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Crabby Dick’s
18831 Coastal Highway
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971-6153
(302) 645-9132

{Google Maps | Website}‎

Maryland is known for crabs.  To eat Maryland fresh cracked crab or crabcakes is to taste crab as it was intended to taste.  It’s known nationwide like Maine Lobster, Texas beef, & Berkshire pork (which originated from England, not the Berkshire Mountains – but work with me here!)  A few miles north, however lies a small state (the first, in fact) that tends to be overlooked for its pristine beaches, lively boardwalks, and towns like Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, and Bethany Beach, which contain a plethora of fresh seafood restaurants like Crabby Dick’s.

My in-laws told us we’d probably think it’s too touristy – and touristy it is.  You walk in to an enormous gift shop filled with crab inspired t-shirts, wall hangings, mugs, magnets, caps, and towels, etc – some with the Crabby Dick’s logo, some with the girl version (Anita Dick), and others that plainly ask, “Got Crabs…?”  The crab fan that I am I was tempted to buy one of everything, and may have followed through had my more sensible half not looked at me as if to say, “why do we need crab salt & pepper shakers?”  It was decided that some photos, plus a crabby meal would be enough.

Sitting down to eat in a restaurant like Crabby Dick’s you expect a decent meal – at least something freshly caught with mediocre sides, and some cold beer.  What we got, however was a fantastic meal – big, meaty, sweet, fresh crab legs dipped in the most perfect clarified butter, and washed down with ice cold Shock Top beer.  Even the starter Crab Balls – mini crab cakes, and Corn Balls – mini, creamy corn fritters blew me away.  And the oysters?  Don’t get me started.  Fresh, meaty, briny, plump, perfectly cold…I love oysters!  Plus, they start you out with a basket of Old Bay seasoned popcorn.  I love Old Bay too!!  There were six of us at the table, and each of us was happy…no, ecstatic over our meals.  One person ordered a combo pot of crab legs and shrimp, and couldn’t finish her shrimp, so guess who did…me!  And the shrimp were awesome – lightly dusted in Old Bay, perfectly sweet with a bit of a snap – the way shrimp should be.

We opted against dessert even though the gigantic brownie with whipped cream tower that the three cougars at the neighboring table had looked delicious, and they do serve key lime pie, we were all just stuffed to the gills.

It may be in my best interest on my next trip to Lewes to seek out a place more off the main drag, but I would go back to Crabby Dick’s in a heartbeat…and I’d buy the salt & pepper shakers too!

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Crabby Dick’s can also be enjoyed at:
30 Clinton Street
Fort Delaware
Delaware City, DE
302-832-5100

&
PORT TOBACCO MARINA
7536 Shirley Blvd
Port Tobacco, MD
301-392-0007

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Lewis’ Bar & Grill
92 Central Street
Norwood, MA 02062
(781) 762-8928

{Google Maps | Website}      

Lewis’ Bar & Grill is one of those places that’s been there forever, but if you’re not from the town of Norwood, MA you’ve probably never heard of it.  It wasn’t even on the list of eateries at my hotel (5 minutes from Lewis’), but the girl at the front desk was able to confirm that the placed I had picked to eat dinner was, in fact a “pretty cool place.”  It was an interesting pick, for sure.  Internet stories of it being a real “townie” place left me fearful that my car with its’ New York license plates would be destroyed by angry Red Sox fans (and I’m not even a Yankees fan!) 

Sam Adams Summer Ale - As Local as it Gets!

My reservations subsided, however when I saw Lewis’ standing at the end of a quiet, tree-lined block in what appears to be a sleepy little Massachusetts town.  I walked in past a door leading to a bar area, and sat at another bar in the back restaurant area.  It was a Wednesday night – day after the All Star Game – nothing on TV, nice & quiet.

I ordered a Sam Adams Summer Ale – one of the best summer ales on the market – and perused the menu.  They have typical bar food – and lots of choices.  When in New England I like to try a restaurant’s clam chowder.  NE restaurants pride themselves on their chowder (pronounced CHOW-DAH), and who am I to deny them their satisfaction?  It was a burger kind of night for me, so I figured I’d try the house burger – The Lewis’ Burger for $8.95.  This signature sandwich is a big sucker topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato, ham, & egg salad.  WHAT??  Yep, you read that correctly.  It was the most talked about entree on the “other” Internet review sites, so I figured it might be good.

New England Clam Chowdah!

The chowder came first.  It was thick and creamy, and slightly sweet.  And for those of you who may be wondering, their chowder is the white.  You NEVER get the red north of NYC. 

