The Bounties Of The Eastern Shore - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at - 182519

Put the Kettle on....

The bounties of the Eastern Shore 
Jun. 25, 2010 5:07 am 
Updated: Jul. 3, 2010 4:18 am
Just about every year we head to the Eastern Shore; specifically Chincoteague Island, VA.  Chincoteague is well-known for several things - the wild ponies and the annual pony swim in July, blue crabs, and oysters.  We've never attended the pony swim - I prefer the island when it's a little less populated.  We've always gone after the pony swim in the past.  This year we changed it up a little and went before.  The crowds were not as big and the blue crabs seemed a little more plentiful, or at least bigger!

To get to Chincoteague it's about a 10 hour drive for us with an hour stop for lunch in Cambridge, MD.  We are creatures of habit.  About 10 years ago we discovered Ocean Odyssey - a little "hole-in-the-wall" seafood restaurant on Rt. 50 in Cambridge, MD.  That is now always the beginning of our "seafood fest".  This year's lunch was stuffed shrimp.  OMG!  They were the best stuffed shrimp I've ever had.  I guess it only stands to reason when you have good, fresh crab available to stuff a shrimp with they'll be awesome.  My husband had softshell crabs.  He loves those little critters.  I haven't been able to master eating a softshell crab - maybe if I had a few beers or a bottle of wine to go with them I'd be able to just pop that thing in my mouth and not think about how I'm eating the whole thing!  From that point on our excitement grows - we can hardly wait to get to the Island.

We have a small pop-up camper, so it takes about an hour to get "camp" set up once we arrive.  After that chore we head to the beach.  I have to say "hello" to the ocean.  Then, from there we have to decide which restaurant to go to first.  This is a camping trip where the only meal we eat at the camper is breakfast.  There are far too many favorite seafood restaurants just waiting to take our money and I don't mind one bit.  Seafood is mine and my husband's weakness.  We can't get enough of it. 

Until this trip I've always been a "cooked" seafood lover.  My husband eats raw oysters on the half shell.   First dinner on the Island and he orders an appetizer of a dozen of the raw, slimy looking things.  He always offers one up to me, and I always politely wrinkle my nose in disgust and say "No thank you."  Well, this time was different - could have been the bottle of wine we shared back at the camper before we left to eat, but I was feeling brave.  So, he squeezed a little lemon juice on it and handed it over.  I closed my eyes and popped it in my mouth.  OK - I was mad!  I just discovered what I had been missing all these years!!  I loved it!  It was not a bit slimy - a little salty and a little sweet with just a touch of the lemon flavor.  I ate half his plate of oysters!  I am a new fan!

There was a new restaurant open this year - The Crab Shack.  It is a fun, light-hearted place.  The kind of place you go - have a few good brews and "slip" into Island life.  This is where I enjoyed my first steamed blue crabs of the season.  And were they ever good!  Of course we had more raw oysters.  I think we had those with every meal we ate.  In fact, we even went to the local seafood store and bought them to enjoy at the camper in the evening with a drink or two for a snack.  We also bought 1/2 a peck to bring home - nothing better than a Chincoteague oyster!

I enjoyed so many tasty meals that it's hard to say which was my favorite.  One of the best dishes I had was oysters (cooked this time) with fresh blue crab on top and then a layer of bread crumbs and cheddar cheese over that.  Very rich and very tasty.  I'm going to try and duplicate it at home.  I enjoyed fresh caught flounder, clams, scallops and oysters with almost every meal; also the best crab soup around.   I also enjoyed a Tropical Shrimp Salad one day for lunch that had a fabulous honey mustard dressing on it. Lucky for me the restaurant had a sale on their homemade dressing, buy one get one free - so I bought some. I'm buying the fruit and shrimp today and we'll be having it for our dinner tonight along with some raw and some steamed oysters. 

