The Delaware Dining Trail includes eight restaurants in each county that exemplify fine dining or local flavor. For instance, there’s The Charcoal Pit in North Wilmington. Why? Because The newest full-time server at the original Charcoal Pit on Concord Pike has worked there 10 years. Some have been there 25 years. If that means things change slowly at The Pit, that’s a good thing. The place looks much as it did when it opened in 1956. The counter was long ago moved from the bank of windows up front to make room for lots of cozy booths, but the place still feels like the place you hung out at as a teen, because you still hang out there when you need a good char-grilled burger and ice cream. So do your teenaged grandchildren. And you often you hang out there together. That’s cool. Then there’s a point that could be argued: Karen and Chino Pedemonte’s Bon Appétit in Seaford is the last true French restaurant in the state. A point that can’t be disputed: It is truly continental in every way. The decor is modest and understated, the very definition of elegance: white linens, fresh flowers, candlelight. The food would please the most bullish of purists. Smoked bluefish is served with horseradish sauce, country paté with mustard. A daily quiche. Garlicky escargot. And that’s just to start. The list of entrées reads like a true bistro menu, sprinkled as it is with Cressonnières, epinards, citrons and Dijonaisses. The wine list offers classics such as bottles by Louis Jadot, as well as contemporary favorites such as Cakebread Chardonnay—which, we’ll point out, is made from a classically French grape. Or enjoy a Pernod and water. One could say there’s no place else like this in Western Sussex. Then again, one could say there’s no place else like it in Delaware. It’s a holiday weekend, so grab your Delaware Dining Trail Passport, then get to The Pit or Appétit and the other 22 local classics. See them here.
Beer for Breakfast?
Local brewpubs and alehouses are as celebrated for their creative menus as they are their esoteric beers, so when it comes to brunch, anything goes. “Tradition is fine sometimes, but bucking tradition and twisting it a bit is just plain fun,” says Sean McNeice, executive chef at Ulysses American Gastropub in Brandywine Hundred. As with lunch and dinner fare, the brunch selection must suit the suds. “We think about beer when developing the menu in as much as we keep true to our cuisine,” McNeice says. “We do a brunch version of what makes our food great here: It’s irreverent.” Consider the restaurant’s “cheesesteak and eggs”: tater tots topped with cheesesteak meat, peppers, onions, provolone and eggs. “It’s just plain awesome,” McNeice says. At nearby Two Stones Pub on Naamans Road, a sister location to the site in Newark, you’ll find the “steak, eggs and kegs,” which might include a juicy New York strip with two eggs and Cholula—a hot sauce—hollandaise. It comes with a beer. For those who appreciate a smoky flavor, the Newark location offers the Sunday smokehouse plate: three house-smoked meats, two eggs and roasted potatoes. See what other brew pubs and taverns are doing here. Then read all about great breakfasts here.
Morning Joe on a Mission
With a diverse crowd and a locale that’s still got growing left to do, LOMA Coffee is the common denominator that connects all corners of Market Street in Wilmington. Ben Cordova was working the counter during a busy morning rush as managing editor Drew Ostroski chatted with him about the success of the business, as well as that of that particular block of lower Market Street—the section bookended by Second and Third streets. Cordova is LOMA Coffee’s general manager and a member of Hockessin Baptist Church, which owns the shop. It’s a special place. Find out why here. lomacoffee.com
Tis the season for fresh produce. Those who appreciate it and want to be part of community supported agriculture sometimes need look no further than their favorite natural-organic market or restaurant. “For us, it’s a lot of column A, column B,” says Eric Aber, owner of Home Grown Café in Newark. For several years, Aber had been buying food from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. When the co-op wanted to expand a couple years ago, Aber volunteered Home Grown as a drop spot. “The rest evolved organically,” Aber says, “no pun intended.” CSA works like this: For a subscription fee, you get a share of whatever the farm’s, or farms’, produce is that week. “Then you go home and figure out what to do with it,” Aber says. “It’s kind of fun, like one of those cooking shows where you get a bunch of things, then have to make it into something great.” Lancaster Farm Fresh also delivers to Fresh Thymes restaurant in Wilmington and Harvest Market in Hockessin. Subscriptions are limited, so investigate now, then sign up for next spring asap. lancasterfarmfresh.com
Love wine? Win VIP access to the Brandywine Food and Wine Festival on June 8 and a private tasting for 20 at a Brandywine Valley Wine Trail member winery of your choosing! Enter before May 27th to be eligible! Just click here.