Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oliver's on Maryland Avenue

It's the cutest little shop
right on Maryland Avenue
full of gorgeous, unique clothes
all sorts of things - tops shoes dresses hats bags
and the best part - sooo affordable
because it's all used, but very gently so
I'd say it's my new favorite place to shop for myself downtown

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quote of the Night

"Excuse me sir, are we seated in the drunk section?" we asked our Double T server last night.

"No, no," he assured us. "It's a drunk restaurant."

And so it was at our 3am Double T diner breakfast, people hanging out of their booths and dancing with the wait staff. I guess it's to be expected at that hour. But it was worth the price - there's nothing quite like a Belgian waffle topped with strawberries, syrup and whipped cream to finish off the evening.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Secret Supper of Annapolis

Secret Supper: sharing a passion for good food and good conversation. A sort of sociological experiment, bringing a group of strangers together for a meal in an unfamiliar place, whether it is a private home, an alley way, an open field. The idea is to create a unique alternative to eating out in a restaurant, where you are isolated from meeting others and chefs are restricted to making only what's on the menu.

For most of these secret meals, the master mind(s) of the evening remains a mystery. In this case, so do the hosts. There is one name, however, behind this meal - a woman who attendees correspond with by email beforehand. Her name is Edith Foodie and she's got an agenda to bring the community together through Annapolis' Secret Supper Club.

Our town's Secret Suppers kicked off in January - or at least as far as I know - with a Russian-themed meal. Maybe they've been going on here for years and I've only just heard of them. Regardless, I participated in one on Saturday night, a Greek Equinox Dinner. I was a server, which comes with the benefit of nibbling on all the food in the kitchen before... er... I mean after it goes out. The cook, Judy, created a fantastic meal, leaving fourteen diners and seven behind-the-scenes helpers fully satisfied.

Cocktail hour started with the pink tangy Acropolis, a drink of grenadine, Italian soda, fresh lemon juice and the Greek liquor Ouzo. Hor d'oeuvres included grape-leaf dolmas, olives, hummus and tyropita. Then the guests were seated and served salad, bread, wine. The main course followed: a chicken version of spanakopita aka chicken stuffed with spinach and feta cheese in an incredible sauce over rice. Guests' seats were switched after the main dish so that everyone would have a chance to talk to each other, and then came dessert: yogurt with strawberries and baklava. The perfect ending to an incredible culinary experience. Did I mention there was wine?

Conversation flowed, more than flowed - everyone was so engaged in whatever they were talking about, it was hard to believe they'd only just met earlier that night. And also difficult to interrupt and announce the toast: to the Foodie Society, of course.

On the way out four hours after arriving, people were satisfied by food and drink, but still had unanswered questions.

Really, do you live here? a woman asked one last time.

We don't know who lives here... but they're probably coming home soon! was our response.

And with that, the guests were gone, the feast finished - but the mystery continues.

To get on the guest list of Annapolis' Secret Supper, send an email to Edith at If you're interested in learning more about Secret Suppers, check out these links
a traveling supper  Outstanding in the Field
Washington Post article Dinner is Served, but We Can't Tell You Where
CNN article Underground Supper Clubs a Delicious Discovery

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forget it's Wednesday, It's St Paddy's Day

Life is short. St. Patrick's Day is shorter.

So, drink up? And try to forget the part about waking up at 7am the next morning for work? Shame the closest thing to an official drinking holiday we have fell on a Wednesday this year. And it figures I found this saying on Fado Irish Pub's website, where they want you to do just that and get another pint. And another. And another. Embrace the Irish tradition! Slainte! (that's cheers in Gaelic, pronounced slanche) Unfortunately, the $10 cover and hour-long wait at Fado detered us from partaking in the festivities there, but we found what we were looking for at good ol' Galway Bay.

An evening of Irish libations and sweet soda bread, sweaty bodies that made up a sea of green crammed into small spaces, a band that knew a few Irish songs (I'd hope so!). One gentleman sitting at the bar looked like he was having a bit too much fun with a neon green light in his mouth that he'd flash sporadically at people. The night passed and soon it was closing time and as the celebrators were gradually ushered out the door WHACK! on my head- a guitar, what else? Hung up on the wall. Shaken loose from the day's partying, perhaps. Or maybe the historic walls giving way. No harm done, to me at least. Although whether my headache this morning was the result of the celebrating or falling guitars is anyone's guess. Regardless, it was worth the pain of today - I have to represent the 35% Irish in me, right?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tasting the Tap

A couple of weeks ago, I took a weekend getaway to the mountain town of Berkeley Springs, West VA. Officially named the Town of Bath by George Washington himself (who visited throughout his life), it boasts a natural spring with the benefits of water clean for drinking and healthy for bathing. I did all the usual activities one does on a weekend away in a tiny town buried deep in the valleys of Appalacia: ate lots of delicious food; visited the quaint 1940s-style Star Movie Theatre (still showing movies!); got a massage at Atasia; one of the town’s many spas; and judged the world’s largest and longest running water tasting competition. As I said, a typical weekend away.

So how can you judge water? you may wonder, as I did myself when I heard about the event. Well, with some difficulty, but there actually are subtle differences between waters of varying labels and origins. In terms of tap water, this makes some sense: the water that trickled into deep, deep aquifers thousands of years ago in, say Colorado, did not make the same journey that water in New Zealand made – and so, each has a slightly distinct taste. Purified waters are another story, and are much more challenging to distinguish. And for the carbonated waters, it’s tough to determine anything beyond the quantity of bubbles. Let’s just say there definitely is such a thing as too many.

Bay Weekly published my story on the experience, and also on how the tap water here in Anne Arundel County compares to the winners of the Berkeley Springs competition. Read on - - make sure you “digg” the story too. And welcome to the wonderful world of water!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Night on the Red Carpet

Just because we're still wearing winter coats and have to wake up at 6:30am for work the next day doesn't mean we can't celebrate a night of Academy Awards on the red carpet. Dig out those old prom gowns, or vintage dresses our moms wore in the '70s, lay out a carpet of red bulletin board paper from the teacher's store and you're set to go. I would argue that although watching the Oscars on TV won't ever come close to actually being there, in some ways it's better - you can comment as loudly as you please just what you think of so-and-so's ridiculous gown from the comfort of your couch, surrounded by a spread of delicious hors d'oeuvres. And the view is likely better than where I'd be sitting if I ever were in the audience (which would be the very last row). I may choose the sofa any day.

Oscar-winning faces

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Forth

Today is the only date of the calendar year that is a command. March fourth. March forth. I'd never heard it until the guy who sits next to me at work made the announcement this afternoon.

I have one thought about this anomaly: we have come to that time of year when the coldness of winter has finally worn down just about everyone. Even I, lover of snow, am excited about the prospect of spring. And flowers. And waking up to the sun. And light dresses. And being outside. And all the other things warm weather brings. I haven't checked, but someone told me the Farmer's Almanac has predicted (dare it be true?) another mammoth snow storm sometime this month. Well, all I can say is that this time of year, with or without another blizzard, there's only one thing to do and that is to March forth.