Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Milan, Little Italy

Remember I told you about Milan, the new and swanky Italian/Mediterranean Little Italy restaurant? Well they generously invited me to taste their culinary delights, and I happily obliged.

Milan is just gorgeous inside, just so so beautiful! The chandeliers, the white + red decor, the candlelight, even the bathroom sink! In fact, I see Milan as a wonderful place for a nice date, a special anniversary, a client dinner, a restaurant for out-of-town guests, and if you see their upstairs, you may even consider it for your Rehearsal Dinner it's so lovely!!!! Not to mention it's located conveniently next to a garage where you can pay $3 for parking on the weekdays after 4pm!

Mango Mojito

While I perused the extensive menu, I ordered a Mango Mojito ($11) to start, as I was told it was a popular drink at the restaurant. I can see why. Made with Ten Cane Rum, fresh mint, lime, mango, simple syrup, mango puree and club soda, it was refreshing and surprisingly light, though not strong. This, however, would be the perfect drink for the summertime when Milan opens up their outside patio (right now it's enclosed with a ton of heat lamps).

Meanwhile, my mum ordered a glass of the Mionetto Prosecco Brut ($10). I love prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) and usually buy a bottle of this instead of Champagne if I'm in the mood for some bubbles, and this particular kind was quite lovely.

They then presented us with their bread basket which comes with some tapenade instead of the usual olive oil (though they did ask whether we wanted that instead, which is smart since not everybody likes olives). My mum and I love tapenade, so we thought it was a great accompaniment.
Aragosta E Gamberetti Rotolo (Spring Roll with Lobster and Shrimp)

Since the sushi chefs are currently revamping their sushi menu, I wanted to choose an item that was going to definitely stay. My server, Stephen (who was a gem!), recommended the Aragosta E Gamberetti Rotolo ($16), explaining that it was more like a Spring Roll than sushi. This roll, made with rice paper, came with lobster, shrimp, mixed greens, crunchy vegetables, and scallions with a spicy remoulade sauce and sriracha decorating the plate. The sauce definitely has quite a kick to it, which complemented the crisply fresh taste of the roll's ingredients.

Agnello (Lamb Lollipops)

We also chose the Agnello ($13) or grilled lamp "lollipops" off their small plates section. These lamp chops were some of the best I've ever had, and I loved the dollop of lemon rosemary aioli. We ordered them medium, and they were cooked to perfection. I couldn't have been happier with this plate, and would highly recommend it if you like lamb. I would order this again in a heartbeat.
I had also ordered the Aragosta Pasta E Caci ($12) or Lobster Mac and Cheese, but my server actually forgot about that, and so did I until we left! Sadly I was looking forward to that - the pasta with smoked gouda bechemel, white truffle essence and a citrus pistachio gremolata. Doesn't that sound fabulous? I am really sad we missed this, though my stomach probably thanks me for it. Of course this wasn't a big deal to me since I was not paying for the meal - but had this happened to me another time I wouldn't have been so forgiving.

Spigola del Cile (Chilean Sea Bass)

For my entree, I eagerly ordered the Spigola del Cile ($28), their Chilean Sea Bass served with roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed spinach and a watercress cream. Chilean Sea Bass, a buttery white fish, is such a special occasion fish, especially at the price it is, so it was nice to be served a large portion of it. And then to accompany it with perfectly cooked potatoes and a wonderful sauce? Oh, it was almost too much!!! I LOVED this dish and would absolutely want to get it again, or at least make sure someone else at the table ordered it so I could share *cough Dan cough*

Linguine Peppa (Peppered Linguine with Shrimp and Lobster)

My mum ordered the Linguine Peppa ($26) for her entree, which was also Stephen's recommendation. It came with shrimp, lobster, spinach, and leeks in a brandied cream sauce. This meal was a decadent entree, with lumps of lobster and large shrimp. The creamy sauce was rich and slightly sweet, and the homemade linguine was delicious. In fact, it was nice to hear that they make their pasta everyday on-site at 1pm! Yay for freshly made pasta!

