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Monday, March 29, 2010

Free Wine at Pazo's?????!!!

Just saw this over at Dining at Large

Pazo's is giving out a free bottle of red wine before 7pm tonight (March 29th) to anyone who mentions Facebook....

read more info here

Pazo
www.pazorestaurant.com
1425 Aliceanna StreetBaltimore, MD 21231
(410) 534-7296

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Morning Haiku



Tea Time, I Love You

Sugar Cubes and Cookies, Yum!

My Tummy Can't Wait

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AN EVENING WITH ANTHONY BOURDAIN AND ERIC RIPERT AT THE HIPPODROME THEATRE MAY 22, 2010


Tickets just went on sale today! Scroll down for more information.

Here is the press release I received about this event, is sounds pretty awesome for Baltimore Foodies!


The host of NO RESERVATIONS, Anthony Bourdain, is coming to the Hippodrome Theatre Saturday Evening, May 22nd for one night only. Bourdain is the acclaimed television personality, best-selling author, public speaker, world traveler, gourmand, and punk-rock aficionado. Bourdain will be joined by his special guest and friend, Eric Ripert, chef, author, and host of PBS’ Avec Eric. Ripert is executive chef and co-owner of New York’s celebrated three-star Michelin restaurant Le Bernardin.

Bourdain and Ripert, will provide an evening of storytelling and observation providing the audience with a frank and provocative back and forth about what really goes on behind the kitchen doors- from both ends of the spectrum. Through illustrative anecdotes and stories, the night will include highlights from Ripert’s career and lurid lowlights from Bourdain’s career, and will give the audience a real-world understanding of what it takes to survive in the cutthroat culture of fine dining restaurants. The program portion of the evening will include an audience Question and Answer.

Audience members will be able to include in their ticket the opportunity to be a part of The Hippodrome Foodie Experience immediately following the show. Audience members can join Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert in sampling Baltimore’s Top restaurants best dishes, tasting wine and spirits from around the world and mingling with fellow “foodies” at the Hippodrome.

Who: No Reservations, An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert
Where: The Hippodrome Theatre
When: Saturday Evening May 22, 2010 8:00 pm curtain
Post show reception with a sampling of Baltimore’s best restaurants in the Pavilion 9:30 pm – 12:30 am
How Much: Tickets are $29.00-$89.00 (plus applicable service fees)
- With a limited number of $250.00 VIP tickets which will include a special Meet and Greet with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert, VIP ticket locations, access to the after party and a gift bag from the evening.
- The $89.00 tickets include access to the post show reception. Guests whose tickets do not include the after party will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to the party separately.

Tickets are on sale to the public Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at the Hippodrome Theatre Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations including Charge-by- Phone 410.547-SEAT and 800-551.SEAT and online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 23rd is the day of FREE

Tomorrow (Tuesday, March 23rd) you could have a whole day of free snacks - first at Starbuck's and then at Ben and Jerry's!!!!!

From opening until 10:30am, head to your local Starbuck's to get a free pastry with a purchase of any handcrafted, brewed or iced beverage (although you know I'm not going to get any iced tea since I know how to make that now!!!!) Just print out this coupon or show it to a barista on a mobile device.

Then, between Noon and 8pm, head to your local Ben and Jerry's for a free cone of ice cream!

FREE ICE CREAM
FREE PASTRIES
FREE AWESOMENESS!

And the winner is.....


Jay Zeis!

yayayayayayaya!!!!!

Congratulations, Jay - you WERE lucky number 13 and you are the winner of the $25 gift certificate to McCormick and Schmick's!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest - better luck next time :)
(Image by Michiev)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

ICED TEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This may be ridiculous, but I JUST made iced tea for the first time yesterday and now I am hooked. I will never ever ever buy iced tea again because it's so easy!!!!!!!!!!

This is what I did:
- Boiled 4 cups of water
- Poured the water into a pitcher and then added 3 tbl of sugar and gave it a stir
- Added 5 teabags (I used my Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast Tea because it's the cheapest to use at $2.99 for 80 bags hahahaha) and steeped the tea for about 10 minutes....I think...
- Took out the teabags and then just let it come to room temperature before putting the pitcher into the fridge
- Poured the cooled tea over ice
- DRINK AND ENJOY AND WONDER WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG TO MAKE THIS

Anyway, I am really happy now.

Does anyone make iced tea another way? Has anyone tried to make Sun Tea before??

ALSO - I KNOW YOU KNOW THIS, BUT TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY FOR A $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO MCCORMICK AND SCHMICK'S! Just write in a comment and you'll be in the running! I'll let you know tomorrow who the lucky winner will be!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why I Clearly Need to Go Back to the U.K. for a Holiday...


I moved from London, England in 1994, and unfortunately it's been ten years now since I've gone back for a visit. Ten years is a LONG time. Lately, I've started to become crazy when anything British-related has caught my attention.

It got really bad during the Snowpocalypse when I watched 5 seasons straight of a BBC show called Monarch of the Glen, which is set in Scotland. My tea drinking went on a spike (I wanted to be like the actors who either drank tea or whiskey in every scene....so I chose the healthier option), so did my love for Jammie Dodgers and basically anything to do with my childhood. Also, my friends and poor Dan get at least one image of Scotland/England a day in their email and a rant about how amazing it would be to go to Edinburgh or the Scottish Highlands or the Yorkshire moors.

Anyway, I had a bit of a chuckle today when I looked in my tea cabinet and saw these:

Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast Tea - sorry, no photo!











Taylors of Harrogate's Yorkshire Gold (my fave)












Murroughs Welsh Brew














I





Taylors of Harrogate's Scottish Breakfast Tea










At least I covered all the parts of the UK, right?

Dan, honey, I think it's time I go back for a vacation hahahahaha

Also - why am I bringing this up on a Taste of Baltimore blog? Well, I purchased Trader Joe's Irish tea at the TJ's in Towson, and the rest from Baltimore Coffee and Tea! :)


Oh, hey, tomorrow is the last day to enter the McCormick and Schmick's $25 gift certificate giveaway! I hope you entered :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Towson Delly North, Lutherville Timonium

I'm not really sure why this place is called Towson Delly North....because it's clearly located in Lutherville, but I'll get over that because they have the best shrimp salad EVER. The shrimp are so huge, it's not too mayo-y, and the old bay seasoning is just right. Oh, this is just a great salad for a sandwich. I just ordered it for $8 and it comes with chips and a pickle. A little high for a sandwich, sure, but it's worth it.

I've tried other sandwiches from there, including their tuna melt which is also tasty....but their shrimp salad is where it's at!!!! :)

I wish I had taken a picture to show you how huge the shrimp were. My bad - I was clearly just thinking of my tummy and not the blog!

Towson Delly North on Urbanspoon

p.s. Don't forget my giveaway ends on Sunday! Get a $25 gift certificate to McCormick & Schmick's!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

B-Bistro, Bolton Hill

My gigantic bowl of Mussels
(Romantic = Not good lighting, sorry!)

I've been drooling over B-Bistro's menu for a while now, so when Dan surprised me with reservations one evening, I was so excited!!!!!!! B-Bistro is a lovely place for a romantic dinner: it's small, cozy and intimate and has such a great atmosphere!

After much consideration, I ordered the Moules and Frites ($15) - Mussels and Fries - which I had steamed with green curry and coriander. This was OUTSTANDING - and what a DEAL!!!!! This was the biggest bowl of mussels I've seen, and the combination of the green curry and coriander was heavenly. This was probably one of the best bowls of mussels I've had in Baltimore, honestly. It was also lovely to sop up the curry with their yummy bread. The fries were also excellent and I liked that they had some garlic aioli on the side to dip if we wanted to (which I did!)

To complement the mussels, I chose a glass of the Cava Avinyo ($7.50 for 5 oz) a light sparkling wine.



Steak and Fries with Garlic Aioli for dipping

Dan chose the Steak and Frites ($25) which was a Roseda Farms strip served with garlic butter. There was A LOT of butter - beware. The steak itself was very good though, but perhaps it was swimming in a little too much butter.

Also, for some reason, Dan and I forgot both our meals came with fries and we ordered a side of their Duck Fat Roasted Fingerling Potatoes ($5) which were served with rosemary and some more garlic aioli! They were great - and perfect for sharing.


Profiteroles and Creme Brulee for dessert!


We barely had room in our tummies for dessert but I really wanted to try their homemade desserts (they also make their own pasta, though neither of us tried that). We decided to order the creme brulee and the profiteroles.


The creme brulee was good, but not my favorite. It had a great flavor, but I think it was a little overcooked because the consistency was more like a flan in some parts. Dan liked it, of course :)


The profiteroles came with 3 different scoops of homemade ice cream (of your choice!) and served with a salted caramel sauce. I chose Cardamom, Nutella and Vanilla ice cream and all 3 flavors were AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEE. I love cardamom and I looooooooooooooove Nutella (which we all know). The pastry of the profiteroles were OK - in all honesty I think I would next time I would order the ice creams separately since neither the pastry nor the sauce added anything extra.


Overall, I love this place and would come back in a heartbeat. I hate to compare it to another restaurant - but it almost reminds me of a smaller Woodberry Kitchen. Or at least, it has a similar type of menu. It's much more intimate though, which I LOVED. Also, our server was super friendly and helpful - I wish I remembered his name!!! What a gem of a restaurant!



B, Bolton Hill Bistro on Urbanspoon


p.s. I am running a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to McCormick & Schmick's so enter it today - it ends at 11:59PM on Sunday March 21st!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hunan Manor, Columbia


House Pan-Fried Noodles (note the portion size, woh!)

Remember when your mum used to tell you "just because it's popular does not mean it's good" in high school? Well, I'm going to say it again - but I'm not talking about the popular crowd and all their naughty ways....I'm talking about Hunan Manor in Columbia. It is crowded, it seems very popular, it is NOT good.

OK, so I went with a group of about 15 and most of us thought our meal was just OK and sat there in confusion as to why this large restaurant was quite full. We felt like there may have been a secret menu we were not privvy to!



General Tso's Chicken


Dan and I chose to split our meals so we could share - General Tso's chicken and the House Pan Fried Noodles. I took a couple of bites of the General Tso's chicken and immediately wanted nothing to do with it - there were too many of the overly crispy bits and not enough chicken, plus the sauce wasn't tasty. The House Pan Fried Noodles weren't delicious either. The mushrooms were too chewy and the beef was too soft. You know what I'm talking about - it was really similar to the kind of beef you get in Lean Cuisines where the ingredient list says its "Beef Product." Beef is not naturally that soft.

That being said, my vegetarian friends were greatly satisfied with their meals, and so I decided to try theirs, most notably the Meatless Sweet and Sour dish. I had to agree it was MUCH better than any of the other dishes - the meatless stuff was so fried and covered in sauce you could hardly tell you weren't eating chicken. And in general it was pretty tasty.

One thing I MUST say is that the portions sizes were HUGE HUGE HUGE. Normally that would have been so exciting for me because I would have eaten leftovers for lunch and dinner the next home, but I didn't want any of the leftovers. Now you know it's bad when I don't even want to take stuff home ..... :o/

Overall, I did not have a great meal and I will not be going back.....but I can tell that a lot of people do - someone please tell me what I am missing. Are there secret dishes we should have ordered? It can't have been the duck because someone from my party ate that and he said it was just OK. It probably wasn't a lamb dish because I tried that and didn't like it either. Oh well.... perhaps everyone's just ordering the vegetarian dishes!

Hunan Manor on Urbanspoon

p.s. I am hosting a $25 Gift certificate giveaway to McCormick and Schmick's. Check out the details here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Randomness - My love for Nutella and my Go-To Weekend Meal


I wrote this email to my friends this morning, and I thought I would share so that you can see how crazy I am about food. I'm not sure if I show you my true kookoo nature on this blog :)

so i bought nutella for a nice treat to have on raisin bread......
but oh crap i want some now on just my plain white bread :o/

I SHOULD NEVER HAVE OPENED THIS CAN OF WORMS AKA NUTELLA

NOW I AM DREAMING ABOUT NUTELLA CREPES WITH BANANAS

NUTELLA CREPES WITH GRAND MARNIER

NUTELLLA SANDWICHES

NUTELLA ICE CREAM

NUTELLA ON A SPOON AND INTO MY MOUTH

it's too early to be this crazy


As you can tell, I LOVE NUTELLA SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I restrained myself and I had my usual brunch this morning, which I'm not sure I've ever told you about! But let me start from the beginning.

WELL, one day I came home after work and Dan had a huge bouquet of flowers propped up against this big box covered with a blanket. After coming down from my initial high over the GORGEOUS flowers, I asked him what the box was, and he said nothing - just a prop for the bouquet. After a little while, when I went to pick up the blanket - I uncovered a box FOR A BREADMAKER

OMG

I OWN A BREADMAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This one in fact. It is amazing. It changed my life and the amount of carbs I eat everyday. I make bread ALL the time now because it's so easy and I love the taste of it!!!! Also, can I just stop and mention how awesome Dan is!!!!!! I've wanted a bread maker for so long, and my need for one was exacerbated by the snowstorm when all I wanted to do was eat fresh bread that entire week hahahahaha

So, anyway, with two slices of the very best bread in the world, I add some almond butter and jam.





I usually buy this Maranatha No Stir Almond Butter from Wegman's because I've tried the butters where you have to stir and it's usually a pain and the bottom of the jar is always too dry. This kind is great. I love crunchy butters! They're the best kind :)








I don't really have any brand loyalty for jam, but recently the Superfresh had a sale on Bonne Maman's jams, so I picked up some Raspberry Preserves and it's quite delicious! P.S. their website is very pretty, but also entirely in French. Anyone have a favorite jam I should check out?

Then, of course, to round out the meal I make myself a cup of Yorkshire Tea Gold.

It's a pretty spectacular brunch and it keeps me full for HOURS, which is why I love it on the weekends.

Anyway, back to my crazy love for Nutella - well, I made raisin bread the other day and it was just fantastic! I kept thinking that if I bought some Nutella, then it would be like eating melted raisinets (aka the best movie theater candy ever) on bread. How delicious does that sound? Very delicious.

And that, my friends, is my morning post hahahahaha



P.S. I am sure you know, but just in case you don't - I am running a contest for a $25 McCormick & Schmick's gift certificate. Comment here to enter.

Friday, March 12, 2010

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant AND A GIVEAWAY!!!!

I just wanted to highlight two events going on at McCormick & Schmick’s – their new Crab Special Menu and their St. Patrick’s Day events. Then read on for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate!!!!
ST. PATRICK’S DAY, MARCH 17TH

Here’s the deal:

  • Visit any McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant location (see website for Maryland locations) on Wednesday, March 17
  • Buy someone a featured “Kiss” Cocktail – Leprechaun Kiss -see picture (Sour Apple Pucker + Vodka + Lemon Juice + Simple Syrup) or Chocolate Kiss (Baileys + Vodka + Crème de Cacao + Half and Half + Guinness!)

  • For each Kiss Cocktail purchased, you’ll receive three “I Got Kissed” stickers
  • Give out the “I Got Kissed” stickers to strangers as an easy way to make friends (and get some potential real kisses)
  • The guest at each restaurant/bar that night with the most “kisses” will win fun prizes, which may include dining certificates, promotional items from beverage partners and much more!
Plus, there will be plenty of special menu items available that day, starting at just $3.95! Special items include: Corned Beef Sliders and Guinness-Steamed Shrimp at the bar, or Corned Beef & Cabbage and Lamb Stew in the dining room.

And, there’s more! Visit the McCormick & Schmick’s Facebook page and enter the “Pucker Up & Try Your Luck” photo contest and be entered to win a $300 gift card to McCormick & Schmick’s! (And don’t forget…..read further down for ANOTHER chance to win a $25 giveaway!!!)


DISCOVER AMERICA’S CRAB
Through the end of April, McCormick & Schmick’s is giving guests the opportunity to “Discover America’s Crab” with a special menu showcasing several varieties and preparation styles for crab. Check out the deliciousness:


Lobster Ravioli

Discover America’s Crab Special Menu (will run until the end of April):

  • California Sushi Roll with Dungeness Crab, Sticky Rice, Cucumber and Avocado

  • Lobster Ravioli Topped with Blue Crab in White Wine Cream Sauce with Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach


King Crab Leg Dinner

  • 1LB King Crab Leg Dinner with Seasonal Vegetables and Melted Butter


Crab Cake

  • Regional Crab Cake, regional/house preparation

  • Create Your Own Crab Surf & Turf
    Pair a 6oz Filet Mignon with your choice of Crab Leg Sections, our Crab Cake or have your Filet Prepared Oscar-Style, topped with Crab, Asparagus and Hollandaise

  • Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle with Vanilla Custard, Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream
Sounds GREAT, right? Especially the Lobster Ravioli, yum!!!! And then finish that off with Trifle!?!?!?!? I LOVE TRIFLEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But what if you don’t really know too much about crabs? Perhaps you are new to the area and afraid to ask any of the locals :) Well, the good folks over at McCormick & Schmick's have included some “Crab 101” tips to share with you. Along with their descriptions, they’ve also included sample menu items that correlate:

Crab 101 - Supplied by McCormick & Schmick's
Crab, like many forms of seafood, is a healthy food option.
o An excellent source of protein, crab contains important minerals and amino acids.
o Crab is also low in calories, cholesterol and fat.

Dungeness Crab is a tender white meat, known for a delicate, sweet flavor.
o Fun Fact: The estimated life span of the Dungeness crab is between eight and 13 years.
o Menu Item to Try: California Sushi Roll with Dungeness Crab, Sticky Rice, Cucumber and Avocado.

King Crab is known for meaty claws and legs and a full, rich flavor.
o Fun Fact: The size of a King crab can be up to six feet from toe to toe.
o Menu Item to Try: One pound King Crab Leg Dinner with Seasonal Vegetables and Melted Butter.

Blue Crab has a tender texture with a rich, buttery taste.
o Fun fact: Blue crabs walk sideways on their middle three pairs of legs.
o Menu Item to Try: Lobster Ravioli Topped with Blue Crab served in White Wine Cream Sauce with Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach.

$25 GIFT CERTIFICATE GIVEAWAY
So friends, want to win a McCormick & Schmick’s dining certificate for $25 (valid at ANY location)? Then leave me a comment on this post - only one comment will count!
This contest will be open until Sunday, March 21st 11:59PM and I will pick the winner on Monday 22ND. Make sure I have some way of contacting you!!!

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood
http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/
See website for locations in Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, and Oxon Hill

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Red Star Bar & Grill, Fells Point

Red Star is a super cool bar and restaurant located in Fells Point. It's located in a gorgeous brick building - with exposed bricks and beams that are part of the restaurant's charm. Another part of the charm? They have their own parking lot across the street. YES PLEASE!!!!

Their menu is American fare, very well priced, with a lot of choices ready to satisfy any picky eater - burgers, salads, pizza, sandwiches.

I decided to order the Bison Burger ($12) since the meat came from locally owned Gunpowder Bison Trading Company who I like to support (though I still need to visit, like Sweet Mary did earlier this year!!). It came with onions, pepper jack cheese, and roasted garlic aioli. This was a good burger. Cooked medium like I asked (and like you want bison to be cooked because anything more will lead to a very dry patty). This was just pure comfort food. It also comes with fries on the side, but ask for the "half and half" so that you get a half serving of their sweet potato fries and a half serving of their garlic fries. You won't be sorry!

