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Food and Drink

I demand a recount!

If my wife had been watching me read the paper that day in late December, she might have been puzzled by the rapidly changing emotions on my face, changing in an instant from a smile to confusion to displeasure. I was reading Bay Weekly’s Best of the Bay edition, hoping to find some local treasure that somehow had missed my radar. As I reviewed the categories, I found some I very much agreed with (Best Concert Venue: Rams Head) and many that I didn’t know much about (Acupuncture). Some went on my list to try (Best Sushi: Umai), and some I disagreed with.

Whole Foods’ confectioners compete to become Top Cake

Cutthroat Kitchen, Cupcake Wars and Top Chef: We’ve grown to love televised cooking competitions.     Whole Foods Market’s Top Cake competition skipped television for an on-location reality show. To crown the Mid-Atlantic Region’s best cake decorator, Whole Foods invited real people to its Annapolis store to taste and admire. If you showed up early enough, you could even get a ticket to choose a cake to take home.

Wild Orchid chef takes over Sam’s kitchen

It’s a new year. With the flip of a calendar comes a chance to renew, refresh and remodel.     In Annapolis, the new year offers opportunity for two local restaurateurs to help each other.     Andrew Parks, owner of Sam’s on the Waterfront, has announced his new executive chef, Jim Wilder. Chef Wilder recently closed his Westgate Circle restaurant Wild Orchid after a difficult three-year tenure.

The lessons at Anne Arundel Community ­College’s Culinary Institute will last well after the new yearBob Melamud

Food eaten between November 1 and New Year’s Day contains no calories. I suspect I’m not alone in honoring this conviction. Yet a lifetime of stepping on the scale January 2 has convinced me that our cherished belief is a cruel urban legend.     This year I faced an additional challenge. Our editor assigned me to take and report on an Anne Arundel Community College Culinary Institute holiday class. Biscotti, cookies, Scandinavian baking and truffles tempted me — and promised an overabundance of extra calories.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving ­without the sweet finale

Can Thanksgiving dinner be both wonderful and boring at the same time? I’ve been having the exact same Thanksgiving dinner for almost 25 years now, and it’s getting old. Every year it’s the same people, same place, same menu.     What’s changeable?     It’s family, so that’s not changing.     Turkey with stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy and the trimmings are too traditional to change.

On Veterans Day — or any other — first-line heroes are welcome here

Montgomery County firefighter and paramedic Mike O’Neil sips a beer as he sits beneath the 9/11 wall at Heroes Pub. O’Neil was at the Pentagon doing search and rescue in the aftermath of that day. He’s a typical Heroes regular: a first responder and a local from Arnold who comes in several times a week. He seems to know everyone in the place, and everyone knows him. “Great bar food, great people, and they support the community. This is Cheers,” says O’Neil, referring to the fictional tavern on TV. “We feel comfortable here.”

Serving healthy portions of ­tradition and fellowship

With Christ Church Owensville’s annual homecoming dinner coming right up, parishioners gather to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes for the feast. We eat a potluck dinner because that’s what church people do before we work together. Then, as the dishes come down from the cabinets to be washed, I fall into a reverie. The plates are sturdy diner-style, green-striped, white crockery that, for the most part, match, so they nestle in neat stacks. The small oval plates for oysters are the same pattern.

Bakers Thomas and Pam Storm of Great Harvest Bread Company

What inspires you?     We love all kinds of baked goods but particularly enjoy trying traditional breads from around the world. What’s your culinary background?     Thomas owned an ice-cream store in downtown Annapolis for 25 years before switching to bread. Where do you eat on a night off — at home or out?

In Short, if you love falafel, try this place. If you’ve never had falafel, start here with a place that does it right.

Here I am, at the Annapolis Power Boat Show, and as promised, the Market House is open. Sure, it’s a year late, but 20 years from now, will anyone remember?     I’m making my fourth trip to Amsterdam Falafel House.

Chef Michael Archibald of ­Herrington on the Bay and Honey’s Harvest