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Friday, January 29, 2010

Clementine, Hamilton


Yay Clementine! I love this restaurant and the fruit that bears your name!

Though I would not usually want to order something labeled as a "Gut Buster," I couldn't help admiring the description of Joe-Joe's Gut Buster: Our Delectable Mac and Cheese with Green Chile Braised Chili, Sour Cream, Spring Onion and Queso Fresco ($12).

I am so thankful to my friend for recommending this to me - it was SUPER! The ULTIMATE comfort dish. The macaroni and cheese was baked into these huge wedges and it was so decadent! The chili, though, was my favorite part of the meal even though I wouldn't really call it chili, more like shredded beef. There was absolutely enough to take the next day for lunch, and I cannot tell you how happy I was to heat up my lunch that day!!!! I would absolutely go here again, though it would be hard to order anything else!

I also must say that the restaurant itself is quite inviting- very open and brightly colored, I really loved the decor. What a lovely place!

Clementine on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Valentine's Day Specials at B&O American Brasserie

B&O American Brasserie is offering 2 options for couples on February 13th and 14th (Saturday and Sunday). Choose from a 3 course prix fixe menu for $36pp or a five course menu for $52pp. Or you can choose from the regular menu as well. As well as the special menus, they are also offering a specialty cocktail (I hope it’s pink!), Love Potion #42 (named so since it’s made with 42 Below Vodka ) for $10. They are offering brunch that weekend as well, but there will not be a special Valentine’s Menu, however, I would suggest making reservations for then as well.

Here are the different menus for your perusal. As always, my comments are in red:

$36 3-course menu includes:

  • Starter
    B&O Crab Bisque
  • Main Course
    A choice of Mustard Crusted Lamb Loin with Beluga Lentils or Braised Shank & Red Pepper Reduction ooooooh tough choice on this one. The lamb would be a good choice simply because most people don’t cook with lamb at home….but oh how I do love braised meat….
  • Dessert
    Sugar Doughnut Holes with White Chocolate Cream Yes! Doughnut holes! Can’t go wrong with a dessert like this! How fun!

5-course menu at $52 will enjoy:

  • First Course
    B&O Crab Bisque
  • Second Course
    Grilled Boneless Quail with Chipotle BBQ & Jicama Slaw oooh this sounds special
  • Third Course
    Crispy Skinned Barramundi with Roasted Beets, Grilled Scallion and a Port Wine Reduction. P.s. Barramundi is a fish, and I love the idea of a port wine reduction.
  • Main Course
    A choice of either the Mustard Crusted Lamb Loin with Beluga Lentils or Braised Shank & Red Pepper Reduction Still experience the same conundrum as above
  • Dessert
    Sugar Doughnut Holes But at least you get to end on a same delicious note!

To make reservations for Feb. 13-14, call 443-692-6172 or visit opentable.com.

B&O American Brasserie
2 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD (Located in the new Hotel Monaco)
443-692-6172
Breakfast: Monday - Friday from 7:00 to 10:30 a.m.,
Brunch: Saturday - Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.,
Lunch: All week from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner: from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. from Sunday - Thursday, and until 11:00 p.m. from Friday - Saturday.
Bar service: All week from 11:30 a.m. to midnight
Happy hour: 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

www.BandOrestaurant.com
www.facebook.com/BandOAmericanBrasserie.

Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia



This sunday I met a couple of friends at Victoria Gastro Pub for brunch. I've been excited to come here for a while since it's been getting such great reviews! The space was much larger than I expected it to be, and yet quite cozy. It was a great place to choose for a group meal since there's so much space and voices don't seem to carry. We got there around 11am and it wasn't full at all, but by Noon there was a steady stream of people.

I was lucky enough to catch Howard County Restaurant Week, so I chose some items off the $12.50 Lunch Restaurant Week menu (WOW what a deal!). For starters I chose the Sierra Nevada Porter Onion Soup and for my main course I tried the Rosti (shredded potato cakes) topped with egg, smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill.

The Sierra Nevada Porter Onion Soup (as pictured above) was fabulous (usually $6). It was cheesy, chock full of onions and not at all beery-y. This was a great starter and I was very pleased. The broth was savory and pleasant, and my appetite was quite satiated with one small bowl.
For my second course, the Rosti (pictured above and usually $9) was perfect. At first I thought it was quite a small portion, and then I realized that it was the perfect amount to serve. The Rosti wasn't as crispy as I usually like potato pancakes, but still quite flavorful. The eggs were cooked well, and the salmon tasted great with each bite. I REALLY liked this.