Our final meal on the Eastern Shore was once again Ocean Odyssey.  This time we ordered a steamer pot full of steamed oysters, clams, shrimp, corn, red potatoes, and a tray full of Jumbo blue crabs.  As we crossed over the Bay Bridge I said farewell to my little piece of paradise - until next time.....
Jun. 25, 2010 5:21 am
Thank you for that postcard...that was awesome and I'm so glad you had a great trip! Was yours in your mailbox when you got home?
Jun. 25, 2010 5:23 am
This sounds like my ultimate idea of vacation...I love seafood! Not so much fresh seafood in Iowa - guess I'll have to go with you next time :)
Jun. 25, 2010 5:27 am
You're very welcome Laurrie! Yes, mine was in my mailbox (really on the diningroom table-my son was home and he actually remembered to check the mail! LOL). Thanks! How cool to live so near Mount St. Helens!
Jun. 25, 2010 5:27 am
Kathleen - we'll be going back Dec. 27th so the boys can hunt. We enjoy another round of seafood at that time as well!
Jun. 25, 2010 5:58 am
Postcard is right Witchy!!!!!!!!!! OMG, you described my bit of paradise! Now continue onto to the Pacific NW, throw on some Penn Coves, Fanny Bays and some local Oregon Yaquina Bays and I'm in heaven!!! Give me a plate of those raw bad boys and that's called a party! Yummo.. thanks for the visual vacation.
Jun. 25, 2010 6:06 am
I'd love to get out to the Pacific NW - never been there, but will get there one day - I hope!! I'll be at your party BellesAZ!
Jun. 25, 2010 6:26 am
Sounds like ya had a great time,gotta love those blue crabs! We go crabbin' every year at the end of Aug. beginning of Sept. and come home with plenty! I still can't eat soft shell though, can't get past the mental picture of eating everything!!!!!! Glad you got to taste those yummy oysters!!! Love em' with a dash of hot sauce!! Take care!
Jun. 25, 2010 6:35 am
You forgot our Willipa Bay oysters, Belles! And our razor clams and geoducks and...oh, I'll shut up now!
Jun. 25, 2010 8:18 am
That sounds amazing...I've never been to a place that had *amazing* seafood...somehow the gulf of Texas just doesn't do it for me. I'd love to visit Chincoteague.
Jun. 25, 2010 10:17 am
Well, I was going to go scoop some clams and catch a couple bass at the lake. Now, it just doesn't seem to be dinner, anymore.
Jun. 25, 2010 10:27 am
What's a geoduck? I wanna try 'em all!
Jun. 25, 2010 10:29 am
A geoduck is a huge freaking clam we get up here around the Puget Sound, I don't know if they are anywhere else!
Jun. 25, 2010 10:33 am
Oh man! Probably good for making clam chowder with?? In one seafood store on the Island they had a basket with about 8 or 10 HUGE clams in them. I wonder if that is what those were? The woman behind the counter wasn't very talkative, or friendly, so we didn't waste much time in there with her, but I did wonder what they were. They were the size of grapefruit.
Jun. 25, 2010 10:36 am
Nope - I just looked up geoduck to see what they looked like - that is not what I saw.
Jun. 25, 2010 5:47 pm
We had one last seafood dinner: Steamed oysters, raw oysers, tropical shrimp salad, Virginia wine and shrimp cocktail. I'm missing the Island life already!!
Jun. 25, 2010 6:06 pm
That sounds like a great place and a lovely time for just the two of you. My husband and I go to the same place every September for our beach vacation....Topsail Island, NC. We rent a beachfront house and just veg on the beach for a week. Like you, we unload the car and then we say hello to the beach. After that we head to the grocery store and buy our groceries....we plan on two or three dinners out and then the rest in. The dinners out are always for seafood, we love it too. This year on one of the meals "in" I'm going to the seafood store to get some fresh grouper which I can't get around here and make the crab crusted grouper recipe from this site. Reading your blog makes me wish September would hurry up and come!
Jun. 25, 2010 6:10 pm
I vacationed many times in Chincoteague. Your descriptions were beautiful! MMMM oysters! You gotta be a little drunk to try your first'll be hooked.
Jun. 25, 2010 7:12 pm
Mother Ann, your blog could not have been better timed! We leave in 8 hours for the Eastern Shore. Thank you for your perfect description and getting my mind in the right place for final packing and planning. We visit a couple of times a year and you have managed to bring the excitement level even higher this time. I can't wait. You really made my night. Thank You!! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time and I must remember to mention the Ocean Odyssey to DH in the morning. It sounds like the perfect beginning to our little get-away. I hope they are open when we pass through tomorrow. I hope your Tropical Shrimp Salad and Oysters reminded you of your fun trip. :) Thanks again and have a great night!
Jun. 26, 2010 4:51 am
I wish I was going back with you, abapplez! Enjoy your trip and if you stopped at Ocean Odyssey I hope it was open and I hope you enjoyed it! Janmarie - Topsail Island sounds great. September will be here soon!
Jun. 28, 2010 5:38 am
I'm so glad you had a good time and lots of good food. I'm gonna make it back there ones of these the way, I finally found a copy of Misty of Chincoteague.
Jun. 28, 2010 5:43 am