Unfortunately, that's all I tried here. I did want to get the hummus since it was actually recommended to me by a commenter on this post, however, for $8 it seemed a bit high considering my meal was only $4 more and a lot of the meals are $10.

On a Friday night, this place was very busy, but manageable - though for a large party a reservation is a must. However, next time I come back I would probably like to come in a smaller group (we came with a party of around 12) so that we would be able to get a booth. We were placed at a table in the middle of the crowded room sitting on backless stools (not comfortable!). Oh yes, and probably the WORST thing about this bar is the bathroom. It was one stall and it was disgustttttttttingggggggggggggggggggggg and wet and GROSS.

However, I am not reviewing bathrooms, I am reviewing the food and overall, this place was a great find. Their menu is eclectic and unique enough that I would love to come again and try more!

Red Star Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red Springs Cafe - Fundraising Brunch, March 14th, 11AM-3PM

Got this in my email, so wanted to pass it along:

This Sunday, March 14th from 11am-3pm, Red Springs Cafe in Baltimore will partner with the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (N.O.A.H.) to host a special fundraising brunch. Five dollars from each meal will be donated to the organization, which is sending a group on a mission trip later this month. With the rainy season fast approaching in Haiti, N.O.A.H. has a goal to send 100 tents to those who are in need of shelter as a result of the January 12th earthquake.

Red Springs Café will be offering $20 brunch tickets for a buffet style meal including an omelet station, French toast, southwestern home fries, fried apples, fried chicken, and more. Drink options include $3 bottomless mimosas and $1.50 homemade lemonade and sweet iced tea.

Red Springs Cafe
353 N. Calvert St. Baltimore, MD 21202.
To make reservations call 410-637-4041.

Donna's in UM Hospital, Downtown

Just went to the Donna's located in the University of Maryland Hospital for some mocha. I hadn't had a mocha craving in SO LONG, so I thought I deserved to satisfy it.
Anyway, I AM ANGRY.
If I'm going to spend $4.19 on a medium cafe mocha (RIDICULOUS I KNOW), then I would expect it to be stirred so that my last couple of sips aren't of the sweetest chocolate syrup known to man.

GROSS

I literally have no idea if that mocha was worth $4.19 because for the first 3/4 of the coffee I thought it was lame and non-chocolaty and stupid. Then I get to the end and I wanted to douse my tongue in anything savory I could find.

Celebrate Pi Day at the Maryland Science Center - March 14th, Noon-4PM


Usually I don’t like copying and pasting press releases, but I just HAD to share this one with you because it’s such a gem :) Quick synopsis: Maryland Science Center is celebrating Pi Day on March 14th, from Noon-4pm. Oh yes, and it will include a pie-eating contest!


Check out the details below:
Parents should round up their kids, take a digression from their usual weekend plans, and find the best root to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Sunday, March 14 when the Maryland Science Center will host its annual Pi Day celebration in honor of π, the mathematical symbol for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Visitors can participate in multiple activities including a pie-eating contest with Key Lime pies donated by Morton’s The Steakhouse, a hula-hoop endurance challenge, (because it’s a circle!) and show off their Pi memorization skills in a fun competition, and listen to Pi related music all day.

All events are free with paid admission to the Maryland Science Center.


The Maryland Science Center

601 Light Street

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. F

For information and ticket prices, visit www.marylandsciencecenter.org or call the 24-Hour Information Line at 410-685-5225.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rise and Shine!

(Photo by Zvone Lavric)

Thanks to this post, I read this great article about the benefits of waking up earlier.


Today I woke up 30mins earlier (after hitting snooze for 30 mins) and I had the most relaxed morning AND got to work early enough that I had time to make my tea (using my new teacup and saucer! And sugar cubes!)

It was so lovely!

I would like to get in the habit of waking up early enough to have breakfast and a cup of tea at home every morning, but I am nervous that I will be WOH CRAZY hungry by lunchtime if I do that! I eat lunch around 1pm everyday, so eating at 7am seems a bit too early for me. Usually I just eat breakfast at my desk around 9am. But it's not relaxing and calming, like it would be if I ate facing my lovely backyard.

