Freelance Food Reporter – The Baltimore Banner

The exciting privilege to be invited to freelance write as a food reporter with the Baltimore Banner, is one I’d like to share with you. 

Every Dining Experience Should Be A Celebration
Every Dining Experience Should Be A Celebration
Freelance Writer For The Baltimore Banner - Food And Drink
Freelance Writer For The Baltimore Banner – Food And Drink

Food In Annapolis And Anne Arundel County

Whether a visitor or a committed Annapolitan, the boating hub of Maryland has something for everyone, and that includes food!

Having lived in Annapolis since I was a kid, the food scene has always dazzled, as well as changed with the times. 

Can I just tell you how excited I am to be able to talk with you about the food in my town!

The Best Invitations Are Those That Come As A Surprise

What a delightful and unexpected Christmas gift to receive a private message, through Instagram, December 22, 2023, from someone I’ve never met. 

A Surprise Invitation Through Instagram
A Surprise Invitation Through Instagram

May I boast for just a second and tell you that this has been the second time an exciting invitation, of this nature, arrived unexpectedly on Instagram.

The first time was when a casting agent, with PBS, reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in becoming a competitor in their new series The Great American Recipe.

As you may already know, that was an exciting experience that saw me all the way through 8-episodes and into the finale.

And while I have a hankering for more television storytelling myself, sharing stories with The Baltimore Banner and its many readers, gives me the pleasure to be able to highlight the stories of others.

With So Many Options In A Cool Hip Town – How Do You Choose What To Write About?

‘Timing is everything’, whispers the universe. December 11, my birthday, plans were made to take me to a restaurant I often enjoyed. As I entered Flamant restaurant, something wasn’t right. One of the dining rooms, the room we requested to be seated in, was closed. 

Rather than stay at a nearly empty restaurant, I quick called another favored restaurant, Lewnes Steak House, on the whim of an available table, where the evening unfolded beautifully. 

I received the invitation from The Baltimore Banner on December 22, around the same time I also received the news that Flamant was closing, and within a very short time, another restaurant would open with a very different concept. 

This, was going to be my first story!

Having been in and around the food industry most of my life, snooping for information about this occurrence wasn’t going to be difficult. 

As the plot for my story began to build on itself, I discovered ties existed between Lewnes restaurant and the new restaurant, InGrano, soon to open, in that the gentlemen from both restaurants grew up together. Gotta love a small town.

Ethnicity In Historic Annapolis

There was a time, back when I was a kid, that you could walk from the city dock of Annapolis, up Main Street, on the same cobblestone street that remains, to get just about everything you needed. 

From a fish market or meat market, bakery and ice cream, to a host of restaurants serving a variety of ethnic foods. 

Those were the days when mom-and-pop stores were owned largely by immigrants and their families lived upstairs. 

And while a few national chain stores wiggled in over the years, one-of-a-kind shops and ethnic restaurants are holding their own in this extraordinary historic city. 

Foodies Families And Fabulous Dining In Anne Arundel County

Which brings me back to a mom-and-pop story!

Back in the day, when my mom had a beauty salon, which became my career by the age of eighteen, and served me well through the years of raising my four children as a single mom, I got to know who’s who in Annapolis. 

Wouldn’t you know it, the Lewnes brothers, Charlie and Spyros and their wives, were clients of mine.

I cut their hair for several years, and listened to the stories of the growing food scene in Annapolis, as they both owned restaurants in Eastport, while starting family life of their own. 

Fast forward to now, and you will find many of the sons and daughters of these iconic restaurants, carrying on the traditions of their parents restaurant, while breathing new life into them!  

Please Give A Big Welcome To InGrano Restaurant and Events – My First Story

Rarely does one restaurant close and another open in its place in such a short time, but InGrano knew exactly what they wanted to present to Annapolis, therefore they were ready!

Check out the full story here at The Baltimore Banner for more photos and the article I had so much fun bringing together!

InGrano Restaurant In West Annapolis - Euro Chic Dining Experience
InGrano Restaurant In West Annapolis – Euro Chic Dining Experience

For Those Not Yet A Subscriber To The Baltimore Banner

You may be enjoying this story from another state, or country, therefore not a subscriber to the Baltimore Banner, but would enjoy to know about this local occurrence just the same.

InGrano opens new restaurant in former Flamant space in West Annapolis

Robin Daumit 2/11/2024 5:30 a.m. EST

Only roughly a month after Flamant, a poplar Belgian bistro of six years, closed in West Annapolis, a new restaurant has taken over its space. 

