Chef’s Night at By The Docks Seafood Restaurant

If you haven’t heard, By The Docks Seafood is a very popular restaurant in Maryland.  They won a several awards in Baltimore Magazine: Best Brunch, Best Crab Cake Sandwich, Best Crab Balls, Best Crab Dip, Best Crab Imperial and Best Cream of Crab Soup.   The brunch buffet I can attest to because I visited the restaurant for the first time about two months ago and the food was great.  My recent visit, I was invited to join other Baltimore food bloggers in sampling a few items from the new Wednesday Night Chef’s Menu.

We started our meal with a wine lesson on the wine selections from Lanterna Wines. I ordered the Pinot Noir to start with my appetizers and the chef made recommendations for each entrée option.  Let me just say that the glasses of wine at By The Docks are huge, well over the standard six-ounce pour.

Pinot Noir by Lanterna Wines

The Chef’s Menu features 4 for $24.00 – Maryland Crab Soup, Garden Salad, Homemade Dessert and a Seafood Entrée served with a loaded baked potato and asparagus. For the purpose of this dinner, we were also given a few family style appetizers.  Because we had such a large group, we managed to order and share everything on the menu.

Crabby Nachos


House Cut Onion Rings
Mediterranean Grilled Octopus
Surf and Turf


Crab Cake and Lamb Chops
Stuffed Shrimp
Baklava Cake, Cheesecake and Smith Island Cake

Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on the menu items…

Crabby Nachos  – The cheese pull is insane! Lots of crabmeat, crab and cheese on every chip
House Cut Onion Rings – Crispy, fragrant, fresh out of the fryer
Mediterranean Grilled Octopus  – Chargrilled flavor is perfect served with the Greek cucumber and tomato vinaigrette
Surf and Turf – Large sweet lobster tail, equally large cut of steak
Jambalaya – Huge portion, spicy, lots of sausage and shrimp
Crab Cake and Lamb Chops – Large crab cake with all crabmeat and no other fillers
Stuffed Shrimp –  Large, juicy shrimp, lots of crabmeat
Dessert Sampler  – Out of this world. Best Cheesecake I’ve ever tasted. All desserts served at By The Docks are made by their family owned Yia Yia’s Bakery

Our group was also gifted with two bottles of Le Grand Courtage wine to kick off our holiday celebrations.

By The Docks is a great restaurant with hearty portions and delicious food.  Definitely check them out for Brunch or the Chef’s Night Special and be sure to visit and tell them Arli’s Appetite sent you!

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  


Brunch at Spoons Café in Federal Hill

My favorite brunch buddy and I are up early on Sunday morning, I mean early like 8:00 am.  We’re ready to eat early too but most of the restaurants we frequent don’t open until 10:00 or 11:00 am.   Last Sunday, however, my friend wanted grits and I told her that I had the best cheesy grits at Spoons Café in Federal Hill, Baltimore.  We googled the hours and luckily they open at 8:00 am. We arrived at Spoons around 8:45 and half of the restaurant seating was already occupied. The hostess sat us quickly towards the rear of the restaurant at a two-seat table adjacent to the kitchen.  Spoons is a quaint restaurant space that looks like it could have been a house converted into a restaurant.

My friend and I order a carafe of Apple Cider Mimosas because it’s October and that means you drink apple cider.  That was my first time trying that flavor mimosa and I was impressed. I ‘d never thought to mix apple cider with champagne, but it was a fresh Fall take on the original mimosas. We scanned the menu and decided on The Beast, Fried Oysters and Grits, Deep-Fried Stuffed French Toast and the 2-2-2 (Two Eggs, Meat of your choice and French Toast or Pancakes).  I know, I know… we’re greedy.

The Beast
Fried Oysters and Grits
Deep-Fried Stuffed French Toast
Poached Eggs, French Toast and Scrapple

The Beast sandwich is — well you guessed it — A Beast. It’s a biscuit sandwich with buttermilk fried chicken, fried egg, smoked bacon, American cheese topped with sausage gravy.  Even though the menu describes it as a sandwich it’s not meant to be handheld, you have to eat this with a fork and knife.  In addition to the chicken and bacon, the sausage gravy added another meat element. The chicken was a tender cut, seasoned well and the biscuit was moist.  The Fried Oysters and Grits were my favorite. The oysters had a crispy, seasoned, thick batter on them, what you would call chicken-fried,  and the oyster inside was soft and fresh. The grits at Spoons are always great, even when I get them as a side with cheese, they are thick like grits should be. It also had an oyster sauce that was the consistency of soup and paired well with the oyster/seafood grits dish.  The Deep-Fried Stuffed French Toast was just light and flaky on the outside and stuffed with warm sweet cream on the inside, it’s the perfect portion to share.

Spoons is a great neighborhood restaurant with tasty food and great service. It’s the type of place you bring family that’s visiting from out of town, they’d love it.  They have beer and lunch options also. And because it’s in the heart of Federal Hill, you may want to stop at one of the nearby bars after brunch.

