For those of us who remember the iconic (now closed) Ocean City Maryland eatery, Mad Hatter’s Café, it’s time to rejoice! Located just steps from the Boardwalk at 18th St, nestled street side, beneath the well known Spinnaker Motel, Mad Hatter’s has been reborn as MALIA’S CAFE!
Upon entering one finds a similar whimsical décor; however, large windows, colorful murals, and painted furnishings offer an airiness not found in the old location…this one offers a distinct taste of the nearby seaside – with mermaids and palm trees!
Yet, it was not the décor for which my companion and I rushed over just two weeks after the soft opening – it was the menu! Food offerings from Malia Ricks are well known for creativity, taste and value. I am happy to report it’s the same – perhaps even better. Generous servings, fresh ingredients, careful preparation and service are the hallmark here.
Arriving at a late breakfast/early lunch hour we were offered both menus – especially nice, since Ocean City is a resort whose visitors keep their own time. My companion decided on a ‘small’ breakfast…two large plates; one with light, fluffy pancakes, the other sporting tempting, creamed chipped beef on wheat toast with a side (large) of sizzling home fries. Coffee with free refill rounded out his meal. I opted for the Veggie Burger in a Pita…veggie burger, Muenster cheese, avocado and sprouts with dressing. This grocery list doesn’t begin to do justice to my choice – the burger was covered with really ‘melty’ Muenster (making strings when pulled), fresh, crunchy sprouts and a slice (slab) of perfectly ripe, creamy avocado all jam packed into a pita, warm from the grill! This was truly the kind of handcrafted sandwich for which I’ve hungered in these days of slap together ‘fast food’ style.
Later, more thoroughly reading over Malia’s menu, I was delighted to note that favorite choices such as her famous Veggie Wrap and the hot version – the Veggie Roll-up remain. For those still yearning for meat – its there, in the form of a King Kamehameha Cheesesteak and Tanner’s French Dip Au Jus with several turkey centered offerings available. Chicken, Tuna and Shrimp Salad (always fresh) along with Fish Tacos are listed…just haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet! There’s a kid’s menu too.
Currently the hours (though open every day) are varied although with breakfast service available to the Spinnaker’s visitors I suspect they will settle out during the coming high season. Eat-In or Carry-Out is offered and outdoor, patio service is available for the wet bathing suit crowd. The telephone number is 443-664-2420.
For up to the minute information, visit the ‘MALIA’S CAFÉ’ page on facebook.
Note: to enlarge any photo just ‘click’!
It’s that time again…the long awaited Salisbury MD…PORK IN THE PARK! Beginning tomorrow, Friday, April 15th at 4pm (thru Sunday at 5 pm), we can re-visit and experience again this increasingly ‘notorious’ event. Few, early Spring, annual events in and around the Ocean City Maryland area are more anticipated by ‘foodies’, friends and would-be chefs than Pork in the Park.
Our visit last year was exciting (and filling) I’m sure this year 2011, knowing the ropes, we’ll fare even better! It’s to be noted that a new ‘activity’ will be offered…a mechanical bull will be available Friday from 4 – 10 pm and Saturday from 12 – 6pm. A ride will cost $5.00 – potential visit to your Chiropractor is ?
Last year, hoping to avoid having to park far away and ride the shuttle, we decided that an early, ‘brunch’ visit at 10 am was in order. Weather-wise, we were already enjoying a breezy-sunshine on our way to Winterplace Park on Rt. 346 (Old Ocean City Boulevard) near Salisbury. Within two miles of the festival – we began to sniff traces of wood smoke and good cooking. Seems many of the contestants, in order to have their ‘specialties’ considered ready for judging, stay up all night to insure a good slooow, cook to produce a perfect tender offering!
Upon entering the lovely fairgrounds, (admission $2 adults/children 12 and under FREE) we were confronted with row upon row of tents, trucks and massive cookers spread over several acres of spacious parkland. Early this day the most activity was to be in front of the judge’s tent – a sign up area for the day’s contestants. After viewing this, all the while assailed with wonderful smells, we wandered off to find our ‘brunch’ only to find we were in the wrong area to purchase food. Again, row upon row of busy barbecue cookers and serious contestants – but no food to have –YET! Finally, crossing over several aisles we found what we were looking for! Colorful signs, proclaiming past achievements and tables of trophies vied for our attention. We had finally found our ‘brunch’ although it was now nearly lunch! We stopped at one bright place and placed our order; my companion asking for a genuine pulled-pork sandwich and for me – a ‘pulled’ chicken platter; complete with slaw and baked beans. When presented, we were told to take our pick of today’s sauces…a ‘secret’ hickory recipe or one that spoke of ‘apple’. I chose the apple barbecue sauce – and found it to be a real winner with my smoke infused, chunky, tender chicken on multi-grain roll (thank you). We found a nearby seat; near the stage where consecutive musical groups were performing their most lively tunes. Off in the distance we saw the colorful children’s rides already spinning and twirling. Our food was good – really, really good. We shared a bit and I can vouch for the pork barbecue and the chicken (with ‘apple’ flavored BBQ sauce).
Later, we ambled along the real mid-way – again rows of vendors offering about everything including some really tempting caramel popcorn! When I begin desiring large quantities of warm, sticky popcorn I know it’s time to leave…but I promise to return again next year to this wondrous gathering of foodies…Pork in the Park!
For more exciting info visit – http://porkinthepark.org
To enlarge any photo, just ‘click’!
Traveling by car and then by boat from Ocean City MD in a west-south-westerly direction for approximately 2 ½ hours one comes to Smith Island situated in the Chesapeake Bay along the Maryland/Virginia border – the reputed origin of the famed, ten-layer Smith Island Cake recipe. A most delectable dessert, this cake may now be found (and enjoyed), freshly baked, just minutes from our town at a location within the White Marlin/Ocean City Outlet Shopping Center located just along US Route 50 – Ocean Gateway. Upon entering this bakery/café, situated right beside the SAKURA restaurant, one is first greeted with the seriousness of this endeavor. Sparkling clean cases and racks of tempting treats are surrounded by cozy tables; obviously set up for the patron to enjoy his purchase. The aroma of good coffee further extends the invitation.
This intricate, six to 12 layer concoction, sometimes termed, “Frosting with the Cake”, here, is served by the slice or may be purchased whole! There are cupcakes and mini-cakes, which may be enjoyed as well, even some of those local specialties, sweet potato biscuits. The cakes come in many, many flavors…although the ‘original’ yellow with chocolate frosting is my favorite. However, there’s a peanut butter/chocolate that runs a close second! Noting a sign posted in this shop, we saw that in celebration of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday, a few new flavors will be available including: Irish Cream, “Green” Velvet and Nutty Irishman! Wow!
Recently, the Maryland State Legislature voted to name the Smith Island Cake as the Official State Dessert of Maryland – and from personal experience I can deem it most worthy!!! Try it and see if you agree!
For more information on this cake and where it may be obtained visit…
To enlarge any photo, just ‘click’!
On February 1st this important celebration begins…for the sweet favorite, DOLLE’s CANDYLAND. Two thousand, ten marks the 100th anniversary for this now fourth-generation, family-run business here in Ocean City, Maryland. Known for traditional salt-water taffy, fine chocolates, caramel corn and fudge, Dolle’s enjoys a special place in the memory of millions of visitors over the years to our famed family seaside resort. Today, in addition to the original south Boardwalk location, Dolle’s has expanded to include a modern shop in North Ocean City at the Ocean Square Shopping Center on 120th Street and a shop some miles south of here on Chincoteague Island in Virginia.
The folks at Dolle’s are going all out to celebrate and say they will begin running ads for special promotions and activities relating to their long history following a brief January vacation. There will be a book showing photos of ‘the old days’ and a special commemorative candy box will be available throughout this year. Also, among the other planned festivities will be special days when prices will be rolled back to a specific decade; 50 cents for some candy or a box of popcorn for a quarter!
Always a meeting place for locals and vacationing visitors alike, Dolle’s now has a website to expand that feeling of community and where more information on this celebration may be found…visit http://www.dolles.com and join the party!
To enlarge any photo, just ‘click’.
Having thoroughly enjoyed once again your beachside visit to Ocean City Maryland it may be time to head home via Rt. 50. Or perhaps, because it’s a lovely summer evening you want to treat the kids (or yourself) to some fabulous ice cream…? Well, the well known saying, “Head west….”, is more than true. A few short miles after leaving the beach, driving along Rt. 50 (Ocean Gateway) one comes upon a row of hand-lettered signs…leading off-road to a little green building nestled in a cul-de-sac that’s well worth your attention. The sign on the building says Chesapeake Bay Farms. Within you find the retail outlet for the only dairy in Worcester County…and within you will find the most delicious homemade, hand-dipped ice cream ever! The flavors are incredible and endless!!! Along side you will find cheese – real cheese – also in a variety of flavors! And, what’s a real dairy store without butter – fresh churned butter, salted or unsalted packed in 8 oz containers. In a nearby case you will find fresh local seafood (seasonal) including local clams, crabmeat, scallops and shrimp (also live crabs when available). They also have heavenly homemade “Paul’s recipe” chocolate Truffles prettily packaged…just in case you need a quick gift for the folks back home? Outside again, under the mature trees on the lawn are a few picnic tables where you can enjoy your icy treat (or ask for “to go” and the staff will cheerfully secure your purchase within ice). And, while you’re there visit the little pen outside…where the calves are kept. Today, the merely weeks old inhabitants were looking for a friendly petting – a perfect ending to our visit to a real dairy store. To visit this shop via the Internet – www.chesapeakebaycheese.com where you may learn more about this unique local business.
Everybody loves ‘em. Hot, spicy, meaty, plain, cheesy, piled high, stuffed, Chicago style, Philly style, Italian style, savory, melting, toasty, chewy, crispy, etc. – these are only a few of the words used to describe the many styles and flavors of the subs and pizza served here in Ocean City Maryland. Whether ordering for pick-up or delivery, decision-making can be a lengthy process! Below is a list of some of the great “fun food” shops found up and down our coastal island…everyone has a favorite – what’s yours?
