St. Pat's fun at Dover Downs and Trolley Square, Delaware's Best Amateur Chef contest, our James Beard Award nominees

A Crawl for All

A St. Pat’s pub crawl—imagine that. Why didn’t someone think of it sooner? We thank Dover Downs Hotel & Casino for starting one of its own. On March 17, visit at 4 p.m. to commence a tour from Fire & Ice Lounge to the Gazebo Bar, Terrace Bar, Race & Sports Book, then Frankie’s. Fire & Ice will have a most-spirited contest, Karaoke, entertainment by Irish folk band Coel Mor and a jig contest. All places will offer a different food or drink special, such as Irish potato skins at Race & Sports Book, pesto green pizza at Frankie’s, a buffet of ham, cabbage and potatoes at Fire & Ice, and corned beef in the Garden Cafe. The Festival Buffet will offer traditional ham, potato dumplings in gravy, Irish stew, stout-braised chicken, sweet potatoes, smoked beef brisket and Irish desserts. Sweet Perks & Sweet Perks Too will serve shamrock shakes, coffees spiked with Bailey’s Irish Cream and Bushmill liquors, and Bailey’s cream cakes and pastry puffs. There’ll even be a drawing for an overnight stay, dinner for two at Frankie’s and a $100 resort card. Best of all, the whole darned place will be lit green all night long. (800) 711-5882,

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More St. Pat’s Fun

No place says St. Pat’s like Trolley Square in Wilmington. With Catherine Rooney’s on one corner and Kelly Logan’s House on another, it’s the epicenter of Erin go bragh. Rooney’s offers Pints & Pancakes on March 17— $6.99 breakfast buffet and $2 pints from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m. (654-9700, Kelly’s Logan House doesn’t need to do anything too special—after nearly 150 years, everyone knows it’s the place to be. (655-6426, Other places to visit: Irish Eyes in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Milton (, MacLaren’s Irish Pub in North Wilmignton (478-7522), Finbar’s Irish Pub in Rehoboth (227-1873,, Sheridan’s Irish Pub in Smyrna (659-5566,, Irish Mike’s in Dover (734-4578,, Stoney Lonen in Rehoboth Beach and Long Neck (227-2664, and Smitty McGee’s in Fenwick Island (436-4716, Cheers.

Delaware’s Best Amateur Chef, Part II

Schedule Sunday Brunch at Deerfield in Newark on March 25, when finalists in Delaware’s Best Amateur Chef contest compete for the top honor. The three finalists were winnowed from a group of six two weeks ago. Each brought a unique set of strengths to the four judging categories: flavor, creativity, execution and presentation. Based on the scores in what was a very tight race, the three finalists are (in alphabetical order):

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Kathleen Matty
Marcy O’Neill-Davidson
Rick Perles

Kathleen created a delicious rainbow trout burger with lemon-caper mayo and charred tomato relish. Marcy crafted a fantastic pan-seared duck breast over balsamic glaze with a date-pistachio compote. Rick served Canadian surf and turf of blackened Atlantic salmon beside seared wild venison tenderloin with a blueberry-Port sauce. What will they prepare on March 25? No one will know until the contest begins. Judging begins at 1 p.m., but you can begin grazing at Deerfield’s legendary brunch buffet any time. See you there. 368-6640,

Well Deserved

You’d better believe that when someone is nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award, it’s a very big deal. And this year, Delaware has three semi-finalists: JD Morton of Domaine Hudson in Wilmington as Rising Star Chef of the Year, Jay Caputo of Espuma in Rehoboth Beach for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton as Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional. Congratulations to all. The foundation is a national professional nonprofit that promotes culinary arts by honoring chefs, wine pros and others at annual award ceremonies and by providing scholarships. The James Beard Foundation Awards are the Oscars of the profession, a recognition of the best in the business. Finalists will be announced March 19, with the winners to be announced in May. We known why Morton, Caputo and Calagione deserve to win. We hope the judges will see it the Delaware way. All the best.

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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