Mid-Shore Food Culture: Psst….The Bartlett Pear is Totally Open for Business

Share

The Bartlett Pear has been one of those special gifts that a small community rarely is the recipient of. A beautiful historic downtown building is reactivated by a “from here” young couple who converts it to a first class boutique hotel and dining venue.

After years being mentored by some of the top chefs in America, Alice and Jordan Lloyd returned to their native home of Easton in 2009 to develop their own vision of what hospitality means regarding food and lodging. And throughout a particularly painful economic recession, the Bartlett Pear persevered by offering locally-sourced culinary delights from the morning until the late hours of the night.

But even with that remarkable track record, the “BP” has had to reset its business model to more accurately calibrate what the owners do and when they do it with the realities of being a young family with two children.

The result of this hard-nosed evaluation led to a different approach for the current Bartlett Pear. Jordan, at the height of his earning power as a chef, decided to commute to DC during the week and return to the extremely high-end dining scene there while Alice would operate the hotel and bakery.

The Spy had a brief chat with Alice about these changes as well as her gratitude for the Pear’s very loyal patrons for quickly adapting to its pivots over the last nine years.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about the Bartlett Pear please go here

Design for You: Thoughts on Architect David Morton by Pamela Heyne

Share

It was always a treat going to dinner at Presqu’ile, the 1820 historic home of Anne Morton Kimberly. Proceeding down the long tree lined drive was a dramatic beginning. Then our cheerful, stylish hostess would greet us, often introducing us to new friends. Sometimes her daughter Babes and Babes’ husband Tom would be guests when they were not traveling. Dinner was usually in the formal dining room, or for more intimate occasions, in a cozy nook off the kitchen.

After dinner we would often sit in the library and continue chatting. A full length portrait of Anne’s son, and Babes’ brother, David Morton graced a wall in an anteroom. The picture showed him standing on a hill, smiling, as he gazed in the distance. David was tall and handsome, resembling his dad, 6’7 Congressman and cabinet official Rogers Morton. David had died in 2003.

I had known David much earlier, long before I moved to the shore and met Anne and Babes. David and I were classmates at Yale School of Architecture. David was a talented and brilliant fellow. I recall a handful of us gathered in his apartment as David explained to us some engineering complexities, and exactly how air conditioning worked! He had a patrician confidence, not surprising since he had spent his teen years at Presqu’ile, attended the Country School, and came from a prominent family. Yet he had a zany side too. His New Haven apartment could only be described as quirky. It sported a black hallway with a giant stuffed toy jolly green giant suspended from the ceiling.

A few years later after graduating from Yale I took a trip to New York with another classmate from New Haven, Tom Welch. We stayed at David’s home in Brooklyn. Its previous incarnation was a toilet seat factory but David was transforming it into a chic series of loft apartments. He had a grand piano in one of the rooms. Leaning next to the piano was a cane. I made conversation about the cane. Turns out it was a gift from Leonard Bernstein.

 8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

The building was next to the Brooklyn bridge. As we had dinner we gazed out the wide windows as car headlights slipped across the bridge, and the lights of Manhattan glistened on the water. One felt suspended in a kinetic, magical world.

David had a lifelong partner, Tom Cordell, an architect turned artist, of whom Anne was most fond. After David’s death Tom would accompany Anne on trips and was frequent a dinner guest at Presqu’ile. Tom is still alive, and his work is handled by Fischbach Gallery in New York.Anne, who grew up in privilege in Kentucky, had a remarkable openness of mind. Though her husband was a prominent Republican, she hosted a fundraiser at Presqu’ile for Democrat Frank Kratovil and said she “enjoyed her new Democratic friends.”

David grew up in beautiful surroundings and himself created beautiful surroundings. He saw the potential in Brooklyn factory buildings before it was fashionable. Eventually settling in California, he designed homes throughout the US. One of his designs is a spectacular sliver of a house perched on a ridge in Hilo, Hawaii. Now a vacation rental, called “The Falls at Reed’s Island” it is listed in the Frommer guide as one of the “top 15 rooms with a view”.

A few years after David’s death I saw that one of his home designs appeared in Architectural Digest. I took the magazine to Anne and left it with her. She was pleased to see it, but also, really unable to speak. We both realized that a talented person left the earth way too soon.

