Jimmy Cantlers Riverside Inn Annapolis Maryland

Crabbing in Maryland is an experience that first timers will either love or hate. The concept is as simple as it is rustic. You get a bushel of freshly steamed crab, seasoned with a local spice called “Old Bay” (a heady mix of several ingredients including mustard, paprika, bay leaf, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, and ginger) a mallet for cracking the shell and not much else other than cold beer and fries.

Getting to Cantler’s is as much of an experience as eating there. You’ll find it at the end of  a single lane road that offers a wide variety of scary looking accommodation, interspersed with some lush looking houses. Given its location on Mill Creek, right on the Chesapeake, you really need a car or taxi (or boat, should you be so lucky!) to get there. Cantler’s is a family run business that has been around since 1974. It’s eponymous owner worked as a waterman on Chesapeake Bay.

The porch is impressively decorated with both local and national awards and acknowledgements, and leads into a cozy dining-room lined with bench-like tables covered simply with plain thin cardboard table cloths. The restaurant has an outside area right on the creek as well as an inside dining room. It has an obvious nautical theme, and its wood interior and low ceilings give it a real faux-shack feel. The area to the left of the door is dominated by a large bar (which serves food and snacks at bar side stools) and the constantly swinging door in and out of the kitchens. There is a natural bustle to the place that just adds to the atmosphere.

Service was immediate and attentive, with several young ladies in Cantler’s T-shirts (yours for only $17.95 in a variety of fashionable colors!) making the rounds to explain the system. Their “Feast” package, includes aforesaid crabs, generous helpings of steamed shrimp, giant, Olympic-sized onion rings, lashings of French fries and tubs of coleslaw, along with buckets of canned beer on ice, including the unlikely-sounding Yeungling’s – the oldest continuously operating brewery in the US, operating up the road in Pottsville, Pennsylvania (and anglicized from the German name “Jüngling”). This was all to be polished off by a selection of home-made deserts. A swift crab-cracking tutorial followed before service commenced. Incidentally, those not partial to seafood or alcohol are offered suitable alternatives.

You’ll never have to work harder when you’ve paid to eat. Maryland Blues are around five to seven inches across and getting into them requires a bit of muscle and graft. That said, there is something oddly primeval and satisfying in taking a large wooden mallet to a crustacean, and you kind of get into the flow of things. What they don’t tell you is that you’ll end up making an almighty mess, so make sure you don’t arrive in your Sunday best. The crabs themselves, once you get into them, are perfectly cooked and seasoned, so that dipping them in the little pots of drawn butter provided almost seemed like sacrilege.

Given the crustaceans are the main event, its easy to forget the sides. The onion rings were delicious – real, giant rings of onion covered in a delicate and flavorful batter that didn’t overwhelm them. Even the standard French fries were a cut above the ordinary. Only desert was a teeny bit of a let-down, with the archetypical local version of death by chocolate being wheeled out, and proving a little too rich and sickly sweet after three or four forkfuls. There is a display of the “merchandising” in a glass cabinet between the toilets, which, incidentally, were quite small and cramped for a restaurant the size of Cantler’s, and as such, not particularly clean.

Appetizers go for around $10, sandwiches around $12, and mains from around $20. Soft drink refills are free, and as mentioned before, they also do a limited menu of steaks, ribs and chicken for “land lovers”. Tipping is expected, with 18% added for service to groups of ten or more. If you’re planning on going, their web site (www.cantlers.com) is a must visit, providing directions, booking details, opening times, recipes and several how-to guides on buying, preparing and eating crab. Parking on-site is limited, so car-pooling is suggested, and if you’re lucky enough to be going by boat, there is free mooring for patrons. They are open seven days a week, and will not take bookings during their busy season, so its first come first served. 