Torta Di Fromaggio (Ricotta Cheesecake)

At this point in the meal, my mum and I were definitely not hungry, but we noticed we weren't grossly full. I think this is a testament to the quality of the food. We ate a lot, but it didn't sit heavily in our stomachs. We felt good! In fact, we felt good enough to share two desserts:)

We ordered the Grand Marnier Creme Brulee (not pictured, $8) and the Torta di Formaggio ($8). Under the crispy burnt sugar, the creme brulee's custard was silky smooth and had a wonderfully pleasing taste, though I did not taste the Grand Marnier. I definitely wasn't disappointed, but surprised there was more of a vanilla than orange taste.

The ricotta cheesecake came with a balsamic strawberry compote and candied rosemary, though that was just for show. The cheesecake was superb! Cheesecakes are usually not my favorite kind of dessert - they are too thick and too sweet for my taste, but the ricotta really lightens this dessert. The crust is delicious too, and I loved the balsamic strawberries with everything. Both of these were EXCELLENT, and I'm not sure whether I could pick a favorite. I'm so glad my mum likes to share!

All in all, this was a GREAT meal and I was really impressed with the food and with the restaurant itself. My mum also really loved it, especially the initimate lounge-y ambience. Milan is definitely unique to Baltimore, and I think that's a smart move as a new restaurant in this economy. That being said, I'm not going to pretend that it isn't expensive, because it is. However, if you can restrain yourself, it doesn't have to be just a special occasion spot! You could always get some sushi and dessert for a nice meal (in fact, there is a seating area specifically for those interested in sushi) or order small plates and their flatbread. Or you could just treat yourself to an amazing entree (CHILEAN SEA BASS!) and sip only on water! Whatever you end up choosing, I think you will be happy!

So, have you gone to Milan, the restaurant? Looking forward to go? Let me know in the comments!

Milan on Urbanspoon

DISCLAIMER: Though this was a free tasting, I was not asked to write a positive review nor did I feel any inclination to write anything which did not reflect my true opinion of Milan.

TONIGHT: Broadway Night at Sotto Sopra

Sorry I am sending this out super late, but just in case you had some free time tonight – check out Sotto Sopra’s Broadway Night at 6:30pm.
They are offering a 6-course dinner and performances to the music of Richard Rodgers all for 58 per person*.
Check out the press release:

And here is the menu to whet your appetites:

1st course: Carrot and Ginger Soup
2nd course: Roasted Pear & Brie Salad with chestnut honey vinaigrette
3rd course: Wild Mushroom Risotto with Grilled Scallop
4th course: Pink Champagne Sorbetto
5th course: Grilled Hanger Steak with celeriac puree and tomato relish
6th course: Gianduja Pot du Crème

*Only 58 per person(does not include beverages, tax & gratuity)

Please call 410 625 0534 with your reservations, and hurry!!! or E-mail:

Sotto Sopra Restaurant
405 N. Charles Street
Baltimore MD 21201
410 625 0534

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bel-Loc Diner, Parkville

I don’t usually go to diners because:
#1 I can make breakfast food at home, for much cheaper
#2 If I don’t get breakfast food, I usually get something TERRIBLE for my health, like potato skins or cheese fries or some kind of craziness like that.

However, recently I heard that the Bel Loc Diner had amazing pancakes, so a date was set for a breakfast rendezvous with a couple of friends for some delicious pancakes. Plus, I had never been to the Bel-Loc, so I was excited to check it out.

Of course, when I get there I didn’t feel like pancakes so I chose eggs instead. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Dan’s pancakes were GREAT. Very fluffy and soft, and there wasn’t a need for a ton of syrup.

Meanwhile, my eggs came out sunny side up, even though I ordered them sunny side down. I didn’t receive my bread until I had to ask for it, and even then I got white toast instead of wheat. Seriously? Two mistakes in one simple breakfast order? This is why things need to be written down.

Overall, though the pancakes were YUM, everything else was normal diner food and not special enough for me to start going to diners again. Plus, I am still kind of annoyed that my order was messed up.

