Food and Drink (All)

Welcome to Bay Weekly’s annual Dining Guide, a tour of good eats and good eating.
In this ­special, you’ll visit the many restaurants, delis, groceries and seafood markets whose advertising in our pages brings you Bay Weekly 52 weeks of each year. Most are locally owned, and all are in our neighborhoods.
      Each is unique in its offerings — from fin- and shellfish fresh from the Bay to fine beef to satisfying preparations and presentations whether homestyle or exotics to regionally famous wines and beers to inventive cocktails.
       Read, explore, enjoy — and as you taste your way to new knowledge, please say  I read about you in Bay Weekly.

Angelina’s Italian Kitchen

Angelina’s Italian Kitchen, located on Route 214 in Edgewater, is a small, quaint carryout with four tables should you choose to dine in. Named after the owner’s great-grandmother, Angelina Canestra, who found so much joy in cooking for family and friends, the restaurant prides itself in serving all homemade Italian food daily.   
    Pizza dough, lasagna, meatballs and marinara are all freshly made for you. Delicious desserts, including fresh cannoli, are also homemade.
    Very affordable prices and traditional New York-style pizzas make Angelina’s a great place to order out or the bring the family to eat in.
    This family-owned and -operated small business moved to Edgewater after 15 years in Bowie and was promptly voted Best Pizzeria out of 25 establishments in the Edgewater and Davidsonville area on Patch.com and Yelp.com.
 
Angelina’s Italian Kitchen
827 Central Ave. E., Edgewater; 410-798-0700; 
facebook.com/AngelinasItalianKitchen
Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun.

Annapolis ­Restaurant Week
Foodies of many different tastes are readying their palates for a week of deals and savory dishes during the last week of February.
    With more than 40 establishments in Annapolis participating in the event each year, it’s the perfect opportunity to try that little-known restaurant you’ve been meaning to sample or indulge in local favorites. Fixed-price menus make for an enjoyable tasting of some of the area’s most popular restaurants, without consuming your wallet in the process.
   This year’s Annapolis Restaurant Week (now in its 10th year) is Sunday through Saturday, February 25 to March 3. Forty restaurants in both downtown Annapolis and the greater Annapolis area will be offering two- and three-course fixed-price meal selections. Annapolis has become a dining destination over the years, and this event highlights some of the area’s most popular destinations. 
    For those looking for new experiences, Annapolis has several new restaurants that have opened over the past year, including Flamant and the Light House Bistro. You can also pick restaurants that offer shows or live music after your meal, vegetarian options, waterfront views or that are located in historic buildings. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
    Two-course lunches are $15.95 and three-course dinners $34.95 at all participating restaurants, with restaurants that regularly serve breakfast offering two-course breakfasts for $12.95.
    Participating restaurants: Annapolis Smokehouse, Buddy’s Crabs, Café Normandie, Chevy’s, Fado Irish Pub, Federal House, Flamant, Galway Bay, Gordon Biersch, The Light House Bistro, Luna Blu, The Melting Pot, Middleton Tavern, Miss Shirley’s Café, O’Briens, O’Learys, Paladar, Paul’s Homewood Café, Preserve, Reynolds Tavern, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sam’s on the Waterfront, Severn Inn, Yellowfin. Full details and more restaurants online: www.downtownannapolispartnership.org/restaurant-week.
 
Annapolis Restaurant Week
www.downtownannapolispartnership.org/
restaurant-week
Feb. 25-March 3

Anne Arundel ­County Farmers Market

You’ll find top-quality produce and products at Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, all sold by friendly farmers and producers glad to share their knowledge and answer your questions. Today many of the original farm families are among the 100+ vendors selling all year at the market.
    The Farmers Market was first organized in 1981 by the County Office of Planning and Zoning and sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Farm Preservation Board, Farm Bureau, Co-operative Extension Service and the Department of Agriculture.
    Many things have changed in the 30-plus years since the first market season. One thing that has never changed is our desire to bring all customers the freshest and best that Anne Arundel County and Maryland has to offer. We do this with great pride!
 
Anne Arundel County Farmers Market
Riva Rd. at Harry Truman Pkwy., Annapolis; ­www.aacofarmersmarket.com
Sun. 10am-1pm (year-round)
Tues. 7am-noon (May-Sept.)
Sat. 7am-noon (April-Dec.)

Bread and Butter Kitchen

You go to Bread and Butter Kitchen, chef-owner Monica Alvarado’s new breakfast and lunch café overlooking Spa Creek at the end of Second Avenue, for inspired eating with a view and a relaxed, friendly neighborhood atmosphere. 
    You’ll find a welcome relief from the same-old same-old. On the menu are a variety of classic items, as well as creative and unique dishes, from biscuits and gravy to a Vietnamese inspired Banh Mi turkey burger. Homemade soups and specials rotate throughout the week.
    “We feel honored to work with and use locally sourced ingredients from the farmers and vendors at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market,” Alvarado says. “These ingredients are featured throughout the menu, from bread made locally at Great Harvest Bakery to the milk and yogurt from Nice Farms Creamery.”
    Choose from a variety of meals and snacks, including kid-friendly, vegetarian and gluten free.
    For breakfast, it’s hard to resist a fresh scone made from scratch that morning. Our signature breakfast sandwich is the BBK, which features two fried eggs, red onion, avocado, bacon and garlic aioli on toast from Great Harvest Bakery.
    For lunch, try a Banh Mi burger or perhaps chicken on a biscuit, a fried chicken breast drizzled with sriracha honey on our from-scratch biscuits.
    A reformed corporate rock star, Alvarado left her 22-year career in technology in 2016 to start Bread and Butter Kitchen with the vision of sharing my passion for making amazing food that celebrates local ingredients. I began by creating a weekly menu of prepared to-go meals and selling them at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market.
    “In May of 2017, I opened the cafe and have been smiling ever since,” she says. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I was meant to do.”
    Bread and Butter Kitchen feels like home, and when you share a meal there, you join the family.
    We have seating for 10 both inside and out, with plenty of parking available. Furry friends are welcome outdoor customers.
 
Bread and Butter Kitchen
303 Second St., Eastport; 410-202-8680; www.breadandbutterkitchen.com
Daily 7:30am-3pm 

Cakes and ­Confections Bakery Café

We are a full-service bakery with a café serving breakfast and lunch.
    On the bakery side, we specialize in fresh-baked pastries, pies and desserts plus custom-designed cakes for all occasions. Our most popular sweets are our chocolate-coconut macaroons, our key lime pie and fruit medley pie (strawberries, rhubarb, apples, raspberries and blackberries) and our wonderful gluten-free Chocolate Decadence Cake. 
    Sit down among those good smells (or carry out) for breakfast, served all day, and lunch. As well as omelets, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and our popular steak, egg and cheese wrap, we serve grilled paninis, delicious soups and homemade quiche in two varieties, bacon cheddar or our loaded vegetable. Take home a whole quiche with any number of savory ingredients with 24 hours notice. Coffee is brewed fresh all day.
    Pastry chef and co-owner Michael Brown found his career while working in a bake shop in Washington, D.C. “I really enjoyed creating all types of pastries and desserts,” he says, so “I decided to go back to school and get my pastry chef degree at L’Academie de Cuisine.” He worked at several caterers and bakeries before Cakes and Confections, which he bought from its previous owner.
    Michael and Julianne Brown have owned Cakes and Confections for over 15 years creating wonderful cakes, pastries and desserts for customers from all over the area. The business moved to Severna Park from Annapolis in 2013 to add breakfast and lunch.
    Our custom-designed cakes and many types of wonderful confections are known far and wide.
    Our cakes have included a wedding cake modeled on the U.S. Capital, many USNA cake “covers” and a platter of sushi cakes. Challenge us to design a specialty cake for your special occasion! 
 
Cakes and Confections Bakery Café
342 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-757-7100; www.cakesandconfections.com
Mon.-Fri. 7am-6pm, Sat. 8am-4pm

Chesapeake Grille & Deli

In all three of its locations, Chesapeake Grille & Deli is the kind of place you can’t do without. It sustains the modern lifestyle. You can rush in off the road, choose a good meal and carry it out or eat it in. It’s all cooked to order, but service is fast and friendly. So how much time you want to spend is up to you. 
    Food is fast, fresh and satisfying.
    You get what you expect: burgers, barbecue, crab cakes and flatbreads, soups, salads and sandwiches, gyros, reubens and Rachels, melts, wraps and hoagies. 
    You can get what you hope for: meatloaf, chicken potpie (with the addition of a touch of the Bay) and real Smith Island cake for dessert.
    You can get way more than you expect: grilled fresh fish, beer-battered rockfish, seafood skewers with grilled veggies and new potatoes, crabby mac and cheese.
    “Everything we serve has been carefully created, thoughtfully prepared and given the attention and fresh ingredients it deserves,” says manager Chad Wagaman.
    Chesapeake Grille, Deli and Market, across from Herrington Harbour South in Rose Haven, adds the convenience of breakfast and a market where you can pick up quick supplies, including wine, beer and liquor. 
 
