Morgan Murphy in Easton for “Off the Eaten Path”

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When Morgan Murphy heard about the gazpacho at the Bartlett Pear Inn and the cave-aged cheddar at Chapel’s Country Creamery, he knew he had to visit.

“I am constantly searching the South for the most inventive and creative fare—and hot damn, do the Bartlett Pear Inn and Chapel’s Country Creamery have it,” joked Murphy. The Southern Living food critic and TV personality was in town July 9th and 10th for his series.

Murphy is known for his hilarious stories and the amazing recipes he pries out of mom-and-pop restaurants. His books include the best-selling Off the Eaten Path series—and coming this fall: Bourbon & Bacon.

“When you cook as badly as I do, you’ve got to have a sense of humor,” cracks Murphy, who describes his four Southern food groups as, “bourbon, salt, bacon, and PIE.”

“The Bartlett Pear Inn delivers an haute cuisine experience with a delicious energy. They even make their own ice cream. It must be something in the water because not five miles away at Chapel’s Country Creamery, Holly Foster impresses with an auspicious array of hand-churned cheeses.”

Murphy at the Bartlett Pear

Murphy at the Bartlett Pear

How did he choose Bartlett Pear Inn and Chapel’s Country Creamery? Murphy says he picks all his restaurants based on three criteria: the food, the service, and the ambiance, “But shoot, the ambiance and the service can be broken if the food is good enough,” says Murphy, “Who doesn’t love a great BBQ shack that looks like it might fall in on you?”

The Southern food writer says he gets his restaurant tips mainly through fans to his website, morganmurphy.co or directly on Twitter @_morganmurphy. “I love to get tips from readers. They’re the ones who know the best spots,” says Murphy. And Murphy always follows up in person, often driving his huge 1956 Cadillac, “I research restaurants the old-fashioned way: I go there. Google just can’t take the place of actually being there.”

Murphy’s work has been read by millions, and he has been featured on many popular television programs, including the TODAY Show and Fox & Friends. He’s become a regular on QVC, and this summer, he’s making his Travel Channel debut as a judge on “American Grilled.”

“They’re just lucky I didn’t accidentally burn down the set,” Murphy said with a laugh.

How did the Bama boy and Navy reserve officer become one of the most popular food critics? “I just write about the food people really like to eat. Who cares about whether the coriander was milled by Polynesian virgins during a lunar eclipse? Does that dish taste good?”

You can order signed copies of his book directly from www.morganmurphy.co

For restaurant inquiries contact:

Bartlett Pear Inn
28 S Harrison St
Easton, MD 21601
(410) 770-3300
www.bartlettpearinn.com

Chapel’s Country Creamery
10380 Chapel Rd
Easton, MD 21601
(410) 820-6647
www.chapelscreamery.com

Article Credit: Murphy Media, Inc.

Miles River Motion Ages Vinegar Aboard Skipjack Rosie Parks

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In cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars of St. Michaels, MD is producing a new balsamic vinegar with a Chesapeake connection.

On July 10, a small barrel of specially blended balsamic vinegar was placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack, Rosie Parks, where it will remain for the next five months. During that time, the aging process of the vinegar will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which generally remains dockside along the Miles River at CBMM.

Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars of St. Michaels, MD is producing a new balsamic vinegar that is being aged aboard the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s skipjack, Rosie Parks. In early July, the specially blended balsamic vinegar was placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack, where it will remain for the next five months. During that time, the aging process of the vinegar will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which generally remains dockside along the Miles River at CBMM. Six-ounce bottles of the Rosie Parks balsamic vinegar will be available for sale by Thanksgiving, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum.

Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars of St. Michaels, MD is producing a new balsamic vinegar that is being aged aboard the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s skipjack, Rosie Parks. In early July, the specially blended balsamic vinegar was placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack, where it will remain for the next five months. During that time, the aging process of the vinegar will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which generally remains dockside along the Miles River at CBMM. Six-ounce bottles of the Rosie Parks balsamic vinegar will be available for sale by Thanksgiving, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum.

“Aging barrels aboard boats started out in history as a necessity, as most trade occurred over waterways,” explains CBMM’s Chief Curator, Pete Lesher. “A boat’s movement can speed up the process of aging, whether it’s spirits, vinegar, or another liquid. We’re very excited to taste the results of these efforts.”

The wooden barrel is made of toasted oak, which will flavor the vinegar. “Even the temperature changes aboard Rosie Parks will influence the taste of this special blend,” said Olivins Owner/Operator Bill Acosta. “The barrel expands and contracts as the temperatures rise and fall, infusing the vinegar with undertones of toasted oak.”

“The Rosie Parks has such rich history on the Chesapeake,” continued Acosta. “We not only wanted to create a special balsamic vinegar that gives people a real sense of place— with an exceptional taste—but also to support the museum in a meaningful way.”