Bel-Loc Diner on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let's talk about yogurt for a second. I love it and eat a lot of it, especially in the morning topped with my mama's homemade granola (SO GOOD YUMMM)

I found the glory of greek yogurt, but I also like Stonyfield and Wegman's Organic Low Fat Vanilla styles as well. I choose low fat over fat free because it's a much better consistency.
However, I love trying new things of course, so when I was in Wegman's (Hunt Valley, MD) and looking through their Organic section, I came across this Icelandic-style yogurt (skyr) called Siggi's. I picked up the Pomegranate and Passion fruit flavor to try and was VERY excited! So what did I think? WOH it was TART. My lips definitely puckered up a number of times the first few spoonfuls. I still enjoyed the flavor though, I just wasn't expecting it. The other thing I wasn't expecting was how thick it was, it took my forever to eat the one pot just because it was so thick and tart it almost stuck to my mouth. In all honesty, I probably wouldn't get this again - I've realized I like my yogurt a little bit sweeter than that, and not as thick. I mean, it was thicker than greek-style yogurt!!!! I'm glad I tried it though.

The next new brand I've found (at Superfresh on Timonium Road, 21093) is Chobani's (greek yogurt) Champions yogurt, and my pack came with honeynana and chocolate. OMG I LOVE honey + bananas + yogurt and I LOVE chocolate. I thought that this yogurt pack was made for me. I tried the honeynana first and unfortuantely I was very disappointed. The banana flavor is overwhelming, and tastes VERY chemically. When are flavor-makers going to realize that they don't need to overdo the banana taste? However, the consistency was great - thick, yet light and smooth. The chocolate flavor was my favorite. I've had chocolate yogurt before and I've never liked as much as I wanted to, but Chobani gets it right. I think it's because it's a thicker yogurt, so it feels like a lovely treat. I would definitely get the chocolate flavor again if I found it away from it Honeynana pack-mate.

And these are my yogurt thoughts for the day :) Any favorites you have to share??

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Want some free pancakes?

IHOP's National Pancake Day will be Feb 23rd from 7-10AM

They are giving out a short stack of pancakes (3) for free, though they do ask for a donation towards local children's hospitals through the Children's Miracle Network.

Check out more info here:

And add that date to your calendar!

Cooking Classes at Dogwood Restaurant

Thanks to my fellow Baltimore blogger, Lauren, over at athlEAT I discovered that The Dogwood provides monthly cooking classes!!!! She recently went to the one featuring food from New Orleans and it looked like a blast!

I looked through the menu and I think the Irish class looks great too, and it's coming up soon (March 13th to be exact)!

Here is the menu:

Course 1:Caramelized onion and Murphy Stout Soup
Course 2:Hearty Lamb Stew
Course 3:Smoked Salmon on Oatmeal Pancakes
Course 4:Irish whiskey cake

I LOVE stews and soups and pancakes and cake and heartiness!!!!

Thanks, Lauren for letting me know all about this!!!!

Dogwood Restaurant
911 W. 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

Monday, February 15, 2010

California Pizza Kitchen, Hunt Valley

When I went to California Pizza Kitchen the other day, I wasn't in the mood for a pizza. Luckily for me this was not a problem because I saw this yummy new salad they had on their menu: their Moroccan Chicken Salad. Here is how they describe it I got the large version for about $12, but I probably would have been fine with a half salad the portion was so huge:

Moroccan-spiced chicken breast with crisp Romaine lettuce, roasted butternut squash, Medjool dates, fresh avocado, toasted almonds, fresh beets, chopped egg, carrots, dried cranberries and red bell peppers. Tossed with our champagne vinaigrette.

I really just wanted to get it for the dates, but overall I was completey happy with the whole package. There were LOTS of these ingredients, especially the dates which made the plate nice and colorful. All the ingredients were featured, though they were heavy on the dried cranberries rather than the dates (understandably). I would absolutely order this again, in fact, it would be hard to order a pizza over this salad. I hope they keep it around!

I also tried the white sangria (Caribbean Sunset Sangria to be exact) for $7.50, it was quite delicious and sweet with a lot of peach puree. I thought this was lovely, but could only have one because of the sweetness.

In the end, I was super happy with my meal!

California Pizza Kitchen
Hunt Valley Towne Centre
118 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley MD

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hot Chocolate Success!