Do you have any morning rituals? Are you an early riser who has some tips for me???

Monday, March 8, 2010

Frank and Nic's West End Grille, Downtown

My boring grilled chicken caesar wrap with shoestring fries

Before heading to the Muse concert with my friends (which was BEYOND EXCELLENT by the way), we hung out at Frank and Nic's West End Grille for some dinner and drinks in the bar area. It was Happy Hour (Mon-Fri, 5-7PM) so I got a $5 House Cabernet which was surprisingly smooth. To start, we ordered a plate of sweet chili wings and a plate of traditional wings for the Happy Hour price of $5 each. Both varieties of the wings were very good, I especially liked the sweet chili wings. At first I thought $5 for 7 wings at a Happy Hour price was slightly lame, but the wings are sizeable enough that you don't mind while you eat them.

For dinner I ordered the Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap ($8) which came with shoestring fries (which i LOVE). Now this is where the disappointment set in. Not only did they take an unreasonable amount of time to bring out our food, everyone at the table had a mediocre experience with their meal. I felt like my wrap consisted of charred chicken and romaine - I tasted no caesar dressing whatsoever and it felt incredibly plain to me. Dan ordered a Philly Cheesesteak ($8) and he recieved ONE long caramelized onion slice that ran the length of the sandwich, a meagre porrtion of meat and an invisible amount of cheese. My friend Aaron took about 3 bites of his Cheeseburger ($8) said it was "eh" and left the rest. The only thing we all collectively liked were the fries.

What a disappointment! I mean, don't get me wrong, the prices are very good for what we got (I guess), but I would have much rather popped over to Potbelly's next door and had a sandwich for less that I would have been 100% satisfied with. Would I come here again for Happy Hour though? Sure, I wouldn't be opposed to that, but I would leave before dinnertime.

You live you learn!

Has anyone ever been and sat at the dining room side of this place and had a different experience??

Frank & Nic’s West End Grille on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear Sabra...

To me, you (and all your varieties) are perfect.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Perfect Cookies for Spring Training Fever


I was alerted to a new product offered by Cooperstown Cookie Company - A Camden Yards Stadium Tin filled with 4 bunt packs (shortbread cookies), which come out to 12 in total, for $10.99. I reviewed their cookies in October and really liked them, especially because they were all-natural.

They also offer tins from other ball parks.....but we're not interested in any of those, are we! :)

You can buy these tins, or other specialty Orioles Baseball packs on their website: http://www.cooperstowncookie.com/

Kavkaz Kebab Revisited

(picture taken from http://www.kavkazkebab.com/)

Because I had such a great tasting at Kavkaz Kebab, I really wanted Dan and my mum to try the place, which they were eager to because of my review.

We ended up going on a Friday night, and it was surprisingly too quiet. This made me very sad! This place is too delicious to be quiet on a Friday night! But anyway, we ordered the following:

Kachapuri (cheese wrapped in filo pastry dough) – So delightful.
Meat Kutabi (crepe-like pancakes filled with meat). Loved this with a sprinkle of sumac
Tandoor Bread – The bread is so great and you can tell it’s served right off the tandoor.
Piti Soup – I tried this for the first time. It's a clear broth made with potatoes, meat, sour plums, chickpeas and a taste of mint. Incredibly comforting. Served in an earthenware pot, and at first you think it won’t be enough, and then you realize it totally is!
Plate of lulya kebabs – Still my favorite. Great flavor, incredibly moist.
Plate of combination chicken and beef kebabs – Both of these are the best I’ve had anywhere of their kind. The chicken is so tender and juicy, I usually never like chicken kebabs but these were great. The beef was also so tender – once again, not something you usually find with meat pieces, but they really marinate the meat well here.
2 Baklava – Still my favorite, in fact, everyone here LOVED this particular dessert
1 Shekebura – A worthy competitor of the baklava. Perfect with some tea or coffee.
Turkish coffee – Great presentation, but the caffeine didn’t really help since I ended up sleeping half an hour later out of Friday-Exhaustion.

