Tag Archives: food

A capital getaway

We just got in from a mini-getaway in our state capital of Annapolis, so close in distance from our home, yet so far away in atmosphere.

The occasion blended a rhythm and blues show, a friend’s birthday party and a gift certificate for a local bed and breakfast into a 16-hour vacation.

To sketch a picture of Annapolis for those who haven’t been there, it sits on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and, in addition to being the state capital, it is home to the United States Naval Academy. Its narrow streets are lined with restaurants, crab houses, craft shops, taverns and trendy boutiques. It also hosts an impressive 500-seat music venue, the Ram’s Head Tavern, where we attended a superb performance by the Tom Principato Band.

Our base of operations for this 16-hour vacation was a local inn, sadly, the kind of place you want to stay for no longer than the time between putting your tired head on the pillow and going downstairs for breakfast. I don’t mean to be unkind, but camping might have been cleaner and more comfortable. There’s no lobby; you come in through the kitchen of the deli below, to the cash register, which serves as the front desk. If you come back after 11:30 p.m., which we did, you have to climb what is essentially their fire escape to the third floor.

The real treasure, however, was the deli, rather, delly, below the inn. It turns out that Chick & Ruth’s Delly is a well known, family-run Annapolis landmark that’s been in business 45 years. And, while it’s very much a local hangout, I now recall it was featured recently in The Washington Post magazine recently as a favorite for brunch.

“Here you go, sweetie pie,” was how my husband’s crab omelet was served. ‘Nuff said.

We bought fresh crab cakes to cook at home tonight, just to extend the delly experience. I just hope no one expects a side of “sweetie pie” with those.

Do take a minute to peruse their website. Who knows, you might be interested in one of their Colossal Challenges, involving a three-pound deli (er, delly) sandwich, a three-pound hamburger or a six-pound milkshake. Read about the family who started and still runs the place and how the kids got started serving behind the counter, standing on milk crates. And don’t miss the web page that highlights all the couples who got engaged at the Delly.

Best of all, go to Chick & Ruth’s at 8:30 a.m. on any weekday, 9:30 any weekend day, and join your fellow patrons in the Pledge of Allegiance.

God bless America, the great state of Maryland and Chick & Ruth’s Delly.


Filed under Food, Music, Travel

Chili Bowl XLV scorecard

Monday morning quarterbacks are analyzing who did what right and wrong yesterday and assessing how outcomes measured up to predictions. I’m reviewing a scorecard of my own sinful Super Bowl performance.

In my Saturday blog post, I anticipated there would be chili, but anticipated avoiding it—and beer—in the spirit of complying with my prescribed dietary restrictions. It’s lonely being a laryngopharyngeal reflux disease sufferer while attending a chili party at which 10 or more varieties of chili are featured. My will power lasted long enough for me to hang up my coat.

After enjoying samples—two to three spoonfuls each—of nine different chilis, I admitted failure. And went to another party.

In all, let the scorecard show that, after 25 bites of forbidden, delicious chili (which we’ll count as one super sin), I consumed enough chips and dip to collapse into a gluttonous stupor. I scooped up layered Mexican dip and chili con queso and discovered a yummy new dip – pepperoni cream cheese.

The only way to shock myself back into consciousness was with two large cookies and a cupcake, followed by two extra strength Tums and a Zantac. At least let the scorecard show that the only thing I drank was water.

To sum it up, the final score of Super Bowl XLV was Sins 7, Virtues 1. Thank goodness the season is over.

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Filed under Food, Health, Sports and Recreation

Poor girl’s pâté

I am stuck in town this weekend, which means, once again, I will be missing the annual Shelby, North Carolina, Fall Festival and Livermush Expo. Another year I won’t be crowned Livermush Queen.

Livermush is indigenous to the South and specifically to Western North Carolina. Lest you assume it is the same as scrapple, allow me to point out the distinctions. Both are composed of pig liver, head parts and cornmeal, commonly seasoned with pepper and sage and fried with grease in a skillet until crisp. By definition, livermush must contain liver; scrapple may but doesn’t have to. Scrapple originated in Pennsylvania.

The first time I tasted scrapple was on a camping trip with my aunt and uncle. Oh, how I loved that first crunch, then the  mush.  Mmmm-mm.

My husband was born and reared in Shelby. I was interested to learn of the first Fall Festival and Livermush Expo in 1987. I think they crowned a Livermush Queen in those days, but that rite now appears absent from the Expo. I remember telling my in-laws how cool I thought it was that Shelby had a livermush festival, noting that I was a big fan of the stuff. My mother-in-law was horrified. Apparently not everyone in Shelby enjoys livermush. I believe she said only “those of poor breeding” have a taste for such things. I further embarrassed myself—and her—when I ordered it at breakfast once. I feel bad about that.

My husband’s parents have since passed away. We rarely visit Shelby but for the occasional funeral or Shelby High reunion. But before I die, I hope to attend this momentous event. I’d visit all the exhibits, taste one of Mack’s famous livermush sandwiches, sample the delicacy on a stick, maybe sip some sweet tea.

Yep, that’s another one for the bucket list. I suspect I’ll be going alone.

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Filed under Food, Travel

Difficult breakup

Today is my first day without coffee since 1975.

After a beautiful 35-year friendship, I am going to try and break it off.

Without dwelling too much on my health issues of late, let’s just leave it that I’ve come to terms with the reality that the painfully strict diet my doctor has prescribed may actually help me. The flip side of this reality is that I can no longer have any of the beverages I like—including coffee, orange juice, milk, sparkling water, beer or wine. I also can’t have 90 percent of the foods I enjoy, which amount to about 95 percent of the foods in existence on the planet. Basically, if it’s acidic, or acid-producing, I can’t have it.

I am on Day 11 of almost total compliance. The final step is the coffee. Luckily, I don’t need to give up caffeine altogether, and I can have limited kinds of tea.

Even so, people battling addictions often say the substance itself is only part of the challenge. It’s the ritual that’s difficult to give up.

I’ve always said I could give up wine before I could give up coffee.

But it’s not about the caffeine. Coffee is my morning companion. I awake to its aroma. A mug of the warm elixir helps me greet the day with hope and enthusiasm. It goes so well with the newspaper.

I ask for your patience. If you see a mistake in the blog, or sense a more subdued tone than normal, please be kind. Remember I’ve just lost my best friend.

Remember there’s no blog tomorrow. I’ll be curled up with the Sunday paper and a steaming mug of hot water. I can’t even have lemon.


Filed under Food, Health