• 10092 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 410-286-5939
Lunch and dinner daily
 
• 6786 Race Track Rd., Bowie; 301-262-4441
Lunch and dinner daily
 
• 7150 Lake Shore Dr., North Beach; 410-257-7757
Breakfast, lunch and dinner all day everyday
 
www.eatchesapeake.com

Chesapeake Seafood

Chesapeake Seafood is central Anne Arundel County’s place to go for seafood, though its freshness draws seafood lovers from much farther. 
    Walk in and you’ll see the glass display case filled with seafood, from blue crabs all year long to sushi-grade fish. Some of what you’ll see is so local that Chesapeake Seafood watermen caught it and brought it. Choose your favorite and take it home to cook for dinner.
    You don’t have to wait that long to enjoy Chesapeake Seafood. Much of what’s there can be cooked to order for take-out. Blue crabs are steamed to order whenever you want them. Everything on the extensive carryout menu — including key lime pie — is fresh, homemade and delicious.
 
Chesapeake Seafood
135 Mayo Rd., Edgewater; 410-957-8956; www.chesapeakeseafoodinc.com
Carryout daily 11am-8pm 

Donut Shack

For over 33 years, hand-cut donuts baked on the premises have been our specialty. We are home to the Chopsuey, a mix of apple, cinnamon and coconut with raisins or without, all blended in a yeast-raised dough. We also make other fresh pastries. You’ll find home-made soup, too, along with hot beverages, including fresh coffee, and cold bottled drinks.
    As well as making donuts, we love working with people. “As our customer, you make our business, so we make it our business to take care of you,” says owner Bill Prevezanos.
    We pride ourselves on courtesy, prompt service, cleanliness and fresh products. 
    We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, here for you whenever you want a donut.
    Eat in or carry out by the donut, sack or box.
 
Donut Shack
497 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-0278
Open 24/7

En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats 

Hearty stews and roasts are especially satisfying in winter, and buying from En-tice-ment Farm means you know the pedigree of the meat you’re eating. En-tice-ment Farm is central Chesapeake Country’s No. 1 source for farm-raised meat. That’s beef, pork and lamb plus chicken and eggs, all raised by the Tice family of fourth- and fifth-generation farmers.
    All animals are well cared for on the Tice’s Harwood farm. For their wellbeing and yours, they are grass-fed in a free-range environment with no hormones or steroids. The meat is butchered into convenient cuts, sealed and immediately frozen at family-run USDA-inspected processing facilities.  
    “Customer demand for naturally raised local products started our business,” says Deana Tice. “Now we’ve added a new farm store, a smaller version of a grocery store selling all locally sourced foods.”
    En-tice-ment offers every cut you could want, plus some you may not have tried, as well as weekly meat packages posted on Facebook for ordering ahead. Shop or pick up at our new farm store with longer hours for your convenience or at Anne Arundel County Farmers Market.
    Unsure how to cook these delicious cuts? Ask the Tice family, who has long experience and recipes to tantalize your taste buds. 
Find all En-tice-ment products online and at Facebook.
 
En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats
231 Polling House Rd., Harwood; 443-336-8492; 
www.enticementfarmraisedmeats.com
En-Tice-Ment Farm store Tues.-Fri. 3-6pm; Sat. 8am-noon. 
AACo. Farmers Market: Sun. winters 10am-1pm.

Evelyn’s

Evelyn’s, a breakfast, brunch and lunch café focused on local and sustainable ingredients, is rounding out its first year in West Annapolis.
    The welcoming, open-kitchen café is a turn in a new direction for owner Brandon Stalker, who was drawn from commercial real estate by “the joy that a great meal can bring.”
    Localism theme runs through every aspect of the business, from ingredients to location — a livable, walkable neighborhood with a thriving commercial strip that exerts a strong pull on visitors — to naming, after the Stalker’s daughter. 
    All Evelyn’s food is prepared from scratch, in-house, and always in small batches to ensure that every day food is clean, wholesome and fresh.
    “We believe that a plant-to-plate mentality allows us to control our recipes to a greater degree than simply buying a finished product from a vendor,” Stalker says. 
    That’s true of meat as well as plant, he adds. “We make our corned beef ourselves. It is moist and flavorful instead of just being put onto a meat slicer out of a bag; you can taste the difference,” he says.
    Thus, Evelyn’s two most popular dishes are corned beef reubens and corned beef hash.
    As well as a taste of quality, local is a philosophy for Stalker. “Locally sourced not only provides our customers with the freshest ingredients but also keeps the money they spend in the pockets of local Maryland businesses,” he says. 
    Evelyn’s has seasonal outdoor, pet-friendly dining (with bacon available for your pooch).
 
Evelyn’s
26 Annapolis St., Annapolis; 410-263-4794; ­www.evelynsannapolis.com
Open 7 days a week, 7:30am-3:30pm

Happy Harbor

Happy Harbor is a comfort center for locals and sightseers from far and wide.
    Come for comfort food, fresh seafood, a good strong Crush or Bloody Mary or a cold beer and a front-row waterfront view. 
    Come to relax. At Happy Harbor, you don’t have to dress up. Come to hang out with the gang. To eat the best burger around, especially at Monday’s $5 special price. Come to watch sports on 14 TVs. April thru September, come for live music on the dock every Friday Saturday and Sunday and local DJs on the second and last Saturday of each month. 
    Come to Happy Harbor to get happy. And in summer, you can do it all outdoors, with your dogs.
 
Happy Harbor
533 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-0949; ­www.happyharbordeale.com
Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat. & Sun. during winter

Hook & Vine Kitchen & Bar

Hook & Vine is a hunger you can’t yet satisfy.
    “We’re half a season from opening,” says co-owner Monica Phillips, who has been in the restaurant industry for decades. 
    “I love creating a memorable experience through food, drink and service. We both enjoy trying different food and talking to people,” says Monica, whose first job was in an ice cream shop. “I then served and bartended through college.”
    “We have a love for food and people,” says husband Kevin, who moved into hospitality after working in technology and sales management. After working for several large casual dining organizations, holding positions from manager to director of operations overseeing multi-state regions, he decided, he says, “to take the leap.”
    The North Beach location was just the place they’d been looking for. 
    “We have always been a supporter of the small and local business and love the area,” Monica says. “The community needed more dining options and we jumped in and went for it.”
    Hook & Vine promises Southern Coastal cuisine relying on locally sourced ingredients. Dishes — classics with a twist — will be infused with the flavors of bacon, bourbon and wine. 
    Planned signature items include deviled eggs, bourbon glazed pork chops, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, plus a variety of bourbons and wine to quench your thirst.
    The significance of the name? Hook is for fresh fish and seafood, with a coastal flair; vine is for wine and seasonal ingredients. 
    Also promised are family friendly service and Bay views from the deck.
    “We want you to come for the food but get hooked on the Southern hospitality, the atmosphere and family environment,” Monica says.
    With its planned spring opening, Hook & Vine is one more reason to look forward to that season.
 