I couldn't have been happier with my experience here. We stayed chatting for a long time, and we never once felt rushed by our waitress, who was very pleasant and attentive.

After surveying the menu, I am 100% sure I would come back again, and it wouldn't need to be for a Restaurant Week menu! There are so many things here I want to try, especially for dinner. What a great addition to Columbia!

Victoria Gastro Pub on Urbanspoon

p.s. the grits were fabulous- very creamy, cheesy, and full of corn! Delicious!
p.p.s Thank you Royela for your fabulous picture-taking!
p.p.p.s Howard County Restaurant Week is going from January 18th-31st and menus can range from $10-40, so double check the website for each restaurant.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh so decadent.......


Image by Michal Koralewski

I flatter myself to think this particular blog post on Top 10 Places to get Hot Chocolate was aimed specifically at me.

I need to try EVERY SINGLE PLACE on that list, and in the comments below the post. It gives me so much foodie pleasure to read that someone else has a problem when a place makes hot chocolate with powder or syrup- there's nothing awesome about that. I want to spend my money on something that interests my taste buds, that's all I ask!

Any Hot Chocolates from the list that you can attest to? I'm pretty sure I'll be heading to Stone Mill Bakery first since that's super close to me. OR perhaps I should spend my $5 gift certificate to Starbuck's on their hot chocolate. I didn't know they had a noteworthy option.

UPDATE
Check out my posts on Starbucks and Stone Mill Bakery's hot chocolate.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fatburger Revisited

Well, I tried it again, and I got the same meal (baby burger and skinny fries) to make sure my previous experience wasn't a one-off type of thing - it wasn't. Still dry. Still boring. Still had delicious fries.

Also, it's important to note that there is definitely something wrong with the whole wheat buns they had that night. Once you started to eat your sandwich (veggie burgers come on whole wheat), the bun would disintegrate into pieces.

In all honesty, Fatburger is not my favorite burger chain. In fact, I went with a large group of people and still the only person who really liked it was my Dan. One of my friend's even compared it to a burger you get at a cafeteria. Sadly enough, I agree. It does its job, nothing more.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Atwater's, Towson

Ohhhhh delicious lunch, I love you so.

I recently had one of the best lunches in a VERY long time, and may have even found a "favorite" spot in Atwater's. Not only is the food spectacular, but I actually feel good about eating there, which usually doesn't happen with many restaurants these days.

Their menu changes daily, so check their website before you go. I wish I had written what I had exactly, but I will try to remember well! But just let me tell you - get a cup of their soup. They are FANTASTIC. Mine was a creamy tomato soup with fennel, apples and golden raisins ($4.50?). But that was only what it said on the menu. In reality it was full with big chunks of yummy vegetables! I loved it! Plus I liked that it wasn't overly creamy, just a hint to create a silky smooth broth. I ordered the cup, which was a really nice sized portion, plus they served it with a chunk of their fresh bread on the side. Perfect accompaniment.

Next I tried half of their free-range chicken salad sandwich on sunflower flax bread ($4.75). I love their chicken salad, especially because of the raisins. In fact it also comes with apples and cranberries. If you love chicken salad, please try their version!

My mum ordered half of their portobello sandwich ($4.95) and I was SO JEALOUS it was SO GOOD. I usually would never order a portobello sandwich, but now I need to re-think that. It was toasted with caramelized onions, roasted peppers and provolone. This was seriously perfection. It almost tasted like French Onion Soup in a strange (but delicious) way.

When it came time to get the check or order dessert, I knew I had to try the dessert. I was so happy with the rest of my meal (p.s. the coffee was great too!), that I couldn't stop without trying one of my favorites - carrot cake, served as a cupcake ($3.50). Oh, and yes, it was great! The cake was dense and not too sweet. The small dollop of cream cheese icing complemented the cake perfectly, and really was the perfect amount.

All in all, I LOVE this place. Although it seems like a lunch time place to me, the Kenilworth location is open until 9pm! I can't wait to come back. Just be careful, it's a small place so it can get very crowded! Next time, I want to buy some of their freshly baked breads too. Oh, what a delight.