So is Cantler’s worth the diversion? Absolutely. Its reputation as a local institution is well justified. Sure, your hands will be stinking of crab and you’ll be sweating out Old Bay for a few days, but it’s well worth the experience – and that’s what it is really – a social experience that’s perfect for a fun night out, provided no one is too fussy to join in.

Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn
458 Forest Beach Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: 410-757-1311
http://www.cantlers.com

Restaraunt Reviews Taste of Thailand Etobicoke Ontario Canada

I fear I may be a biased writer as I write this restaraunt review, however if you are looking for the best Thai place West of Toronto, look no further than Taste of Thailand!

Located on 5310 Dundas Street West, Just about a block from the Kipling TTC stop, tucked across the street of the Canadian Tire and curiously (or suspiciously?) next door to the “Adult Video and Play Store” This Thai restaraunt offers fine fare, great food, a lunch special menu stocked full of goodies and a selection of other fine menu items and drinks!

I have visited “The Taste of Thailand” on more than five different occsions and I have never left disappointed. I particularly like the curries that they serve, but for those with a taste for something nice but not quite so spicy the signature Chicken Pad Thai never disappoints either.

Lunch specials are served from 11:30am to 3pm, with a soup of the day and a spring roll. I’ve enjoyed the tang and bite of a Thai hot and sour soup, and a nice aromatic and wholesome pumpkin soup that they once served on a seasonal basis. Special Menu prices range from Six to Ten dollars, but are well worth the value given.

A good selection of curries and seafood and other dishes are available off the regular menu. One of my favorites is the Ginger Duck, the tender meat mixed in with a variety of vegetables and the ginger flavoring really leaves the taste buds begging for more. Full Menu prices range from Eight to Fifteen dollars, and the portions are well worth the prices!

The Taste of Thailand has a liquor license, which allows them to serve various drinks and offers a fair standard selection of beers and wines. Outside of perhaps one of the Thai beers, I had not noticed anything particularly exotic or different from what you could likely pick up at a local Beer Store or LCBO.
My drink suggestion for this restaraunt is of the non-alcoholic variety.
Ask for a Thai Iced Tea. A mixture of a blended Thai Tea, the flavoring is a succulent and sweet assault on the taste buds, with a heavy cream decadence that just lingers there for a few moments. This drink compliments a good spicy dish nicely for cooling down the heat. For coffee lovers Thai Iced Coffee is available too.

However, hands down, if you are looking to share or split one of the restaraunts appetizers, they have one of the finest most decadent creations of an appetizer I have ever had the pleasure to crunch down upon.

The best appetizer that makes Taste of Thailand rather unique in just about the ENTIRE greater Toronto area, as I haven’t ever seen it on any menus elsewhere in the GTA to this point, is a bit of a ‘steal’ from the New England area Thai Restaurants, it is the dish of Crab Rangoon.

Crab Rangoon takes the deliciousness of a wonton wrapping, stuffs it full of a mixture of imitation crab meat, whipped cream cheese, chopped chives, crushed garlic and a few other ‘secret ingredients’ and then puts it in a deep frier to toast it to a warm perfection. It comes served with a sweet Thai sauce with small red pepper flakes suspended in it. At a reasonable Five dollar appetizer price you get four rather large Rangoon-Meteorites served at your table.

On repeated visits my friends and I have re-named it, due to the decadent nature of the dish “Crack Rangoon”.

Visit Taste of Thailand, and enjoy many tastes and dishes for yourself. Keep them in business, as they certainly deserve it, and I would be heartbroken if my only local source of “Crack Rangoon” disappeared without a trace.

Expensive Restaurants Restaurants Fine Dining Eating Food Culinary – Yes

A restaurant experience is what one makes of it. Each day, some diners choose to purchase a $1.00 burger at the local fast food joint and others opt for a delicately plated ice cream sundae with gold shavings for $1000. What is good for one (either for the palette, the pocket or both) may not be good or desirable for another. Dining is about the food as much as it is about the experience. What may be desirable to one may not be to another.