Last week, once the roads were slightly clear, I made my way to Stone Mill Bakery to try their famed hot chocolate. Oh myyyyyyyyyyyy it was worth a slightly scary drive - it was sooo decadently amazing. It tastes like pure melted chocolate, Valrhona chocolate actually, hence why it may be more expensive than usual. I would recommend just getting a small cup because it's so rich. And, fyi it's already made, so you won't be able to adjust the milk. Unfortunately, since I got there in the afternoon they had already ran out of their homemade marshmallows :( Booo!!! Oh well, must have to go back soon to try it again :)

However, what was not a success for me was their carrot cake. I found the icing a tad too sweet for my liking, though Dan enjoyed it. The actual cake part was good though. No worries, there are a million other items on that menu that I want to try. Perhaps a scone next time I get a hot chocolate? Yum!

Stone Mill Bakery
Green Spring Station, 10751 Falls Road, Lutherville MD

Valentine's Day

Judging by the amount of posts I've written on Valentine's Day you would think that I am also joining in on the holiday. However, I'm not really a fan of the Day. I did go to see the movie Valentine's Day with a bunch of friends last night and it was lame and terrible, just as I was expecting it to be.

Despite my nonchalance, Dan still bought me a fabulous box of chocolates from my FAVORITE chocolatier EVER - Mr. Larry McGlinchey of Cacao Lorenzo. They are beyond incredible!!!! In fact, his chocolates were the favors at our wedding. Our guests were lucky :)

Anyway, do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Are you planning on doing anything special today or do you just treat it like any other day?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Milan for Valentine's Weekend

Still looking for a night out for Valentine's Day this weekend? Consider Milan, the new hip Italian restaurant downtown. Here is their special menu which they are offering from Feb 12-14th.

The four course prix-fixe menu is $75 per person and includes complimentary champagne and a single long-stemmed rose for the ladies!

Here is the menu:


Choice of:


Portabella mushroom, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, imported balsamic reduction


Jumbo lump crab cake, spicy remoulade, mache


Lobster mac & cheese with chiocciole pasta, smoked gouda mornay,

white truffle essence, citrus pistachio gremolata


Creamy spinach dip, roasted garlic, marinated artichokes, house made flat bread crisps


Crispy polenta cakes, Italian sausage, red pepper ricotta pesto, basil oil


Choice of:


Devil’s Caesar with baby romaine, house Caesar dressing, shaved parmigiano-reggiano,

marinated white anchovies, beefsteak tomato, deviled eggs


Baby arugula, sliced pears, fresh lemon, EVOO, crumbled gorgonzola,

candied spiced pecans


Mixed greens, heart of palm, julienne cucumber, Maytag™ blue cheese,

Milan’s house dressing, peppers, crispy shallots


Choice of:


Fresh shrimp, lobster, spinach, leeks, peppered linguine, brandied garlic cream sauce


Filet mignon with walnut gorgonzola butter, lobster tail, fingerling potatoes


Milan’s bone-in ribeye with signature dry rub, Yukon Gold mash, melted leeks


Oven roasted half chicken, Yukon Gold mash, roasted garlic sauce


Chilean seabass smoked paprika dusted, roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed spinach, watercress cream


Angel hair pasta, mushrooms, spinach, crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts, sundried tomato sauce


Choice of:


Honey ricotta cheesecake, balsamic strawberry compote, candied rosemary


Homemade ladyfingers, sweet mascarpone, espresso, coffee liqueur, dark run, cocoa


Grand marnier scented vanilla custard, crispy sugar crust, candied orange peel


Chocolate fudge cake, hazelnut butter, pastry cream, crème anglaise


Choose three: cappuccino, mascarpone, pistachio, dark chocolate, raspberry


Selection of Italian cheese: ricotta salata, gorgonzola, taleggio; seasonal fruit, honey, flatbread crackers


1000 Eastern Ave, Baltimore MD

Reservations can be made by calling 410-685-6111 or visit

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Special at Morton's The Steakhouse

Valetine's Day Crush Cocktail

Morton’s will be celebrating Valentine’s Day during the whole month of February. Here are some meal options that you and your loved one can enjoy:

Three Course Dinner for Two $99.99

  • First Course: Choice of two salads: Morton’s salad with blue cheese dressing, chopped egg and anchovies or Caesar salad
  • Entrée: Two single-cut filets, choice of two seafood options (Morton’s jumbo lump crab cake, colossal shrimp Alexander, broiled sea scallops, or chicken Christopher); two side dishes;
  • Dessert: Choose two - either the Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake, crème brulee, or key lime pie

Add a bottle of 2007 Estancia Pinot Noir, Monterey, or 2008 Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, for an additional $39.

