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Friday, May 28, 2010

What I Ate For Dinner This Week - You'd be Surprised!

 (Image by Hollie Barker)

I am wondering if you think that, based on my blog, all I do is eat out and/or eat really well.  I don’t.  In fact, this week was pretty terrible in the Dinner Creativity department.  I thought you would be interested to see what I consumed:
 

Friday – We had Dan’s coworkers over for dinner.  My dinner consisted of Sauvignon Blanc (my current favorite is from Ponga), a burger (that Dan made from scratch and was RIDICULOUSLY good) and an unholy amount of tortilla chips.

Saturday – I made parmesan-crusted cod with haricots vert.  I was proud of this, it was good and healthy!

Sunday – We met some friends at Chipotle for Lunch/Dinner at 3pm.  It was an important event.  My friend Jeff was trying a Chipotle burrito for the first time in his life.  It was important to be there at such a momentous point in history. I asked Jeff to write a guest post.....I am still waiting for it.

Monday – I made a one-pot meal with tofu and veggies (Steamfresh Asian Medley, to be precise).  Added a couple of teaspoons of teriyaki sauce, but not a lot because the vegetables were already “specially seasoned.”  Dan and I both agreed that for such an easy dish, it was really yummy, satisfying and WOH healthy.  Score!

Tuesday – My friend came over, so it was time to break out the big guns.  I made some Indian food.  I used a delicious chicken tikka sauce to which I added chicken  (obvs.) and served it with Trader Joe’s garlic naan.   My friend, in turn, brought a delicious salad she assembled from Graul’s salad bar (featuring beets! Yum!)  Oh man this was a good dinner.  I love Indian sauces in a jar (sorry, mum!) because they are SO EASY, and you don’t need to simmer them for an hour – just 15 minutes!  By the way, dear Mr. Trader Joe – you are fabulous, I love everything you make.

Wednesday – I scarfed down a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and a handful of my mum’s homemade granola.  Don’t judge me!  I had to eat something quickly before a choir rehearsal.  Cereal is key!

Thursday – I ate 2 vegetarian dosas, courtesy of Udupi's frozen foods. I had another choir rehearsal so I needed something fast, and these were ready in 10 minutes!  For being frozen, these dosas are FANTASTIC and come with a yummy coconut sauce on the side.  You can get them at the Indian grocery store next to India Palace on Cranbrook Road in Cockeysville.   I need to pick up some more of these, they are so good. 



So there you go!  I would just like to say, that I never realized how many shortcuts I take when cooking dinner.  Move over Sandra Lee, I should have my own Semi-Homemade franchise without a billion cocktails and ugly tablescapes. That being said, all of my pre-packaged items are “natural” in the fact that I can understand every single ingredient on the back of the jar/carton/box.

So are you surprised?  Disgusted?  Bored?  I thought this might appeal to people's inner nosiness, but it's OK if you thought this post was stupid :)

Friday Morning Haiku


Heading to the beach?
Have a wonderful weekend
Have fun and stay safe!


What are you doing this weekend?  My choir (did I tell you I was in a choir?) has been practicing non-stop for our last service of the year (until we meet back again in September), so I am staying around here.  Besides singing a ton, I am planning on painting something for my guest bathroom and perhaps tackling my disastrous utility room aka our personal dumping ground.  What are your plans?


Image by Harry Fodor

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Would love your help, dear readers!



Hi everyone!

I am still here!

Sorry I've been MIA for a bit-  I come home after staring at a computer screen all day, and this week I haven't been able to bring myself to stare at it anymore.
That, and I was kind of obsessed with LOST and the season finale and the fact that I still don't know what the crap the whole show was really about. Walt? Sickness? Preggers? The Shack?  Oh whatevs.  I still cried and watched it twice and cried some more, I love sappy love-fest endings, but I also love answers.