So, are the most expensive restaurants in the world worth their price tags? Sure they are! Because the people who choose to dine there are dining for the food and the experience. The amount of the meal connotes a value that is acceptable to them, hence why they pay the price to dine. Each time one makes a purchase, we expect that the return will be greater than the price we have paid. The return could be anything, such as the satisfaction for enjoying a fine dining experience. A person appalled by someone who would purchase a $1000 ice cream sundae may be appalling to someone else because they spend what they may perceive to be a high price on something else. Expensive is relative, worth is determined on an individual basis.

For many, dining is an experience that is meant to be enjoyed and pursuing a variety of dining experiences is a key part of life no matter the cost. Those who are willing and able to pay the price for a culinary experience that many may consider “expensive” feel that the worth of the experience justifies the cost. The price one is willing to pay for a good or service isn’t right or wrong, nor can another tell a person what the worth of the experience should be. We are free to choose the dining experience that we desire and to embark upon the culinary journey that bring our palette and all of our senses delight. For some, dining has been described as a spiritual experience, Charlie Trotter once wrote “All four elements were happening in equal measure – the cuisine, the wine, the service and the overall ambiance. It taught me that dining could happen on a spiritual level.”

According to Forbes (2005 list), some of the most pricey restaurants in the world are: Aragwa (Japan), Arpege (France), Eigensinn Farm (Canada), Sketch (London) and Tetsuya’s (Sydney).

Kenza Devonshire Square London

Kenza (which means “treasure” in Arabic) is located in Devonshire Square, a traffic-free series of connected courtyards teeming with shopping, bars and eateries that is located between Liverpool Street and Aldgate. Along with Kenza, the area boasts the Cinnamon Kitchen and a Marco Pierre White steakhouse. As expected, it’s very popular with the professional crowd, as trains and tubes home are just round the corner. The entrance is off the main courtyard and down an unassuming side passage – just walk toward the red carpet – the only thing of real colour in the alley. Parking in the area is difficult at best, so public transport is your best bet.

First Impressions

The ornate entrance, which leads to a softly lit spiral staircase, is a small taste of things to come. It leads to a fabulous basement dining room richly and lavishly decorated with fabrics, soft furnishings, and intricate Moorish art. The room offers a variety of seating arrangements such as long tables, private booths, and secluded corners, with a private dining room also available for small groups.  Settings are each laid with a dark red napkin adorned with a single red, silky rose petal. Once seated a drinks order is taken, and there is an intriguing selection of cocktails available (menu on the table). That said, beer was limited to either Efes (Turkish) or Cobra (Indian) which didn’t really seem in keeping with the theme. The menu provides a broad variety of familiar hot and cold meze, and a large selection of grills and bakes for the main courses.

Moorish Meze

Some excellent green and black olives, crudités and a tahini-based dip are served while waiting for appetisers to arrive, which consisted of delicious, fresh warmed pitta bread, along with a pretty good hummus, a fantastic baba ghanoush (a tahini and aubergine dip) and a decent tabbouleh nestled on a romaine lettuce base. After a short interval the hot stuff followed – a patata harra (reminiscent of patatas bravas in tapas, but a LOT spicier), deep fried lamb and bulghur kofteh filled with mince, onion and pine nuts, and sambousek – a delicious concoction of shredded chicken with onions and walnuts. The food effortlessly matched the lushness of the décor. Portions were very well sized, leaving plenty of room for the main courses to follow.

Belly-flop

Once the hot meze was demolished there was something of a pause. The piped music, which to that point, was a rather incongruous mellow house mix, suddenly changed tack and started blaring out cheesy Arabic pop. The reason for the change of pace soon became apparent as three scantily clad belly dancers started to make their way through the dining room wiggling for all they were worth. The whole performance seemed a little twee and forced, and frankly, could have been done without. The female diners studiously ignored them, whilst their male partners kept eyes down, with the occasional surreptitious peek so as not to offend their dates. After about ten minutes of strutting their stuff to some distorted wailings over the in-house speaker system, the dancers withdrew, never to return. The music reverted back to mellow house and it was as if the whole thing never quite happened. Surreal.