Classic Menu for $79 per person

  • First Course: Morton’s center cut iceberg salad
  • Entrée: Choice of a single-cut filet mignon or 12-ounce New York strip steak; choice of lobster tail or Alaskan king crab legs; and grilled asparagus spears.

Add Morton’s Crush Cocktail for $13. This special Valentine’s Day cocktail includes Absolut Citron, Grand Marnier, Segura Viudas sparkling wine, as well as simple syrup and Funkin raspberry puree. That sounds delightful to me!

Morton's The Steakhouse, 300 South Charles Street, Baltimore MD. Located in the Sheraton Inner Harbor.

For more information and to make reservations, call 410-547-8255 or visit

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RECIPE: Chocolate Loaf Cake

For my first Snowpocalypse treat, I decided on a recipe by Nigella Lawson for her Chocolate Loaf Cake. She described it as rich, gooey and dense, and it seemed like the perfect treat after shoveling. However, in all honesty is should really be called Butter Loaf Cake with a hint of Chocolate. There are 2 sticks of butter in this cake. TWO. At first I wasn't phased because I knew Dan and I would be shoveling those butter sticks away, but eating a slice produced a ton of guilt in me, and now half of the loaf is left wrapped on the counter.

The taste of the loaf itself was OK. I think using a better chocolate would maybe up the deliciousness, but in reality I found it TOO gooey. I like my cakes a little bit more set than what this called for. Dan thought it was good, but I probably would never have served this to guests without sticking it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Anyway, why post this recipe if I didn't really like it? Well...I think it's important to get other reviews. Have you ever made this before? I don't have any pictures of the's not really anything to look at. Just as the recipe says, it may sink in the middle...and WOH did mine sink.

UPDATE: Right after I wrote this, Dan ate TWO slices and told me how much he loved this cake hhahahahahaha.

Here is the recipe:

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

1 cup soft unsalted butter

1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

9- by 5-inch loaf pan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later, and grease and line the loaf pan. The lining is important as this is a very damp cake: use parchment or one of those loaf-pan-shaped paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: You don't want a light, airy mass. Then gently add the flour, to which you've added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won't come out completely clean.

Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. (I often leave it for a day or so: like gingerbread, it improves.) Don't worry if it sinks in the middle: indeed, it will do so because it's such a dense and damp cake.

Makes 8 – 10 slices.

Need a Little Food Help in this Blizzard?

How is everyone? Hope you are all safe and staying inside!
Baltimore City is under a Phase III, which means only city emergency vehicles can be outside on the roads.

PLEASE stay home.....and COOK!

My friend Dara Bunjon has set up a "Snowpocalypse Hotline" to answer your foodie questions during this storm. Have a bunch of vegetables but don't know what to do with them? Ask Dara!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine’s Specials at Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys

The Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys has a bunch of specials for the Valentine’s Day weekend. Here are some to keep in mind:

Hotel Packages

Do you want to have a romantic weekend away from the kids, but not go so far away? Then how about some Hotel packages? Overnight packages available for Saturday and Sunday start at $145 for the room, breakfast and some romantic treats (ooooh I wonder what those are. Chocolate. I hope lots of chocolate. Chocolate covered strawberries would be the best though!). They also have a $209 overnight package that includes the room, breakfast, dinner for two (at their own Crossroads Restaurant) and the special treats!! Or you can choose a $179 package for Saturday night that would include the room and the Sunday Jazz Brunch for two (more on that further down)

Wine Wednesdays, February 10th, 6:30-8:30pm

I’ve mentioned Wine Wednesdays on my blog before, and this time Boordy Vineyards, Maryland’s oldest family run winery, is the host. Come to the Crossroads Lounge to sample Boordy wines (cabernet, chardonnay, seyval blanc, port and others) as well as some specially made appetizers for pairing.

