Woman’s Night

January 31, 2012

Matt’s coming home late, so Karen [my mother-in-law] and I buddied up this afternoon. First we went on a glorious hour-long walk in the nice weather [replacing the planned dark movie theater], then we dressed up and went out to dinner. Even though we all three go out together frequently, whenever one of us is busy, Matt and I always say to the other “You should go out with your mom/Karen while I’m gone!” It’s nice to have good company on a lonely night. Note that Matt also likes to go out with some guys and fill up on chicken wings and beer when I’m busy ;)

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Our restaurant of choice was Duner’s. In the year and a half I’ve lived here, this has been at the top of my restaurant list. Everyone is always saying “Have you eaten at Duner’s yet!?” It requires an automobile to get to though, so it’s taken me this long to get out! [Also they don’t take reservations, which makes weekend visits more challenging.] Thankfully we had no trouble getting a table on a Tuesday.

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Can you judge a restaurant by its bread!? If so, we knew this dinner was off to a great start. There is nothing worse than cold bread in a basket (esp if it’s the dry kind that hurts your mouth) and this was hot AND doughy and delicious!

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Also loved that house salads were included with our entrees. Makes the price tag more reasonable. And I just love multi-course meals. And the olives that came on this!

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For my entrée, I had the crabcakes with mashed potatoes and cole slaw.

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The crabcakes were AMAZING! My Maryland blood gave them four thumbs up. Perfectly lumpy with minimal additives inside.

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The mashed reds were good too – an interesting combo with crab, but good nonetheless. I didn’t care for the onion-y slaw, but Karen loved it.

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This meal was really filling, and I actually felt to full for dessert. More restaurants should offer a single chocolate truffle or spoon of ice cream for dessert.

Instead, we nibbled after dinner mints from my purse.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Megan January 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Looks like you had an amazing dinner! I would say the bread almost ALWAYS predicts if I am going to love the meal or not! :)

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2 kelsey January 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

What an awesome dinner! So nice you and Karen could get together :)

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3 Megan January 31, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Your post also made me wish I wasn’t allergic to crab…the crab cakes look awesome!

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4 Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm

That dinner looks delicious! And I totally agree with you – there is NOTHING worse than cold bread in a basket to start the meal. Whenever we end up with cold bread, I always wonder if it’s like leftovers from someone else’s table and/or how long it was sitting out :-P

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5 Angela January 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm

It is awesome that you and your mother in law get along so well!! That meal looks awesome!

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6 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles January 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm

What a wonderful evening! :) You can judge a place on their bread, you are totally right!

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7 Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco January 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm

You take the best out-and-about pics. They’re just so beautiful! And I’m glad you had a nice time. ;)

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8 Hillary January 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm

You absolutely can judge a place on its bread. My dad and I went to one of the best restaurants in MD in December, and when he asked me what my favorite part was, I said the bread—and I meant it!

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9 Krystina January 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Since when do you have Maryland blood??

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10 KathEats January 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Since I was born!? My mom’s whole side of the family is from Baltimore.

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11 Mom January 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Kath made her first trip to Baltimore when she was six weeks old and has gone several times a year for her whole life. My dad lived in the city. My mom is from Catonsville. Oh Maryland, My Maryland…

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12 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I love mashed red potatoes! My mom used to boil them all the time as a side for dinner, so delicious!

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13 Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles January 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Bread quality most certainly predicts the quality of a restaurant in my books! My fave is when they serve it with a mixture of balsamic vinegar and good quality extra virgin olive oil…yummy! I could eat that as my meal alone! A bit of good cheese and wine and I am all set!

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14 Ash Bear January 31, 2012 at 8:41 pm

The four of us ladies actually talked about this during our lunch on Sunday. You most definitely can judge a restaurant by the bread basket! :)

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15 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Dinner looks delicious! It must be nice having family close by. I really miss they we don’t have family to get together with like that.

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16 kathleen @ the daily crumb January 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm

i love quality time with my mother in law!! i’m so happy you two have such a positive relationship — i have found that is not as common as i would hope.

mmmm crab cakes!

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17 Allison January 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm

My husband took me to dinner at Duner’s the night he proposed, almost 16 years ago! It wasn’t quite so fancy then but it was a nice restaurant.

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18 Nicole January 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I’m from Annapolis so I totally appreciate a good crabcake! I usually don’t even try ordering them when I’m anywhere other than MD since they rarely live up to ours ;) Glad yours did!

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19 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 31, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I’m insanely jealous of yours and Karen’s relationship. You are truly lucky to have such an amazing mother-in-law!