The burger is pretty big.  The first bite took me to another planet where flavor rules, and low calorie diets are illegal.  The egg salad adds a nice tang and creaminess.  No need for any other condiments.  Halfway through I remembered it had ham on it too.  The taste of the ham seems to get lost amongst the other pieces of the sandwich.  The beef patty though could stand alone.

The Lewis' Burger

I had another beer and chatted with Chris, the bartender for a little while.  Apparently, had I chosen to eat up front  in the original bar (the back restaurant was added much later) the burgers are even better – in his humble opinion, and they’re cooked right in front of you.  I can’t say I was disappointed in my meal, but that could have been fun to watch.

The burger, soup, and two beers cost me around $27 with tip; not a bad price for a fantastic meal in a pleasant setting.  On my way out I peeked into the front bar again.  It’s a cool looking place – and if this was about history and/or interiors I would have stayed longer.  But I had places to be, and I was full, and very satisfied.

 

 

Casimir Restaurant
103 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009
(212) 358-9683‎

{Google Maps | Website}

The East Village of New York City is often an enigma to me.  It’s far enough off the subway lines to be secluded enough to house a number of what we like to call “hidden gems” – more so than other out of the way locales like the Upper East Side.  Ten years ago the East Village was just turning from the gritty birthplace of punk rock to a hip, trendy neighborhood, and at the same time Casimir was opening its doors for the first time. 

As the resident French restaurant early on in the emerging East Village scene, owner/host Guillaume Blestel has carefully created a dining experience reminiscent of the off-the-beaten-path, family-run bistros that dot Paris’ back alleys.  Blestel, who also owns Zebulon, a café and performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, turned to executive chef Blair Hanelt to create a menu of classics and new dishes with a decidedly French feel.  You’ll remember why you loved French Onion Soup after tasting Casimir’s version, with each spoonful featuring a harmonizing soup to bread to cheese ratio.  Salads are also a great way to start your meal with refreshing offerings that range from the simple (Mixed Greens) to Gallic-inspired delights such as the new DaBarry (fennel, radicchio, mesclun, asparagus, green beans and truffle oil dressing), or favorites like the Rambuteau (sautéed chicken liver and sweet shallots over greens), Escartefigue (marinated goat cheese, eggplant caviar, red pepper confit) and Carpaccio (raw beef tenderloin with parmesan, virgin olive oil and arugula).  You can make a meal out of the restaurant’s Paysan Bites, including Casimir Country Pate, Escargots Provencal and Smoked Herring or Grilled Garlic Sausage, both served with warm potato salad.

Tonight my wife & I opted for some traditional dishes.  She started with the Escartefigue salad with marinated goat cheese, eggplant caviar, and red pepper confit for $9, then moved on to the Pan Seared Grouper With A Tomato Saffron Broth, Zucchini, Carrots & Asparagus for $18.  The Grouper was actually a substitute for Striped Bass.  An inferior substitute?  Hardly.  The grouper was flaky and delicious, and perfectly cooked.  “I love the broth,” she declared.

Steak Tartare

I started with a glass of white Cote Du Rhone which if you’ve never tried it, tastes light & citrusy, not unlike a Sauvignon Blanc but with more bite.  Much richer.  Fantastic!  I started with a traditional Nicoise Salad with tuna – a special on tonight’s menu, and special indeed.  Entrees at Casimir all look delicious on paper, except to my wife.  The thought of Steak Tartare made her ill, but when the waitress recommended it to me, I couldn’t resist.  It was served with fries and greens for $18.  It was perfectly uncooked – slightly spicy, fresh, and creamy.  The wife even tried a bite – and liked it!

Other entrees include Filet Mignon (with black pepper cognac sauce), Steak Frites and Steamed Mussels in white wine.  A decadent Terrine de Foie Gras (with croutons and frisee) is a great take on a French delicacy.  There’s also Murray, a brand new chicken dish (organic free-range honey glazed Moroccan spiced chicken with apricot–olive relish and couscous), Duck Confit (with garlic roasted potatoes and frisee) and “La Frioule, Casimir’s rich fish bouillabaisse.  Penne de Jardin (with seasonal vegetables and truffle oil) and Vegetable Couscous (with baby vegetables and harissa) are great options for those seeking meat-free dining. 

For dessert we ordered the Assiette de Fromage (with apples, grapes and nuts) for $12, and Espresso with Pistacio Ice Cream $4.  Both are outstanding, and I highly recommend either.  Other desserts include Profiteroles and Vanilla Crème Brulee, and  Iles Flottantes, literally ‘Floating Islands,’ an offering of creamy custard topped with poached meringue—the perfect way to end a meal.