Hook & Vine
4114 7th St., North Beach; 443-964-5488; ­www.HookandVine.com
Opening Spring 2018, 11am-10pm

The Irish Restaurants

The experience at all three of The Irish Restaurants — Galway Bay in Annapolis, Killarney House in Davidsonville and Brian Boru Irish Pub in Severna Park — is flavored with genuine welcome. That natural, comfortable, person-to-person ambi­ance sets us apart. As soon as you enter, you are sure to have a great time.
    Our traditional food and drink menus reflect the hospitality and flavors of Ireland. Bar staff in all three of our Irish pubs are trained to pour a great pint of Guinness. Our traditional Galway Bay eggnog, made in Ireland from our own recipe with fresh Irish Cream and Irish whiskey, is imported each year and available in our restaurants.
    Our food is based on some of Ireland’s best recipes, recreated with local ingredients as we proudly support local farmers and oystermen when possible. These are complimented by imported Irish products like KerryGold Cheese and butter, custards, flour, relishes and sauces to get as close to the true Irish dining experience as possible.
    Killarney House is introducing new menu items to represent Maryland’s seasons, including fresh shucked oysters, which are also available in the pub Wednesday nights (5:30-8:30pm). Try oysters with a Guinness and see why people in Ireland have enjoyed this tradition for centuries. Or our oven-baked Norwegian salmon, finished with an Irish butter mustard sauce. How about a house-seasoned cold corned beef sandwich with Dubliner cheese on a rustic roll with tarragon and black pepper mayo, with tomato-onion chutney? We also feature cold smoked salmon with pickled red onions and Irish bread. To help stave off the cold weather, we offer beef or lamb stew, shepherd’s pies or delicious pot roast, to name but a few. Maybe an Irish coffee to finish off a great evening: made with Demerara augar, Irish whiskey and fresh homemade whipped cream. Who cares about the weather after that!
    To complement its long-established food menu and dining experience, Galway Bay has developed an excellent offering of nearly 50 Irish whiskeys to address the renewed interest in Irish whiskeys in the U.S. and around the world. Under the superb management of Sean Lynch and Gary Brown, the selection of Irish whiskeys and beer is a great representation of what is available in Ireland’s best pubs. 
    With the demand for Irish whiskey on the rise, plans are on the drawing board for a separate whiskey bar in the front dining room, coming this summer. Our patrons will enjoy the authentic environment conducive to sipping what Irish folklore has called “the Water of Life.”
    On offer with the Irish beers, local beer has strong representation. Galway Bay has a special relationship with RAR Brewing in Cambridge, which contract-brews our Naptown Brown Ale. They also use Galway Bay for their first releases, as well as seasonal rotating taps. “We designed Naptown Brown, our core beer, with a light finish and low ABV to pair with everything,” says assistant manager Gary Brown.
    Also on tap now is RAR’s hoppy Nanticoke Nectar that wants a bold-flavored food like corned beef and cabbage … and D.C. Brau, a nitro-Porter with a nice creamy finish, which pairs well with shepherd’s pie. 
    At Brian Boru in Severna Park, we also feature authentic Irish recipes prepared with produce and proteins from local farmers and fish suppliers. Our home-cooked corned beef is always one of our best, slow-cooked for six hours and served with fresh local cabbage and red potatoes. Fresh shucked oysters are also on the menu, and on Thursday nights Irish singers add atmosphere to the Guinness and fresh shucked oyster night. If you like a great reuben sandwich, our home-cooked corned beef and sauerkraut on rye bread is our best seller. Homemade potato cakes or fried oysters are great choices to start off the dining experience. Shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie and fish and chips are customer favorites and our all-day breakfast featuring Irish bacon, sausages, black and white puddings with tomato and eggs is the way to go.
    Always striving to be part of the community, Brian Boru has had a marvelous role in helping raise money for local charities with its fundraising dinners: three-course menu for $25 per person. Of that amount $10 per person is donated back to the evening’s charity. Heather Saffield, Brian Boru’s general manager, has greatly contributed to the growth of this community giveback. Under her stewardship, we have helped lots of wonderful local people.
    With St Patrick’s day fast approaching, please check our websites for history dinners, concerts and entertainment schedules.
 
Galway Bay Irish Restaurant
63 Maryland Ave., Annapolis; 410-263-8333; www.galwaybaymd.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch
 
Brian Boru Irish Pub
489 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-975-2678; www.brianborupub.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch
 
Killarney House Irish Restaurant
584 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville; 
410-798-8700; www.killarneyhousepub.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch

Jalapeños

Change your state of mind in Jalapeños, where décor and service lead you to believe you’ve just stepped out of the zocalo into a cool, timeless restaurant. You could be in Spain or in Mexico, and Jalapeños’ dishes will satisfy either taste.
    Both styles are authentic to Jalapeños. Owner Gonzalo Fernandez comes from Spain, and owner Alberto Serrano comes from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the source of many of Mexico’s richest moles. Chef Obed Serrano, also from Oaxaca, studied his art in Spain.
    Create your meal to your taste by ordering from the menu of tapas, the original small plates. Four-dozen choices include fish — calamari, mussels, salmon, scallop and shrimp — meat and vegetable.
    Gonzalo’s favorite is Gambas al Ajillo: large shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, herbs and tomato finished with dry sherry. It is also served as one of two-dozen large plates, many accompanied with beans and rice. 
    Made-to-order guacamole and a margarita or sangria are good starters as you browse the menu that includes, as you’d expect, wide choices of burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and tacos. 
    Bimonthly Flamenco dinners with live dancers, a singer and guitarist are so popular that shows sell out. Watch Jalapeños’ ads for the dates and reserve early.
 
Jalapeños
85 Forest Plaza, Annapolis; 410-266-7580; www.jalapenosonline.com
Lunch Mon.-Sat., nightly dinner and happy hour in the bar starting at 4pm

Jerry’s Place

If you’ve been to Jerry’s, south of Prince Frederick, you know why its shopping strip parking lot is full: fresh and delicious seafood with friendly service. 
    If you haven’t, you’ll want to find out. 
    “We buy only the freshest crabmeat and seafood, says owner Jerry Gainey, a seafood lover with a passion for feeding folks and 48 years in the business. “We prepare our food with simple recipes. Our fresh jumbo lump crabcakes with zero fillers are famous far and wide.”
    Casual and friendly, Jerry’s is so local that community neighbors surround you in the café’s 54 seats and from murals covering the walls. Jerry and Jerry Jr. are there too, with friendly conversation, warm hospitality and often a tasty treat.
 
Jerry’s Place
1541 Solomons Island Rd., Prince Frederick; 410-535-3242; www.Jerrys-Place.com
Thurs.-Sat. Noon-8pm, Sun. 1-7pm

La Bella Italia

Some children know what they want to be when they grow up and never stray from their earliest career plans. This is true of Luca Assante, owner of La Bella Italia in Friendship. 
    Assante studied at a culinary school in his native Naples, Italy before moving to the United States to be near family. Here, he lives his passion by cooking and serving authentic Italian cuisine. One taste of his signature Seafood Linguine and you will understand why it has been featured as a special for years.
    This cozy cafe offers quick and friendly dine-in and take-out service, from individual pizza slices to complete family dinners that include pasta, salad and bread for six. 
    La Bella Italia lives up to its name. When Assante thinks of the name, it reminds him of the good food from his homeland. Stop in and taste for yourself and you will be transported to Beautiful Italy, too.
 
La Bella Italia
• 11 West Friendship Rd., Friendship; 410-257-1062
• 1460 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold; 410-757-3373
• 609-B Taylor Ave., Annapolis; 410-216-6061
• Piazza Italia, 7710 Ritchie Hwy., Glen Burnie; 410-590-4990
Lunch and dinner daily

Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano

Walk or drive on Inner West Street in Annapolis and you can’t miss Luna Blu, with its bright Mediterranean blue and sunshine yellow facade. 
    “I’m very excited to be entering our 17th year of business,” says owner Erin Dryden. “Inner West Street’s continued growth over the years with First Sunday Art Festivals, Dining Under the Stars and The Chocolate Binge Festival has been amazing. I’m proud to be a part of such a great community of local businesses and supportive patrons.” 
    Pulled in by the good vibrations of bright color, you discover a neighborhood place to retreat when you don’t feel like cooking. Yet it’s also a place to celebrate special occasions … or to gather a like-minded group for a wine-pairing dinner to benefit a favorite charity.
    Whatever your reason for coming, whoever you are, Luna Blu welcomes you.
    “I make all dishes to order, so they are fresh and customizable. Whatever your special diet — from gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or lower in calories — we can accommodate you,” Dryden says.
    Also made in-house are all sauces and desserts plus fresh-baked bread. 
    The range of authentic southern Italian dishes is enormous. You have to try and try again to discover your favorites.
    Luna Blu makes that easy with regular specials. Nightly, choose your antipasto, entre and dessert, served with house salad for $38.
    Monday and Wednesday, bottles of wine are half-price.
    Thursday evenings, try a special pairing of personal pizzas with half bottles of wine.
    Appetizers — the menu runs to a dozen — are half-price Sunday to Wednesday 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-9:30pm.
 
Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano
36 West St., Annapolis; 410-267-9950; ­lunabluofannapolis.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Mamma Lucia

Mamma Lucia is Little Italy for Calvert County. In 1997, Sal and Maria Lubrano pioneered real Italian cuisine when they opened in Dunkirk. In 2007, their second restaurant opened in Prince Frederick and on August 21, 2017, Chesapeake Beach welcomed the opening of their third restaurant: Mamma Lucia by the Bay.
    Bay Weekly readers have repeatedly voted Mamma Lucia the Best Italian Restaurant, and 2017 brought more awards: Best New Bar, Best New Restaurant and Best New Business to Mamma Lucia By The Bay. 
    Bay Weekly readers are not the only ones to recognize Mamma Lucia’s authentic Italian cuisine. In 2016, Sal and Maria traveled to New York City where they became part of an elite group of Italian Restaurant owners who received Ospitalita Italian, an award presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce to restaurants that distinguish themselves as true Italian food.
    Ambiance is part of the Mamma Lucia recipe for success. The Chesapeake Beach location offers seasonal roof-top and patio dining, a tiki bar and the same exceptional service and exquisite cuisine that you have become accustomed to at the other two locations. If you want Wood Brick Oven Pizza made with authentic Italian ingredients in the Old World Italian tradition, you will have to visit the Chesapeake Beach location. 
    The menu at all three locations offers truly authentic Italian cuisine: antipasti, delize dal mare, polo, vitelli and an extensive wine list. Don’t forget — because Italians love sweets — dolci and espresso to complete your dining experience and put you in a bellavita mood. 
    You’ll find a romantic spot for two and big tables for tutta la famiglia. Mamma Lucia is also the region’s favorite Italian caterer. 
    Find special events including music and wine-tasting dinners on Facebook.
 
Mamma Lucia 
• 862 Costley Way, Prince Frederick; 443-486-4701
• 10136 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 301-812-1240
• 8323 Bayside Rd., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-7700
www.mammaluciarestaurant.com

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot offers the unique experience of fondues, both savory and sweet, made tableside. 
    The unique, interactive experience we provide gives families and friends the opportunity to unplug and interact with each other in a special way.
    The Melting Pot cheese fondue comes from award-winning cheese makers in Wisconsin and is made especially for us. 
    A popular new addition is pretzel bread among our cheese fondue dipper selections. We have added a Cuban Cheese fondue and, for winter, brought back our popular Apple Cider Alpine Cheese Fondue.
    The Melting Pot main course fondues feature premium ingredients such as hormone and antibiotic-free chicken, Certified Black Angus Beef®, all-natural pork tenderloin, fish such as ahi tuna, vegetables and even potstickers for you to cook in broth or oil.
    Our chocolate dessert fondue, served with breads and cakes for dipping, is our most popular item.
    We also serve farm-fresh salads.
    Order separately or in such combinations as our Four-Course Experience.
    We also offer over 50 wines to choose from, as well as an excellent selection of local beers to pair with your cheese fondue. 
    In addition to the classic favorites, seasonal cheese fondues, salads and chocolate fondues provide more variety from visit to visit. 
    Girls’ Night Out on the first and third Monday of each month is one of our more popular events. In addition to drink specials, we offer a four-course dinner for just $30.
    Owners Kevin and Julie Mason, who first worked at The Melting Pot in Arlington, Virginia, are excited to be starting our 16th year serving Anne Arundel County and to be participating in Annapolis Restaurant Week.
    Annapolis Restaurant Week, from February 25-March 3, is a great way to try out what we do while knowing what you will spend.
 
The Melting Pot
2348 Solomons Island Rd., Annapolis; 410-266-8004; www.meltingpot.com/Annapolis
Dinner nightly 5-10pm

Mi Pueblo II

At Mi Pueblo, we say mi casa es tu casa. We are a family-run, independent restaurant offering the most delicious and authentic Mexican dishes in the area with stunning traditional décor and a contemporary atmosphere.
    We offer a great place to meet, eat and socialize for lunch or dinner. You will appreciate all the handmade art and details that make our restaurant a beautiful piece of Mexico in Severna Park.
    Enjoy drinks with mangos and papayas plus many favorites of Mexican cuisine. Try the nachos supreme, fresh guacamole or queso dip, fajitas, grilled shrimp and veggies, quesadillas, pollo poblano, chile Coloardo, and finish off your meal with dessert of tres leches or flan.
    Or come in for margaritas and mixed drinks with appetizers.
    We hope to see you soon, amigos!
 
Mi Pueblo II
554-A Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-4101; www.mipueblo2.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Old Stein Inn

A destination since 1982, the new Old Stein Inn draws lovers of Gemütlichkeit from far and wide to the Mayo peninsula. You don’t have to be able to pronounce Gemütlichkeit to love its components: good beer and wine, good food in the German style, good fellowship and good times. But if you can’t, Mike Selinger — son of founders Karl and Ursula — will teach you how to say the word that’s at the root of all you enjoy at The Old Stein.
    Renovated in 2011 after a New Year’s Eve fire, the new Old Stein is a contemporary American fusion of a German lodge and bierstube. Inside, you feel cozy camaraderie. Outside, the Biergarten Bier Bär — heated and covered — brings excitement in winter and rustic charm in summer.
    Friday and Saturday, musicians add to the sense you’ve come someplace special. Some nights feature locals; others traditional German musicians, instruments and flair. 
    Food is, of course, the main attraction. You’ll be eating German cuisine in classic and modern variations, including The Old Stein’s legendary German take on crab soup. A variety of wursts, schnitzels and named specialties including Sauerbraten, Kassler Rippchen or smoked pork chops and Münchner Schweinhaxe, an ample pork shank. Wild game — duck, elk, quail and rabbit — is featured on the winter menu. Many dishes are served as either small or large plates.
    Vegetarians fare surprisingly well in this modern German inn, with salads, potato pancakes and spätzle, braised red cabbage and specialty dishes such as gemüse spätzle with steamed fresh vegetables. Fish is also on this menu. 
    Kids love lots at The Old Stein, including German pretzels, fries and pickles, dill or fried. 
    Drink is part of The Old Stein experience, with 10 craft beers on tap and a library of bottled beers. German wine deserves the reputation it has earned among oenophiles. 
    For weekend live entertainment and the latest news, check The Old Stein Facebook page and website.
 
Old Stein Inn
1143 Central Ave., Edgewater; 410-798-6807; ­www.oldstein-inn.com
Dinner Wed.-Sun. plus Sun. lunch

Petie Greens

”Petie’s strives to be the local place customers can count on for high-end ingredients and consistent quality,” says owner and executive chef Justin Chaney. “We only source local when in season and order higher quality meats for a better tasting dish, including USDA prime beef. We specialize in craft beers which you can’t find in other local spots and a small selection of gorgeous wines.” 
    “We have kept our menu small so that we can focus on fresh and in-season seafood and specialty dishes. I am particularly proud of the variety of dishes with favorites including homemade rockfish bites, succulent turkey legs and fresh roasted chickens, bacon-wrapped scallops, BBQ fried oysters and Boom Boom shrimp,” Chaney says.
    Specials change daily and are featured on the locally famous Daily Specials board.
    Chaney has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years. He started out as a busboy at a locally popular seafood restaurant, Stoney’s, and eventually found his way into managing the kitchen as head chef. He then pursued his passion for business, graduating from Salisbury University with a Business Administration degree.
    Now Chaney uses his experience and love of high quality food and meticulous ingredients to delight you at his own restaurant.
    Petie Greens’ slogan is All’s Good, and the mission is to provide an enjoyable, relaxing atmosphere for local residents to savor consistent, high-quality food that is local to the region.
    “We’re a staple in the community, supporting local talent, residents and all age groups, with a focus on the local area and regulars who live and work in the community.”
    Satisfied customers responded with Best of the Bay awards for New Bar and Best Bang for Your Buck.
    Petie Greens features daily specials, live music weekly, full bar with happy hour 3-6pm (half priced menu items) and outdoor dining in season. 
 
