Saturday, October 13, 2012

Annapolis Rocks With Great Food And Scenery

I had the greatest couple of days last week. It started at lunch with two of the most marvelous aunts around plus a pretty great cousin thrown in for extra fun.

We had lunch at a beautiful scenic spot right on the water on the eastern shore of Maryland, The Narrows

If you’re at all familiar with the Eastern Shore, you’ll know that it means one thing – crab!!! So first I had it in the creamiest soup of the century and then in a plate of mini crab cakes. I didn’t need any bun or other things. It was pure and simple CRAB in mini cake form. Pretty great.

The soup tasted as rich as the recipe (at the end of the post) indicates. It WAS a small(ish) portion, thankfully. 

The little crab cakes were pure deliciousness. 

Look at this Iceberg Wedge Salad - 

SO GOOD! I was glad I was only tasting it and not required to eat every last crispy, salty, cheesy, yummy morsel. 

The Crème Brulée was pretty and good. 

After more family visiting, I conquered my fear of bridges (you didn’t know that about me, did you?) and drove over a fairly frightening one – The Bay Bridge. Reading this did not help me:
The view from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is always spectacular.  You will see lots of sail boats and other pleasure boats on the Bay during nice summer days.  Note:  Only passengers should be looking at the scenery - the bridges do not have full road shoulders and, therefore, do not offer motorists the same maneuvering space found on other roadways to avoid accidents, therefore it's important for drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

See? I wasn’t kidding…Yikes! I just kept trying to remember to breathe as I crossed it. 

I made it! And a wonderful visit to Annapolis awaited me with kid #2, S(on).

Here’s what we did and, most importantly, WHERE we ate A LOT of crab:

Severn Inn, which, not surprisingly, is on the Severn River, overlooked the Naval Academy and was the best meal we had. IT was as comfortable as a plush yacht (I would guess) with friendly service and great food. 

I had an excellent and very cold Cosmo. 

We started with the Asian Tapas Plate.


The Crab Spring Roll was the best – so hot and crunchy and bursting with fresh crab flavor. The Fried Calamari were done well and the Tuna Sashimi  and Spicy Tuna Roll were good too. (I like bringing in different flavors and cooking styles to traditional restaurants. Hence my love of Fusion Cuisine, which is so common now that it's hard to find a restaurant that doesn't include a mixing of cuisines in at least some of its dishes.)

My scallop entrée was perfectly cooked and served with something a little unusual - Beef Short Rib Ravioli and a wild mushroom ragout! It was almost like eating two different dishes on the same plate, but, at the time, each was so good that I didn’t think about the incongruence. 

The Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Ganache was worth at least at bite. Luckily, I had a young man with a hollow leg to finish everything.

The next morning we went on a tour of the incredibly impressive Naval Academy

If I saw a Naval (or Marine) midship-person (they say midshipmen) now, I would throw my arms around him or her and say YOU are really amazing and thank you for everything you do! 

The high point of the tour was watching “Formation”, which happens every day at noon. The entire student body of 4000 midshipman comes together and marches in “formation” with music and shouted orders and even some swords thrown in. It was grand and striking and stirring.


Lunch awaited us at another waterfront restaurant, Carrol’s Creek, directly across a drawbridge from the Annapolis Yacht Club. 


S started with Blue Point Oysters, which he liked enough to eat in seconds. 

The main courses were okay, but the shrimp in my salad were overcooked. 

The view and brilliant blue skies made up for it though. 


S enjoyed his crab cake and I also thought it was good.

In the afternoon we went to the hugely popular Annapolis Boat Show. I was thrilled because I had great memories of going to the New York Boat Show every year as a kid. 

I remember walking away with bags full of free loot and going aboard all the huge yachts inside the convention center. This was outside, which was a bit different and it was for sail boats. (The yachts were the next weekend.) 


There were enormous lines to get ON the boats, so we just walked around while I looked for free stuff. It WAS a beautiful day and the boats were incredible, but I had told S that we would be getting a lot of really cool sailing paraphernalia. At the end of the afternoon, THIS was all the loot we scored – 3 (not terribly well-made) tote bags, 5 pens (3 from the same stand) and one buoy-like key chain. It was a bit of a bust haul-wise. Oh well.

Dinner that night was right alongside the docks where all the boat show action was happening - at Pusser’s Caribbean Grille. I had heard great things about this place and that it was always packed. 

It WAS really packed, but it had a this-is-where-the-tourists-go type of atmosphere, plus the tables were sticky. But the food was better than it needed to be. I liked my Peach Sangria. 

The Coconut Rum Shrimp starter was crisp and hot. I could have used the rum on the side, though, since I tasted none in the dish. (I guess my hands were too sticky to take a picture.)

For entrees, my scallops were big and juicy and cooked well and the curried coconut sauce was a great addition. 

S liked his steak, but I hated the spice that was in his accompanying crabcake. (Dunno what it was – tons of Old Bay?) 

As good as all the food was and as beautiful as the boats and scenery were, it was the company that was the best part of this short trip. 

First my lovely aunts and then S were completely easy and fun to be with. If you’re dealing with difficult young children or babies at the moment, or if you’re going through the inevitably challenging teenage years, have some patience and know that your kids will turn into delightful people who are wonderful to spend time with.

Next time, I’ll tell you about another highlight of our trip – a visit to The Taste Of DC food, beer and wine fair.

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Here is the promised recipe:

The Narrows’ Cream of Crab Soup (serves 4 to 6)
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
1 small carrot, grated
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbl. dry sherry
1 tbl. chicken base
½ tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. old bay

2 tbls. unsalted butter
3 tbls. all purpose flour 
Remove any cartilage from the crabmeat.

In a thick pot, warm crab meat, carrot, cream, sherry, chicken base and seasoning to slow simmer ---

In a separate pan, toast the roux (flour and butter) for the few minutes until it smells of tasted nuts (do not burn) ---

Add roux to cream – bring back to a simmer – whisk until smooth.

Serve garnished with the chopped parsley and pass a cruet of sherry.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I have always wanted to drive across the Bay Bridge. I feel it's something everyone has to see once. However, I'm not going to go out of my way to go to it. I'm sure eventually I'll have somewhere to go.

I do love the eastern shore, as you well know, even if it is all about that crabby stuff. I was lusting after those ravioli myself as well as that chocolate hazelnut cake!

Sue said...

Remember if YOU drive over that bridge, you can't look. And if I were the passenger, I WOULDN'T look!

The food WAS so good - crabs and all...

Emily said...

Whoo hoo! Looks like a good time! Driving over that bridge would freak me out. I don't think I could do it. Nice work!

I want that chocolate hazelnut cake.