Pack a Bag: Antrim 1844, Part II

Two weeks ago, the husband and I spent two nights at Antrim 1844. It was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone traveling through Maryland, visiting Gettysburg, or looking for a heritage tourism experience. I decided to publish an additional post about the dining experiences because they were just that phenomenal.

I would advise the Antrim 1844 visitor to take advantage of all of the food and drink options available on site. I was completely blown away by the dining experiences. Upon check in, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that breakfast part one would be dropped off just outside our room (the Clabaugh Room) at 8 am and a part two country breakfast would be served in one of the dining rooms from 8:30 to 10 am. Additionally tea and snacks is served daily in the Drawing Room at 4:30 pm. At that point, I was searching for a pen and paper to make notes of times and meals. The young lady at the check in then settled my near-overwhelmed mental notes when she shared that the meal schedule was already printed out and located in the Clabaugh Room and, not missing a beat, asked whether we preferred or coffee in the morning (coffee) and how we take it (black).

My husband and I had full days planned and though the initial room-delivered breakfast would have served as a sufficient meal on its own, he wanted more coffee. The mere insulated pitcher of coffee was just not enough for his sleepy self. (That was sarcasm. My morning nickname for him is Sleepypants and the coffee was actually plentiful.) Along with the coffee, the part one of the breakfast spread included fresh fruit and a cranberry muffins that gave me peak-holiday vibes. Forty-five minutes later and we were the first guests in the dining room for part two breakfast. Plates with eggs, toast, grits, and bacon populated the table. Mugs of coffee were consumed. Upon request for the check, we were informed that not only the part one breakfast service, but also the second one was included with the room.

 


We found ourselves in the Pickwick Pub after dinner on our first night at Antrim 1844 and again during the second day after taking a walk around the gardens and before our dinner reservation. If crabcakes and football is what Maryland does (name that movie reference), then ambiance and craft cocktails is what Pickwick Pub does. Tucked away in what was part of a service section of the original historic structure, the Pickwick Pub could not have been more that fifteen by twenty-five feet. With a roaring fire, decor that evokes reminders of Brooks Brothers ads of decades past with tartan wall covering, equestrian framed artwork, and a chandelier adorned with a pair of vintage ice skates, I could not have asked for a more picturesque place to spend my afternoon on such a cold day.

 


After a few hours relaxing over cocktails as well as some remote work, a series of hors d’oeuvres were served to those in the Pickwick Pub. Now would be a good time to mention that there were guests of the Wine Cellar dining experience that were not even staying at the hotel. That speaks to how phenomenal the dining experience at Antrim 1844 is; it attracts guests from off-site.

That evening my husband and I dined at the Smokehouse Restaurant. While I believe there is an a la carte option, we ordered from the Chef’s menu: Pork Belly (his) and Crab Cake (mine) appetizers, Grilled Little Gem Salad (his) and Mushroom Soup (mine), and Beef Short Rib (his) and Branzino (mine) as the main. Chef Erkek also sent a crab amuse busche (#wheninMaryland), seared duck, and baked brie with berry compote and candied walnuts our way. I have been dreaming about the combination of the melting cheese, rich berries, and the nuts since that night.

 


Executive Chef Ilhan Erkek joined the Antrim 1844 team recently, previously having worked as an Executive Chef at Ottoman Taverna and several Ritz-Carlton restaurants. He grew up in Istanbul, where he not only learned about the culinary arts, but also studied pastry. Just for reference, when my sister was in culinary school she was required to select between a culinary curriculum and a pastry curriculum. To have experience in both disciplines is an anomaly; the food version of a Lady Gaga, actress and musician, if you will.

Through my sister and brother-in-law (also a chef) I understand that it is uncommon to find a combination of talent, modesty, and affability in the food industry. Ilhan, as he introduced himself to us, embodies those qualities. The talent as exemplified by the food, the modesty and affability by introducing himself to guests and insisting that guests not stand upon introductions. Not only did he circulate through the dining room during dinner but he also greeted guests the following morning during country breakfast.

I am calling it now: Antrim 1844 is going to be known in Maryland as the Inn of Little Washington is known in Virginia and if not the winner, will at least be a finalist, in the Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel category of the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence for 2019.


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Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.

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