Ed Levine's Caloric Journey, Week 178: A Week at the Vineyard

Thumbnail image for Fresh-Shucked Oysters

We've been up on Martha's Vineyard for eight days now, and I thought I would give you a caloric journey progress report.

At our friends and neighbors the Smith's annual July 4th wingding, which was held on Sunday the third this year, I managed to focus on the watermelon and feta salad Vicky made. I also had a lot of cole slaw, a couple slices of lamb, half a hamburger (no bun), and a few bites of dessert. All in all, a respectable caloric journey performance.

The next day, on the Fourth itself, our friends the Grands invited us over for raw clams and oysters, homemade gravlax, and Ann Grand's justifiably famous pulled pork. Ann's pork is amazing, but I managed to avoid both heaping seconds on my plate and piling the pork on the soft hamburger buns she provided. Again, though I could have done better, I also could have done a lot worse. After both parties I was not uncomfortably full, always a good sign.

As for the rest of the week...

After discovering the fantastic breakfast sandwich made with housemade sausage at my new favorite spot on the Vineyard, 7A, formerly Back Alley's, on my first day here, I managed to avoid going back for another one, though I found myself passing by 7A every morning going to and from my daily tennis game at the Grands. I did also have one slice of 7A's extraordinary coffee cake, which I shared with a couple of other folks.

Breakfast the rest of the week was a bowl of this amazing locally made yogurt, with some fruit salad and a couple of spoonfuls of Linda Alley's New Lane Sundries strawberry rhubarb jam and a couple of tablespoons of 7A's granola.

Lunch the first couple of days involved trying just about all of 7A's sandwich offerings, which are quite special, actually: a transcendent short rib sandwich, a meatball hero featuring Next Iron Chef finalist Marco Canora's great meatballs (7A's Dan Sauer worked for Marco for quite awhile), a killer roasted eggplant and feta combo, and a fine pulled pork sandwich made with succulent hot-smoked pork butt.

I resisted going back to 7A everyday for lunch and instead opted for a great Applegate Farms hand-tied maple ham and Alpine Lace or pastrami turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with low-fat mayonnaise and/or Dijon mustard, accompanied by a 100 calorie bag of reduced fat Cape Cod chips.

For dinner on non-party days we had grilled meat or fish with salad and fresh corn (that I put no butter on).

I mostly limited my snacks to Pink Lady apples, bananas, and ridiculously expensive but crazy good Honey Crisp peaches and nectarines that for some reason they sell all over Martha's Vineyard.

I did manage to avoid my usual trips to John's or the Bite for fried clams and to Mrs. Blake's pie stand. This is the first time in a long, long time that I have managed to be up on Martha's Vineyard and not have one bite, much less a slice, of a Mrs. Blake's pie.

I will be interested to see how I fare when I jump on Thinner when I get home, but I would say all in all, I would give myself a B for this stage of my caloric journey. Caloric journies, I am learning, are filled with victories and defeats small and large, and like any 12 step program, I just have to take my journey one meal, and one snack, at a time.