Thursday, April 11, 2013


I love to explore areas that are not usually visited and written about.  They become "gems".   Laurie and I decided on a road trip to Talbot County in Maryland, located around the Chesapeake Bay.  We traveled from New York City going through New Jersey and Delaware and using a GPS.

Although the trip could have been done without a stop we thought it better to get out an stretch after about two hours. It is both good for both the driver as well as passengers for blood circulation, even if you don't require the use of a restroom.  Keeping hydrated in a car may not be as important as in an airplane, so pack bottles of water to keep from buying more expensive at the rest stops.

Talbot County has special towns, each with their own ambiance and things to do.  Easton is the heart of the county and the location of the main tourism office.  That is where we headed to.

It was getting to a bit past lunchtime and found a place called Oxford Greens Homestore and Market Restaurant at 124 Aurora Street. From the outside you would never tell that the decor has lots of antiques.  Laurie bought a sandwich.  I tried one of the desserts...tiramisu....yummy.  The owner is a chef. 

The tourism office is located on Harrison Street, one of the main strips of Easton.  Just outside the office sat a bus, owned by the group called The Grascals, a Bluegrass group.   We would later be attending the show at the Avalon Theatre, located on Dover Street, just caddy corner from The Tidewater Inn, where we would be staying overnight.

Being the first Friday of the month, Easton does an Art Walk. However, this will change beginning in June of 2013 moving it to the first Saturday.  Easton is known for having lots of art galleries as well as the Academy Art Museum on South Street.  We took some of the walk spending some time at Troika Gallery, just next door to the visitor center.  Two of the three owners were present, Laura Era and Jennifer Heyd, each having their own style of art work. 

Most intriguing was a piece of art that Laura (in the back) was commissioned to paint.  It appears that Anna Ella Carroll was much a part of the Abe Lincoln/Civil War era without getting her due credit in a painting.  The Francis B. Carpenter's famous 1864 painting, "First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln" depicts an empty chair draped with a red shawl, along with maps and notes similar to those Carroll carried, an attempt to recognize Carroll.  Thanks to Laura, Anna is now in the painting entitled "Maryland's Version of First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation".

We stopped into one store, that was not an art gallery, where they were having a wine tasting.  The wines were from Maryland but in the abutting county of Dorchester.  Many of the galleries offer some food or refreshment. Here are other photos of our walk.

Dinner was at the Bartlett Pear Inn.  Jordan and Alice Lloyd are the owners with Jordan as the Executive Chef.  I would characterize it as "local finest dining cuisine".  Jordan not only makes it a point to use local foods, you can just see the amount of work done to complete each dish, even beyond the art work itself.
Being the name of Barlett Pear, I had to have a pear drink.  It was a pear liquor mixed with a pear puree.  Boy do they make a great pear!
I should have take a photo of the bread and butter.  The bread is made in the kitchen, the butter is coming from a local creamery called Nice Farms Creamery.  Best butter I've had in years!!!  Turned down the butter at every other restaurant. 

Here is the info given to me by Jordan regarding the food being local. Salad The salad greens are from Turtle Boy Farms. Turtle Boy's name is Will.  He picks the greens daily upon request. Timely service is his specialty.  His farm is 2 years old, in Ridgely. The greens are a mixture of tatsoi, arugula and mizuna.  Sliced cucumbers and a 300 year old aged balsamic.  We always have an array of pickled vegetables. Right now we are using a raspberry vinaigrette. For a bit of crunch, we make a thin crisp savory cookie, spiced with black peppercorn.

Rabbit The rabbit is from Nibble Green Farm (Hagerstown).  The specialty behind this dish is that we make a natural French jus from the bones of the creature. Reduced, it is the texture of jello. This is the filling for the ravioli.. When the ravioli is broken, the sauce is received. The shape comes from a classic french method called ballotine.  The rabbit is deboned, pounded thin and then rolled around a julienne of carrots.  This is our little way showing what the rabbit may have eaten.  It is then seared, sliced and presented.

Fluke The vegetable barrel is stolen from Marco Pierre White. Beautiful technique.  Beurre Blanc, a constant somewhere on our menu.  The fluke is coming from North carolina and is steamed.  Steaming is the cleanest way to present the simple nuances of a delicate fish.  House cured pork belly (bacon) are cooked until crisp and strewn about the dish.

Bass English Peas are the most exciting ingredient.  I took them early this year from a place I was unawre of.  Teddy Bear Produce is my produce company.  They always give me quality.  Shamefully I didn't ask where they came from, I just used them knowing they were not from my immediate area. We should have ours soon. The bass is coated very simply with a sauce called "Vierge". I choose a English Pea Vierge.  English Peas-Nicoise Olives - Lemon Segments- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon Juice, capers and fresh herbs.  Garlic Confit also garnishes the plate as smooth puree.

The chocolate cake is made by a baker on the premises.  Chocolate itself comes from a local company called Sibu Sura of which they start from the cocoa beans from Peru.  Ice cream is made in the kitchen.
Dinner ending, it was time to walk over to the Avalon Theatre to see the Grascals. This Bluegrass group consists of:  Danny Roberts on the mandolin, fiddler Jeremny Abshire, Jamie Johson and Terry Eldredge with their guitars, Terry Smith on the bass and an extremely talented Kristin Scott Benson plucking the banjo.

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