Dave, you have to go back! It has become more "commercialized" but there's still the small-town feel to it and the food is fabulous! We even caught a glimpse of the ponies close up on Assateague Island on the wildlife loop, along with lots of deer, geese, and even an eagle. I can't get enough of that place! Glad you found a copy of Misty!
Jun. 29, 2010 6:41 am
I live on the Eastern shore, and my home is on the water. Yes, the food is wonderful here, and I wish everyone could taste it,
Jun. 29, 2010 6:44 am
MsFrench - I envy you! I have been saying for 30 years (ever since we honeymooned there) that I want to live there! If only my entire family would go with us, I'd be there right now to live!
Jun. 29, 2010 8:27 am
Thanks for a great blog! Seafood is my ultimate favorite food and I LOVE the ocean. I always describe myslef as an ocean lover living in a landlocked state :(
Jun. 29, 2010 11:04 am
You were in my neck o' the woods - right down the street as a matter of fact. Glad you like it!
Jun. 29, 2010 11:21 am
Eastern Shore is a favorite of mine! I'm very fortunate to live on the coast of VA so 'The Shore' is only an hour or so away (the Island is 2.5)! You have to try the soft shell crabs. A good place will cut the eyes off so they aren't looking at you and the deadman is taken out so you are only eating the meat. SOOOO good with a fresh bit of good cocktail sauce or a big slice of fresh tomatoe! The Crab Shack is fantastic...went there 3 weeks ago.
Jun. 29, 2010 11:23 am
Janmarie...we are leaving for Topsail in 1 week 3 days, 13 hours and 2 seconds......Yes...I'm ready! Topsail is AWESOME!!!
Jun. 29, 2010 11:26 am
Well so much for the bowl of soup I'm eating!! You are so lucky that your husband it as into seafood as you and appreciates being able to just wrap up in it! I tend to get stuck traveling with people that are happy to pick up a loaf of bread and some sandwich meat and call it a day while I'm begging to go to some little dive oyster bar down the road! Glad you had a great trip.
Jun. 29, 2010 11:30 am
pjenvic - Have you ever eaten at Maria's? We never have for some reason, and I just wonder what it's like. We always eat at The Village, Bill's, Steamers, A.J.'s, and now Crab Shack and sometimes Etta's.
Jun. 29, 2010 11:31 am
Mimosa - I feel for you! My sister's family goes on vacation and eats at McDonald's and Denny's or does the bologna sandwich thing. We go on vacation to eat and find those dive oyster bars down the road! In fact, we started camping just so we'd have more money to spend out on dinners! I am VERY lucky hubby & I are on the same page in that regard.
Jun. 29, 2010 12:11 pm
We tried Maria's once but wasn't impressed. We love Bill's, Steamers and A.J's. The Sea Shell Cafe is quite good and so is the Chincoteague Inn. Pony Tail's Candy shop has the BEST peanut butter cups I've ever eaten!
Jun. 29, 2010 12:19 pm
Never tried The Sea Shell Cafe either. Chincoteague Inn is one we usually hit up also. Pony Tail's is always a must stop for the taffy and chocolates! We won't try Maria's then since it seems like you like what we like. :-) We'll try Sea Shell Cafe next time around. Thanks! How about Island Creamery?? Marsh Mud - oh yeah!!
Jun. 29, 2010 1:41 pm
isn't the eastern shore the best. I grew up in Baltimore and now I live in california. I miss the blue crabs the most, every year my mom sends me some on dry ice exprss mail. thier the best the great part is my kids love them too.
Jun. 29, 2010 2:16 pm
I adore Chincoateague. My parents took me there as a child and i have continued the tradition with my children. Its an incredible place to build memories that last a lifetime.
Jun. 29, 2010 3:20 pm
I was always happy my kids did NOT like the blue crabs - more for me!! LOL Dita: When my daughter got married 2 yrs. ago they went to Ocean City for their honeymoon. Hubby and I were at Chinc. and got a call - could they come down and spend a day & night with us? She wanted to show her husband where she always vacationed as a child. Now we also all go there for a week after Christmas and stay in a house. The boys go duck hunting and we do the beach and the few shops that are open that time of year.
Jun. 29, 2010 5:27 pm
I also love Chincoteague. Just remember you have to make lodging reservations a years in advance during the pony run or you take your chances. The last time I got the last spot at the campground. Everything else on the whole island as booked!
Jun. 29, 2010 5:53 pm
My family loves the Outerbanks in North Carolina. We rent an apartment there and relax on the beach. We also do chartered adventures to the various islands. Like you, we also eat seafood exclusively. I've never had such amazing seafood in my life. We would walk down to the beach and watch the dolphins and then buy our dinner right off the boats. Now, that's living!
Jun. 30, 2010 3:39 am
Your vacation sounds just like ours, except ours is the coast of Maine!!!!!!! Beautiful blog! I could almost hear the sea gulls and smell the ocean!
Jun. 30, 2010 5:11 am
Eake - We went to Bar Harbor, ME last August and we do plan on going back. We ate lobster every day twice a day for a week - it was awesome!
Jun. 30, 2010 7:57 am