A while back, on a speaking trip to Chicago, I visited again with old friend Tom Welch. I learned with great sadness that he, a gay man, had been beaten up on the street. In David Morton’s 2003 NYT obituary Tom Cordell was listed as a partner. Now, in Babes’ 2017 obituary, Tom Cordell is listed as a surviving brother-in-law. That little detail said a great deal and pleased me.

Pamela Heyne is head of Heyne Design in Saint Michaels and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child.

Design For You: The Home Elevator by Pamela Heyne

Share

Have you ever considered installing an elevator in your home? Now that more of us are living longer and staying in our homes as long as possible, this technology does add value to the home, despite the total price tag of between $30,000 and $35,000. According to realtor Elizabeth Foulds, “This helps for re-sale when otherwise the buyer may only be looking at single level homes.” There are two basic approaches: the more traditional elevator with a shaft, and the cylindrical futuristic looking pneumatic elevator.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 7.42.06 AMI recently spoke to an expert in the field, Merl Beil, currently with Delaware elevator. He agreed that people should not go for a minimum size elevator, but one that can accommodate a wheelchair. That cab size would have an inside dimension of 3’ wide and 4’ deep. 5’x5’ is the basic inside dimension required for a shaft. This requires a reinforced concrete floor under it, 1’ below the main floor level in the house. In the shaft are pullies and a piston that move the car. Additionally a machine room is needed; it can be as small as 4’ x 4’ and is best if it is as close to the main elevator shaft as possible.

I also spoke to Brent Garner, manager, Talbot County office of Permits and Inspections to get his take on home elevators. He said that in the year since he has been working for the county he has not issued any permits for one. However, he used to work as a builder and installed “a beautiful one” he said. He had installed a window both in the elevator cab and in the shaft, so that when the cab reached the second floor, a lovely view appeared. A mural was installed of the same view on the ground floor, in the shaft itself, so that when the cab was on that level, the window did not look out onto a blank wall. There are many aesthetic options for these elevators. Want different door arrangements or an all glass shaft? No problem. Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 7.42.41 AM

I specified a home elevator for a traditional townhouse in Georgetown, DC. It featured an exterior elegantly paneled door. These elevators will have two doors, an outside door and then in the moving cab itself, some sort of folding door. The solid sliding doors we see in commercial elevators are rarely specified for residential elevators, because a much wider shaft would be required.

Closing the interior door is mandatory, or else the elevator will not move. Obviously this is a safety feature. However, Merl said many times he would get calls from people complaining the elevator would not work. He would ask, “Did you close the gate?” Invariably the answer was, “Well, uh…no.”

The cylindrical pneumatic elevator is appealing to me, and I have considered it for my own home. This type of elevator operates without cables, but because of variations in air pressure, and has a secondary braking system. A Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator, PVE, unit from Miami Florida has three sizes, 2’6”, 3’1” and 4’4” outside diameter. The largest unit is appropriate for wheelchairs. One must deduct about 7.5” from the outside diameter to get the inside clearance. These don’t require pulleys and a machine room.

There is also a small, shaftless elevator recently introduced to the market, that can be installed in the corner of a living room. It is too small for wheelchair use, and, to my mind, has little appeal aesthetically. However, it is another option to the stair lift.

Pamela Heyne, AIA is head of Heyne Design and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child. She will give a slide talk about her book Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3:30 at the Book Plate, 112 s. Cross Street, Chestertown. Light refreshments. pam@heynedesign.com

Adkins Arboretum Offers 2017 Botanical Art Series

Share

Adkins Arboretum has announced a series of botanical art programs taught by artists Lee D’Zmura and Kelly Sverduk. Ranging from drawing to painting to working with colored pencil, the series engages beginning to experienced artists in capturing the natural world. Programs include:

Botanical Art: Watercolor I
Fri., Jan. 20 and 27, Feb. 3 and 10, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Watercolor is the traditional medium used in creating botanical art. This program taught by Kelly Sverduk will focus on introducing basic watercolor techniques and color mixing using a limited palette. Class exercises and projects will provide participants with a fundamental understanding and mastery of those techniques.

Botanical Art: Watercolor II
Fri., March 3, 10, 17 and 24, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Kelly Sverduk will walk students through the process of completing a botanical painting using the techniques introduced in previous classes. Students will prepare a graphite study and then transform the drawing into a watercolor painting. Emphasis will be placed on composition, color mixing and watercolor.

