Annapolis Restaurant Week has started, as of this morning you can get some “deals” on an array of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, being served this week only by Annapolis area eating establishments. Two course lunches are being offered for $15.95 and three course dinners for $32.95 or start the day with a two course breakfast for $12.95, The last week of February is generally a slow time of year for restaurants, so by offering special menus at reduced prices, restauranteurs seek to entice more diners to come out and fill their tables. The majority of the participating restaurants are located in the downtown area, which is great for me, as this means I can walk to the restaurants and burn off some of those calories I will inevitably be adding to my plate.
If you take a look at the various menus, what you see is not always so much as a reduced price as it is more food offered for the money you’d normally spend at a particular restaurant, although this really individually varies. So my advice is to go to the Annapolis Restaurant Week website, see who is participating, and closely read their menus. What I noticed is that restaurants that already offer a lower price menu are not as enticing. But if you have been saving some of those higher priced establishments for a special occasion, this may be the week to indulge. Some are really going all out to offer you a large selection of their premium dishes. Since I already made my Saturday night reservations, I will reveal that The Rockfish in Eastport, for example gives you appetizer choices that include Oyster Rockefeller and entrees that include Rockfish (but of course given the restaurant’s name) as well as tempting desserts, while some other restaurants offer one single fixed menu choice.
One restaurant which has quickly grown in popularity but is not participating over the weekend (because they already have long waiting lines) is Miss Shirley’s Cafe. They are offering a two-course breakfast and a two-course lunch special to be part of Annapolis Restaurant Week, but I would suggest unless you wanted to order what is on that menu, just order what you want. In fact maybe you want to order what Peter and I had last Saturday.
It was a raw rainy day, a good day for indulgences. Plus part of the fun of dining at Miss Shirley’s is studying the menu. There are so many choices and unusual combinations of food items, with a heavy emphasis on cheese, bacon, eggs,and butter because this is a brunch kind of place, that you find yourself having fun just imagining what you might be eating before it arrives. This was my fifth visit, while it was Peter’s first time. Usually what I do when I go with my daughter Alex is to unofficially share a meal by encouraging her to order something big such as the trio of breakfast sliders or trio of lunch sliders, and then order something small like grits or oatmeal. For us it works perfectly because if you take half of your meal home and it was something oozing with grease and butter, while it tastes marvelous when freshly prepared it loses its appeal when reheated the next morning. If you ask to share, there is a plate sharing fee for the added plate.
Peter and I ordered two very delicious sandwiches : Cloak & Dagger Shirley’s Way for $12.99 and Cuban Huevos Sandwich for $14.95. These are both in the same price range as Restaurant Week offerings without an additional course, but since we could barely finish our plates, we certainly did not need any more food! Our waitress was very enthusiastic about the Cuban Huevos Sandwich, telling me she orders it all the time and I could easily taste why. It is a delicious combination of Smoked ham, slow roasted pork, Swiss cheese, fried egg, pickles and mustard on Ciabatta bread. I chose savory grits, creamy in texture and flavored with diced bacon, as the accompaniment. Peter’s sandwich consisted of hot corned beef, coleslaw with toasted almonds and Swiss cheese on a slice of pumpernickel and a slice of 7 grain toasted bread served with Russian remoulade (a mayonaise based sauce ie a fancy name of Russian salad dressing). He also chose the grits. We traded half a sandwich and I immediately took a bite of the corned beef sandwich which was exceedingly rich. To my palate it tasted as if the bread had been grilled in butter, but maybe that was the flavor of the mayo. I had to take another bite. Thus my photo shows a bitten into sandwich. Ah well.
For my long term preference between the two sandwiches I found the Cuban Huevos sandwich to be more satisfying, I enjoyed it to the very last bite and did not grow tired of it, so I can understand why the waitress was so enthusiastic. I’d order it again or better yet, try to make it at home although I’ll need to prepare some slow roasted pork first. However, the corned beef sandwich is really tasty as well but I would suggest you definitely need to split it with someone else and then mix it up with a salad, soup, or another sandwich.
In my experience Restaurant Week can mean some restaurants fill up quickly and you need to make your reservations in advance, so as not to be disappointed. Remember to read the fine print. Not every restaurant is serving every day at every meal and taxes and gratuities are not included. Do you have a favorite place? I’d like to hear about it.