The new Delaware Culinary Trail includes eight restaurants in each county that exemplify fine dining or local flavor. Why? Exhibit 1:
The newest full-time server at the original Charcoal Pit on Concord Pike has worked there 10 years. Some have been there 25 years. If that means things change slowly at The Pit, that’s a good thing. The place looks much as it did when it opened in 1956. The counter was long ago moved from the bank of windows up front to make room for lots of cozy booths, but the place still feels like the place you hung out at as a teen, because you still hang out there when you need a good char-grilled burger and ice cream. So do your teenaged grandchildren. And you often you hang out there together. Beautiful.
A point that could be argued: Karen and Chino Pedemonte’s Bon Appétit is the last true French restaurant in the state. A point that can’t be disputed: It is truly continental in every way. The decor is modest and understated, the very definition of elegance: white linens, fresh flowers, candlelight. The food would please the most bullish of purists. Smoked bluefish is served with horseradish sauce, country paté with mustard. A daily quiche. Garlicky escargot. And that’s just to start. The list of entrées reads like a true bistro menu, sprinkled as it is with Cressonnières, epinards, citrons and Dijonaisses. The wine list offers classics such as bottles by Louis Jadot, as well as contemporary favorites such as Cakebread Chardonnay—which, we’ll point out, is made from a classically French grape. Or enjoy a Pernod and water. One could say there’s no place else like this in Western Sussex. Then again, one could say there’s no place else like it in Delaware.
There are 22 more, and you can read about them all in this month’s issue of Delaware Today or by clicking here. Then get the map from the state tourism office and hit the trail. Enthusiastic diners will be amply rewarded. Enjoy.
2012: A Year of Change
Restaurants come and go—and some come back again. Here’s an example of latest on the Delaware dining scene.
Formerly known as Café Sole
Now known as a(MUSE.)
Super chef Hari Cameron’s ultimate playground offers some of the most innovative fare around. (44 Baltimore Ave. Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107 amuse-rehoboth.com)
Formerly known as Buckley’s Tavern
Now known as Buckley’s Tavern
Former Hotel du Pont chef Tom Hannum brings a touch of Green Room panache to the newly renovated inn. (5812 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 656-9776, buckleystavern.com)
Formerly known as Public House
Now known as Ernest & Scott Taproom
Scott Morrison teams fun, well-executed food with a broad, ever-changing list of cask-conditioned craft brews. (902 N. Market St., Wilmington, 384-8113, ernestandscott.com)
Formerly known as 33 West
Now known as 33 West Ale House & Grill
Sleek new decor and a tweaked menu accompany a new emphasis on imported and microbrewed beers. (33 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 735-9822, 33westde.com)
There’s much more, and you can read it here.
Noshing in Newark
It’s Downtown Newark’s Restaurant Week. Through Jan. 27, the city hosts a culinary celebration to highlight the downtown’s diverse restaurants. And it’s one of the most affordable restaurant weeks in the state. Special menus at the 19 participating restaurants show off their best. Three tiers of prix fixe meals are offered, with some restaurants offering more than one tier during the week. Friends & Family Fun Meals feeds a group of four for $22. Two-course lunches are $10. Two-course dinners are $22, and three-course dinners are $28. Participating restaurants are Ali Baba Middle Eastern Restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, Caffé Gelato, California Tortilla, Catherine Rooney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Claymont Steak Shop, Cosi, Cucina di Napoli, Deer Park Tavern, Grotto Pizza, Home Grown Café, Iron Hill Brewery, Kildare’s Irish Pub, Klondike Kate’s, Pat’s Pizzeria/MVP Sports Lounge, Santa Fe Mexican Grill, Stone Balloon Winehouse, Taverna Rustic Italian and The Saigon Restaurant. Check the menus at enjoydowntownnewark.com/restaurantweek.
Pie in the Sky
National Pie Day is upon us, and Linvilla Orchards in Media, Pa., is at your service. Jan. 23-27 the popular farm and market will sell more than 40 kinds of pie, including several varieties of good ol’ all-American apple pie and a few cream pies as well. In the past they were called pyes and were stuffed with meat, according to our friend Patrick Rizzuto of Breslow Partners. The Pilgrims cooked them to preserve the filling through winter. Now we eat pies with fillings from pecan or pumpkin to blueberry, as we have been doing so ravenously since in the 1800s. Linvilla, famous for its offerings, has been baking them for 40 years. For National Pie Day, it will give away a free pumpkin pie with the purchase of any other pie. We say yum. Mark your calendar now. (610) 876-7116, linvilla.com
Ina Garten was a nuclear policy analyst for the White House when she made a big mid-life change by opening a gourmet foods store, Barefoot Contessa, which she has parlayed into a career as an author of cookbooks, magazine articles and, most recently, the popular Food Network show “Barefoot Contessa.” She’ll visit The Grant Opera House in Wilmington on Feb. 19 to talk about food and life with News Journal food writer Patricia Talorico, and you’re welcome to ring in. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org