Written By Carol Cahall

Looking for a unique place to take Mom for Mother’s Day? A restaurant that offers exquisite regional American cuisine and remarkable wine in an enchanting, historical atmosphere with excellent service would do the trick, if you knew where to find it. The Brick Ridge restaurant in Mount Airy is the answer.

The design of the Brick Ridge around regional American cuisine is a reflection of the passions of owner and manager Todd Bricken.

“I love to travel around the U.S. and stay with relatives and friends,” said Bricken. “Regional home cooking is a fascinating study. I take those recipes and whenever possible, incorporate them into the menu here at the restaurant.”

Bricken, a 1990 graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, still spends 20 to 25 hours a week preparing food at the restaurant.

“Everything is made here on the premises, including the desserts,” he said.

The menu at the Brick Ridge offers a standing selection of 15 entrees in addition to the regional specials. The culinary team groups recipes from three or four states together and selects two regional entrŽe specials. The specials change weekly and are posted on the restaurant’s web site (www.Brickridge.com).

The main room of the restaurant is actually housed in Ridge No. 4, a one-room school house built in 1892. When the school closed its doors in 1947, it became the home of various eating establishments, clubs and other businesses. Longtime residents of the area remember the building as the Quail Ridge Inn, a restaurant that was part of the Mt. Airy community from 1975 to the spring of 1999.

Eighteen months of renovation and restoration revealed the original brick of the structure. The framing of the original school chalk boards are still in evidence. In addition to bringing back the historical appeal of the building, Bricken expanded the kitchen and updated all the equipment.

The outside of the building was also given a face lift. Bricken erected a split rail fence in front of the property and landscaped the building. The gardens, meticulously tended by his mother and easily viewed from the dining room, contribute to the atmosphere of the experience. Customers often stroll along the lighted stone walkway to admire the plantings.

From wine tasting events to bridal teas, from rehearsal dinners to intimate birthday parties, the Brick Ridge is the place to make memories. The Wednesday afternoon tea, held once a month, is as close to high tea with the queen as you will find in the area. And if you want to enjoy the Brick Ridge’s outstanding fare at the location of your choosing, the restaurant offers offsite catering.

The Brick Ridge is located at 6212 Ridge Road, Mount Airy, MD 21771. For business hours and further information, call 301-829-8191.


Pecan Encrusted Salmon
2 Pounds salmon fillet, skinned
1 1/2 Cups pecans, chopped
2 Tablespoons oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 15-Ounce can mandarin oranges, pureed
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Ounces golden rum
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch

Add oranges and brown sugar to saucepan. Bring to boil over high
heat. While oranges and sugar are heating, using a fork or hand whip,
mix rum and cornstarch in small bowl. Add rum and corn starch to
orange mixture,. Continue stirring over high heat until sauce comes to
a full boil. Remove from heat.

Divide Salmon into 4 portions. Press chopped nuts onto both sides of
salmon. Heat oil in sautŽ pan over high heat. Add each salmon filet to
pan with presentation side down. Season with salt and pepper
Cook salmon until pecans are light brown. Turn salmon over and finish
cooking in a 375 degree oven for 5-7 minutes depending on how you
like your fish. Serve with mandarin sauce.

Citrus Sesame Ginger Dressing
Serve over your favorite greens tossed with mandarin orange
Recipe yields about 5 cups of dressing
2 Cups Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 Cups orange juice
1 Cup rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 Teaspoon white pepper
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 Large canned roasted red pepper, chopped
1/2 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Cup sesame oil

Using a hand blender or egg beater slowly incorporate orange juice
and rice vinegar into Hoisin sauce. Add ginger and sweet red pepper
and pulse with hand mixer until mixed to desired consistency. Add
sesame seeds, white pepper, crushed red pepper. While mixing, slowly
add the sesame oil. Chill dressing or serve immediately.

San Fran Pork Chops

Grill und Serve with Asian Slaw ¥ Serves 6
1 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup Orange sauce
1 /2 Cup white wine
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh garlic chopped
1 Teaspoon black peppers coarse ground
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup dark sesame Oil

Mix all ingredients in plastic container. Submerge pork chops for at
least 12 hrs. Grill for approximately 6-8 minutes each side or roast in
375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until fully cooked

Ginger Slaw

Serve with Grilled Pork Chop ¥ Serves 6
2 Cups cabbage, shredded
1 Cup carrots, shredded
1 Cup haricots verts or baby green beans, should be tender
3/8 Cup rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
11/4 Cup orange juice
1 1/2 Teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 Teaspoons fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 Cup Hoisin sauce
1 Each canned red peppers, jullienned
1 Each lemon zest and juice
Toss all together in bowl until fully incorporated. Store in plastic tub.

Twin Cities Chicken
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Cooked white and wild rice
1 Cup Shredded Soft Cheese, such as havarti, Gouda or Monterey jack
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Oil
Flour for Coating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make horizontal slice in each chicken
breast. Mix cooked rice, cheese and dill together. Lightly season the
inside of each chicken breast with salt and pepper. Fill with even
amount of rice mixture.

Heat oil in sautŽ pan or skillet over high heat. Dust each chicken breast
with flour. Carefully place each chicken breast, topside first in hot oil.
SautŽ until golden, then carefully turn over. Place chicken and pan in
oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or, until internal
temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Serve with Rice and vegetables ¥ Serves 4
1 Tablespoon Chopped Shallots
Pinch of salt
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 ounce white wine

SautŽ shallots in butter over medium heat until tender. Add wine, salt
and pepper and bring to simmer. Continue to simmer until wine is
reduced by 1/2. Place Chicken Breast on plate and cover with sauce.