Anyway, so besides ignoring this blog for a couple of days, I have a favor to ask of you!  My sweet hubby and I are going to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine for a couple of days for our wedding anniversary (2 years! yay!) and I wanted to know if you had any restaurant recommendations/ activity recommendations.  I am, of course, researching the heck out of the place - but I thought it would be nice to get some suggestions from you lot as well :)

Oh, and we're also going to Portland for a night and staying around Old Port.

Oh, and I REALLY REALLY want to get a lobster roll from a seaside shack.

I do NOT want to be attacked by black flies, but I hear that might be impossible based on the time we are going.

Anyway, thanks for your help!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Morning-ish Haiku



Brunch makes me confused
Eggs?  Or Sandwiches?  Or both?
All right, I'll take both 


What's your favorite brunch place in the city?  I've heard Woodberry Kitchen has a wonderful brunch....and nothing really beats Miss Shirley's.  Any others you recommend?  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Are People Not Drinking Enough Frappuccinos?

....Cause there have been so many different lures to get customers to buy them!  The next one is from Barnes and Noble for a BOGO coupon for a Frappuccino (coupon expires on May 24th) at their Barnes and Noble Cafes.
Click here to print (as well as other B&N coupons)

I never took advantage of the Starbucks Happy Hours, so I still have never tried a Frappuccino.  3-5pm is just not the time when I want something as heavy as I imagine a Frappuccino to be.  Usually that's tea time for me anyway :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Restaurant Ramblings




Do you keep a list of restaurants you want to try?  I have one and it's long and I keep adding to it, and I feel like I hardly ever cross anything off!  Dan and I usually decide to go to a restaurant pretty spontaneously and therefore we don't base it on my list, but on proximity, which is why I post so many Baltimore County restaurants!

The one restaurant that has been on my list for so long, and that I repeatedly try to remind myself I want to go to, is Ze Mean Bean Cafe.  I have never eaten there, but I've been meaning to for about 5 million years (aka 2 years).  It's literally been on the top of my list to try, and yet for some reason I just never get around to it.  I really need to make a point of going there. Has anyone ever been?  What should I get!?!?!?!  I hope this 2 year anticipation won't lead me to disappointment hahaha

Does anyone else have a restaurant like that?  One that you've been so excited to try, but for some reason just keeps on getting looked over?






Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Etsy Art for your Kitchen

How cute would these look framed as a set?!

ErinWallacePrint (p.s she's from Baltimore!) $20 for 3



Quiznos Coupon



Get a free sub when you buy a sub of equal or greater value and a regular fountain drink

Print out coupon here

Expires 5/25/2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gator?!

Just a quick note to say I tried gator this weekend!!!!!!!!!!  Gator bites!!!!
I was in Florida this weekend for a lovely wedding in Clearwater Beach and on Saturday afternoon we decided to get a lunch of seafood and beach-y drinks (read: rum + any kind of juice) and we ended up trying Gator bites as an appetizer!  I was proud of myself, I'm usually slightly nervous about eating different kinds of meat.

I hate to say that it tasted like chicken....but it really did.  Granted, the breading probably aided in the mind trick, but still very similar!

Also, I had a lovely blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich with a side of coleslaw and chips.  It was great!  We went here: Crabby Bill's

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Morning Haiku


I ate a brownie
While toasting up my grilled cheese
I am impatient

What are you doing this weekend?  
Any plans to visit a new restaurant?  I've been wanting to go to The Falls in Mt. Washington for a long time, but I think we'll have to go another weekend.  Anyone been there?  It looks so cute from the outside!
Anyone going to Preakness?  I've never been to Preakness....I think it may be too loud and crazy for me.  


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Groupon: The Dogwood, Hampden


Yayayaya I am so excited about the Groupon today!!!!!!!! - $20 for $40 towards food at The Dogwood in Hampden.  I used to LOVE The Dogwood Cafe, so  I know the restaurant will not disappoint me!