Petie Greens
6103 Drum Point Rd., Deale; 410-867-1488; www.petiegreens.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Pirates Cove

Classic Chesapeake hospitality comes in several styles at Pirates Cove, a waterfront tradition on the West River for decades. In every style, says co-owner Anthony Clarke, “Pirates Cove puts forward an honest commitment to welcome our community with our comfortable ambiance and a friendly service team.”
    For casually upscale dining, remodeling has opened broad vistas on the riverfront throughout the restaurant. With beautiful sunny water views, and the addition of great food from Chef Steve Hardison, Pirates Cove has a lot to offer new guests for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends. The improvement of the banquet rooms has enabled guests to plan for family events such as wedding rehearsals, dinner parties, retirements and community events. 
    Chef Steve’s unique interpretation of local food has produced a seasonal menu of traditional South County favorites with original creations. Included are bluefish, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, fresh oysters, rockfish and special rare delicacies like Alaskan halibut cheeks, blowfish and shad roe. Shrimp Louie salad or roasted beet salad with homemade dressings are likewise healthy and different.
    A relaxed style of hospitality is served at the bar, as welcoming a spot as you’ll find in Chesapeake country. Special offerings are piratical brews, including the famous Pirates Punch, and a wide selection of rums. Enjoy happy hour in the bar weekdays from 3 to 7pm. Arriving early in the bar or main dining room is essential this time of year to get a seat beside one of our two fireplaces. Nothing like the ambiance of a stone fireplace, maybe some Cream of Crab soup (60-year-old recipe) or a hot buttered rum to help you feel warm, comfortable and relaxed.
    All year long, local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights make you want to linger. If you do, you can stay in Pirates Inn — the only lodging for miles — or in your own boat, at Pirates Marina.
 
Pirates Cove Restaurant, Inn & Dock Bar
4817 Riverside Dr., Galesville; 410-867-2300; www.piratescovemd.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch

Plaza Mexico

Plaza Mexico does double duty.
    In North Beach, it’s a favorite neighborhood hangout. For northern Calvert and southern Anne Arundel counties, it’s the best — and only — Mexican restaurant for 12 miles to the south and 24 to the north. 
    It’s got the looks for both jobs. Its central location, big windows on a walkable town, generous dining room and long, popular bar with side tables and televisions draw in locals and the Bayfront town’s many visitors. Touches of Mexico, as well as the menu, earn it its name.
    “The original Plaza Mexico is a famous shopping area in the heart of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico,” says owner Benny Ayala. “We try to bring some flair from Mexico, so our customers enjoy it.”
    As well as the flair, Ayala brings his hometown food to Chesapeake Country. Beyond the traditional tacos, burritos and quesadillas, less familiar dishes such as fajitas and chori-pollo translate seamlessly to American tastes. Guacamole made at the table should start your meal because it’s so good. Mexican beer and margaritas make tasty additions. 
    As the weather warms up, you can enjoy it all outdoors on Plaza Mexico’s large patio.
 
Plaza Mexico
9200 Bay Ave., North Beach; 443-964-6381; ­www.PlazaMexicoMaryland.com
Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.

Rocco’s Pizzeria

Rocco’s Pizzeria is the pizza of choice in Annapolis since 1974. Awards hang in double layers on the wall for display. The Gargano family has owned and operated Rocco’s from the beginning. 
    Walk in and you will be overcome by the aroma of a New York style pizzeria. Customers keep coming back for the fresh-out-of-the oven experience. This local restaurant prides itself on being the place where everyone knows your name and your pizza. What else would you expect after 44 years? 
    It goes without saying that you should order pizza: thin-crusted New York style or the thick-crusted Sicilian. Roccos Pizzeria is all fresh. The dough and sauces are made daily using the family’s own recipes as well as shredding the whole-milk mozzarella. Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!
 
Rocco’s Pizzeria
954 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis; 410-263-9444; www.roccospizzashop.com
Lunch, dinner, carryout and delivery daily

Rogue Pierogies

Pierogies are Eastern Europe’s version of the stuffed dumpling, a food so comforting that many nations have their distinctive varieties, from kreplach to ravioli to samosa to wontons. 
    The small pockets of dough known as pierogies are traditionally stuffed with potatoes, cheese and onions. Though rooted in that tradition, Rogue Pierogies owner Krista Sermon, of Annapolis, is an innovator. Her current list stretches to 15 varieties, from ethnic variations like Kaczenskys, Gandolfinis and two curries to American favorites like Reubens and Buffalo chicken and blue cheese.
    Each little dumpling is handmade from local, fresh ingredients from Maryland farmers and without preservatives or artificial flavors.
Fully cooked and frozen, they are quick and easy to prepare.
    Find Rogue Pierogies at Anne Arundel County Winter Farmers Market (Sundays 10am-1pm), the Kent Island Farmers Market (Thursdays 3:30-6:30pm), Graul’s Markets in Annapolis and Cape St. Claire and Green Valley Marketplace in Arnold. You can also order online. Best of all, buy where they’re made: 1825 George Ave., Suite 1, Annapolis.
 
Rogue Pierogies
1825 George Ave., Suite 1, Annapolis; 410-858-7088; www.roguepierogies.com

Sam’s on the Waterfront

”Everything we serve is made fresh in our kitchen,” says Sam’s owner Andrew Parks.
    Sam’s on the Waterfront is the kind of place that is worth the drive, though the residents of Chesapeake Harbour, the gated marina community where Sam’s makes its home, don’t need to. You can also pull your boat right up to their dock bar and dine there. 
    It’s a scenic destination: cottage-lighthouse-styled with waterfront views wrapping three-quarters around for great views all seasons. You’ll also find cozy corners.

    Food is New American. Expect regional favorites made with local ingredients and inventively re-imagined in dishes that look as good as they taste.
    Parks opened Sam’s — named for his grandfather and daughter — to “bring diversity and creativity to the Annapolis food scene.”

    He recommends a couple of light dishes: Sam’s Famous lobster mac and cheese, award-winning burger or wings or Sam’s seafood pasta with jumbo shrimp, blue bay mussels and sea scallops served over linguini with tomato, spinach and Old Bay in Sam’s house cream sauce.

    Sam’s diverse wine list and liquor are as carefully chosen as the food.

    Nightly specials give you happy hour 3-7pm Tuesdays through Fridays. Local musicians entertain every Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7pm so you don’t have to wait till 10pm to hear great live local music.
    Find daily news, including specials, events like Oyster Fest, Party Gras, Full Moon parties and live entertainment, on the active Sam’s Waterfront Facebook page.
 
Sam’s on the Waterfront
2020 Chesapeake Harbour Dr. East, Annapolis; 
410-263-3600; www.samsonthewaterfront.com
Dinner Tues.-Sun., lunch Tues.-Sat., brunch Sun.

Thai Paradise 

Health, flavor and speed are the unbeatable combination you get from Thai Paradise. Now in its second year, the Severna Park carryout may be the authentic Thai source you’ve been seeking.
    “Variety and complexity best describe the dishes at Thai Paradise. We emphasize lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge,” says Nathan Thiesse, the lucky husband of owner and chef Tanida Thiesse. “We cook like we eat at home.”
    Specialties include Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles and Pad Ga Prow, a stir fry with meat or tofu, basil, bell pepper, Thai chiles and garlic.
    Som Tom is a papaya salad combining green papaya with tomato, Thai chili, garlic peanuts and dressing; it is spicy.
    Most curry items are spicy, but not all. Massaman Curry is like a delicate stew combining potatoes, peanuts and meat or seafood.
    Accomplished Thai chef Tanida Thiesse, who hails from Surin Province, brings to Severna Park the traditional dishes she ate growing up. She uses only dry ingredients imported from Thailand plus the freshest meat, seafood and vegetables. All dishes are made fresh from scratch. Every soup and entrée is cooked fresh to order, using the healthiest natural ingredients. 
    Order online at www.thaiparadisemd.com or call 410-544-7622 for speedy carryout or delivery. 
 
Thai Paradise
57 W. McKinsey Rd., Severna Park; 410-544-7622; www.thaiparadisemd.com
Lunch and dinner, Mon.-Sat.

Thursday’s Bar & Grill

Thursday’s Bar & Grill — a sports bar with 12 TVs, the NFL Ticket and a great happy hour — calls to you as you work your way home, when you want to relax and when there’s a big game. 
    That’s not its only call. 
    Thursday’s Bar & Grill calls you for its $10 lunch menu weekdays 11am to 3pm. “That’s a deal,” says general manager Mitch LeFevre. 
    Evenings and weekends call the family for good casual eating in the dining room.
    Much of the menu is homemade. Burgers are one-half pound fresh, never frozen, beef. Oysters and crabs — including steamed — are always local when in season. Fresh oysters are now in season. Thursday’s best-selling wings are fried in-house and repeatedly voted Best of the Bay by Bay Weekly readers.
 
