Wish Upon A Dish: May 2013

May 31, 2013

Dry Rub BBQ Wings

If you are looking for a new wing recipe, try this soon. The prep is....well, as easy as measuring two ingredients and placing meat and seasonings in a large zip bag to marinade overnight (or at least 8 hours).

The cooking is as easy as setting your grill with a pan of water down the middle and the heat, whether coals or gas, on both sides of the pan and grill at about 300 degrees for two hours.
Yup, just set and cook. I find that one full chimney of coals will last for two hours as long as I don't open the lid. A charcoal grill can be controlled by opening and closing the vents at the top and bottom of the grill. If you grill does not have a thermometer installed, you will need to buy one with a probe that is placed on the grill or in the meat and that is connected by a wire to the base reader.

Once you get it set to 300 degrees it tends to stay there without watching, so sides can be made and tables can be set. I suggest you buy the large family pack of wings because I could eat a dozen myself.
These are so good, you will never use a sauce again, but feel free to set bowls of different kinds around the table. People of all ages love to dip.

I am not a huge fan of smoke so when I do add chips, they are always a fruit wood. Cherry and apple wood are available every where nowadays. Add the chips in the beginning so it penetrates into the raw meat. Cooked meat does not absorb smoke, you can't get anything into the core when it's already done.

I am making a batch of these this weekend and as long as I have the grill set up, I am cooking a rack of St. Louis ribs and a rack of baby backs.

BBQ Creole Chicken Wings
makes 1 cup rub, enough for 24 wings

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup creole seasoning (my fav is Emeril's but Tony's is another good one)

1. Place chicken wings and rub in a large zip bag and toss to coat. Place in the fridge for minimum 4-5 hours, overnight is better. The sugar will melt and make a sauce. Toss the bag in the garbage and grill away.
2. Do not use the marinade to baste the wings.

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May 28, 2013

Scaloppine in Parchment with Asparagus and Fontina Cheese

When I get a burr in my saddle I just keep going.
"Don't tell me I can't buy any asparagus or you have no more King Salmon!"
I just went to another Shop-Rite owned by a different family and bought a great fresh king salmon steak and a handful of pencil-thin asparagus.

"Told YOU, so THERE, take THAT!!"

I am planning on making these on Saturday and it won't work with anything but King Salmon steaks.
The asparagus was for dinner tonight. While skimming through Marcella's Essential's of Classic Italian Cooking, I found this simple baked dish and for some reason I took a fancy to it.
It was easy, could be prepared earlier in the day and I knew I would need such a dish while planning our Memorial Grill Party.

While this dish called for scaloppine topped with asparagus and melted fontina, I thought mushrooms would go well with the Marsala and an herb angel hair pasta for The Nudge.

This is a great 'Honey I'm bringing my boss home for dinner' dish. No asparagus, use green beans. No fontina, any melting cheese would work well. No Marsala, use a sherry (a sweet one even better).

Two things to remember, if you can get pencil-thin spears of asparagus there is no blanching required, thus making this an even easier dish to prepare.  The only work involved is to saute the scaloppine in a mix of butter and olive oil. Deglaze the pan with Marsala wine, add the mushrooms (optional) and pour the whole mixture over the meat and asparagus. Top with slices of fontina, cover tightly and bake for 20 minutes.

Oh, and did I mention there is no baking dish to scrub? Now I have your attention?
You line the pan with parchment or foil and it gently steams in the oven, making a sauce.
The Nudge liked it and I was told "You could make this one again, I liked it".
Shop-Rite, take a lesson....that's the way you smooth a burr.

Scaloppine in Parchment with Asparagus and Fontina Cheese
makes four servings

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

* 1/2 pound fresh asparagus (nuke thick ones for 1 minute)
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 pound scaloppine, veal or this sliced chicken breast
* 1/4 cup AP flour
* 6 ounces fontina cheese
* 1/3 cup Marsala wine
* Salt & pepper

A baking dish (approx. 9x12)
Cooking parchment, heavy-duty foil or a parchment lined foil

Preheat the oven to 400­° and line the baking pan.

