Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I've been wanting to go here for so long, and finally decided to when I was in the mood for something ethnic and Chili's wasn't going to cut it :) I am SO glad we came. This really is a gem of a place and I hope that it continues to thrive. First of all, I must mention it is a BYOB and so I brought along that delicious Argentinian Malbec that I blogged about previously. It went great with the food. But, let's start talking about it.
We ordered two appetizers, the Mango Shrimp ($8.95) and the Hummus ($4.95). The mango shrimp was Dan's favorite, and mine was the hummus. I felt that the shrimp, which was made with with onions and vegetables in a mango chutney and garlic sauce, was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too saucy, and almost too sweet. There also wasn't enough shrimp for the sauce, nor enough bread. OK, this sounds like I don't like it...and I admit I wasn't floored- but Dan loved it.
There was a substantial amount of hummus, and I wished there was more bread. I didn't really understand the whole deal with the pickles, but I kept going. Overall it was a very smooth and yummy hummus, with a mint flavor to it which threw me off a little bit. I think, if I had the choice I wouldn't order either of these and order this choice instead: Haleem Bademjune
A dip of eggplant and beans with sour cream, garlic, walnuts and spices. Similar to baba ganoush.
($5.95). Mmmm doesn't that sound yummy?
For the main meal, Dan chose the Mixed Kebobs dish which came with beef tenderloin, ground beef, and chicken breasts ($16.95). Overall, this was very tasty and prepared very well but I think because I can get the same thing at Moby Dick's in Silver Spring for half the price...it underwhelmed me.
Oh dear, this doesn't seem like a positive post, does it? I think this was a really good meal, but not something I would order- so I guess that it's hard to recommend it. If you wanted to try Persian food for the first time-- this is the way to go to be introduced to the flavors in a very safe way. Oh yea, and rice was cooked perfectly!
But here is where I first saw fireworks. The Chicken Fesenjune ($16-17...i forget). AMAZING. AMAZING. YUMMY. DELICIOUSNESS ALL AROUND. Chicken Fesenjune is chicken in a walnut-pomegranate sauce. This sauce is probably the most incredible sauce out of the history of all sauces. There's a perfect balance of tangy and sweet from the pomegranate, while the walnuts gave the sauce good body. The chicken was amazing! It was falling from the bone and every bite in my mouth was heavenly. I really cannot get over this dish.
This is saying a lot because I've had this dish many times, in fact it is my favorite Persian dish-- and this meet my expectations and more. I WHOLE HEARTEDLY recommend this dish to you. Please try it and let me know what you think. It's a classic Persian dish that I think a lot of people wouldn't think twice about ordering. Please think twice!
You'd think that after that culinary delight, my senses wouldn't be able to handle anything else....oh but I HAD to try dessert! When you ask for the dessert menu, they actually bring a tray out with all their desserts, and there were quite a number of choices (mostly cake-like). The napoleon was also on the tray, which was a flaky pastry stuffed with saffron ice cream and topped with candied orange peel.
YUM. I WISH A PLATE OF THIS WOULD DROP IN MY LAP RIGHT NOW AND FALL UPRIGHT WITH A SPOON SO THAT I CAN EAT IT.
The saffron ice cream is subtle but flavorful and pairs incredibly well with the light pastry. The candied orange is a reallly nice touch, and even though it may have been mostly for a garnish-- i still polished it off. But honestly, the ice cream is really where the love was. I pretty much gasped with delight at each bite. Oh yea, and Dan loved it too :O)
Please go there and support this delicious restaurant!!!!
No. This is not a Maryland wine. I was very hesitant about posting this since this has nothing to do with Baltimore, except for the fact that I bought it at Swirl Wine (earlier post!).
But...I couldn't help myself. This was one of the best wines I have ever tasted AND
1) It's organic!
2) It was $12!!!!!
This is a terrible picture, so let me spell things out:
Vineyard: Santa Julia
Delicious! Incredibly smooth. Incredibly yummy! (I told you I cannot describe wine).
If you find it in your local wine shop (Swirl?), then why don't you pick up a bottle for dinner!
Overall, their wines were good but nothing stood out to me on this trip. I did like the opportunity to taste their Malbec ($22) since I like that varietal. It smelled very strong, but it was actually a mild taste. One wine I didn't like was their Syrah, sadly enough, since it was the first Maryland Syrah! Oh well...
I also liked how they had bread and cheese for you to buy with any glasses of wine. Cute place.
Elk Run Vineyards
15113 Liberty Road
Mt. Airy, MD 21771
But first let me say, tastings cost $2, or $5 if you want to keep a souvenir glass. You are able to taste whatever wines they have on the counter-- but it was a nice variety. I tried 7 wines. These are small tastings, let me remind you!!!!