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  



Baltimore Blogger Bytes with Will Drink for Travel and Ty Alexander

Last week I attended the first Baltimore Blogger Bytes series featuring Ashlee Tuck of Will Drink for Travel and Ty Alexander of Gorgeous in Grey.  A crowd of about 30 bloggers gathered at Forno in Downtown Baltimore to eat, drink, network and learn a few blogger tips from Ty. The cocktails were courtesy of CAMUS Cognac and the bites were prepared by the restaurant.

Baltimore Blogger Bytes Camus Cognac

The cognac cocktails included the classic Sidecar and Old Fashioned, there was also an option to drink it neat or with a mixer.  I ordered the two cocktails on the menu and I really enjoyed them.  It was my first time sampling the CAMUS brand and it was smooth and perfect for mixing.  The bites included mini crab cakes, fried polenta, meatballs and bruschetta.

This was my second time at Forno Baltimore and I forgot how cute the restaurant is. They have an outdoor patio area on the side with heated lamps for those chilly nights.  The restaurant also reserved a plush room for us, perfect to host small events. Guests were  given gift bags that included, a small bottle of CAMUS Cognac, a Baltimore Magazine, skin care and hair care products.

This was such a fun event, I hope they’ll be more to come.  For more photos and information on future events check out Will Drink For Travel‘s blog.

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  





Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Annapolis, MD

Recently I visited Annapolis, Maryland for a two-day seminar and of course I was excited to explore and visit a new restaurant.   While researching nearby restaurants I decided on Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant because it was minutes away from my seminar location and their menu options looked amazing.  My second day of the seminar ended early enough for me to stop in Cooper’s Hawk during their lunch time.

Cooper’s Hawk in Annapolis is a two-story restaurant and bar with a wine tasting room, retail store and barrel-aging room.   The bar side of the restaurant has an extended outdoor patio that includes seating.

As I mentioned, I’d already looked at the menu and I knew what I wanted to order for lunch.  My waitress was very pleasant and helpful explaining the wine list and food pairings.  Because the wine list is so extensive, some guests have a hard time deciding and they are encouraged to sample one or two wines.  Of course I sampled two…who doesn’t like free wine samples?!  The restaurant provides complimentary pretzel bread warm and fresh from the oven.  For my appetizer I ordered the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Cashews, Mint, Sweet Thai Chili and Sesame-Sriracha Aioli. Best Brussels EVER! Hands Down! I think it was the Sweet Thai Chili sauce and the Sriracha, that sweet and spicy mix with the perfectly crisp Brussels is a hit! And it’s a hearty appetizer size, I wasn’t able to eat it all and had to take the leftovers home.

After sampling three wines because I couldn’t’ decide on which two to sample,  I decided to order the Sparkling Wine Flight.  Cooper’s Hawk offers six different wine flights – Sparkling, White, Red, Dessert, Cooper’s Hawk Lux and Create Your Own. Each flight is the equivalent of two glasses of wine.  The Sparkling Flight featured an Almond Sparkling, Raspberry Sparkling, Sparkling Rose’ and Blanc de Blanc.  Surprisingly I loved the Almond Sparkling wine, I wasn’t sure about how an Almond wine would taste but it tasted like almond cookies or candy.

For my lunch option I ordered the Chicken Piccata and swapped the baked chicken for their Parmesan-Crusted Chicken and it was the best decision. Perfect pasta topped with a buttery lemon sauce seasoned with crisp capers. Seriously this meal is amazing. I’ve been back to the restaurant two more times in the last 30 days because I had to have it again and again.

During my last visit I ordered the Dessert Wine Flight and I especially liked the blueberry wine. As you can tell, I tend to like sweet wines.  Maybe on my next visit I’ll venture out and order a red wine or white wine flight.

Have you been to Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant? What’s your favorite dish to order?

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  


#RyeDayThe13th Celebration at Rye Street Tavern and Sagamore Spirit Distillery

Rye Street Tavern has been open for about a month now and has received nothing but great reviews.  The restaurant is next to Sagamore Spirit Distillery and recently they joined forces to host a Rye celebration held on Friday, October 13th – they cleverly titled it “Rye Day the 13th”.   That Friday happened to be a wet one, but despite the weather hundreds of people came out to see what the new restaurant and distillery had to offer.  The event was both inside the restaurant and outside on the restaurant grounds with some of the outdoor portion covered by large white event tents. Outside, guests enjoyed music from a live band, they were also welcome to commemorate the night at the photo/video booth station.  Inside the tents guests were entertained by numerous games including giant versions of Pac-Man, Tetris, Light Bright,  Cornhole and the longest foosball table I’ve ever seen.  There was also an option to take a distillery tour during the event.

There were two food areas set up at the event, one was a taco station that served Pork Tacos and the other served Yellow Fin Tuna Poke and assorted desserts.  The event also featured restaurant wait staff passing hors d’oeuvres such as Roast with Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Carrots and Grilled Oysters.

There were two bar areas serving wine, beer and of course specialty Rye cocktails.  The two featured cocktails were the “Sagamore Rye Goldrush” and the Sagamore Brooklyn”.  I particularly liked how the bar staff pre-batched the cocktails because it cut down on wait time in the drink line.  If mixed drinks aren’t your thing, they also had a table serving free shots of Rye.

If this is any indication of how Rye Street Tavern and Sagamore Distillery celebrate, count me it, I’ll be there every time! #RyeDaythe13th

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  




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