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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

High Expectations


Every year I start the holiday season full of ideas. Decorating ideas, DIY ideas, food ideas, gift ideas etc etc. And every year I disappoint myself and do none of them.

This year, especially with the introduction of Pinterest to my life (feel free to follow me: Nakiya Schurman), I found myself overwhelmed with projects. So I bought pre-made cards (THE HORROR!) instead of making these:

(Idea from here)

And instead of making new decorations, like this gorgeous wreath below, I decided to stick with the decorations I already owned.

(From here)

However, I DID keep my idea of making homemade edible gifts on my list. Specifically: marshmallows. A comment on my Facebook page stirred this interest within me, and then a recent conversation with a friend solidified it. I am going to make marshmallows.


(Found here)

As well as marshmallows, I am thinking about making some Chai Tea Mix, some Bark, and some yummy cookies as well.

I'll let you know what I end up making (and hopefully I won't end up saying "nothing!")

What about you? Any homemade gifts, edible or non-edible, to make soon?

Friday, November 18, 2011

FREE Martha Stewart's 2011 Thanksgiving Cookbook

Just like last year, Martha Stewart and Sirius have teamed up to offer Martha's entire 2011 Thanksgiving Cookbook for free!

Here are some of the recipes I would love to show up at my Thanksgiving:

Soups and Starters
  • Pumpkin Soup
Turkey/Entrees
  • Leg of Lamb in a Clementine Crust
  • Riesling Roast Turkey with Fig and Root Vegetable Dressing
 Sides and Salads
  • Caramelized Chestnuts and Brussel Sprouts
Desserts
  • Pear and Hazelnut Cake

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Party Like it’s 1929 At Mr. Rain’s Fun House!

This sounds like SO. MUCH. FUN.

Here's the press release from Mr. Rain's Fun House about their 1929 Prohibition-style Repeal Day Dinner.  LOVE IT!



On December 4, Mr. Rain’s Fun House will host a prohibition-style
Repeal Day Dinner with food, cocktails, and music straight from the roaring 20s

Don your best flapper dress and pinstriped suit and head to Mr. Rain's Fun House for a night of dinner, dancing, and of course, cocktails on Sunday, December 4, at 6:00pm.   Chef Bill Buszinski has created a special menu for the Repeal Day party inspired by the most delectable dishes enjoyed in that era. To pair, Mixologist Perez Klebahn is serving up classic libations, as well as his modern-day spin on each drink. The Baltimore Jazz Alliance will also be on hand to provide lively entertainment all through the night—“period” attire is highly recommended!
            The Repeal Day Gala will begin at 6:00pm with light hors d’oeuvres served in Mr. Rain’s bar area. At 7:00pm, guests will be seated in the dining room and treated to a five-course tasting with an incredible menu featuring:

Oysters Rockefeller
Gruyère Cheese, Anise Butter

Lobster
Heart of Palm, Passion Fruit Ganache, Coconut Pearls

Rabbit
Pancetta Parsnip Puree, Carrot Chips, Lavender Cream

Short Ribs
 Root Beer Cure Vanilla & Grafton au Gratin, Glazed Fennel

Baked Alaska
Classic Preparation

Cocktails designed to pair with each course will available for purchase a la carte ($10-13) and include both a traditional version and contemporary interpretation of a French 75, Sidecar, Negroni, Sazerac, and Mary Pickford. As dinner commences, the Baltimore Jazz Alliance will play live music and guests are encouraged to hit the dance floor. At 9pm, Mr. Rain’s will offer food a la carte, allowing anyone to stop in for a cocktail, a bite, and some jazz and enjoy the festivities. The evening will conclude with a Champagne toast at midnight; the perfect send-off to a fantastic night. 


The Repeal Day Gala at Mr. Rain’s Fun house will take place on Sunday, December 4 from 6:00pm-12:00am. The five-course tasting, plus hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast is $65 per person, not including tax and gratuity; cocktails can be purchased a la carte for $10-13. Reservations are required and can be made by visiting www.mrrainsfunhouse.com or calling 443.524.7379.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Make Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee!