Crossroads Restaurant Valentine’s Dinner Menu, February 12-14th

Crossroads Restaurant, located in the Hotel is offering a Valentine’s dinner menu Friday- Sunday for $50 a couple. The dinner includes:

Appetizer to Share
Choice of:
Roasted Red Pepper and Crab Soup
Pear Walnut Salad with Black River Blue Cheese and Raspberry Vinaigrette
Seared Pork Loin with Beet and Apple Puree

Mushroom Casa di Pasta in Saffron Cream (Vegetarian)
Twin MD Crab Cakes, with choice of side
NY Strip Steak with Black River Blue Cheese Crust, with choice of side

Choices of side:
Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Lemon Butter Broccoli
House Salad

Dessert to Share
Choice of:
Espresso Custard
Meyer’s Chocolate Rum Torte
White Chocolate Cheesecake with Vanilla Raspberry Sauce

Includes an amuse-bouche, fresh bread and oil for dipping
1 glass of wine per person from our house selection

Sunday Jazz Brunch, February 14th, 11AM-2:30PM

For $24.95/person they are offering an omelet station, salmon carving station, fresh fruit, pastries, lasagna, cheese blintzes, and more (wow! I wonder what ELSE there could possibly be!) For an additional charge, you can also make some romantic toasts with the help of their champagne, Bloody Mary, and mimosa bar will. While you eat, L’Tanya Mari, a singer/songwriter who is nominated for three Washington area awards including best jazz vocalist and best jazzrecording, will be performing live jazz. How lovely and romantic!

Reservations for packages, rooms, dinner, or brunch can be made by calling 410-532-6900.

Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys

100 Village Square

Baltimore Maryland 21210

Monday, February 8, 2010

Had too many snowed-in cookies?

If you're anything like me, this snowstorm made your oven go into overdrive. Cookies were made, bread was baked, and cakes were iced. Don't worry - we all did it (and will still do it for a couple more days I think).

If your snowed-in eating is starting to make you feel a bit guilty, why don't you check out this event that I just heard about sponsored by Roy's and the MAC (Maryland Athletic Club) this Thursday February 11th from 5:30-7:30pm at the MAC in Harbor East (655 President Street). They will be hosting an event to encourage healthy eating. A personal trainer from the MAC will talk about mindful eating, while Roy's Executive Chef, Ray Eugenio, will provide a cooking demonstration.

Admission is $45 per person and you don't have to be a member of the MAC to attend. if you are interested, contact Sarah Stauber at 410-625-5000 x1108 or

Here is the menu for the night. I must say, if this is mindful eating, sign me up!!!!! YUM!

First Course
Big Island Ahi Tuna Poke with Wasabi Sour Cream
Second Course
Roy’s of Baltimore Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
Third Course
Oven Roasted Mahi-Mahi with Wilted Spinach & red Curry Tomato Broth
Fourth Course
Hawaii Kai Style Tender Braised Beef Short Ribs with Basil Scented Potato Croquette & Natural Reduction
Fifth Course
A Slice of Dark Chocolate Ganache with Pecan Crust & Fresh Berries

Friendly Farms, Upperco (aka Northern Baltimore County)

Close up of the 5oz crabcake - look at those lumps!!!!

Friendly Farm is a family-style restaurant located about 30 mins north of Baltimore and set on a farm estate. The restaurant itself is in a white Farmhouse, that is very pretty from the outside which slightly makes up for the bare-bones inside decorations. Get a table by the large windows so that you can look out at the fields and ponds and forget that you're seated in an almost cafeteria-like dining area. If you go in better weather, it's nice to take a walk to the pond and feed the geese and ducks - children are usually always playing around there.

When you walk in to the restaurant, you immediately order your main meal. The price may seem high - but you are actually getting much more for this price, which I go over next. So first choose your entree from a menu that includes Fried Shrimp ($20.95), Fried Chicken ($15.95), or Seafood Combo - one 5oz crab cake and 1/2 dozen fried shrimp ($26.95). I usually always order one 5oz broiled crab cake for $19.95. The crab cakes here are just superb, in fact, it won the honor of being named one of Maryland's best crab cake by Baltimore Magazine. There are huge jumbo lumps and not a lot of filler, the seasoning is great too. Definitely one of my personal favorites. The fried chicken here is also very good, and a great alternative if you're not into seafood.

So what else do you get for that all-inclusive price? Once you get seated you get served your "appetizers" of small refillable plates - cottage cheese, pickle spears, celery sticks, rolls and sugar rolls (outstanding donut-like rolls), apple butter (for the sugar rolls mmmmmmmmm), coleslaw (quite yummy), beets and some kind of fruit. Be warned though, the fruit are canned fruit, not fresh. Also, please tell your server whether you don't want any of these sides so they don't bring them out automatically.

Alongside your main meal comes green beans, corn (both of these are the canned varieties as well) and fries. If you go in a group, ask for a refill of the fries as soon as they bring you the first're going to want one. After your meal, you can order sherbet or ice cream. I usually stick with the moose tracks ice cream- vanilla with chocolate chunks and mini peanut butter cups (which I scoop out and give to Dan).

On top of all that, you can order soda, coffee and apple juice or V8 to start your meal.

So there you go. That's a LOT of food for that price, as you can see. Personally, I am not a fan of anything canned, except the corn, so unfortunately this ends up being an unhealthy meal for me - but some days I suppose you need a dinner consisting of sugar rolls, crab cakes, fries and ice cream, right????

Overall, though Friendly Farm is lacking a bit of atmosphere inside the restaurant - the setting is quite lovely and the food is good. Go here if you love crab cakes, enjoy family style dining and like driving through country roads!

Friendly Farm on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 5, 2010


Welp, I know what's on everyone's mind right to add fuel to that fire.....let's chat!
I LOVE snow and I can't wait for this snowstorm. I have sooooo many BBC miniseries to watch, and I have five million different cookie recipes I want to make. I can't wait!
I also have a bag of cornmeal that I bought randomly one day, so maybe I'll do something with that. Either way, our electricity BETTER stay on this weekend or all my plans will be shot hahahaha.
I went to Wegmans last night and surprisingly it wasn't too bad! Of course, we went at 9pm and nearly everything had been swiped from the shelves, but luckily they still had milk and eggs, and chips and salsa for the game on Sunday. I loved looking down the bakery aisle and seeing that a bunch of stuff had been bought from there - a lot of people have the same idea as me!
Anyway, stay SAFE and have FUN and bake A LOT


Monday, February 1, 2010

Kavkaz Kebab, Owings Mills

Kavkaz Kebab: A New and Authentic Azerbaijani Restaurant in Owings Mills

Turkish Coffee
When I was invited to come for a tasting at Kavkaz Kebab, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I mean, we all know about my love for Kebab places, but on top of that I was really excited to try the delights of Azerbaijani food – a cuisine that mingles the flavors of both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, with their own twist.

At first glance of the exterior of Kavkaz Kebab, located in a strip mall next to Five Guys and behind Bonefish Grill, you would probably think it's like any old carry-out place. Then you walk in and can tell immediately that a lot of thought went into the appearance of this restaurant with the gorgeous prints and beautiful rugs. Talking with Emil, one of the owners and Janna, his wife - it is clear that this restaurant is really an extension of their own home. They greet each customer with enthusiasm and energy, and spend time going over the menu in a way that was really refreshing and honest.

Lobio Salad, Eggplant Salad, Dolma

As you peruse the menu, a lot of the region's specialties can be found in the Appetizer section – don’t skip this!! I know it’s tempting to go straight for the meat, but the appetizers were incredible.

Consider the Grilled Eggplant Salad ($5.99), or it’s counterpart, the Eggplant Salad (which I actually preferred, though it’s not on the menu yet, but will be added), a cold salad of eggplant, green peppers and tomatoes mixed with onions and cilantro. This went perfectly with a side of their Tandoor Bread ($1.79) which you HAVE to order – it’s just too good to miss with its crispy outside and spongy, soft center. I LOVED this bread. And it’s served straight off their tandoor oven!

Or how about the Lobio Salad ($5.99)? If you like kidney beans, this is the salad for you. This simply prepared salad is made fresh with garlic, walnuts, olive oil and seasoning. I could eat a whole bowl of this and be happy (with some bread of course).

