Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Taste Of Maryland Legislative Reception

This is the third year Fred and I have attended The Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception. It's quite the affair. It's hosted at the Loews Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland. This is the 28th Annual Reception put on my the Restaurant Association of Maryland. It's held to celebrate the restaurant & hospitality industry.

Restaurants from 9 different counties in Maryland were there with some incredible menu items! Out of the last three years we've attended, I think we both felt this year had the best tasting selection of food. In years past, we've stopped for something to eat on the way home. I can admit that as I sit here typing, I'm still stuffed to the gills.

Let's chat about some of the food we tasted.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the folks from Iron Rooster. They had Breakfast Fried Rice and two varieties of their homemade pop tarts. Fred went with the fried rice, but said it was extremely dry. I picked the mixed berry pop tart. It was in-cre-di-ble! I'll be honest, it's my favorite item on their menu. They look small, but were at least the size of your hand and filled with berry goodness!

Our next stop was at the Miss Shirley's table where they were serving BBQ Mac & Cheese. Sounds like the ultimate comfort food. I'm very particular about my bbq flavors so I passed, but Fred enjoyed it. Here's what it was made of: pulled pork with Baltimore BBQ Co. Chesapeake Sauce, Collard Greens with Tasso Ham & Cavatappi Pasta with Roasted Corn, Tomato & Diced JalapeƱo-Smoked Bacon in a Five Cheese Blend garnished with Sauce, Cornbread Crumble, dusted with Cajun Spice! All of that in one little cup.

And then, THEN we stopped at EVO Public House. They had Crispy Pork Belly & Pickles. I've only had pork belly once, as an appetizer, at another restaurant and really enjoyed it. This though...this was something else. As I said in my Instagram post, it was divine! Amazingly juicy and flavorful. Yes, I felt my arteries clogging by just eating one, but that's why I go to the gym, right?!

We meandered through the two rooms getting ideas of other restaurants we wanted to try, talking to people along the way. One of the people we talked to was Tim, the Vice President from Congressional Seafood. He captured our attention with detailing how invasive Blue Catfish is in this area. He also served Wild Blue Catfish. I liked the shrimp that it was paired with, but since I'm not huge on fish, I wasn't a fan. Fred liked it though. He's my gauge when it comes to anything seafood.

We tried a Georgia Peach Brisket Slider from Kloby's Smokehouse. I wasn't a fan, but then again, I don't typically like brisket. Now, you have to understand, I tried a LOT of things that I wouldn't normally eat because when else would I have the chance? lol You never know when you might come across something that you end up really liking.

This was the first time I'd heard of cheese curds being served at the Reception. Sadly, Ace's Run Restaurant & Pub's fryers were making too much smoke. So while they were fried earlier, they weren't fresh like cheese curds need to be. Also, I'm a cheese curd purist. I don't want them dipped in anything and they were both laying on a touch of sauce that really overwhelmed the cheese curd. We tried their Brown Butter Sea Scallops and that was delish!

Fred's favorite was Blackwall Hitch. They served Maryland Crab Risotto. One of the representatives really tried to sell me on it, but yea, I just wasn't interested in trying a crab risotto. It was one of the ones I knew I didn't need to taste. lol I left it to Fred, who agreed I wouldn't like it (he knows my tastes better than anyone). He loved it. LOVED it!

This was the first time Bruster's Real Ice Cream was there. I had no idea they even had a location in Annapolis! The new owner of the Annapolis location and I got into a conversation and she said they're the best kept secret because they've been at the same location for ten years! Crazy, right? They had four varieties of ice cream. Thankfully they had a coffee flavored ice cream, which happens to be my favorite. Their's is called Coffee Break. Fred tried the Sea Salt Caramel, and since I'm not a fan of sea salt caramel in ice cream form, I passed. He said I absolutely needed to try it, so I went back after we'd walked around for a while. He was right! I told the Annapolis owner that I'm really judgy about anything sea salt caramel flavor in ice cream form, and she told me to be honest with her and judge all I wanted. Well, turned out it was really good! So often it has some strange chemical kind of taste. This was creamy and caramel only flavored! Loved it!

Now, towards the end of the evening I lost Fred, but found him hanging out at the Middleton Tavern table. They were serving Cream of Crab Soup. Sigh...more crab. I mean, we ARE in Maryland. No surprise that there's so much seafood. The chef who was there was a kick in the pants. I was telling him, and one of the other reps who were there about cheese curds. (It cracks me up how few people know about these) The chef said that if I tried his soup he'd consider learning about cheese curds. I tried the soup - begrudgingly. He was right though, it was good. Trust me, my face would've given me away, and Fred said he was surprised when I didn't make one of my gross faces. hahahaha I replied to the chef, "It's not bad," to which he rephrased it, "Which means it's good!"

We didn't make it to each restaurant who was represented. Besides, I couldn't have eaten any more after all of the samples we'd already consumed! I was disappointed I didn't have an opportunity to run into any of the reps from the tourist industry. Maybe next year! I'll have to keep an eagle eye out.

I do have to tell you who I ran into as I waited for my hubby to pick me up at the front of the hotel. I was sitting there, minding my own business when a woman wanted to share the bench I was on. I moved over and asked her how her night was going. The next thing I know, the man sitting across from us addressed her as "Miss Senator"! I kind of glanced at her from the side of my eye. What the what?! I just talked to a senator like she was just some Jane Schmoe sitting next to me. hahahaha Of course I did my normal, Mimi, "You're a Senator?! I totally had a different idea of what a Senator would look like." I think of Senators as looking crabby, business suits, stand-off-ish, and maybe with some security around them? hahahaha She was kind and told me that nope, they were just like everyone else. Thank you for not making me feel like a doofus, Senator Barbara Robinson!


csuhpat1 said...

That looks like a super cool event to attend. Thanks for sharing it.

Klcmaher said...

All of this food looks absolutely amazing! I have to admit though, that pork belly picture had me drooling!

Unknown said...

This sounds amazing! Wish I lived closer!

kymom13 said...

This looks like a lot fun and a great way to try new foods. I bet you were stuffed by the time you finished!

tat2gurlzrock said...

Oh wow! This all looks so good. I know I would be stopping everywhere that had crab as that is my FAVORITE seafood.

Calvin F. said...

Some really nice food.

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