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Bay Weekly's 2015 Dining Guide

Bay Weekly’s annual Dining Guide will make you hungry. Its very words melt in your mouth: Angus burgers, Bananas Foster, Barramundi Caprese, BossMan’s BBQ, bulgogi, Caramel and Coconut cake, Gambas al Ajillo, Hungarian mushroom soup, Littleneck clams and tasso ham, Munster Cheese and Crab Soup, New York-style pizza, Pad Pik Khing, Rockfish Amalfitana, Shipwreck Shrimp, Tikka Masala, Vallarta. From sharp to sweet to savory, it’s all here.
    This Guide will also fascinate you. Behind every restaurant is a human story with family history, sometimes going back generations. Others are success stories of a single generation. Many are the realized dreams of people who always wanted to own a restaurant.
    The people behind these stories entrust their futures to the food they cook and the service they provide. Your satisfaction is their success.
    Read, explore, enjoy — and as you taste your way to new knowledge, please say I read about you in Bay Weekly.


Annapolis Restaurant Week

What’s your story?
    Annapolis Restaurant Week returns February 23 to March 1 with the most restaurants ever. Visit your favorites or try something new. Each restaurant features three-course dinners for $32.95 and two-course lunches at $15.95; some also serve two-course breakfasts at $12.95.

Tell us about your food
    Italian, seafood, steakhouses, Mexican, Latino, American, barbecue, Irish, Indian, Thai, Japanese, French, Caribbean and pub fare … both fine dining and comfort food.
    Find a complete list of participating restaurants and their menus at annapolisrestaurantweek.com.

Anything new?
    We have 44 restaurants this year, maybe more to come. This year we include some long-time Annapolis faves, and we’ve added some new eateries just outside the city.

–Judy Buddensick, Event organizer
Annapolis Restaurant Week: Feb. 23 to March 1: ­annapolisrestaurantweek.com

Caroline’s Cakes & Caroline’s Gourmet Take-It-Away

What’s your story?
    Thirty-two years ago, I served a caramel cake at my son’s christening. I was amazed to hear I was serving a traditional recipe that was disappearing.

Caroline’s Cakes founder Caroline ­Ragsdale Reutter.

    What followed grew out of moments with my customers sharing a bit of their lives together. Those moments became the magnet that kept pulling me forward. The closeness we have developed with our customers is as precious to us as our cake sales.
    Caroline’s Gourmet started as a necessity for more space for our phone bank. Space that became available adjacent to the bakery had a kitchen and washroom, so I thought it would be a great idea to have a little sandwich shop. We focused on traditional deli fare with a Caroline’s touch.
    The rest has been an incredible journey in learning how to do it right. We now ship all of our cakes and many of our savory offerings all across the country. It is an incredibly exhilarating feeling of achievement.

Tell us about your food
    Caroline’s Cakes mainly produces layer cakes from time-honored — and often time-taking — traditional recipes our grandmothers used to make. The bakery also makes cookies, brownies, cake pops, meringues, petite fours and many other items for all of our celebrations throughout the year.
    Caroline’s Gourmet makes the best sandwiches. Our soups are all made from scratch, in house. We are always adding new ones. We alternate some of them throughout the month. Everything can be ordered for pick-up or dine-in.

Anything new?
    This could be the most exciting year. The documentary film I produced in 2012, A Cakewalk in Budapest, will be released. It is about the creation of the very first multi-layered cake by Jozsef Dobos in the 19th century, the Dobostorta. We will be offering Dobostorta for shipping as well as for pick-up in our Annapolis bakery.  
    We are also coming out with a line of gluten-free cakes this year. The caramel, Southern chocolate and coconut cakes will be the first. Our gluten-free offerings will make Caroline’s Cakes an ideal stop for those with food allergies as we are already a nut-free bakery.
 
What’s your favorite dish from your menu?
    In the bakery I would have to say the caramel cake. It is such a remarkable cake, sweet with its burnt-sugar base that brings a complexity of taste with it. The coconut cloud cake would be next. I am sure it is the use of fresh coconut that has transformed non-coconut cake lovers into dedicated followers Next, the lemon cake and most any cake made with our buttercream icing.
    Brunswick stew is my favorite meal on-the-go. It is full of vegetables, chicken and the correct seasonings. Then there are the sandwiches finished on the panini grill: the BLT wrap with avocado on a spinach wrap … the tomato-mozzarella with pesto … the Black Forest ham and brie … the turkey reuben.
    And I have not even gotten to the Carolina BBQ, Maryland crab cakes and lobster rolls …

–Caroline Ragsdale Reutter, Head of the team
Caroline’s Cakes: 1580 Whitehall Rd., Annapolis; 410-349-2212; www.carolinescakes.com
Caroline’s Gourmet Take-It-Away: 1576 Whitehall Rd., Annapolis; 410-349-2212; ­www.carolinesgourmet.com

Luna Blu

What’s your story?
    Luna Blu just celebrated its 13th anniversary in December. We are looking forward to many more years serving our loyal customers.