Print from this adorable Etsy Seller


I've decided I don't like Pumpkin Spice Lattes anymore.  This was a very hard decision for me to make (read: mostly here and here).  The fact is, they are just TOO SWEET (and I think the Starbucks version tastes a bit funny, too). 

You know why Pumpkin lattes are so sweet?  Because of how much syrup is in them.  Starbucks adds four pumps of syrup for a medium! I asked for 3 and it was STILL too sweet.  (That's not even that bad compared to a medium Salted Caramel Mocha which has EIGHT PUMPS OF SYRUP: four chocolate and four toffee nut.) 

Now, to get the same wonderful pumpkin-spiciness in my coffee, I just add some pumpkin pie spice to my ground coffee beans in my coffee filter.  And you know what?  It's amazing!  I don't measure, I just shake the spice in there and it flavors my coffee without any additional calories!

I am still intrigued by making my own syrup for homemade Pumpkin Lattes, but for now, this is perfect.

I urge you to give it a try!  A couple of my friends add cinnamon to their coffee filter all year round.  What a great way to add a little something extra to your coffee!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Maryland News and Events


October 26th – Michael Pollan at the Strathmore, Bethesda

Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $35-$60

If you are at all interested in food, food policy, food activism etc, this is the lecture for you!

I went to see Michael Pollan a couple of years ago at Goucher, and a lot of what he spoke about still resonates with me today.  You will not be disappointed!  

Here is some info on the event:
In making a case for more basic, natural foods rather than “edible, food-like substances,” Pollan candidly reveals the industrialization of agriculture and highlights the growing national movement to renovate the food system. 

Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852
(301) 581-5100.




Get Your Happy Hour Specials Here!

A new website has launched – http://baltimore.thedrinknation.com.  Use it to display happy hours and drink specials nearby or in any Baltimore neighborhood.  You can use it as an app as well.  I think this is definitely a great resource to add to your smartphone!


Fall Cocktails Now on Menu at Chazz

Chazz: A Bronx Original has added six new fun Fall Cocktails.  They are smart – people love that kind of stuff (hellllo pumpkin spice lattes).  Oh, and p.s. their happy hour specials are five days a week from 4-7 p.m., including $5 handcrafted cocktails, ½ price wine and draught beers, and a $5 food menu. Here are the descriptions of the new cocktails I received in a press release:

Spiced Plum Soda: A slice of fresh, juicy plum is muddled with homemade, spiced plum syrup. Imported rum adds a sweet, toasty note and soda adds the necessary whimsicality for a surprisingly refreshing and dangerously drinkable cocktail. $9

La Pera - Pear Cocktail: Bold, refreshing… the unmistakable burst of fresh fruit in our pear cocktail is due to our fresh pear purée, combined with pear vodka and accented by St. Germain, adding an elegant and fragrant hint of elderflower. $11

La Mela - Fall Apple Martini: Few things bring autumn to mind as vibrantly or as deliciously as apples. Fresh, local apple cider is combined with vodka in the perfect balance to create a simple, crisp and delightful reminder of the fall harvest. $11

The Rusty Nail: Scotch on the rocks is laced with the lingering, aromatic flavor of honey thanks to Drambuie - a combination of Scotch blends and heather honey. To add balance to this classic, we add a dash of Fernet Branca, introducing the faintest hint of spicy notes. A cozy, fireside cocktail. $11

The Classic Sidecar: In the 1920s, the Sidecar became a signature drink for the Hemmingway expat crowd in postwar Paris, who enjoyed its harmonious combination of cognac, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and Cointreau. Our Sidecar hits all the right notes, with its neatly sugarcoated rim, pale opacity, and a tartness that makes it impossible to tell where the lemon lets off and the Cointreau begins. $12

Hot Toddy: The perfect constitutional to ward off the chill of the season. We blend warm, homemade fall spice tea with Buillet bourbon, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a splash of Averna for balance. $9

Chazz: A Bronx Original
1415 Aliceanna Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 522-5511


Ra Sushi Partners with National Breast Cancer Foundation

Running a bit behind on this one, but we still have a full week left in October!   

