Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's Magic...kinda

You take some fruity things, you crush them up, you throw them in a vat, wait a while, , and maybe fill some barrels, then sort of forget those for....…and bam!! you got wine….in essence that’s it. Been done for thousands of years. Of course the real magic comes in the hands of the winemaker who knows how long, when, what temperatures, etc., all of which governs what ends up in your glass. That’s the fun of it.

I suppose you’ve already heard that we have a winery now in Leonardtown, called the Port of Leonardtown Winery. Never mind there isn’t really a port there anymore, it rolls off the tongue nicely and will make a pretty label. What’s really important is that it supports local grape growers, and promotes agriculture (and tourism) in Southern Maryland. There’s lots of hoopla surrounding it, and I suppose that will continue as commissioners will get their picture taken hoisting a glass, etc. But the real work is done by the Southern Maryland Grape Growers and Wineries Association, a cooperative of local vineyards, and the winemaker Rich Fuller. At the risk of being overly obvious, Vineyards grow grapes, wineries make wine. Sometimes they’re combined, sometime not. In Leonardtown’s case the winery makes wine from the grapes grown by the vineyards.

Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to visit the winery, already in business. It’s in an unassuming building (you gotta start someplace)

with most of the space being devoted to the wine stuff

It’s kinda odd, once you get inside a lot of these “little” wineries they all look the same. Remember Chatham Vineyards --?

Barrels for “aging” can be all over the place: New Oak, Aged oak, American Oak, French Oak, Hungarian Oak, medium light, heavy toast, and usually they're marked on the barrel

Pretty stuff

Besides that you need all the “testing stuff”

But at the end of all this, you get to have:

Find what you like, stay tuned for more developments of our “own” winery, and always

DFD (which could also be "drinking") - not that we would ever do that

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lite Wednesday Chuckle and nits and nats...

MFO is still ensconsed in Wisconin, so not much going on on the home front..

A friend emailed me yesterday relating a nice lunch she had at a Mexican place in Frederick called La Paz. She reported great food. Anyway, she mentioned that she had lunch with "facebook friends". I couldn't help but wonder if that meant you all stayed home and just did it over Facebook.. what an age.. (ps in case you didn't notice, that was supposed to be the chuckle).

and while we're just rambling here, another unique traffic move observed yesterday (Locals only). Going north on 235 just past Exploration in the right hand traffic lane. A car obviously in a hurry dives in ahead of me causing a little pressure on the brakes, only to find he/she is coming up on a van fairly quickly. No matter, dart back into the middle traffic lane, pass the van, then cut hard in front of the van into right hand merge/turn/extra lane, braking hard to make sure got into entrance to WaWa.

Oh, speaking of WaWa, that "demand" light just south of San Souci is a nightmare.

Which reminds me, I still haven't been to Kohls. wonder why.

Not much to relate on the food scene, although I did grill a good steak last night. it came from Nicks. I am thinking I pretty much like their meats. Too bad it's a hike.

Sigh Department:

Just received three food mags, and all three had the word "best" on the cover. Unfortunately two of them were my personal favs Garden and Gun, and Saveur. What's this obsession with "best"? Guess things like "pretty good" or "nice" doesn't have the news stand appeal. sigh....

but of course we always say:


Monday, April 26, 2010

Hallowed Grounds...

Well, as feared (but predicted), the events of the end of the week and weekend pretty much prevented any real time for bending your ear via the blog. And, to be truthful (as I always am), there isn’t probably too much that the food nation would be interested in. But, since I don’t have much else to say, we’ll pass along a few notes and observations.

As mentioned the Multi District Rotary conference in Gettysburg brought out a lot of folks and general hoopla.

It was a pretty full program with lots of speecifyin’, breakout sessions, workshops, plenary sessions and so forth. Since there were a lot of spouses (mine was in Wisconsin), there were always something for them to do while the Rotarians talked about more weighty subjects. So, your loyal feeder found himself attending the off topic ones. There was one from “General Grant” who spoke about the battle in Gettysburg (which of course is marketed heavily). Of course old “useless” was ensconced in Vicksburg at the time, but he gave a nice recap of the battle (more later). Another was given by a guy who owns a local winery: Adams County Winery. Yet another was the executive Chef of the hotel, Claude Rodier, who gave a little demo on easy appetizers, and the last one was a couple of historically costumed characters from Gettysburg about stuff to see and do there.

It’s always interesting to go to presentations about wine appreciation (the Adams County part). Unfortunately he took the tack that “you don’t know anything about wine, and I’ll teach you”. He was one of those anti wine snob guys, and made statement like “there are two kinds of wine: ones you like and ones you don’t”. Nothing about the making of wine, just the appreciation part. He said that 90% of wine drinkers liked “sweet wines”, so as a marketing strategy, that’s what they make. After lecturing about how to taste: Swirl, Sniff, Slurp, and Roll, he passed out their first sample a Riesling. As usual, it was what some people consider sweet, but generally reflected the grape. I asked if there were any residual sugar to which he haughtily replied “I don’t know, I don’t care anything about that stuff”. Sorry to trouble you pal. I did meet another guy who used to grow grapes in the area many years ago and he was a lot more interesting to talk to.

The appetizer session had Chef Rodier with trays of appetizers (cleverly scheduled right AFTER lunch), and were pretty much based on a Tuna Tartare, which he did make, along with a little info on various grades and types of Tunas. He was an engaging sort and definitely French. I don’t have much of an opinion of his talents. The stuff he brought was good.

Speaking of food, it was pretty much institutional, and all meals (except one) were a buffet presentation: Salads first (cheaper than mains) then usually a protein, a starch, and vegetables. One day was an Asian theme, then an Italian and so forth. The only plated meal was the big deal Saturday night banquet which consisted of a “surf and turf” meal of a little filet and also a salmon, served on polenta. I was a big hit at my table when I was able to answer the “What’s this stuff? Potatoes?” question. The salmon was pretty tasty it had a little glaze on it, but my steak had just a odd metallic overtone that caused me to leave most of it on the plate. And, again, I’m too picky. If everybody at the table (of ten) is having the same plate, why can’t you serve ladies first? Everybody is going to have the same thing, so why not put it in front of the ladies first instead of just going clockwise? Oh, well.

Before each dinner was a cash bar, and we had some notable guests:

With each dinner came a little (losing) door prize ticket.

After the evening meal, there were hospitality suites (drinking den), each featuring some theme: Chocolate and Wine; Coffee and Liquers; Tequila Sunrise – a Mexican Fiesta; do you get a common theme? Anyway our local Southern Maryland Clubs featured “Seafood Supreme” with guess what? (among other things like crab balls and dip):

Oh, and

As I said, the area leans heavily on the history of the Civil War and the battle that was fought there.

