an urgent care facility. Not only does this create a many more jobs, but it also provides the area with an excellent place to shop. Business isn’t the only thing in the plans for the Riverside Landing; a green space dedicated to displaying public art is also in the works, making the final product one of the top shopping areas around.

downtown sidewalk 2

The old textile mills throughout New Bedford may seem to be yet another eyesore. Falling apart, these huge building went from part of the city’s economic backbone to unsightly brick buildings. Nevertheless, many of these mills have been restored and made into beautiful apartments available for rent. The latest of these comeback stories coming from the old Cliftex mill building. Now called Monomet Place, the building will be used as a mixed-income apartment complex for seniors. This revitalization movement gives the area a much improved appearance along with higher quality housing than was previously available.

With all these improvements and more to come, New Bedford has set itself on the track to success. It will take many years but these projects and proposals including the future train station site near downtown, will improve transportation, standard of living, and the overall economy for the entire South Coast.

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South Coast Tattoo Shops

Tattoos are a fantastic way of expressing your creative side or even a great opportunity to honor a newborn that has just entered the world or remember a soul who has passed. Whatever your reason behind getting a tattoo, know that it is something that requires great thought and confidence within yourself and the tattoo artist. Here on the South Coast, we have many tattoo shops dedicated to giving you the dream tattoo you have been wishing for. Below is a list of tattoo shops in surrounding South Coast towns that are popular among the locals.

Flyin’ Ace

Flyin’ Ace is located on Kempton Street and it is New Bedford’s only piercing studio. The shop is owned by Ken Tetrault who has had over 25 years of experience in tattoo & piercing body art design. They are determined to make sure every customer gets the perfect tattoo desired, whether it is something you have drawn yourself or just a few ideas you’ve entertained, while working in a clean, safe and sterile environment. The main focus is that each customer is comfortable taken care of. Making appointments is desired but they may not accept walk-ins depending on time availability. Prices start at $50.

Image Pro Tattoo

Recently relocated from Rhode Island, Image Pro Tattoo is located in Acushnet and was established in 1996. The shop has received a first place award from Harley Rendezvous Classic for the most realistic design and was the Laconia winner for another tattoo by one of his customers. His goal is to make sure every customer has a fun and gratifying experience. If you see or dream of a tattoo, he can and will design it for you.

Darkstar Tattoo

Darkstar is located a few miles away from Umass Dartmouth and Horseneck Beach. They are very popular among college students. It is owned by Troy Wilson and is the first and only tattoo shop in Westport. They have three full time tattoo artists and two body piercers. The staff suggest that customers do research before entering and have reference pictures if interested in a more customized piece. Walk-ins are welcome depending on the design but customers should opt for appointments. The shop minimum is $60 and there is a required minimum of a $50 non- refundable deposit.

Living Canvas

Living Canvas just recently opened in 2012 in New Bedford and is owned and operated by Jeremy Gaudreau. Even with the recent start, Living Canvas already has a strong following and appointments are booked weekly. They do accept walk-ins depending on time availability or in the case of a cancellation. Living Canvas has a lively atmosphere welcoming all customers who may be looking for the perfect body modification that speaks to their creativity. They also offer discounts of 25% for every American Hero such as firemen, policemen and veterans. Students can recieve 15% off, too!

Thinking about getting a tattoo any time soon? Whether you really want one or you are just starting to think about getting one, you are in great hands of all of these amazing South Coast tattoo shops, who provide nothing more than customer satisfaction! Check in with the New Bedford Travel Guide for more information of local South Coast shops.

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Sharing the Harvest Community Farm

Since 2006, the backyard of the Dartmouth YMCA has been home to a beautiful community farm, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables for their Sharing the Harvest Community Farm project. This non-profit program was established by the Dartmouth YMCA, the United Way of Greater New Bedford, and the Hunger Commission of Shoutheastern Massachusetts.Dartmouth YMCA

Sharing the Harvest runs off the efforts of volunteers from the community to care for, grow, and harvest crops to help fight hunger in our towns and cities. All produce from the farm is donated to local food pantries in the area, with the cities of New Bedford and Fall River being the focus with some of the highest rates of hunger in Massachusetts. Sharing the Harvest program supplies thousands of pounds in fruits and vegetables each year, with around 43,000 pounds donated in 2012 alone. This year’s goal will be another 50,000 pounds, but this can’t be achieved alone.

Sharing the Harvest YMCA

As the farm continues to expand, more and more volunteers are needed to help in a variety of different jobs around the facility. As a volunteer, you will work with people from the community to plant, transplant, cultivate, harvest, and wash all fruits and vegetables grown at the farm throughout the year. The farm grows a number of different crops like radish, eggplant, carrots, berries, apples, and pears. The work of a volunteer depends on the daily plan of activities on the farm. This can vary based on the time of year, weather, and what generally needs to get done on the farm.