Atwater's on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Izze's Sparkling Juices


I'm trying to be better about eating naturally, so diet soda was something I wanted to give up. This wasn't too hard for me since I usually only have soda as a treat, however, since I still enjoy fizziness I turned to Izze. I first tried the juice at Chipotle but now I buy them by the pack at Wegman's.

What I love about Izze is that they aren't full of gross chemicals, and yet still delicious! As it says on the bottle, it's "All natural. No refined sugars. No caffeine. No preservatives. It's 70% pure fruit juice with a splash of sparking water."

I love this stuff! My favorite flavor is the refreshing Sparkling Clementine, which tastes just like orange soda (YUM). I also really like the Sparkling Pomegranate and Sparkling Grapefruit.

To all my natural food friends - any other yummy natural sodas? I've never tried Jones Sodas, are they any good?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tropical Grill, Cockeysville


There's a strip mall in Cockeysville that seems to experience a lot of change. I've seen a bunch of restaurants come and go there, but I am hoping Tropical Grill sticks around!

Tropical Grill is a Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant (with a hint of Greek? food). The restaurant itself is very bare bones. You don't go here for the atmosphere, you go here for a yummy meal!

Dan and I both ordered a taco platter which comes with 3 tacos and a side of rice. I wish we could have tried a mixed platter, because I HATE committing to one taco, but I chose the Carne Asada platter ($9.95) and Dan chose the Al Pastor ($9.95). The corn tortillas were thick, warm, and freshly made. The meat was great and well seasoned. Though both were equally solid, I preferred the Carne Asada over the Al Pastor, especially with the accompaniments of cilantro, lime and salsa.

Pupusas ($2) are also a must try!!!! Pupusas are basically stuffed tortillas. You can get a variety of stuffing - cheese; beans; cheese and pork; or cheese and herbs. Dan ordered the cheese and pork, and I was very impressed with the amount of meat they stuffed into the bread. The cheese was warm and gooey, and I loved the cabbage-y salad they served along side it. I LOVED the pupusas.

On another occasion I've tried their Guisdado de Res ($10.95) or beef stew with potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and green peppers. This is a great price for the large portion, but the meat was not stewed long enough so it ended up being pretty tough. The sauce itself was good but a bit salty. This was not my favorite dish.

So overall, I would be happy to go back and get some more tacos and pupusas! I think I may try some more Salvadorian specialties too!

Please look carefully to find this place, it used to be something else and they may not have changed their name from "Maria's of Los Angeles" on the main signs. Also, last time I checked they are on www.restaurant.com



Tropical Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Smoothie Fix at the Mall



I <3 smoothies A LOT, especially because I like to pretend they are super healthy even though they are made with tons of yogurt and fruit syrup....but I digress.

At Towson Town Center, Greenleaf's kiosk (in the food court) has a frozen yogurt section and their frozen yogurt Mango Smoothies are excellent! I watched them make my drink, and they only used fruit and yogurt, which is EXACTLY what I want in my smoothies (as opposed to being made with a fruit concentrate like you get from here) . I also made them add banana in the mix, which they gladly do. Of course, it still ended up costing $5.29 (YIKES!), but for the same price as a large mocha latte, I would gladly choose this instead.

Just something to think about if you're shopping around!

Greenleafs
Towson Town Center
825 Dulaney Valley Road
Towson, MD 21204

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kabob Hut, Towson


Using a restaurant.com coupon, Dan and I headed over to Towson's Kabob Hut for some of our favorite cuisine. The place itself is quite dingy, in fact, it wouldn't hurt them to paint the walls or redo the floors, but I am guessing that most of their business is carry-out so they probably don't feel a need. But Dan and I stayed in to eat, and these things bothered us slightly, not to mention the man at the counter was a bit grouchy.....but I won't go there.

Regardless, we came for the kabobs. I ordered Hummus ($5.25) which tasted EXACTLY like Sabra hummus, though the employee said it is made on-site. You get a LOT of hummus, so be prepared to share, which is good for a price like that. I wish that we recieved that as soon as we sat down, but it actually came out with the meal, so I didn't spend too much time on it unfortuately.

Dan and I both decided to go for some traditional dishes, platter style - which means they come with rice, a little pot of pickled veggies and some yogurt. Dan chose the Beef, Chicken and Tenderloin Platter ($16.95) and I chose the Lamb Kabob Platter ($12.95). I personally thought my lamb was a bit tough and I grew tired of chewing it after the second chunk, and we agreed the Tenderloin was the same. The chicken was tender and good, but plain - Dan really loved it though. I really liked the Koobideh, or ground beef as it was the most flavorful. I would probably get this meat again. The rice was great, but very buttery!