Biggies Seafood & Subs, 1804 Philadelphia Ave, 410-289-3222
Big Huggers Sub Shop, 5 Wicomico St., 410-289-6436
Billy’s Sub Shop, 13902 Coastal Hwy, 410-250-1778 & 11805 Coastal Hwy, 410-723-2500
Captains Pizza & Sub Restaurant, 13707 Coastal Hwy, 410-250-0600
Caruso Pizza, 420 N. Atlantic Ave, 410-289-1990
Devito’s Italian Deli & Sub, 14302 Coastal Hwy, 410-250-1122
Domino’s Pizza, 104 64th St., 410-723-5400
Fat Daddy’s Sub Shop, 216 S. Baltimore Ave, 410-289-4040 & 8201 Coastal Hwy, 410-524-8228
Golden Plate, 19 Atlantic Ave, 410-289-4488
Ken’s Bayside Pizza & Subs, Rt. 54, Fenwick Island, DE 302-436-0213
Leo’s Subs & Crabs, 13804 Coastal Hwy, 410-250-1660
Lombardi’s, 9303 Coastal Hwy, 410-524-1961
Ocean Side Sub Shop & Pizza, Rt. 1 & Virginia Ave, 410-250-2695
Papa John’s Pizza, 3310 Coastal Hwy, 410-524-1300
Pizza Hut, 2709 Philadelphia Ave, 410-289-5331
& 13117 Coastal Hwy, 410-250-3288
Quiznos Sub, 2500 Philadelphia Ave, 410-289-2266
Three Brothers Pizza of Ocean City, 11405 Coastal Hwy, 410-723-5188
Tommy’s Sub Shop, 2900 Philadelphia Ave, 410-289-6650
Tony’s Pizza, 3 Atlantic Ave, 410-289-5740
Few things are certain in life however as any visitor to Ocean City Maryland will soon learn is that no visit to our beach is complete without at least a sampling of the famed Maryland blue crab. Nearly every eatery within 100 miles serves crab in one form or another; crab cakes, cream of crab soup, Crab Imperial, shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, crab salad, etc., however, it is for the classic steamed crab devotee that we write today…
Only two rules must be observed for steamed hard crabs…they must be fresh and they must be hot. The seasoning is up to you – whether your lick the hot stuff from your fingers or wash the crab before opening (Heaven forbid!) – it’s your choice. And, for those folks whose education is short in crab pickin’ know-how, here’s a website where you may learn to pick like a pro. The following is a list, by no means complete, of well know places in Ocean City where you may obtain this most sought after of “critters”. Some are eat-in, some are carryout and some are both.
Bahama Mamas, Wicomico St., 410-289-0291
Belly Busters, 45th St. & Coastal Highway 410-524-7116
Crab Alley, West Ocean City, www.craballey.com 410-213-1048
Crab Bag, 130th St. & Coastal Hwy. 410-250-3337
Crab Shack, 78th St., 410-524-8585
Crabs to Go, Rt. 50, Berlin, www.crabstogo.com 410-641-9379
Higgins Crab House (2 locs.), Coastal Hwy. www.higginscrabhouse.com 410-250-4203
Hoopers Crab House, Rt. 50, West OC, www.hooperscrabhouse.com 410-213-1771
Waterman’s, Rt. 50, West OC, www.watermansseafoodcompany.com 410-213-1020
To ship a taste of Maryland (incredibly good crab cakes) to friends back home please visit the -
Crab Cake Factory USA, Coastal Hwy. www.crabcakefactoryusa.com 410-250-4900
At the corner of 17th Street and Philadelphia Avenue (ocean side) stands a little one-story building; the big sign outside says ANTHONY’S. This is the only one around and is not to be confused with the multiple locations in Ocean City MD of Anthony’s Beer & Wine. That being said, this is the place where for the last 35 years through the ownership of two families, you could get beef, or even ham, stacked to the sky as a sandwich or a sub, with cheese or without, dressed any way you desire. Looking at the menu one sees an array of breakfast selections and pizza and fried chicken however, it’s the roast beef and ham that draws us. Big loins and huge hams sitting on a cutting board literally disappear before your eyes with deft carving. Seating is casual, a couple of interior booths with several picnic tables outdoors, street side, set under a bright blue canopy. Despite the heat this day, we were comfortable with the outside seating. And, did I mention that Anthony’s offers soft serve ice cream? After all, this unique little spot began as a Tastee Freeze back in 1954 and has carried forth that tradition still serving handmade shakes, Smoothies, sundaes as well as the popular twirling cone. But it is the piled high, juicy, real roast beef and tender ham sandwiches that we came for and it is those which will bring us back.
Anthony’s is open from 6:30 am until midnight extending hours to 1:00 am on weekends. Telephone number for carry out is 410-289-9193