Middling Mains

After the dancing, the main course arrived – a veritable mountain of various barbecued meats piled on a plate of rice and salad. It looked quite promising but unfortunately, in keeping with the dance performance it followed, it was something of a disappointment. Apart from the spiced minced lamb (kafta lahmé) everything was too dry and more than a little overcooked. The lamb cubes (lahem meshoué) which should have been quite tender were especially stringy – much more in keeping with a local kebab house than a City eatery charging a premium for it. The chicken cubes were quite flavourful and well marinated, but the taste was let down by its texture. Only copious helpings of the garlic and harissa sauces provided saved the mains from mediocrity.

By 9pm (on a Tuesday evening) most diners had been and gone, and no one seemed to be coming to take their places. Apparently, the restaurant is only open until 10pm. In any event, it seemed the waiting staff had disappeared with them, as we barely saw anyone for five minutes at a time. Eventually, the equivalent of a North African chaiwallah appeared with a pot of sweet mint tea and made a grand performance of pouring the tea from a great height into the glass cups on his bronzed tray. With the tea dutifully distributed, a tall dessert stand arrived, generously filled with Turkish Delight, some decent baklava and sweets, and a large helping of fresh fruits.

Tragic or Treasure?

So, is Kenza worthy of a special night out? Given that the a la carte menu offerings average around £5.50 a plate for the meze, £18.00 per main and £6 for puddings, a couple could expect to part with around £50 a head (including a £1.50 per person cover charge and the “discretionary” 12.5% gratuity added to your bill). Cocktails are priced around a tenner, which is average for this neck of the woods. There is no doubt you are paying for the location (a hop and a skip to Liverpool Street), the décor (certainly interesting and different) and the lack of competition (there are very few of these joints in London, never mind the City), but even with all of the quibbles it is still a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

That said, food-wise there is better value to be had elsewhere in London – such as any of the Marroush empire in the less salubrious surroundings of Edgware Road, but Kenza has its place and is worth a look.

Recommended.

Booking Details

Kenza

10 Devonshire Square

London EC2M 4YP

020 7929 5533

reservations@ kenza.com

www.kenza-restaurant.com

Mon – Fri 12:30 to 3:30pm (Lunch)

Mon – Sat 5:30 to 10pm (Dinner)

Closed on Sunday

Drink Recipes London French 75

First of all, this could be one of the best-named cocktails in the entire world.  The history of the drink is equally fantastic.  The French 75 has acquired a large following in the US after it was popularised in the Stork Club in New York City but the origins likely lie back in Europe, as a British drink created in Paris (at Harry’s American Bar) by Scottish bartender and cocktail legend Harry MacElhone.  MacElhone created the drink in 1925 and named it after the 75mm Howitzer field gun used by the French in the First World War.

The recipe is a champagne cocktail; get those flutes at the ready!

♦ Method

1.5 shot London dry gin (for best results use Bombay London)

0.5 shot Lemon juice

0.25 shot Sugar syrup

Topped with Champagne (Brut)

Shake the first three ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute.  Top with the champagne and garnish with a twist of lemon.

The taste should be reminiscent of sherbet with the lingering taste of champagne.  It is a great drink- tastes fantastic, has a ton of history behind it and is relatively unique.  As Harry Craddock wrote, “It hits with remarkable precision”.  Of course, if you so wish, there are plenty of variants…

♦ Variants

The ‘French 76’ substitutes gin with vodka, garnished with a Maraschino cherry.  The ‘French 77’ is 1.5 shot St. Germain elderflower liqueur, 0.5 shot Lemon juice, topped with champagne.  For a Valentine’s Day twist on the ’75, use pink champagne and garnish with a strawberry.

However you prepare it, the ’75 is a deceptively strong drink which hits all the right notes.  It is great for all occasions, from celebrations to dinner parties and has stood the test of time.  So load up your glass and fire off a few rounds tonight!

Lots of Wings and Things

There are many chain restaurants in Novi. You can try almost any type of food that your heart desires. Buffalo Wild Wings is located just around the corner from the Residence Inn and if you are staying there it is the perfect place to get dinner. Well it is the perfect place unless it happens to be the night that the Detroit Tigers are trying to get into the playoffs.

We arrived at about 6:30 PM and being New Englanders had no idea why the restaurant seemed to be so busy on a Tuesday night. We soon found out, there was an hour and a half wait for a table and that was only a guess since no one was leaving because the game was tied and then went into overtime. We decided that take out was going to be the best option and luckily they are well prepared for this and even have a place set up where you can place your order or pick up if you have ordered over the phone.

Luckily for us, Tuesdays is the night that they double your wing order. Order six, they will give your 12. You can have one flavor or do 6 of one flavor and 6 of another. You have the choice of a variety of flavors ranging from a mild buffalo and a mild barbeque to mind blowing heat., with lots in between.

We did two orders of wings with their potatoes which as it turned out are not French fries but are sliced discs . My husband had a burger and fries. It took about half and hour to get our order and they threw in the celery and ranch and blue cheese dressings to go with it and did offer to get us a drink. We joked that the cook must be watching the game too. When we left most of the people who had been there when we got there , were still waiting to be seated. The game went to 13 innings I think so we did the right thing to bring the food back to our room.

I was pleasantly surprised by the wings. They were a nice size and very well cooked. Both flavors I tried were good and I was only able to eat 6. The good news was that I had them for supper again the next night. The real treasure was those potatoes, they are wonderful. Not at all greasy, perfectly cooked and fresh as can be, we really loved them.

The Buffalo Wild Wings menu offers lots of options beyond wings. They have salads, sandwiches and flatbreads and of course a full bar.

Would I eat here again, well yes I would love to try eating in. The food is good, the staff was helpful and it was a very trying time and they all kept not only their cool but their sense of humors.

Food in Hampstead London

To begin our travel upon the best food restaurants we must first start off with our breakfast. Breakfast is an essential to a nice productive day. There is one place within Hampstead, London that has some of the best breakfast in the world. This place is known for its delicious Bellini. Bellini are delicious drinks that can be served in a variety of different flavors in the morning, all the way until their closing times. There is a delicious seafood breakfast available for many who truly enjoy eating seafood. Before trying to arrive to this restaurant, it’s recommended that you make reservations. This restaurant is known as none other than the bar of all bars, ‘The Alice House’ . This is a very nice, and dressy restaurant, without a price tag that high. It serves breakfast, and brunch with a price range of around 11 pounds up to 25 pounds. There is a nice soft blend of music in the background that allows you to be at ease as you enjoy your delicious meal. It’s nice for families and groups to dine together here also, which makes it just that much more impressive. This superb restaurant opens at 9 in London, and closes at 23 hours from Monday to Thursday. Friday-Saturday it opens from 9-1, and on Sunday it opens at 9:30, and closes at 23:00. When you go to Hampstead, London, be sure to eat at this breakfast and brunch bar for a nice experience, and to be in great company. 

The next meal of the day is a delicious, somewhat nutritious lunch. For lunch be sure to go to Da Roberto (An Italian  restaurant) . Da Roberto offers a large variety of delicious lunch choices without the large prices. The prices are from 10 pounds, and under, which serves as a nice spot to save a lot of money for snacks later, and for your dinner. Da Roberto serves delicious plates filled with pastas, they have a large array of breads, sandwiches, bags of crisps (chips), and a large variety of different foods. The prices are the best part though to many people due to the prices being so low. The environment is nice, small, and friendly. There is also the option of take-out, and many people find this as one of the best parts. The service is friendly, and the customers love the large delicious portions. After eating a delicious lunch at Da Roberto’s, be sure to allow yourself the chance to grab a snack before continuing on your journey. 