For my tastes, I was happier with the simpler foods, such as the chicken and beef kebabs. I know I would definitely go back and order just the Koobideh next time, and maybe in a pita to try something different.


Kabob Hut on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 11, 2010

Salsarita's Fresh Cantina, Downtown

Because of my unnatural obsession, I automatically reject all other Mexican chain restaurants in my choice for a meal if there's a Chipotle around. However, sometimes Chipotle is out of the question, so then I TRY to keep an open mind and submit my stomach to a different place.

In the case of Salsarita's, I usually always order their taco salad. I get it with ground beef, cheese, olives (why not?), onions, cilantro, salsa and guac. At the end of the meal my hunger is satiated and I thank the food for helping me with that, but truthfully it's just OK. The flavoring of the meat is too subtle, the rice (when I've had it) is boring, the salsa is too thin and the guac isn't chunky enough etc etc. Basically, it's not Chipotle.

I shouldn't even be writing this review, should I?

Don't get me wrong, this is a decent meal, but I don't get blown away. Anyone out there a huge Salsarita's fan? Should I get something else to try?

Anyone out there HATE Chipotle!?!?!?!?! I can't imagine that being true.....but I have to ask.

Salsarita's Fresh Cantina on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are You a Tea Drinker?


Since I've been feeling a bit under the weather, tea has been my new best friend and there are two kinds that I've been drinking lately.


My staple for the mornings has been Yorkshire Gold, (p.s., on their website, doesn't that Tea Loaf look spectacular????) a really rich black tea that warms my body entirely while transporting me to the misty moors of England (in Wellington Boots and a raincoat of course!).


The next kinds are the jasmine tea and chamomile citrus tea from Mighty Leaf tea. These herbal teas are perfect for the times when you don't want any caffiene, but just some extra warmth. I also love that they come in these delightful bio-degradeable silk pouches, which allows them to add large pieces of rind or tea for better infusing.

I've got to say though, once I start feeling better, I'll be filling my to-go mug with some freshly brewed coffee, but I'll always remember my tea days fondly :)


What are your favorite tea brands or flavors? Does it change to something different when you're sick?

A Popchips Present!


Over the break, I found a package for me at my door. I automatically thought it was a Christmas present from Dan, so decided to avoid it, however I realized it was addressed to me from Popchips!!!! I'm not sure if you remember, but in October I had written about Popchips and their deliciousness! Aren't they so nice to have sent me this in the mail......

All different varieties to try! Oh I was a happy snacker over the break. In fact, my whole family and I happily snacked!

Here are the different flavors:
Original - my favorite
Cheddar
Sour Cream and Onion
Salt and Pepper - my other favorite
Parmesan Garlic
Barbeque
Sea Salt and Vinegar

Just like I said before, I love popchips for their crunchiness! Also, since I am trying to cut back on my snacking after the holidays, if I still need my salt + crunch this is a good way to go, especially because each bag is only 120 calories each! Personally I like the more original flavors, but I was surprised to find that I did enjoy the Cheddar and BBQ as well. I usually don't like those flavors of regular chips, but the flavoring is much more subtle!

Anyway, give them a try! Apparently you can get them in Costco now, but I've seen them everywhere lately



p.s. Popchips did send me this box for free, but they didn't even ask me to review them! These comments are all my own opinion.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

El Guapito's, Downtown

Not at El Guapito's - Image by Aaron Murphy
YUM!
El Guapito's Mexican restaurant needs to be in a better location. I am just nervous that not a lot of people know about this place! I want it near more traffic, especially because it's so close to Mt. Vernon. Luckily, a friend told me to check this place out so we went for lunch one day. Oh it was a good day.

We tried the guacamole ($6 for large - good for sharing) with crunchy thick tortilla chips. The guacamole itself was just OK, but I loved the chips.

The tacos though, ohhhhhhh the tacos were amazing. I tried the Carne Asada, Carne Al Pastor and the Chorizo ($2.75 each). The tortillas tasted homemade and the meat was grilled to perfection. I loved the seasoning, the flavorings, the EVERYTHING.

I can't wait to come back here! I'd love to get more tacos, but it would be great to try their Tostadas and Enchiladas as well.