If you’re interested in working with Sharing the Harvest, you can contact them through their website, ymcasouthcoast.org, or just stop by Monday-Wednesday 9 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM, or Saturday 9 AM to 12 PM. Bring some old clothes to wear and be ready to learn and have fun while helping the community! People of all ages and abilities can help, and a day at the farm makes for a great educational field trip. Without the efforts of volunteers, there would be no farm, so help feed your community and have a blast playing in the dirt at the same time!

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Christmas Wishes to Press On Despite Tragic Loss

Christmas Wishes, a Middleboro area charity, mourns the loss of Louise Cowan, a key leader in the non-profit organization for over 20 years. Louise, who passed quietly on Sunday, October 20th, was the face of Christmas Wishes and personally arranged for thousands of gift donations to local, needy families during her years of service. Every year hundreds of families apply for assistance through the charity. Volunteers pick the name of a child and buy an item on their wish list.

Louise was dedicated to the non-profit’s mission of providing Christmas gifts to local children whose families could not otherwise afford them. Though her memory will live on in the work the charity continues to accomplish , her loss is a true tragedy to the organization and the surrounding community. It is during this time of sadness that we recall and honor the true spirit of Christmas as a moment when we may come together and share in the responsibility for one another.

In her inspiring devotion to the community, Louise exemplified the kind of selflessness necessary to volunteer one’s time and money to such an important cause. In light of her passing we hope that her altruistic ways live on to incite a passion for giving this holiday season.

It is in this vein that we call you to join us in celebrating the life of Louise this December by taking the initiative to collect food, clothes, and purchase gifts for our neighbors in need. In doing this we will be fulfilling Louise’s lasting Christmas wish: to bring warmth into the lives of others by easing their burdens and eliciting the kind of joy that may only be captured in the exuberant innocence of a child on Christmas morning.

If you would like to make a donation in memoriam of Louise Cowan, or apply for assistance please contact Christmas Wishes at:
PO Box 406
Middleboro, MA 02346
1-508-947-3579

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Yoga for All

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning to unite, and its practice helps to unite our body and mind as well as to unite us with our higher self. This makes it a perfect practice for the Thanksgiving and December holiday season. Give yourself a moment during the hustle and bustle to stop and connect to all of the things that you are thankful for and to unite with whatever makes winter a magical or special season for you. Of course, yoga can also be simply a fantastic physical exercise to strengthen and stretch tight muscles during this demanding time of year.

Whatever your reason for choosing yoga, there is a place for you to practice on the South Coast. Also, yoga is not a one size fits all type of exercise. There are different types of yoga to match different needs.

For those of you who wish life would run a bit more smoothly, you may find some of what you are looking for in Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa Yoga strives to create fluidity of movement, so you should be prepared to do more than stretch. Your instructor will guide you through flowing movements that are choreographed to your breathing. In fact, Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for “flow”. Drop in on a Vinyasa yoga class at the Marion Yoga Loft in Marion and see how it feels. Wouldn’t it be great if some of that “flow” transferred to the rest of your day? The Yoga Loft also offers Men’s Yoga for those gentlemen out there who might like a little privacy. The Fairhaven Recreation Center also offers Vinyasa Yoga at their facility.

If you enjoy strength training, you may be interested in a variation of the Vinyasa tradition referred to as Power Yoga which provides a rigorous workout. However, keep in mind that during power yoga, physical strength is just an extra bonus. The real benefit is life balance and inner strength. Heated Power Yoga is gaining popularity. It is conducted in a room kept between 95-100% to increase flexibility and metabolism as well as eliminate toxins. You can find a heated class at Yoga on Union in New Bedford. Yoga on Union also offers Kripalu Yoga which has a spiritual focus on life transformation, so if you are looking for this type of “inner work”, be sure to check it out. Lastly, visit their website for some special classes like Thanksgiving Morning Yoga!

If you just need to rest and relax, Yoga Nidra is for you! Yoga Nidra or Divine Sleep Yoga is a form of guided relaxation that lasts 45 minutes to one hour. In a Yoga Nidra class, students lay on their backs in deep relaxation and following instructions from the yoga teacher, focus on their breath, emotions, and inner sensations. It isn’t uncommon for people to dose off during this yoga practice, but who couldn’t do with a nap now and again? Try Yoga Nidra at Life in Balance Yoga & Healing Arts in Mattaposiett. It is said that during Yoga Nidra, one hour on the mat is like three hours of sleep! Life in Balance Yoga & Healing Arts also offers Kids Yoga and “Mommy and Me” Yoga.