“General Grant” gave a very nice little presentation on the history of the battle, and there is also of course a National Park Service Military Park for the battlefield. In our one free afternoon, I went over to the visitor center (recommended for initial visits) and saw the movie “We are Met on a Great Battlefield” and the “cyclorama” which has recently been restored and opened. Although I’m not bad on early Maryland History, I really am not all that knowledgeable on Civil War stuff. But, every time I am exposed to some of it, it amazes me. I cannot fathom what horror it must have been when wave after wave of Confederates came across open fields (Pickett’s Charge) right in the face of withering cannon and musket fire. Thousands of people killed and maimed. Were they so dedicated to preserving/separating the United States that they figured one person would make that difference? I know this isn’t new to anybody more conversant in that history than I, but I can’t help but think what a waste. War is, indeed, Hell.. I wasn’t able to take the time to see the actual locations of the battles, but I think maybe a re-visit is in order for that. The museum in the visitor’s center contains very nice exhibits.

The country around there is that southern Pennsylvania rolling hills, stone based barns, bringing Wyeth to mind. Lovely. And to think what went on there just 150 years ago.

And for the dinners at the conference, I was indeed


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kicked in the Ash!

What a weird world. A volcano erupting in Iceland results in a group of people from the Czech Republic not being able to visit Lexington Park, Maryland. The will still be coming to the US, just not able to do our little leg of their visit. SO, what was a busy three days turns into not so busy. But, not so fast. That same Rotary Club is having a conference in Gettysburg that starts Thursday, so now I can fully attend that, so once again we have the spotty blogging opportunities although I will take the (not so) trusty laptop and camera gear.

Where’s the Beef?

We invited some friends over for a dinner on Monday night, and decided to have cold beef tenderloin with a Béarnaise Sauce. First chore, get the tenderloin. That resulted in the trip to the re-arranged Woodburns the other day, thinking that would be a good source since there is an actual human there who will talk to you without buzzing some stupid button and bothering somebody from “the back” (if you’re lucky). Sure enough the nice gentleman butcher said that they usually had some, however they were currently out (Sunday) but they would be getting some more shipped in Monday at ten. Okay, great. So, the next morning after getting coffee and a few things done, I went back over the bridge and sought out the meat department. Of course it was a different real human, but after hearing my story he said yes, they’re coming off the truck as we speak and disappeared for a few minutes with a couple in hand, each sealed in a plastic vacuum packed package.

Getting the meat home, I began to prep it and pulled it from the fridge, and looked at the package. There, inside that familiar shield was the label: USDA Select. I was somewhat taken aback at that, because as the alert consumer of meat products knows, “select” is one of the four standard grades of beef and it is between “standard” (lowest) and “choice” which is below the highest, “prime”. There are those that insist that there is no “prime” grade, but we won’t argue that here. Here’s a link if you want more info. I was just surprised that Woodburn’s who sort of touts itself as one of those fancy markets would have select beef. Maybe they all do, but I’m sure I’ve seen “choice” other places.

Opening the product, it did have some fat and silverskin, which I trimmed away, seared it, slathered it with butter and put it in a 500 degree oven for 15 minutes, then lowered temperature to 450 until my little instant read thermometer claimed it was about 130 inside. Pulled it and let it rest for 20 minutes or so then put it in the fridge. Upon slicing it was pinky rare, just about right. I thought it had some flavor, but not as much as I had hoped. Once you get that “select” mind set, maybe it can’t be right. Of course we had a good meal (MFO did some creamed pearl onions and oven roasted potatoes) and had a good time, but maybe next time I’ll do a little more sleuthing before getting the beef. Maybe Nick’s of Calvert comes to mind. Incidentally, I believe that the grade refers to the whole carcass, not the particular cut, but I am not sure of that.

Oh, PS, if you’re going to use a blender to make the sauce (yes, sometimes you do) be sure to include the blade when you assemble the bowl. It’s much less messier that way... (use your imagination here)...

To Do Today

There’s a little program tonight in the Auditorium at the Visitor Center of Historic St. Mary’s City that will present near and longer term plans for expansion and construction of new stuff like a new visitor center, and the Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center (currently Anne Arundel Hall). Free, starts at 7..

Fire in the hole!

Wow. That was a pretty big fire in the apartments behind Wal-Mart.. for a minute there we thought it might have been the latter, not the former…

Okay, on about (y)our business for a Wednesday. We end with our unflagging commitment to


Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, monday...

Welcome to a new week… this one will be sort of busy for your loyal Feeder, as our local Rotary Club will be hosting (volcanic cloud permitting) a visiting group of Rotarians from the Czech Republic. We’ll be having one of them staying at the digs, so it will be a lot of chauffer duty. All of which is to say that it may be a bit spotty in the posting department..

But, looking back on a busy weekend (I hope you could find something to do) we started off by attending the lecture by Dr. Henry Miller down at the visitor center at Historic St. Mary’s City, An Archaeological View of Food in Colonial Maryland. It wasn’t so much on how they ate as what they ate. Through the archeological evidence of bones, it can be determined what kind and how much of animals they lived on. The introduction of corn from the Native Americans was a big part of the diet. Not surprisingly it turns out that beef was the prime source of meat, with fowl and fish substantially less. Sheep, a staple in England, didn’t thrive very well here so it wasn’t until there was a lot of pasture land available that they were more plentiful. Venison also played a part in their diet. Lots of charts and graphs, interesting stuff..

We also had occasion to go over to Woodburn’s on the Solomons and visit the “re-organized” store. They’ve sort of shuffled around the produce section, they have a much better selection of cheeses now, along with lots of kinds of crackers. The “Panini” section is torn up just now, so don’t know what the plans for that are. They still have a very nice meat section with a real guy with a knife working behind the counter. Being a busy Sunday morning we didn’t Dress For Shopping very much and of course we ran into a couple of friends… sigh..

Did you see/hear the fire in the apartments behind Wal-Mart? You can see it from 235 as you sit in traffic.

In the foodie department I heard that DiGiovanni’s is changing hands.

And, speaking of foodie things, it appears that Restaurant Week will actually happen here in the County, so stay tuned for news of that. It will feature locally owned and operated restaurants although the list of participants isn’t complete as of yet. Good stuff coming!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Two fer Friday

If this is your first visit today (4/16) please read the post below this one ("Sigh..."), it contains very important information relating to the southern Maryland dining scene

I failed to mention a couple of events in today's earlier post, and think they are worth doing a double for..One is to do, the other to know about

To Do:

TONIGHT at the auditorium in the visitor center at Historic St. Mary's City, Dr. Henry Miller (Director of Research) will give a lecture entitled "An Archaeological View of Food in Colonial Maryland". It should be very interesting and a must for any serious foodie. Henry knows his stuff and usually gives a very entertaining talk. There is no charge... MFO and I will be in attendance (another draw!!)

and,as usual there will be people that

UDFTB (UnDress For Tiki Bar)

To Know About:

Today is this year's annual ritual of opening of the Tiki Bar. If you live in Calvert, it could affect you commute and general well being as it usually attracts thousands of loyal fans, intent on um, enjoying themselves. Check points, traffic jams, and general crowdedness will prevail.


It was a dark and stormy night (well, I don’t exactly remember, but it sounds good) on a cold Friday night in early January of 1998 when MFO and I joined a small party of friends and drove down to try the recently opened restaurant within Brome Howard Inn. The 1840’s house had been relocated from Historic St. Mary’s City, and Michael and Lisa Kelley converted it to a Bed and Breakfast, with a restaurant open to the public a few days a week. At that time, the Tavern at the Village in Wildewood was the only fine dining option around, so we were eager to try the “new place”. Upon entering, we were greeted by a somewhat surprised Lisa, as somehow we were expected the next day, Saturday. No matter, she scrambled and graciously made it work, and we had a fine meal.

That little incident was an indication of what was to become standard for the Brome Howard Inn: great food, a unique fine dining experience, and attention to customers that continued for the last 12 years. So I was saddened to learn that they have ceased operation of the a la carte restaurant, at least during the upcoming hectic catering/wedding/event season. The Kelley’s themselves will continue to be visible with their catering, event creation, and the Ruddy Duck across the river, so they will still be around, but we will miss the option of dining with them. I never had a bad meal at their restaurant, and with Lisa in the front of the house, service was always what it should be. She “get’s it”.

At least their talent for putting on events will still be available. As some know, they created my “retirement” dinner in September of ’09, which was a memorable meal. That lobster bisque still lives in my memory as one of “The Dishes”. Oh, and this was under a tent, in the rain, outdoors.

So, as we see the continuing onslaught of “box stores”, it’s too bad another option for quality food, service, décor, and a great dining experience has been eliminated. I can only hope that it will be resurrected in some form, because we need that. Please do whatever you can to support our locally owned and operated restaurants. As Mr. Dylan reminds us, “You never know what you got till it’s gone”. If I had to use one word for the Kelley’s, I think it might be “uncompromising”. Sigh….


Well, I started to list “stuff” you could do this weekend (like NOT dining at Brome Howard, damn it), but I was overwhelmed by the amount of things that are going on almost everywhere. Sotterley has a Garden Fair, there’s “Earth Day” in Leonardtown, a half marathon for all you healthy people, a lecture tonight by David Ignatius at the college, theaters of various sorts. Or, you can just pull weeds and install mulch in your garden. Geez, I wish there was something to do in Southern Maryland…

And it goes without saying that whenever we went to Brome Howard, all the diners were


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Right is Wrong...

No this is not a moral story.. well, maybe it is in a way. With a couple of long foodie columns under our belts we can take a little diversion into another of my favorite subjects: Southern Maryland driving practices. We have a pretty full volume of them, and this is a re-visit, but there seems to be a new twist on one of them.

It is the infamous “Right Lane”. When they “improved” our Route 235 that mostly handles the base traffic in mornings and evenings, they added a right hand lane that is separated from the three traffic lanes by those short dashed lines. It is dubbed a “right turn” lane, and at a few, but not all, intersections there is a little island that temporarily terminates the lane. It also could be called a “merge lane”, because you can use it to get up to traffic speed (normally at least ten over the 45 mph limit), and get into a smaller space than if you start from a stop. So at first it was common practice to come up on somebody at the intersection behind the island, completely stopped, window rolled down, head craning backwards, waiting for a space large enough that they could cut right across the merge lane (which stretches at least a quarter of a mile before the next light) into the right traffic lane. Or, wait (minutes) until the light afforded them three clear lanes of traffic allowing a leisurely turn into any of the traffic lanes.

Well, times change. I have not had to use the horn nearly so much lately for these timid souls, so I think maybe after a couple of years the concept of “merge” is starting to sink in. But, now there is arising yet another use for the merge/right turn lane. At peak rush hour (3:45 – 5:15) it is now not uncommon for all three traffic lanes to be filled with autos, crawling along from light to light. As a result, there are a growing number of people whose time is so valuable that they can’t possibly add 10 to 15 minutes to their commute by driving civilly, and so they use the Right hand lane as their personal traffic lane. The procedure is something like this: start from the light, as soon as you are across the intersection, dart into that Right hand lane, and accelerate. When approaching the next intersection: a) if there is an island, cut back into traffic, hey, all those cars have brakes; b) if there is no island, those white marks and signs about “Right lane must turn Right” are merely suggestions, blow through the intersection and keep going. In the case where there is the island, and you observe the light turning red (closing off your dart back in possibilities), abandon option “a”, take the right turn, and: a1) if no cross traffic, merely cut straight across the side street, go around the other island and keep going; a2) if there is cross traffic, continue right, turn left into the bank/shopping center/convenience store parking lot, navigate and re-emerge a little further up the road using their driveways.

One has to wonder if “normal” drivers will notice this phenomenon and these jerks “getting away” with it, get jealous and decide “why not me?” and join in the practice. Will we then have not three but four lanes of crawling traffic?


Since we’re sort of rambling here, another observation on another subject. I can’t help but notice (as I crawl along in my proper lane) that starting at almost any time they are open, the Olive Garden’s parking lot is jammed to overflowing, and there’s a crowd milling around the front door, presumably waiting for their table. I just can’t fathom what the attraction is. One might think the “newness” has worn off by now, and I can’t imagine that the food is so different/good that people are intentionally NOT going to Ruby Tuesday’s/Bob Evans/Applebee’s. Right up the road there are several locally owned and operated restaurants, why not eat there?

And, undeterred, right next door to the OG, Red Robin is growing, and on the other side Buffalo Wings and Beer is slated to arise (so we can send games into overtime). I don’t frequent 5 Guys, but I can only imagine they will be hurt by the RR, and if rumors are true the McDonalds near San Souci might move up there. Burgers by the ton, but maybe burgers are like pizza, you can’t have enough joints…sigh..

And lastly on this “tax day” here's a cute little quote (no political statement, it’s just a nice little play on words): “America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation”.

Today only, you must

DF(Taxes) – this year in my case a burlap bag might be appropriate, since I gave the shirt off my back..

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The final R....

Now for the other “R”, in fact a couple of them. After finishing our meal at Central Michel Richard, we walked a couple of short blocks to the Baird Auditorium in the Natural History Museum on the mall for a Smithsonian Resident Associates program featuring Ruth Reichl. Alert readers will remember that she is the last person to be editor of Gourmet Magazine, as it was folded during her stewardship. The program was entitled “Ruth Reichl Dishes” or at least that was what was on the ticket. Seemed like it was missing something.

Anyway, it was sort of the same deal as the Lee Brothers were last week, but not as heavily leaning toward marketing any particular book. The “moderator” was Joe Yonan, a food writer for the Post, and he sort of lobbed questions and she took off. Topics ranged all over the place. She spent some time talking about the closing of the magazine, which she said was sad (applause, applause), but ultimately a business decision. Gourmet cost a ton to produce, sending reporters all over the world for shoots, many test kitchens, featured luxury advertising, etc., plus she quoted some ad page metrics that showed Bon Apetit kicked their whatever. Yes, she acknowledged that it was a bible, but she understood it. She said she was not part of the decision, they just informed her, and she was as surprised as everybody else. She is big on local food and educating kids about real food, saying many children believe orange juice comes from a box that grows on trees. She applauded Jamie Oliver for his efforts in that direction. She talked about her days as a restaurant critic as well. She sincerely believes that anonymity is required, and said her usual experience was to take a group of 3 or 4 friends, with the rules that everybody could eat whatever they wanted, just not the same thing, and required at least 3, but preferably 5 courses. Sometimes she took notes under the table, sometimes just remembered and spent hours after the meal recording everything she could think of. There was also a lot of talk about her mother, a continuing subject in her writings.

For the most part I thought she had intelligent things to say, and had a pretty down to earth attitude about most things. Mr. Yonan noted at the end that she is a great “tweeter” and urged everybody to be her friend or whatever you are on Twitter. Apparently there is an alternate ego also, with a nom de plume of “Ruth Bourdain” that responds to her tweets, turning them into pretty profane postings. She doesn’t know who the person is, thinks it’s female, but doesn’t care.

Again, it was an entertaining way to spend an hour or so, you learn some things, laugh at others, but it’s nice to see some of these people you only see in print in person. I think she’s okay.

We didn’t stay for the inevitable book signing dance this time, instead we made good on our promise to return to the first “R”, and went back to Central for dessert. This was around 8:30 and all tables were filled or spoken for, so we sat on the bar side where we were assured we could get dessert. Again, prompt, efficient service from the bar waiter provided a little menu card with the selections available. Again the “playfulness” of Michel was evident with offerings of a Banana Split ($12); Michel’s Chocolate Bar, or Apple Pan Dowdy. There were also more classic options such as Crème Brŭlée and Cheesecake. Still feeling a bit stuffed with Lamb Shank, I went for a chocolate mousse, MFO took a single scoop of malted vanilla ice cream, and our friend fearlessly tried the chocolate lava cake a la mode. Welcomed coffee was brought to the table and shortly our desserts arrived, delivered by our original waiter who had urged us to come back. A nice touch. Well, my thought of a nice light delicate little dessert turned out to be a rather large bowl (bigger than a softball) of pretty dense chocolate mousse with a delicious layer of strawberry “jam” in the bottom of the bowl, and some little coffee bean sized beads scattered on top. More chocolate. I couldn’t eat the whole thing. The lava cake oozed a rich chocolate ganache (?), with only MFO getting off on the “light” side.
Thus concluded an evening of “R”s and we climbed in the Momster and headed back to Southern Maryland. A very nice evening and experience with Reichl and Richard. Now I want to go to the top, Citronelle!

Where we would certainly be


Oh, MS. Reichl’s name was pronounced: Ri-chel with emphasis on the Ri part…(soft “h”).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A little R & R..

Gosh, i can't shut up... perhaps installment reading might a little more palatable..

Last night (Monday) there were a couple of “R” events that merit recollection but in the interests of the reader’s most valuable time, I’ll only cover one of the R’s today..

And that would be “Richard”. As most local foodies know, Michel Richard is one of the Nation’s top chefs, along with his flagship (DC) restaurant Citronelle. I have yet to visit that venue, but last night we did sort of a spur of the moment visit to his newest “most playful creation” ,Central. Our reason for being in DC was the second “R” (keep ‘em guessing) which started at 6:45, so our friend suggested we try Central for a “pre” meal, at the unusual hour of 5:30 (the earliest they start serving). Central is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks down from the White House, in sort of an unassuming storefront. The day was pleasant, the sun out, the trees were green, and the stately buildings in that area are somewhat reminiscent of Paris I thought. Several people were heading home from work, many suits and nicely dressed females a very pleasant scene. I also noted the prevalence I’ve seen before for men with “European Shoulder Bags” or what some might call “man purses”. Ahhh, the big city.

Before proceeding, we must again address that most important aspect of a dining experience, the “expectations”. In my mind, the name Michel Richard immediately raises them to pretty lofty levels. My expectations therefore were along the lines of excellent food, presentation, and service, however I was unsure about the effect of the “downscaled” venue from Citronelle.

Upon entering through the double heavy glass doors, you are confronted with a “stand” and a partition which separates the bar area from the dining spaces. The dining spaces are relatively small with only three rows of tables from left to right, one down the center, and the other two on the walls. The overall impression is “warmth”, with all the wood being (what’s the word?) blonde and no tablecloths. There are large textured ceiling fixtures for lighting, and which I think also help with noise reduction. On the bar side of the partition is the long bar and a few bar tables along the partition as well as a small seating area near the door. There were some odd glass flowery things at the back bar which I really didn’t add much other that curiosity. At the end of the bar is a large glass enclosed wine cellar with different colored lighting, and past that is a very large open kitchen. As an aside, the restrooms (worth a visit) are located down a little hall that separates that wine cellar from the kitchen, and there is a little window where you can stand and watch the kitchen and the dishes having final touches put on them before going out. I could stand there for quite a while..

Since we arrived a bit before service started we were forced to one of the little tables in the bar and made to order cocktails. Darn the luck. There was a little plastic card on the table with wines by the glass as well as cocktails. An extremely interesting selections of old as well as new world wines, many of which were unfamiliar to me. A server approached and asked if we would like a drink while waiting for our table. Duty required me to do the drink test as it was the first visit to this restaurant. I did, and he immediately said (reminiscent of Harry Browne’s) does that mean you want less than normal sweet vermouth or dry? MFO got her standard Bombay Gimlet, and our friend got an intriguing rose of Grenache - Syrah.

Very shortly the three drinks were delivered in very nice glassware, correctly fabricated, nicely sized and not skimped on the spirits. After a few sips we were notified that our table was ready and were led further and further to the back (thank you, thank you) to a nice table with a view of the kitchen. Glasses were immediately filled with water, and we were soon approached by a server in kaki pants a white shirt and black apron. He had a French accent, much later confirmed by his name on the check, Stephane. There were no stock speeches, and when we told him we needed to be out the door by 6:30 he said that would easily be possible (no “No Problem!!). His service to the table remained top notch, attentive without being assertive, friendly without trying to join the party, excellent. The menu was a folded piece of paper that you had to open and unfold till it was fairly large. Knowledgeable foodies will know that Michel Richard is noted for his “playfulness” with food, fashioning ingredients in unconventional ways, like creating a poached egg with caviar and some food foam. While the menu here is not quite that adventurous, there are entrees of skate, calves liver, fried chicken, three steaks (hangar, filet and strip), scallops, fish and chips, most anything. The most expensive entrée was the filet steak at 35 dollars, but most were mid twenties. Appetizers included frog legs, pork belly confit, gougeres, several salads, etc., most were about 12 bucks. There is also a “sandwich” section that includes lobster (29 bucks), chicken, and ahi tuna burgers.

Without too much time we settled on appetizers of the Gougeres, I opted for Shrimp Remoulade, and our friend a chopped green salad. Main courses were that chicken burger for MFO, our friend took the fish and chips, and I decided to try the lamb shank on creamy corn polenta. The server guaranteed I would like it (after I ordered it). A quick perusal of the generous wine list led to a Grgich Hills Chardonnay (hey it was before six!). Immediately after ordering the wine, some larger glasses were substituted for the stock ones on the table. Always a nice touch. The wine turned out to be a good selection, not too heavily oaked and lots of fruit. Some excellent bread was also brought.

Soon the appetizers arrived with the Gougeres in one of those little spiral vertical baskets which are sometimes used for fries, and a large bowl of greens for the salad. When I think of remoulade, I mostly think of a mustard based sauce. My Shrimp arrived on a bed of shredded lettuce, with stacked shrimp and a celery leaf top that reminded one of a palm tree. But the sauce was sort of a piquant almost salsa like quality, sharp and tangy, but not what was expected (uh oh). The shrimp were “pinky” sized at best and I really didn’t get much shrimp flavor from them. That dish turned out to be the most disappointing (to me), of the evening. The Gougeres were good, and judging by other tables, quite the popular choice.

Soon the other dishes arrived. The burger was just that a nicely formed patty half an inch thick on a nice roll (Seitsema: “a divine chicken burger perked up with lemon zest, and dressed the Richard way with a flat potato tuile for unexpected crunch beneath the air bun), the fish were somehow a bit cylindrical and served with non-Sysco fries, and my lamb shank a generous portion of lamb over that polenta and a very tasty sauce. We didn’t “table taste”, but everybody was satisfied. I never know what to expect with lamb, but this wasn’t sharp and had a nice flavor. And, a lot of it.

Time beginning to get short we resolved to return for dessert, and departed for the second “R” of the evening.

Such was my first experience with Michel Richard. I think my expectations might have been a bit too high, perhaps unjustifiably so. The service was excellent (did I mention that they served wine by the glass from the bottle?) throughout, and the food was very good, but not “over the top”. I of course would return in a heartbeat, and I will, but with a little more perspective eye. And I will go with slightly lowered expectations. Citronelle remains enticing..

And of course without saying


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Snippits...

Well, here it is Sunday afternoon, and I’ve assuaged any guilt feelings by working outside all morning so I can enjoy the Master’s this afternoon. Don’t see how it can top the drama of yesterday.

Anyway, a few things caught my attention over the weekend, so here’s a little chance to get them off my chest.

Sometimes you find out things by “gossip” and sometimes you find out things by just reading the newspaper. Friday’s Enterprise column “This ‘N’ That” (which must have been borrowed from the feeder) entitled “Revival as a sports bar planned for landmark” caught my eye. Turns out it was about the “Willows” (a restaurant just south of Leonardtown that has been shuttered for over a year). I was surprised to learn it started as a home 90 years ago, and turned into a pub in the late ‘30’s. The new owner wants to return it to the “same ambiance”. Really! I bet they didn’t have 50 inch flat screens back then, or Texas Hold ‘em tournaments, or DJ’s. So, good luck with that. Anyway for those that visited the Willows in its last carnation will probably remember the smoke that pervaded the place along with clientele who didn’t know and didn’t care about DFD. So, I had to chuckle at the final paragraph that said “I don’t want to hurt the reputation of the place, I want to add to the reputation”. Unless you go back to the ‘30’s, hurting the reputation might not be so bad.

But on the upside, good for him in starting a new locally owned food establishment. It will be a struggle. Parking and traffic will be an issue to face. And to add another obstacle, I notice that ground has been broken next to the Olive Garden for what I assume will be Red Robin, which again, some have said they can’t wait for.

On the non-food side of things, our Sunday post had some teasers on the front page this morning. Little boxes at the top with a photo and a little line designed to lead you to the Business or Travel section and so on. Now, before I do the mild rant, I understand why it is but it’s still sad. The top right box (first one to catch your eye I suppose) entitled “Sports” was a little picture of Tiger, and the line reads: “Tiger Tied for Third at the Masters”. How many sports publications you know of have headlines like: “so and so tied for 4th in batting title”; or “what’s her name tenth in rankings”. For anybody who watched the drama in yesterday’s third round, you know Tiger was a sidebar at best. We’ll see what today brings.

And, let’s end on a good note. This morning I went to S-bucks for some liquid enthusiasm and arrived at the front door along with another couple (sort of my generation). Being a courteous sort, I held the door for them to enter first. They did, but once inside insisted in get in line before them. Oh, and they didn’t start yacking on a cell phone after (or even during) ordering either.. It’s nice to find those little pockets of civility. Let’s hope they expand.

Viewing note: The Tudors return tonight – great drama. And before that there are two Sherlock Holmes programs, the ones with Jeremy Brett. No matter if you’ve seen it four times, it’s what TV should be..he’s marvelous.

And before that you can enjoy your dinner if you are


ps - think the P8 arrival was postponed one day. I didn't see it yesterday but it may have arrived..

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday diversions...

Busy schedule today will compress the usual ramblings to a few bullet points…


There is a farmer’s market now every Friday on the square in Leonardtown.

Somebody sent me a link that some restaurants who wish to have subdued lighting (romantic, more peaceful, calming, etc.) have found a menu that when you open it, it lights up. What a great idea! Also says that futurists believe that the time will come when the menu is an iPad or a Kindle like device, so the chef/kitchen can make real time changes if something is off the menu, or maybe a fresh ingredient arrived. Interesting.

And, once again the dullard feeder finds out from the alert readership that you can get Duke's Mayo at Food Lion. Just what i need, another jar of Mayo in the fridge, probably sitting there for years.

Watch for it:

Word has it that the first P-8 (Poseidon) is supposed to arrive today here at Pax around 1600. Look for a 737 like object being chased by a P-3.


I was at a meeting last night of a civic organization; about 12 people were receiving a presentation from another organization on their experiences with things. At one time, I counted at least half the members that were supposed to be listening with their heads buried in their laps, feverishly working their Blackberries (or whatever device). It used to be laptops, now it’s smart phones. I hope that people would have the courtesy to pay attention to somebody trying to do a favor, but no, let’s make sure we know the cat is taking a nap. A new category might be “distracted listening”. Be considerate of others whether driving or sitting. Think.


I was listening to a radio show the other day that was commenting on the Masters. They were sort of recounting experiences in attending. First you have the hassle of the traffic, parking, lines to get through security ultimately funneling you to a gift area (warehouse like), but then you enter the grounds. The radio person likened it to the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy opens the door and black and white goes to glorious color. That pretty much captures my memory of the situation exactly. Once you’re on the grounds it is at least as gorgeous as you see on TV. It’s like being in church. Everybody is quiet, polite, and courteous. The other observation with which I completely agree is that it is much hillier than you see on TV. Quite the workout to walk around the course. Yesterday MFO had to tell me to shut up because I kept exclaiming “I was right there”. It’s kind of too bad that the “return” of Tiger dominates the coverage, there’s some great stories out there (at least for the first round). Freddie Leading? Lefty still has it! Watson the Legend? Holy crap. But no, let’s watch Tiger on the practice green. Anyway tune in.

Okay a quick read today, have a great weekend and don’t forget to


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Returning to Port...

No, not the beverage.

When I was out here in the days (late nineties) of the Super Hornet EMD flight test program, with MFO still in STL, I often rewarded myself with a Saturday night dinner over on the Solomons, at the Dry Dock Restaurant, one of the few places for fine dining at that time. It was back in the time when it was located in that little block house over the marina’s potties. Seated maybe 25 people at the most, had a compact bar and a kitchen so small that the chef didn’t have to move around to do anything. The place was nicely decorated, they turned out very nice food, they were all friendly, and of course the view was great.

As we are surely finding out today, nothing is forever, and they moved to the “new” larger space next door with more tables, but still had a lovely bar and pretty much the same waitstaff. When MFO and I lived on “that” side of the Patuxent we were pretty much fixtures. But, nothing is forever. As life moves on, there were changes in staff and managers, a rotation of chefs set in, and we sort of fell off the “regular” list. The low point for me was when they instituted “nights” where you could get a steak dinner for $19.95 kind of thing. Not quite blue plate specials, but not what I consider a fine dining restaurant should offer.

So, I was pleased to hear that one of the former chefs which we were familiar with, Ben, had returned. Chefs are a funny lot. They always seem to be looking over the next hill or seeking new challenges, and he left the DD to help his brother (as I recall) in another venture. So after a long day following my Monday nights adventure in DC with the Lee Brothers, we decided to re-visit the Dry Dock for dinner and say hello and welcome to Ben.

They are still pretty much the best combination (IMHO) of waterfront and fine dining options in the area, with easterly facing views (very important around sun set) of the marina and many seldom used sailboats bobbing. We climbed the stairs and immediately saw a couple of “regulars” from the old days (they stayed the same) but were pleasantly surprised to see one of the servers from our hay day also returned as a customer. She said it was the first time she’d been in the place in two years. Outside dining wasn’t yet open, and (good for them) they had reserves for all the tables, so we took our familiar seats at the bar. Gone were the little bins of “orange” food, at least last night. The bartender asked if we were drinking or eating, and we replied “both” and were given menus, and we both ordered our standard drinks. Without hesitation he reached for the green vermouth bottle and delivered a correctly made dry manhatten, on the rocks with a twist and the Bombay sapphire gimlet. I think it was the same barkeep that I remembered from last time, efficient and correct, but not very chatty.

After savoring the drinks for a bit, we turned to the menu, which has remained pretty much standard over the years. Soup du Jour, a couple of salads, many appetizers with heavy emphasis on the seafood: (Grilled Scallops: Spinach Risotto, Bacon, Pistachio); all with a little creative twist: Butternut Squash Ravioli: Mascarpone, Sage Brown Butter, Grated Amaretti. Main plates followed the traditional offering fish, a duck breast, steak and crab cakes. Prices ranged in the low teens for appetizers and low to mid twenties for the mains. I do not recall any vegetarian or gluten free offerings.

We also took a look at the wine list, which contained a few oddities that I didn’t know whether were typos or just beyond my experience. There was one called “Red Zin”; a French “Chateau Preuillac: which I thought was a typo, but research shows it’s exactly that and beyond my experience. However, I suspect the George Duboeus should have ended with an “f”. MFO selected a Yalumba Viognier, but I stuck with the cocktails. We both tasted the Viognier, and both thought it had sort of a "burnt/toasty" tinge.

Ben did come out, he looked pretty much the same, just older like the rest of us and it was fun to chat a bit before he returned to his work station. Our food was quite good, we split the mini crab cake apps, I had a pan roasted rockfish, and MFO went with a salmon. I am not sure whether Ben has had time to work the menu to “his” yet, but what we had last night was quite good. The only lapse I found (hey, I have to find at least ONE) was that nobody seemed to be in charge of who walked through the door, and often a group just sort of hovered for a bit before being attended to.

Restaurants come and go, it’s nice to see the DD is still there, and maybe with Ben’s return and the elimination of “nights”, they can regain (IMHO) their former place in the fine dining options around here. They’re local, not a chain and we should support them in the face of the burgeoning “box store” trend. I would go check it out.

Speaking of the fine dining scene, I think the folks from Saphron are applying for their liquor license, so looks like that’s going to happen. The bottom feeder would suggest they don’t mess with the bar. Corbels had that right (although they will need a new mirror!). Even there you should be


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gree-its N' Collards....

