Rye Whiskey Returns to Maryland

lyon whiskey

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

cbmm winefest

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.

ACME Offers Winter Storm Recovery Discount to Customers

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Now through February 15, 2014, all ACME Markets stores throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland will offer a special 5% coupon to customers who were impacted by recent storms (some restrictions apply).

Recognizing how much the storms have significantly affected ACME Markets’ communities, the local grocer wants to help customers refill their refrigerators and freezers with staples that may have been destroyed by the power outage, and also stock their pantries with additional canned goods and shelf-stable foods that many area customers found invaluable during the recent crisis. The 5% coupon on purchases is available to all customers at acmemarkets.com/winterstorm. Just click on the “Special Offer” link to print out the letter with the discount coupon. For those customers still without power and unable to print out the special offer, the store director of their local ACME Markets store is ready, willing and able to assist.

“All of our associates stood side by side with customers in being impacted by this storm, and we want to help customers recover as quickly as possible from this epic weather event,” said Jim Perkins, president of ACME. “ACME has been a part of our community for 123 years, and helping customers out in a time of need is just our way of taking care of the community the best way we can.”

The Special Offer Coupon is valid from February 10, 2014 to February 15, 2015. Offer excludes floral, money orders, lottery tickets, gift cards, tobacco, prescriptions, stamps, phone cards, fuel and convenience store purchases or other products prohibited by law.

ACME Markets Inc. began in 1891. ACME operates 112 stores, including Sav-On Pharmacies at select locations, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, employing more than 10,000 associates. For more information visit, www.acmemarkets.com.

Spying on Piazza in Easton

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There’s a well-known saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” So when college student Emily Chandler spent four months there during a study abroad, she did what all the Romans do. She ate and ate, savoring some of the most delectable foods she’d ever tasted, as good and sometimes better than her Italian-American mother had cooked for her. Emily found the food to be “a big distraction” from her art studies and began to make a “study” of the various foods around the country.

Piazza Emily ChandlerWhen she returned to the States, Emily interned with Slow Foods, a nonprofit originating in Italy which is dedicated to supporting and protecting small growers and artisan food producers, safeguarding the environment, while promoting biodiversity. After graduating Wesleyan with a degree in studio art, Chandler found herself working in a New York cheese shop.

She realized that there was still a need in America for more regional and artisan Italian foods, not the typical canned and mass produced variety. As an artist and student of the arts, she realized that making foods the right way was also an art.

When her parents purchased a vacation home in Talbot County twelve years ago, they encouraged Emily to move here as well, they even offered to be her financial backer as well as advisors in a food business, being business school grads themselves.

That’s when she decided to open her own Italian market, Piazza, located in the Talbottown shops in downtown Easton. Piazza refers to the countless public squares in every Italian town, where visitors and locals gather at fountains, public markets and restaurants– to eat or just hang out and socialize.

Piazza market in Easton is all that–a place to eat, a food market and a great place to socialize while learning about Italian foods.

“I wanted this business to feature foods from the Italy of today, distinct foods from each region, for each season there’s something new. We stock Valpolicella Ripasso wine from the Veneto, Cicerchia beans from Umbria, olive oils from Tuscany, Sicily, Lazio, Umbria, Basilicata, Liguria and Puglia. Our white balsamic vinegar is wonderful, it’s from Emilia Romagna. Setaro is the featured brand of pasta from outside Napoli. We have a large range of cheeses in stock– about 30 varieties at a time. Our cheese selection is a mix of American, Italian, French, Swiss, Spanish and Dutch varieties. We always have three types of cured hams in stock, including Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto San Daniele.”

photo 2Most of their offerings are imported, a few things are locally made to Italian standards, like fresh pasta by the Easton restaurant Scossa, Chapel Country Creamery cheese, locally made goat cheese. Other locally made items include a tofu, Rise Up coffee, and a local honey. American artisan cheeses hail from Vermont and California, their salami is from Virginia and California.

In the five years Piazza has been open, it has grown to be a popular eatery as well the place to find the best fresh cheeses and meats, gourmet olive oils and countless other market products.

They offer a variety of sandwiches, paninis, salads and more. There’s seating inside and out in warmer weather. Their best-selling sandwich features Campana prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato.

“My mom did cook a lot of Italian food when I was growing up, and we continue to cook together often, we also try to make things we’ve eaten together in Italy. The tuna salad we make at the store is based on the way my mom prepares hers. It’s made with capers, parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest; no mayonnaise.”

Are there any new additions on the horizon? Chandler would like to do more catering, anything from lunch platters for local businesses wine & cheese for your pre-dinner, an elegant cocktail party, a backyard casual dinner, or a full sit-down dinner.

“We are expanding our prepared foods, and more selections for our take-out

Dinners: meatballs, eggplant parmigiano, spinach or pork lasagna, chicken gravy simmered in tomato sauce, pesto Alfredo, linguini and clams, baked ziti, and several sauces, all offered on a rotating schedule. We have a well-versed staff who have worked here for years and know their products.”

These grab and go meals are a wonderful real-food alternative to fast foods, and perfect for a boat outing or picnic, or on the way home from a busy work day.