I snatched up a coupon, and I am already daydreaming about what I would like to get for my meal.  I want to use the coupon for my birthday in August, so although the menu is likely to change, here is what I would get if I went TOMORROW:

APPETIZER
  • Dogwood Potato Chips and Dip ($4.50)- hand-cut organic Tuscarora potatoes, local Keswick quark-fresh herb dip.   
    • Comfort food!  Yes please. 
  • Gruyere Gougeres ($4) - bowl of choux pastry puffs house-baked with sharp, artisan Swiss cheese and thyme 
    • I used to see this at the Dogwood Cafe, and I've always regretted not getting some.  Now is my chance! 
DRINK(S)
  • The Dogwood, Springtime ($10) -  citrus-infused Prairie vodka, couintreau, splash of Campari, agave nectar, pomegranate juice and a splash of fresh lemon juice, topped with Prosecco, garnished with a cucumber round and a lemon twist, served over ice, sangria-style in a wine glass.   
    • It just sounds pretty.
  •  Earth Mother ($12) - G’Vine Gin de France, yellow chartreuse, freshly squeezed lemon juice, coarse black pepper, garnished with tarragon.   
    • This sounds awesomely crazy. 
  • Galen's Margarita ($10) - Patron Anejo, house-made sour, fresh lime, finished with Grand Marnier.  
    • Let's just be honest here, you know I'm going to get this.  I love me some margis.

ENTREE
  • Ancho Braised Grass-fed Beef Short Ribs ($23)- green chile cornbread, spicy braising jus BBQ, garlic sauteed greens and market vegetables.   
    • There are many other choices, but there is nothing I love more than short ribs, and grass-fed to boot?  Sign me up, maam.  
SIDES
  • Asparagus Gratin ($7) - topped with Landaff cheese.  
    • Oooooh I don't really know what to expect with this, and that's why I like it.
  • Fingerlings with Chilies & Cheddar ($6) - rosemary roasted organic potatoes, ancho chiles, black pepper and melted cheddar.   
    • Rosemary anything is awesome
 DESSERTS
  •  Dogwood Carrot Cake ($7) - with orange- cream cheese frosting
    • Carrot Cake is one of my favorite desserts EVERRRR.  I could literally eat some everyday.  I like the idea of pairing it with orange!

p.s. Don't forget, the restaurant also hosts monthly cooking classes that seem like a lot of fun!

The Dogwood
911 W 36th St
Baltimore, Maryland 21211
(410) 889-0952

Mount Washington Tavern, Mt. Washington


Oh hi terrible picture because of terrible lighting, nice to meet you.  
You must be a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with a side of coleslaw


So let's dissect my disappointing evening at Mt. Washington Tavern, a place I've gone to many times for drinks, and only a couple of times for dinner.

6 of us sat in the atrium room where the entire ceiling was open, which was perfect for a gorgeous evening. We ordered a round of drinks (including a $5 slushie house drink called the John Daly that is an alcoholic Arnold Palmer hahahaha) and perused the menu.  Feeling bad about the state of the meat industry, I decided to get the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich ($11.95) - served on ciabatta with mozzarella, basil, greens and a side of coleslaw.  It was awesome!  I loved the sandwich and thought the texture of the green tomato was a wonderful compliment to the soft and salty cheese.  The coleslaw was fantastic too!

Dan ordered some cream of crab soup, which was WAY too spicy and looked like mushy bananas (true!) and the Don Quixote Artisan Grilled Cheese ($8.25) - Spaniard-Wheatberry bread served with Manchego cheese, Prosciutto Ham and Brown Sugar Red Onions and Served with a Pickle and Sweet Potato Fries.  The sandwich was OK, though I think Dan regretted he didn't order a burger.  The sweet potato fries weren't so great either, since they weren't really fries....more like long slices of sweet potatoes.  Where was the crunchy fried goodness???

