What hasn't been said about the Phillips empire? We here at the CCR have reviewed many of their products, both at one of their restaurants, as well as their retail offerings. Love them or hate them, they are a big part of the Maryland seafood scene, and are here to stay. Locals tend to write them off as being too "toursity". Those very same toursits have heard nothing but good things about Phillips, and come to our town intenst on sampling their offerings. Either way, you will have had them once in your life, and could use them as a baseline for all things seafood related.
BUT -- you read the label on the box a little more closely. Coastal cakes. What does that mean? Crab cakes are advertised as such, and often time are described further as 'jumbo lump' or 'lump'. Just to be clear, the coastal cakes are the "lesser" offering. Made from flake and claw meat, as opposed to the prized backfin and jumbo lump. Clearly, based on crab classifications alone, they can't be better. Can they? This, dear readers, is what we set to figure out. Follow along and join us on an eye opening quest.
One thing we always wonder here at the CCR is just how good a retail crab cake can be as we are roaming the grocery store aisles. One past reviewee was Bloom, a niche chain of supermarkets operated by Food Lion (AKA Food Kitty). The ones in a past review were the ones you could get fresh at the seafood counter. Shop a little further, perhaps into the frozen food aisle, and on your way to Ben and Jerry's latest flavor, you might just notice the Taste of Inspriations crab cakes. Calling. Beckoning. Wanting to jump into your shopping cart. And then you think, "What would the CCR do?" Well, the CCR has been in that predicament. (Cherry Garcia and Half Baked, if you must know) And those Taste of Inspriations cakes did fall into our cart. How were they? Read on and see how it went down!
So you are staying in Annapolis, perhaps for a meeting or a conference. There are lots of places to stay in this area. But you, lucky traveler, got to stay in the Doubletree Annapolis. Ah, yes. Comfy bedding. Attentive service. Everything that you've come to expect from the Doubletree. So, now, your thoughts turn to dinner. Maybe you have a rental car, maybe you took a cab. Annapolis Town Center is right across the street. Maybe you could walk. Or, maybe, just maybe, you could hit up the hotel restaurant. Maybe, perhaps, Ports of Call. But every other time you have patrionized the hotel restaurant, you always wondered "Why?" afterwards.
Well, let me tell you about Ports of Call. The chefs there are well versed in local cuisine. Unbeknownst to you, the Executive Chef has won many honerable acheivements, such as 1st place for his Vegetable Crab Soup at the MD Seafood Festival 3 times. Or that he has taken 1st place for his Cream of Crab soup in the very same festival 4 different times. And his Executive Sous Chef? A food champion himself with the American Culinary Federation. So they have the staff all set to prepare you a gourmet meal without leaving the premise. With this culinary dynamic duo at the helm, one would think crab cakes should be a slam dunk. 'Nuff said (as they say in the old Adam West 'Batman' series). So did they? Read on and find out!
If you live in the Crofton area, then you already know the Big Fish Grille. Perhaps you have passed by it on the way to a Baysox game, or in your travels up and down Route 3. The Big Fish Grille is the place along the road that looks like an old Bubba Gump shrimp shack, complete with a big, goofy fish sign. While owned by the same group that runs Buddy's, Red Sky, and Yellowtail, this is a local establishment. And with half off appetizers and bottles of wine during their happy hour, you may want to look past the kitsch and stop on in. But before you do, I'm sure you want to know about the crab cakes. Never fear, we are here to let you know! So read on and see how they turned out!