One wonders, has it been difficult for a well-traveled gal from Northern Virginia with roots in Italy to settle down in Easton? Not so much.

” I enjoy this community, everyone we’ve met has been engaging and genuinely nice, interested in what we have and receptive to Piazza. We always love it when people come in and tell us where they’ve been in Italy.”

The market also features a big map of Italy to look over as well as food and travel books on the country known for its incredible food, architecture and art.

Food Review: Holy Mackerel There is Real Sushi in Easton

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Anyone who has had consistently good sushi in their lives, and now live on the Eastern Shore, very quickly resigns themselves to a world where one can drive for over an hour in any direction and still not find the kind of “right off the boat”, brilliantly presented sushi found in the big cities. That is, until now.

For reasons that only the sushi gods can answer, the outrageously good U-Sushi has quietly opened in Easton over the past few months and is quickly becoming a haven for those yearning for the real stuff.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 2.13.04 PMThe good news about sushi these days is that it’s growing in popularity.  The bad news is that there are no guarantees that these rural outlets are offering the real deal. In fact, most of them, alas, never seem to match the experience of those great little neighborhood sushi places in New York or San Francisco. Great, not because of impeccable service or ambience, but for a certain and quite palpable dedication to freshness.

Now the Mid-Shore finally has one of those places.  For those who know sushi, this is the place to drive to.  Located within  a very nondescript shopping mall, and with very little decor to speak of, save for a very dominate but rather odd Buddha statue overshadowing the dining room, this little place rocks with an astonishing list of sushi variations, as well as some Japanese country food for those not into the “raw fish thing” quite yet, including great tempura, good noodle dishes and solid teriyaki.

But the sushi… oh the sushi!  And an out of this world choice of rolls, sashimi and a la carte sushi. From an Autumn roll, offering spicy tuna with fresh mango, salmon and U-Sushi’s special sauce, to Dinosaur, with king crab with seaweed salad, the menu will take any sushi aficionado back to memories of the “steady eddie” joints where one could feast at length on fresh but affordable sushi and strong warm saki on cold nights.

U-Sushi is not perfect. The ritual of arriving with the sushi chefs greeting you with yelps of “irasshaimase” seems to fade after three visits, and nor were there those warm wet towels part of the reception, but the desire to please is so unmistakably genuine, the patron is quick to settle in to read a hundred plus items on the menu.

And also like those good old dependent city sushi places, U-Sushi does not break the bank. Even with generous sake for the table and no withholding on the sushi order, a group of four sushi fanatics can walk out completely satisfied for well under $100.

On the three nights the Spy was visiting U-Sushi, it was rare to see more than five tables being used at any one time. Perhaps the sign of a new business starting, but U-Sushi is a fantastic addition to Talbot’s growing list of fabulous restaurants.

108 Marlboro Avenue






Maryland Holds National Food Day Events Across the State

TAKOMA PARK – Nearly 100 events are taking place Thursday in Maryland to celebrate national Food Day, a movement to promote healthy, affordable and sustainable food.

“Our plan is to utilize as many services and to leverage as many programs as possible to end hunger in the state of Maryland,” said Michael Wilson, executive director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, a member of the state Partnership to End Childhood Hunger launched by Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2008.

The Maryland advocacy organization will be joining farms, schools, universities, hospitals and other institutions around the country that will be hosting events like chef demonstrations, healthy food tastings and farm-to-table lunches, said Food Day National Coordinator Catherine Kastleman, who oversees events in Maryland and 14 other states.

While Food Day, created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2012, has national priorities, Kastleman said the effect of things like budget cuts on supplemental nutrition assistance programs really makes people in Maryland “think about how they can turn to their local food system to find sustenance in the community.”

For example, the weekly Crossroads Farmers Market in Takoma Park, which held an early Food Day celebration on Wednesday, makes fresh, local and healthy food accessible to low-income people by doubling federal nutrition benefits.

“Food Day is a great event for raising awareness around the country about food issues related to sustainability and food access,” said Christie Blach, executive director of Crossroads Community Food Network.

Another event that will take place in Maryland on Thursday is the Big Apple Crunch.

More than 12 bushels of apples were donated by a local farm so that 15 organizations could encourage lunchtime participants to “crunch into an apple to represent healthy eating,” said Andrea Taylor, Food Day coordinator for Prince George’s County.

Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment and the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council of food service professionals will also be encouraging healthy local eating by launching a new campaign Thursday, said Louise Mitchell, sustainable foods program manager for Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

 “[The campaign] encourages intuitions to serve at least one certified organic food on Food Day,” she said. “[And] with alliances forming between hospitals, universities and schools, changes can be made to the whole food environment, including what foods are available.”

One of the greatest challenges to ending childhood hunger is people’s awareness that it’s even a problem, according to Molly McCloskey, the director of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign in Maryland.

According to Katherine Klosek, the director of the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, food insecurity in Maryland is connected to lack of access.

 “[There is] definitely an anti-hunger focus on Food Day in Maryland and really this nutrition education and teaching kids where this food comes from; it all comes back to access—what’s healthy, what’s not,” she said.