Once the aging process is complete, Olivins will remove the barrel from aboard the skipjack and package the small batch balsamic vinegar in six-ounce bottles. The limited bottles will be sold as “Rosie Parks Balsamic Vinegar,” with a portion of every sale donated to CBMM.

The Rosie Parks, built in 1955 by legendary boat builder Bronza Parks for his brother, Captain Orville Parks, was named for their mother. CBMM purchased the Rosie Parks in 1975 from Captain Orville. Only 20 years old at the time, Rosie had a reputation as both the best maintained skipjack in the oyster dredging fleet and as a champion sailor at the annual skipjack races at Deal Island and Chesapeake Appreciation Days at Sandy Point. Now fully restored after a three-year overhaul, the Rosie Parks now serves as an ambassador for the museum, and the dwindling skipjack fleet, with the museum planning to race her in the Deal Island and Choptank River skipjack races later this year.

For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or www.olivinsstmichaels.com.

Discover “Cultures of Crabbing” at CBMM July 26

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From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, Cultures of Crabbing brings the Chesapeake’s crabbing traditions and industry to life at the waterfront Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD. During the program, visitors will see crab-picking and harvesting demonstrations, with information shared on crab biology, packing house operations, and the growing Hispanic population’s importance to the local crab industry.

The event is free for CBMM members or with general, two-day museum admission. The program is part of CBMM’s summer-long Chesapeake People program, which gives visitors the experience of meeting local, maritime tradition-bearers and skill demonstrators every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 410-745-2916 or visit www.cbmm.org.

Crab-pickers Mary Helen Holmes (left), Sharon Young (right), and Minerva Nava (standing) demonstrating their techniques for Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum visitors. Cultures of Crabbing comes to CBMM on Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with crab-picking and harvesting demonstrations, as well as information shared on crab biology, packing house operations, and the growing Hispanic population’s importance to the local crab industry.

Crab-pickers Mary Helen Holmes (left), Sharon Young (right), and Minerva Nava (standing) demonstrating their techniques for Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum visitors. Cultures of Crabbing comes to CBMM on Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with crab-picking and harvesting demonstrations, as well as information shared on crab biology, packing house operations, and the growing Hispanic population’s importance to the local crab industry.

Weekly Food Tours Coming to Easton June 13th

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Hungry for a taste of the Eastern Shore’s finest dining establishments but don’t know where to start? Looking to entertain guests while they visit the Shore?

Now you can join a walking food tour and experience Easton and St. Michael’s one taste and sip at a time. EatingEaston and Eating St. Michaels was created by local businessman and entrepreneur, Bill Bernard, who fell in love with the idea of blending culture, food, history, and adventure as a way to experience the wonders of the unique towns and communities of the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland.

“My wife, Kathy, and I discovered food tours while traveling to San Diego, New York, and Rehoboth. Not only is it interesting to hear history and folklore from locals, it’s a great way to sample restaurant offerings and then book a reservation. Our towns and communities are perfect venues for food tours drawing tourists and locals alike.”

Each three hour tour is led by experienced tour guides who are history and food buffs. Five restaurants along the way will welcome the group and provide a taste and a sip of their signature cuisines and drinks. A local culinary specialty store will offer tastings as well.

Partnering with friend and fellow foodie, Paul Cullen, and his group at Eating Rehoboth, Bernard will launch weekly tours beginning June 13th in Easton. “St. Michaels will kick off at the end of June and our plan is to expand to Oxford and Cambridge by Fall. Lace up your walking shoes and be prepared to sample the Eastern Shore’s best food on foot.”

For more information visit www.eatingeaston.com or call 410-635-4130.

Justine’s Now Making Its Own Homemade Ice Cream

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Justine’s Ice Cream Parlour is proud to announce that we are now producing our own artisanal ice cream in small batches, in newly-created flavors using the finest local ingredients.

“We believe that ice cream should be about flavor, taste and texture – and choices”, said Kathy Lash owner of Justine’s. “We are now creating unique flavors for our ice cream –flavors that are inspired by ingredients that are available to us locally and reflect the season.”

Tyler Heim, manager and creator of Justine’s Spring flavors, is a recent graduate of Penn State’s Ice Cream School. In its 99th year, the course has attracted more than 4,400 participants from across the country and the world. The Penn State student roster reads like a Who’s Who of the ice cream industry including Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s.

“We make everything we can from scratch with many of our ingredients found locally,” said Tyler. “Like rich maple syrup from Olivin’s in St. Michaels, fresh roasted coffee beans from Rise Up Coffee in Easton, and sweet blackberry wine from the St. Michaels Winery for our sorbet.”

Justine’s artisanal ice creams and sorbets are all natural. They contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors.

This Spring Justine’s is featuring five new flavors – Coffee Toffee, Raspberry Oreo, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cocoa Dream and New Hampshire Maple. The signature ice cream will be sold at Justine’s Ice Cream Parlour, 106 North Talbot Street, St. Michaels and from the Justine’s ice cream cart at various farmer’s markets and events during the summer.

St. Michaels to Host First Brew Festival, May 31

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Eastern Shore Brewing (longest continually operating brewery on the Eastern Shore of MD), Foxy’s, Town Dock & The Crab Claw will be hosting the fist brewfest to come to St. Michaels MD. St. Michaels Brewfest will be held on May 31st from noon until 5pm.

The brewfest will have over 50 beers and 30 breweries, including one-offs, seasonal’s, firkins and rarities. Ticket prices are $30 + fees & taxes. The ticket price will include unlimited samples of some of the best beers available in the region, a branded pint glass and live music.

The event will cover 3 different tented locations (all within walking distance): the rear parking lot of Easter Shore Brewing Co., the parking lot in front of Foxy’s & Town Dock and the front parking area of The Crab Claw. Shuttle buses will be available at all three locations.

This is an unlimited sampling event where you will be able to meet brewmasters, brewery owners and brewery representatives. Along with beer there will be live music and vendors at each location including oyster slurping contests, crab races, local artist’s, beer gear raffles and more.

Checkyourselftalbot.org will also be attending and handing out complimentary bottled water and Gatorade. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the St. Michaels Community Center. Tickets go on sale 3/3/14 and can be purchased at stmichaelsbrewfest.com and at Eastern Shore Brewing Co.

Rye Whiskey Returns to Maryland

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The Lyon Distilling Company, Maryland’s premier craft distillery, is proud to introduce the state’s first rye whiskey in over 40 years. The Maryland Free State Rye Whiskey is named in a nod to Maryland’s defiance of Prohibition by refusing to pass a single state enforcement law in support of the Volstead Act.

“It is an incredible honor to revive the state’s long history of producing this fabulous style of whiskey,” said co-founder and distiller, Ben Lyon. Once the fifth-largest spirits producer in the country, Maryland’s distilling industry steadily declined following Prohibition and ended in the 70’s, taking with it the beloved rye whiskey. “While there are a couple Maryland-style rye whiskies on the market, unless it is made in Maryland, it’s not a true Maryland rye,” noted co-founder, Jaime Windon.

From L-R: Maryland Free State Rye Whiskey, New Make Corn Whiskey, White Rum, Barrel-Aged Rum, Seasonal Dark Rum

From L-R: Maryland Free State Rye Whiskey, New Make Corn Whiskey, White Rum, Barrel-Aged Rum, Seasonal Dark Rum

The whiskey is available only at the distillery, and is produced in limited batches, with the current expression a raw white spirit, highlighting the spicy characteristics of the rye, and balanced by a subtle sweetness from the corn. The mash bill is 55% rye, 35% corn,10% malted barley. In coming months the distillery will also release lightly aged versions, currently resting in new American oak barrels.

Lyon Distilling Company also produces a white corn whiskey, along with a series of signature rums, all of which are distilled on site in traditional pot stills. With the introduction of whiskies, the distillery is pleased to note partnerships with Homestead Farms, an organic, 1st generation family farm in Millington, MD, and Slaughterton, a 14th generation family farm in Sudlersville, MD.

For more information, please contact the distillery at 443-333-9181 or liquor@lyondistilling.com

Save the Date: 5th Annual WineFest at St. Michaels April 26, 27

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CBMM_WineFest2014Wine aficionados and novices alike can experience the historic, waterfront town of St. Michaels, MD with more than 300 international, domestic, and Maryland wines during the 5th annual WineFest at St Michaels this April 26 and 27. “Wines from Around the World” is this year’s theme, and will be carried out among the historic district’s specialty shops, restaurants, inns, and museums throughout the weekend’s festivities.

The event takes place from 12 noon to 5 p.m. each day, with online tickets and early bird pricing available at www.winefestatstmichaels.com. Saturday’s one-day tickets are limited, and historically sell out in advance. Festival proceeds benefit charitable organizations throughout the region.

“What sets WineFest at St Michaels apart is the experience of visiting more than 15 pouring venues spread within walking distance of one another,” said WineFest at St. Michaels Co-Chair John Marrah. “A stroll through the town’s waterfront and historic district make it all the more memorable.” This year’s event includes a new pouring venue at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) along the St. Michaels harbor front.

WineFest 2014 includes two special events for one VIP ticket price, with limited, advanced ticketing available online. VIP guests will begin with fine wine tastings offered during a 45-minute scenic river cruise aboard the Patriot—a 65 foot cruise boat departing from St. Michaels harbor. The Miles River offers views of historic mansions, including two featured in the movie “The Wedding Crashers,” as well as a look at on-the-water life along the Chesapeake Bay.

