There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Though it’s walking distance from my home, though it’s been in operation as a restaurant since 1931, and though it was a regular stop on my family’s Christmas-light tours when I was young (“Look—cats on the roof!”), I never knew what was inside Mrs. K’s Toll House on Colesville Road in Silver Spring until I read Debbie Nunley and Karen Jane Elliott’s book A Taste of Maryland History: A Guide to Historic Eateries and Their Recipes. The pair specializes in recipe-slash-travel books, and they seem to be working their way through the mid-Atlantic. (The similarly titled Virginia companion volume is also available.) Now I know that Mrs. K’s is crazy with Lutz glass, pottery, and Staffordshire china. And if I like the accompanying bread-pudding recipe, I may just make a reservation to compare. Other local eateries examined include the Strathmore Tea Room, the Rams Head in Annapolis, and even—rather surprisingly—Summit Station in Gaithersburg. The authors are nothing if not discreet: Reviewing the Blair Mansion Inn, which straddles the District line in Shepherd Park, much is made of a 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition Award–winning grandfather clock in the foyer and the “fabulous” pineapple fritters, with nary a hint that the once-stately building currently overlooks some fairly shabby real estate, including a liquor store, a laundromat, and—where I and most of the locals dine—a KFC/Taco Bell combo with drive-thru. The authors will dish about dishes, offer a food tasting, and host a contest to win a stay at Virginia’s Manor House at Poplar Springs or at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Md. Nunley and Elliott speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Olsson’s Books and Records, 7647 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda. Free. (301) 652-3336. (Dave Nuttycombe)