InGrano Restaurant + Events, a fine-dining eatery with chef Adam Pusateri at the helm of the euro-chic menu, had its official opening night this month. 

The InGrano name – which means “against the grain” in Latin – is already associated with tasty treats because Pusateri, a native Annapolitan, has been chef/owner of InGrano Bistro Bakery on Harry S. Truman Parkway since 2020. There, he had plentiful opportunities to experiment with the possibility of a fine-dining restaurant less than five miles down the road. 

During after-hours, the InGrano bistro held supper clubs and wine dinners that repeatedly sold out, energizing the prospects for a future location with a further range of chef-created menus. 

Duck Prosciutto Carbonara Pasta and Wagyu Short-Rib Wellington
Duck Prosciutto Carbonara Pasta and Wagyu Short-Rib Wellington

Pusateri, who attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in restaurants in Las Vegas, aims to do just that at his new venture. In a Facebook post in early January, the InGrano team wrote, “the idea behind this new restaurant is to take the essence of InGrano – innovative dishes, a commitment to excellence, and connection to the local farms and community – and place it at the forefront of an elevated global dinner experience” that draws “influence from Italy, Japan, Spain, Greece, and more.” 

The new digs are at 17 Annapolis Street, in what was once a quaint residential neighborhood just northeast of the Naval Academy stadium, now lined with specialty stores and coffee shops. 

Annapolis foodies are sure to be excited about this boutique-style restaurant. Diners can try items such as the yellowfin cannoli, teasingly likened to a crunchy tuna roll with a hint of spicy mustard, lobster rolls with a sweet and spicy twist, and other enticing starter plates. 

Hamachi Crudo - Cicchetti
Hamachi Crudo – Cicchetti

If you are looking for “signature dishes,” there are two options here: one from land and one from the sea. An impressive Wagyu short-rib Wellington with mushroom duxelles and fork-tender beef is beautifully bundled inside a crisp, golden-brown pastry along with a drizzle of an apple brandy glaze. For those who favor fish, large sea scallops sit atop a bed of chive-potato puree finished with crispy parsnips. 

Pusateri also uses his classically trained artful techniques to elevate what may appear to be traditional dishes, such as the sweet potato-stuffed pappardelle with garlic flower, and farro risotto transformed with truffles and wild mushrooms. 

Given the chef’s bakery background, it would be wise to count on memorable desserts such as the deconstructed yuzu cheesecake and the flourless chocolate cake. 

In terms of events and capacity, general manager John Buda, who also formerly managed Flamant, told The Baltimore Banner that InGrano offers two venues: a sunny all-season enclosed patio with high ceilings and lots of windows that seats gatherings up to 80 for daytime business events, birthdays or bridal and baby showers. For those looking for a more intimate evening setting, the restaurant has a private dining room that comfortably accommodates eight. If you’re looking for something more in between, the Bistro Bakery, an already well-established event venue, can be reserved for informal gatherings of up to 40. 

InGrano Patio Dining
InGrano Patio Dining

And, if you’re worried about losing what Flamant left behind, don’t fret. Many of the prior eatery’s staff members, including Buda, are working at the new restaurant. 

The Baltimore Banner - Food And Drink
The Baltimore Banner – Food And Drink

5 Annapolis Restaurants Serving Chicken Soup For The Soul – And Body

Thrilled to have my story published!

For those in and around the Maryland areas, this was an opportunity to taste test the top 5 Chicken Soups being served both in Annapolis restaurants and for take out.

We all know there are those times in life when our body and soul just needs a little chicken soup, particularly when we are feeling under the weather.

Check out the full story here at The Baltimore Banner.

Catch The Story Here If Not Yet A Subscriber

It’s technically spring but with the constant ricochet between beautiful sunny days and cold rainy spells, winter sicknesses are still out in full force. And when you are feeling under the weather, the last thing you want to do is cook. 

For those of us in Anne Arundel County, there are plenty of restaurants to consider for your next chicken soup craving that don’t involve adding water to a can of Campbell’s. Down-home Latin, Greek, Vietnamese, Italian and Jewish kitchens have just the dish to warm your tummy and put you back on the road to recovery. 

Sin Fronteras Cafe – 2129 Forest Dr. Annapolis

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Sin Fronteras Cafe
Chicken Tortilla Soup – Sin Fronteras Cafe

The unique flavors at Sin Fronteras Cafe – and swoon worthy margaritas – are derived from authentic Mexican cooking, fused with a bit of Peru, El Salvador and Honduras. They are so dedicated to fusion flavors that the restaurant declined being featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” because the production team wanted to wrongly characterize their cafe as “Tex-Mex.”

