Plus this breaking news - it appears that Jay is on his way to Annapolis to have his baby girl, who is due tomorrow. Or perhaps a better way to put this is that Jay and Holly are on the way to have their baby girl. Mandrell is all set to be on the line for dinner service, and we all anxiously await the good news from the Western Shore. Jay, if you recall, is the sous-chef extraordinaire who has been at BT for well over a year now, and whom we would hope to never be without.
Last night's prix-fixe main course was another one of Kevin's experimental dishes, which may make it to the regular menu, or, perhaps a version will be part of the 2013 New Year's Eve menu, already in progress (on paper at least).
First course was a portabella mushroom baked with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, with a balsamic dressed mixed green salad.
The entrée was reminiscent of a scotch egg, only this was total pork.
He took a pork tenderloin, wrapped the loin in pork sausage that he had added spring onions and cilantro to, and slow roasted them to keep the tenderloin juicy.
Final presentation looked like this. A mustard sauce completed the dish. Comments were mostly positive, with one suggestion that a third tier of flavor between the tenderloin and the sausage would be welcome in the next tweaking. It sure looked good, and guess what! there's one order left!
Dessert was Linzer torte, which is one of my favorite pastries:
Overall I would say it was a very satisfying menu.
In other food photos, this is the Grey Sole last night, on its stew of peppers and onions, with a couple of sea scallops gracing the top.
Another version of the SBF veal stew involved puff pastry, with a cream sauce. That is my kind of stew.
And lastly, a shot of the SBF surf and turf from Saturday night. For obvious reasons, this special did not last the night.
Now, to ThanksGiving. It's not too early to start making those plans. (Some of us have been thinking about this meal since the start of the Holiday Season, October 4th.) As many know, Brooks Tavern is not open for that most sacred of food holidays. We all take that day off, to appreciate what we have at and around our table for one special meal. Last year, if you remember, our turkey looked like this:
And it probably will again this November 28th. We've ordered our bird from TA Farms, out of Wyoming Delaware, which we will be picking up the preceding Monday so Kevin can get it oven ready in time for dinner on Thursday. ThanksGiving - as I've repeated each year - is my favorite holiday, and one which I prefer to spend in my own back yard.
That being said, there are times when that is not possible or even desirable. I can think of at least two relatively recent ThanksGiving Dinners that Kevin and I spent at a commercial kitchen's table, with much pleasure and a sort of relief in straying from the usual time honored traditions. The DuPont Hotel was the site of these occasions, and I would heartily recommend that experience. The common rooms at this Wilmington centerpiece are festive any time of year, and made more so for the winter holiday season. The buffet they offer is bounteous and well prepared and the service is courteous and professional. The option of dining a la carte in the famous and opulent Green Room is available as well this year, which, while a little pricier, is where you would probably find me if this were a year for venturing out. In an hour's drive you can seat yourself at a special holiday table that is something to be thankful for in its own right.
Closer to home, there are options both buffet and a la carte to select from, if you are not home bound this ThanksGiving. Most famously is the BayWolf, which will once again be offering its annual ThanksGiving Buffet. Also in Rock Hall, the Inn at the Osprey has their a la carte ThanksGiving menu ready for your perusal here on the web site. A bonus to heading to Rock Hall for ThanksGiving would be to take a ride out to Eastern Neck before dinner, to see if the Tundra Swan have arrived yet.
Toward the Northern End of the county, The Kitty Knight House will be serving on ThanksGiving Day, with a very tempting buffet menu at a very reasonable $33 per person. A little further afield would take you to the Schaefer's Canal House, where a buffet with a large, varied menu will be served, most notably until 8PM on T-Day, which is convenient for those who prefer to dine a little later in the day. The Bayard House, also located in Chesapeake City, but on this side of the canal, will be doing an a la carte menu for ThanksGiving diners, seen here. Either of these historic venues would involve a relaxing drive along country roads, with perhaps a stop to watch eagles fly across the November sky. Not bad.
Heading south on Route 213 could take you to the Fisherman's Inn, the recent site of the world's best (IMHO) oyster stew. The trains will be running and a traditional Turkey Dinner will be served in addition to the Inn's regular menu, beginning at 11AM. Start off with that oyster stew and you will be mightily thankful! In the same neighborhood, the airy and light dining room of Bridges will be open, serving a TG meal as well as their regular menu, from 11 until 5.
I'm sure there are other equally attractive options out there, and while there doesn't seem to be a whole lot in Chestertown proper in the way of restaurant dining, there are many Eastern Shore experiences to be had a short and scenic drive a way.
We will up date this list if possible; hopefully some additional suggestions will present themselves. Meanwhile, we will keep the ThanksGiving story going for these two weeks leading up to the 28th, including a recipe or two to share and some favorite menu inclusions as told by others. We will also be finding out what the BT cooks are going to be serving up at their own ThanksGiving Table.
Meanwhile, have a "grand" day and...