 When you become hungry once again, be sure to eat your dinner at a place that locals crave to eat at. This food joint is known as  Le Pain Quotidien. At Le Pain Quotidien, they truly bring the pain in the area of deliciousness. Here there is a nice outdoor seating area if you choose, or possibly even an indoor seating area. The price range is for that of an average family wanting a nice dinner. It’s menu prices range from 11-25 pounds. The setting is perfect for the family with children, and for just about anyone seeking to enjoy a nice time. There is a broad range of different types of foods available in this nice, modern restaurant. So if you’re looking for a nice day out in Hampstead, London be sure to eat at these wonderful restaurants. The service is top of the line, and the prices aren’t.

Sources- http://www.yelp.co.uk

             http://www.thealicehouse.co.uk

Fine Dining – Yes

On the average lunch date, we’ll get up, get dressed, go out, argue about whether to walk, take a bicycle or the metro if it’s far away, arrive, and eat, an activity that usually takes about an hour or less from start to finish.
Our experiences of high-end restaurants have been few and far between, and not all of them worth the cost, but a recent trip to a Michelin starred restaurant was enough to convince me that a rich, luxurious, drunk-with-happiness lunch can be worth a hefty price tagonce in a while.
A thirtieth birthday doesn’t come every day, and this day started with the usual routineget up, get dressed, run late, take the metro by necessity rather than inclination. We emerged from the restaurant over three hours later, pleasantly tipsy off some lovely and forgotten white wine, and positively reeling with the happiness of having been stuffed to the brim with eight tiny and exquisite courses.
We experienced immaculate yet unfussy service in three languages. We received as an aperitif the best stuffed olives in the world. We ate things we had barely known existed, and sat and remarked upon them knowingly between tiny sliced forkfuls as though we were experts in the field. We drank a potion of maple syrup. We dined with a feeling of scientific justification on suckling pig vacuum cooked for 24 hours, whatever that means. We fell in love with the most tender, solitary and succulent scallop in all of Europe, perched upon a bed of caramelized onion foam. We started off nervously, I admit, a little out of place, but weakened under the strain of tiny portions and a seemingly never-ending bottle of wine. We found ourselves relaxed, although still taking pictures of everything with a cell phone, furtively looking over our shoulders to be sure the waiters didn’t see. Feelings of disbelief at our surroundings returned after a trip to the washroom revealed a designer perfume air freshener, and a paper towel thicker than my duvet. We’re still not sure if we left a large enough tip.
An expensive restaurant should only be enjoyed for what it is: a decadent experience, a luxury that shouldn’t and for most people cannot be a regular occurrence. As such it’s nice if it has been adequately researched ahead of time, reviews and the menu read in advance if possible, and if it is thematically appropriate, either for the occasion, or the people involved. It should be indulged in every moment that you are there, and every detail remembered, from the multiple textures on one massive plate housing a sliver of tuna and an accompanying droplet of lemon sauce, to the mystifying five test tubes of different sugars that come with the coffee. And if all of this is experienced, wondered at, recounted in anecdote, and in short consumed every bit as much at the deconstructed cardamom crumble, then it is worth more than your average meal, isn’t it?

The Mahal Cambridge Review

Infamous around Cambridge University students, The Mahal offers reasonably priced food but falls down on its atmosphere. It would be perfectly possible to write two separate reviews for this restaurant, one from the point of view of a student and one from the point of view of a member of the public, such is the disparity of the experience. As a student, The Mahal offers a cheap meal and a an accepting team of waiters and managers. The site for many a ‘swap’ (social dinner between drinking societies of opposite sexes), the curry stains on the ceiling attest to many a raucous night for the student denizens of Cambridge. The restaurant caters very well to the students, offering group discounts and a free glass of wine or beer, as well as letting students bring their own bottle of wine. Whilst the food is average to poor, this is compensated for by the price and the copious quantities of alcohol consumed by its student customers.