The 16-oz. chicken tortilla soup, simmered low and slow with whole chicken, tomatoes and other fresh ingredients, makes for a hearty dish with Latin flair. Each serving is topped with sour cream, cheese, avocado, fresh herbs and tortilla strips. It arrived home from take-out still warmly delicious to the last spoonful. 

Double T Diner – 12 Defense St. Annapolis

Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup - Double T Diner
Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup – Double T Diner

Double T Diner is a throwback to homestyle cooking at your neighborhood diner. Named after two Greek partners whose names started with T, the eatery, which dates back to the 1950’s, has an extensive breakfast-to-dinner menu of homestyle comfort food, along with traditional Greek specialties. 

They offered three styles of chicken soup, so I opted for the Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup (served only on Sunday), in a quart size to-go container. Piping hot, it had a rich chicken broth, Ditalini pasta, celery, carrots, lemon, fresh herbs and plenty of chicken – all the flavors the owners beloved Yia Yia would have passed down to them. 

Chick & Ruth’s – 165 Main St. Annapolis

Chicken Matzo Ball Soup - Chick & Ruth's
Chicken Matzo Ball Soup – Chick & Ruth’s

Chick & Ruth’s has been a mainstay in the Annapolis area for the past 50 years. Their New York-style deli recipes date back to the mom-and-pop-days when Main Street Annapolis was dotted with family-owned businesses whose families often lived above them. 

For real matzo ball soup, a.k.a. Jewish penicillin, stop by for the unbeatable long-simmered chicken stock, celery, carrots, and herby soup topped with a gigantic matzo ball. 

As I arrive to pick up carry-out, I was greeted by the young and vibrant staff of the ever-busy, iconic spot in Maryland’s capital. 

Quickly distracted from my to-go mission, I was taken by the nostalgia of photo-covered walls showing decades of famous politicians that once dined on the eatery’s comfort food while in the middle of their demanding, sometimes history-changing work week. But for now, back home to enjoy my delicious meal. 

NAM’S PHO – 1015 Bay Ridge Ave. Annapolis

Pho Chicken/Pho Ga Soup - NAM'S PHO
Pho Chicken/Pho Ga Soup – NAM’S PHO

NAM’S PHO is the real deal when it comes to authentic, health-conscious, modern Vietnamese cooking. A family owned restaurant where you can expect made-from-scratch traditional cuisine. 

My to-go order of pho chicken/pho ga soup (with a choice of white or dark meat) was impressively packaged. 

All three elements of the soup – broth, rice noodles with chicken, and toppings of fresh Thai basil, jalapeños, crisp bean sprouts and sliced lime – were in separate containers, ensuring the utmost freshness for a take-out hot soup experience. 

The broth tasted of a low and slow simmer of chicken stock with herbs that clearly did not come from a can or bouillon. 

I’m told, by my son Omar Daumit the executive chef of Ken’s Creative Kitchen, that NAM’S PHO is a restaurant where many local chefs come to dine on their off-hours, and I can certainly see why. 

Pasticcio Fresh Italian Kitchen – 150 Suite F Jennifer Rd. Annapolis

Chicken Noodle Soup - Pasticcio Fresh Italian Kitchen
Chicken Noodle Soup – Pasticcio Fresh Italian Kitchen

Pasticcio Fresh Italian Kitchen has served Italian-born, hands-on recipes to the Annapolis area since 2019, The carefully chosen location – close to business offices, the Westfield Annapolis Mall and Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center – has a particular purpose: providing familiar Italian comfort food to in-a-rush Annapolitans. 

While pizza is a favored dine-in or carryout option at Pasticcio and their pasta dishes are extensive, my hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup did not disappoint. 

A flavorful, creamy chicken broth loaded with chicken and small-cut pasta, celery, onions and carrots, with a large hard-crust roll served on the side, was ready at my arrival. Now my only task? To go home and feel better. 

Got Time For Homemade Chicken Soup?

A Great Chicken Soup Starts With A Whole Chicken
A Great Chicken Soup Starts With A Whole Chicken

Of course I must share my homemade chicken soup with you, just in case you’ve got chicken in your fridge, not in want of going out and have the time to make it yourself!

1-Whole Chicken 3-Meals; Greek chicken lettuce wraps, Moroccan chicken rolls and Italian chicken soup, just makes delicious sense for frugal times.

Maryland Public Television - Honorable Mention For My Chicken 3 Ways
Maryland Public Television – Honorable Mention For My Chicken 3 Ways
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