Advanced Graphite
Fri., April 14, 21 and 28, 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Join Lee D’Zmura to improve your drawing skills. Working with your choice of subject, you’ll compete a botanical piece in pencil. Each class with include new techniques and individual critiques.

Advanced Painting Workshop: Paw Paw Flower
Fri., May 19 and 26, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Paint a branch and bloom from one of the Arboretum’s paw paw trees in this workshop taught by Kelly Sverduk. Instruction will focus on drawing, watercolor work and detail work of flower and leaves.

Butterflies and Insects Workshop
Fri., Sept. 8, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
This program taught by Lee D’Zmura introduces the techniques used to document a preserved butterfly or insect specimen. Each participant will receive an insect, draft a detailed drawing of that insect and complete the colored pencil study on Mylar film.

Paw Paw Fruit Workshop
Fri., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Discover and paint a native fruit found on the Arboretum grounds. Join Kelly Sverduk to create a small botanical watercolor painting of this interesting and little-known fruit.

Advanced Painting Workshop: Host Plant
Fri. and Sat, Oct. 6 and 7, 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
This course taught by Kelly Sverduk will focus on the relationship between native pollinators and their host plants. Participants will create detailed drawings of their chosen subjects and then bring those drawings to life in watercolor.

D’Zmura is an award-winning botanical artist whose experience as a landscape architect enriches her watercolors. She received her certificate in botanical art from the Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration. Her work is in collections throughout the country. She maintains a studio in St. Michaels, where she draws inspiration from her neighbors’ gardens and from the Eastern Shore’s native wildflowers.

Sverduk specializes in watercolor and is passionate about making and teaching art. With a background in both art and natural sciences, she finds the field of botanical illustration to be a perfect combination of her interests. She holds a BA in studio art from Messiah College and a certificate in botanical art form the Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration. She lives with her family in Greenwood, Del.

Program fees vary, and advance registration is required. Register at adkinsarboretum.org or call 410.634.2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Local Winery Takes Awards at 2016 Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition

Share

0d1a6199Governor Larry Hogan presented awards to the winning wineries for their entries in the 2016 Governor’s Cup Competition. Among the winners was Crow Vineyards of Kent County, with their estate grown Barbera Rose, capturing both Best in Class and Double Gold medals.

“This 2015 varietal was produced in the saignee method which results in a more intense presentation,” notes Judy Crow, “and has been a particular favorite with our customers.” Shown in the picture are Governor Larry Hogan, Judy and Roy Crow, owners.

Crow Vineyard (www.crowvineyardandwinery.com) is located in Kennedyville, MD, and the tasting room is open from 12 noon to 5pm, everyday.

Food Friday: Bubbly Self Care

Share

We are in the midst of the annual holiday frenzy. There was an ad in my print paper this morning advising potential advertisers that the newspaper office will be closing at 4:30 on Friday afternoon so all those wacky journalists could attend the company holiday party. At 4:30. Wowsers.

I don’t have high stakes holiday office parties like that. Before opening the Spy’s much lauded Test Kitchen, one of my office parties consisted of inviting a friend over to have a beer and watch Leslie Warren’s Cinderella on our new fangled VCR. This year I am going all out and practising a new buzz word – I am going to self care. This Friday I am going to kick back and pop open a bottle of bubbly and watch the original Upstairs, Downstairs for a couple of episodes. There is nothing that makes me feel like a grubby, indulgent, middle-class American faster than Upstairs, Downstairs.

Prosecco or Champagne? It’s a personal choice. I am hugely impressed by a stately bottle of Veuve Cliquot, and would probably serve it to Mr. Hudson, the butler from Upstairs, Downstairs, if he ever came to call. But I find a pretty orange label on a bottle of Mionetto just as appealing. Lady Marjorie, also from 165 Eaton Place, would never comment on the lower price point. She would be pleased just to loosen her corset stays and have a second glass. Relief is on its way! And then Lady Marjorie will tell me to relax, and to enjoy myself a little bit. “You never know when disaster will strike,” she confides. (Lady Marjorie went down on Titanic, so she has some experience with life changing moments.) Mr. Hudson would tell me to pull up my bootstraps.

