Men are from Mollusca, women are from Crustacea

Are you an oyster or a shrimp?

    Welcome to Home Skillet, where we likes our oysters raw and wriggling. Here’s the haps on the week in dining.

    Thursday, February 26: In case you missed it, Ameritage Bistro is now Ameritage Restaurant and Lounge, an international culinary passport of sorts. Every two months, Ameritage will feature food and wine from a new country. First up: France.
    Ameritage will celebrate France via a French wine dinner Thursday, featuring bottles from Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Côtes du Rhône and Languedoc-Roussillon. Call 427-2300 to make a reservation or for more information.

    Friday, February 27: Oysters. Beer. Eggs. Hay. Crunchy old dudes named Roscoe. It must be the 72nd Oyster Eat, the ultimate manly Georgetown tradition that takes place at the Georgetown Fire Company.
    The shucking kicks off at 8 p.m. (and hey, the first thousand through the door get a free hat!) and runs until midnight. Tickets are $27 in advance, $28 online and $29 at the door. Click here or call 841-0877 for tickets.
    Not to be outdone, the lovely ladies of Lewes will don the plastic fireman helmets and get a’peelin’ for the women-only Shrimp Feast Friday at Station 1 in Lewes. Get tickets for $20 each by calling 645-6556.

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    Sunday, March 1: Barrels on the Brandywine, the wine extravaganza that gives oenophiles access to not one, not two, but seven area wineries, kicks off Sunday.
    On each Saturday and Sunday this month, the wineries that compose the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail will open their cellar doors for tastings, tours, music, food and more shenanigans. One BOB passport, available here, gets you into everything.
    For a complete schedule, click m’here.

    New digs: Delaware’s sushi explosion continues unabated. The latest in our raw Rolodex is Sushi Sumo, which opened on Kirkwood Highway last month. Peep the menu and info here.

    Previously: Last Saturday, I helped judge the Inaugural Rehoboth Beach Chef Showdown, an event that pitted super-chefs Jay Caputo, Kevin Reading and Ian Crandall against one another in an “Iron Chef”-esque competition—right down to the secret theme ingredient.
    Since Rehoboth was celebrating an early Mardi Gras, there was a distinct New Orleans flavor to the whole shindig, which was held at the brand new CAMP Rehoboth center. And, following suit, the secret ingredient was unveiled as smoky andouille sausage from Hickman’s Meats.
    The chefs and their assistants worked feverishly for 75 minutes, whipping up a starter dish and an entrée using the andouille as a central ingredient.
    Let’s go straight to the tape, shall we? Photos taken by Sarah, a.k.a., Ms. Skillet.

Team Kindle was chef/owner Ian Crandall (right) and his assistant, Seth Rogen. Just kidding. It’s Jon March.

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Team Espuma was chef-owner Jay Caputo (right) and his tattooed assistant, Corey Scordo.

Team Nage was owner Kevin Reading (right) and assistant Ted Deptula.

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Kindle’s appetizer, a lobster and crawfish salad with andouille-grilled crostini, was superb.

Team Espuma’s inventive appetizer saw eggs prepared three ways. On the far left is a sunny-side-up quail egg over a potato-andouille hash. The middle section contains Caputo’s famous tempura fried soft-boiled egg. He used bloody Mary mix in the batter, and included a shot of vodka to be gulped with the egg. On the far right is a “false egg” made from andouille milk which was coagulated using a chemical agent. Dang, Caputo is like Mr. Wizard over here.

Team Nage busted out some oyster stew and sort of a muffaletta salad with some andouille thrown in the mix.

Kindle fired up these tender filets in the andouille fat. Hey, you know what Emeril says.

Nage buttered up the judges with some bananas Foster. It worked.

    Caputo and Team Espuma took home the victory in a sqeaker. Man, this was tough to judge. Kindle prepared perhaps the best tasting dishes. Team Nage was prolific and went the extra mile with an amuse-bouche and dessert. But Espuma really brought it in the originality and presentation categories. As always, awesome job by all the chefs. A fellow in the audience approached me during the cooking and said he was in town visiting for the weekend. Can you recommend a good restaurant? he asked. I gestured to the chefs and said, “Dude, you really can’t go wrong with any of these guys.”

    All in all, this was a super-fun, insanely well-run event. I pray to the Cajun gods they put it on again next year. The CAMP Rehoboth center, with all its natural lighting and neat design, was the perfect spot. Big shout-out to Kathleen Leeble of  Concierge By the Sea, who organized much of the event.  Lewes musician Viki Dee was great as the emcee and Fay Jacobs of CAMP Rehoboth was an incredibly gracious hostess. Well done, everybody.

    Home Skillet, as always, will return next Wednesday. Give me a shout.

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