1. Trim the asparagus to the size of the meat. If thick, peel below the head.
2. Put the butter and the oil in a sauté pan, and turn on the heat to high.
3. Season the cutlets with salt & pepper and dredge in flour, patting off any excess.
When the butter foam starts to subside, slip as many pieces of meat as will fit flat in the pan.
Brown evenly on both sides and remove meat to lined baking pan. Repeat with the rest of the meat.
4. Add the wine to the pan, shut off the heat and stir to deglaze.
5. Place the asparagus over the scaloppine, top with the mushrooms (optional), a slice of cheese and cover tightly.
6. Bake for 15 minutes in the upper half of the oven.
7. Remove to a warmed platter.

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May 27, 2013

Arlington Cemetery - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Happy Memorial Day? Does that sound right?
It's not really a happy reason to celebrate and the actual dedication is solemn but I guess it is a celebration to honor all those who gave their life so we could be free.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a very solemn place. We got there just in time to catch the relief commander walking back to quarters. Perfect timing to get a great seat for the next ceremony. It's an interesting ritual and don't leave DC without seeing it. It will change your mind about the duty soldiers feel to the fallen comrades and how seriously the motto "No Man Left Behind" is to each and every one of them.

We happened to get there for a special laying of the wreath presentation.

An impeccably uniformed relief commander appears on the plaza to announce the Changing of the Guard. Soon the new sentinel leaves the Quarters and unlocks the bolt of his or her M-14 rifle to signal to the relief commander to start the ceremony. The relief commander walks out to the Tomb and salutes, then faces the spectators and asks them to stand and stay silent during the ceremony.

The relief commander conducts a detailed white-glove inspection of the weapon, checking each part of the rifle once. Then, the relief commander and the relieving sentinel meet the retiring sentinel at the center of the matted path in front of the Tomb. All three salute the Unknowns who have been symbolically given the Medal of Honor. Then the relief commander orders the relieved sentinel, "Pass on your orders." The current sentinel commands, "Post and orders, remain as directed." The newly posted sentinel replies, "Orders acknowledged," and steps into position on the black mat. When the relief commander passes by, the new sentinel begins walking at a cadence of 90 steps per minute.

The Tomb Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. After the turn, the sentinel executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the sentinel stands between the Tomb and any possible threat. Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed -- the 21-gun salute.
Duty time when not "walking" is spent in the Tomb Guard Quarters below the Memorial Display Room of the Memorial Amphitheater where they study Cemetery "knowledge," clean their weapons and help the rest of their relief prepare for the Changing of the Guard.

The guards also train on their days off.

The Guards of Honor at the Tomb of the Unknowns are highly motivated and are proud to honor all American service members who are "Known But to God."

Have  a great Memorial Day weekend and say a silent "thank you" too those that have given their life for the service to this nation....and to you.

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May 26, 2013

Arlington Cemetery - Part One

I'm trying to coordinate the pics from both the digital camera and my iPad into one cohesive photo album.
Not easy to do when there are over 1000 pictures and my iPad refuses to play nice with my Microsoft computer. I have to jump back and forth between two albums and then edit each one. Then I have to choose the best ones and categorize them by location. This is the first set I chose to work on since I am home.
The entrance to the Arlington Cemetery is indeed impressive. This is the sight you see when you emerge up the escalator from the metro station below. Directly behind us is the bridge over the Potomac where the beginning of The Mall is and the Lincoln Memorial.

Everywhere you look are rows of headstones for the infantry soldiers that died in the service of their country.

They are arranged so that no matter where you should stand (360°) they are all in evenly spaced rows. There is something calmly serene and beautiful about all this, yet sad quiet.

Officer's families have the choice to buy a custom made headstone and these are placed in special locations amongst their men. Not just the military are buried here, There are three President's, a Supreme Court Judge, spouses and even a few politicians.

Between the cemetery entrance and the Lee House, is the grave site of the Kennedy family. This is the view from the site.

On March 3rd, President Kennedy and Charlie Bartlett had made an impromptu Sunday visit to the Custis-Lee mansion. One of the park guides went on to recall that after touring the house the president remarked that the view of Washington, D.C., was so magnificent that he could stay forever — a statement which seemed to confirm their selection of the grave site.

The markers are of JFK, Jacqueline, their first son and a still born daughter that was not named.
The eternal flame is being replaced and a temporary one has been set off to the side. It is the only time it was shut off and re-lit since JFK was buried.
Mrs. Kennedy had expressed a desire to mark the president's grave with an eternal flame similar to that of the French Unknown Soldier in Paris.