El Guapito on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NEW RESTAURANT ALERT: Milan, Eastern Avenue

Milan, located on the edge of Harbor East and Little Italy, offers a new take on Italian cuisine, including a new combination - Italian Sushi!

It’s opening on January 15 and will be open 7 days a week from 5-10 pm with extended bar and late dining hours until 1 am. They also have a coffee and wine bar which is open 7 days a week from 11 am-2 am. And of course, they offer a happy hour, 7 days a week from 5-7 pm.

Here are some menu items that were sent to me. My comments are in red italics.

APPETIZERS
  • Aragosta Pasta e Caci, lobster mac and cheese with chiocciole pasta, smoked gouda béchamel, white truffle essence, and citus pistacio gremolata ($12) Fancy mac and cheese? Always a crowd pleaser!
  • Caprese di Fungi, portabella mushroom, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, fresh basil and an imported balsamic reduction ($7).
  • Salmone Affumicato Bruschetta with fresh dill, capers, house smoked salmon and chive crème friache ($8)
  • Pepe Rosso Buschetta with fresh mozzarella, roasted red pepper, fresh oregano and a balsamic reduction ($6).
  • Margherita Flatbread with fresh oregano, tomato confit, fresh mozzarella and basil ($8)
  • Maryland Granchi Flatbread, jumbo lump crab, roasted garlic, sautéed spinach, grape tomatoes and shaved parmigiano-reggiano ($14).

ITALIAN SUSHI! Italian sushi! What a crazy combination! Crazy enough though that it sounds intriguing!

  • The selection of Crudo are served with either three ($9) or six ($17) varieties of fresh fish and include: Salmon with lemon caper aioli; Hiramasa with a blood orange balsamic glaze, yum I love blood oranges!; Arctic Char with a basil pesto; Hamachi with roasted red pepper puree; Yellowfin Tuna with red pepper oil and sea salt; and White Tuna with lemon oil and pine nuts.
  • Uva Fogliame Con Salmone, seared salmon, fresh mozzarella, sautéed mushrooms, sundried tomato, grape leaves and lemon caper aioli ($12)
  • Milan Rotolo, Avocado, sun dried tomato, fried calamari, nori, seasoned rice, white tuna, yellowfin tuna, basil pesto, and blood orange balsamic glaze ($18). Sign me up for this one!!!!

PASTA AND DINNER SELECTIONS

  • Ravioli Deconstruito, cold water lobster, jumbo lump crab, shrimp, house made pasta, swiss chard, and pink peppercorn cream sauce ($28). How wonderful, yes I would like you
  • Risotto Capasanta, seared scallops, wild mushrooms, fire roasted corn and white truffle essence ($22) Oh delightful! I would love you as well!
  • Vitello, 14 oz. veal porterhouse with a wild mushroom risotto cake and smoked tomato demi glace ($38)
  • Bistecca Con L’Osso, 20 oz. dry rubbed USDA Choice bone-in ribeye with Yukon gold mash and melted leeks ($42). mmmm there's something so comforting about melted leeks

HOUSE MADE DESSERTS I want to try ALL of these. I hate turning down house made desserts!!!!! I'm a big sucker for creme brulee's though, so that would probably be my first choice

  • Torta di Formaggio, honey ricotta cheesecake with a balsamic strawberry compote and candied rosemary ($8)
  • Milan’s Tiramisu ($8)
  • Grand Marnier Crème Brulee ($8)
  • Piatoo di Fromaggio, a selection of Italian cheese ($12)

SPECIALTY COCKTAILS

  • Dolce & Gabbana, Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli Raz Vodka, a splash of club soda and fresh raspberries ($11)
  • Gucci Envy, Absolute Apple Vodka, Sour Apple Liquor, and a splash of Midori and pineapple juice ($10).
  • Passion of Milan, Captain Morgan Passion Fruit, fresh brewed iced-tea, and a splash of lime juice ($8) I love passion fruit, this sounds like a lovely drink
  • Variety of flavorful mojitos ($10-12). ooooooh, i'm a big mojito fan, especially lots of flavors!

Overall, this restaurant’s menu shows that it’s trying to step outside of the box with regular Italian cuisine. I think that’s a smart move in opening a new place. I wish it the best of luck in its opening!



1002 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202-4326

410-685-6111

visit http://www.opentable.com/rest_profile.aspx?rid=36967 for reservations

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