If you like the Greek Dolmades, then don’t miss Dolma ($5.99 for a plate full) which is grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat and served hot. You won’t be disappointed.


Or perhaps, if you love cheese (and who doesn’t, seriously), give the Georgian Kachapuri ($4.99 for two) a try. This was a DELIGHT. Flaky pastry filled with 3 mild cheeses – Mozzarella, Ricotta and Farmers Cheese. I loved this appetizer SO MUCH. What’s not to like about a cheese pie?

Kutabi with Greens and Kutabi with Meat (yes, yes, i know this is a terrible picture)

An order of Kutabi ($4.49 for two) is another must try (although, in all honesty, I think all of these are must tries!), but because this is unique to Azerbaijan, it should be first on your list. Think of them like crepes filled with either a meat filling or greens (spinach and dill). This was a highlight of my tasting evening – I couldn’t get enough! The outside of the thin dough was slightly crisp and there was a generous amount of filling. YUM. YUM.

What about if it’s super cold outside (aka, this whole winter) and you want to warm up? Try some soup! I was fortunate to try the Georgian Kharcho soup ($5.99). This has a bit of heat to it, but it’s midland is just enough to stick to your bones and keep you warm. The delicious broth is also accompanies by brown rice and hearty chunks of beef which were incredibly tender, as if they were simmering for a long time. There are other soups to choose from which sound great too, and they are so reasonable for such a good portion! I would definitely consider coming here for some soup and side of their super duper bread for a great meal.

KEBABS! Notice the potato kebab in the foreground, next to my favorite, the Lulya

OK, let me get to the main event – the kebabs, which are cooked on a charcoal grill and marinated for a LONG time. Entrees range from $12.99-$19.99 and come with grilled tomatoes, fresh onions and basmati rice.

I was generously offered a taste of the salmon, chicken, lamb chunks, Lulya (a mixture of ground lamb and beef – similar to the Persian koobideh), lamb chops and something I’ve never heard of – potato kebabs!!!! Yes, mashed potatoes grilled on a skewer. Oh, you better believe it was tasty. In fact, EVERYTHING was incredibly delicious and oh so juicy. Even the chicken breast chunks were the juiciest I’ve ever had before. Whatever you choose for your entrée, you will not be disappointed.

My favorite was the Lulya, of course. I say of course, because I’ve always preferred the ground meat kebabs instead of chunks – and this was honestly the best I’ve ever had. Try the kebabs with some pomegranate sauce (definitely the salmon) or their homemade chunky tomato sauce which has a bit of a kick, and goes excellently with the potato kebabs.

Shekebura and my sweet sweet love, the Baklava

For $2.99 treat yourself to a plate of the two desserts - the Shekebura and the Baklava, both made at the restaurant. The Shekebura is shaped into a crescent and is a not-too-sweet dough covering a substantial filling of hand ground almonds and sugar crystals. I tasted a bit of rose water too, perhaps? This was unlike anything I've ever tried before and I really enjoyed it. Definitely not overly sweet.

And the Baklava? OH MYYYYY WORDDDDDDDDDD. Let me just say that I am NOT a baklava fan. When they brought me one to try, I was only going to do it for the review, but then my world exploded and I was surrounded by the deliciousness of honey and almonds and pistachio. In actuality, this baklava is very different from most baklava I've had. It isn't made with layers of crispy pastry and covered in a sticky gooey honey mess. This baklava is hard, densely full of nuts and incredibly rich. Hands down it was AMAZING.

These desserts would definitely pair well with either the strong and beautifully presented Turkish coffee ($2.49) (picture shown above) OR the Kavkaz tea ($3.99 for a pot) which is Earl Grey with cardamom and served with sugar cubes (p.s. I LOVE SUGAR CUBES!!!!!)

So in the end, I think that if you like trying new cuisines - put this on your MUST VISIT list, though I would hazard a guess that it won't be a one-time deal. Be prepared to make this your favorite kebab stop - I know I have!

Kavkaz Kebab on Urbanspoon

DISCLAIMER: Though this was a free tasting at the request of the owners, I was not asked to write a positive review and felt no inclination to write anything which did not reflect my true opinion of Kavkaz Kebab.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin