Road Trip Winners

On the Road Again…

Willy Nelson

When I was a Flight Attendant for Air Florida, I flew to London on a regular basis and this song played as we were embarking and disembarking on our transatlantic flights. After quarantining for five months, I was finally able to be “on the road again”, on a Road Trip in a rented mini-van to take Lauren to Washington D.C. to start Georgetown for her LLM. Along the way, Zeke and I hit seven states and nine cities; we ate many excellent meals, while sampling food in the South and Mid-Atlantic states, so here are my recommendations.

Best Overall Meal: Husk, Charleston, SC.

It’s kind of a bummer when you’re first meal is your best on a vacation, but this was the case on our Road Trip. The welcoming atmosphere, friendly and professional staff, attention to detail, delicious affordable Southern fare and the overall impression- from wine selections, to appetizers, entrees and desserts, made Husk my best overall meal on our Road Trip. Recommended dishes: Skillet Corn Bread, Kentuckyaki Glazed Pig Ears & Heritage Pork with Pink Peas, Peaches and Arugula.

First things first. All you hear about when you travel to Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Area, is about the crab, the crab cakes and the oysters. Zeke was going on a streak (eventually broken) where he was eating a crab cake every day. Again, the best Crab Cake for me was the first one I tried on our trip, at the Mecca of Crab Cakes.

Best Crab Cake: Faidley’s, Baltimore, MD

This market, which is not really a restaurant (although they do have stand up tables) was recommended to us by our friend Sharon’s mother Connie, who is from Havre de Grace, outside Baltimore. You order your Crab Cake, with sides if desired, pay and it’s delivered to you. The crab cake comes out, golden brown, baseball shaped, heaping in the middle, bursting with jumbo lump crab meat and, very little filler. These 8 ounce crab cakes are rich, meaty and slightly decadent. I got the coleslaw on the side, Zeke got the cucumber salad. Both were good, but the crab cake was definitely the star of this show.

Best Raw Oyster: Patty’s Fatty’s, the House Oyster at The Boatyard, Annapolis, MD

Since Zeke and I both love raw oysters, we tried them in almost every place we ate on this trip, and especially wanted to try the local oysters from the Chesapeake Bay. These Patty’s Fatty’s stood out in our memory as special and they lived up to their name, being plump and briny, with a mild taste. I also liked that The Boatyard labeled their oysters with little wooden skewers, taking the guesswork out of which oyster you’re eating, as I usually forget what the waiter tells me they are, within seconds of him walking away.

Most Unique Meal: Steamed Crabs at the Crab and Steak House, St. Micheals, MD.

When we bought our boat from Todd at Unique Marine, he told us was had to try the crabs while in the area, where he’s originally from. Not the crab cakes, he explained, but the whole Steamed Maryland Blue Crabs, where you crack them open, dig the meat out and feast.

“It’s messy and a lot of work,” he explained. “But there’s nothing like it.”


So, being the adventurous eaters we are, we did it.

I ordered a 1/2 dozen Steamed Maryland Crabs (market price), Zeke got a dozen and we really over-ordered. The waiter came and dumped the Old Bay encrusted Steamed Crabs from a red, plastic tray onto our paper-covered table. He showed us how to eat them, and then we were on our own. You flip the crab over, remove a little section, flip it over again, remove the red shell. You pull out the “black muck”, pull off its legs (dismember it) and then, start eating. A wooden mallet is provided for cracking into hard-to-getting the crab meat out of hard to get to spots- the honeycomb-like body was the most challenging area of the crab. It was a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience, I don’t ever want to do again.

Best Drink: Thames Oyster House‘s Summer Negroni Slushie, Baltimore, MD.

Maybe it was because we’d walked around for hours in 90 degree heat in the Inner Harbor, maybe it was the charming little courtyard away from the maddening crowd of Fell’s Point, or maybe it was our accommodating waiter, but I loved this place, that seemed like a Secret Garden hidden in the middle of Downtown Baltimore. The couples around us were all apparently in a party mood and, when I saw the Summer Negroni Slushie on the menu, it had my name all over it. Gin, sweet vermouth, lemon and grapefruit juice combined with crushed ice made for an awfully refreshing drink. I’ll have another.

Best Appetizer: Foie Gras Parfait at Le Diplomate, Washington D.C.