Ra Sushi is partnering with the National Breast Cancer Foundation throughout this month.  They will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of the ONEHOPE Wine and Pink Roll combination ($15) to the Foundation. 

The combo includes a glass of ONEHOPE California Chardonnay and the Pink Roll, which features shrimp, crab mix and sriracha combined with lettuce, avocado and cucumber wrapped in pink soy paper (!) and served with a pink ribbon of strawberry sauce.

In addition this season, guests who order the ONEHOPE special and check in to RA Sushi Baltimore on foursquare will get a pink Breast Cancer bracelet!

Ra Sushi
1390 Lancaster Street
Baltimore, MD 21231-3300
(410) 522-3200


 
Old Bay Sausages Available

This is totally random – but very Maryland-y, so I had to post it!  OLD BAY and Roma Gourmet Sausages are coming together to introduce OLD BAY Sausages. I’ve actually seen them in the stores recently but haven’t tried them – have you??

They can be found at a specialty stand at M&T Bank Stadium this football season, and also at select Maryland and mid-Atlantic retailers, including:
•       Giant/Stop & Shop
•       Safeway
•       Food Lion
•       Klein’s ShopRite
•       Mars Super Markets
•       Trinacria Foods
•       Weis Grocery Stores
•       BiRite Bel Garden on Bel Air Road
•       Box & Save on Logan Village & Eastern Blvd
•       Eddie’s on Charles Street & Roland Avenue
•       Geresbeck’s on Eastern Blvd
•       The Markets at Highlandtown
•       Redner’s on Fountain Green Road & Joppa Farm Road

Monday, October 10, 2011

RECIPE: Homemade Almond Butter


I wrote about my pre-run dinners, so what about my pre-run breakfasts at 5am?  What do I eat when I am cold, disoriented and angry that I have to submit my body to this wonderful torture?

I eat almond butter.  

Almond butter with half a bagel and a banana.  Or almond butter with a thick slice of my homemade bread and a banana.  Either way, almond butter was always part of my meal, so I decided to make my own!  And it was the easiest thing I have ever made (my chocolate syrup comes in as a close second)!!!


WARNING: Almond butter can be a bit tricky, since I've made it twice now and I had to make it differently both times.

The First Time
I roasted 1 cup of raw, whole almonds, dumped them on parchment paper to cool off, dumped them in the food processor and let it go for about 12 minutes until it became liquidy and creamy.  That is the butter I have taken pictures of in this post.

The Second Time
I used 2 cups of raw, whole almonds, roasted the nuts a bit too long (some were definitely bordering on burnt) and then, after cooling them, dumped them in the food processor.  However, this time around, a butter did not form, just dried crumbles of almonds.  So I added approximately 2 teaspoons of honey and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and kept processing until it formed the consistency I wanted.



At the end of the day, both versions were simple and delicious, so there really isn't a perfect science to it! 

Possible Variations
- Don't roast the almonds and just make raw almond butter
- Add some chocolate syrup to make chocolate almond butter (I am doing this with my next batch!!!)
- Add some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg etc) and honey for a Fall taste
- Add some pumpkin puree for an even bigger Fall taste

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tea by Two, Bel Air


Real Talk: I am obsessed with Tea Rooms. They make me SOOOOOO happy!  If you've never been to one, Tea by Two in Bel Air is a great place to try for your first time because it will make you as obsessed as me (well, probably not AS obsessed.....).

Check out this adorableness!!!!

Dan and I had a Groupon/Living Social for Tea by Two, so we were able to get two High Teas for the cost of one (usually $20pp).  A High Tea consists of the following: Soup or Salad followed by assorted tea sandwiches, sweets and a warm scone.  A great choice for a lunch time visit.

Crab Bisque and ADORABLE TEA POTS

One flaw of the menu is that it doesn't state how much tea is available to you.  I found out that with the High Tea, I could try as many pots as I liked!!!  This is HUGE for me because I am VERY picky about teas, so it makes it hard to commit to one!

The first type that I ordered was a scented Black tea called Magical Garden - Black and Green blend of citrus, heather and lemongrass.  I am 100% sure they gave me the wrong tea because I tasted a berry flavor rather than citrus, and I did not like it.  Dan, who is not a fan of tea, decided to try a Rooibos, the Orange Creamsicle - Rooibos Orange and Cream.  He actually liked it!!!  I thought it was great as well, by itself or with one lump of sugar.  The second type of tea that I tried was their Anniversary Blend - Black tea made with rose petals and pearls! I liked this so much that I ended up buying some to take home with me!!

SCONES AND SWEETS AND HAPPINESS

On to the food!  Dan and I started with their soup of the day, a creamy crab bisque.  And then we were presented with the 3 tiered delight as pictured above.  Do you see my face?  I'm pretty sure I smiled like that the entire time we were in that tea room.  On the bottom level were 2 large butterscotch scones that I SLATHERED with sweet cream and lemon curd.  The middle tier held 3 types of finger sandwiches and on top were 3 kinds of sweets (lemon cake, sugar cookie, and mini peach melbas).  SO GOOD. ALL OF THEM SO GOOD.  

So what can I say?  This place is fantastic.  The service was amazing and incredibly friendly.  The atmosphere is so charming and delightful.  The food was surprisingly substantial and not-surprisingly delicious.  Their tea selection was broad and unique.  Their gift shop was tempting and satisfying.  PHEW!  Are those reasons good enough for you?

FYIs:
  • If you plan to come on a Saturday - MAKE RESERVATIONS!  This place is adorable, but tiny, and was quite full when we came at Noon.  
  • They are unable to seat children under 5, including infants. 
  • They have a gift shop.  Plan to spend money, because you won't be able to stop yourself.
  • Please check out the bathroom.  They use a teapot wallpaper with which I would like to cover every inch of my own house.

Tea by Two on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pre-Run Meals

Lasagna: Runner Food of Excellence

Some of you may be wondering what I like to eat before my long runs.  No?  None of you care?  Too bad, I'm going to tell you.

In all honesty, it varies all the time.  The night before my long runs, I've had the following things:
  • Lobster Roll from Mike's Fish and Seafood Market
  • Chicken Platter from Mi Rancho
  • Chicago Hot Dog from Portillos and some Sliders from the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Tower
  • Butter Pasta (SOOOOO Boooooring)
  • Pasta with Red Sauce and Chicken (Boooorinnnng)
  • Tofu with Rice and Vegetables (Delish but booooring)
  • Some other stuff that is probably not that exciting either
I am all over the place!

One meal that I've had twice now to great success the next day (including my 20 mile run), is the Homemade Meat Sauce Lasagna ($9.25) from Little Taste of Italy (previously reviewed here).  I am so in love with this lasagna.  Their sauce is slow cooked and a bit sweet, the meat is INCREDIBLY plentiful, and there's enough food for two meals!  It's also served with garlic bread, which I happily devour.  Although I won't be able to have this same lasagna the night before the marathon (I am going to Luigi's in DC since I am running the Marine Corps Marathon), at least I know that Lasagna has given me good luck before!

So, Baltimore Marathon Runners, need to find a good option for your pre-race meal on Friday the 14th? Consider the Lasagna from Little Taste of Italy!

Not a runner but still want to get in on this sweet lasagna action?  Not a problem - this is the ultimate comfort food!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Taste of the Nation, October 15th

I received this press release in my email - what a great event to attend!  Not only does it sound absolutely DELICIOUS, but it's all for a great cause too!


BALTIMORE’S HOTTEST CHEFS COOK TO END CHILDHOOD HUNGER

Who:     The hottest chefs and mixologists from Baltimore and around the country are coming together to donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in Maryland and across America. Top Baltimore establishments including Pierpoint, Charm City Cakes, B&O American Brasserie, Clementine, Mallard’s and Wit and Wisdom will offer a taste of their finest foods. 

What:   Sample sweet and savory bites as you mingle among the area’s hottest culinary talents and food lovers.  Sip craft cocktails and select wines and beer. Bid on exceptional auction items including culinary experiences, travel packages, and unique gifts.

How Much: Tickets are $95 for General Admission and $150 for VIP and can be purchased by calling 1-877-26-TASTE or visiting TasteOfTheNation.org. One hundred percent of ticket sales support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger.
 
Why:     Hunger impacts one in five children in America, and nearly 12 percent of families in Maryland.  Share Our Strength is dedicated to making sure no child grows up hungry.  The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids with the nutritious foods they need to lead healthy, active lives.
 
When:  Saturday, October 15, 2011; 6:00 p.m. VIP admission, 7:00 p.m. General Admission.

Where: Renaissance Harborplace Baltimore Hotel; 202 East Pratt Avenue; Baltimore, MD 21202

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

RECIPE: Homemade Chocolate "Apology" Syrup


It's been a while....I know.  What can I say?  I AM SO SO SO SORRY.  I've been really busy and really just focused on my marathon training.  I am sorry that my blog had to take a back seat :(

In order to make it up to you, I'm going to tell you about one of the best things I've ever made - homemade chocolate syrup.  MAKE IT NOW AND KEEP SOME ALWAYS IN YOUR FRIDGE.

SERIOUSLY.

Ditch that bottle of gross Hershey's syrup in the trash and just whip up some of this.  Use it on ice cream, OR if you are a runner and need a recovery aid - use this to make your Chocolate Milk!


Chocolate Syrup
Taken from Shop.Cook.Make
½ cup Cocoa Powder
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

-Mix all ingredients, except vanilla, and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
-Remove from the heat and add vanilla. Stir well. 
-Let it come to room temperature before putting it in the fridge. It'll thicken as it cools. 

While it's still hot, you can pour it over ice cream or cake. To make Chocolate Milk, mix 2 tbsp of the syrup with 8 ounces of milk. 

SO GOOD


SO GLORIOUS.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku

 (Image from the Baltimore Sun front page)

Irene is coming
I'm stocked up on provisions
Cookies, Ice Cream, Chips


I went to the new The Fresh Market (838 Dulaney Valley Road) in Towson and stocked up on my version of Hurricane provisions.  Before I tell you what they are, can I just say how beautiful that grocery store is, cause it is.  Is that weird to say?  Probably.  But I have an unnatural love for grocery stores.

Nakiya's list of Hurricane Provisions.  Please do not do as I do.
- One packet of olive and fig Raincoast Crisps
- One log of goat cheese to go with Raincoast Crisps
- One bag of Cape Cod Kettle Chips
- Two big bottles of Fiji water (I hate myself for this one, why didn't I just go to another grocery store and get a gallon of water for 25 cents?)
- 2 pints of Talenti Gelato - Tahitian Vanilla and Double Dark Chocolate
- One peach-a-rine - yes, apparently that is a fruit that exists
- One GINORMOUS red plum that seriously looks like an apple
- Two boxes of Moravian cookies - Chocolate dipped toasted coconut cookies and Artisan blend chocolate cookies

What is wrong with me?  Apparently, if I have no power, I will want to snack all day long on cookies and chips, and eat two pints of gelato quickly before they melt in the freezer.  Obviously, I got caught up in buying snacks.  I love snacks.

OK, so tell me - have you bought any Hurricane provisions?  What did you get?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku


I love my birthday!
I celebrate the whole week
With lots of food treats

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW!  I love my birthday!  I will be 29!  I hope I love my birthday every year, even when I don't want to tell people my age anymore!

This week, using my birthday as an excuse, I baked myself an almond torte with apricots.  Tonight, I think I'm going to make something with nectarines. On Sunday, I am going to Michael's Cafe for brunch, and later on in the week, if their new dinner menu is ready, I am hoping to go to Manor Tavern!

As for tomorrow, Dan has planned a surprise day for me (after I finish a 16 mile run :o/) and I am sure food will be involved!

Food food food, glorious food, you make every birthday great!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chick & Ruth's Delly, Annapolis

1/2lb Crab Cake Sandwich

Annapolis is such a lovely day trip, it's a shame I don't do it more often!  One Sunday, we decided to walk around the town for a couple of hours and pick a place for lunch.  I, very surprisingly, hadn't done any research and felt like picking a restaurant on a whim.  But Dan had done his research and he had heard all about Chick & Ruth's Delly.  It was featured on Man Vs. Food's DC episode when he had to do the Colossal Challenge: 6lb shake (yes, they do have that on the menu) and a 1lb burger.

I decided to order the Jumbo Lump 1/2lb crab cake sandwich on a roll ($13.99).  I'm not sure why I didn't just order it with crackers instead of a roll, because I just ate the crab cake without the bread.  This crab cake was GREAT.  The lumps were HUGE and plentiful.  I was very impressed with the price and size of the sandwich.

Seafood Club

Dan ordered the Seafood Club ($15.95)- jumbo lump crabcake and scrimp salad on rye with swiss cheese. As you can see from the picture above, it was huge!  He wished that the bread was a bit softer, as it was a little rough to eat, but the salad and crab cake made a delicious sandwich!

We also split a super thick and creamy Vanilla Milkshake ($4.50, 20oz).  I am not sure how ANYONE can finish off a 6lb version of that! My mama ordered a 1/3lb Burger ($5.50) that was good as well, though nothing too special, other than the fact that you could tell it was handmade.  

Anyway, this place was PACKED.  Absolutely packed.  We managed to get a table by the window and just kept seeing swarms and swarms of people lining up to eat here.  I am guessing that this is a popular place for a number of reasons - it's relatively cheap, their menu is absolutely gigantic (albeit utterly confusing), it's a great place to wager bets and they offer great hangover food.

To be honest, though the food was very good the place was just so hectic and just too much that I'm not sure I would come back.  I know I'll be looking elsewhere on my next trip to Annapolis, somewhere with a little more atmosphere and a smaller, less confusing menu :)


Chick & Ruth's Delly on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 15, 2011

EVERSAVE CONTEST WINNER!

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, JAY ZEIS....WHO MAGICALLY PREDICTED THE WIN!  Enjoy Fireside Tavern :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Contest: Free Eversave Deal AND Site Credits!!!



Being married to Dan has really made me love BBQ.  In fact, I kinda want to take a road trip and try all the different BBQ styles across the USA.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  Maybe one day....

In the meantime, here in Baltimore, www.eversave.com is throwing a Best of BBQ day today!!! They’re featuring a daily deal with $10 for $20 of BBQ at Parkville's Fireside Tavern.  The deal will run for 3 days.

For Taste of Baltimore readers it gets even better! They’re giving away the Fireside Tavern Save for FREE AND $10 in site credits to one lucky reader!!


Also, if you want to try your luck and save even more, Eversave will be giving away copies of the Food Network Kitchens Favorite Recipes cookbook on Facebook. Just “like” them for your chance to win! The book features awesome recipes for chile cornbread, Chinese lacquered baby back ribs (yes, please!), picnic three bean salad (I love picnics!!!), and so much more!
 
CONTEST INFORMATION
  • ONE winner will get the free save to Fireside Tavern AND $10 in site credits to use at their discretion
  • To enter the contest, add a comment below and let me know what you love the most about BBQ!
  • Please only comment ONCE and make sure I have a way to contact you!!
  • The contest will end on Sunday, August 14th at 11:59PM
  • I will pick the winner at random (via Random.org) and will announce their name via a blog post on Monday, August 15th at 9:00AM and via email.
Sign up for Eversave!
“Like” Eversave Baltimore on Facebook!
Add them to your Twitter feed!

Good luck and happy eating!!!!

Friday Morning Haiku



One mocha latte
To celebrate cooler temps
Wish it was pumpkin

This weather is so glorious I am about to start singing from the rooftops!!!!!  Doesn't it make you think of Fall!?!?! I know it's not going to last long and we will be back into the 90s soon enough, but I'm going to soak up these temperatures as much as I can.   I stopped in at Baltimore Coffee and Tea this morning and picked up a Mocha Latte to enjoy, and I couldn't help but think about my upcoming favorite season! 

Also, is it just me or do other people suddenly have an urge to stock up on binders and pencils and inky pens!?!?!  All these back-to-school sales are driving me crazy that I'm not going back-to-anywhere! 


Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku

Restaurant Week is here!
Better make your plans early
It gets so crowded!!

Lots of Restaurant Weeks being celebrated around town:

What are your plans?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Food News

Here are a couple of press releases I’ve received:

  • Chick-fil-A is now adding a multi-grain oatmeal to its breakfast menu for $2.49.  You can order one of three toppings: cinnamon brown sugar, roasted mixed nuts (almonds, pecans and walnuts) or a dried fruit blend (cranberries, blueberries, golden raisins and cherries).  A serving of the 8oz oatmeal contains 120 calories without toppings and 290 calories with toppings.  

  • Morton’s Steakhouse and MyCity4Her.com are hosting the annual Spirited Women of Baltimore Power Lunch on Wednesday, August 17th from 11am-2pm at Morton’s.  Tickets are $50 if purchased before August 10th and $65 if purchased after.  Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefits the American Red Cross of Central Maryland.  Visit www.mycity4her.com, call 410-327-9090 or email m@mycity4her.com or cm.mba@mortons.com to purchase tickets or for more information.  On a personal note, one of my friends, Katherine Pinkard Bowers is amongst the honorees!  Yay Katherine!

  • The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort is hosting a Crab Week(s) from August 14-28th.  Guests can enjoy a variety of crab-inspired activities such as a “meet and greet” and VIP crab dinner with Chef Bryan Voltaggio, and an all-you-can-eat crab feast at J.M. Clayton’s, the world’s oldest crab house (!).  As mentioned, you do need to be a guest to partake in the fun, and rate start at $199.  For more information call 800-633-7313 or visit chesapeakebayhyatt.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simon's Bakery, Cockeysville

 Half of a Strawberry Party Cake (the other half was in my tummy)

Mr. Simon of Simon’s Bakery has been providing the Schurman family delectable treats for YEARS, so it is quite astounding that I have not written to the world about this great bakery!  Every Christmas there is ALWAYS a bag of Simon’s famous sugar cookies around my in-laws house to nibble on, and even though I prefer a soft cookie over Simon’s hard and crispy variety, I still love these.  I love that they come in different shapes every year, and I love that they are decorated with yummy sugar crystals that lightly add to the sweetness of the cookies.

But my favorite item from Simon’s Bakery are their party cakes (70/80 cents each...I don't remember :o/).  Party cakes are a larger version of petit fours – and they come in many different flavors, though the original has chocolate icing.  I LOVE the strawberry icing (pictured), but the lemon is a strong contender for my favorite as well.  The chocolate icing, which is reminiscent of Berger cookie icing, is Dan’s favorite.  I, however, find it a bit too sweet, which makes sense because that’s how I feel about Berger cookies as well (I KNOW, I KNOW).  The strawberry and the lemon icing highlight the layer of raspberry filling – and that’s what I care about!  You can order these in bulk as well!  In fact, I ordered some recently to serve as favors for a Bridal Shower I hosted.  You can also ask them to create petit fours as well, though you have to order a dozen of those at a time for $9.60/dozen

The bakery carries many other treats that you should check out.  Their hot cross buns during Lent are always a big hit, as are their Peach Cakes during the summer.  Just stop in and let your eyes and stomach guide you!!!!!

Simon's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku


July is ending
but can I take another
month of scorching heat?

This summer is really going by fast, isn't it?  I am so happy about that.  I am really not a fan of this heat at all and I just can't wait for it to leave us in peace for a while. Or at least the humidity.  I am done with the humidity.