Surrounding the site is a concrete wall that is broken into sections, and in each section are quotes from speeches President Kennedy made.

Looking back up the hill is the Lee House.
Arlington Cemetery was built on the property of Robert E. Lee. When he surrendered, the government took his land to use as a place to bury the soldiers killed in action on both sides of the Civil War.

I suggest that if you are planning on visiting the cemetery, pay for the trolley. You can get off and on any time you wish and if you plan on also visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it will save you time to get it all in. For seniors and small children, it's a must.

My next set of pictures will be the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and will be posted on the best day of the year to do so....Memorial Day.
Stay tuned for part two.

May 25, 2013

An American Memorial Day Celebration

We decided to do an All American dinner this Memorial Weekend, to support as many Americans as one little family of five could. US wild caught King Salmon, Pee Wee Idaho potatoes, locally grown green beans and zucchini, triple chocolate brownie sundaes with Ben & Jerry's Vermont's Best Vanilla and Bosco (whoo hoo!).

After the last few months of disturbing news, both nature and human caused, I think that this Memorial Day,  as we celebrate the memory of all our fallen soldiers, we should also celebrate our living indefatigable American Spirit.

To all of us, past and present, I have never been more honored to call myself American.
Then I turn on the TV to see THE NEW Bridezillas Boot Camp.
Then I remember I have an OFF button.........
Another reason to give thanks.

Have a great weekend!!

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May 24, 2013

Grilled Vegetables with Pesto Vinaigrette

Is it really Memorial Day weekend?

I woke up in time to hear The Nudge remind me to check out the salmon when I went to the market today.

"Huh? Salmon?" What salmon.....

"For this weekend, see if anything looks good."
"This weekend?" OMG, is this weekend Memorial Day? I had completely forgotten. The end of May, already....

Seems I loose a week every month. I need to slow down and be more productive with my hours. I have a habit of walking in and out of the same room three times before I finally do what I wanted to do.

I was going to make a baked chicken & asparagus dinner tonight but I need to really open and clean the grill so I changed that to replicate a meal I had at Brio's Tuscan Grille in Baltimore.
Since salmon was on the menu for this weekend, why not grill a medley of vegetables and a steak?
A petite fillet of beef with a medley of vegetables tossed in a pesto vinaigrette.

I could do everything on the grill and only use one platter. I took out my iPad and started a new shopping list.

1 8oz fillet mignon (cut in half)
1 sweet potato
1 bunch green beans
1 red pepper
1 summer squash
1 container low fat pesto

When you choose your vegetables, try to vary the colors. They just looked so fresh next to a steak.
I would have bought asparagus but my market was sold out so I subbed the summer squash. I love zucchini but it tends to become limp when grilled.
I sliced the vegetables for grilling (larger than the spaces on your grill) and then chopped them for presentation. Toss in olive oil and salt & pepper and grill away. I had a bowl with the vinaigrette on the side and as they grilled, I dropped them in. The warm vegetables will soak up the vinaigrette.
This was excellent, I am upset I have not made this before. So simple, so flavorful and so healthy.

This meal conforms to a Paleo, South Beach, and diabetic meal plan and without the meat, Vegetarian and Vegan if you use a dairy-free pesto.
Since I pledged to make my hours more productive, I will serve the remaining pesto on Friday night with a package of tortellini (in my freezer) with any remaining vegetables (+ 1 chopped tomato) that didn't get consumed.
Tossed together while the pasta is still warm, it will be served at room temperature.

Now I have lots of time to wash the windows.
Gee, maybe I need to rethink this.

Pesto Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 0
* 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 3 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin preferred
* 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
* salt & pepper to taste

I put everything into a container, snapped on a lid and shook. The pesto and honey will act as an emulsifier, so if it's too thick to drizzle, add more vinegar. I bet after you make this vinaigrette you will keep a container of pesto in your freezer (measured into small condiment cups) so that the next time you grill vegetables you will have it on hand. Something so simple, can only be wonderful and this does not taste like pesto straight up. I can guarantee non pesto people will love this.

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May 22, 2013

Chicken Under A Brick

I have grilled spatch-cocked chickens quite a few times. It's an excellent way to expose the skin to the hot grill while allowing it to cook evenly. Image, a crispy, moist tender whole chicken in thirty minutes.

