Food scene in October in Southern Maryland!

When that Indian summer weather hits NOVA, it’s time to head down to Southern Maryland! Now that I’ve lived in the area for about 5 years, I do have favorite events to attend. Here are two fun food-related events in Southern Maryland that you can take your loved ones to.

<U.S. Oyster Festival / National Oyster Shucking Championships>

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  • When: 3rd weekend of October (Saturday: 10am-6pm / Sunday: 11am-6pm)
  • Where: St. Mary’s County Fair (42455 Fairgrounds Rd, Leonardtown, MD 20650)
  • Admission: $7/person (kids under 12 are free), food is pay as you eat
  • Website: http://usoysterfest.com/

I was introduced to this awesome oyster festival thanks to a couple of friends last year. This year, they celebrated their 50th anniversary! Everything you can think of (when it comes to oysters) is there: raw oysters, fried oysters, grilled oysters, steamed oysters, oyster po’boys, oyster tacos, oyster stew… You name it. A dozen of raw oysters were $18, FYI.

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There is a barn where the oyster cook-off takes place. Sit there and watch the chefs show off their skills. You may get lucky enough to sample their final products if the timing’s right. I got to taste the oyster Benedict and this amazinglicious soup at the end!

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When you see the King Oyster greeting people, you know it’s time for the oyster shucking championship rounds!

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Go get those freshly-made mini donuts with extra strawberry icing on the side and watch the experts compete! By the way, it truly IS a national championship. The winner of this national round complete in the international oyster shucking championship!

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You don’t do oysters or you are scared of eating raw food? Don’t worry. They have other food options including  the stuffed ham sandwich or fried Oreos!

The bottomless soda guy is amazing too! You get a mug and you can fill it all day long.

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Mark it on your calendar for 2017 and drive down to Southern Maryland with the whole family!

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<Harvest Taste of Solomons>

  • When: 11am-4pm on a Saturday in October (This year, it was on October 22, 2016.)
  • Where: Solomons Island
  • Admission: no admission; $4 ticket gets you a food or drink sample at a participating restaurant
  • Website: they need one!

My father-in-law came down from Upstate New York to visit us and we needed a last-minute entertainment option. I googled local food festivals for the weekend and ta-da! This small yet fun food festival popped up. We drove back down to Southern Maryland.

As you can see in the map, most restaurants are gathered in the southern part of the island. You can park the car in the parking lot there and hit the restaurants one by one. We didn’t buy any tickets in advance but paid as we went.

KakaoTalk_20161030_174644131.jpgCrabby tater tots topped with crab dip at the Lighthouse Restaurant & Dock Bar

kakaotalk_20161030_174645355“Half & half” soup: Maryland crab soup + cream of crab in a bowl at the Lighthouse Restaurant & Dock Bar

KakaoTalk_20161030_174649348.jpgSmoked spare ribs at Grill Sergeant

kakaotalk_20161030_174650688Oyster Rockefeller at the Charles Street Brasserie

KakaoTalk_20161030_174651913.jpgBacon wrapped dates at the Charles Street Brasserie

kakaotalk_20161030_174653241Seafood platter at Captain Smith’s

Some of the drinks looked delish too! Wished I was more of a drinker. Oh well, I get to drive drunk people back home.

So, if you are itching for some delicious day trip in October, head down south and go to town! Happy Fall! Happy Halloween!

Rose’s Luxury – the hype, expectations & satisfaction!

The phrase “the best restaurant in DC” usually triggers my sarcasm. Rose’s Luxury had been on my radar for a while but I wasn’t in a hurry. If it’s that good, it will stick around for years, right? 😉

Then, a friend of mine recently has decided to move to San Diego. The farewell meal of her choice was……..! Yes, Rose’s Luxury! So it happened tonight!

Rose’s Luxury: 717 8th Street SE, Washington, DC, 20003 | (202)580-8889

 The restaurant opens at 5pm. By the time she got there (at 4ish), the line was already this long. But don’t let that intimidate you! More than half of the people are there in line to reserve a spot for a later time. We got seated as soon as the door opened even though there were 50+ other people ahead of us!

