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Bay Weekly’s Annual Dining Guide

Just in time to see us through to spring

      The restaurants of Chesapeake Country are keeping my spirits up for February, which, were it not for its brevity, would be my least favorite month of the year, despite Groundhog Day’s tragi-comic good news that winter is half over.
      Groundhogs and bears may continue hibernating, burning up their store of calories before they wake to a ravenous spring. You and I can find a better use for February: eating our way right through it.
     This year’s annual Dining Guide brings you introductions to Bay Weekly’s partner restaurants to get you to March, the threshold of meteorological spring.
      Don’t worry if you can’t keep up a one-a-day pace. Truth is, you couldn’t for there are more than 28 restaurants here. There are two Thursdays and Mexicos, and three Bella Italia’s, Chesapeake Grilles, Irish Restaurants and Mamma Lucia’s. ­Annapolis Restaurant Week, February 25 to March 3, invites you to fixed-price breakfasts, lunches and dinner at some 40 restaurants.
      I believe in setting my goals high and intend to try them all — and I’ll give myself all year to do so. It will be an adventure, as they’re well spread north to south through Chesapeake Country. So I’m especially looking forward to exploring places outside my geographic comfort zone. Like the Donut Shack in Severna Park. Or nearby Cakes and Confections, where I’ve tried only its delicious namesakes. Certainly Thai Paradise, which I’m expecting to be my newest favorite in that cuisine.
      Part of the good news is that a nice number of these eateries are new this year, one so new it’s yet to open. So Hook & Vine, in North Beach, will have to be saved for spring. Flourishing in their first year are Bread & Butter in Eastport, Evelyn’s in West Annapolis, Mamma Lucia’s in Chesapeake Beach and The Ugly Pig in Annapolis. Of those I’ll be returning to two and trying two for the first time. I’ve told the office it can’t be long before we order carryout lunch from The Ugly Pig.
       Places a little older, like Petie Greens in Deale, are just as intriguing, for I want to know how they’re settling in for the long haul.
      Pizza is making a special claim on my appetite. I’m eager to do some comparative research on Angelina’s, La Bella Italia and Rocco’s only two of which I now know.
      Many other eateries in these pages are old friends. 
      Reading about Rogue Pierogies, for example, reminds me how satisfying pierogies are in cold weather. I need to refresh my freezer supply.
       Nor will I wait till March to warm my appetite with the body-and-soul satisfying cuisine of Ireland. All three of The Irish Restaurants — Galway Bay, Killarney House and Brian Boru — are calling to me right now.
       Mex, Tex-Mex and Spanish-Mexican warm me up with spices, and I’ll drink margaritas any time of year. So I’m looking forward to trying Mi Pueblo 2, in Severna Park, as well as returning to Plaza Mexico for casual dining and to Jalapeños, where Bay Weekly people are longtime regulars.
       As we are at Happy Harbor, Luna Blu, Pirates Cove, The Old Stein Inn and Umai for their unique food and ambiance … and Anne Arundel County Farmers Market and Chesapeake Seafood, to provision for home cooking. 
      This Dining Guide also reminds me of favorite places I need to revisit: Chesapeake Grille & Deli (summer weekend brunch favorite for us — but why wait?) The Melting Pot (today!) Sam’s Waterfront (Saturday night!) and Jerry’s Place (Sunday afternoon).
      As I eat my way through winter, I expect I’ll be running into you. We’ll take selfies and post them on Bay Weekly’s Facebook.