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20 Molly @ RDexposed January 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I think the test of a good restaurant is if the butter for the bread is room temp!

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21 Kelly @ Vegolosophy January 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Looked like such a lovely night, that is so great you have such a close relationship with your mother-in-law. Have a great night!

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22 Michelle (Better with Berries) January 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I agree that more restaurants should offer mini desserts – I’d be much more likely to get one!

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23 jana @ newly wife healthy life January 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm

You always find the best restaurants! Everything looks delicious, especially the crab cakes! The breading looks extra crispy, just the way I like it :-)

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24 Kerry @ Totes My Oats January 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I love being able to go to a great restaurant on a weekday and get a table no problem! It makes it so much fun and a special week night treat. :)

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25 J3nn(Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) January 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I love multiple-course dinners, too. It feels complete with a salad. Extra points for olives!

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26 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Warm bread, perfect crab cakes, and a fun dinnertime companion…sounds like a great girls night out!

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27 Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious January 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Okay, this is the second blog today that mentioned crab cakes, now I absolutely have to make my vegan Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh “Crab” Cakes. Slaw sounds like a good side dish, maybe a Cajun Slaw? Thanks for the great inspiration.

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28 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Do they really taste like crab!?

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29 Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious February 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Surprisingly yes! I even put them out at a party before, and people thought I caved and bought really seafood! I have to review my recipe, it has been awhile since I made them, but they have nori and dulse for a “fishy” flavor and Old Bay gives it that authentic taste. But the combo of tempeh with some chunky flakes of tofu provide a great crabby texture. I am sure if you put it up against a Maryland Crab Cake, it would not compare, but, for the vegans and strict vegetarians, it is a great match.

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30 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Very cool!

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31 Kristen @ Change of Pace January 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I so want a crab cake now! I haven’t had one in forever. Wouldn’t it be great if restaurants just offered a spoonful for dessert? Just a spoonful of chocolate mousse, a spoonful of tiramisu, a spoonful of carrot cake. Then it came out on a pretty spoon on a plate. You could get as many “spoonfuls” as you wanted :) Perfect!

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32 Tiffany January 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I love how both you and Matt spend quality time with your in-laws. I think that is such a sweet idea, lets you get to know your in-laws better and build a close relationship. :)

Dinner looks amazing especially the warm and doughy bread!!

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33 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Sometimes ladies nights are the best, especially when accompanied by delicious food! ;)

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34 Cait's Plate January 31, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Oh my gosh. That bread that bread. It is true that you can usually tell from the bread how good the rest of the meal is going to be! Glad you gals had a fun night together :)

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35 Sarah January 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Oh….I LOVE Duner’s! My favorite Charlottesville restaurant. We were in town visiting this past weekend — i’m new to your blog — and i soooo wanted to stop by the bakery, but didn’t make it on Saturday and was sad that it was closed on Sunday (but happy for you and I totally support closing on Sundays!! go chick-fil-a). Anyway – am glad that you made it to Duners. I dream of that hot bread with the melted butter (that i always spread on it). Note: they will let you split the crab cake meal (probably for a little extra) – but great way to get more bang for your buck – and i think they will also let you just order 1 crab cake. Love your blog!

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36 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

:) I had to have both crab cakes – so good!

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37 Catherine January 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm

You have mentioned Karen in so many of your posts, but I had no idea what your relationship was to her. Everyone seemed to know her, and I suspected she was more than a friend. Mystery solved!

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38 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

:) Every now and then I put in a “mother in law” for new or confused readers

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39 Meagan January 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I like how they dished out the potatoes with an ice cream scoop. Sounds like some dense goodness to me!

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40 Sydney@ Nutrition with Sydney January 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Sounds like you ladies treated yourself to a great night! And I love your dessert idea–just a bite of sweet is all you need at the end of a big meal! :)

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41 Bizzle January 31, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Yum! What did Karen have?

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42 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Grouper over mushroom risotto. It was good, but not outstanding. My photo came out blurry

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43 Angel7 January 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Even though I do not indulge in desserts after dinner–unless it is at a fancy schmancy restaurant where the desserts look phenomonal–icecream would be a nice, cold complement to cleanse your palate after dinner. When I was younger, I used to love the restaurants, mainly buffets, that had an icecream machine that you could use at your own discretion–all you can eat included icecream, too :)

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44 Cm @ Lazy Healthy January 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm

I have such mixed feelings about serving mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop at a nice restaurant. Kitschy? Tacky? Cute? Classy? All of the above? In this case, I’d say it looks relaxed and appealing.

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45 Anne January 31, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Shouldn’t the title of your post be “Women’s Night” since you ate dinner with Karen?

