Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Thomas Family takes Chestertown, MD

Every summer for the past 20 years, my family has rented a house in Chestertown, MD. By "in" Chestertown, I mean about 15 minutes outside of town in a little, rural setting right on the water. It was the most amazing place for a kid's vacation. My cousins, sister and I would have free reign over the house, dock, river, and blackberry patches in the surrounding woods. After a few days, when everyone was feeling pretty squirrely, we would head into "town." Chestertown is a sleepy, pre-Revolutionary town right on the Chester River. I've traveled all over the world and this still stands as one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. As kids, I don't remember eating in town.  We'd pick crabs and eat dinner (each family would take turns with the big meal) at the house as a family.  This year, it was a skeleton crew and for 3 days it was just my parents and I.  We celebrated the peace and quite by going out to eat at some of the fun restaurants in town.  I'm excited to pass a few eating out memories from this trip with you.
Happy Hour at the Hotel Imperial
Every time we would walk by the Imperial Hotel I remember that it seemed like the most glamorous place on earth. The white railings and huge front windows looking into the dark mahogany bar.  It seemed so utterly fancy.  My parents and I head up for happy hour while we were in town and I realized that after 20 years of walking by on awe, it was the first time I ever actually set foot inside. 
For happy hour, most of their cocktails were $5 and they had appetizer specials for the same price.  My mom went with an Elderflower Cosmo which is made with Citron Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Cranberry Juice and Lime. It was a fun twist on the original cosmo and my mom liked it so much that she didn't even offer anyone else a sip.
I went with one of my favorite cocktails, the French “75″ which had Blue Coat American Dry Gin (hey Philly!!), Lemon Juice, and Cava. It usually comes in a dainty champagne flute.  Not at the Imperial Hotel, where they served it in a pint glass.  They had me at pint glass.  It had delicious flavor and was the exact refreshing drink I was looking for.  My dad said that my eyes were as big as saucers when they brought it over.  Yum!
Dad got the pomegranate lemonade and it was very refreshing as well.
We also go the fried mussel appetizer.  I've never had fried mussels before and they were really fun.
Ready for their close-up!
The check came in an old cookbook that people had written all over.  Cute.
Breakfast at the Lemon Leaf
My dad is a sucker for a good breakfast.  And lunch.  And dinner.  And mostly dessert.  On a particularly windy morning, we took shelter at the many antique shops of Chestertown and my dad got talking with one of the owners of a shop while my mom and I hunted for deals.  When I heard her say that the Lemon Leaf had both the best pancakes AND the best lemon meringue pie in town, I knew that my dad wouldn't be able to rest without eating there.  So off we went.  I ordered my favorite breakfast of 2 poached eggs, home fries and bacon.  Boring...yes, but I don't care.  It was delicious. 
My dad got the "Hungry Oarsman" and proceeded to take it to the house.  Then he drove us all over the Eastern Shore and was totally incredulous that we were hungry for lunch.  He sure wasn't after this.

True to form, my mom ordered the pancakes with apricot sauce.  They were sublime.  A cross between the traditional buttermilk and a lighter crepe, they were light but while still retaining a heartiness that you want in your pancakes.  The apricot sauce was rich, balanced and not too sweet.  It was perfect and I was annoyed that she ordered the short stack, leaving me with less to pilfer.
Dad then also got a lemon meringue pie to-go.  We had it for dessert home that night.  It was well loved by all.
Snacks at the Evergrain Bakery
There's a new kid in Chestertown.  This is a rare site for a girl who has been going up to a relatively unchanged place for one week of my summer for the past 20 years.  A new bakery!!  We ordered one of each cookie: Snickerdoodle (my favorite), Oatmeal (Dad's favorite), Chocolate Chip (Mom's favorite) and Ginger and Peanut Butter (both excellent).
My mom also got a cranberry orange scone and Mark got a blueberry lemon scone a few days later.  Both raved.
We didn't get any of the savory items because we were still stuffed from breakfast, but they looked really divine.  We did pick up a sourdough pumpkin seed loaf and it was out of this world for our lunch sandwiches. 
Overall a great trip again this year and I am looking forward to next year already.

1 comment: