Winter dining in Rehoboth: Business as usual!
I’d like to thank my friend Tom Wayson from the Back Porch Café for catching a thoughtless gaffe in last week’s column. In my short list of people who would be touched by LaLa Land’s disappearance from the Wilmington Avenue landscape, I failed to acknowledge that one of those people, Chef David Keener, is no longer with us. Along with LaLa Land opening chef and co-owner Robert Carney (who passed away two years ago), he helped make that chapter of Rehoboth history the epicenter of fun, food and frolic that it was for so many years.
It’s still amazing to stand back and watch how much of the in-season hustle and bustle continues well into the winter, with restaurants boldly opening when no restaurant had opened before. Many of our mainstays host various events that not only keep the lights on, but keep local foodies busy as well.
Liquid nitrogen Dewar in one hand and calendar in the other, a(MUSE.) chef and boss Hari Cameron is already setting dates for wine and whiskey dinners. So mark your calendars: Friday, Feb. 21, will feature clever pairings with Hudson Whiskey (the first New York farm/distillery since Prohibition). On March 31, also a Friday, Hari follows the lead of his 2013 Salvador Dali event by combining art and farm wines. Villa San Juliette and Bouchaine will showcase their star vintages Friday, April 11, and Thursday, May 8, respectively. And by the way, don’t forget the late-night food specials at the bar. You just might run into a favorite chef, manager, server - or restaurant columnist - gently self-medicating after a busy night slingin’ hash (or pontificating about it).
Out on the highway, Nage (Hari’s alma mater) is holding its third annual Winter Cocktail Party Sunday, Jan. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. Chef Ted Deptula whips up some pretty impressive hors d’oeuvres to complement the food stations and potent house-infusions. And do not miss the hot chocolate bar! Visit www.nagerb.com to reserve yourself a spot.
That RehobothFoodie.com guy beat me to the punch (bowl) yet again with his Christmas Eve morning announcement on Bulldog’s Rude Awakening Show at 98.1. To wit: Touch of Italy is indeed opening another little bit of the Bronx - but this time it’s in Ocean City, Md. The location is still under wraps, but suffice it to say that the place is huge, smack dab on the Atlantic and will be run by a well-known Manhattan restaurateur who appeared with Bobby Flay on Food Network. More oblique hints are forthcoming.
Anybody who’s been to the new Fins Ale House and Raw Bar on the Highway knows that the place is already a hit, in spite of (1) only having been open for less than a month, and (2) patrons’ having to consult a treasure map to get into the parking lot. But once you figure it out, it’s well worth it. Speaking of Fins, downtown sister eatery Claws is getting an upstairs remodel and will be closed for a short while.
By the time you read this, Blue Moon will be shuttered for their annual winter hiatus. Buy a mirror ball and a black light from Spencer Gifts and turn your stereo up nice and loud. That way you might make it ‘til Thursday, Feb. 13, when they reopen for the season.
Golfers who frequent the southern hinterlands know that DiFebo’s no longer operates the restaurant at Bear Trap Dunes. The Den has reopened under the control of Troon management. They’ve been running the show at Bear Trap for three years, and now add food service to their list of chores there in Ocean View. The links are beautiful, and lunch at the Den is fun after chipping your way around the course. Troon also operates The Peninsula golf resort, where former DiFebo’s chef R.J. Willoughby has been keeping members noshing and smiling for several years.
So many restaurants - so little time! I’ll have more goodies for you next week. Enjoy what’s left of the holiday.