Also visit Life in Balance to try Yin Yoga(Restorative Yoga). This yoga style focuses on the flow of energy through your body and is known for holding postures for a long period of time. If you have trouble straightening up after getting out of your chair, these long stretches and deep breathing might be just what you need to loosen up.

Take a breath, take a moment, and take care of yourself this holiday season!

 

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December Events in New Bedford

It seems like this year has gone by in a flash! In only 4 weeks, it will already be December and you know what that means? Some super fun and exciting local South Coast holiday events! Our team at the New Bedford Travel Guide is determined to provide you with a list of fun and amazing events that are perfect for you and the family to get into the holiday spirit.

It seems like every shop and cafe is getting a head start on their Christmas celebrations, so why don’t you grab your calendar and mark down these family events coming up in December so you can get your own head start to the wonderful holiday season?!

A great holiday event that is perfect for the family is downtown New Bedford’s own Holiday Stroll. Take the kids on a winter wonderland walk in New Bedford’s historic district filled with Christmas decorations and seasonal activities that can keep the family entertained for hours. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, fire engine rides, crafts for the kids, and delicious holiday meals and treats. The event takes place from December 7th through 8th and is a perfect opportunity to see New Bedford’s own gigantic Christmas tree shine bright and fill you with Christmas cheer.

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Looking for a way to burn off all of those holiday pounds? What could be a better way than New Bedford’s third annual Santa Sightings 5k Fun Run?! The run is officially set for December 7th and it is still the same theme: Family fun race that can be either walked, jogged or run depending on the family’s preference, while still dressing up as Old Saint Nick! Last year there were over 1,700 participants, all joining together for a race filled with fun, excitement and family. Registration online begins on September 30 until Wednesday, December 4th. For Adults 18 and over, the cost starts at $30 and increases to $2 to $5 every month or $40 if you buy on the day of the race. Make sure you register early since they can run out of Santa suits quickly. The race will begin at 11a.m so you want to get there at least one hour early to prepare.

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If you are hoping for more of a peaceful holiday night out, then check out the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming December events. They will host two wonderful performances for the holiday season including the Messiah & Magnificat to be held on December 1, at Saint Anthony’s Church. The performance will begin at 3p.m with Barbara Kilduff as the Soprano, Deborah Rentz-Moore as the Alto, Matthew Anderson as the Tenor and Andrew Garland as the Bass. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $10 for students. The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra’s next and acclaimed performance is their annual Family Holiday Pops. The performance will be on Saturday, December 21 at 3:30p.m and in the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center. There will be feature appearances by the New Bedford Symphony Youth Orchestra and the SouthCoast Children’s Chorus. The concert is filled with your favorite holiday songs, sing-a-longs, beautiful stories and singers, and even a special appearance from Santa Claus! So come on down and take in the holiday cheer that is perfect for you and the family.

A great performance that is known for getting even the Scroogey-ist of people excited for Christmas, is Zeiterion Theater’s A Christmas Carol! One of many New Bedford favorite holiday traditions, A Christmas Carol will show on Saturday, December 14 at 2 Pm and Pm, Tickets range from $15 to $35 so don’t forget to call ahead. Visit during the cozy holiday season and be enchanted by a wonderful tale about the true meaning of Christmas.

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Another great December tradition is the New Bedford Preservation Society’s Annual Holiday House Tour. The tour will begin at Gallery X and end in the West End, showcasing New Bedford’s great architecture including this years, Acushnet heights neighborhood. Within one house on the tour, besides the lovely decorations for the holidays, visitors will get to witness costumed historic portrayals. It will be held on December 14 from 4- to 8p.m as a candlelight tour and December 15 from 1 to 5p.m as an afternoon tour. There will be a holiday raffle, a silent auction , and a scavenger hunt of “Spot the Peppermint Pig.” Great fun for you and the kids during this cold, winter season.

Keep on checking in with the New Bedford Travel Guide for holiday happenings on the South Coast.

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Play the Day Away!

We want South Coast visitors to experience childlike excitement about the winter season. So go ahead, press your nose up to the frosty window and open your eyes wide. Yet another season of fun has arrived!

It is important to make time for “R&R” on a regular basis. The South Coast is certainly a perfect destination to find some rest, and we invite you to visit some of our local spas. However, it is the second “R” that is on our mind today. Recreation (n) : “activity done for enjoyment when one is not working”. Sound good? Let’s go!

There are plenty of ways to release your inner child this winter (and if you have an actual child, they will love it too!) and burn some cold weather calories while you’re at it.