Thursday’s Bar & Grill
1751 Horace Ward Rd., Owings; 410-286-8695
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. breakfast

Thursday’s Steak & Crab House

Atop an authentic decommissioned steamboat landing, Thursday’s Steak & Crab House offers casual destination dining. Because it’s at the end of the road in Galesville, you won’t find it unless you’re looking for it — or lucky. In summer, it’s a favorite destination by boat as well as by car, cycle or foot. Whatever the season you can’t beat the views — because you’re on top of the water.
    With that location, you’d guess correctly that Chesapeake delicacies top Thursday’s menu. Here fresh, local ingredients mean local oysters in winter and fresh rockfish whenever available. In season, crabs are dropped off at the dock daily. Order them steamed, soft-shell or in gluten-free crabcakes made with only Chesapeake Bay crabmeat and no filler or bread. Ask at other restaurants where your crab comes from, and you’ll see what a rarity this is. 
    This time of year, crab lovers can switch to snow crab legs. Steamed shrimp with a house blend of seasonings are always popular, as is Thursday’s Orange Crush. 
    Come summer, remember Thursday’s tiki bar, 25 boat slips and two dinghy docks. You’ll love it outside, and so will your dog. Thursday’s is so dog friendly that there’s even a doggie menu.
    About the name?
    “We’re where the weekend starts on Thursdays,” says general manager Monique Morgan.
 
Thursday’s Steak & Crab House
4851 Riverside Dr. Galesville; 410-867-7200
Lunch and dinner daily

The Ugly Pig

I really wanted a good ham sandwich — and my pickles are something, says George Williams, owner and operator of the The Ugly Pig. 
     We are mostly a carryout delicatessen, with a few seats outside and a few seats inside. We specialize in charcuterie, and we make everything we sell, from peanut butter to prosciutto, mayonnaise to miso. 
    The Ugly Pig is also a small market where you can pick up eggs, bacon, cuts from the wonderfully raised vaccine-free pigs I use at the store or any of our specialty house-made products to be even more tremendous cooks at home. We also do catering, and we also sell whole pigs.
    I created The Pig because I wanted to be a part of the national conversation about food that is happening right now. I think many of the foods I serve are being lost to modernity in some way or have a carbon footprint that is unnecessarily large. I think the money we spend on food and how we spend it is a way to be politically vocal. As a witness to the growth of the locavore movement, I’ve felt charcuterie was an under-produced niche to which I felt I had something to contribute.
    We source everything we can locally, and we deal face to face with our farmers.
     Because we make everything on the menu, we know for sure things like allergen information and dietary information in a very thorough way. We do not use high fructose corn syrup or any products with high fructose corn syrup. We do not use butter. We do not have a deep fryer. We do not have a microwave. We really like our ingredients and our farmers and want to do them justice. Our prepared dishes have layers of our ingredients — and a lot of effort. 
    Most of the food I sell is drawn from personal travel experiences. So every dish is a signature dish. 
    Flagship products include dry-cured bacon, honey peanut butter, chicken salad, split pea soup, vinegars we ferment to make mustards and all sorts of stuff, bone broth, sandwiches, Italian sausage, fermented foods like sauerkraut, celery and gochujiang, dinner dishes and so much more.
    We happily take orders over the phone. Because we source so much of our food from local farmers, our menu changes every week. For phone orders and for planning, I post the weekly menu on our Facebook page. There you can find everything from the day’s sandwich or dinner offerings to what charcuterie or pickled product is available. 
    Wondering about our name? It is drawn from song lyrics. Our logo, drawn by a local Annapolis High School student, is also inspired by the song’s lyrics.
    As the song goes, a pig offers the protagonist an adventure that is foreign, at times terrifying, but in the end very gratifying. I can’t say more. You’ll have to come in.
 
The Ugly Pig 
1841 St. Margaret’s Rd., Annapolis; 410-571-3060; www.facebook.com/TheUglyPigAnnapolis
Lunch & dinner Tues.-Sun.

Umai Sushi House

Good sushi is where you find it.
    Give yourself the surprise of finding very good sushi in a four-store shopping corner in Deale. If it were summer, you’d get a hint of good to come in the container garden that makes the parking lot a vibrant oasis. In the dead of winter, you enter on hope. Or perhaps you long for a steaming bowl of hot chicken soup.
    Step inside. Behind the sushi bar, the chef slices thin slivers of very fresh fish. Owner Chang Park, your likely waitress, greets you like a long-lost relation. Her warmth makes the 34-seat café hospitable. Much of Umai’s business is carry out, but with a pot of tea, a carafe of saki, a beer or a glass of wine, you may find yourself lingering at a table.
    For good reason. Umai’s authentic Korean dishes you won’t find the likes of for many miles. Less rare nowadays, the Japanese side of Umai’s menu compares favorably with trendier competitors in Annapolis and D.C.
 
Umai Sushi House
657 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-4433
Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.
 
 
 
 

from John Shields’  Chesapeake Bay Cooking

     “I traveled around the world in search of fine cuisine only to learn that some of the finest eating to be found was in my Chesapeake homeland,” writes John Shields. As author of Chesapeake Bay Cooking, host of the PBS show Coastal Cooking with John Shields and proprietor of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Shields has introduced the world to his native cuisine. 
     To those who ask what exactly is Chesapeake Bay cooking, Shields replies with this litany: the sweet meat of blue crabs, briny Chincoteague oysters and pan-fried rockfish … homemade country sausages and salty, smoked Smithfield hams, crisp fried chicken and roasted wild goose … freshly picked silver Queen corn and vine-ripened tomatoes … pies filled to nearly overflowing with fresh peaches, apples, blackberries or strawberries laced with simmered rhubarb. 
     Season by season, those delicacies shift. For this year’s Thanksgiving feast, Shields shares his favorite seasonal recipes, with oysters replacing crab and black walnuts instead of berries filling pies.
 
The Main Course
      Turkey? Use your favorite recipe. Add the flavor of the Chesapeake to your dressing. Shields offers two distinctive recipes.
 
Oyster Dressing
     The flavor of Chesapeake oysters imparts a subtle seafood tang to the dressing, complementing the succulent meat of the roast turkey.
     Mace, Shields notes, is made from the ground outer covering of the nutmeg seed and has traditionally been used in Chesapeake cooking to season everything from seafood, stews, meats, poultry and game to desserts. In 18th century Chesapeake cookery, before mace was sold ground, recipes for seafood soups or stews called for a blade of mace, which referred to a single strand. 
 
½ pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
7 cups day-old bread cubes
2½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black popper
¼ teaspoon ground mace
1 pint oysters, drained, liquor reserved and coarsely chopped
½ to 1 cup milk as needed 
      Melt butter in skillet and sauté onion and celery until soft. Combine in bowl with remaining dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour in oyster liquor, then slowly add enough milk to moisten stuffing. Do not make it too wet. Makes 10 cups.
     Stuff turkey loosely with dressing, or bake separately in a buttered pan the last hour of turkey roasting. 
 
Cornbread Stuffing
½ pound (2 sticks) butter, or use part or all bacon drippings 
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1¼ cup cooked corn kernels
7 cups cornbread pieces
3 eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ to 1 cup milk as needed 
      Melt butter in skillet and sauté onion and celery until soft. Combine in bowl with remaining ingredients. Mix well, using only enough milk to lightly moisten. Makes 10 cups.
     Stuff turkey loosely with dressing, or bake separately in a buttered pan the last hour of turkey roasting. 
 
Roast Goose
Goose is the bird of Chesapeake Bay. Invite a hunter to bring a goose to the feast; or buy a farm-raised one. Shields offers advice as well as a recipe for adding goose to your Thanksgiving feast.
     When approaching a wild goose with the intent of cooking it, it’s a good idea to check its credentials, such as age. Senior birds are best stewed or braised, while younger ones are better for roasting. If a goose weighs more than five pounds and was bagged in the fall, it is most likely an older bird. 
     A farm-raised goose has a sweeter, less gamey flavor but requires a slightly longer cooking time, (about 20 minutes per pound) since it is not as lean as a wild bird.
     Traditional apple-chestnut stuffing is perfect for accentuating the dark, succulent meat.
 
1 goose (4 to 5 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, halved
Apple-Chestnut Stuffing (recipe below)
4 tablespoons flour
 
     Preheat oven to 400 degrees
     Wash the cavity of the bird with cold water; dry with paper towels. Sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper. Rub goose with the onion. Fill the ­cavity with stuffing and truss the bird. Place on rack in a shallow roasting pan. 
     Reduce heat to 365 degrees and cook for 2 hours, basting frequently. For the first hour, place an aluminum foil tent over the goose, roasting without the tent for the second hour.
     Remove goose to heated platter and keep warm. Pour pan juices into a pitcher and degrease, reserving about 3 tablespoons of fat. Heat fat in saucepan and whisk in flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of pan juices, adding water or chicken stock to supplement, and whisk over medium heat until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carve the goose and serve with stuffing and pan gravy.
 
