The team here at ShoreBread sometimes has the daunting task of visiting cool local events, spending the day in our local towns and interviewing some really great local people. Last evening was no different as we were invited to the Golden Ticket event at Culture to sample their brand new menu, which debuts today. The concept, created by owners, Travis and Jodi Wright, truly brings a whole new global flavor to West Ocean City. The plan is that each year on Earth Day, the menu completely changes for 365 days in an effort to indulge us with culture that we may not enjoy otherwise.
If you ever have the opportunity to meet Travis and Jody, the passion and love that they have for their work truly is evident. It’s a family affair, too. Seated at the dinner table with us were Travis’ parents who were on deck to paint the trim and update the décor for the restaurant in between courses. Culture provides an incredibly comfortable atmosphere with service that is second to none. From the time that we entered the restaurant to when it was time to say goodnight, all of the Culture team members were warm, welcoming, and very gracious.
Now, onto the super awesome food! We are excited to report that the theme for this next menu is Street Food. Yes, all of your favorites that are normally served from food trucks and street carts can now be found in one little gem of a restaurant located on Rt. 610. It’s very rare that we can walk away from the table without having chosen a favorite course, but we were absolutely stumped this time.
The first course served was a take on Fish n’ Chips made with Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish. The Chesapeake Bay Blue Catfish has a bad reputation for being an invasive fish in our local waters, but the taste of this fish will make you feel guilty for hoping that it doesn’t go away too soon. The Culture Team prepared this flaky white fish in a secret cornmeal batter that is lightly fried and served with a homemade tartar sauce. On the side, you will find homemade French fries made from small potatoes that have been blanched twice to provide a delicate and crispy exterior.
The second course was an Arepa, which is a traditional street food found in Venezuela. In Mexican culture, the Arepa is also known as a Tostada. The Arepa served to us last night was a beautiful cornmeal pouch filled with smoked pulled pork BBQ, house made pimento cheese and crispy slaw. Oh. My. Goodness. The Arepa found on the Culture menu will feature five different fillings to choose from and you can order the Arepa entrée with side dishes or single Arepas. Can’t decide which Arepa to try first? No worries, you won’t have to with the individual order option. You can try them all! Bonus: as most of the items that we tasted last night, this dish is gluten-free.
Third course up is one that was very near and dear to Travis’ heart and the cultural area in which he grew up. The Wright family hails from Arlington, VA where so many different cultures can be found in the schools, businesses and on the city streets. One of his favorite restaurants was a little Portuguese restaurant that served a chicken sandwich that he simply fell in love with and would not soon forget. The Culture spin on this sandwich begins with the multigrain whole wheat bread that is specially prepared by Crack of Dawn Bakery in Berlin. This distinct roll is then filled with shredded Portuguese chicken that Culture has become famous for, triple crème brie cheese, sautéed onions and peppers, and then finished with verde sauce. This chicken sandwich truly is a game changer.
The grand finale to our menu tasting was the crawfish etouffee. A seafood and vegetable dish that is synonymous with New Orleans and surrounding areas. Etouffee in French is known as “smothered” and this delicacy begins with the “Holy Grail”, which is comprised of Vidalia onions, crisp celery, and green bell pepper. Once a few secret ingredients are added and this concoction is stewed down, crawfish harvested directly from the waters of Louisiana are added and simmered a little longer. The etouffee is then served over a bed of warm rice to help soak up the smoky and just ever-so-slightly spicy blend. This dish is a fantastic side kick to the corn pudding that Culture prepares on a daily basis. The sweet from the corn is a great balancing act for the seasoning that you will find in the Etouffee.
Fact: Did you know that only 7% of the seafood served in the United States is actually local seafood? Yes, a sad fact but true and one of the reasons why Travis and Jodi work so hard to serve their guests as many local ingredients as possible. Working with local fisherman and farms, you will often find ingredients on the menu that are harvested from within a 30-mile radius of the Culture Restaurant.
Sadly, the tasting came to an end and the Culture crew had to get back to work preparing their venue for today’s grand reveal. Good news for everyone out there is that beginning today and for the next year, you too can enjoy these very delicious offerings prepared by the Culture team! Offering both dine-in and convenient carry-out options, Culture has you covered for fast and truly delicious service. So, pack the car with your nearest and dearest and take a little drive down Sunset Avenue, today. We can assure you that the Street Food menu presented by Culture has definitely been worth the wait. Enjoy!