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 Cocktail Selection
Readers, upstate: Home Grown Café & Gourmet to Go (126 E. Main St., Newark, 266-6993)
Readers, downstate: Espuma (28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-4199)
Critics, upstate: The solid beer list at Exchange on Market should not be discounted, but the Grays give Exchange high marks for its drink menu, “which offers unique blends of standard and exotic flavors,” says Harold. Best sellers include the Dark & Stormy, a Bermudian concoction of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and ginger beer; the double espresso martini; and the Key Lime margarita, a blend of Margaritaville Calypso Coconut tequila, pineapple and lime. The Seedless Watermelon, a combo of Bacardi watermelon, triple sec, cranberry and lime is worth a sip, as is the good ’ol Harvey Wallbanger. Says Gray, “The cocktails settle nicely on the palate and gently on the morning after.” (902 N. Market St., Wilmington, 576-9861)
Readers, upstate: Brew Ha Ha! (Various locations)
Readers, downstate: Java Beach (17314 N. Village Main Blvd., No. 53, Lewes, 644-0370)
Critics, upstate: The Gunns get their morning buzz from Pike Creek Coffee Roasterie, a local outfit that roasts beans fresh on site. Single-source coffee comes from around the world (Costa Rica, India, Kenya and more), but the real treats are the exclusive blends, like the Rise and Shine Breakfast Blend, where South American and Indonesian beans mingle to create a great morning fog-lifter. Flavored coffee like French toast and crème brûlée seem too good to be true. (270 Polly Drummond Hill Road (inside Zingo's), Newark, 731-5187)
Critics, downstate: Unique, flavorful and even a few proprietary coffee blends are Amy Felker’s specialty at Notting Hill Coffee Roastery, where many a fair trade and organic bean make their home. “She has a nice reputation and some strong coffee,” Leishear says. “We use a French roast blended with a fair trade coffee to make our mocha chocolate cake. That’s her thing. She knows her bean.” Felker’s bean selection reads like a Rand McNally. Javas from Ethiopia, Jamaica, Guatemala and more are all roasted on site. (124 Second St., Lewes, 645-0733)
Best Contemporary Italian
Critics, upstate: The water feature made of wine bottles at the hostess station is your first clue that Capers and Lemons is different. Next you’ll notice the servers’ black T-shirts, each labeled with a different Italian wine, such as Prosecco. Woodstone pizzas and starters such as fig flat bread place C&L firmly on the fore of dining trends. But other food is classic: zesty cioppino, tender braciole and veal saltimbocca. On your way out, grab some jars of sauce and specialty food in the adjoining to-go shop. Monty is a big fan. (301 Little Falls Drive, Wilmington, 256-0524)
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