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  1. #1
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    Trip Report 2016

    We just got back from our annual trip to the eastern shore. Unfortunately it may have been my father's final trip. He has been having problems getting around and the trip may be too much for him now. It was a great trip as always. The weather was very hot most of the week. The beach was painful to walk on even with shoes a few of the days. The water was comfortable, calm and clear. We were able to see small fish swimming. I never remember seeing it so clear. The lack of waves seemed to limit the sand in the water making it so clear. We did see smokers on the beach, still no bother to us. We went to the boardwalk two nights, one of which was Friday night. We saw nothing that I didn't see as a kid in the mid 1980's. We saw smokers including a henna artist sitting at her desk waiting for customers in front of her store. We saw a woman walking a small dog on the boards Friday night. We even saw a completely crushed woman stagger and weave through the crowds. No loud swearing or fights.

    My immediate traveling party is my wife and three girls. We stopped at Jimmy's Grille in Bridgeville, DE for breakfast on Thursday. As I mentioned in a previous post it was very good and reasonably priced. We then stayed with my friend, his wife and two daughters. We hung out on his boat in the bay west of Bethany beach.

    Saturday we checked into the plaza and my friend and I had lunch and drinks at the jungle bar. We meet my parents on Saturday, but my dad could not join us at the jungle bar. They had stopped at Bull on the beach for lunch, and he was too worn out to walk out to the jungle bar. My dad liked his beef at the Bull this year as a manager provided him with meat that was rare enough to his liking. He also enjoyed the oysters and talked about them for a few days.

    Well if you made it that far thanks for reading

    brianpa

    Saturday my family, my parents and my friend and his family (party of eleven) went to Ropewalk in Fenwick. When we called a head for seating we neglected to tell them that my father has a hard time walking. As a result they had a table for us upstairs. So My father was joined by my friend and I at the downstairs bar for dinner while the eight ladies had dinner upstairs. The food was very good. Our favorite oyster was the Assateague salts. This is my favorite style of oyster. They are small oysters, but have lots of salt and brightness. The scallops with crabmeat and orzo were done perfect. My dad said that he hoped we could come back again another night.

    Late night Saturday we ordered the huge 28" pizza from pino's. Last year we bought it from Captain's and although the kids liked seeing such a huge pizza, the adults didn't think highly of it. It was the same with the Pino's pizza. Visually stunning being so large, but underdone and soft.

    Sunday my friend and his family headed home so they couldn't make dinner with us so the remaining seven headed to Blu crabhouse. When we called ahead from 40 streets away they reported a 5 minute wait for a group our size. When we arrived and I was dropping the crew off at the door, I could see lots of people from the parking lot making their way to the hostess stand. When I made it over we were told its now a 30 minute wait. That's fine things change, I saw the people coming in. The place is good so no surprise. The problem is my dad can't stand long and it is hard to get him out of a regular seat. No problem two seats at the bar.

    The drinks were good, but the service was slow. Two bartenders were working hard, but lots of bar patrons and drink orders from tables had them behind. If they had one more server Blu could have sold a lot more drinks as some people waiting for tables simply walked away dejected. This slow bar service was probably a blessing for us as the 30 minute wait turned to a one and a half hour wait. We could see two bus boys clearing a large table that we knew was going to be ours. They were in no hurry and appeared to be enjoying each others company quite well. The hostess stand was clueless as to what was going on. At this point we talked to a manager to explain the situation. Immediately the table was cleared at a proper pace and we were seated. The kids held on pretty well, but we were hangry and it was not a pretty sight. We ordered appetizers and dinner and the waitress informed us that the appetizers were going to be on the house and they also were taking a percentage off the bill. I felt bad at this point as we had ordered a lot of appetizers including oysters. From this point forward everything was good at Blu. Jessica our server was fantastic and attentive and the food was good as well. The oysters were excellent and the steamer pots loaded with seafood as last time. The manager was let down that night by the hostess staff and the bus boys. She did go beyond expectation to make it right. I only wanted a table.

    Monday we went to Just Hooked in Fenwick. This is and Blu are my current favorite places in OC. The food is always perfect and the price is lower than any other place around serving quality prepared food. The crab soup should not be missed. I just wish it was easier to get in to.

    Tuesday my mom picked my dad up dinner from Bull on the Beach. This time he didn't like the beef as much, but he did enjoy the steamed shrimp. My mom took my girls to the jungle bar for sandwiches that they enjoyed. My wife and I headed over to Liquid Assets for dinner and a long wait for a seat at the bar. The bar service is always amazing here, in fact every employee we encountered was good. All this despite the large crowd. The wings were very good, but my steak was not. I was told by a bartender that it was the best in OC, but if it was OC has bad steaks. It was a NY strip and the guy next to me had one earlier. It looked great was cooked exactly to medium rare, it was just too tough.

    Wednesday we headed out to the shrimp boat in west OC for "bust em up" crabs. I really miss the old Bahama Mamas on Wicomico. We haven't seen a jumbo or monster or super jumbo in years. The largest crabs at the shrimp boat were XL. Smaller than we like, they were still very good. They don't have the wonderful coconut shrimp they used to have, but they did have stone crab claws that were excellent. It was a very hot night with no AC. They had problems even serving cold beer as the draught machine was having cooling problems. The place was only half full and last year we waited to get in.

