Monday, November 21, 2011

The Wild Orchid Cafe

My husband and I left the kids with their grandparents and went out for a lovely dinner at The Wild Orchid Café in Annapolis on Saturday night. 

We had never been there before -- What a gem!

The atmosphere was swanky.  The décor was modern, clean, and unexpected: The tables were adorned with striking dark blue and violet orchids.  There was live music, which included a violinist.  [As a violinist myself, this made me very excited.]  The service was attentive.  Overall, it was exactly the kind of fancy place you want to step into when you’ve left the kids behind.

In Maryland, a crab dip is almost required by law on restaurant menus, so when we saw “Crab and Cheddar Broiled Fondue” on the menu, we had to try it.  In a twist on the usual dish, it was served with strawberries, apples, and grapes for dipping, as well as bread.  The light, sweet, cool fruit contrasted perfectly with the thick, salty, hot fondue.  It was so much fun to eat the fruit, I could have done without the bread entirely!

For dinner, I enjoyed pumpkin ravioli from the “farm-to-table” menu and also tasted the broccoli that was served with my husband’s local (Roseda Farm) steak.  Everything was fantastic.

For a restaurant that specializes in local cuisine, though, I was disappointed not to find any local wines.  We had a lovely Malbec, but I was hoping to find a Maryland or Virginia wine that would have paired nicely with the otherwise mostly-local offerings.

Our night out felt more special than many others we’ve had at more pedestrian restaurants.  There’s something to be said for the care and attention that a purveyor of local food puts into a menu and a dining experience.  The Wild Orchid Café was more expensive than the restaurants we’re used to, but it was also worth the price.  That’s more than I can say for many other restaurants at which we’ve previously spent $100 plus for dinner.

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