Monday, March 23, 2020

The Best Meal in Howard County

The best meal I have ever eaten in Howard County wasn’t a meal, exactly, but an evening of food and drink sampling put on by the Weckers of Cured/18th & 21st for area media types. I mention it here in a piece entitled “Social Studies”. Waitstaff brought us plate after plate of carefully chosen selections from the menus of both of the newly opened restaurants. There were special beer, wine, and cocktail recommendations as well.

It was the kind of food where each new taste prompted you to stop and really experience it. The flavors, aromas, and textures combined with beautiful presentation and even carefully-selected plates and bowls to create a bouquet of sensory delight.

Each course was interspersed with brief talks on  subjects such as the history of the restaurant, the evolution of the “Cured”  and “18th & 21st” concepts, how new cocktails are created and executed, choosing tableware to go with menu items, and the personality of each side of the restaurant. We learned about food choices, drink choices, interior design and decoration, music, and mood.

It was a gracious and low key experience. I didn’t feel a hard sell. What I did feel was the pride of our hosts and their sincere belief in what they had created. They didn’t hover as we ate but remained nearby if needed. They had set up the evening so that everything would open like a flower, petal by petal. I was struck by the creativity involved when hearing one gentleman describe how his idea for a signature cocktail had come to him, how he had jotted it down and put it in his back pocket.

It was every bit as much the creative process as that of a composer, poet, or artist.

If you haven’t been there already, I should point out that the visuals are stunning. I didn't save the photos I took that night in 2018, so I will send you to their website. Take a virtual tour.

Cured/18th & 21st Virtual Tour

Since none of us are are really going anywhere today, that virtual tour could do most of us some good.

Today is my birthday. It’s going to be quite different from any other birthday I have ever celebrated. I’m grateful to be with my family and have enough of what we need to get by. We will make of that a party in our own way. But in my mind’s eye I am holding space for a birthday dinner at 18th & 21st once this is all over and we are safe to make new plans. I want to sit in the stunning beauty of that room, listen to jazz on the piano, and savor each delicious moment.


Stephen Wecker has started a fund to help support his staff during the quarantine. Have a little extra to share? Put some in their jar.

Support our Cured/18th & 21st Family

They’re also doing curbside carry out. 

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