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The stories behind the restaurants — and the people who make them

This old west melodrama could do with more bullets and less monologues

Is there a smarter way to package our takeout?

Now at home in Maryland Zoo

Should we give up plastic bags?

Make a habit of carrying out lunch, and you’ll be as bad as Jonas

On the hunt in November

The antlered buck posed statue-like in full-focused attention in a valley surrounded, at a fair distance, by the houses of Fairhaven Cliffs. Perhaps he’d seen me seeing him from my perch well above him, but not assuring him safety were I a bow hunter. That hunting season lasts most of November, the month — this odd sighting reminded me — when Maryland’s 227,000 deer are at their most visible.     November is rutting season, when bucks go in search of...

Bird enthusiasts will be tickled at holiday gifts of Feeding Wild Birds in America ($27.95). You, however, may have to endure their know-it-all-ness — unless you checkmate them by buying yourself a copy in self-defense.     The 320-page flexbound is a cornucopia of knowledge. Fourteen chapters chronicle our evolving cultural history vis-à-vis birds over the last century and a half. Especially useful and entertaining is the history of home-cooked recipes for bird food,...

In every faith, we look ahead in hope

On American’s feast day, Thanksgiving, we look back at “the great and various favors” of our year. I hope you were inspired in your recollection and naming of your blessings this Thanksgiving Day by George Washington’s apt words, quoted in last week’s Letter.     Now we rush full of anticipation into the winter holidays.     These great holidays rise from separate faiths, but all share a common theme. Each turns us toward the future...

Here’s how to keep your tree fresh, green and safe

A freshly cut Christmas tree that is properly cared for is a fire-safe Christmas tree.     Every year, many house fires are caused by Christmas trees. Avoid such a tragedy by following a few simple rules.     The freshest cut Christmas tree is the one you cut yourself. Thus the advantage of tree farms where you can make selecting and cutting your Christmas tree a family affair.     In 1996, the State of Maryland Fire Marshal’s Office...

How to find hot wintertime fishing

A big El Nino winter is expected, possibly moderating Maryland temperatures. That’s good news for anglers wanting to get in a few extra rockfishing trips, as the season remains open until December 15 on the Bay and year-round oceanside.     Despite El Nino’s predicted warming effect, however, planning any fishing trip this time of year means getting good information on weather conditions. A 10-day forecast is a good place to start.     I refer first...

Captivating, with fine singing, ­excellent choreography, ballet-­quality dancing and a pianist who never misses a beat

With Brigadoon, Compass Rose Theatre brings a fantastical Scottish paradise to life in the highlands of Annapolis. It’s right here amongst the braes. I don’t know what a brae is, but I can tell you this:     Bagpipes set the mood, so we’re in Scotland. Two young Americans, Tommy (Mike McLean) and Jeff (Lansing O’Leary), appear on the minimalist set, looking down on what we take to be a valley. They’re lost in the highlands. They hear faint music,...

The bright stars of the Summer Triangle linger at sunset, with Deneb in the constellation Cygnus almost directly overhead, brighter Vega in Lyra to the west and Altair of Aquila to the south. As they set in the west, the stars of the Great Winter Circle shine in the east.     Find the hourglass-shaped Orion, marked by Betelgeuse at the shoulder and Rigel at the foot. From Rigel look to the southeast to Canis Major’s Sirius, the brightest star visible. Higher and to the...

The latest in the Rocky series is a knockout

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan: Fantastic Four) has been throwing punches all his life. Orphaned and alone, Adonis ricocheted between foster care and juvenile detention. When a well-dressed woman visits him in lockup, he’s shocked.     Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad: For Justice) has sought Adonis ever since she discovered that he is the son of her late husband, heavyweight champ Apollo Creed.     The grown up Adonis has had the benefits of money, an...

For Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Chef Rudy, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake

From the first-time turkey roaster to the kitchen master, who among us can anticipate cooking the Thanksgiving dinner without a bit of a flutter?     Chef Rudy Volpe can.     The 54-year-old chef looks forward to serving 1,000 to 1,200 hungry eaters at Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet.     For a chef who’s worked 20-plus years in gaming, most recently at Maryland Live!, Rod ‘N’ Reel’s seven-hour...

A rested bird and a sharp knife are essential

1. Carve out a proper amount of time to cook the turkey. When coordinating your schedule Thanksgiving morning, keep in mind that between taking the turkey out of the oven and carving it, you should allot about 20 minutes. This waiting period is not frivolous. It makes the handling of the hot turkey easier on your hands, and it gives the meat’s juices crucial time to redistribute. 2.  If your turkey is tied, remove the string. Then remove each leg and thigh from the body of the...