 “Children might only see Cheetos and soda at the corner store, but it’s about telling them, ‘Did you know at Reservoir Hill there is a farmers market where you can buy fruits and vegetables?’ It’s about showing other sources of food they might not be used to—that’s not something you learn in school, and it might not be something the parents even know,” she said.

 During a Food Day event Thursday hosted by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger will release its plan to end childhood hunger in the city by 2015.

 And the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland has a statewide plan that includes ensuring that 70 percent of students who participate in the free and reduced school lunch program also participate in the free and reduced breakfast program, McCloskey said.

 “We are closing in on the 60 percent mark, and we want to see 70 percent by 2015,” McClosekey said. “…Hungry children can’t learn, hungry children don’t thrive—we can’t have a strong state with weak children.”


Capital News Service

Julia Child Author Offers Free Seminar on Kitchen Design

Eat-in kitchen designed by Pamela Heyne, AIA

Pamela Heyne believes she is the only architect ever to have interviewed Julia Child about kitchen design. Pamela is currently writing a book focussing on Julia’s last two home kitchens,  providing tips and showing how those old fashioned kitchens just might be relevant today.  (One of those kitchens is currently on display in the Smithsonian.)

Julia’s home kitchens were anti-glitz and designed to be easy for the cook….from materials, access to tools, lighting. They required minimal walking.  They also  were eat-in kitchens….the table was smack in the middle of the action. Pamela remembers how pleasant it was to sit down at Julia’s table, rather than teetering on a high stool at an island,  and have a delicious cup of French coffee as Julia expounded on her ideas.

Eat-in kitchen designed by Pamela Heyne, AIA

Eat-in kitchen designed by Pamela Heyne, AIA

Pamela is a graduate of Smith College, as was Julia.  She also has a degree in architecture from Yale School of Architecture and is author of two previous books on design.

Pamela will host a seminar on “The New Old Fashioned Kitchen” at her studio in St. Michaels, October 11 at 10:00. She will convey some of Julia’s tips and show how a kitchen inspired by Julia does not have to look like Julia’s. She will also discuss the latest energy efficient appliances, lighting and care for materials such as Julia’s favorite butcher block. French coffee (naturally) and a Julia Child nibble will be provided.  free. Reservations required.  (410-714-9040 or pam@pamelaheyne.com)

Julia Child & Pamela Heyne

Julia Child & Pamela Heyne

Mountaire Farms Joins Salisbury’s Pork in the Park BBQ April 21

The Pork in the Park BBQ Festival, presented by Gateway Subaru is expanding its horizons this year with the introduction of the Mountaire Farms Eastern Shore Wing War.  Moving past the festival’s reputation for being ‘porkcentric,’ this new edition to Sunday’s line-up focuses on another grilling favorite – chicken.  The Mountaire Farms Eastern Shore Wing War will launch on Sunday, April 21st from 12:00pm – 4:00pm at the Pork in the Park BBQ Festival.  Area restaurants, amateur eaters and professional eating champions are lining up to take part in this challenge which includes a People’s Choice Wing Competition, Amateur Wing- Eating Contest and Major League Eating Professional Wing-Eating Competition.

People’s Choice Wing Competition, Sunday, April 21st 12:00pm – 2:30pm

Area restaurants, including local favorites Adam’s Ribs, Catering by Chef Stewart of Flannery’s, Famous Dave’s, Sub Runners, The Deli, The Greene Turtle and Vinny’s La Roma will face-off in this bracket-style competition in which ‘the people’ will decide who has created the best wing.  Brackets are $10 per person and include 20 wing tickets (while supplies last).  The winning restaurant will receive $200 cash and a banner to help with bragging rights.

Amateur Wing-Eating Competition, Sunday, April 21st at 2:30pm

The focus of the next challenge is on quantity.  Local wing-eaters will take the festival’s Main Stage to compete in the Amateur Wing-Eating Competition.  The participant that eats the most Mountaire Farms jumbo chicken wings (judged by weight) in a timed-period will be crowned the ‘Wing Warrior’ and take home $100 in prize money.  Advanced qualification is required.

Major League Eating Professional Wing-Eating Competition, Sunday, April 21st 3:00pm-3:45pm

Professional eaters from around the world will go head to head during this wing-eating competition, sanctioned by the Major League Eating Federation.  Current World Champion Joey Chestnut, third-ranked Tim ‘Eater X’ Janus and fourth-ranked Sonya Thomas will take on other professional eaters in this challenge where a $5000 purse is up for grabs.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Pork in the Park BBQ Festival will be served up April 19th – 21st in Salisbury, MD’s WinterPlace Park. The festival offers three days of family-friendly entertainment including live music, rides and games, unique craft vendors, delicious food and cold beverages.  Admission is $5 daily for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free.

www.PorkinthePark.org / 1.800.332.TOUR

Admission $5 Daily / Children Under 12 Free

Friday, April 19th 4pm – 10pm
Saturday, April 20th 10am – 10pm

Sunday, April 21st 11am – 6pm