Local Food Sign _17990185

Farm-to-table has become a buzzword in the culinary world over the past ten years, with the food trend slowly trickling down to us here on the Eastern Shore. Farm-to-table encompasses many laudable tenants, most notably the idea that restaurants should be embracing and supporting their local farmers and food purveyors. Considering the Eastern Shore is steeped in culinary tradition – from farmers to chicken houses to fisherman – it’s no wonder that farm-to-table dining is taking hold of area menus. At ShoreBread, we love digging into a local tomato and cucumber salad, or slicing into a fresh-caught, local fish. Fresh is the word of the day today, so take some time this weekend to find the freshest dishes on the Eastern Shore. Here’s a few to get you started…

Just Hooked

1500 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE

302-581-0098

Justhookedfi.com

A few weeks ago, we called attention to the farm-to-table menu at Hooked in Ocean City. After sitting down with owner Steve Hagan, we quickly learned that the bulk of the Hooked menu is composed of locally sourced ingredients. The same goes for Hagan’s other restaurants, which include Off the Hook in Bethany Beach and Just Hooked in Fenwick Island. For now, we’ll focus on Just Hooked. Local suppliers include the likes of the Good Earth Market, Chet and Wes Townsend, Maryland Produce just hooked ccMarket, and East View Farms. Just like we saw at Hooked, Just Hooked has a menu built on a “farm-ocean-table” concept. A few favorites include local, buttermilk battered oysters, local crab cakes, fried green local tomatoes, and the basil scented seared tuna with blistered grape quinoa, pistachios, local radishes, micro greens and verjus vinaigrette.

Nage

19730 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach, DE

302-226-2037

www.nagerestaurant.com

We were lucky enough to nab seats at Nage earlier this summer for their Farm to Table series. Nage has a number of locally sourced items on their menu, but their Farm to Table series is what initially caught our eye. Every Thursday, Nage features a different local, sustainable and organic farmer. The baked oyster asiago – baked with spinach, mushrooms, fennel and cheese – was definitely a crowd favorite, as was Bob Russels tomato gazpacho from the Farm to Table Series. Yellow tomatoes were blended to create the smooth soup base and married with chunks of Evans Farm watermelon, lump crab meat and cilantro. There’s an entire menu of mouthwatering dishes to consider, but we’ll leave you salivating over the salted caramel crème brulee.

The Palette

104 Green Street, Snow Hill, MD

410-632-0055

Local events have brought us to Snow Hill lately, and beyond enjoying the scenic drive to the Worcester County seat, we’ve found ourselves reveling in lunches at The Palette. Locally owned and operated by Phil Cropper and Keith Hall, The Palette aims to use the finest fresh, local and organic farm-to-table foods whenever possible. The menu is frequently changing so check in (or stop in) often.  Some past favorites have included Italian tortellini and sausage soup; the peppered turkey and bacon wrap; gourmet grilled cheeses; pan roasted local quail, lamb and spring pea risotto; pork shank; Thai glazed salmon; and their famous house salad dressing. What’s more, their walls are adorned with local artists.

The Grove Market

12402 St. Martins Neck Road, Bishopville, MD

410-352-5055

The Grove Market is the quintessential hidden gem around these parts. Most tourists will never know the glory that is The Grove Market, and for them we are truly saddened. For starters, the hole-in-the-wall market (and we mean that as a compliment) is tucked away in Bishopville on St. Martin’s Neck Road, which means its next to impossible for throngs of tourists to stumble upon. Second, the reservation system is tricky. Reservations are required and can be made only by leaving a voicemail – typically two weeks out from when you actually want to go. It’s a crap shoot as to whether you will actually get a call back, or you’re desired time slot, but if you do, you’re in for a real treat. There is no menu, as the dinner line-up changes daily based on what’s available and what’s freshest. There is also no menu to look at, literally. The servers spout off the list of dishes with an impressive amount of detail and memory, leaving you frantically trying to cram all the information in your brain while deciding what to eat because it all sounds so damn good. Intrigued? You should be.

Debbi Dean-Colley in the open kitchen at My Nature

Debbi Dean-Colley in the open kitchen at My Nature

My Nature

1301 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean

City, MD

410-289-1808

Housed in the Phillips Beach Plaza Hotel on 13th Street, My Nature is a restaurant, market, and educational space, all wrapped up into one. My Nature is Ocean City’s first raw-vegan restaurant, which is impressive considering the number of fried food stalls that you typically find along the boardwalk. Owner Janet Phillips has spent the past 13 years studying wild edibles – learning what plants exist naturally that provide life-sustaining nutrients. She also holds a wealth of knowledge from her time spent at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. At My Nature, Phillips aims to share her knowledge of health and wellness with her customers. For the raw foods newbie, raw foods are unprocessed, vegan foods that are whole and organic whenever possible and not cooked over 115 degrees to retain all the enzymes that are typically lost during the cooking process. The menu is extensive, and includes a daily salad bar, with foods changing based on what is freshest. Fresh, healthy and delicious is what you’re set to uncover here.

Grab and Go Taco

37081 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE

302-566-0686

If you’ve ever traveled to the West Coast, you have undoubtedly stopped at a taco stand or two. They’re everywhere and they are typically downright delicious. Owners Will and Sam Hall decided to combine their culinary passions to bring a real, deal taco stand to the beaches of the Eastern Shore. Located in Fenwick Island, directly next door to Fisher’s Popcorn, Grab and Go Taco opened earlier this year, and has been dishing out terrific tacos ever since. Their motto is “Fast. Easy. Satisfying. Everything a taco should be,” and they certainly live up to it. Local ingredients are used as often as possible, with frequent trips to the farmer’s market for local produce like cabbage, green peppers, and tomatoes. The fish tacos feature daily catches like halibut or mahi-mahi. There are also house-made corn chips for scooping up heaping hunks of guacamole.

a(MUSE.)

44 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE

303-227-7107

www.amuse-rehoboth.com

At a(MUSE.), expect to find quality food rooted in culinary tradition, made with modern culinary techniques. The Chef and Owner, Hari Cameron, is a Delaware native, and as a James Beard semifinalist in the “Rising Star Chef of the Year” category, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about turning out culinary masterpieces.  The entire a(MUSE.) team works to source from the local region, procure sustainable Atlantic seafood, work with vendors who raise their animals naturally, and forage the local land so that guests can experience a truly authentic mid-Atlantic dining experience. As a teaser, consider the grilled squash with walnut, dill and bone marrow. For entrees, look to the rockfish with eggplant, sumac and peppers or the local free range chicken with smoked collards, lentils, peach and coffee. a(MUSE.) also offers a four and six-course tasting with chef selections of seasonal mid-Atlantic delicacies.

Salt Air

50 Wilmington Ave. Rehoboth Beach, DE

302-227-3744

www.saltairrestaurant.comSalt Air

Touted as a Delaware beach picnic highlighting the best the region has to offer, Salt Air offers farm to table cuisine in the heart of downtown Rehoboth. What to expect? For starters, a locally inspired menu chocked full with fresh seasonal produce, sustainable seafood, and organic meats. Tuck into the Farmer’s Market Ratatouille, a roasted half-chicken, or the brown-butter basted halibut with spring pea risotto, heirloom tri-colored carrots, rhubarb gastrique and chive oil. There’s also a number of impossibly fresh salads to choose from, including the “New” Kitchen Sink, a mix of romaine, shrimp, bacon, veggies and a green goddess salad.