The Christmas cookies will be baked next week. In the meantime, it is Friday night, and it has been a long week. It’s time to take care of ourselves for once. This is an unusual undertaking that could be shared with a couple of discreet elves. Instead pouring a glass of my usual cheap winter Malbec, I thought I should test some seasonal cocktail recipes to get into the holiday spirit. These are crowd pleasers, but they require a little planning.

French 75s

“Hits with remarkable precision.”
Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book

2 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 spoonful extra fine sugar
Champagne

Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice until chilled and well-mixed and then pour into tall glass containing cracked ice and fill up the glass with Champagne. This clever cocktail was said to have been devised during WWI, the kick from the alcohol combo being described as powerful as the French 75mm howitzer gun.

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”
–Winston Churchill

Champagne Cocktail

In a Champagne glass add a teaspoon of sugar and enough Angostura bitters to melt the sugar. Add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier or cognac and mix in with the sugar, bitters mix. Add a “fine” quality Champagne and stir. Float a slice of thin orange on top. This is what Ilsa and Victor Laszlo sipped in Casablanca.

“A cause may be inconvenient, but it’s magnificent. It’s like Champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it.”
-Arnold Bennett

As always, our festive friends at Food52 have some delightful ideas for nibbles to help soak up some of the bubbly we are sure to be drinking on Christmas. http://www.food52.com/blog/2807

On a recent trip to food-forward-thinking-Charleston, friends ordered Aperol and Prosecco cocktails, because they are oh, so trendy. I did not realize that this is the most popular cocktail in Italy. And now it can be one of yours, too!

Aperol and Prosecco

3 parts chilled, dry Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash soda
Serve with on the rocks in wine glass or rocks glass
Garnish with a slice of orange (this makes it practically health food!)

http://www.eater.com/2014/10/21/7020183/the-story-of-the-aperol-spritz-a-classic-italian-cocktail

This is very pretty, and so seasonal: pomegranate mimosas. Yumsters. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a46968/pomegranate-mimosas-recipe/

And the best of both worlds: a Black Velvet! Champagne and Guinness.This drink is simply equal parts stout and sparkling wine, and to be honest, there are some who will never understand its appeal. But to fans, this is a perfect special-occasion drink, particularly suited to mornings and late afternoons. I had my first on a chilly night in London. Divine.

Black Velvet

4 ounces (1/2 cup) chilled Champagne or Prosecco
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chilled Guinness Extra Stout
Pour the Champagne into a tall glass. We first had ours served in heavy pewter tankards, but at home we eschew the delicate flutes for a sturdy rocks glass. This is not an effete drink. It is robust, and fills your hand with determination. Be sure to pour the Guinness on top. (This is important: Guinness is heavier. If you pour the sparkling wine second, it won’t combine evenly, and will need to be stirred. I shudder at the thought!)

Enjoy yourself this weekend. Loosen the corset strings. And let the games begin, again, on Monday.

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”
― Erma Bombeck

Food Friday: Office Party Strategies

Share

The holiday office party can be an ordeal. Or it can be a balm to your relationships with people you spend too many hours a day. Don’t you want to be the fun one? Don’t you want to sail home at the end of the day with your empty platter, smug and satisfied that your dish was Hoovered up by all and sundry, and not left to languish like the kale salad, or the tofu meatballs made with grape jelly? And it is much better to be the one who made a creative effort to please, instead of the loser who stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for donut holes because you forgot the day of the potluck. Shame. Shame. Shame.

You need to stratgize. The Seven Layer Dip is a party standard. And though it is a party staple, it gets ugly. Fast. And then there it’s boring presentation, everything glooped into a big bowl, which might work at a family barbecue, but is never going to survive the onslaught of the hungry guys from IT. Presentation, at least for the first few minutes, is an important consideration.

Consider the individual cup o’Seven Layer Dip. Petite. Colorful. So appealing! I would also suggest using either an assembly line (it’s time to rope those children into helping you!) or put each layer of ingredient in a piping bag, and make each cup beautiful. Remember, you want to be the cool kid. It will be worth it. Honest. VP Sherri will surely recognize your doggedness, now. And your creativity. And your joie de vivre!

Strategy A:here is your basic boring unimaginative, uninspired, might-as-well-just-buy-it-ready-made-from-the-grocery-store version. http://www.mccormick.com/recipes/appetizer/7-layer-fiesta-dip

Strategy B: and this is the magically delicious and oh-so-cute version: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/12/individual-seven-layer-dips.html If you have any germaphobes in your office (and don’t we all?) this is the way to go. No double-dipping. No excessive food handling by others! And the tiny cups are adorable. Be sure to have some extra chips on hand, because you know people will want to keep coming back to your marvelous party dish.

