Carrot Cake has been in my culinary vocabulary for decades. It all started a very long time ago when TSGT Jeter, with whom I worked while stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, offered me his wife’s Carrot Cake recipe. I tried it, loved it, and as they say, the rest is history. The original recipe from his wife, well-loved and well-stained, is framed and on display at the counter in Tony’s Off Third. But as most chefs do, I love to be creative, so the recipe has had a few modifications over the years. We continue to use the freshest ingredients including real carrots and butter, but I have increased the volume of spice a little to get a stronger but equally pleasant taste. I have no idea how many thousands of Carrot Cakes we have baked at Tony’s or will continue to make. Our Carrot Cake is just that: no nuts, pineapple or raisins. My favorite way to enjoy the cake is as a cupcake, fresh from the oven and still warm with its spice perfume still in the air. It amazes me how something so simple can be so good. The Carrot Cake slice served at Ridgway is a generous one. It is not some au currant take on carrot cake; it is the real deal. Easy to share with others or splurge for one. Baking is in my blood and I find great pleasure in exploring new variations on every recipe. This passion is also shared by the bakery staff at Tony’s and in the kitchens at Ridgway and Bayside. Yet above everything, taste trumps creativity and we’ve found that a choice piece of fish or meat needs little more than perfect grilling to win over the critics. Sometimes the best things in life are the things we hold dear from the past – like our loyal dining guests and a simple slice of freshly baked Carrot Cake.