Only a 45 minute drive from DC, Annapolis may be close in proximity but is a nice getaway from the city. I've only been to Annapolis once before back in 2015, so when my dad came to visit last month, I suggested the short drive over to this bayside city for a Saturday excursion.
Of course anytime I visit another city, whether new-to-me or a familiar locale, a big part of any trip is where and what I am going to eat. In advance of our weekend trip, I knew I wanted to find a seafood restaurant, preferably one with views of the Chesapeake Bay. As if ticking off every box in my restaurant wish list, I decided on Carrol's Creek Cafe, which is located in the Annapolis City Marina. Promising fresh seafood, picturesque views, and food allergy awareness, I was very much looking forward to lunch before exploring around the rest of the city.
Carrol's Creek Cafe's food allergy awareness starts with their completely peanut and nut-free kitchen. Gluten-free diners can use a GF symbol as their guide when reviewing the menu to see what is (or can be modified to be) gluten-free. Be sure to speak to the wait staff before you order to confirm your selections are gluten-free and check for other allergens or ingredients that you may need to avoid. Our waiter was really helpful with pointing out gluten and dairy-free options, and confirmed with me that both allergens would be flagged for the kitchen to ensure their safety.
As a starter, my dad and I split the shrimp cocktail, which features six large, plump shrimp and a generous serving of cocktail sauce. The shrimp were delicious and well seasoned, and the robust cocktail sauce had a nice kick to it. With only six shrimp in the dish, it was a nice starter for the meal, but if you have a bigger appetite or more people in your party, you the half dozen don't stretch very far.
As my main dish, I chose the pan seared scallops. Normally served with a risotto, the kitchen substituted jasmine rice to make it dairy-free.
The scallops were cooked to perfection with a pan-seared exterior and tender interior. Paired with asparagus and covered with a tangy-sweet blood orange drizzle, the dish combined three of my absolute favorite foods. If this trio wasn't perfect enough, the frangrant rice they sat atop turned the dish from excellent to extraordinary. Cooked to a perfect consistency and given a lime-infused flavor, it rounded out the meal beautifully.
I was absolutely blown away by Carrol's Creek Cafe, both for the quality of their food and clear allergy awareness. Those two alone go a long way in my book, but combined with the perfect summer day and a chance to sit out on their patio and watch ships go by, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better experience. The next chance I have to visit Annapolis, the Cafe will definitely be a mandatory stop and I eagerly await my next meal here.