Back to familiar foodie stuff now that the basketballs have been stored....

One of the nice opportunities we deserve for living close to the Nation’s Capitol (other than the beltway) is to take advantage of the Resident Associate programs of the Smithsonian Institution (open to public, but breaks for members). Every month there are numerous lectures, classes, workshops, and maybe tours on a multitude of subjects from photography to art appreciation, sketching, history, visiting civil war sites, etc. And, happily, there are usually several events centering on the Culinary Arts. Celeb chef talks, wine appreciation, beer tastings, etc. Almost something for everyone.

Last night a friend and I attended the first of two events that I signed up for in April. It was entitled “Southern Food” and featured the Lee Brothers. Although they were not born there, they mainly grew up Charleston, S.C. a dandy spot for foodies, but they are pretty much concerned with the broad spectrum of “southern cooking”. They got their start by starting a “boiled peanut” catalog for New Yorkers (and others) who had never heard of this southern staple. (It’s an acquired taste). Besides being food journalists they have written a couple of cookbooks on southern food. Their first (Southern Cookbook) won several awards, including a James Beard Award (I have pretty much found that James Beard books are worthwhile) for cookbook of the year. It’s full of recipes but also the culture of the region, somewhat like the classic John Egerton’s “Southern Food”. Both are valuable additions to your collection.

My expectations (there’s that nasty word again) and hopes were that I would learn about the evolution and diversity of what has been lumped together as “southern food”, with maybe some insights on how the diverse cultural makeup of slaves, Cajun/Creole (not the same), and various immigrant populations affected the various cuisines we associate with “the South”.

Well, almost. It turned out to be a loosely structured “interview” (for want of a better word) moderated by Linda Wertheimer (whom some might know of NPR fame) leading the discussions with Matt and Ted responding. At times, Linda seemed to be confused as to who the main attraction was, occasionally intent on relating her own points over the Lees. They started out decrying the notion that there is such a thing as “Southern Cooking”, instead there is much regional variation and a wide range of recipes for the same dish. Also, there are “micro regions” within the larger regions, with much different preparations for the same dish maybe 10 miles apart. “Oh “they” don’t make gumbo right down there, because they don’t use….. like we do”. I am always interested in this regional stuff, so I liked that part. I also learned about such condiments as “tin roof shrimp”; many variations on “chowchow”; a long discussion of Okra and how to “cook out the rope” meaning the sticky stuff. Do you know there is a famous “Dukes” mayonnaise? The different kinds of BBQ sauces were touched on, vinegar, mustard based, of course ketchup, with the remark that sauces tended to get sweeter as you moved west. Grits, pimiento cheese, and other classics were also touched on.

Another point they made (when Linda would let them) was that there are continual “tweaks” on classic southern recipes. Chefs are now building on the foundation of traditional food using new ingredients (such as smoked paprika) and coming up with new creations rooted in the southern (regional) heritage. Like say, poaching eggs in collard green liquor (which is supposed to be a “morning after” remedy, by the way).

All in all, despite the hoped for lack of anthropological background, it was an entertaining and informative evening. They are a lot of fun to listen to. I think they know their stuff, as they mentioned Leah Chase, not exactly a household word outside the south/New Orleans, and also the famous Charleston Receipts spiral cookbook. During the “Q&A” portion, my attempt at asking one was ignored by MS. Wertheimer, but during the “book signing” for their old and newer (Simple Fresh Southern) one I was able to ask it. I said that I currently reside in Southern Maryland's St. Mary's County which is known for Stuffed Ham, and had they ever heard of it. They thought they had, but were not “oh, of course!” which surprised me. Maybe I’ll have to send them a recipe.

I’m going up to another lecture next Monday, but I’ll keep you in suspense for the time being. We’re also planning on a “pre” meal at one of the restaurants I’ve had on the list for a long time. So besides the program, we’ll be


Monday, April 5, 2010

Sports Time....

Okay, foodies, take a seat.

Most of the available eating/dining time over the weekend was taken up with watching bouncing orange balls (the threeeeeeeeee balllllllllll). The only homage to food was First Friday in Leonardtown (a growing “must” on your monthly calendar) with gallery browsing, wine sipping, live music listening, and whatever level of dining suits your fancy. MFO and I wound up with a couple of offerings from the “hot dog guy”.

Anyway, after that, our Saturday morning was spent in the garden beds by the gray lagoon, terminating the lives of some very vigorous weeds, and generally sprucing things up. Kind of rewarding work. Then in the pm, I went down and “chapel sat” at historic St. Mary’s City. I enjoy that a lot. You never know who’s going to come through the doors, what their interest is, and how much they want to hear. Once again, I reiterate that if you have not seen the reconstructed Brick Chapel of 1667, you should. Besides, the City relies in good part on admissions. There’s a lot of other stuff to see as well.

So after being a decent docent, I zipped home and settled down to watch the first of the two men’s basketball semi finals, probably the about my third favorite sporting event to watch. What followed was a couple of hours of agony as I watched my Spartans turn the ball over 16 times (resulting in 20 points), and lose (by two) to a team that shot 30% and couldn’t score a field goal for 10 minutes of the second half. I will freely admit that the Spartans probably shouldn’t have been there, but they sure went out on a low note. Now the media darlings, the Butler Bulldogs find themselves in a game for the national championship. Oh, in case you haven’t heard it a million times already they are only 6 miles from their campus!! Zowie. How cute! The second game which should have been the marquee game turned into a blowout as the Dukies sent the mountaineers home with their tail between their legs. As I write this before tonight’s game, I can see the headlines either way: “Butler completes a story book season undefeated and wins the National Title!”. (and what exactly is a mid major anyway?) Or, “After a drought of (N) years, Coach K returns Duke to glory!”. Pick your poison.

Yesterday saw the same evolution on the distaff side with Stanford overcoming a plucky Oklahoma team, and Connecticut marching inevitably on to their National Championship (most likely). That Brittney Griner is certainly worth watching, but one can’t beat five. One report I saw included "The Huskies get a real scare!" Five points up with a long time to play? I don't think so. Anyway, I’ve sort of come to grips with an issue I’ve had for a long time with women’s “basketball”. I am not trying to get into trouble with this, but the ice may be getting thinner. There is such a disparity between the level of play of the men’s and women’s game that maybe I have to stop “comparing” them and judge each on their own merits. A player missing an uncontested layup, or shooting an airball from 6 feet, or can’t make a third attempt at tipping in a rebound is just part of that game. So what? Final scores of 90’s to 30’s? Part of the game. And I certainly can’t deny that there are opportunities for a college education that might otherwise not exist.