Strategy C: The same little serving cups can be used for all sorts of tastiness. Chex Mix! Brownies! Stuffed tomatoes! Parmesan spinach balls! White bean dip! Bite-sized Caprese appetizers!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/pws_chex_party_mix/
I did this version of the Pioneer Woman’s Chex Mix for Thanksgiving. Using the fresh garlic and the hot sauce gave it a nice kick, which we really needed to sustain us as we set about preparing the enormous (and labor-intensive) Thanksgiving feast. You might think about the possibility that people will want to squirrel away a little stash to get them through that long, draggy, low-energy part of the afternoon.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robert-irvine/cherry-tomatoes-stuffed-with-chicken-apple-salad-recipe.html

http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/entertaining/easy-party-food-ideas-that-won-t-break-the-bank-pictures

http://www.marthastewart.com/274717/easiest-party-foods#165899

http://ourbestbites.com/2013/07/bite-sized-caprese-appetizers/

Here are links to find the little cups:
basic: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Diamond-Multi-Purpose-Mini-Cups-With-Lids-2-oz-50ct/17056809
fancier: https://www.amazon.com/Appetizer-Catering-Supplies-Disposable-Shooters/dp/B01EQDTRFK/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1481226164&sr=8-18-spons&keywords=mini+plastic+serving+cups&psc=1
Little red Solo cups – probably not work appropriate: https://www.amazon.com/ALAZCO-Glasses-2-Ounce-Holiday-Tailgate/dp/B0152KLRU4/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&qid=1481226263&sr=8-26&keywords=mini+plastic+serving+cups

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused— in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened— by the recurrence of Christmas.”
― Charles Dickens

Ring in the Yuletide with Adkins Arboretum’s Candlelit Caroling Celebration

Share

candlelit-caroling-bonfireRing in the holiday season with an evening of music, light and merriment when Adkins Arboretum hosts its annual Candlelit Caroling Celebration on Sat., Dec. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m.

At the Visitor’s Center, enjoy seasonal live music in the gallery by Chestertown performers Dovetail and Nevin Dawson, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash wine bar. Take a candlelit walk through the woods along the Blockston Branch, stopping along the way to sing carols and toast marshmallows over a roaring bonfire. Join Delmarva Stargazers in the meadow to view the winter sky, step inside a twinkly gingerbread house, and top off the evening with a winter hayride to the Funshine Garden for hot cider and tree decorating.

Tickets for adults are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Children ages 3–18 are $10, and children 2 and under are free. Registration closes on Mon., Dec. 5.

To reserve tickets for the Candlelit Caroling Celebration, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410.634.2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature, conservation and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Mid-Shore Food Notes: Ken MacDonald and the “Harriet” Influence at Perry Cabin

Share

It was certainly reassuring to note on the resume of Ken MacDonald, the Inn at Perry Cabin’s new executive chef, that he had spent quality time at such iconic dining venues as the Ritz of London and the Peninsula in San Francisco.  Perry Cabin has had a significant track record in the area of fine dining, and it was in keeping with this tradition that a new leader in the kitchen would come with this type of pedigree.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-8-14-22-am

Harriet Bullitt

But what really caught the Spy’s eye was the fact that Ken had worked for, and with, the legendary Harriet Bullitt for almost seven years. While it would be understandable that the name would not ring many bells for most on the Mid-Shore, for those who once lived in Pacific Northwest, Harriet Bullitt was, and is, a remarkable superstar in all things local and sustainable.

In Harriet’s case, it has been a lifetime (she’s 92 years old now) of dedication to land conservation and local food. With her family foundation, the Bullitt Foundation, as well as her own philanthropy, Harriet has been an instrumental leader and innovator in Washington state since she created the region’s first sustainable building in 1965.

So, to see a partnership between Harritt and Ken at Sleeping Lady, her innovative retreat and restaurant in the mountains two hours out of Seattle, intrigued us enough to sit down with Ken for a short conversation about Harritt, Sleeping Lady, and his own food philosophy as he begins a new, hopefully “Harriett-influenced,” era at Perry Cabin.


This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Perry Cabin, please go here.