We flipped a coin then headed south. Mrs. Columbo and I have a thing a for sun rises over the Atlantic. We've never been to Ocean City and figured that would do for a semi-impromptu road trip. We'd bunk at the Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel, the balcony just off the beach was great, the suite clean, well equipped, ample in size. The place is dated, the one restaurant open off-season is lackluster with a Golden Girls vibe, towels are tired, the shower head something found in a 2 star motel.
We got up at the crack of dawn to catch the sun rising over the Atlantic, listening to the crash of the waves while sipping coffee. With no schedule to keep we decided to relax then have a late breakfast. We headed over to Layton's Family Restaurant known as Layton's 16th Street since they opened a second location on the north end of town. It's a large kid friendly place with a tacky mix of pirate ship and Top Gun themes. When you look over the two pages of breakfast menu you begin to think a decent meal can be had. Being in Ocean City where crab is king, seafood item breakfast choices are plenty. I stepped out of my breakfast comfort zone ordering the Seafood Omelet, crab cake, grilled shrimp, topped with hollandaise sauce and Old Bay. I added bacon because I have a hard time imagining breakfast without it. I really enjoyed my omelet but to do it again I'd ask to go light on the hollandaise. My wife likes pancakes so I took notice when she exclaimed "fluffiest pancakes ever". The coffee was a C+ at best. The young servers were friendly and fast. This also being a donut shop, it was nice of the manager to walk around offering samples. The donuts are grade A, we took a half dozen back to the hotel.
I Ocean City is nice, we like beach towns, we're also big fans of walkable downtowns with historic charm. Not exactly what Ocean City is offering up. Nearby the town of Belin has a historic Mainstreet Downtown. We took the short drive, walked the charming streets looking for a meal. The Mainstreet Enchanted Tea Room was up for consideration, where we could experience a proper British tea service. Wanting some heftier fare the Atlantic Hotel Bistro Bar a.k.a. Drummer's Café won the day. We sat in the enclosed porch so I could watch the cars and people go by. I started with the Crab Dip, Mrs. Columbo doesn't eat anything from the sea. We shared the Twin Kabobs of Filet Mignon. Both starters were damn tasty. From the Sunday Brunch Special menu I had the Omelet, 3 organic eggs, lobster, spinach, Havarti cheese, home fries, fruit, Texas Toast. The omelet is a joy bite for bite but the home fries were a pleasant surprise not just some after thought. My wife ordered the Avocado Vegetable Wrap, it was large and she seemed to enjoy it. The coffee was great, bold enough to be interesting, perfectly smooth for breakfast.
Some interesting history of the Atlantic Hotel: atlantichotel.com/berlin-md-hotel-history/
Dinner coverage is usually not my purview yet we liked Liquid Assets, 9301 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842. We liked it so much that we went back a second night. An interesting concept, someone dropped a bar right in the middle of a fully stocked liquor store, with an attached dinning room serving 5 star cuisine. Over two nights we had Oyster Rockefeller, Rotisserie Chicken and Dumplings, Seared Scallops Risotto, New York Strip and the Wagyu Burger. "We believe that farm fresh food is always better than frozen...local, freshly prepared, high-quality ingredients", for the first time I had Oyster Rockefeller not frozen from a box and it was amazing. Make reservations this place is very popular.