To The Nudge, it's all about the skin. For me it's having the breast and dark meat cooked completely in the same time.
What if it's raining or you can't grill? This is where the Italians are, once again, genius with foods.

You butterfly the roaster, start it on the stove, skin side down, place a pan over the smaller skillet on the chicken and place weight in that pan (like a brick or a heavy cast iron pan), brown for 10 minutes, remove the weighted pan and place a few slices of lemons in the cavity. Replace the weighed pan and roast in the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
My new favorite way to dress a roasted chicken is with a simple olive oil, white wine, lemon and chicken broth drizzle.

I found these teeny-tiny baby potatoes that I started roasting in the oven while it was preheating. The potatoes and the chicken were done at the same time. So far as easy as it goes.
While they were roasting I steamed a bunch of green beans for 7 minutes. Toss them in the drizzle, serve with the chicken and the potatoes.

This can also be done on the grill. Set up a two zone grill. Coals in one half, a drip pan in the other.
Place the skin side down directly on the coal side and crisp the skin. It may flare up here and there but just move it around until you can see the edges getting a nice brown color. Flip it over, skin side up and move it over on top of the drip pan. Cover the grill and leave it be for at least 25-30 minutes (depends on hot hot the coals still are).The beauty of grilling with this technique vs. the beer-can chicken is that it cooks in half the time and if you are like us and grill almost every night in the spring-summer-fall, there are those nights when dinner in 75 just won't cut it.

The other reason for spatch-cock grilling is the ability to stuff all kinds of good herbs under the skin where it stays there during the cooking time. The Nudge loved the herb butter under the skin this time around.

Chicken Under a Brick
makes 1 roasted chicken

* 1 whole chicken, backbone removed and breast bone broken
* 1 tablespoon butter & olive oil
* 1 large clove garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon both dried rosemary and thyme leaves
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 6 lemon slices
* 1/4 cup lemon juice

Pre-heat your oven to 400°.
Make a marinade of the butter, garlic, zest, salt & pepper, rosemary and thyme leaves.
With your finger carefully separate the skin from the meat and spread the marinade as far as you can without breaking the skin.
Let it sit for at least 30 minutes but up to 1 hour.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay the marinated chicken in the pan, skin side down. Oil the bottom of another large saute pan, lay it on top of the chickens and place bricks or weights in the second saute pan. Cook the chicken until the skin starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Place the whole shootin' match in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and remove the weights and the top pan. At this point the skin should be lovely and dark brown. If the skin has no color, slide it under the broiler for 5 minutes.
Check the chicken for doneness, it should be cooked through but still succulent and juicy. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve on a large platter.

Remove the excess fat from the saute pan and add the white wine. Cook over high heat until the wine has reduced by more than half. Add a splash of chicken broth (optional), a drizzle of olive oil, the roasted lemon slices from the chicken and the lemon juice, season with salt and reduce by half.

Arrange chicken on serving plates or a platter. Spoon the juices over.
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May 21, 2013

Healthy Brunch Dish - Recipe Redux Challenge, May 2013

The theme for our May Recipe Redux Challenge is to create a "Healthy Brunch Dish".
Tired of casseroles and wanting to stay away from very traditional brunch dishes, I thought of what I would want on a buffet table if I was invited to a shower brunch.

When ever I make anything baked or placed on pieces of crostini, they are usually the first to disappear.
I love panzanella salads so what better dish to make than a deconstructed panzanella.

A true panzanella contains garlic, anchovy, capers, red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet onion. A splash of good quality olive oil and very good red wine vinegar tossed with firm, gutsy, country bread that is toasted and cut into cubes. Tell me that doesn't sound like the makings for bruschetta.

I got to work dicing all my vegetables into 1/4" cubes and instead of anchovies and capers, I added prosciutto for that salty component.
The other vegetable not often found in Italian salads is avocado and I thought it was about time I embraced this wonder food and bruschetta, the perfect vehicle.

When I know I am making bruschetta I roast two heads of garlic and mash them with a touch of olive oil and salt. This is the 'butter' for the bread. It also helps to stop the vegetable juices from making the bread soggy which in the case of finger foods, is a good thing.

At home I lay out the ingredients and we make our own but entertaining demands a composed platter.
Make 1/3 with avocado, 1/3 with extra basil and and 1/3 plain. Let your guests choose. I would also place extra avocado in a bowl for those that want more.

