What I Ate at the Beach This Weekend: Fall Flavors, Seafood and Comfort Food
From sweet-and-spicy scrapple to mouth-watering margherita pizza, don't miss these delectable dishes along Delaware's coast.
Fried oysters at The Surfing Crab, located on Route 1// Courtesy of Pam George
Brunch and brews
I started at brunch at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats to celebrate the collaboration between Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dewey Beer Co. and Fifer Orchards. The local businesses are brewing a beer inspired by Fifer’s addictive apple cider donuts.
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione didn't hesitate to try scrapple and an egg stacked on a split grilled donut. If you like maple syrup to pool under your sausages, you’ll like the spicy-sweet aspect of the dish.
Brandon Smith, co-owner of Dewey Beer Co., ordered the Harvest Pizza, topped with apple, cranberries, almonds, mascarpone and almond streusel. I preferred the kale Caesar salad with salmon, a savory menu staple. As for the beer, I loved Dewey Beer Co.'s Victorious Secret, an India pale ale made with the hops Galaxy, Motueka and Vic Secret, developed in Victoria, Australia. The apple cider donut beer will be released Nov. 16-18 at Analog-A-Go-Go!
Dishes at Dogfish Head From Left: scrapple and egg on a split grilled donut; kale salmon Caesar salad//
Pleasing the palate
No doubt you've heard of The Buttery in Lewes, but did you know that the original chefs now own Palate Bistro? Gary and Lorraine Papp, who started a bustling catering business after leaving The Buttery, decided to combine their need for a commercial kitchen with restaurant service. Tucked in a strip center on Route 1 in Rehoboth, Palate is a destination for those in the know.
We had flounder stuffed with crab, a traditional dish with a modern presentation thanks to a bed of slivered pea pods and a crown of pea shoots. If you like garlic and basil, dig into a tangle of pesto-coated pappardelle tossed with lobster, clams and shrimp. Gary Papp has a knack for producing beautiful plates.
Palate also offers a satisfying Maryland crab chowder, although I recommend adding some spice.
Flounder stuffed with crab from Palate Bistro// courtesy of pam george
If you can't get enough of Delaware’s favorite crustacean, hit up The Surfing Crab. Located on Route 1, this local hotspot has some of the best crabs along the coast.
The area favorite closes in mid-November, so don't miss your last chance this season to crack heavy crabs that are cooked to order. The steaming takes about 20 minutes, so nibble on some appetizers while waiting.
A note that anything you order, from steamed clams to fries, comes out when it's ready; so you can expect your cuisine to be hot and fresh. Although it's probably best to share. For instance half a dozen extra-large crabs are more than enough for two. I hear the blackened chicken is The Surfing Crab's sleeper dish, but I have a hard time moving beyond the seafood because it's just so tasty.
From Left: Clams and crabs at the surfing crab// courtesy of pam george
Finally, now that it's the off-season make the time to try Azzurro Italian Oven + Bar, which opened last spring in the old Chez La Mer space. Every dish I've had so far has been spot on, including the attractive margherita pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes.
Like many restaurants, Azzurro has a series of off-season specials, including half-priced pasta on Tuesdays and a four-course dinner for two for $65 on Fridays. Now diners have even more reasons to venture into the resort towns this autumn.
Margherita pizza from azzurro italian oven + bar// courtesy of pam george
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
320 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach • 226-2739
Dewey Beer Co.
2100 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-1182
1919 Allabands Mill Rd., Camden Wyoming • 697-2141
19266 Coastal Hwy, Unit 11, Rehoboth Beach • 249-8489
The Surfing Crab
6723 Coastal Hwy, Lewes • 644-4448
Azzurro Italian Oven + Bar
210 Second St., Rehoboth • 212-2409