Tell us about your food
    All of our dishes are made to order. We bake our bread in house along with making all of our desserts.

Anything new?
    We are excited to be in the second year of our monthly Charity Wine Dinners. We have raised so much money for some great local charities and had some amazing food and wine while doing it.

What’s your favorite dish?
    Barramundi Caprese, which is pan-seared Australian seabass over your choice of fettuccini, sauteed spinach or asparagus, topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil.

–Erin Dryden, Owner
Luna Blu: 36 West St., Annapolis; 410-267-9950; www.lunabluofannapolis.com

Anthony’s Bar and Grill

What’s your story?
    Ronnie and I have always enjoyed working in fast-paced environments, and we enjoy the constant interaction with customers. So it was only natural that we would some day have our own place.

Ronald and Charlene Ward.

    We purchased Anthony’s Bar and Grill in January of 2012. Three years later, we’re not only hosting karaoke, trivia and ladies’ night through the week, but also bringing live music to the northern section of Calvert County on Friday evenings to jump-start the weekend. Our customers also know to come to us for an always-intriguing selection of craft beer, cocktails and fantastic food — seven days a week.
    We have a very community-oriented environment. Ours is the best staff, from the kitchen in the back making Chef Norman’s goals a reality, to our friendly wait staff and bartenders who make everyone feel welcome and eager to come back. Together they make Anthony’s feel like your local Cheer’s bar. Many of our regular customers are greeted by name, and sometimes with their favorite drink already waiting for them.
    Community fundraising and local events help all of us take ownership and pride in supporting what Ronnie and I want to achieve here at Anthony’s. This is our community as well, not just where we’ve chosen to own a business, and we’re proud to call it home.

Tell us about your food
    Chef Norman has been with us just over a year now. Having fine-tuned the menu a bit and offering the occasional off-the-wall special, he is hitting his groove with the foods popular to our patrons. The man’s creativity knows no limit. He’s not only enhanced the classics like our hand-shaved ribeye cheesesteak, but he has also brought new favorites, artisan flatbreads and fantastic seafood entrees.
    Whether you’re coming back for our famous slow-roasted BossMan’s BBQ, stopping in for a mouth-watering half-pound, fresh-patty burger or swinging by to see what he could possibly have come up with this week, Norman has you covered.

Anything new?
    The new year brings more fundraising for our community, as well as Wine Down Wednesdays and a possible Singles Mingle. In addition to our twice-a-week World Tavern poker games, area-wide dart league and our cornhole events, we’ll also be adding a monthly Paint Uncorked event.

What’s your favorite dish from your menu?
    I can’t say I have a favorite; it’s hard for me to choose. However, when I can’t decide what I want for dinner, I usually order marinated pork chops with mashed potatoes.

–Charlene and Ronald Ward Jr., Owners
Anthony’s Bar and Grill: 10371 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 410-257-2438; www.anthonysdunkirk.com

Michael Griffin and Robyn Day of Countryside Deli & Grille.

Countryside Deli & Grille

What’s your story?
    We are proud to be celebrating over a decade of service in the wonderful community of Bristol/Lothian. As a Re/Max Realtor, I originally purchased our little piece of property as an investment. It is located in a scenic equestrian area at the point of Prince George’s, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties.
    Our building has a history. The original post office for our area was located in Pig Point in 1807 and later moved to our location in 1840. We still have the mail sorting slots hung on the wall with many of the local landholders’ names hand-written.
    Our original intention was to open a European auto repair shop, Michael’s true vocation. After making a few necessary repairs to the structure, we decided to go ahead and try our hand at continuing the existing deli business for a while.
    By far, the best part of our business has been the community that has supported us. Our patrons have become family, and we look forward to sharing stories with them every day.

Tell us about your food
    As foodies, we welcome the opportunity to have all of our favorite foods on the menu. Breakfast all day has been a success. In addition, we serve fresh Angus burgers, reubens, steak and cheese, fresh-cut fries and homemade chips.

Anything new?
    We are looking forward to expanding this coming season with soft-serve ice cream.

–Robyn Day and Michael Griffin, Owner-operators
Countryside Deli & Grille: 5901 Southern Maryland Blvd., Lothian; 410-741-6700

Traders Seafood, Steak & Ale

What’s your story?
    We’re family-owned and -operated, and there will always be a friendly face greeting you at the door with a smile.

Tell us about your food
    Friendly casual dining along the Chesapeake with a large menu specializing in freshly caught local seafood. Along with the local favorites, Traders has a wide variety of steaks and homemade entrees such as crab cakes and crab imperial. We feature many daily lunch and dinner specials as well as nightly specials. Traders also has a children’s menu.
    Beyond our seafood and steak, Traders is well-known for incredible breakfasts, featuring an enormous Sunday buffet from 7am to 1pm.

What’s your favorite dish from your menu?
    Maryland crap soup and our broiled seafood platter.

Traders Seafood, Steak & Ale: 8132 Bayside Rd.,