WOW. What an amazing feast!!!!!!!!!! Everything was just as great that day as it was when I came in before. The service was pleasant and attentive, and I really felt that I was eating carefully prepared food with the best ingredients. That being said, I think that’s where the problem lies. Kavkaz is expensive compared to its neighbors – Five Guys and El Nino Taco. With entrée prices in the mid-teens, a lot of people may just choose the cheaper options and not bother coming in. On top of that, even the appetizers are expensive (in fact, I’m pretty sure the prices went up since I had the tasting and are different from their menu online. If I remember correctly, the appetizers were around $6 each, which is a lot considering the portion size). This is a dilemma for this place because I think their food deserves those prices because of the quality of the food, however, it doesn’t help welcome new and interested clientele.

Either way, everyone was so happy with their meal, and Dan agreed with me that it’s the best kebab/kabob place we’ve been to by a long shot. They really know how to prepare their meats!


If you end up going there – let me know what you think!
Kavkaz Kebab
10902 Boulevard Circle
Owings Mills, MD 21117
410-998-9004

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

UNION JACK'S IN COLUMBIA???

According to HowChow, a Union Jack's Pub is opening in Columbia next week.

UM, I'm SO EXCITED RIGHT NOW.

I've never been to the Union Jack in Bethesda, but I don't care! I'm obsessed with anything British (does that mean I'm obsessed with myself? I don't know how that works), so that automatically means I will love this place with all my heart.

Please someone let me know what Union Jack's is like and whether there is enough British stuff in the place to tame my excited heart.

THANKS

Hot Chocolate Quest: Starbucks

Well, I'm not doing so well on my Hot Chocolate Quest that I mentioned here, other than going to Stone Mill Bakery.

I did, however, pop on over to Starbucks to get their "Black and White" Hot Chocolate - which isn't on the menu! It's a combination of their white chocolate and dark chocolate! Apparently you can also get the same thing as a Mocha as well. Verdict? Still tastes like hot chocolate, but perhaps a bit sweeter because of the white chocolate syrup. However, if I ever want a hot chocolate from Starbucks again I'll still order it only because I feel cool ordering from a "secret menu" hahahahahaha.

In other hot chocolate news, I have come to the conclusion that skim milk doesn't do hot chocolate justice. It loses all the creaminess and flavor. Perhaps next time I'll just try it with a low-fat option instead.

So, are there any other secret menu items I should know about at Starbucks????

Monday, March 1, 2010

ATTENTION ANNAPOLIS RESIDENTS: Coming Soon - The Fresh Market

Just learned about this exciting addition to Annapolis:

The Fresh Market will open on Wednesday March 3rd at 9AM at 2504 Solomons Island Road. The new 24,900 square foot store will house a bakery, a full service meat counter, ready-to-serve entrées, fresh seafood, a large range of imported and domestic as well as a large organic selection - amongst other delights.

To celebrate its opening on the 3rd, activities will include outdoor grilling, chef demonstrations, and food sampling throughout the store. Also, the first 1,000 customers will get a reusable shopping bag and sample-sized bag of the company’s house blend gourmet coffee!

In addition, customers attending the grand opening will be invited to enter into a drawing to win The Fresh Market Pantry. Valued at approximately $1,000, the Pantry is a collection of The Fresh Market’s own TFM-branded favorites, including spices, stocks, pastas, pancake mixes, gourmet sauces, jams and more (nice!!!!)

To learn more, visit www.thefreshmarket.com and sign up for “Fresh Ideas,” the company’s weekly e-mail newsletter that includes specials as well as recipes and information about in-store events.

p.s.
The other location is located at 2510 Quarry Lake Drive, Baltimore MD 21209. 410-580-1930, right off Greenspring Avenue. In fact, Baltimore blogger Bmore Sweet went there recently to pick up some ingredients for some delicious tarts she made!
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