Climb

Put most children next to anything remotely larger than they are, and they’ll try to climb it. Be honest, if you were as flexible they are, and if no one was watching, you would do the same thing. Guess what? There are indoor jungle gyms for grown ups and kids alike that are open year round. They are called rock climbing gyms! Carabiner’s Indoor Climbing in New Bedford has a 65-foot climbing wall and can accommodate adventurers of all ages. Everest, shmeverest. If you ask me, it’s best to do your winter mountain climbing indoors where it’s warm and close to a trusted lunch venue (try Spicy Thai Lime Cuisine on Pleasant Street!).

Slide

Sledding is a great winter workout. Every time you drag your sled back to the top of the hill, you are rewarded with the rush of a splendid downhill flight. If you are visiting the area by car, don’t forget to throw your toboggan in the trunk or grab an inexpensive one once you arrive. There are endless spots to sled on the South Coast including Fort Tabor, “Potato Hill” at Westport Rivers Vineyard, and the property behind the Dartmouth Middle School. The best way to find the prime spots is to ask the locals. Pop in and grab a coffee or pastry from one of our outstanding Portuguese bakeries like Tia Maria’s or Carmen’s in New Bedford and get the skinny right from the source.

Dance

Nothing cures the winter blues like Zumba! Dance workouts set to Latin and international music, Zumba classes will put a smile on your face and a wiggle in your waist. Zumba is offered throughout the South Coast at venues like the Fairhaven Recreation Center. You can find a class at http://www.zumba.com/ where they encourage us to “ditch the workout and join the party!”

Trek

Don’t listen to all those chattering teeth telling you it’s too cold to be out in the woods. Winter is the perfect season for enjoying the area’s trails, and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust offers miles of trails to explore by foot, snowshoe or even cross country ski. In the winter, birds and other wildlife are easier to spot and the South Coast’s evergreens stand out beautifully against the white of snow and sky. Hot cider and cocoa are all the more satisfying after you’ve been out in the cold. Be sure to dress for the weather, never venture out alone, and be sure to tell others where you are going!

Swim

Prepare for summer all winter long at one of the South Coast’s indoor swimming pools. YMCA South Coast has indoor pools at their New Bedford and Wareham locations. A swim pass is $10 for an adult and $15 for a family. Adults can also warm up in the sauna or steam rooms which are located in some of the facilities’ locker rooms!

If you have the time, spend a night or two at New Bedford’s Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott and enjoy their indoor pool and jacuzzi!

Don’t hibernate this winter. Check out this play day for inspiration, then create your own!

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North End Meets South Coast

If you have ever visited Boston’s North End, you understand the power of authentic Italian food. I was craving a return to the North End recently but didn’t have the free time to make the trip. Luckily, the Pasta House in Fairhaven is like a little bit of Italy right here on the South Coast!

The Pasta House’s neighborhood is no North End. In fact, before you dine, you can pick up a few things across the street at Wal-Mart and pay your Sprint bill next door. Nevertheless, once you’re in the door, all the concrete outside will slip from your memory.

Inside the restaurant, you become pleasantly lost in a large open dining room with hard wood floors, dark wood beams, and exposed brick. I was surprised how relaxed and quiet it was given the open floor plan and the size of the dining room, but the atmosphere was perfect for conversation as was the back ground acoustic music.

The decor at the Pasta House manages to skillfully combine modern with warm and inviting which makes it a great choice for a casual lunch with friends or a romantic dinner. In the middle of the dining room stands a lovely double sided fireplace set in stone just waiting for the snow to start falling.

Our meal began with a half carafe of Ruffino Chianti and a bread basket full of hot crusty rolls with a garlic and Parmesan dipping oil. The appetizer menu was studded with mouth watering dishes like Portabella Mushroom Napoleon and Prosciutto & Spinach Salad with goat cheese, figs, and walnuts, but we decided against a starter in order to save room for dessert.

Deciding on an entree was no easy task. Dishes like home made Mediterranean Ravioli , Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagna Quattro Formaggio, and many others make the Pasta House’s menu as interesting as those found at restaurants on the North End’s Salem or Hanover Street. We ordered the Saltimbocca Pizza which was covered with prosciutto, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and roasted garlic. The crust was both thin and chewy, and the toppings were generous.

The dessert menu came on an Ipad slide show which made ordering a breeze. The Pumpkin Crème Brûlée won hands down. The dessert had a very subtle pumpkin flavor, and its thin layer of caramelized sugar was perfectly done. With fresh whipped cream and strawberries to top it off, this dessert was a perfect ending.

