Sunday, November 3, 2013

Competition in Annapolis

I love Annapolis and spend a *lot* of time down there.  I eventually want to move there and have these idyllic ideas in my head about how I'll ride my bike into downtown and pick up wine and cheese and pedal home.  It'll be amazing.  I'll have a porch.

Unfortunately that dream is several years away so I have to drive down to Annapolis hang out, have a blast, eat amazing food an then drive home.  I'll take what I can get.

One of my usual defaults in Annapolis is The Metropolitan.  It's a great little place, good beer selection and it's in the farm-to-table vein that I love so much.  In fact, during winter sailing season I'll stop by the Metropolitan most Sundays for a pre-race brunch.

The other weekend my friend Andrew wanted to celebrate his billionth second alive and since he lives in Annapolis we decided to eat down there.  I campaigned hard for the Metropolitan, but I was overruled.

We ended up going to Level, a small plates style restaurant just down the street.  Honestly, even though I felt like I was cheating on the Metropolitan, I was really excited to go.  I love small plates because it allows me to sample a TON of different foods, and I love places with a good cocktail program.

I also love eating dinner with my friends but because they're super into food also, we usually end up ordering what seems like the entire menu and sharing everything.

I browsed around on their website to see generally what I was going to get.  I had no idea except that I wanted a negroni as my first cocktail.  Their website is useful to get a general feel for the place, and I think there are several menu items that are standard.  The rest is fair game for changing due to seasons, farm availability, etc.  To me, this is a very good thing.

When we got there, the negroni was no longer on their menu, but I asked and they made one for me anyhow.  I know that it's a full bar and good bartenders can make me anything and I don't *have* to stick to their pre-described cocktail list, but the fact that they were instantly like "yeah, we can make you one of those" earned points in my book.

I've come to the realization that I need to start taking notes on what we order, but I didn't so here's a rough list of everything we got.

* Tuna tartar - This was amazing.  It wasn't ground into a paste like you'll see with a lot of tartars.  Instead it was more like large chunks of tuna sashimi.  Easily one of my favorite things I ate all night.  And it was SPICY, way more so than I was expecting, but I love spice.  My friend Brian, who is from Iowa was sweating bullets.  He agreed that it was delicious.

* Veal sweetbreads - These were on special and I can't turn down sweatbreads, that's what I ordered.  Nice, moist and juicy and lightly breaded.  All around fantastic.  I could have eaten a way larger plate.

* Tomato bisque and grilled cheese - These were also one of my favorites.  The tomato bisque was amazing! It was rich and creamy but still with a strong tomato taste, but not too acidic.  I wish I had ordered this and not Andrew so I would have been justified in wolfing down way more of it.

* Chorizo dip - who doesn't love chorizo and cheese?

* two flatbreads, Margherita and some sausage variety that I've forgotten the specifics on - I love their use of fresh mozzarella.  They should note on their menu that these flatbreads are not "small plates", and two people could easily split one for an entire meal.  Great dough, great cheese, so I didn't mind having too much of these.

* grilled calamari - I love how this was actual grilled squid, not the breaded and deep fried variety you find everywhere.  So great, nice and chewy (in a good way).

* bison and bacon sliders - great sliders.  I think my problem is that I only got half a slider.  It was good, but I think the person with the other half stole all my bacon.

* korean duck tacos - Also completely fantastic, I could have eaten a giant pile of these

* cuban pork spring rolls - Delicious, great dipping sauce

* scallops - always a favorite

I know we got more, but that's all I can remember so I'm assuming those were the best things we ate and therefore the best list to talk about.

Apparently Level has a special on Monday night where if you get a bottle of wine you can get a flatbread for $2.  This sounds like a great plan that the boyfriend and I will have to enact one of these weeks.

All in all, it was a great dinner, the service was fantastic and I'll definitely be back again soon!

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