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A NIGHT WITHOUT END AT MARTHA'S.

AS I STEP out of the ferry and set foot on the triangular island called Martha's Vineyard, the Ginger Bread houses in the line of my vision look very welcoming.

There are no vineyards at Martha's Vineyard, nor is any wine made there, but that's where the world's rich and famous go to unwind and soak up the sun. The island was named Martha, or so goes a theory, by the man who discovered it after his daughter and it did have vineyards then. Similarly, the Ginger Bread houses are tiny Easter eggcoloured houses with no connect whatsoever with the fairy tale. And no, you cannot eat them.

Once you've untangled the mystery of the place, there's one thing you have to do: eat. And have many a glass of beer or wine to wash down your meal. Hungry for my first island lunch, I set off with a friend to Black Dog -- an island trade mark. We grab our iced coffees and head to Martha's Vineyard Chowder Co. to meet friends for lunch.

I order the special here -- the clam chowder. They claim to have the freshest chowder on the island made from scratch. I pair that with a 100 per cent lobster tail salad on a crispy potato cake with basil oil and preserved lemon. The chowder was perfect with the freshest ingredients and the salad sans greens was a delight. I was content eating just lobster without useless frills thrown in. The dressing was light and lemony with a touch of basil. Just right.

Every islander I hear loves his beer. The local beer is from Nantucket with names such as Whale's Tail pale ale or the Hopp Goddess, which are freshly brewed and strong. I prefer my sparkling wine and settle for a piccolo at Nancy's on the waterfront. It's a prosecco that I'm drinking, served with a maraschino cherry thrown into the flute. My friends have ordered the signature drink called The Dirty Banana, which is a take on the mudslide with Bailey's, Kahlua, frozen banana, CrE me De Bananes and vanilla ice- cream. Delicious but calorie- loaded.

I am quite excited about the evening and dress up in my Christian Louboutins and Armani. We head to Edgartown, famous for its upscale restaurants and boutiques.

This is the place where the rich and famous mingle. It's better to dress up here, for you may just bump into the Clintons ( even the Obamas were here some time ago), or John Travolta ( hope his crossdressing rumours are just that!), or visiting royalty.

We start the evening at Port Hunter, a classic brick- laid space with an amazing food and bar menu. At the raw bar, we order oysters ( The Chappy's) with fresh lime and horseradish sauce; tuna fin rolls, flash fried and served with a delicious arugula salad; and a rock crab salad. Each item we ordered was something I would go back for again. I also get my dream drink -- a Lambrusco, the fruity and fizzy red Italian table wine. Wish it were more easily available in Delhi too.

Our dinner table was booked at a fine- dining restaurant called Alchemy. I am mortally phobic of fillets of whitefleshed fish, especially those with pin- like bones that are barely discernible until one gets lodged in your throat. I always hate to pluck bones or half- chewed fish out of my mouth. So I stick to a perfectly grilled salmon on a bed of parsley risotto with sauteed long beans.

My glass of Laetitia Pinot Noir, ripe, rich and deep, was the perfect accompaniment.

I'm a red person and don't like to follow norms in eating or drinking.

Just my choice.

It's long past midnight, but the party doesn't stop. We head towards Offshore Ale, a local favourite famous for its homebrewed beers at Oak Bluffs, a more casual area. I must mention an interesting tradition here. You must grab a basket of delicious roasted peanuts ( all free) and while you eat the nuts, you're supposed to crush and throw the shells on the floor. The floor looks rather cool all littered.

It turned out to be a night without end. Martha's Vineyard is a moveable feast.

-- The writer was a chef at The Chambers, The Taj Mahal Hotel, before she turned a fulltime writer. She's now a student at Harvard University.

You may just bump into the Clintons ( even the Obamas were here some time ago), John Travolta, or some visiting royalty

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 5, 2012
Words:762
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