At the Anne Arundel County fairgrounds, competing teams of pit masters keep their grills fueled through the night, tingeing the cool air with the smoky, sweet aroma of slow-cooked beef. The marathon cooking session is all for the sake of the Kansas City Barbeque Society judges, whose favor each chef will curry come lunchtime. The annual barbequing competition is just one facet of the festival’s mission to showcase the best barbecue chefs in the region. In addition to the competition, local food vendors sate visitors with hot ribs and empower budding chefs with gourmet sauces and cookware. All the while, 25 live bands keep heads bobbing while reminding diners to chew 30 times before swallowing.
The chefs at Garry's Grill use house-made breads and seasonal ingredients to create hearty American meals with international touches. At breakfast time, that translates to creamed chipped beef over buttermilk biscuits and, at lunch, seared tuna wraps, which are rubbed with Thai spices and supplemented with cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and wasabi cream sauce. Feel free to add a side of crab cakes to any dinner entrée, such as the penne with roasted red peppers and portabellos, or the Man Burger, which is topped with gorgonzola, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and jalapeños and wrapped in an 8x10 photo of Gregory Peck. Also on the menu: Red and white wines from California, Washington, and Italy.
Supper Thyme's goal is to de-stress the breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours by inviting visitors to craft hearty and nutritious meals beforehand. After perusing the monthly rotating menu, customers can select an assortment of calorie-conscious, family-friendly, or organically inspired dishes and schedule an appointment to come in and assemble the ingredients. Staff members then gather all of the necessary ingredients and utensils, ensuring that each meal can be assembled in as few as 10 minutes. In between portioning out servings, visitors can enjoy a snack while listening to music or chatting with fellow attendees in the shop’s casual, low-stress kitchen environment. The meals can remain safely frozen in homes' freezers, with easy-to-follow cooking instructions allowing customers to quickly thaw and cook entrees whenever they might need to feed families, guests, or a lost restaurant reviewer.
Winner of OpenTable Diner’s Choice Awards including ‘Best Overall Restaurant’, ‘Best Neighborhood Gem’, and ‘Great for Lunch’, Moulin de Paris has courted visitors with delicate Eurasian fare for the last 29 years. Serving an elegant trifecta of lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea, chefs meld east and west by combining ingredients such as smoked salmon and sweet chili sauce or mango salad and roquefort cheese.
Inside the dining room, mounted, blown-glass sculptures decorate a lemongrass-colored wall, and dark wooden tables accommodate plates. During afternoon tea, three-tiered trays showcase spreads of mini sandwiches and desserts made in-house by a Parisian trained chef.
Under the steady hand of Coast Guard-licensed captain Larry Vazzano, the Wharf Rat slices through the blue waters of Chesapeake Bay. The intimate vessel's sails harness the breeze, turning this way and that above the heads of passengers to find the best angle to the wind. Its decks bustle with activity of guests helping prepare sails or taking the helm as well as relaxed onlookers enjoying the unique view. Meanwhile, viewed from the cockpit dining table, the sun reaches its zenith and glitters off the peaks of waves, or dips slowly behind the forested shoreline, dyeing the whole world in orange, red, and purple.
Captain Larry loves this experience––the Atlantic Sailing Experience, as he calls it––so much that he's shared it with over 600 guests. In addition to his nautical know-how, he shows off his prowess at the grill for brunch and dinner, churning out tasty barbecue and vegetable sides from his own garden. Of course, he doesn't just sail and eat. He also charters his ship for exciting sailboat races and the occasional voyage to the end of the Earth.
Though much has changed at Tall Oaks Restaurant in the last half-century—the steak-and-seafood restaurant has acquired new owners, undergone dining-room renovations, and sprouted a bar—many things have also remained the same. Chefs Dennis Walz and Joe Golden continue to craft classic American cuisine, pulling from founder Francis Hasse's original recipes for meatloaf, pierogis, and their famous fried hard-shell crab. They've also added a few items of their own to the menu, namely rosemary-dusted flatbread and Caribbean jerk mahi-mahi. The chefs focus their menu around local seafood and premium meats, such as certified Angus beef and Chesapeake oysters.
In the sunny dining room, white-clothed tables host guests lingering over last bites of warm chocolate lava cake and toffee cream pie. Bartenders shake up specialty martinis at the nearby bar, adding dashes of caramel sauce, pumpkin spice, and fresh blueberries as needed.