Upon disembarking from the Patriot, a private shuttle will be available to take VIP guests to the second VIP wine-tasting venue located at the historic Old Brick Inn in St. Michaels. VIP guests will gain exclusive access to European and US winemakers’ representatives, with the opportunity to purchase highly rated international and national, limited production wines. Online VIP ticket sales will be available on a limited, advanced basis, with tasting times scheduled in advance through the Patriot.

Ticket holders can take advantage of free parking and shuttle busses provided by WineFest, with other parking available. The festival also features food, jazz musicians, and local artisans situated along the historic district’s specialty shops, historic inns, and restaurants throughout the waterfront town.

Advanced tickets are online at www.winefestatstmichaels.com. For more information about CBMM, visit www.cbmm.org.

Cookbook Signing at News Center in Easton

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Kerry Leatherman Dunnington will bring her book Planet Kitchen Table – Recipes for a Sustainable Future in Food, to The News Center, in Easton’s Talbottown Center, on March 8, 2014, 11a.m.-1p.m. Designed for both gourmet chefs and family cooks interested in sustaining our future in food and eating meals that are seasonal and locally sourced, Planet Kitchen Table offers much more than the typical “appetizers-to-desserts” cookbooks that line bookstore shelves and are available online.

PKT Cover ImageIn the book’s opening, Dunnington poses six food-related challenges that result in a healthier home menu as well as encourage food sustainability. There also is an entire chapter for pescatarians (those who only eat fish, fruit, grains and vegetables). Many of the recipes in Planet Kitchen Table feature unusual ingredient combinations – for example, parsnip baby cakes with ginger icing, curried purslane soup, kohlrabi coleslaw and rhubarb. Dunnington’s menus are diverse enough to satisfy chefs who lean toward healthy, seasonal and vegan and also those want to serve up more traditional meals featuring meat, bread, cheese or chocolate.

Planet Kitchen Table offers a wealth of guidance on taking the season-to-season and local food sourcing approach in everyday meal preparation as well as in entertaining. The book also provides practical, in-depth information about food selection and purchasing with a view to health and nutritition, as well as excellent recipes.

Dunnington has been a caterer, food columnist, recipe judge, cookbook author, and entertaining/event consultant for more than three decades. She has written for several publications, including The Examiner newspapers, Smart Woman, baltimore eats, and Urbanite. Planet Kitchen Table is her second cookbook. Her popular first cookbook, This Book Cooks, is now in its second edition. More information may be found at www.kerrydunnington.com

Bird Dog Sauce Co. Gets Tropical

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A mere six months after launching his own Hot Sauce Company, Easton native Bird Dog Wheeler set his sights on having his sauces sold in Key West and he never looked back. “The Florida Keys, and Key West in particular, is one of the meccas for great sauces and spices and I wanted to make sure we were a part of that.” Mr. Wheeler said as he begins to marinade a goose he’s smoking for that evening’s dinner.

Bird Dog Sauce Co. Sauces are now sold at Peppers of Key West on 602 Greene St., Key West, FL. “We used to play the Keys circuit on a regular basis back in the 80’s. And now I’m going back! And from what I hear we’re already planning a tasting for down there sometime early 2015.” He says with a grin.

“I’m beside myself!” Says Keith Graffius, Distributor of the Bird Dog Sauces and owner of Crabi Gras. “A little taste of the Eastern Shore is in Key West! We couldn’t be more excited!”

“I’ve heard stories of a crazy band from the Chesapeake Bay called Bird Dog and the Road Kings. They would come down here and sometimes play twelve or thirteen hour sets and then they would be gone. Just vanish! ” Said Pete Legrady, owner of Peppers of Key West. “ It is so cool to have Bird Dog back in Key West!”

The first two sauces in the new line are the “Original Redneck Sauce,” which is a Cayenne-based table sauce, and the “Mexican Style Redneck Sauce,” made with Red Chipotle Peppers and making for a wonderful smoky sweet addition to any meal. Currently, Bird Dog and his crew are working on finding the perfect Key West style sauce to unveil when he hits the road for Key West in 2015.

These sauces are now available at both Crabi Gras locations in Cambridge and Easton, Flamingo Flats in St. Michaels, Graul’s Grocery in St. Michaels, Emily’s Produce, Leaky Petes Oyster and Wine Bar, both in Cambridge, and the Big Owl Tiki Bar and Harris Crab House in Kent Narrows.

For more information about the new sauces, or how to become a retailer of the Bird Dog line, call Keith Graffius at 410-228-0108 or email crabigras@gmail.com.