In the foyer of the Pasta House is a wall of recognition awarded to the establishment from 2006 to 2012 for their clam chowder and they also serve some Portuguese classics like kale soup, so even if you are not a fan of Italian, the Pasta House is worth the trip. For connoisseurs of authentic Italian cuisine, the Pasta House’s menu definitely calls for repeat visits.

Next time, we plan on trying the Butternut Squash Ravioli and the Cannoli with Gelato! Cozy treasures like the Pasta House are just one of the many reasons that winter is a great time to visit the South Coast.

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South Coast Sushi

There are some things you should know about sushi.

Sushi began to gain worldwide popularity in the 1970’s, sushi bars in the US quintupled from 1988-1998, and now sushi is easily found all over the country. The South Coast is no exception, and with our coastal access to incredibly fresh fish, what better place to indulge? Even so, there are still those of us who have never tried sushi. For those living the sushi free life, part of the hesitation may be due to an aversion to raw fish or uncertainty regarding how to order this Japanese specialty.

Contrary to popular belief, sushi is not raw fish, although raw fish may be included in an order of sushi. In fact, you can enjoy sushi without any raw fish involved whatsoever. The word “sushi” actually refers to a Japanese dish of cold, cooked rice flavored with vinegar, salt and sugar. The rice cooks up sticky and so is easy to shape. Many but not all sushi recipes are made up of this sticky rice paired with raw or cooked fish, tofu, vegetables, or seaweed. On restaurant menus, the word sushi is used to describe many different combinations of these ingredients. To say you are going to have sushi is like saying you are going to have breakfast, so let’s get into some of the specifics. There are three common items on most sushi menus: Maki, Sashimi, and Nigiri.

Maki or Makizushi is rolled sushi. Rice and fillings such as fish, cucumber, and avocado are wrapped in seaweed (nori) and then cut into six or eight small pieces. These sushi rolls look like wheels of a multicolored spiral starting with dark green seaweed exterior, followed by a layer of white, and a center of color. Turk’s Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Mattapoisett is a great place to try maki because they offer over thirty different maki rolls with plenty of raw fish like eel, tuna, scallops, yellowfish and fluke, as well as vegetarian options like the Sunset roll (mango and avocado) and Kappa Maki (cucumber). California maki (or a California roll) is made inside out with sticky rice on the outside of the seaweed and usually filled with imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado. If you prefer your fish after it’s spent some time on the grill, Wasabi in Dartmouth serves a number of maki rolls with cooked fish like grilled tuna, grilled scallops, and shrimp tempura. A bit of sushi etiquette – you may use chopsticks to eat maki, but it is also fine to eat it with your fingers.

Sashimi is sliced raw fish served without rice. Sashimi should be eaten with chopsticks and can be eaten with wasabi mixed into the soy sauce. A Kitchen in Fairhaven offers tuna, salmon, eel, scallops, striped bass, squid, octopus, yellowtail sashimi, a seemingly endless list of maki rolls, and Chinese food. Their maki runs between $3-$5 and their sashimi is between $4-$6 for three pieces, so put some time aside and leisurely try your way through their extensive menu.

Nigiri is sliced raw fish with a molded ball of rice underneath. Most sushi chefs add a dab of wasabi in between the rice and fish, so no additional sauce is needed. Only the fish side of the nigiri should be dipped into soy sauce and it can be eaten with your hands. Many local menus don’t mention Nigiri by name on their menu, but instead just call it “sushi”. There is often a “sushi and sashimi” section on the menu with a list of seafood that can be ordered as sashimi or as nigiri. (By the way, maki is called “maki” or “rolls” on sushi menus).

The Water Front Grille in New Bedford is a good place for beginners to try Sushi. Since they are a water front seafood restaurant rather than a sushi bar or Asian restaurant, guests can order from a full lunch and dinner menu as well as the separate sushi menu. Also, their sushi menu has non-fish offerings. For example, their maki listings include a mango roll and a sweet potato roll. Water Front Grille’s sushi menu is very easy to follow, especially in the winter when the offerings are limited. There are just two sections: makimono (or maki) and nigiri/sashimi. If you want to combine your sushi with a little shoe shopping, try the Zen Asian Grill & Sushi Lounge at Wareham Crossing! Zen also serves soups, salads, hibachi, noodles, and a kid’ s menu.

Finally, each of these three types of sushi traditionally come with a plate of soy sauce, wasabi, and picked ginger. The ginger is to cleanse your palate in between bites. The wasabi and soy are for dipping.

Now that you know a little more, get out there and practice the art of local travel by trying something new. Let us know what you think of South Coast sushi in our comments section!

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