Apple-Chestnut Stuffing
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups peeled and sliced apples 
2 cups corn bread cubes
1 cup chestnut pieces (see note)
2 tablespoons dried sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 egg, beaten
½ milk or water, as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
     Melt butter in a small skillet and sauté onion and celery until soft. Mix together apples, bread cubes, chestnuts, sage and thyme in a bowl. Add sautéed vegetables and egg. Toss well. Sprinkle in as much milk as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper
     Whole peeled chestnuts can be bought in jars. Or buy fresh chestnuts. To shell, cut an X on the flat side of each nut and roast on a pan in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Remove and, when cool enough to handle, peel away the outer shell and fuzzy membrane.
 
Side Dishes
Kent County Corn Pudding
     Corn was manna for both Indians and colonists. If you’re not serving cornbread dressing, add this delicacy to your Chesapeake Thanksgiving, substituting frozen for fresh summer corn.
 
2 cups corn kernels 
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon grated onion
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1¼ cups milk
1 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 1-quart baking dish.
     Combine all ingredients and blend to coarsely chop corn. Pour into baking dish.
    Bake about 50 minutes or until set. Serve immediately.
 
Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
      If your family, like Shields’, demands sweet sweet potatoes for this traditional feast, use this recipe and advise skeptics that it’s Chesapeake authentic as cooked by John Shields.
 
6 large sweet potatoes
¾ cup (firmly packed) brown sugar
½ cup water
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter
¼ cup maple syrup
Grated zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
½ cup chopped black or English walnuts
 
     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
     Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and boil until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain, peel, quarter and spread in baking dish.
     Combine brown sugar, water, butter, syrup, orange zest and juice in heavy-bottomed pan. Stir to dissolve sugar, bring to boil and cook to syrup, about 5 minutes. Pour over sweet potatoes and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cover tightly with foil.
     Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more. Remove and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
 
Dessert
Black Walnut Pie
     The black walnut is the most prevalent nut tree growing in Chesapeake Country. This pie is a mildly bitter version of Southern-style pecan pie.
 
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup black walnut pieces
Sweetened whipped cream for accompaniment
 
     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    Cream together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt, corn syrup and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in black walnuts. Pour into pre-baked pie shell (see recipe below).
     Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 40 to 45 minutes more, or until set. Remove from oven and cool on rack.
     Serve warm or cold, topped with whipped cream.
 
Pastry Dough for a Single-Crust 9" Pie
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening or lard
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water 
 
     Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Work shortening into flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture is the consistence of a coarse meal. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with a fork after each addition.      Dough should not be wet but just moist enough to hold together. Form into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 to 30 minutes before rolling.
     Line pie pan with dough, flute edge and prick bottom. Press aluminum foil into bottom and along side edges and fill with pie weights (raw rice or uncooked beans will also work). Bake 8 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove foil, and bake another five minutes. Cool. Add filling, and let sit until firm.

Chesapeake oysters and rockfish

The way to anyone’s heart on Valentine’s Day is through their stomach. That means seafood in our neck of the woods.
    The recreational season for rockfish is closed, but the commercial season is in full swing. Caught in the cold winter waters of the Chesapeake, these stripers will be extra fresh and tasty. Purchase one generous fillet for each guest. The flesh should be firm, never slimy, and have a pleasing smell with a slight sweet edge.
    My favorite appetizers are oysters, well chilled and on the half-shell. A dozen oysters will do for two people.
    Rinse the oysters well and scrub them with a stiff brush; otherwise some of the grit may get transferred onto the meat. Opening an oyster is easier than it looks, and you don’t need specialized equipment. I often use just a flathead screwdriver and a stout glove for my left hand as I am a righty. With a gloved hand, hold the oyster firmly against a wooden or similar non-slip surface with the domed side down and insert the screwdriver or oyster-shucking knife. Dig it into the hinge and give it a good firm twist until the muscles that hold it closed are separated.
    Next insert a slim, sharp blade or the oyster knife between the two shells. First, angle the blade up against the flatter side of the oyster to cut through the muscle holding the meat to that part of the shell. Then remove the top shell and do the same to the lower half. Be careful not to spill any of the oyster liquor. Carefully place the half-shell on a plate covered in crushed ice.
    Inspect the oyster for bits of shell or debris and carefully pick out any you find. Never rinse an opened oyster, as this washes away the flavor. Put a half-dozen on a plate and cover with plastic wrap if you’re not serving them immediately. Lemon and Tabasco are my favorite condiments, though many like a simple horseradish or cocktail sauce.
    Rockfish can be quickly and reliably rendered with a type of pan broil. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Slather the fish in olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and ground pepper. Place the fillets in a hot, heavy skillet — cast iron is ideal — and quickly brown on one side. Then turn, adding more oil if necessary. After about a minute transfer the pan to the oven for about 15 minutes. The fillets are done when they flake firmly.
    Just before serving, anoint the fillets with melted lemon butter; then dust with paprika and chopped fresh dill. Large steamed carrots served in four to five inch sections are especially good this time of year. Cooking them in large pieces preserves just an extra bit of the sweet, earthy flavor.
    Yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes diced, steamed until they’ve just become tender (about 10 minutes) and sprinkled with parsley are also an excellent side dish, as is steamed, fresh spinach, drained well and anointed with a bit of mustard vinaigrette.
    For desert, try my quick Cherries Jubilee recipe that has pleased friends and family over the years. Place shallow bowls with generous ice cream servings in the freezer before dinner to make things quicker. After everyone has eaten and the plates have been cleared, open a can of cherry pie filling. You may want to conceal the can to maintain a bit of mystery.
    In a shallow saucepan, melt two tablespoons of butter; add most of the pie filling. Gently stir until combined, then add in the contents of a mini bottle of cognac or brandy (one and a half ounces) and mix again. Serve the bowls of ice cream, then pour more of the liquor over the cherries and carefully light on fire. Pause for effect before ladling out the still burning mixture over each ice cream. Bon appetite!

Sesame Peanut Butter Noodle Salad

Use kid-favorite peanut butter to upgrade packaged ramen to a cold noodle salad packed full of flavor and great grains, nuts and vegetables.

For the Sesame Peanut Butter Sauce

1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons tasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
2 tablespoons tamari
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar

 

For the Noodle Salad

4 ounces gluten-free soba noodles
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 cucumber
1 carrot
4 green onions
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
¼ cup shelled, unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 

    In a food processor, combine garlic, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger, lime juice, tamari, sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Process until well combined.
    Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a large bowl, toss with olive oil to prevent sticking.
    Thinly slice or julienne bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, and green onion. Roughly chop the cilantro, if used, including its soft stems.
    Add bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, green onions, peanuts, cilantro, then peanut sauce to noodles and toss to combine.
    Divide into 4 servings. Individual portions can be frozen; defrost overnight.

Keep it simple to start

The thrill of catching a trophy rockfish leads to a second act in the kitchen and a third at the table, for rockfish are very good to eat.
    It’s high season here in the heart of rockfish country, where Maryland recreational and commercial anglers catch more than four million pounds each season.
    Having made my own share of that catch, I have experimented with any number of approaches and made a couple of basic discoveries on how to prepare this delicious fish.
    First and foremost: Don’t overdo it. Complex recipes with multiple ingredients, flavors and cooking sequences will generally overwhelm the succulent flavor of the fish.
    My standard strategy is to keep it simple.
    Starting with a fillet or two, blot the fish dry, coat lightly with a good olive oil and add a generous amount of salt and pepper, fresh-chopped dill and a dusting of paprika.
    Put fillets under the broiler in a shallow pan as close to the heating element as you can for 10 to 15 minutes or until the fish is browned on top and flakes firmly.
    Vary this dish by adding a simple sauce. The basic is tartar sauce, served on the side. Never use a ready-made variety. It is too easy to make your own, and it is invariably better.
    Chop small a half-dozen cornichon pickles and a heaping teaspoon of capers, if you like. Mix with two or three heaping tablespoons of an olive oil-based mayonnaise (Hellman’s is my favorite) and add a good squeeze of lemon to taste. You’ll never do it any other way.
    For a special occasion or guests, make a quick Hollandaise sauce. Put two egg yolks, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a good pinch of cayenne pepper into a glass bowl and whisk them well. Just before serving, melt a stick of butter in a saucepan until it just starts to brown. Slowly add it to the egg yolks while constantly stirring until the sauce is well mixed, smooth and frothy.
    Pour the Hollandaise over your fillets with a few capers sprinkled about for a great presentation. Or serve the sauce on the side in a warm gravy boat, so that your guests can decide how much to use.
    If your true love is fried fish and you’ll never be satisfied with it prepared any other way, I recommend the following method.
    Mix well an egg, a tablespoon flour and just enough beer or cold soda water to make a medium-thick slurry. Spread over a large dinner plate a generous amount of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs). Rinse and dry the fillets well, then dip them in the slurry, coating them thoroughly. Next, place them in the Panko, pressing down firmly to completely cover with crumbs. Refrigerate for an hour or more in advance of preparing the meal.
    In a large, heavy skillet pour in about half an inch of peanut oil (corn oil will do almost as well) and heat to about 400 degrees or just before it begins to smoke. Ease in each fillet and turn when the first side is golden brown. Remove when both sides are crispy, and serve immediately with a side of the tartar sauce described earlier or a spicy hot sauce such as Texas Pete’s or Cholula.
    Side dishes can be almost anything. I recommend fresh asparagus, now in season, fresh sliced tomatoes in their time or diced and steamed new potatoes with butter and parsley. A chilled Pinot Grigio goes great with the broiled fish; Rockfish Pale Ale goes especially well with the fried variety.

