Baltimore’s — and also Annapolis’ — Miss Shirley’s is not content to merely win award after award for their brunch. New seasonal flavors are created to use the freshest produce and seafood, so now’s the time to head over and discover them! I was happy to be hosted to experience it.
Seasonal cocktails? Sure, in this mixologist era, why not? Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is well-balanced enough to drink it before or with your meal. It has Salted Caramel Pinnacle Vodka, Whipped Cream Pinnacle Vodka, hot chocolate, garnished with whipped cream, a chocolate straw, sea salt, caramel drizzle and raw sugar salt rim. They use a very dark chocolate for the hot chocolate, which adds to the drinkability, savory-favoring aspect of it.
Going the opposite way on the cocktail spectrum is their new seasonal take on the Bloody Mary: Born on the Bay-O Bloody Mary. It has Absolute Citron, garnished with blackened shrimp, Tasso ham, Andouille sausage, Cheddar, pickled okra, tomato, celery and Old Bay rim. For $3 more, you can add two slices of jalapeno-smoked bacon. All the meats go well with the Bloody Mary mix. The bacon is quite spicy . . . there’s definitely a lot going on in this drink. It’s an appetizer onto itself!
One of the new Fall starters is salmon croquettes. Now, don’t think of that luncheon dish that grandmas made for bridge parties, all egg shaped and mushy! These are thin and crispy like good potato pancakes, garnished like smoked salmon with capers, diced tomato, Bermuda onion and sour cream/chive aioli.
Another great new starter with that seasonal flavor is Duck, Duck Tot: country fried duck leg confit, sunny side up duck egg, tater tots filled spinach, shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese, garnished with a dried cherry cranberry glaze. The fresh egg – so important with duck! — is soft fried, adding rich yolk to the dish when you cut into it. The duck is treated like fried chicken. The compote is fruity, but not overly sweet. The cheesy tots are rich with a goat cheese that has presence.
Even the Eggs Benedict get the seasonal touch: Oyster Feller Benedict has cornmeal-encrusted oysters, Chesapeake chicken sausage gravy, stone-ground grits with diced bacon and poached eggs on a jumbo English muffin with pimento cheese, Old Bay Hollandaise sauce, Tabasco bacon onion jam and chow-chow. The oysters are nice and crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside. The pimento cheese not a spicy one: it’s more rich and creamy, with a touch of heat. The chow-chow garnish is tangy and the jam is smoky, lending a cornucopia of different flavors. This is not the same ol’ Benedict served across the land!
I would like to give this tip to diners: order each course individually. Many of the dishes have components that are best right out of the oven and if they come out at the same time, they’re not the same.