As a member of the public, the experience is far less pleasing. Customers have to put up with the manic laughter and antics of the students who frequently make The Mahal their home on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights. The toilets are often left in a rather unsavoury state after the inevitable mess created by students who have consumed a lot of alcohol. Although the staff generally house the students in a separate section, the noise is still unacceptable to normal guests, especially in the infamous ‘freshers week’. The quality of the food, as mentioned earlier is not the best. The naan bread is often quite soggy and curries have been known to be delivered cold. The quality of service is reasonable, the waiters are generally personable but there is nothing particularly stellar to report over.

One advantage for the restaurant is its good location in town. Located near to the city centre and the river, the restaurant is certainly well endowed with lots to see and do before and after your meal. For example, only 5 minutes down Kings Parade is Kings College, and slightly further down are Trinity and St. John’s colleges, all popular tourist destinations.

Overall, the experience you can garner from The Mahal depends on from which walk of life you come from. If you are a student, The Mahal is fantasticly good value for money and provides a sometimes raucous atmosphere that pleases very many. On the other hand, as a general member of the public, the price and location does not make up for the loud atmosphere and the somewhat lacking food quality. Overall the restaurant gets two stars out of five.

Guide to Cedar Plank Cooking

Cedar plank cooking is an easy way to add flavor to any dish.  Originally developed to provide a stable, flat surface for grilling seafood,   the smoky flavored cedar planks have made it a popular method for cooking a variety of other foods as well.

If the plank will be used on a grill, it must be soaked in water for two to four hours before grilling.  Soaking the plank helps keep the wood from catching fire while it is being used.  The idea is to get the wood to smolder, rather than burn, so that the meat becomes infused with smoke.  If the wood begins to flame, spray it lightly with water.  To soak the wood, place it in a container large enough for the plank to lay flat, place two heavy objects at each end to keep it from floating, and fill the container with water.

Before placing it on the grill, brush the side on which the meat will be placed with a thin layer of cooking oil.  This will prevent sticking.  It is important not to use too much oil, though, because oil is flammable.  Warm the board by allowing it to sit on the grill for a few minutes prior to placing the meat on it.  Cedar plank grilling is very simple because there is no need to flip the meat.  This allows the cook to do other tasks, such as preparing a sauce or even cooking other foods.  Plank grilling takes about one and a half times as long as grilling on charcoal or gas because the food is not directly exposed to the heat.

A plank can only be used for grilling one time.  If the grill being used is charcoal, the wood can be left to burn up. If using a gas grill, however, remove the wood as soon as possible to minimize the amount of ash that falls into the pit.

Those who don’t have time to barbecue or don’t have the space for a grill can still add an authentic, barbecued flavor to their food by baking on a cedar plank.  This method is commonly used for salmon but has been extended to other baked meats such as poultry and other kinds of seafood.  Even vegetables can be baked on a cedar plank.  Although the wood does not produce smoke, the food is flavored by the oils that seep from the plank.  Just like grilling on cedar planks, cedar plank baking requires soaking the wood prior to use.  It is also necessary to warm the plank by placing it in a preheated oven for five minutes and coat it with oil before placing the food on it.  Another difference between baking and grilling using cedar is that the wood can accelerate the baking process rather than slow it down.

Cedar planks are commercially available at most stores that sell cookware.  However, they are not difficult to make.  Simply cut a 1-inch thick plank of cedar down to a length of about 12 inches and a width of about 8 inches.  Then use sandpaper to smooth one side of the plank.

Convenience, as well as ease, makes cedar plank cooking an ideal method for those who wish to give their food a rich, smoky flavor which is not provided by regular charcoal or gas grilling or by oven baking.