What else went wrong?  Let me tell you:  
a) Our server literally ran away anytime someone ordered something and never checked in with the rest of the table to see if we wanted anything (we always did).
b) I never received a refill on water
c) Dan specifically asked for "NO PICKLE" on his sandwich (they seriously make him gag), and his meal came with a pickle literally resting on his meal
d) My friend ordered the Three Cheese and Tomato sandwich, that was served WITHOUT the tomato.  What the crap, how do you forget one of the main ingredients????
e) Drink orders were forgotten
f) Soup orders were forgotten and had to be reminded
g) Let me mention again: Mushy banana crab soup
h) We didn't receive any bread for our table because we were all ordering "Casual Fare"....even though our meals took forever to come out

Sure, they seem minor, but letter A was really the worst.

However, recently I talked to my mother-in-law who recounted her horror story at Mt. Washington Tavern where apparently the staff told her and her friend they absolutely could not sit in a booth unless they were with a bigger party.  The room was empty...there were lots of tables and booths open.......and yet they made a fuss?  Yikes!!!

Mt. Washington Tavern has a lot of things going for it.

a) It's huge
b) It's got a lovely sky bar that is wonderful in the summer
c) It's right next to the light rail, so it's convenient for happy hours
d) It's been around for a while

Letter D is good for them, because one automatically assumes that  it's been around for a reason....but it also means that the restaurant can be sloppy, since people will still come anyway.....(and wow do they - that place is crowded on a Friday night!)


So would I come back again?  Well, I definitely had a good meal....but I don't think that's good enough anymore.  Maybe a drink in the sky bar would be nice, but I'd probably suggest heading over to another restaurant on Sulgrave Avenue for dinner.  


Mount Washington Tavern on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bluestone, Timonium

The Epic Seafood Club

Dan loves seafood, so he chose Bluestone, a County restaurant known for seafood, to celebrate his birthday recently.  Bluestone is quite lovely inside.  It's also pretty crowded with a ton of suburban locals looking to go somewhere
a) really nice
b) that's not too far away
c) with good food
d) and not a chain.
Bluestone fits that description to a T.
This is also the type of place where you will see people both dressed to the nines as well as jeans and sneakers (myself).



All Dan wanted was a Seafood Club: Crabcake + Shrimp Salad + Bacon + Sore Mouth from opening too wide.  His seafood club cost $17....that's hefty for a sandwich, but he loved it and declared that it's his favorite sandwich ever!!!!

I decided to get a crab cake sandwich for $14, and merely just discarded the bun (yuck, I hate wasting!) and found that Bluestone's crab cake, which was a very nice size considering I ordered the sandwich, was excellent.  Plus the GIANT asparagus were great as well, though I do hate when restaurants serve vegetables with a ton of oil considering I chose that side instead of fries to be healthy.

When I came here before, I tried one of their seafood entrees, and I remember being blown away by the meal.  What I also love is that they have a dessert chef as well, so all the desserts are made in-house.  Yum!  Their creme brulee is FANTASTIC.

Overall, this place has great food, I am pretty lucky that it's so close to me!  If you're a city-dweller and find yourself in Timonium (perhaps to visit Baltimore Coffee & Tea, which is literally right across the street) and feel like having a great (though a tad pricey) meal - you will not be disappointed with Bluestone!

Bluestone on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Free Iced Coffee at Dunkin Donuts, TODAY!

Just stopped by my Dunkin Donuts and got myself a free small 16 oz iced coffee today (May 11th!).  They are available until 10pm today

Mine is deeeeelish :O)  Thanks DD!

And don't forget, Starbuck's is still having their Frappuccino happy hour until May 16th - half off any kind of frappuccino from 3-5pm

Friday, May 7, 2010

Green Leaf Restaurant, Hunt Valley

Green Leaf, an Asian (including Thai and Japanese specialties) BYOB restaurant in Hunt Valley, was such a nice little place to go to dinner one night.  It's intimate, yet large enough to be comfortable, and full with regulars on a Friday night (always a good sign!) How do I know they were regulars?  Well, judging from their location, in the corner of a shopping center away from the main Town Center, it's not going to capture many visitors to the area, which is a shame.

We ordered 2 appetizers: the steamed shrimp shumai ($4.95) and the crispy wontons ($4.95), filled with crab and cream cheese. Both were yummy, and a pleasant starter to the meal.  I would probably get the shumai again, but that's because I loooooooooooove shumai.




I ordered a salmon avocado roll  ($5.50) and the yellowtail roll ($5.50), which I thoroughly enjoyed. Also pictured is my mango iced tea, which contained real mango pulp, though no taste of tea.  It was lovely and refreshing (and made up for the fact that I didn't know it was BYOB!)




Dan ordered the Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken ($11.95) and though it wasn't as crispy as usual, he still thoroughly enjoyed the sweetness of the sauce.  Besides, we both agreed that less crispy is better than overly crispy.  The portion of rice was a tad too small, but you can order more.



My friend ordered the chicken dish pictured above (I think it was the Japanese Pan Noodles,$14.95, my bad...I completely forgot!!!!)  The nest of noodles was a lovely presentation, but not so delightful to eat, though the actual chicken + veggies were good by themselves. 



Overall, this place is a nice BYOB Asian restaurant in the Hunt Valley area, with plenty of health options (in fact, they have a whole section of their menu devoted to healthy options called Green Leaf Spa Cuisine) and very attentive and friendly staff. However, is it worth it driving from the city to the 'burbs....not really, but if you're in the area, it's definitely worth seeking out. 

Green Leaf on Urbanspoon

Friday Morning Haiku - Special Mama Edition



Mama, I love you
Thanks for being so awesome
Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!


When I was little, my sister and I would bring our mum breakfast in bed and make homemade cards.  Now it's more about spending as much time together as possible!  In fact, I've officially made it Mother's Day weekend since I am so happy that my mama is in town for Mother's Day!!!!!  We are going to Lancaster on Saturday and then on Sunday, Dan and I are having a Mother's Day BBQ!!!!  I am super lucky because not only do I have a fabulous mama, but an incredible mother-in-law as well!  

To all you mother's out there - have a wonderful day :)

Anyone have big plans for Mother's Day?  Any certain traditions you like to do?  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yesterday's Dinner is Today's Lunch


I can't wait for dinner leftovers for lunch.  Yesterday I used the Trader Joe's Punjab Spinach Sauce, added a block of extra-firm tofu (cut up into small blocks) and served it over Basmati rice.  It's a tomato based sauce with spinach (obviously).

Excellent!


Image from here.

Kirbie's, Downtown

When I first started my new job, my coworkers repeatedly told me that Kirbie's was one of the best places to get lunch in the immediate area (near the hospital).  I noticed people going there for breakfast and lunch, and I knew after months of working here that it was high time I made my way over.

One of my colleagues raved about their grilled chicken salad wrap, so when I went in intending to order it, I was happy to see that it was on special!  I got it with some Utz chips and a pickle for a little under $6.  Great deal!  I asked for the dressing on the side and I chose the spinach wrap (no extra charge) instead of regular.  The verdict:  Good stuff!  The grilled chicken was still warm and well seasoned (with a ton of thyme, I think), and I loved the cheese and fresh romaine lettuce.  I really preferred the dressing on the side, because I found myself not really needing any since the chicken was so moist and flavorful.  I was very happy with my lunch, and I can see why a lot of people come here!

The menu is huge, so even though I will definitely be going back, I may not get the same thing - just so I can try other items.  A friend of mine said their fries are incredible - I'm almost too nervous to find out just in case I would want to get them all the time!!!!!


Have you gone here?  Any suggestions for me???

Kirbies Cafe Grille on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 7-16th, 3-5PM: Half Price Frappuccinos at Starbucks!

Between May 7th and 16th, Starbucks is offering their Frappuccinos for half off during the "happy hours" of 3-5PM.

I'm pretty sure every single Starbucks is going to be PACKED at that time once word gets out!  Even I may pop on over to try one of these (I don't remember if I ever have tried one!  Which one should I get first!?!?!?!?!).

Frappuccinos remind me of Zoolander when the hot but stupid models go crazy over their ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCCINOS.

http://www.frappuccino.com/happy-hour

Groupon: Blue Hill Tavern

I feel like most people by now know about Groupon, but just in case you don't, it's a website that offers discounts EVERYDAY for various activities or restaurants within your region, including the Baltimore Area.  Sometimes they offer gift certificates to restaurants, sometimes to yoga studios or art classes, or even laser hair surgery. 

Today you can buy a $30 gift certificate for $15 towards Blue Hill Tavern in Brewers Hill.  The coupon is valid for an entire year, is valid for dinner only, does not include tax/tip, and can only be used for one table.

I've never been to Blue Hill Tavern, but I've heard great things about it.  Here are the items that are calling my name:

APPETIZERS
  • Fried Guacamole ($9) - Tortilla crusted, salsa fresca (fried guacamole sounds fun and unique!)
  • Artisan Cheese Plate ($12) - Served with honey comb and crackers
ENTREES (actually, nearly all of the entrees appeal to me...wow)
  • Short Ribs ($23) - 48 hour sous vide boneless short rib, roasted red skin potatoes, baby carrots, green sauce
  • Tavern Burger ($12) - Kobe beef, brioche, aged cheddar, Duroc bacon, fried onion, spicy ketchup
  • Rack of Lamb ($28) - Almond goat cheese crusted, spice fregola (I'm thinking they mean fregola pasta?), roasted garlic jus
SIDES (If I were to get the Burger)
  • French Fries ($4)
  • Haricots Verts ($6) - Really?  The healthy choice is $2 more expensive than french fries?  Jamie Oliver would NOT approve.
DESSERTS (not sure if this is included in the gift certificate...but still)
  • Lemon Pudding ($8) - Katafi nest (fancy presentation, but it better not take away from the size of my pudding), ginger fig compote (YUM I LOVE figs)



Blue Hill Tavern
938 S Conkling Street
Baltimore, MD 21224

Have you gone to Blue Hill Tavern?  What would you recommend? 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mamas' Deserve Free Coffee!



Baltimore Coffee and Tea is offering mum's a free medium drink of their choice on Sunday!

They are also running an essay contest to find Maryland's Best Mom!  The winner's mum will receive FREE COFFEE FOR A YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!   What a lucky mum!!!!!  You can enter the contest on their Facebook page!


Check out my past reviews of Baltimore Coffee and Tea here and here

Monday, May 3, 2010

Anns, Downtown

I love finding new places to eat, of course, so when I came across this tiny and cute sandwich shop on Lexington Street called Anns, I was so excited I stopped right in for lunch. I decided to order the tuna salad sandwich, but at 12:15pm they had already run out (!) so I got the chicken salad instead. The sandwich came with Utz chips and a can of soda for $5.83. A pretty great deal, so I walked back to work with a smile on my face.

When I opened up the sandwich, I immediately noticed the salad was a shade of yellow, so I assumed it was a curried chicken salad. It was not. It was yellow from mustard. Too much mustard. Yuck! In addition to that, the chicken itself had been overly cooked, the bread seemed stale, and I couldn't tell what the mystery ingredient in the salad was. Egg? Pickles? The fact that I couldn't tell, kinda weirds me out. And the actual taste of the chicken salad was nothing I've ever had before, and that's not a good thing.

This was just so incredibly disappointing, especially because I was so certain in my heart I would love this place because of its "cute factor."

I hate judging a place so harshly, especially from only trying one thing on the menu....so IF I were to go again, I would probably get something a little less complicated. I think the prices are good - especially sandwiches come with chips and a soda for the same price another deli may charge for JUST a sandwich. For breakfast they have sandwiches that come with either a cup of coffee or orange juice for around $4. Seeing as though you can't really mess up an egg and cheese bagel, this may be a good option if you're in the area.

Anyone ever been here?  It's been around for 3 years, though it doesn't seem that way as there is no website or printed menu....

p.s. Is this area really Downtown, or is it West Baltimore?  It's right by Lexington Market and the University of Maryland Hospital. 


Anns on Urbanspoon
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