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January 3, 2014

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34 FRIDAY, JANUARY 3 - MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014 Cape Gazette New Milton restaurant is traditional with a twist By Nick Roth larger than the 14-seat space she had on Union Street. A bigger kitchen also allowed her to in- Ami Rae's local roots run deep. clude a dinner menu. With a family history that can be "I tried to bridge the gap be- traced back to the 1600s in the tween casual and upper scale," Cape Region, she knows what said Joseph Charles, executive it's like to be from eastern Sus- chef and business partner. "It's sex County. Heritage and history not really f'me dining, but a place are integral to her new Milton where you can go grab a burger restaurant, The Backyard, where with your kids or you can make she offers a friendly, inviting at- it a date night." mosphere for her neighbors. Prior to moving to the Cape "The largest part ofthe concept Region, Charles worked for of The Backyard is community," celebrity chef Jos6 Andrrs in said Rae. "We wanted to create a Washington, D.C. Andrrs was space that is comfortable for all named one of the world's 100 members of the community to most influential people by Time Come either for a cup of coffee Magazine in 2012. Charles is also a muffin or for a special din- a graduate of the Culinary Insti- ner, and everything in between." tute of America in Hyde Park, The Backyard started out as an N.Y. Charles' parents are good expansion of Rae's Vintage Cafe friends with Rae's in-laws, and in downtown Milton, but as plan- that connection blossomed into ning got underway, she realized The Backyard. she had something much bigger. The name of the restaurant is "When we decided on this indicative of the concept, Rae property, we saw it needed a said. The Backyard will feature slightly new concept," she said. seasonal menus with ingredients The 59-seat restaurant is much found locally, a style she calls traditional twisted: traditional in the sense that she knows food in the Cape Region, but twisted in that Charles has an outsider's perspective and Rae adds what she's learned from her travels. "It's familiar flavors we've just put our twist on," she said. Joining Charles and Rae at the restaurant is executive pastry chef Edith Enriquez, who worked with Charles in Houston before relocating to the Washington, D.C. area, where she worked for Trump National Golf Club and Fluffy Thoughts Bakery, where she was manager and head baker, making wedding and birthday cakes as well as cupcakes and other assorted pastries. At The Backyard, Enriquez produces everything in house, from muffins and cookies to the croissants used for sandwich- es. She said freshly made food stands out. "It makes a difference," she said. "It makes your visit worth- while. You go out to eat to get something different, something you wouldn't necessarily make at home." To help create the backyard, neighborhood feel, The Back- Continued on page 40 NICK ROTH PHOTO.~ EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF EDITH ENRIQUEZ, left, and Executive Chef Jo seph Charles have partnered with Ami Rae to open The Backyard restauran on Route 16 in Milton. The Backyard's 59-seat setup is a major upgrade from Ami Rae's last venturq the 14-seat Vintage Cafe. Rae and her husband designed most of the restat rant's interior. I'd like to thank my friend Tom Wayson from the Back Porch Caf6 for catching a thoughtless gaffe in last week's column. In my short list of people who would be touched by LaLa Land's disappearance from the Wilmington Avenue landscape, I failed to acknowl- edge that one of those people, Chef David Keener, is no longer with us. Along with LaLa Land opening chef and co-owner Robert Carney (who passed away two years ago), he helped make that chapter of Rehoboth history the epicenter of fun, food and frolic that it was for so many years. It's still amazing to stand back and watch how much of the in-season hustle and bustle continues well into the winter, with restaurants boldly opening when no restaurant had opened before. Many of our mainstays host various events that not only keep the lights on, but keep local foodies busy as well. Liquid nitrogen dewar in one hand and calendar in the other, a(MUSE.) chef and boss Hari Cameron is already setting dates for wine and whiskey dinners. So mark your calen- dars: Friday, Feb. 21, will feature clever pairings with Hudson Whiskey (the first New York farm/distillery since Prohi- bition). On March 31, also a Friday, Hari follows the lead of his 2013 Salvador Dali event by combining art and farm wines. Villa San ]uliette and Bouchaine will showcase their star vin- tages on Friday, April U, and Thursday, May 8, respectively. And by the way, don't forget the late-night food specials at the bar. You just might run into a favorite chef, manager, server - or restaurant columnist - gently self-medicating after a busy night slingin' hash (or pontifi- cating about it). Out on the highway, Nage (Hari's alma mater) is holding its third annual Winter Cocktail Party Sunday, ]an. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. Chef Ted Deptula whips up some pretty impressive hors d'oeuvres to complement the food stations and potent house- infusions. And do not miss the hot chocolate bar! Visit www. to reserve yourself a spot. That guy beat me to the punch (bowl) yet again with his Christmas Eve morning an- nouncement on Bulldog's Rude Awakening Show at 98.1. To wit: Touch of Italy is indeed opening another little bit of the Bronx - but this time it's in FINS ALE HOUSE & RAW BAR features red It's delicious. Ocean City, Md. The location is still under wraps, but suffice it to say that the place is huge, smack dab on the Atlantic and will be run by a well-known Manhattan restaurateur who appeared with Bobby Flay on NORMA PARKS PHO~ velvet cake from Smith Islar Food Network. More oblique hints are forthcoming. Anybody who's been to the new Fins Ale House and Raw Bar on the Highway knows that the place is already a hit, Continued on page