Fish, fowl, venison — and winter greens

Eating wild is a priority at my family’s table. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, we feature treats we’ve harvested from the wild. Following are a few favorites.

Appetizers

Rockfish Ceviche

Two rockfish fillets or other firm, white fish (about 1.5 lbs.), sliced into pieces approximately
½ x 2 inches
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil.
1½ large sweet onions, cut in half lengthwise, then very thinly sliced
2 to 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 to 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
4 lemons
4 limes

    Put fish in glass. Add all ingredients, then gently mix. Add freshly squeezed juice of lemon and lime to cover the ingredients in the bowl. Gently mix again so that all pieces are exposed to the juices. Cover and refrigerate at least five hours, better yet, overnight.
    Taste and adjust spices. Serve drained on a bed of lettuce with a garnish of thinly chopped spring onions plus a side of French or artisan bread or your favorite crackers.

Broiled Breast of Dove

    Wrap each dove breast in a piece of thick-cut, smoke-cured bacon. Broil in oven, turning once.
    Remove when bacon begins to crisp. Serve with a dusting of paprika.

Entrées

Waterfowl Medallions

    Fillet breast meat from a goose or duck and, slicing against the grain, cut into medallion-sized pieces abou three-quarters-inch thick. Marinate overnight in olive oil, rosemary, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
    Drop pieces individually onto a hot cast-iron skillet and quickly brown both sides. Remove and store in a shallow bowl in warm oven.
    Deglaze the skillet with one-half stick butter and one-quarter cup brandy. Drizzle over the browned medallions. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Venison Tenderloin

    Cut a 12- to 18-inch section of venison tenderloin, rub with coarse-grained salt and puncture thoroughly with a fork. Marinate overnight in olive oil, chopped basil and generous amounts of minced garlic and fresh-ground black pepper.
    Prepare grill and scatter wet mesquite chips over charcoal (if using a gas grill, wrap wet wood chips in foil and puntcure several times with a fork). Cook covered but with vents open. Turn once. Remove when internal temperature of the roast reaches 120 degrees. Cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes.
    Melt one stick butter, add a good squeeze of fresh lemon, stir and drizzle over sliced tenderloin. Serve garnished with pickled green peppercorns and a dusting of paprika.

Collard Greens

    Rinse, stem and chop two pounds of greens. Combine in saucepan two bottles of beer, two tablespoons olive oil, one-half cup chopped country ham and salt and pepper. Add greens and simmer until tender.
    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Bon Appetit!

Buying local? Try vinegar lulled for five months in a skipjack’s hull

     The taste of place is about the best translation English can give to the French word terroir. The idea comes from the vineyards of France, so it doesn’t have to jump far into the vinegar barrel.
    Still, it’s a bit of a leap into the hold of the skipjack Rosie Parks, a ­vintage Eastern Shore oyster boat.
    Rosie Parks was built in 1955 by legendary boat builder Bronza Parks of Dorchester County for his brother, Captain Orville Parks, and named for their mother. Her hold was framed to contain oysters, not vinegar. But in 1975 she changed careers to sailing ambassador for Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and the Bay’s dwindling skipjack fleet. In 39 years, she’s taught many a lesson of maritime terroir. But imparting the terroir of boat and Bay to a barrel of Italian vinegar is a brand new assignment.
    “The Rosie Parks has such rich history on the Chesapeake,” says Bill Acosta, owner of Olivins Aged and Infused Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars Tasting Shop in St. Michael’s, home of the museum and its historic skipjack. “We wanted to create a special balsamic vinegar that gives people a real sense of place, with an exceptional taste and to support the museum in a meaningful way.”
    To create a special vinegar with a real sense of place, on July 10 a five-gallon barrel of Balsamic Modena was loaded into the skipjack’s hull. There it will remain for the next five months, its aging accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat at its dock along the Miles River. And, this year, the not-so-gentle motion as Rosie Parks joins her kind for races in Deal Island on Memorial Day and Cambridge in September.

    “Aging barrels aboard boats started out in history as a necessity, as most trade occurred over waterways,” explains museum chief curator Pete Lesher. “A boat’s movement can speed up the process of aging, whether it’s spirits, vinegar, or another liquid. We’re very excited to taste the results of these efforts.”
    The wooden barrel is made of toasted oak, which will flavor the vinegar. “Even the temperature changes aboard Rosie Parks will influence the taste of this special blend,” said Acosta. “The barrel expands and contracts as the temperatures rise and fall, infusing the vinegar with undertones of toasted oak.”
    Rosie Parks Balsamic Vinegar should be ready for sale the day after Thanksgiving. The 60 six-ounce bottles will, Acosta says, “be antique and nautical looking, labeled with local artist Amy Ostrow’s painting of the Rosie Parks sails up at sunset.” Acosta expects each to be priced at $20 to $25 and sold at his St. Michael’s shop. A portion of each sale goes to the museum.

Wild Orchid chef takes over Sam’s kitchen

It’s a new year. With the flip of a calendar comes a chance to renew, refresh and remodel.
    In Annapolis, the new year offers opportunity for two local restaurateurs to help each other.
    Andrew Parks, owner of Sam’s on the Waterfront, has announced his new executive chef, Jim Wilder. Chef Wilder recently closed his Westgate Circle restaurant Wild Orchid after a difficult three-year tenure.
    Timing is everything, so hopes Parks, who has struggled to consistently employ an executive chef in the eight years he has owned the waterfront restaurant built in 1986 by his grandfather, the original Sam.
    Each man endeavors to bring the best of his farm-to-table vision in this new marriage of culinary talents. Each restaurant has — or has had — the green restaurant certification.
    At Sam’s, Parks takes the front-of-house role with Wilder running the kitchen.
    In the past, Wilder has worked both ends of the operation, with 13 years at the helm of his highly regarded Eastport Wild Orchid his pinnacle, to the head-scratching move to the behemoth at the Severn Bank Building — a move that would be his undoing.
    Few understood Wilder’s decision to sell the warm and comfortable 40-seat Eastport café in 2010 and move to the 250-seat former Greystone Grill on the other side of town.
    That decision “was not based on sound business models. I had to keep my mind occupied,” Wilder said, after the untimely death of his and wife Karen’s son, Andrew Wall, from brain cancer in 2009. “It was the bottom. And I deal with depression by keeping busy. Depression drove me.”
    Building a dream kitchen provided a needed distraction from grief. It also afforded access and opportunity to expand Wilder’s Company’s Coming catering business, along with a large floor plan that offered him ideal accessibility for his wheelchair.
    The dream was not meant to be. The restaurant closed in July 2013.
    Parks has his own challenges keeping Sam’s profitable and relevant. Hidden within the gated Chesapeake Harbour Marina community, the restaurant is difficult to find. Warm weather brings boaters out and swells the population of Chesapeake Harbour, where many residents are summer only. Still, Parks estimates that 80 percent of his business comes from outside the community. Getting diners in the door is an ongoing pursuit. Parks hopes hiring a well-known chef will do the trick.
    Chef Wilder brings his most popular dishes to the menu. Butternut squash soup with crab, scallops Napoleon and pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon join Sam’s favorites: lobster mac ’n’ cheese, rockfish and Kobe burgers (half-price on Tuesday).
    The transition has been subtle thus far, though Parks is enthusiastic about a new winter menu and many collaborative surprises to come.

Got a tasty tip for a future’s Dish? Email Lisa Knoll at thedish@bayweekly.com.
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