Panzanella Bruschetta

makes 10-12

* 10" loaf of crusty bread, sliced into 3/8" slices
* 1 medium tomato, sliced, salted and drained on towels
* 1 thick slice prosciutto
* 2" slice of fresh mozzarella
* 1 roasted red or yellow pepper
* 1/4" red onion
* 1 large garlic clove, minced
* 10 leaves of basil
* 1 tablespoon good quality red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
* 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Fresh black pepper
* Sea salt
* 1/2 medium avocado
* 2 heads of roasted garlic

Toast or grill the bread until it browned on both sides.
Dice all the vegetables into 1/4" cubes.
Mince the basil and mash the roasted garlic.
Place everything in a large bowl and add the oil, vinegar, pepper and salt to taste.
Spread garlic paste on slices of toasted bread, spoon a tablespoon of vegetable mixture on top of paste and place on a large platter. Sprinkle more basil for garnish and drizzle more oil on each.

This is such a nice diversion from the plain tomato & onion bruschetta, people will want to know what you added.
A great dish to have al fresco with a light Sangria before a grilled dinner, or as an hors d'oeuvre on a brunch table.
Healthy, flavorful and easy. Make only what you think your guests will eat because the mozzarella does not hold well overnight.

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May 20, 2013

Demon Bridge

Yes, I'm home and finally all caught up with emails and call backs, food shopping, bill pay, and most important.....laundry.
The kitties are back to their usual Sunday morning routine and very happy things have settled down.

See that pic of a bridge from our car? That's the view as we approached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I have never seen a bridge that high and long, so I grabbed a quick pic. I have also never been more paranoid. I had to close my eyes and swallow a few times. Being slightly afraid of heights, I was not prepared. Once back on Terra Firma I told The Nudge I am never going back over that "demon bridge" again.

He quietly informed me that in order to see Annapolis we have no choice but to cross the "demon bridge".
I actually took out the map to see if there was another crossing up by Baltimore, but this was the only bridge over the Chesapeake Bay.


There was no way out of this and I know, although he wasn't saying, he was as spooked as I was.
No shoulder and an open rail with ongoing traffic coming right at you, would make anyone unhappy.

After having a stiff margarita, the bartender heard us talking and informed us that there were two bridges. A newer one and the old one. The newer one had concrete walls so you could not see straight down and there were shoulders and a fatter dividing line.
Maybe we could do this.

Looking at it from this distance, it looks doable and quite serene.
Who was I trying to kid? I had no choice but to buck it up and act like a 'man'.

Oh, by the way, that other 'man' in the front seat took out the map and decided he was going to save the day. He found a route home he said for me so that "I would never be required to cross that "demon bridge" again".
For me? Honestly, who was he trying to kid?

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May 18, 2013

Kent Island Local Bar

I thought I would share some pics of one of the few bars we patronized on the island. This one was across the parking lot of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Other fun part of all the bars in Maryland is Happy Hours. New Jersey out-lawed happy hours years ago. I actually understand their reasoning. No one in Baltimore or DC drives, so drink away people's, no DUI or DWI there and on the bay, there are so many of them you walk out the door of your hotel and sit on a bar stool. I miss happy hours. Food and drink so cheap, why would you leave.....BINGO. Now you got it!!

The bars on Kent's Narrows (west coast Chesapeake Bay) remind me of the ones at the Jersey Shore and all the ones in Key West. They are colorful and jammed packed with local signage and articles, hung everywhere.

Always busy with locals, they are filled with the nicest people we have met in a long time.
Actually, to be fair, every place we were this trip was as pleasant as can be and I was never shown any attitude when asking for information of any kind.
Two young college girls stopped by our machine when they noticed we had no clue how to buy a week 'Short Pass' for the Metro, and personally talked us through it.
Imagine that happening in NYC?!?!!!!
No way, man. I've been there.

As much fun as they are, a problem with all these same-themed bars.....same-themed menus and by our last day here, we were jonesing for Italian.

Soon to be on our way home, we both agreed our highlight had to be, hands-down, the Aquarium in Baltimore. I have a ton of pics but that's for when I get home and can spend a day editing those.

Tomorrow we head home to hug the stuffing out of our kitties.
Have a great day and hug a stranger.....well, let's start with something more hygienic.....a smile is a good start.
Tally Ho!!!

