Annapolis, MD. Capital of Maryland. Home of the US Naval Academy. Plus lots of great shopping and restaurants on the water, including Iron Rooster.
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. This year 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 go, and make sure you are in the stadium well before the National Anthem. The cadets all do a formation march into the stadium, which is one of the most awesome pre-games I’ve ever seen. The only thing that beats it is the Army/Navy game in Philadelphia each year because both teams do it.
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
Iron Rooster 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. It was also extremely humid–normal for summer in Maryland–so we sat inside. The main dining room is beautiful, with wooden tables and lots of other wood details, arched doorways, and a very open feel. The “townhouse” building has dining space on both the main floor and second floor, and the full bar and bar seating is in the shorter space. When we first arrived the first thing we saw and heard was a table full of moms and toddlers in the center of the main dining room. I have absolutely no problems with parents bringing kids into restaurants, but the kids outnumbered the moms. A couple of the kids were crying, and several others were climbing all over the place. Not a good situation, especially because the moms didn’t seem to be very concerned about what was happening. Thankfully we were seated in the bar area, and got a table next to the bay window.
As soon as we sat down, Kara ordered mimosas.
Very light and refreshing. The mimosas are made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, which of course adds so much more flavor.
The Iron Rooster menu features an all-day breakfast menu, as well as lunch and dinner. They’ve also got a kid’s menu, as well as signature cocktails and draft beers. We were eating right around the time either breakfast or lunch would work, so it worked out well for all of us.
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 hoping for more Nutella, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. The marshmallow topping was homemade and 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
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, because it absolutely melts in your mouth.
Kara got the Cajun Caesar salad
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, but I like the unique twist.
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 needed to eat something. I decided to go with the chicken & puffy dumplings. I’m not sure what came over me to order soup on a hot day, and I can’t remember the last time I ever had soup as an entree. 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, and 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 tender 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 to Iron Rooster? 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! Or, I might go and check out their location in downtown Baltimore. Or both!!