The Best of Delaware 2009
From crab cakes and cheesesteaks to prime rib and clam bakes, little Delaware is packed with great places to eat and terrific places to shop. Here’s the cream of the crop.
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Best Gourmet to Go
Readers, upstate: Toscana to Go (1402 N. Dupont St., Wilmington, 655-8600)
Readers, downstate: Fisher Bay Gourmet Foods (33323 E. Chesapeake St., No. 31, Lewes, 644-4747)
Critics, upstate: The Grays fall into the same trap most North Wilmingtonians do. They are lured by the smell of fresh baguettes, croissants and six-grain breads baking in the ovens at Bon Appetit Gourmet Food Shoppe. “The breads are baked steadily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” says manager Louisette Amblard. The sandwiches, thanks to the aforementioned breads, are the most popular takeout items. Customers also enjoy artisan jams, pastas, fresh-made soups, breads, salads, cheeses, fresh salmon entrées, quiche and vegetarian soups. (3629D Talleyville Shopping Center, Wilmington, 478-4344)
Critics, downstate: Deberah Sutter and Lois Pellegrino, two local foodies with organic and natural goodies on their minds, took over the former Beautiful Foods, renamed it Nourish and began producing ready-made gourmet, on top of Beautiful Foods’ usual inventory. “New owners, new attitude,” Livingston says. “Let them stock your pantry and entertain your guests. Having a few friends for cocktails? Get all you need there. Having a cocktail party for 50? Let them cater. You won't be sorry.” Sutter has kept the best of what Beautiful Foods offered, namely specialty and artisanal cheeses—French Camembert, as well as gorgonzola and mozzarella from Italy. But she’s also focused on small American producers. People can still find French cheese, but there’s also some from Washington, Iowa—even Delaware. With a full kitchen at her disposal, Sutter prepares ready-made salads like French lentil, quinoa and forbidden black rice, as well as dinners, sauces and dressings. (37385 Henlopen Junction, No. 10, Rehoboth Beach, 227-6282)
Most Gracious Host
Critics, upstate: “This is not a restaurant,” Marco Rizzo says. “This is my home.” Guests at Ristorante Marco certainly feel at home, thanks to the warm, cozy atmosphere and their host’s personality—friendly, full of life and Italian all the way. Rizzo thinks of customers as his friends, he’s always quick with a wine recommendation for veal scaloppine, and he’s even absorbed customers’ family recipes into his menu. “I feel like part of their families,” he says. “I even get invited to weddings.” Rizzo, who is from Italy, still visits his home country every year, then brings back the latest in wine and food trends. He’s built such a loyal following, in June he opened a second restaurant, this time in Greenville. (1847 Pulaski Hwy., Bear, 392-2244; 3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 254-5427)
Critics, upstate: Grazing means sampling casually, and that’s just what Tom Hudson wants customers to do at Domaine Hudson Wine Bar & Eatery. Hudson’s creative small plates and seemingly endless variety of small wine pours allow Domaine diners to cover a lot of ground in one sitting. For example, Hudson’s daily 3-3-3 Happy Hour tasting recently featured three 3-ounce pours of French Pinot Noirs at $3 each: a 2007 Vignoble Guillaume, VDP de Franch-Comté; a 2007 Domaine Daniel Rion from Bourgogne, Burgundy; and a 2005 Domaine Olivier & Anne-Marie Rion “La Pretière” from Côte de Nuits Villages, Burgundy. The wines were paired with handcrafted cheese from New York’s Artisanal and Murray’s cheeses (three cheeses for $15 or five cheeses for $25). Check the chalkboard for the latest grazing opportunities. (1314 Washington St., Wilmington, 655-9463)
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