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46 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Yes, my bad!

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47 lindzjane115 February 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

So glad you finally got to Duner’s! The bread is amazing–i agree!

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48 Khushboo February 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

Agreed about the ice cream spoon…sometimes a bite is all that is needed to round up a meal!

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49 Nikki February 1, 2012 at 6:18 am

I’m often too full for desert as well, but crave a little something sweet to finish. A lot of restaurants around here (Belfast, Northern Ireland) have started offering mini deserts in shot glasses – you can get a selection of deserts or just one. They are the perfect size!

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50 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope February 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

I love crabcakes! Those look delicious and so do the mashed potatoes. :) I agree with you on the little something sweet after dinner. I wish restaurants did that!

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51 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

This Maryland girl is VERY PICKY about crab cakes. They need to be at least 90% crab with very few additional ingredients and broiled (not fried or BREADED!!). I must say, I make a mean crabcake. My husband is from Boston and does not understand my family’s (and every other native Marylander’s) fascination with crabs. We like to get a whole bushel, along with a bunch of beer, old bay, and malt vinegar and sit around a picnic table for hours pickin’ away. He says “it’s too much work.” Non-Marylanders just don’t get it.
And about the dessert- I totally agree. Having a little bite of quality chocolate is the perfect way to cap off dinner. I often carry a little piece in my purse (or and Adora!) for that reason. :)

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52 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Yes, I can’t stand them when they put onions and peppers and breadcrumbs – eww! I love me some crabs too! We usually steam those at the beach. It’s not too much work when you get a giant claw meat bonus!

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53 Anne P February 1, 2012 at 8:14 am

I couldn’t agree more about the cold bread thing. Why do restaurants EVER serve cold bread? It’s just sad. I was just saying that this weekend to Theodora, Ashley, and Tina.

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54 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio February 1, 2012 at 8:24 am

What fun!! I think it’d great that your mother-in-law is so close and that y’all have a good relationship!

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55 Jules @ La Petite Maison Verte February 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

The only thing worse than a restaurant serving cold bread is when the butter served with it is ice-cold and rock-hard!! How do they expect you to spread it on their (cold) bread?

You’re brave to order crab cakes outside of Maryland, the rare times I have I’ve been disappointed (Annapolis, Maryland-native here), so glad they didn’t overload them with fillers -eww!

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56 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

How fun! Excellent eats haha :)

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57 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count February 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

Sounds like a lovely evening!

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58 Andrea @FrSeed2Stomach February 1, 2012 at 9:32 am

You’re from MD? I lived in Baltimore for 4 years after college, where I acquired a taste… er… a LOVE for crab cakes. Looks delish!

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59 ~Christy February 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

I love, love, love crab cakes…and mashed potatoes for that matter so that looks like a dream meal to me :) Ambiance was nice, too. Totally agree about dessert…sometimes a little tidbit is all you need.

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60 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs February 1, 2012 at 10:32 am

Your meal sounds delicious!

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61 Elizabeth @ Chronic Venture February 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

mmm duner’s is a great place! and so cute!

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62 Laura February 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Hey Kath! Just wondering if you always call Karen “Karen” and not “mom.” I have been married a year and feel so awkward calling my MIL “mom”. So when talking to my husband, I say “your mom.” What does Matt call your parents?

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63 KathEats February 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I always call her Karen – unless I’m trying to make a joke or something.

Matt calls my parents Buzz and Cliff. I think the mom and dad for the in-laws is a bit too much for our family

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64 [email protected] February 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

My mother-in-law asked me to call her mom, which I knew she meant sweetly, but I had a hard time with it. I might ask you mother-in-law if you can call her by her first name. She might be fine with it.

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65 erika February 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Kath I MUST know, where do you get your small cinnamon altoids from? I much prefer the small altoids to regular size (I think their stronger) but I’ve never found the cinnamon ones!

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66 Dominique February 2, 2012 at 12:14 am

My fiance and I met in high school and I was introduced to his parents as “Mr” and “Mrs” and I still call them that. I don’t think that’ll ever change (even after we get married) unless they tell me I can start calling them by their first names. The same goes for my fiance and my parents. He calls them “Mr” and “Mrs” as well. The only parents I call by their first name are parents of a friend of mine because one day, the dad said “What am I old? Call me Sam.” So Sam it is!

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67 Amy @ A Little Nosh February 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

As a Baltimore native, I’m always fearful of trying crabcakes outside of my hometown. Glad you enjoyed those!

And also, so nice that you’re so close with your MIL. Wow.

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68 Michael Tavallaei May 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

duners looks like a great place.

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