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Chesapeake Country’s Good-Eating Community

This issue invites you to come on in
     Restaurant peeping is one of the pleasures you give up to live in much of Chesapeake Country. We who live in the country or suburbia just don’t get it. Shopping strips and centers can’t touch it. Only Annapolis, Solomons and the Twin Beaches offer the density of destinations that encourages you to stroll through town, seeing what’s on offer before you make your choice. When you find an inviting façade you can come closer, peer discreetly in the windows and, if you like what you see, step inside to feel the ambiance and peruse the menu. 
      Of course the nose-nipping cold this time of year, when the buffeting winds want to blow you right down Main Street into City Dock, discourages such sightseeing.
      Bay Weekly fills the gap. 
      Our job is to compress your Chesapeake Country community into the power of folded paper. (It’s my substitute for creasing newspaper into hats or making origami, which I never could master.) In our pages, 36 this week, you get, like a miniature of a well-functioning town or city, pretty much everything you need to sustain early 21st century life. Plus stories that take you beneath surfaces to show you who’s who, what’s what and how things work.
       Often, we have a particular theme. This week, our annual winter Dining Guide takes you back to where we began: restaurant peeping. 
       As you step inside, imagine yourself walking down Chesapeake Country’s Main Street. The weather’s just fine; no wind here to chill your bones and rustle your pages. Your stroll takes you through a neighborhood dense with 30 food-producers, preparers and servers, all partners in the Bay Weekly community and many the best their field has to offer.
      Some, like En-Tice-Ment Farms, are specialists. You tuck them away for the coming moment when you know you’ll need just what they have to offer. Others are just what you might be looking for in the next hour or so: the place to check out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, pizza or donuts.
      (A special section of this week guides you to where to satisfy your hunger for oysters in any and all varieties, including some that may be new to you, as they were to me.)
      You’ve checked out the façade, then peered into the window. Now step inside. You’ll learn more than you’d get in real life by a sniff of the atmosphere and glance at the menu. In each story in our Guide, owner or manager greets you for a personal tour. This is a confidential tour, so you learn more than you would over a full meal — unless you’re the curious sort whose table the host happens to stop by. You learn not only what’s on the menu but also get personal recommendations that may well start you salivating, as I did at Eastport Bread and Butter Kitchen’s “riff on the fried chicken Alvarado made for her family and friends for years. Served with a drizzle of sriracha honey on a house-made biscuit.”
      You’ll learn the kind of place each eatery is — mostly casual, carry-out, comfortable, fine dining — and its potential for satisfying you not only today but also into the future. That could be as soon as Friday or Saturday when live music accompanies the German experience of the Old Stein Inn. Or Sunday, which is pie day (both sweet and savory) at Pirates Cove in Galesville. 
      Best of all, for those of us who like stories with our supper, hosts tell you their personal stories. You’ll learn how they got into the business (dishwashing is often the starting point). Where they trained (Irish Restaurant Company Executive Chef Steve Hardison is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in California). How they named their restaurant (Evelyn’s is dedicated to owner Brandon Stalker’s daughter). Even how they see their mission (at Brick Wood Fired Bistro, Jason Nagers and parents Ronda and Tim Tracy wanted to bring a fun and modern atmosphere to their hometown neighborhood while still maintaining that small town local feel). 
      You’ll also learn what they do to carry out their vision. At The Irish Restaurant Company, for example, that’s meant raising a third of a million dollars for local charities and adapting so many green practices that the company has earned this year’s Commercial Steward Award from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. 
      We open many doors for you in this issue. So come on in to your Chesapeake Country’s good-eating community.