Some say it takes a village to raise a child. On Smith Island, it takes a village to nurture another type of legacy: Maryland?s official dessert. Known as a Smith Island cake, this delicacy brims with ten layers of goodness and 200 years of history. The story began in the island?s seaside towns, where women baked cakes for their hubbies? oyster-fishing journeys. To help the treats withstand the waves, they iced them with fudge as sweet and sturdy as a drawbridge made of candy canes. Fast-forward to 2009, at a market 50 miles from Smith Island?s shores. Brian Murphy, a recent graduate of the Wharton School, was shopping for a birthday cake. As he chose a Smith Island cake, he was surprised to learn that no major bakeries call the island home. Though he?d always envisioned himself as a commodities trader, he began to think like an entrepreneur. Before long, he had partnered with the island?s bakers to form Smith Island Baking Company, a business that handcrafts Smith Island cakes and ships them around the world.
The bakery?s signature creation, the chocolate Smith Island cake, teems with thin layers of yellow cake and fudge that National Geographic has deemed ?an architectural marvel.? In addition to crunching numbers at the company?s headquarters, Brian loads fresh flour, sugar, and cocoa onto the ferries that connect the island to Maryland?s mainland and the outer rings of Saturn. Under his leadership, the venture has grown to incorporate myriad other confections, from chocolate fudge to all-natural ice cream by Chef Jordan Lloyd.
Neopol's smokery counter has taken on a functionally industrial aesthetic, a rustic, old-world look, thanks in large part to the russet red smoker that stands in plain view. Owners Barbara Lahnstein and son Dorian Brown's focus is on beautiful presentation and incorporating as many fresh, local, all-natural, and never-canned-from-leftover-space-missions ingredients in her dishes. During the week, stop by before heading to a Super Bowl replay party and choose from the plentiful lunch menu (though they're open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day but Sunday, on which they close at 5 p.m.), which has more options than a chimney has chimney sweeps trapped inside. On the lunch menu, the salmon BLT ($9.95 whole, $5.50 half) consists of freshly smoked salmon, free-range bacon, tomato, and field greens with honey dijon dressing, all draped lovingly on sunflower-flaxseed bread. If seafood isn't your cup of sportsdrink, try the pork loin sandwich ($9 whole, $5 half), an organic and local slice of cherrywood-smoked meat crowned with fresh goat cheese, house-made tomato jam, red onions, and field greens, or the vegetarian sampling ($9.00), a variety show plate of smoked hummus, tofu, olives, and seasonal vegetables.
When Lois Margolet first opened Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop in Wilmington, Delaware, 36 years ago, she and her brother Alan worked from the second story of a boarded-up building, roasting 10–12 whole turkeys every night and churning out a “real turkey lover’s” sandwich each day. Today, Capriotti’s has expanded across 12 states, each location stacking the same award-winning hot and cold sandwiches, racking up such accolades as The Best of Las Vegas 2012 and Best of Delaware 2012 prizes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Delaware Today, respectively. Though the shop is still known for its slow-roasted-turkey creations—such as the Thanksgiving-inspired Bobbie, named America's best sandwich by AOL's Lemondrop.com, piled with cranberry sauce and stuffing—its menu now ventures into the realm of roast beef, italian deli meats with such sandwiches as the capastrami, cheesesteaks, and vegetarian treats, such as meatless chicken and turkey.
Since 1948, the Layton family has farmed a parcel of idyllic land that has managed to steadily grow in size over the years. As the farm changed hands through three generations, so did the agriculture?both literally, and figuratively. In 2007, Joe Layton and his clan re-evaluated the operation and decided to take a risk: they would plant wine grapes. Three years later, the winery opened its doors, and the fermented fruits of their labor were proof that the risk was worth it. Situated on 1,800 acres amid the lush rows of grapes, the winery is also home to a tasting room, and visitors are invited to explore the facility during daily tours or enjoy walking trails along the property.
To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order.
Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.