And why the networks arrange to have tonight’s game TIP at 9:20 is obvious, but geez, I guess I’ll have to record it...gimme a break. Oh, and I won't get into those inane "on court" interviews.. "what did you tell your team...." gag.

Then on top of that, this morning we get the news that the Eagles are casting off their quarterback of many years and he’s heading here. The Redskin circus continues – get your super bowl tickets now! Again. I really feel sorry for Jason Campbell who’s had to play behind an offensive line that is as porous as a sieve, suffered a different coach almost every year, and pretty much acted civilly will most likely be sent packing. Good luck Donovan, keep those feet moving kid, they’ll be chasing you all over the field.

And lastly I watched the “Tiger” news conference today. I am not sure what to think. He certainly answered (for the most part) every question, seemed very sincere, and appears to be relieved to get back to playing golf. I suppose there are those that will believe this is just another sham, he’s playing a role, but I would hope not. I have in the past joined the Tiger Bashers for all his fist pumping, and stoney faced play, but he did make a remark about no more outbursts for bad play (although watching a lip read F bomb was sort of pleasing) and toned down exuberance. We’ll see. Does he deserve a “second chance”? Maybe. Will there always be the unspoken asterisk on his records? Maybe. I’m rooting for Lefty (ha ha) or Freddie this weekend.

Okay enough blabbing, will get back to food least so I can us my favorite tag line


Friday, April 2, 2010

well, no, this isn’t going to be about hockey, or even Canada. It’s about “Beauty”. Originally, I was just going to comment on how gorgeous the trees are this year; just about every flowering variety seems to be more luxurious than I can remember for a long time. Maybe that brutal winter was good for something. I think maybe as one gains some age, one begins to appreciate the beauty that nature brings. So I was pondering that thought of beauty as I drove down to St. Mary’s College yesterday (past what’s left of the cherry trees in the old “flattop” area) to hear the piano talk by Brian Ganz.

A somewhat curious observation, it seems that the majority of the audience sits on the left side of the auditorium, which is the keyboard side of the piano, and relatively few choose (as I do) to sit on the right hand side. I would say that approximately 80% of those in attendance were on that side. The only thing I can think of is that it does afford a view of the pianist’s hands, but I’m not sure that adds anything (remember I’m a neophyte). In fact, I might offer the thought that you could get caught up in watching the technique to the detriment of enjoying the music. That used to happen to me when I watched finger picking guitarists.

Anyway, Mr. Ganz came out on stage, and the first thing he did was move the piano closer to the audience. To my surprise, after saying that this was the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth (there is some confusion as to the exact date), he recounted a story from his youth, about age 11. He said he was listening to a Chopin piece, and he literally doubled over in pain trying to figure out why it was so “beautiful”. That term again, which led him to wonder “what is beauty”. He said he had arrived at eight words that to him embodied (I think musical) beauty. They were: Mystery, Soulful, Counterpoint, Cantabile, Creativity, Sophistication, Brilliance, and Strangeness.

He then proceeded to demonstrate each of these in a few pieces by Chopin, two Mazurkas, and one Etude. We learned about “resolving”, counter point (and how Chopin differed from Bach) Cadences, which were demonstrated before playing the complete piece. “Listen for this”; “remember this phrase”; “here is a 2-1, a 5-1, and even a 4-1 cadence”. Unfortunately with the Feeder’s untrained ear, it was hard for me to pick out those when the complete pieces were played.

What I do know was that all three of the pieces (Op 17 #4 (the “mourner’s face”; 24#4; 25 #7 (the “Aeolian Harp” etude), were in fact, beautiful. So what makes it beautiful? Who knows. Maybe you can’t describe it, and it may be in that eye of the beholder, but you know it when you hear/see (and okay, taste) it. Keep those eyes and senses open, it’s all about us.

And, lastly with Easter approaching don’t forget to


Even if it’s for that slice of ham, canned yams with marshmallows, pineapple rings and cherries. It’s about the family and friends.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Smoke 'em if you Half 'em....

In the Flutter's never ending quest to seek out the exotic foods from all corners of the….well, in all honesty we face the daily “what shall we eat tonight?” decision, often resorting to the European model of “buy it on the way home”. So yesterday MFO shows up with the following package:

Of course we knew there was such a thing, because carts (like the Leonardtown “hot dog guy") feature them, and you hear about them but we never knew you could just go out and buy them. And why should they have an image of the capitol on them?

Well, a cursory investigation turned up the following facts about “half smokes”:

They are allegedly “native” to the DC region
They date from as early as 1930 accredited to a Raymond Briggs
There are varying theories as to the genesis of the name “half smoke”
1)it was originally made of half beef and half pork and the preparation
involved smoking
2)the smoking was only done “halfway” (whatever that means)
3)many places prepare them by splitting and grilling them
After Briggs sold the meat packing business the quality declined
Ben’s Chili Bowl has become linked (pun intended) with a Half Smoke, normally served smothered in chili.

I noted that the package we had was from Virginia, but okay, let’s give them a try. First, take them out of the package

Then, start the miserable excuse for a grill and get it hot (which in this case means “as warm as possible”.

Lift the lid occasionally and see how they’re doing, remembering they are loaded with fat

when charred to your liking, bring them in the house

Our “serving suggestion” turned out to be a top sliced bun with standard “hot dog” presentation, i.e., mustard, onion, and ketchup. They were actually pretty good, fairly spicy, very dense. I think given a choice unless I could find Mr. Briggs, I would rather go to the (Johnsonville) Brat (prepared a la Bill).

Back to the Shore for a minute:

Funny how these things work. After the trip to the ES we got our latest issue of “Washingtonian” delivered and guess what? There is an article called “Bargains by the Bay”, which highlights dining in Talbot County, covering Oxford, St. Michaels, and Easton, and if you bring the article (during April) you can get a special deal. The restaurants in Artful(sic) Easton are: Bartlett Pear Inn, Scossa, Mason’s and Hunter’s Tavern in the Tidewater Inn.. We’re not so dumb..I feel another trip coming on…where we of course would be


Stuff -

The Doo Dah Deli space in Leonardtown will apparently be a steak/seafood affair

Check out "Google" today. click on the logo. they had me going until i remembered the date today. Speaking of which, since today is the day it is, the year is a quarter over... good heavens!!

At noon today is another Piano talk by Brian Ganz in the usual place (St. Mary's Hall). Has to do with Chopin's Birthday