May 17, 2013

John Stevens, Ltd. (Updated)

Note from me: I booted my computer and found out that half the pictures I downloaded into Blogger from my iPad, never showed up here. I don't know why that happens but there are a few blogs I follow that pics are always missing and I assume they must blog using an Apple of some sort and don't realize there pics are non-existent. Because I don't want anyone to think I forgot to include pics that match the text, I am updating all my vacation blogs to include all the content that should be there.

Did I ever mention I married a leprechaun? Well, I did. I think that it's his aura that rubs off on me when something astonishing happens. Oh, and Gourmet magazine always seems to play a part.

About 15 years ago, I got the chance to travel to Baltimore on a business trip The Nudge attended that would extend right into the weekend. Back then Gourmet magazine was my travel guide and I religiously saved any article about recommended restaurants in cities we pegged as 'doable before we die', so with one of their food in Baltimore articles in hand, I had a mission to plan places to eat in the Inner Harbor and one for dinner on our next day together.

I scoped out a Mexican restaurant (no longer in business) a sidewalk away from the water were we could drink a pitcher of sangria, watch the foot traffic and munch on great salsa and chips. For dinner, a water taxi stop to Fells Point where a place resided, highly recommended in that food article.

Perfect day, with a night that started out on schedule. Problem was that nothing we do is ever that smooth. As we went shopping to kill time till we got hungry, we did not realize it was getting dark. Restaurant reviews back then tended to focus, not about the architecture or decor of a restaurant, but on the food and I could not find John Stevens Ltd if my life depended on it. We walked till we were close to 'not enough time to eat and still catch the last ferry of the night', and headed back to the wharf, in total defeat.
Standing on the wharf, I jumped up on a wall for a final look around and there on a small window I spotted this small, simple neon sign that spelled out, what I refused to accept, was the actual place we spent over 30 minutes trying to locate.......OMG, it was a dump!!! A seedy bar on the corner of a street I would be afraid to walk down at night, I grabbed The Nudge's hand and ran as fast as I could. If it was good enough for Gourmet, it was certainly good enough for us.

Back to present day, and a little history. Fells point is one of the oldest cities in Baltimore, a gem and even though the houses and new condos start at a cool million, they agreed to leave the "seedier section" the way it was and embrace it's history. THE place the Navy let their boys burn off steam when in port, prompted a boom for bar after bar to pop up.
This was one thing I was sure had changed over all those years.
Thank the powers that be (or rub a leprechaun's back) that I was dead wrong.

I was a little worried we would have to wait for a table even though we made a reservation weeks ago, this was Mother's Day and all the restaurants were running special dinners.
I have to say I timed this perfectly. The place was empty this time of day between rushes, but I knew that in a few hours those tables would be filled. In the meantime, we had our waitress all to ourselves.

They tried to seat us inside a small dining room until I spotted the only table for two back in the courtyard we ate in last time, so you know I had to ask.
It is true what they say about that squeaky wheel.
Bestest Anniversary dinner EVER!!

I could not believe they had the same menu. I'm not kidding.

Same exact dishes, the same exact plastic coated menu. Now that takes guts. Anything updated went on that blackboard out front and with plenty of new places opening all around them, these really good ones, just keep trucking along.
I was one happy puppy.

While the crab cakes were exceptional back then, I remembered the mussels more. They were so good we ordered seconds. Since The Nudge's circle of food favs has grown, his once favorite mussels now take a back seat to oysters. Hell, I even take a back seat to those bivalves!
It was no surprise to him when I refused to give him a taste, did he offer me?

I don't think so.

We both picked crab for our entrees. Me, the sautéed soft shells and The Nudge decided on the cakes.
I say we both choose well, but I had a much better plan.

One thing you are always wary of when returning to a memorable dinner spot, the one thing you praised as "the best ever" is not anymore. These crab cakes were proclaimed "exceeded all expectations"! I proposed a share of our bounty. I think I got the better deal when The Nudge agreed to give one of his cakes for one of my soft shelled crabs.

On the way out, I snapped a pic of the bar and while I was taking out my iPad, someone spotted the TV.

The Nudge wanted to see the end of the golf tournament, so we plopped on a stool and had a drink. I just love that in ten years, this place never changed an inch.

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