For some reason I tasted a lot of mint in these wines, and in one I thought it tasted like mustard (The Country Classic). I think the problem with my distaste for these wines is that I tasted them right after tasting all those sweet wines back at Linganore. I'm pretty sure my taste buds had not recovered.
I hate to give a Maryland winery a bad review, but it's important to be honest. If you go to Mt. Airy, definitely check this place out and if you go to a wine festival-- please visit their tent and see for yourself!
14001 Liberty Road
Mt. Airy, MD 21771
One of my most favorite ways to pass the time is to visit a winery (or some wineries). I love wineries. They are usually set in the most gorgeous locations, surrounded by really friendly and interesting people, and they usually have wine tastings! I've been meaning to go to Linganore Winecellars for a couple of years now. They probably have the most extensive wine list of any Maryland winery, and they allow you to taste any and all of them for free when you visit! I would advise you not to do that if you want to accomplish anything else that day :)
The Red wines I loved were the cabernet sauvignon ($18.87) and Chambourcin ($26.41).
My absolute favorites, however, were the pure fruit wines. They were delicious! Definitely not something you could drink a lot of-- they are all very sweet--but perfect for sipping on summer nights. The fruit wines included: Peach, Plum, Stawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry and Blueberry (range from $12.26-16.04). I ended up buying the Raspberry wine ($12.15) which won the 2007 Governor's Cup Gold.
What I took home. Yum.
13601 Glissans Mill Road
Mt. Airy, MD 21771
Here is more info:
Road Tasted With the Neelys: "Baltimore." Pat and Gina discover savory pies, cupcakes, and crab cakes in Baltimore, Maryland. 9:30 p.m. ET, Food Network
Monday, August 25, 2008
Melt butter and add enough flour to make a reasonably thick roux (enough to absorb all of the butter). Add milk and Parmesan cheese. Add egg to thicken sauce, but do not allow sauce to boil. Remove from heat. Fold in whipped cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey and toast. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of bacon on top, and serve immediately.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
While we are talking about their cafe, let me quickly say something about the grocery store itself. Grauls gives out A LOT of samples on the weekends and they are always great! Their employees behind the deli are usually in a foul mood, but the rest of the peeps are great. They have really delicious carrot cake, brownies, pastries, fruit tarts etc etc. They make their sushi in-store, and I've seen the same sushi chef for YEARS (he does a great job).
That being said, if I wanted to pick milk up fast, or get some deli meat (Shopper's deli meat ALWAYS gets slimy on me before the end of the week), or maybe pick up some unusual cheese and don't feel like going to Wegman's-- then this is the place for me. Other than that, the main groceries get done at either Sam's Club (don't judge me) or Shopper's.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I discovered Miss Shirley's a couple of years ago when it was in its old location across the street. I remember getting lunch but wishing in my mind that I had ordered breakfast instead. In fact, there was one menu item in particular I wished I had ordered: Coconut cream stuff french toast with bruleed bananas. I mean, seriously? If you've been reading this blog long enough, or if you know me well enough (and the two people that read this blog do) you know that I love sweets. But I digress. The appetizer that I really enjoy are the sweet potato fries with mango ketchup and lemon aioli on the side ($4.25). The mango ketchup is by far the more superior dip, and I also like the fact that anyone can make it. I bet it's pretty much mango puree (buy it in a can) and ketchup mixed together. I can't distinguish any other flavors other than those two, which is fine with me. The fries themselves are soft and perfectly salted. I also really like the presentation.
I, of course, ordered the French toast ($11) and cut into it with moans and sighs of pure love. The serving is ridiculously huge and I can never eat all of it, so if you eat with me at Miss Shirley's, you will probably have half of this meal. I LOVE the creamy middle of the french toast and I love pairing that with the soft bread and strawberries on the side. The bruleed bananas are sugared perfection- really crispy and not burnt at all. I really love everything about this dish, other than the fact that I probably consume 5 million calories in 20 minutes (ok fine, 10).
The one disappointment was Dan's Seafood salad for $17. It was caesar salad with a horseradish caesar dressing, crab, shrimp and a ton of old bay. It didn't appeal to me, and unfortunately it didn't appeal to Dan either when he tried it. The horseradish sauce completed overwhelmed the dish, the old bay didn't seem to fit with the dressing, and the grilled shrimp were cold. There wasn't anything to complain about to the kitchen, I think this was purely something that had to do with taste.
What I felt promising though was even though Dan disliked his main dish, he still really loved the place. He enjoyed the sweet potato fries and he loved my dish (who wouldn't!!!) and he said he would happily come again. Considering that he hated his main dish-- that's pretty impressive!
If I come again, I would probably try and convince someone to split the french toast and a savory dish with me-- they all looked so great!
513 W Cold Spring Ln
Baltimore, MD 21210
I can't believe I forgot to blog about this place!
Oh sweet deliciousness. Oh sweet love of all things icey and creamy. This is my ode to you.
Well, as you can see, I love Taharka Brothers ice cream (formerly Sylvan Beach). This is a new discovery of mine, even though I've known about them and their mission for a while. At Artscape I tried the key lime pie flavor and I'm not sure if it was because I was highly dehydrated and extremely sweaty, but that creamy delight was the best thing that had ever happened to me.
I mean, it tasted like a key lime pie! Crust and all! The lime flavor wasn't overpowering but just enough to make me feel citrusy cool. I went again to their cute shop in Mount Washington (which stays open really late) and ordered their strawberry ice cream and that was ALSO incredible. Everything seems so fresh and so pure-- you know that the ingredients are the real thing.
Oh I can't wait to try more.
Oh yes, and on top of that they serve the community by teaching at-risk youth about business and entrepreneurship. It feels good to eat ice cream!
Dan and I LOVE ribbon cake. Do you know about ribbon cake? I'm pretty sure it's a Mid-Atlantic delight. At first I thought it may have been a Baltimore thing, but then I saw it at the Amish market and I took that thought back.
Ribbon cake is made of the same cake slice, just colored like a rainbow and the fillings are either chocolate or raspberry jam. This cake had raspberry jam (chocolate is usually the filling you find at markets), and that pretty much sold it for me. However, it was $3.97 a slice which is kind of hefty if you think about it. But I tell myself that I would never make ribbon cake myself so I don't mind paying for it.
We found this beauty at the Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, but they also have a main shop in Little Italy. To be honest, the cake was good but not great. The cake itself seemed a little stale, but the filling was lovely and paired really well with the chocolate icing. If there had been chocolate filling it would have been a bit too much, especially because the chocolate icing was already sweet as it is.
I wouldn't be against trying anything else from this place, but I would more likely try it from their shop in Little Italy than their stand at Cross Street.
Cross Street Market, Federal Hill
1300 Bank Street, Suite 140
Baltimore, MD 21231
Friday, August 15, 2008
They first brought some yummy type of focaccia bread to the table while we waited for dinner, which was great. My meal itself was YUM. I ordered the pan seared scallops which came with a vegetable risotto and "crispy basil." Ok, the crispy basil was one leaf of basil stuck in the middle of the risotto as a garnish. Please do not write a garnish in a menu description. The scallops were perfect-- buttery and tender. The risotto was yummy, but I was disappointed with the vegetables because I'm pretty sure they were from the vegetable medley frozen bag, you know, the kind with carrots, green beans and corn. This meal was about $24.
My mother-in-law ordered the beef short ribs which were braised in red wine sauce and honestly the best ribs I have EVER tasted. The meal came with green beans and mashed potatoes which I didn't try. That was about $26.
My hubby ordered the burger, which came with fries and coleslaw. It was really great and only about $10! The seasoning was yummy, and it was NOT dripping with oil. It was a perfect burger.
The waitress brought out their flourless chocolate cake since we were celebrating my birthday, which was a really nice touch and NOT AT ALL what I would expect from that place. The torte itself was good, but I think I would have rather tried the ricotta cheesecake with mangoes. Doesn't that sound heavenly!?
Overall, I can't imagine having a reason to go back to that place anytime soon since we would just be able to order burgers, and I would never order just a meal of burgers in their dining room. They do have a martini bar next door (which was apparently hopping based on loud it was) so maybe I would go there and order some "lite fare" instead.
106 W. Padonia Road
Timonium, MD 21093
http://www.christopher-daniel.com/ (Don't trust the menu on this website, the dinner options are very different when I went)
UPDATE 11/19/09: Check out my newest post
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I’m going to be brief because this is a huge chain, and most people have already made up their minds about getting food at chains. I just want to comment that for $2, Sammies are a GREAT deal. They are actually pretty delicious and I like the fact that I can get 2 different kind of sandwiches for lunch. That really appeals to me, as well as the fact that Quizno’s is right outside my building. I chose the Turkey Sonoma and Italiano and they were both up to par with usual Quizno’s sandwiches. Good deal.www.quiznos.com
Cosi is at the foot of my building, and what I have to pass everyday morning and evening. Let’s just be honest here and say that most of the employees know and wave to me when I see them. I really love it for their breakfasts. I like to order the breakfast bundle which is a bagel and medium mocha latte (or medium house coffee) for around $4.80. Considering that a medium mocha latte is already in the $4.50—this is a good deal. Their cranberry orange bagel is HEAVENLY when toasted with a bit of the plain cream cheese (don’t be tempted to get the fruit trio cream cheese, this bagel is sweet enough).
