Are you tired of being cooped up during the Covid-19 pandemic? Neighbors can’t socialize, grocery shopping is difficult and depressing: no more cheese samples! Masks feel like a kidnapping on Law & Order SVU. Sorry, mask lovers — I wear them, but you can’t make me like them or even get comfortable with them. Though I proudly assembled a sofa last weekend all by myself, it was not exactly a seamless event. I dropped the 100 lb object on each foot, thus rendering them into eggplants that wouldn’t go into shoes. Walking around the house like a Frankenstein, I stepped on and broke my laptop — 2 weeks after I had just gotten it back from other repairs.
A friend of mine from Brazil advised me on my birthday to “Remember that (I am) responsible for everything to come true!” So, I put a good deal of thought into what would make a fun (and safe) birthday all by myself. I had heard some lifetime Baltimore folks talking about Friendly Farm in Upperco, Maryland. A couple of years ago, a neighbor suggested that I would be able to drive there — but at that time, I didn’t have the driving skills to roam about 20 miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Now, my only fear was the weather predictions for days and days of thunderstorms and flooding. But, as a huge bit of birthday lagniappe, it was sunny for the whole day!
Friendly Farm opened their country restaurant in 1959. If you like, they will pack up to-go boxes and you can picnic around one of their three ponds. If you choose to eat inside, know that they’ve instituted very safe protocols, such as social distancing, one way in and out — so buy some of their homemade pies or cookies before seating yourself — payment up front. Indoor diners eat family style: you choose your entree, such as grilled ham, steak, crab cakes and their famous fried chicken, while sides and beverages are brought to your table with complimentary refills on all. Good to know: if you sign up for their emailing list, you will get a 10% discount offer and another one for your birthday — but it’s not valid for specials, such as the soft shell crab dinner.
I sat by the window to have a relaxing view of the farm, including flocks of geese.
The bread course came and I completely understand why the heart-shaped sugar biscuits are so acclaimed! So good. These are accompanied by the nice, comforting chilled appetizers: pickled beets, firm preserved peaches, rich cottage cheese, a crisply minced style of coleslaw, spicy home style apple butter.
With your entree, you can order extra add-ons — perfect for when you can’t choose — such as a soft-shell crab, fried shrimp, grilled ham and fried chicken wings. I’m glad I did! With my generously sized and nicely seasoned soft-shell crabs (a true delicacy), their massive chicken wings were scrumptious! Not too spicy or salty, they are extra crunchy.
Entrees are joined by hot sides, including French fries, peaches and cream corn (!), green beans with bits of ham.
For dessert, you can select from several Hershey’s ice creams and sherbet. Peanut butter – Cookies ‘n’ Cream was festive!