  The whole staff and servers greeted us with big smiles. The moment we walked in, we felt at home. 

 Like many other restaurants in DC, the space is rather tight. However, every table has this little secret place for your drink menu (or whatever) you might wanna hold on to all night! It’s a nice touch. 

So, the food. 

  Potato brioche and butter with crispy onion bits and chives. I normally don’t fill up with dinner rolls. Man, this bread was from another world! It was nice and warm. We just killed this soft, delicious loaf in 2 seconds. I almost wanted to ask for another one to eat and another to go but I decided to behave myself….. THIS TIME. 

  Their signature dish: pork sausage, habanero, peanuts and lychee salad. We didn’t know what to expect when we ordered this dish. My friend is a pescaterian so she ordered the vegetarian version with veggie sausages. The saltiness from the sausages, the sweetness from lychee, the tangy flavor from the dressing, the spiciness from red onions, the aroma from the herbs plus peanuts and thin, toasted garlic! All those flavors were nicely put tougher without clashing with each other. Surprisingly, I actually LOVED the vegetarian version as well. It was milder. If you are not a big fan of strong herby tastes (of sausages), the vegetarian version will give you the ultimate satisfaction!

  Charred carrots with harrisa, housemade yogurt and pearl onions. The combination of the yogurt and the spicy red sauce went really well with charred veggies. Gosh, I love pearl onions! Btw, every time I say onions, I can’t stop hearing Mr. Raftery in my head haha. #NCAA #MarchMadness 😁🏀

  
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. Spaghetti with spring pistou, jalapeño and blue crab. Even if you are terrified with anything green, you should try this dish. Their pasta is supposed to be really well made. The noodles were cooked perfectly. The sauce was seasoned just right. There was a good amount of crab meat. We kept saying that we could eat this all day every day. We were only half joking. 

  AND when we thought we were done, this special dish (on the house!) came out for no reason. What a nice surprise! White rice with risotto-like texture topped with seasoned beans! Not sure how they made this rice so creamy without using any cream or milk! Or did they..?! 😛 I loved the perfect harmony of saltiness and sweetness!
  No meal ends without desserts! Warm chocolate mousse, toasted brioche and rose ice cream. Yes, pure foodgasm it was. 
  Then, a more classic choice. Rhubarb tart, strawberries and black pepper whipped cream. When we thought that we were done eating, we had a little taste of this tart. Like we hadn’t been eating, we started to stuff our faces again. I think, at one point, the two couples next to us kind of looked at us with judging eyes. Lol
I’ve read reviews about this place. Some aren’t nice. The wait is too long. The portions are small. It’s expensive. They don’t take reservations. And all of these are somewhat true. Some super duper famous restaurants have let me down for sure. However, to me, it was well worth it. The hype met my expectations today. 

The menu is simple. They give you familiar food choices; yet, they mix and match flavors that we are used to and give you a little surprise on your palate. 

  

I wouldn’t come here every day but it’s definitely a destination. I even asked them about private dining options! 

Farewell to my good friend, C!! Hope she finds all the good restaurants in San Diego by the time I visit her! Can’t wait!

Happy weekend!

Food Lover’s Companion, my best friend!

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We all have access to the Internet 24/7 thanks to our smart phones and computers but some things are not the same!
20121129-200504.jpgUnlike other dictionaries, this one gives you a lot more details on just food and ingredients not to mention definitions of words that are not English, which is very common in the “culinary” world 😉 When you google “date”, all you see is hot girls and guys 😉 All you want to know is what the heck you ate at the fancy dinner with your date!

Even if you are not a food lover, this dictionary will keep you company in the kitchen or at your dining table. If not, play a game with it like I do. Pick a number. The other person opens it and read one of the definitions and you are supposed to guess what it is! You can call me a nerd. I love this book!