    Thursday was our shopping in DE day. We did stop for lunch at seacrets. My kids loved it last year and my mother had never been there. My dad held down the fort at the Plaza. I had been craving jerk chicken so I got the Negril chicken. It had good flavor, but the skin was soft and the meat was cold. Considering it was cooked and it was only lunch time it appears they reheated leftovers from the day before. That was a disappointment.

    Thursday for dinner my dad didn't feel well so he had left overs at the room. The rest of the crew headed back to Ropewalk in Fenwick. We sat upstairs outside on a deck. Once again we enjoyed the oysters. My wife and I enjoyed tuna steak salads that were very good. My mom and the girls had sandwiches. My oldest really liked her chicken/crab sandwich but could only eat half. Before she could ask for a box it was pitched. Ropewalk made her another sandwich and boxed it up to go. First class place.

    Friday was our last night in OC. As is our tradition we went to Jules. Jules is one of my fathers favorite places. So being that this was probably his last meal in OC it was fitting. Jules has been up and down for us as far as food and service the last few years. This time was no different. We didn't get Jason, who is the best server they have. Jason was tending bar when we arrived and later started waiting the tables being seated. The appetizers were good. Pork belly with the cornbread go together very well. The tuna appetizer was very good as well. The women all got the prefix menu which is a good deal. Its an appetizer or soup, salad, and an entrée for $30. The appetizer was about half the size of the ordinary appetizer portion which makes sense as only one person is eating it and its a deal for the money. The salads were huge and wonderful. The mains not so much. My wife didn't care for the filet and my one daughter didn't like the pork chop as it was overdone. My dog ate both last night and she loved them. I always get the whole snapper and once again they did a great job with it. Its a really cool dish. My dad absolutely loved his meal and for this I am grateful. He had been asking all week if anyone would make him crab Norfolk and everyone declined. Jules did it for him and they did it really well. I hate to even bring it up, but I heard Jason (the good server) going over the daily specials with one of his tables as we were eating our mains. They had a softshell entrée they could do as an appetizer and they had oysters Rockefeller. We were never told those options when we ordered. My mom even had to ask for the complimentary wine that goes with the prefix.

    Saturday my parents headed home while my immediate family of five stopped at Barn 34. Parking was very tough as I had to park pretty far away. The food and service made it worthwhile. this is the kind of breakfast I enjoy at the beach. They have all the crab breakfast dishes plus all the traditional breakfast foods. Jimmy's although good and cheaper is more of a traditional breakfast place. I loved the sausage and scrapple at Barn 34. I was crabbed out at that point. The kids loved the pancakes and waffles. My wife choked down her egg whites as she made her first attempt to get back on the diet horse.

    I am typing this as once again it disappeared when I tried to send it the first time. I am trying to remember everything. We didn't go to the new captains galley 2/ oc fish company place. I looked online and heard it was the same good crabcakes, but more expensive. We opted for the second night at ropewalk instead. Later I read the thread that others may have thought the same thing. I like the west OC places because generally you get a better deal there. To drive all the way out there from 98th street and not get a deal. Well its easier and easier to just drive to DE.

  2. #2
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    Wow...nice report. Glad you liked Barn 34. Expensive but worth it and you are right about parking. If you can't walk there it can be a pain. Sounds like you got a nice diverse meal plan going. I love the bar at Liquid Assets and always love the food at Seacrets but to be honest I rarely order from their dinner menu....usually just sandwiches and bar food.

    Glad you had a good time and prayers are going out to your dad. Those old guys can be pretty tough. Who knows? Maybe he will make it next year.

  3. #3
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    excellant report...WOW meals alone must have cost ya a fortune!!

  4. #4
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    thanks DeMan. My dad isn't really all that old. He is 71 which now a days is nothing. I was at a powerlifting meet in March and saw a 74 year old guy deadlift over 400 lbs. His joints are shot. Some are artificial some his. Systemic illness has been creeping up on him due to inactivity. It truly is a case of use it or lose it.

    As for the cost. Yes it gets expensive. When my wife talks about how expensive the all inclusive in Mexico is getting I do a break down of how much 3 meals all with drinks, entertainment, plus hotel would cost in OCMD. We stayed in a different unit this year in the Plaza than we had been staying. The usual unit ran $1k more for the week than the unit we stayed this year. The difference no granite, carpet instead of tile, older appliances. In fact a new refrigerator had to be delivered to our unit as the current one wouldn't freeze ice cubes. No one minded the different unit. The price difference more than made up for it.

    We don't like to waste money. But we do pay for things I want and value. We try to eat in DE to avoid the excess taxes in OC particularly the alcohol. We try to hit nice places with better value like Just Hooked. My kids have never ridden the rides on the board walk and never been to jolly roger. We have done the pirate cruise, Assateague adventure, Judith M, and last year went to frontier town. This year they wanted to do the Old time photos with grandma.

  5. #5
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    If you only go one or 2 times a year...ya can spend a little more...we have a condo in OC...so we go once a month..and of course TRY to eat cheap!!! LOL

  6. #6
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    Fantastic write-up! Sorry to hear about your dad and wish him well. Barn 34 is a great place and it's within walking distance to where I usually stay. I tried it for the first time in July and was impressed. I had the Cap'n Crunch French Toast and it was really good. I look forward to going again in less than two weeks!

    As far as Seacrets, I will say, I've had plenty of meals there and it can be hit or miss at times. When they are on...the food can be really good and flavorful but there have been a few times where the quality was lacking. I guess it just depends on who is in the kitchen.

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