British Pub Fare from the Rose & Crown in Lewes

PLUS: Hockessin-based Freakin’ Fresh salsa, Blazing Star hard peach cider and Morgan & Gower Cheesemongers opens in Rehoboth Beach.

Fit for a King

Jay Caputo is a highly decorated chef who has prepared steamed fluke and braised veal cheeks for posh crowds at the James Beard House in New York, Spanish ragout and lecithin foam for the connoisseurs at Meals from the Masters, and cured “three-day” pork at his Espuma restaurant for the better part of a decade. So what, exactly, is he doing with burgers, deviled eggs and pot roast?
Last year, Chris Becker, with Jim and Rachel O’Hare, owners of the Hotel Rodney in downtown Lewes, approached Caputo with their mission: to resurrect their classic Lewes pub Rose & Crown inside the hotel. After an expansive remodel, a chef of Caputo’s caliber was a logical place to start.
“Running a British pub was never on my radar,” the chef says with a laugh. “But when I saw some of the renovations they had done, it started feeling like something I could be a part of. And whether I’m making a pot roast sandwich or steamed fluke at the James Beard House, my principles don’t change.”

Whether he likes it or not, Caputo manning the controls of a corner gastropub is an idea that makes way too much sense. As the three-day pork attests (not to mention his superb smoked-pork tacos at the Latin-themed Cabo Tequila Bar), Caputo is a master of slow and low. And Rose & Crown slow country, indeed. Beef short ribs bubble in vats of 16 Mile Old Court Ale until they slide off the bone. Thick hunks of bacon braise away before joining a rich mac-and-cheese patina of Gruyère, cheddar and Parmesan.
 Duck confit in the re-imagined shepherd’s pie is perhaps the best example of layering flavors to twist a classic into more elegant terrain. A no-nonsense, no-shortcuts philosophy is part of what makes Caputo the chef he is. So it’s not surprising that even the homemade pretzels, chips and pickles at Rose & Crown are addictive. It’s a place you’ve got to try. Find out why here.

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Fresh is Best

Hockessin-based Freakin’ Fresh salsa is bigger than ever, but just as fresh. Now sold in 45 stores on the East Coast, the line of products has expanded, from the original hot and mild versions of basic salsa to seven other flavors, including Chipotle and Pineapple-Mango. There are no preservatives, so Freakin’ Fresh is just as fresh as it can be. Find it locally at Zingo’s, ShopRite, Janssen’s, Newark Natural Foods, Whole Foods and other markets. Check here for more. 750-9789,

Peachy Keen

Here’s a flavor of summer you won’t forget—Blazing Star hard peach cider, the latest from TS Smith & Sons Farms in Bridgeville. The cider is made from Blazing Star peaches and Ginger Gold apples. Unlike many commercial hard ciders, it contains no added flavors, color or concentrates, so what you taste is pure fruit—and pure Delaware. For more, click here. 337-8271,

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At Last

Andy Meddick’s new Morgan & Gower Cheesemongers in Rehoboth Beach is 500 square feet of heaven for cheese freaks, who can find 240 cheeses in continuous rotation, with three-quarters sourced directly from the producing farms. You’ll find many cheeses from the Mid-Atlantic, but Meddick also looks for hard-to-get Europeans, such as Garrotxa, which isn’t carried by most importers. It is well worth checking out. Do it here. 727-5566

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