We would never be confused with professional food critics, but we would definitely qualify as food lovers, and on this road trip we have found a lot to love! I have picked out a few of the more noteworthy meals to share with Easin’ Along readers knowing that it is unlikely that you would visit the restaurants, but I wanted to show how wonderful food experiences have added so much to our adventure on the road. Let’s start with our first stop – Kure Beach, NC, near Fort Fisher Air Force Rec Area.
Jack’s Mackerel Grill – Kure Beach, NC
It was our first night on the road and we were at the seashore. When I’m at the seashore, I want seafood…and I want it fried. We checked Trip Advisor and, although the number of choices in the area were limited, Jack’s Mackerel Grill seemed the best choice for what we had in mind.
Helen (adorable wife) chose fried shrimp with a baked potato and cole slaw. Delicious, generous portion, lightly breaded, definitely not greasy, and served hot. The cole slaw was just like Momma’s – and Mom’s is the best! (Picture below.)
After some consternation, I chose the Flounder with fried oysters and nailed it! The flounder was light and tasted fresh. It was a large piece and coated in a tasty breading that complimented the fish. The oysters, like Helen’s shrimp were lightly breaded and tasted fresh, not frozen. The quantity was huge, but I managed to get it all down. This meal also came with cole slaw, and I loved the mixture of sesame seeds and light vinegar dressing. Jack Mackerel’s was a great way to start the trip.
Freddie’s Italian – Kure Beach
On our second night we could have done seafood again, but since the number of restaurants were limited, we decided to try the other highly rated option – Freddie’s Italian.
The restaurant was located close to the pier and facing a side street. It was small with tables sort of crowded in. All of the tables were full which was a good sign. We were escorted to the bar to order drinks, and, after a reasonably short waiting time, were seated at a table in the front corner beside the front window. It was a little cramped, but the fact that we could see all of the activity on the pier made it worth it.
Helen selected the cheese ravioli. It tasted homemade and was complimented with a light tomato sauce that was delicious.
I went for Freddie’s Special Spaghetti. The sauce was a delightful mix of meatballs and Italian sausage. It too tasted homemade and authentically Italian.
We shared the salad for two which was served with a light vinaigrette dressing and was mixed at the table.
Both meals were huge, and we couldn’t finish them. We normally would have asked for take out boxes, but since we were travelling the next day, we were forced to sacrifice…it was a sad parting.
Dry Dock – Solomon’s Island, MD
When we discovered Solomon’s Island, MD, (near Patuxtent River NAS) we were eager to discover what food adventures were in the offing. We had heard that CD Cafe was a great choice, but unfortunately it was too crowded on our first evening. We went to Stoney’s instead. The setting on the outside deck had a lovely view of the waterfront, but sadly the food was a bit disappointing. No need to explain further.
The next day, we chose the Dry Dock Inn for a late brunch and were rewarded soundly. We were seated on a porch balcony with a great view of the marina and waterfront and had a great time watching the boats float out the Patuxent River to the Chesapeake Bay.
Helen ordered a meal of grilled scallops on quinoa which were hot, fresh, and delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted quinoa, but I had to, and admit that it was a treat.
I was still in the mood for breakfast so I asked for fried oysters egg benedict, which offered the traditional english muffin smothered in lightly breaded and crisply fried oysters topped with a poached egg covered in a rich hollandaise sauce. It was wonderful. This meal came with some of the best, crispiest, cottage fried potatoes I’ve ever tasted.
Since I had planned some light activity for the rest of the afternoon (river cruise), I decided to try the Bloody Mary…yum. It was spicy and the glass was rimmed with Old Bay Seasoning — something very unique and worthy.
Promenade Grill – Havre de Grace, MD
This eating establishment proved that the old cliche “you can’t judge a book by the cover” to be so very true.
We were spending the afternoon in the charming seaport city of Have de Grace doing some shop browsing and walking the boardwalk along the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay when we realized that we had not eaten lunch (unusual for us). Trip Advisor led us to Promenade Grill. A short ride from our lodging at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.
Have de Grace, MD is both quiet and charming. We had driven into the town the night before to find a waterfront restaurant for dinner. We ate at the Tidewater Grill, and while the meal was ok, we’ve had better. The setting was splendid however. We were seated on an outside deck where we had a great view of the Bay.
Helen left, still in search of THE crab cake.
Promenade Grill is a small outdoor grill where the patrons walk up to a window and place your order to a heard, but not seen, person behind a screened window. We were in line behind a group of fireman (always a good sign) who were having a great time out and about.
Helen ordered a crab cake sandwich that was served open-faced on a tasty bun with lettuce and tomato. I was still dubious that we were in the right place for food and ordered a jumbo hot dog with kraut. Were we ever surprised!
Helen, never one for accolades when it comes to food, said that the crab cake was the best one on the trip to date. The difference being that it was not loaded with bread as ALL of the others she had tasted so far. It wasn’t on the plate for long! Lightly fried and well seasoned, I had to agree.
My Jumbo Dog far exceeded expectations.
Promenade Grill is at the end of a very scenic boardwalk that takes you by some historic landmarks and the National Decoy Museum. I will cover it in more detail in another post.
Middleton Tavern – Annapolis, MD
Annapolis is as lovely a place as I’ve ever visited. We toured the US Naval Academy and took a bus tour of this historic town then decided it was time to sample the food. More on the town later on Easin’ Along.
Middleton Tavern is on the National Register of Historic Places and is situated in the center of the Town Square facing the waterfront. We were seated on the front porch so we could do some people watching while we ate. On this day, the activity level was high so we just sat and watched all of the fun in front of us.
Helen tried the crab cake…as bread-filled as most of them have been, so it got a “C+”. I tried the Oyster Loaf Sandwich. This was an unusual meal of oysters sort of flattened then fried in a rather heavy batter that was both spicy and salty. I’m not sure that I tasted the oyster at all. It got a “C-” from me. I would have given it a lower mark except for it’s uniqueness.
We both agreed that the french fries were excellent. They were hand cut and tasted fresh so that was a plus.
The star of the show was the Bloody Mary. It came in a tall glass and was heavily garnished with crisp green beans, green peppers, red peppers, and olives. We felt like it was eating a salad without having to order one!
We left happy.
Basilio Inn – Staten Island, NY
Our hotel was the excellent Navy Lodge on Staten Island. Since a trip into Manhattan required a ferry ride and usually a subway ride also, we would try to do lunch in the city and come back to Staten Island for dinner. Good decision…
Basilio Inn was less than a block from the Navy Lodge and one of the many excellent Itallian restaurants in the area. We LOVE Italian food, and Basilio Inn did not disappoint. This restaurant was started in 1921. It is located in a building that resembles a house and had a very welcoming appearance. The proprietor was behind the bar and greeted us warmly in a charming Italian accent though he spoke excellent English. We ordered drinks while we waited for our table in the dining room.
The dining room was just that–an open room (maybe 30′ x 30′) with a wooden floor. It was filled with loads of laughter from both families and local folks who were both loud and lively. Big fun!
The menu was rather large so Helen asked the friendly waitress what she suggested. From that she ordered Risotto Shrimp and Gorgonzola – AWESOME. The shrimp were fresh, the gorgonzola was flavorful, and the Rizotto was perfectly prepared. Altogether, the dish was divine!
I ordered a starter of Pasta e Fagioli, a white bean soup in a broth filled with a small, round white noodle. It had an interesting taste that I liked enough to eat all of it!
My entree was Costiletto di Maiale alla Mele, a thinly sliced, though large, pork chop covered with a very flavorful tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. INCREDIBLE! This dish had a side of cooked cabbage and a broiled potato. I’ll show you a picture, but this is one meal that you just have to trust me as to how good it was. The man at the next table was so impressed, he ordered one too!
We both gave our experience at Basilio Inn an “A+”
Bocelli – Staten Island, NY
When you’re surrounded by good Italian food, it’s hard to go looking for anything else. So…we went Italian once more. We landed at Bocelli, about a mile away from the Navy Lodge. A Trip Advisor review said not to let the fact that this restaurant was in a strip mall deter you, and the reviewer was right.
Parking was tight, but we found a place in the strip in front of a nail salon that had closed for the evening. We were greeted by several Italian gentlemen speaking only Italian. I think they were saying nice things about us.
The restaurant was somewhat larger than the Basilio Inn and the furnishings and decorations were a little more contemporary. The crowd was a little on the light side, but that was to be expected for a Sunday evening. Everyone appeared to be locals.
Helen wanted a salad. She got one! An Insalata no less, which consisted of endive, arugula, beets, pineapple, toasted almonds, topped with three slices of mozzarella, and a Balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil dressing. Whew!
For her entree she chose Gambretti E Calmari Saltati In Padella “Agrodolce” . This dish is fried calamari and shrimp, with sweet cherry peppers, pine nuts, and white raisins in a sweet and sour glaze. It all had a great flavor, both sweet and delicate. She gave it a solid “A”.
My selection was Scalloppini Al Marsala . The menu described it as thinly sliced milk-fed veal, with sauteed mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce. This meal has always been a favorite of mine whenever I’m eating Italian, and this particular meal was one of the best I’ve ever had, not only for this trip, but of all time. The veal was tender, the mushrooms were fresh, and the sauce was perfection. “A++”.
Cittanuova – Easthampton, NY
We had ridden the ferry from New London, CT (New London Naval Submarine Base) to Long Island, NY. We have always heard about the Hampton’s. So, we went there and did lunch in Easthampton, a quiet city, with huge estates and charming smaller homes.
I’m sure I’ve exhausted everyone’s taste buds by now, so I’m only going to show you one dish because it was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
Among the “specials” for the day was a soup (or Zuppa) that was out of this world. I was not aware of how much of an agricultural area that Long Island is and this dish was one of the beneficiaries.
The soup featured local sun gold tomatoes and was topped with crab meat and “micro” greens, maybe watercress, but not sure. I’ve never been fan of cold soups, but this dish was an attitude changer.
The soup was a cream based mixture that was very light and very flavorful. It was topped with a generous serving of fresh crab meat that left you wanting a whole gallon. What made that additionally intriguing was the yellow color–It was hard to imagine this as tomato soup. Another “A”.
Thanks for eating with us. We’ll be Easin’ (waddling) Along!