The sun is definitely a pain where our vegetables are concerned - I feel like our tomato plant is CONSTANTLY thirsty and even if we water it all the time, it still looks like it's on the edge of death.  Our herbs are also never satiated, and they aren't growing as much as I expected them to.  Don't even talk to me about our cilantro....that died before I even knew how to take care of it. 

The one positive: FRUIT, GLORIOUS FRUIT!  But you already know how I feel about that subject.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chaps Pit Beef, NE Baltimore City

Beef and Sausage Combo Sandwich

Do you like meat?  Do you like a lot of meat?

Then get yourself to Chaps Pit Beef.  Yes, the area is a bit sketchy (it's located in the parking lot of a strip joint and across the road from a Porn Store LOL), but as soon as you step into the small building and have your first bite of meat heaven, you probably won't care.  You don't need to take your food to go - there are long picnic style benches inside and also outside seating set up in such a way that you forget exactly where you are. 

All the reviews I read said to order the Pit Beef, but I couldn't help myself and ordered the Beef/Sausage combo ($6.80) instead.  I am glad I did, the sausage was crispy and spicy and really added a little bit of oomph to the pit beef.  In fact, most of my friends (who ended up ordering The Markie: Beef, Turkey and Sausage - $7.55) agreed that the pit beef was actually the weakest link in the sandwiches, though that’s not saying a lot because it was still delicious and flavorful. 

The Markie - Beef, Turkey, Sausage

Would I go again?  Oh definitely, though when I’m in the mood for BBQ, it would be hard to find a reason to drive out of the way to get to Chaps when I live right by Andy Nelson’s. However, the sausage may just call my name....and I may have to answer. 

p.s. Peek into the kitchen and watch the whole Meat Operation as you wait for your order - it's kinda fascinating AND it makes you excited/hungry/anxious for your sandwich.     


Chaps Pit Beef on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fuji San, Cockeysville

Fuji San on York Road in Cockeysville is my go-to place for Thai food (though they also serve Sushi and other Japanese items).  The restaurant itself seems to be more of a carry out joint, but I’ve eaten here a bunch of times as well.  Though it lacks a bit in ambiance, the service definitely makes up for that.  Oh, and last time I was there, it was a BYOB as well!  


 Pad Thai with Chicken

Do you have one of those restaurants where you can only order the same thing every time you go?  This is how it is for me at Fuji San.  I am sure I would love all the other menu items, but I can only ever order the Pad Thai ($6.95 for lunch, $9.95 for dinner) because I know how much I love it.   There’s a light sweetness to the noodles and a lovely crunch from the peanuts and bean sprouts, and there’s plenty of chicken.  I am always more than pleased when I have this. The portions are HUUUUUGE by the way, so I would recommend splitting a soup and an entree for a good meal.

Tom Kha Soup

My friend and I also shared some Tom Kha soup ($3.95 with Tofu or Vegetables, $4.95 with Chicken, $5.95 with Shrimp, $7.95 for Seafood medley) traditional broth flavored with Thai herbs, coconut milk, mushroom, lime juice and a touch of chili with chicken.  This was a creamy but light soup, with a slight kick from the chili that is balanced well by the coconut milk.  One slight complaint is that there was not enough shrimp in the soup.  I don't remember exactly how many, but it definitely wasn't worth the extra $2.  I would probably try it again with Tofu.  By itself, this soup would be a wonderful lunch choice, especially if you had a piece of homemade bread for dipping.  

One day I will try something new from here.  I'm always leaning towards a curry, but I never remember whether it's the Green (Gang Khiao Wan), Red (Gang Ped Dang), Gang Panang or Yellow (Gang Lhiang) one that I love...I also know that I don't like one of those choices as well!  I get unreasonably upset when I hate my dish, so I am not willing to guess!  I need to go to a Thai restaurant with someone and weasel them into ordering a curry and then ask to sample :)

 
Fuji San Su-Fen Sesum on Urbanspoon
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