While this was my favorite appetizer on our trip, the manager was such an unhelpful jerk, it almost seemed like we were actually in Paris. This tainted my experience of Le Diplomat. But forget all that, in the name of journalism and listening to my stomach, I loved this dish of smooth, whipped pate in a jar, covered with a wine gelee and served with fat slices of rich brioche. The Foie Gras Parfait was reminiscent of a grown-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as you spread it on the toast; it was a perfect bite with a glass of French Chardonnay. The French fries, which came on Zeke Steak Frites, were awfully good as well.

Best Breakfast: Iron Rooster, Annapolis, MD.

We stayed at several Bed and Breakfasts on this trip, which supplied tasty starts to our day, but our favorite breakfast, by far, was at the Iron Rooster in Annapolis, Maryland. We both got the same exact breakfast- two over-easy eggs, with hash browns, Canadian Bacon and a huge biscuit. The eggs were cooked perfectly, the hash browns non-greasy and delicious and the Canadian Bacon was the best we’ve ever had. This was no Jones skinny, colorless patty, but a fat slab of pink meat, with a nice char from being on the flat top. Good coffee and service as well, with a view of the harbor.

Best Lunch: Agave, Lewes, Delaware.

I’d heard a lot about Rehoboth Beach, so booked a night there in Delaware, but didn’t really understand what the fuss was about. We walked the Boardwalk and ate Boardwalk Food (Grotto Pizza). I’m so glad we stopped at the nearby beach town of Lewes (the first town in the first state) for lunch! It was a charming town, full of history, book and antique shops and Agave, an excellent Mexican restaurant. I got the BEST margarita there- Ancho Chili with Patron Citronge and Ancho Poblano Chili Liqueur, rimmed with spicy salt. Zeke loved his Chicken Mole Enchiladas, smothered in sauce and my Blue Cheese and Steak Quesadillas, filled with rare filet mignon slices and carmelized onions, was to die for.

Best Entree for Dinner: Chicken and Waffles at Founding Farmers, D.C.

This was one of my last meals on our Road Trip, on our return trip to D.C. and it was delicious. My crunchy fried chicken, creamy macaroni and cheese and flavorful green beans were so darned good, I didn’t even get around to eating my waffles. There were plenty of leftovers for Lauren to take back to her apartment in D.C. The service here was friendly, the food affordable, definitely a repeat when we return to D.C.

Fried Chicken and Waffles, Green Beans and Mac and Cheese.

Best Pasta Meal: Gnocchi with Shrimp at Gia’s, Baltimore, MD.

Every trip has to feature a trip to an Italian restaurant and when we asked the Front Desk lady at our Baltimore B & B to recommend a spot in Little Italy, she recommended Gia’s, owned by a friend. We’d walked by it before, as I noticed the colorful mural on the way to our hotel. I got the homemade Gnocchi with Shrimp, which was a huge portion of al dente gnocchi and fresh shrimp, which were cut into the same size as the gnocchi, which led to a fun experience, of not knowing if the bite you were taking would be pasta or shrimp. These gnocchi were made with ricotta (the way my Aunt Josie used to make them), so they’re lighter and the sauce was fresh tomatoes, arugula and spicy prosciutto paste, topped with burrata. Mama Gia- I loved this dish! And our waitress was helpful and lovely, as well.

Best Dessert: Peach Cobbler at Old Ebbit Grill

I’m glad that it was Washington D.C. Restaurant Week and that Zeke ordered the prix fixe meal (with Caesar salad and Crab Cake), because I got to taste his Peach Cobbler, which came a la mode. The cinnamon-scented peaches were hot and slick, covered with a crunchy, nutty and crumbly filling that went perfectly with the scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So, if you get a chance in the near future to visit any of these cities/states (and I hope you do!), these are my recommendations. Also, overall, I felt traveling to these states was very safe, with a few exceptions, which I’ll talk about in a future post. Thanks to Beth and Mireya for recommendations of places to visit on our trip.

Up Next: Faidely’s Crab Cake Recipe.

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

One thought on “Road Trip Winners

  1. Glad you hit Fells Point and Little Italy. Old Ebitt was both the place for a business drink and a stop before the theater back in the 80’s. Your blog brought back great memories, food and otherwise!

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