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Trip Report: Annapolis and Maryland's Eastern Shore

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Just wrapped up a lovely quick trip to Annapolis and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Although we stayed in Easton, we stopped in Annapolis on the way from D.C. to explore the town and sample its culinary offerings. Dining-wise, here’s what I thought of the trip:

Friday Lunch in Annapolis – After a relaxing walk along Main Street and the Bay, we grabbed a quick lunch at Pusser’s. The location is great (right on the bay) and the atmosphere is fun – or at the least, easy going. I’d strong advise eating on the outside deck because the view of the harbor is very nice (if you have a boat, you can dock it at the restaurant). I can’t speak much for the rest of the menu, but we enjoyed the crab and corn chowder (the consistency was creamy but wasn’t so dense that you could stand your spoon in it) and the crab-cake appetizer (pure crab, practically no breading). With the large menu, decent looking outside bar, friendly service and nice location, this place seems like a spot that you can go to with kids, friends and parents if you’re in the mood for a casual spot.

Friday Dinner in Annapolis – We tried Carrol’s Creek Café for an early dinner after hearing from chowhound reports that it was a good place to choose for seafood with a view. Although I wouldn’t disagree with the latter (the view of the harbor at sunset was absolutely beautiful), I didn’t love the food. The menu was pretty predictable and I didn’t feel that there was anything that jumped out at me. I had the crab cakes (served with mashed potatoes and “ratatouille” (I put that in quotation marks because what I was served didn’t live up to what I expected from the description). Even though the crab was fresh, the crab cakes were too bready for my tastes. My mom got the special: grouper set over purple mashed potatoes, topped with spinach and flanked by a crab spring roll. It wasn’t bad, but there were too many contradicting flavors for it to be a really solid dish. Final verdict: prices were higher than restaurants in town without a view, service was friendly, go for the view, and don’t expect marvels from the menu.

Saturday Lunch – Even though we spent the morning in historic Easton, we drove on to St. Michaels for the afternoon and had lunch at the Crab Claw Restaurant. Located on the harbor (even more picturesque than that of Annapolis), the Crab claw has two levels, one which is on the upper level and indoors, and the other which is at water level and outdoors. We opted for the outdoor seating, which is more casual (read: picnic tables, paper plates, beers brought to the table in buckets or pitchers, and dozens of crabs dumped nonchalantly in front of you). There wasn’t a disappointing bite in the whole meal, from the local, flavorful oysters, to the delicious, artery-clogging onion rings, fried oyster sandwich, and soft shell crab sandwich. Even though my stomach was about to explode when the meal was through, I’m really glad we stopped here.

Saturday Dinner – Mason’s in Easton. In a town that boasts a large variety of good restaurants, Mason’s stood out with its quaint setting (outdoor and indoor dining) and simple yet gourmet menu. My mom tried the five-tomato salad, topped with gorgonzola, balsamic vinegar and basil, as well as the soft shell crab, set on top of a bed of roasted corn and vegetables. I had the watermelon/feta salad and roasted halibut, served with tomatoes, calamata olives and set atop an “eggplant jam” (delicious, although I don’t know how they did it). For dessert we had Mason’s take on a crème brulée, which consisted of a malted vanilla crème topped by chocolate mousse. Every bite was a delight, the ambiance was very nice, and the service was professional and pleasant. Highly recommended!!

I wish that we had allotted more time on the Eastern Shore, as the towns are really charming and there are many interesting restaurants. We’ll surely be returning again!

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