Mid-Shore Food: Spy Agent Report on Mason’s – Redux 2017

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Many new restaurants step up slowly to full menus and a packed house after opening their doors. But in Easton, Mason’s – Redux 2017 has elected to go from zero to sixty in a day. Courageous, and only possible with owners who pay attention to every detail along with a chef who brings restaurant experience and seriously capable culinary skills to the new enterprise.

Our party of three ventured out during the first week to give this long-anticipated dining location a try. While we went with expectations firmly in check given its still early days, we were delighted well beyond what a first-week experience would typically provide.

As you step off the brick sidewalk at 22 South Harrison Street, you notice the freshly painted building now gray. Entry occurs by moving through the velvet curtain – there to keep the cold outside. One immediately notices the tastefully elegant white tablecloth dining rooms as both appealing and inviting.

The young hostesses greet guests with efficient friendliness. Coats are taken without the use of those paper number things that always get lost. (They keep track of your jacket by your name.)

We were seated, offered water and beverages. The glasses of wine were selected from an attractive list of choices.

One can’t help but settle back and enjoy the environment while reviewing the menu. Our selections were made from an imaginative menu where seafood, pork, lamb, and beef are among the choices along with an attractive vegetable dish.

Our first courses consisted of roasted beets that included whipped feta, orange vinaigrette, and pistachios. Bibb lettuce salad topped with grapefruit, avocado, Bulgarian feta and poppy seed vinaigrette. Finally, the third member of our party enjoyed turnip cauliflower soup with cracked hazelnut and olive oil.

These offerings provided a delicious beginning to a dining experience we continued to enjoy.

We moved smoothly from our first course to our main course with the young wait staff removing and delivering plates to the table. The staff is friendly and comfortable in the new setting. Seasoning will come fast, and more senior members of the team are ever present ensuring that guests are fully satisfied.

Our entrees demonstrated the experience of chef Erin O’Shea. One of our party selected halibut that was perfectly prepared. Two of us enjoyed the lamb shank which remained moist and tasty as it fell off the bone.

We finished our fine meal by sharing the rice pudding topped with bourbon currants. This proved a soft-textured and sweet completion to our meal that was finished off with an excellent cup of coffee.

We fully enjoyed our evening. The owners were present and seriously reviewing their domain while warmly greeting friends and diners throughout the restaurant where every seat was taken. Our experience was relaxed and never rushed and came to a comfortable conclusion after two hours. The fare before gratuity was around $200 for our three courses and excellent wine by the glass.

As we departed, the opportunity to visit with one of the owners brought a series of thoughtful questions to make sure we enjoyed our experience. Relaxed fine dining is their stated objective, and that was certainly provided to us with a restaurant that seems positioned to do well in our community.

Easton Hosts Craft Beverage Summit

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Join Easton Economic Development Corporation on October 17, 2017 for an informal discussion of the economic and community impact of a brewery, distillery, or winery in the town of Easton, MD. Mayor Bob Willey will host a panel of professionals including Kevin Atticks of the Brewer’s Association of Maryland. Panelists will give an overview of the craft beverage industry in Maryland and answer questions regarding successful projects across the state.

A representative of the Maryland Comptroller’s Office will also be there to provide an explanation the state’s new “Reform on Tap” initiative. The task force is developing legislative proposals based on extensive review of Maryland’s beer laws and other states’ laws. The goal of the program is to facilitate the growth and success of Maryland’s craft beer industry and other independent businesses.

The summit will be at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, 114 S. Washington Street, Easton, MD. If you are a local brewer or distiller and would like to have a complimentary table to showcase your products, please call Pam Skillings, 410-690-7348. The event is free and open to the public.

About the EEDC
Easton Economic Development Corporation was launched in 2013 to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business creation in the historic Town of Easton, Maryland to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works toward managing Easton’s continued growth as a diverse and healthy “smart town,” leading innovation where the land and water meet. http://eastonedc.com/

About the Reform on Tap Initiative
In response to the passage of House Bill 1283 during the 2017 Legislative Session and with the goal of modernizing Maryland’s beer laws and promoting economic growth across the State, Comptroller Peter Franchot established “Reform on Tap” Task Force in April 2017. http://comptroller.marylandtaxes.com/

About the Brewer’s Association of MD
The Brewer’s Association of Maryland (BAM) founded in 1996, is the non-profit trade association of Maryland brewing companies. The mission of BAM is to grow, promote and protect the Maryland craft beer industry. http://marylandbeer.org/

Food Friday: End of the Summer Corn

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Here we are, on the precipice of the end of summer. I’ve been teetering back and forth between wishing for change, and wishing that if it cooled down just a few degrees we could live in this weather all year round. Well, if we wanted that we could move to Florida, and that is just too problematic. Who really wants hot days and all those thunderstorms? I am ready for a little change, though.

If I eat one more ear of corn-on-the-cob I am sure my head will explode. I feel similarly tired of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. It might mean that I am almost ready to head back into the kitchen, and relieve Mr. Friday of his summer cooking duties. Or I can make some side dishes to go with the last picnic of the summer season. Labor Day is a significant cookout opportunity, and we need to make the summer go out in style.

There is still so much fresh produce to enjoy at the farmers’ markets! I found a great app the other day: Seasonal Food Guide. It has a state-by-state produce guide to “Find What is in Season Near You.” There is a handy dandy Learn & Cook button, too, which always helps when you are in the middle of dinner despair. And it is free. Hooray. Here is a link to their helpful webpage: http://www.sustainabletable.org/4529/the-seasonal-food-guide I found the app in the iTunes app store.

This is a sweet and easy way to enjoy corn and cilantro all year long, but notably in these waning days of summer vacation. The jalapeno gives it a nice little kick. https://food52.com/recipes/61614-jalapeno-cilantro-corn-salad

Food52 has explored corn variations extensively. I love the concept of charred corn. Now I have a new term for corn that we have unintentionally scorched on the grill. Mr. Friday is a big fan of wrapping the ears of corn in aluminum foil and tossing them on the grill. And sometimes we get distracted by bright shiny objects and do not return to the grill in a timely fashion. Voila! Charred corn as an ingredient. And sometimes we are amazed at our own cleverness! https://food52.com/recipes/17913-charred-corn-and-avocado-salad-with-lime-chili-and-tomato?

One of our friends has decamped for New England for butter-drenched lobster-y Labor Day weekend. She is already taunting us with Instagram-ready photos of her deelightful meals. I hope she is having a very good time, and here is a recipe for her leftover lobster bits which also includes charred corn: http://abetterhappierstsebastian.com/journal/2015/8/24/charred-corn-farro-risotto-with-lobster

If it happens to be raining this weekend (and with Tropical Storm Harvey wandering around out there, it probably will) and you can’t get outside to the grill – never fear. You can make charred corn in a good sturdy cast iron frying pan, or under the broiler. And then you can make a charred corn pizza: http://www.homemadeaustin.com/2017/06/charred-corn-flatbread.html

Here are a zillion ideas from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/best-corn-recipes-cob-soup-salad-gallery/1

As summer wafts away we will be thinking more about cozy meals and roasted seasonal vegetables. In the meantime, go celebrate your Labor Day weekend with drawn butter, hot, charred corn, a couple of hot dogs, a crab feast (or two) and don’t forget to sneak a little reading time in the hammock. Next weekend it will be time to put away all our toys of summer. Enjoy!

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
― Heny Rollins