I live by Chincoteague and went to school there as well. I know the chef at the Crab Shack I'll let her know people are talking about it on this site! Also the salad and dressing at Bill's is the best, I didn't know they had the dressing for sale. I will have to make my husband drop by to buy me some on his way home from work. And if you are headed this way STOP by Ray's Shanty, it is on Chincoteague RD. It looks like a barn but it is the best place for shrimp! Plus my mom cooks there as well and she said that its the freshest seafood she has ever worked with. Also if you want a light lunch try the Sea Star Cafe, it is one Main St across from Shore Stop. Very good healthy food! Its good to see someone else's view of where I live.
Jun. 30, 2010 8:15 am
I used to live on the Eastern Shore, further south in Cape Charles, VA. A couple of favorite places of ours were Stingrays and Rockin' Robin's. Both places have excellent seafood.
Jun. 30, 2010 1:09 pm
Tanna - thanks for the info about Ray's Shanty. We've always wondered if it would be good or not. Are they open in December? We'll be coming back on Dec. 27th for a week for the boys to hunt. If it's open, we might have to eat there.
Jul. 1, 2010 11:47 am
2 weeks ago I was in St Michaels, Maryland..had my first "Maryland Steamed Crabs" in about 15 years...yummy! Your blog brought back the memories..thank you!
Jul. 1, 2010 2:44 pm
Reading your blog made me super excited for my familes yearly trip to the east coast as well. LOl I wanted to tell my Hubby to pack the car were heading out:) We head to Mass(Gloucester) and Maine. Nothing better when the food comes off the boat and it walked 5 feet to the resturant Yummmmmy! Thank you for writing this got me exicted again.
Jul. 1, 2010 7:04 pm
Hello, The men should do most of the Grill' n and Q'n. I mean from the beginning it was designed (by someone) that we go out work and when we get home the place is cleaned and the dinner on the table (up till 1971). Now with two income families, blended families (who coins this stuff) broken families, the least we can do is still Grill. After all you probably prep the whole sha bang for him anyway. Thanks WEEZY Out
Jul. 2, 2010 7:01 am
Thanks for posting this! We're in Va Beach and try to figure out what to do on the Eastern shore! We were dissapointed with StingRays, frozen fries - no thanks
Jul. 2, 2010 7:23 am
If you haven't already been - go to the VA Marine & Science Museum. It is really good! Haven't been there in a few years, but my kids always loved it! We're planning a trip there in December with my "kids", who are 25 and 21 now!
Jul. 2, 2010 8:20 am
A couple more years until retirement for my hubby and we are making a list of places to go. This destination is going on my list! Can't wait since I've never been further east than Utah! haha Thanks for the great post.
Jul. 2, 2010 10:00 am
Ray's Shanty is not open in DEC. its the only month they are closed. But always go to seafood places in the summer. Thats everywhere. Wintertime is not the best for seafood and this coming winter is not going to be good at all b/c most resturants get seafood shipped from Louisiana area. So I would not eat seafood from that area until everything is fixed. So I would wait until summer to eat at Ray's. He also catches all his own seafood in summertime as well.
Jul. 2, 2010 10:37 am
Mother Ann, what you may have seen are quahogs (very large clams), they are used in making commercial clam chowder. They are found on Cape Cod and here in Maine. Sometime try to find a restaurant that make lobster omelets...if mad right they melt in your mouth and you taste nothing but lobster and butter!
Jul. 2, 2010 2:06 pm
Thanks for the info on Ray's, Tanna! Rpnzl - a lobster omelet sounds out of this world!!
T. Zelinske 
Jul. 2, 2010 8:20 pm
All should visit Lowes Wharf in Sherwood, MD, located between St. Michaels and Tilghman, MD. Best sunsets, blended beverages and, of course, Eastern Shore cuisine. 410-745-6684
Jul. 2, 2010 8:23 pm
Unless I missed it I didn't see "The Creamery" mentioned. It's a must for wonderful ice cream. Cones are made fresh and shop smells heavenly upon entering. I love all coffee flavored ice creams and theirs is the best anywhere!
Jul. 3, 2010 4:18 am
beenthere: I have no idea how I missed talking about the Island Creamery!! We love their ice cream! One year our daughter could not go with us and she said the only thing she was going to truly miss was having "Marsh Mud", the BEST chocolate ice cream ever. So, to surprise her - we had them package up a quart of it and store it in their coldest freezer overnight. Then, we stopped on the way home and had it packed in dry ice. That ice cream made it from Chincoteague, to Ohio (A 10 hr. drive) and was hard as a rock when we got home. The dry ice cost us more than the quart of ice cream, but the look on her face was well worth it! They have free wi-fi available now, so that is where we went to check e-mail, etc. while we enjoyed a rich, delicious waffle cone; they are fantastic! Thanks for bringing it up to me!
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Mother Ann

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Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
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Ravenna, Ohio, USA

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About Me
I've been married for 33 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have two black labs that get to go duck hunting with dad and two cats. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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