view counter

Food and Drink (All)

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.

I demand a recount!

If my wife had been watching me read the paper that day in late December, she might have been puzzled by the rapidly changing emotions on my face, changing in an instant from a smile to confusion to displeasure. I was reading Bay Weekly’s Best of the Bay edition, hoping to find some local treasure that somehow had missed my radar....

Whole Foods’ confectioners compete to become Top Cake

Cutthroat Kitchen, Cupcake Wars and Top Chef: We’ve grown to love televised cooking competitions.
    Whole Foods Market’s Top Cake competition skipped television for an on-location reality show. To crown the Mid-Atlantic Region’s best cake decorator, Whole Foods invited real people to its Annapolis store to taste and admire. If you showed up early enough, you could even get a ticket to choose a cake to take home.
...

The lessons at Anne Arundel Community ­College’s Culinary Institute will last well after the new yearBob Melamud

Food eaten between November 1 and New Year’s Day contains no calories. I suspect I’m not alone in honoring this conviction. Yet a lifetime of stepping on the scale January 2 has convinced me that our cherished belief is a cruel urban legend.
...

On Veterans Day — or any other — first-line heroes are welcome here

Montgomery County firefighter and paramedic Mike O’Neil sips a beer as he sits beneath the 9/11 wall at Heroes Pub. O’Neil was at the Pentagon doing search and rescue in the aftermath of that day. He’s a typical Heroes regular: a first responder and a local from Arnold who comes in several times a week. He seems to know everyone in the place, and everyone knows him. “Great bar food, great people, and they support the community....

Calvert takes to the kitchen to End Hunger

Van Trammell is about to walk into the best job in his life, the first job in his new career in the food service industry. For 14 years, he served in the Army as a radio technician. Once inactive, he worked dead-end, entry-level food service jobs for near the Maryland minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.
...

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving ­without the sweet finale

Can Thanksgiving dinner be both wonderful and boring at the same time? I’ve been having the exact same Thanksgiving dinner for almost 25 years now, and it’s getting old. Every year it’s the same people, same place, same menu.
    What’s changeable?
    It’s family, so that’s not changing.
    Turkey with stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy and the trimmings are too traditional to change....

Bakers Thomas and Pam Storm of Great Harvest Bread Company

What inspires you?
    We love all kinds of baked goods but particularly enjoy trying traditional breads from around the world.

What’s your culinary background?
    Thomas owned an ice-cream store in downtown Annapolis for 25 years before switching to bread.

...

Serving healthy portions of ­tradition and fellowship

With Christ Church Owensville’s annual homecoming dinner coming right up, parishioners gather to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes for the feast. We eat a potluck dinner because that’s what church people do before we work together. Then, as the dishes come down from the cabinets to be washed, I fall into a reverie. The plates are sturdy diner-style, green-striped, white crockery that, for the most part, match, so they nestle in neat stacks....

In Short, if you love falafel, try this place. If you’ve never had falafel, start here with a place that does it right.

Here I am, at the Annapolis Power Boat Show, and as promised, the Market House is open. Sure, it’s a year late, but 20 years from now, will anyone remember?
    I’m making my fourth trip to Amsterdam Falafel House.
...