However, I’ve had their lunch a couple of times and have been disappointed 2 out of 3 times. Their Alaskan salmon salad is pretty terrible because the salmon is cold. They say chilled in the description, but really it’s cold and therefore has no flavor. The salad would be ten times better if they just heated up the salmon.
I also just tried the Seasonal Fruit and Mozzarella Salad. This was equally terrible. First of all they describe the dressing as a “light citrus dressing” but whatever it was, it was citrus-ly disgusting, which really surprises me because I like those types of dressings on my salad….but it was just off. The mozzarella were TINY little cubes of some white stuff that had no taste. And I mean tiny. Smaller than a pinkie fingernail tiny. The fruit itself, which consisted of strawberries, cantaloupe and pineapple, was good but I didn’t need to spend $8 on a crappy salad just to eat some fruit—that’s what farm stands are for!
To make up for this review, however, I will say that I do like their Bombay Chicken salad and sandwich. That’s the one thing they do right. Oh, and their bread. Their amazing bread. Yes, they do that right too.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This really cute coffeehouse in Federal Hill is near the Cross Street market. It has a spunk-y vibe to it that I really liked, even at 8am. We decided to order breakfast, and like usual I had to get the craziest things on the menu, not something normal and guaranteed delicious.
I ordered the Raven's Nest which was like the V for Vendetta meal-- egg in the middle of toast, which came with home fries and turkey sausage (out of the choice of bacon, ham etc). I also tried the broiled grapefruit half covered with vanilla-ginger sugar. How amazing does that sound!!! And it tastes just as great too. What's also great about that, is that you could DEFINITELY make it at home. As for the Raven's Nest, the egg was yummy, but I found the toast a little too buttery. I hardly ate that part, but just the egg (runny!) with the home fries and sausage. I LOVED the home fries! They were seasoned with rosemary and other stuff I couldn't place (but oh how I tried).
Dan ordered the French Toast which was excellent. It was really moist and fluffy, and as you can see, a great portion. Of course, he polished that up in a second.
Overall, this is a really great place for breakfast or lunch. There's such a laid back vibe, and because they're such a green restaurant I felt so happy eating here. I love places like that! All I wanted to do was talk to people about sustainability etc. I didn't though.
Please try this place!
Spoon's Coffeehouse and Roastery
24 E. Cross St
Baltimore, MD 21230
We tried the Pera Saporita which has gorgonzola cheese and pears and a balsamic reduction (the half eaten one in the picture). Let me tell you something, I don't like the gorgs, but I LOVED this pizza. The gorgs wasn't overwhelming AT ALL and all the 3 ingredients created this wonderful melody in my mouth.
We also ordered a pizza with cheese, basil and tomatos-- YUM. I can't find it on the menu so I don't know what it's called, but you can find it! It's delicious and definitely my favorite of the three that we ordered. The cheese was just the right amount, and I love basil so much so the amount on there made me glow.
The last pizza we ordered was the Quatro Formaggio, 4 cheeses, roasted garlic and sea salt. Boy they did not lie about the garlic. This was a really yummy pizza, but VERY garlicky, so beware if you're on a date!
These pizzas are pretty expensive compared to regular take out. The large pizzas (the best for sharing) cost anywhere from $14-17, so be prepared! They also donate all tips to a different charity every month (this month was Beans and Bread Outreach).
Overall, this is a wonderful neighborhood gourmet pizza joint with heart and soul! I loved it.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
For an appetizer we chose the Pancetta wrapped mango shrimp which was really delicious and huge. The mango sauce was lovely and definitely beats just having plain old cocktail sauce.
The burgers were insanely delicious. They were hearty, not dripping with oil, and on a really yummy roll. The fries were yum yum in my tum as well! I ordered the Razor burger for $7.95 (cheese etc are an additional 50 cents).
For dessert we each ordered an apple tart a la mode and an icecream sandwich with freshly made cookies. The apple tart was ok, I was obsessed with ice cream for some reason, more so than the pie, which tells you a lot about the pie. The filling was good, it was just something about the crust-- I don't think it was crispy enough. The cookie sandwich was also ok, the cookies were a little too crispy. Basically the tart and sandwich should have swapped personalities and we would have been in business.
Overall, I was really happy with this place. The bar is like any normal place, but the restaurant behind it is surprisingly classy. Watch out though, this place was pretty noisy, so don't come here for a quiet dinner.
Razorback's Raw Bar & Grill
826 Dulaney Valley Rd.
Towson, MD 21204
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Towson, MD 21204