Bay Bites
by Gabby Crabcakes

49 West

In covering all the "bites" in Chesapeake Country, I have the luxury of subjects both near and far. This week, I walked around the corner from my home in downtown Annapolis to the coffee shop 49 West. This warm haven - complete with music, art, libations and simple good food - is so convenient that I visit often.

In the traditional sense of a coffeehouse, 49 West is designed with enough space between tables to talk Tolstoy or to hold an informal business meeting without feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder. Art of mixed media surrounds you, ranging from painting to sculpture to jewelry, as in the recent Seven Virtues exhibit. There are books, games and a wide variety of local papers, bringing to mind the question: Which came first, the art, music, books and games - or the need of such distractions as you wait? As long as you're comfortable with waiting, you will enjoy this cafe.

The menu is limited, but with a good selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, egg dishes (breakfast/brunch) and the more elaborate dinner special. There is a nice selection of wines, priced reasonably by the glass or bottle ($3.75 to $6.25 per glass; $14 to $28 per bottle). They also have an eclectic variety of beers imported and micro, as well as quality coffees and teas.

Daily specials are always offered - until they sell out - with homemade soups a highlight. Soup, served by the bowl, should fill all but the heartiest appetites.

A great choice on a cold winter day might be chicken noodle soup (made with spinach fettuccini) with a half sandwich (possibly turkey with Gouda or the coronation chicken salad with curry, raisins and peas).

A chicken-pesto pizza served on a Boboli crust was flavorful with a nice blend of garlic and juicy chicken breast. It was served with a large "half" house salad for $8.95. Reliable sources rave over the vegetarian Bocca Burger with melted smoked Gouda cheese (also available with vegan soy cheese) and served with a side of creamy potato salad for $6.75.

Unless you over-order, the portions are sized to leave room for dessert, which you won't want to miss. 49 West has a centrally located dessert case filled with such yummy goodies as eggnog cheesecake, apple crumb tart and chocolate chocolate cake, to name a few.

Once you've eaten, you may want to check out the back room with its live music most evenings of the week. On a recent night, the Unified Jazz Ensemble played to a great crowd. Their music flowed throughout the cafe, but was most enjoyed up close and personal. Other musical acts include Mary Byrd Brown's acoustic folk and Rob Levit's classical and jazz guitar.

So for eating good food, sipping rich coffee or tapping your toe to the rhythmic music, 49 West is the perfect place to escape the hectic pace of the world outside.


49 West Coffeehouse Winebar Gallery
49 West St., Annapolis

Proprietor: Brian Cahalan

Reasons to go: A casual & comfortable cafe with light fare, eclectic art and cool tunes. Kick back and relax.

Something to think about: If you're into immediate gratification - or in a hurry - be prepared for your blood pressure to elevate!

| Issue 3 |

Volume VII Number 3
January 21-27, 1999
New Bay Times

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