Tag Archives: crab cakes

Vincent’s at The Whitehall Inn: Camden, Maine

20 Nov

With food being a focus for us when selecting our wedding venue, one of the first venues I wanted to see was The Whitehall Inn. It’s a historic inn in Camden, Maine and a place I have driven by many times but had never visited.  

We toured the facility and, sadly, decided it wasn’t quite right for our wedding (it wasn’t quite big enough and didn’t have a view of the water).  But we sat down at Vincent’s for dinner, the restaurant inside the inn.

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The restaurant itself was quaint and well appointed.  If we were local to the area and weren’t looking for that “Maine view” and/or had about 30-50 less guests, this place would have been magical.  (Here is a slideshow if you want to see more pictures of the inn itself, which is just beautiful).

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There is a very nice courtyard outside where they do wedding ceremonies. Again, really quaint and pretty, but just a bit too small.

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But we were there for the food.  I had spoken to them earlier and the only special request I had was that if we were going to have the wedding there, I wanted to have pavlova.  The chef was very excited to make it, but the rest was up to us to order.

We started with these little chive biscuits. They were perfect.  Warm with a crisp outside and soft inside. 

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We then tried the crab dip with melted cheddar. This was very good with the cheddar just sharp enough to be flavorful without taking away from the great taste of the crab.

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Our waiter offered to take a picture of us, so here is a rare appearance by Mike and I on the blog:

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Mike got the Vincent’s Ribeye which was served with garlic butter, Holland peperonata & fingerling potatoes. It was cooked perfectly and had a nice char on it.

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I went with the Maryland Crab Cakes which is an authentic Baltimore recipe using backfin and jumbo lump crab meat, served with fingerling potatoes and green beans.  It is rare that I get to eat crab cakes, because they are almost always made with peppers (which I am allergic to). These, however, were scrumptious.  

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A great crisp on the outside and just barely held together with the right amount of binding.  Big, delicious pieces of crab.  One of my favorite crab cakes of all time.

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And then… it was time for the pavlova.  This was perfect.  A hard shell and barely soft inside.  Great flavor and perfect with the fruit and the fruit spreads that were around it.

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So good, in fact, that for a moment I considered cutting our guest list to be able to get married here.  But only for a moment.

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If I were staying in the Camden area, I would stay at the Whitehall Inn in a heartbeat.  The inn is so charming and beautiful, in a great town, and the food was really great. I’m pretty sure most stays there come with breakfast, and if our dinner was any indication, that would be a real treat!

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

One year of NYC Nom Nom

9 Feb

Today marks the one year anniversary of when I officially started NYC Nom Nom.

My first blog entries were definitely a “hello cyberspace!” entry without much substance.  It was a simple list of my current favorite restaurants in NYC followed up by my recipe for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars that everyone loves.

My favorite eating moments of the past year were WD50 and Thanksgiving.  I also won TWO meals: one at Fishtail from Foodbuzz and the other at Landmarc from Time Warner Center’s Circle of Taste (and won a cooking class at Williams Sonoma from them too!)  I even got to eat on a completely different continent for the first time.

As for the bad… I had a casualty of bread, had an absolutely terrible meal at a diner that some people love and some people hate, had my gallbladder removed, and was nearly killed by Co.

I also really learned how to cook this year.  I managed to find a love for brussel sprouts and learned how to make pasta.  I no longer can be accused of being such a bad cook that I hermetically seal pots.  I even won my last company’s Top Chef Competition.

It has been quite an adventure for me and I have loved this little side project and hope to continue it for a long time to come.

My friends, my family, and even my mom called ME for recipes and suggestions this past year.  My Grandma even asked me for a cooking tip last weekend when we all sat down to a wonderful, homemade meal together.  My Grandma taught me a lot about food (especially baking) and really taught me not just a love for food, but a love for the traditions of food, especially surrounded by family and loved ones.  She passed away the very next day after our family meal together.  I will be forever thankful for all she taught me and for that last meal we shared together.

Grandma Litty (May 26, 1927 – February 1, 2010) enjoying a banana cream pie on a boat in Colorado- 2007.

Top Chef- Part 2 (The Results)

28 Aug

I know… the anticipation is killing you.

I was nervous about a few things going into the competition.  First, I had the insane plan to cook pasta in a microwave.  Luckily it was fresh pasta which cooks pretty well just by soaking in water, however, I was afraid the texture would be terrible or it just wouldn’t work at all.  Second, there weren’t any real guidelines for setting up, prepping, etc. So I’d have to wing it.  And wing it I did!

I went down early to claim a spot at a table (I thought I was first in line for the judges but wound up being last… Oh well!)  When I went to say hello to our host, I noticed he was speaking with someone vaguely familiar.  It turns out it was Lisa Fernandes, runner up of Top Chef Season 4, who was going to be our guest judge!  How exciting!  This is where my dorky excitement for TV chefs came out.

It took a very long time to heat the water for the pasta in the microwave, and when I saw steam, I gave up on the notion of waiting for boiling.  I threw the pasta in and in less than 2 minutes it was done.  I strained it into the hallways sink and it actually tasted quite good!  I knew it was going to get gummy quickly, however, but I decided it was worth the risk.

I set up the chocolate peanut butter bars in a plate tower and they looked quite lovely.

(the flash gave this a very ethereal shot)

At noon on the dot, people started coming up for food.  I was “plating” my pasta and crab cakes with beurre blanc sauce like a mad woman! I decided to put them all into golden cupcake cups.  It made for a nice, cheap little serving bowl!

As the tasting went on, people started spreading the word and before I knew it, I was almost out of everything!  I had to make a little corner reserve for the judges and thank goodness I did.  I was out within 20 minutes. 

There were about 20 other cooks around the room, however, I was so busy serving that I didn’t get to see, photograph, or try any of the other food.  Shame!

Judge’s Table was pretty intense.  There was a lot of hush hush discussion going on.  Have I mentioned yet that I am incredibly competitive?  I was quite anxious waiting for the announcement.

First they announced the top dishes for audience choice.  My chocolate peanut butter bars tied for first!  So exciting.

Then they announced the top three judges picks.  They named the dates wrapped in bacon, the sweet dumplings, and…. MY CRAB CAKES!  After some more discussion, Lisa chose the winner…


She said that my sauce was great and the “perceived effort” (a judging point) was deemed high.  She mentioned that she was impressed that I cooked the pasta in the microwave and that she had never done that herself.  I was awarded my grand prize of a BBQ set from a publisher (which is funny since I do not have a BBQ and have received more publisher shwag than most anyone).  My ego boost was the big prize though. 🙂  Ok… ok… the real winner was the charity.  We raised $600 for Big Brothers/Big Sisters (it was $10 a person to “sample.”)

Anyway… back to me winning!

It was a proud moment.  A proud moment indeed!

On a personal note, this will post just about the time that I get out of gallbladder surgery on Friday morning.  Unfortunately, the next few weeks will probably be slow in terms of food (since I won’t be eating much, and especially not anything interesting), so I have decided to leave you with a high note for now.  I hope to return hungry and ready to nom soon.  Stay tuned!