#181 - Iron Rooster, Annapolis MD

Kara and I have been friends since college. I basically lived in her dorm for a year, and then we got an apartment together. A tiny apartment barely larger than an efficiency. I'm not sure how we survived in that space for an entire year without killing each other. We've had so many funtivities together over the years I can't even begin to remember them all. And I'm sure there are some best forgotten. Let's just say it's a really good thing there was no social media back then.

Kara lives in North Carolina, so she occasionally comes to Maryland for a few days when I'm there. Well, that and her stepson and his wife live in Annapolis. Two years ago we had a whirlwind East coast weekend, covering NJ, NY, and PA in a 3-day span. Back in April I was finally able to get back for the Maryland football letterman golf weekend, and it happened to be spring break for her kids. So they came up for a couple of days and we spent one sightseeing day in DC. Kara decided to come back this summer for a couple of adult sightseeing days. The first day we decided to cover Annapolis, and then I surprised her with a trip to the Washington Nationals game. The next day we hit DC again.

Annapolis is the capital of Maryland. It's also the home of the Naval Academy. We used to go to the bars there occasionally in college, but I honestly can't even begin to tell you the last time we had a night out there. It's a beautiful city, with narrow, winding streets, cobblestone roads, old homes, and lots of restaurants right on the water. On gorgeous days there are tons of boats as far as the eye can see out on the water and docked by the restaurants.

Kara and I went to a Navy football game once. If you ever get the chance, you need to do it. And make sure you get inside the stadium well before the National Anthem. All of the cadets march in, which is one of the most awesome pre-games I've ever seen.

Last time Kara was in Annapolis they had discovered Iron Rooster. She raved about the food and the mimosas, so we met our friend Michele there for lunch. We've known Michele for years. She interned at the Atlantic Coast Conference when Kara worked there, and now is a freelance TV producer. The 3 of us have spent a lot of crazy times together. 

I liked the restaurant from the moment we walked in. It's in an old building, as most places in Annapolis are, and it's got great charm.  It looks like they actually occupy 2 spaces. The bar area is what seems to originally have been a shop, and the 2 floors of main dining room seating look like a converted townhouse

Photo courtesy of Iron Rooster
The restaurant has a prime location right on the corner, with a couple of tables out front. But the sidewalks are really narrow, and if you sit outside people are walking by practically on top of you. And it was humid. So we sat inside. When we first arrived there was a table full of moms and toddlers at one of the first tables in the main dining room. I have absolutely no problems with parents bringing kids into restaurants, but I think the kids outnumbered the moms at that table. And half the kids were crying and climbing everywhere. Not a good situation. Thankfully we were seated in the bar area, and got a table next to the window.  

Of course we had to start with the mimosas

Very light and refreshing. It's made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, which of course adds so much more flavor. There's no comparison to the "fresh from concentrate". 

The house-made pop tart is one of the most famous items on the Iron Rooster menu. They change the flavor daily, and when our server said the day's special was nutella, I was sold

This thing was huge! And more than enough for the 3 of us to share. I was kind of hoping for more nutella, but beggars can't be choosers.  The marshmallow topping was so good. The tart was very flaky, and kind of reminded me of a pie crust . The whole thing was absolutely delicious.

Michele got the crab cake benny

Pan seared jumbo lump crab cake, poached egg, beefsteak tomatoes,
Hollandaise, micro greens, light dusting of Old Bay
I tasted a bite, and it was fantastic. The crabcake was so fresh and mouthwatering. There's nothing like fresh East coast crab. And lump crab is even better. Absolutely melts in your mouth.

Kara got the Cajun Caesar salad

Romaine, tomato, cucumber, poached eggs, garlic crouton, Cajun slices, homemade dressing
I tried a bite of her salad, and it was really good. The dressing was light and delicious. I've never seen poached eggs on a salad. Very interesting take. 

We had eaten breakfast earlier, so I wasn't that super hungry. But I also knew our next meal wouldn't be until the baseball game so I couldn't get nothing. Not sure what came over me, but I decided to go with the chicken & puffy dumplings.  I think it was the "puffy" that sold me

This soup was outstanding. It came out screaming hot, which was a great sign to begin with.  The broth had amazing flavor. Tasted like it had been slow simmering for hours. The chicken was dark meat, which was a very pleasant surprise. I will always choose dark meat over white meat, because it's so much more moist and has a lot more flavor. The dumplings were indeed puffy, and very good. I could have easily eaten another bowl.

Will I go back? No question. The food was delicious, I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and I think it would be a great place to spend the afternoon. And then of course go across the street and hang out at a bar by the water!