Casimir’s eclectic collection of French red, white and rose wines, as well as champagne, beer, and spirits including Pastis, Cognacs, Single-Malt Scotch and Grappa, serve as great accompaniments to any meal.  The restaurant also features a creative cocktail list including Le Zebulon (rum, ginger, lime, nutmeg), Le Casablanca (Malibu, OJ, 7UP) and Le Pollux (Stoli Vanilla, Cointreau, Pineapple) and the new Hippolyte (gin, Cointreau, ginger, lime)

Casimir also serves lunch daily, and a weekend brunch.  The $9.95 Brunch Special features entrees such as Brioche French Toast (served with fresh fruit, syrup and sweetened cream), Croque Monsieur or Madame (served with mixed greens) and Tunisian Eggs (3 eggs baked in terra cotta with spicy tomato and feta).  Their a la carte brunch menu features favorites from their dinner menu suitable for afternoon eating, such as Black Boudin Sausage (with apples and mashed potatoes), Hamburger New Orleans (with tartar sauce and bacon) and the popular La Velodrome salad with arugula, parmesan and roasted garlic croutons.

Casimir is open for dinner from 5:30 pm to 12:00 am Sunday through Thursday and from 5:30 pm to 1:00 am Friday and Saturday.  Weekend brunch runs from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  American Express and cash are accepted.  For more information, visit www.casimirrestaurant.com and become a fan on Facebook.

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Primanti Bros.
Various Locations
15 Restaurants in the Pittsburgh area and 4 in Florida

My wife is from the PIttsburgh area, so I’ve spent a considerable amount of time there, and unless her parents decide to relocate to Lewes, DE permanently (please, oh please!) then I see even more trips in the near & distant future.

One of those Pittsburgh institutions that’s hard to ignore, especially these days is Primanti Bros. – a sandwich shop famous for big, meaty sandwiches – sliced meat and cheese stuffed between two slices of sourdough bread along with – get this – cole slaw and fries.  Yep, right in the sandwich!  Odd?  Yes.  Delicious?  Oh, yes!!  And there’s a reason behind this, of course, and I’ve copied it directly from there website:

A Photo From The Original Primanti Bros.

Back in the 1930’s, Joe Primanti opened a cart in the Strip District selling sandwiches to truckers on the go. It was decided that he should expand to a small restaurant on 18th Street. The hours were 3am to 3pm to accomodate truckers and the like. His brothers, Dick and Stanley, joined him along with nephew John DePriter who was the cook.

According to John, “One winter, a fella drove in with a load of potatoes. He brought a few of ’em over to the restaurant to see if they were frozen. I fried the potatoes on our grill and they looked pretty good. A few of our customers asked for them, so I put the potatoes on their sandwiches.” And the rest is history. The Primanti Sandwich: a true taste of Pittsburgh.

Joe moved to California in the 40’s for health reasons and the tradition continued on for 30 years with Dick, Stanley and John.

 With the passing of Stanley in the early 70’s and John in 1974, Dick decided to sell the business.  Jim Patrinos bought the business in 1974 and re-opened in 1975 after minor modifications to the existing property. With the business flourishing and the original location expanding to 24 hours, Jim decided to open more locations. The second Primanti Bros. location was in Oakland near the University of Pittsburgh. Business took off with hungry students and doctors in the area, so expansion was on the horizon again, adding Cherry Way (downtown Pittsburgh), South Side, Market Square and, in time, Three Rivers Stadium.

In 1998, Primanti’s started growing into the suburbs of Pittsburgh while expanding the menu. Pizza, wings, salads and more were added to the “Almost Famous” Sandwich menu.

Three Rivers Stadium went out with a bang in 2001, so Primanti’s (ever the sports fans) set up shops in the new venues: Heinz Field and PNC Park.

Chicken Combo Platter

My first Primanti Bros. experience was at the original location.  We got an order of pickles, and chili fries.  There wasn’t much else on the menu besides that, the sandwiches, and beer.  I got the capicola with cheese, their vinegar based cole slaw, and fries.  I’ve since enjoyed a sandwich at PNC Park, and most recently in their Cranberry Township location.

I’ll be honest – the Cranberry location could be any old cookie cutter sports bar.  There’s plenty of sports panaphenalia on the walls, waiters and waitresses who pretend to not care, and greasy, fatty appetizers like the combination of wings, fried mushrooms, chicken tenders, & onion rings.  The food isn’t bad.  Not at all.  And the sandwiches (I had my usual capicola) are just as good as the originals.  What’s missing though is the charm of the old place.  The remnance of a different time when Pittsburgh really was the steel city. 

Capicola w/ Cheese, Slaw, & Fries on Sourdough

My preference will always be to eat at the Strip District location, but if none of that matters to you, then by all means find your closest spot, order up, and enjoy!

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