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Leaving a good taste

Created date

February 28th, 2009

By Danielle Rexrode

Americans are increasingly eating in 66% of fine dining patrons and 52% of casual diners admitted they are dining out less often than a year ago.

But those living at

Charlestown and Oak Crest haven t changed eating habits one bit.

"A group of us meets three times a week for breakfast," says Roy Haslup, of Charlestown, a Catonsville community by Erickson. Haslup belongs to a group of men who lovingly call themselves R.O.M.E.O. (Retired Old Men Eating Out). They meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at one of Charlestown s six restaurants to discuss the news over everything from eggs to blueberry waffles.

The spice of life

A retirement community may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of great food. Don t tell that to Charlestown s Executive Chef Mark Badin. "It can get tricky trying to satisfy the appetites of 2,200 people," says Badin, "but our goal is to make healthy, delicious meals from the freshest ingredients; and I think we do a great job."

Badin attended the California Culinary Academy and the Culinary Institute of America. He also trained at Disney. "I ran the food in 3 lands and 14 locations," says Badin. He adds that there s a similarity between working at Disney and Charlestown: "I can come out from the kitchen and chat with folks enjoying their meals."

One of those folks is Alice Krohn, who dines at Charlestown s Chesapeake Restaurant up to five times a week. "I really appreciate the variety on the menu," says Krohn, who attended the Francois Pope School of Gourmet Cooking in Chicago and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. "There s always something that appeals to me," she says, noting the artichoke and mushroom salad is a favorite.

While the rest of America is settling for ground beef instead of steak, Krohn hasn t felt the pinch. "I normally eat a light breakfast or lunch at home and enjoy dinner in the Chesapeake," says Krohn, "so I don t spend a lot of money on condiments and cooking items you would normally use to prepare meals." Krohn says she realizes that eating out is no longer affordable for everyone, but living at Charlestown where one meal a day is included in the monthly service package has allowed her to continue frequenting her favorite area restaurants.

Soup to nuts

Registered dietitian Del Lloyd is impressed with the four restaurants at Oak Crest, a community by Erickson in Parkville, where she lives. "Everything from soups and salads to beef, chicken, or fish is on the menu any night of the week," says Lloyd, who serves as a liaison between residents and Dining Services. "The dining rooms themselves are delightful cloth napkins and full-service. Plus, you don t have to make a reservation."

Lloyd says she has rarely cooked since moving to Oak Crest. "I have my choice of meal included [in my monthly service package], and they also offer carry out." When she s not dining at Oak Crest, Lloyd patronizes her favorite restaurants in Towson, where she used to reside. "I go out there for lunch a lot," Lloyd says. "Sometimes I go out to dinner with friends. When I see the prices on the menus, I appreciate what a spectacular job they do here at Oak Crest offering such a large variety of delicious food within a budget."