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Thursday, December 31, 2009


!!!Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone has a safe and fun time out there tonight! I am staying in with my hubby and some friends, and I have a pot roast in the oven (in my new Le Creuset French Oven!!!!!!!!), some Wegman's rosemary bread for dipping, and some Wegman's carrot cake for enjoying. Oh yes, and wine.

In the foodie department of my New Year Resolutions, I hope to make more adventurous meals (and perhaps blog about them), bake a chocolate layer cake from scratch, and perhaps take on Christmas Dinner. Oh wait, I just did that one :) YAY!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sushi Bar Geisha, Downtown

Geisha is a bit easy to miss from the street since you have to walk downstairs to get to the main area, which is surprisingly very large! I was fortunate to go on a Monday for their special (also available on Tuesdays) – half off sushi rolls! I ended up trying their Alaskan Roll and their California Roll, and both were super delicious and fresh.

The employees were extremely pleasant and friendly, and even gave me some water while I waited for my carryout (which was super because I was slightly parched that day). I would happily order my sushi from here again and again during the week, especially for half price! What a deal!

Sushi Bar Geisha on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm still here, I promise!

Sorry everyone, in the span of two weeks I've left a job, went on vacation and started a new job - AND it's the Holiday a lot has been going on. I've been eating plenty, but unfortunately found it hard to catch up with writing about it. I still want to share where I've been, but they may be shorter posts than usual.

Also, just hosted a Holiday party last night and someone brought a Smith Island Cake - the official cake of Maryland! And yes, it was an official cake too - Maryland flag and all. I didn't realize it was a basic yellow cake with chocolate frosting? The extremely thin layering made it interesting though.

How are everyone else's parties going??? Any yummy recipes you want to share??

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Returning to Charm City Cupcakes, Downtown

I went back (read my last post) to the cute Charm City Cupcakes for some more treats recently and chose the red velvet and black bottom cupcake (not pictured because my pictures were BEYOND terrible.....seriously). Both of them were $2.50 each.

I left them out for a while this time before eating it, unlike last time when I made a rookie mistake and succumbed to my craving before it was time! Waiting for the icing to come to room temperature makes all the difference in the world, seriously.

The black bottom cake itself was just sinful - it almost didn't need the icing on top, almost. I loved the icing on this cake, which was different from the icing on the wonderfully moist red velvet cake (pictured above). I wish I knew what the icings actually were, but unfortunately I didn't remember and was counting on the website to tell me - it doesn't.

This leads me to my quick rant about menus. If you are go through the trouble of putting a menu on your website, please let it be helpful! Let me know what a certain dish contains (don't just call it The Pimlico and think we are psychic) or let me know what prices are. I don't know about you, but I don't like to be surprised, and so I usually always base where I want to eat on the restaurant's menu and reviews of the menu items.

Anyway, coming back to the cupcakes - these are rich and sweet, please have a mug of milk waiting for you (am I weird for drinking milk in a mug? My hubby thinks so). My favorite icing was on the black bottom cupcake (creamier), my hubby raved about the icing on the red velvet cake (it was sweeter and denser). So let yourself be the judge and see which one you like the most!

Charm City Cupcakes
326 North Charles Street
Baltimore MD 21201

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wine Wednesdays at Crossroads Lounge

Remember my post about the new Farm-to-Table menu at Crossroads Restaurant at the Radisson Hotel in Cross Keys? Well now in the Crossroads Lounge they have another new event that they shared with me – Wine Wednesdays, a continued event that will support Maryland wineries each Wednesday from 6:30-8PM! The first event is on December 2nd and features Basignani Winery.

These Basignani wines will be available for tasting: the 2007 Piccolo (a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), 2007 Chardonnay and 2007 Riesling. As well as wine, there will also be samples of appetizers from Crossroads Restaurant. There will be the opportunity to buy wines by the glass or bottle. And p.s., did you know about a new Maryland law that allows unfinished bottles to be taken home as long as they are corked and bagged? I had no idea! Bring on more BYOB’s!!!!

A couple of years ago I helped harvest grapes at Basignani one October weekend. Ever since then I feel that I have a special connection with the winery, and indeed I sort of do – I helped bring along the production of Elena (a white wine) that year!
Check out more information about Basignani Winery Here:

This event is free and open to the public, December 2nd, 6:30-8PM - Drop in when you can and stay as long as you want.

The next Wine Wednesday is Dec 16th and will feature Woodhall Wine Cellars.

Crossroads Lounge
Radisson Hotel at Crosskeys
5100 Falls Road, Baltimore MD 21210

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Attman's Deli, Little Italy

Finally I went to Attman's Deli! Attman's Deli is a foodie institution in Baltimore, and it slightly pained me I had never treated myself to a lunch from there. Treat is the correct word because a sandwich can cost around $10 at this place. But is it worth it?

Oh delightfully so.

I opted for the Nosh on Rye ($9.99) - corned beef, brisket, swiss cheese, Russian dressing and coleslaw on rye. This knocked the socks off my taste buds. It also kept me incredibly full the whole day, so maybe $10 for a sandwich is worth it! I loved the crunch of the cabbage and the sweetness of the Russian dressing which complemented the savory rye. The meat was perfectly tender and just piled high, as you can see by the picture, they definitely don't hold back. This was a great first sandwich.

My friend tried their cinnamon roll, pictured above, that was flaky and peppered throughout with sweet and plump raisins. This was delicious. It was also quite big, as most of the servings are at this place.

Here's the downside of Attman's - it's loud, busy, and confusing. I urge you to place your orders online, via fax or on the phone and if you did the first two, ALWAYS call to check and see if your order was received. If you do those things, it's smooth sailing. Of course that's after you've spent 40 minutes trying to decide what you're going to order!

Attman's Authentic New York Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Philip's Seafood, Inner Harbor

Living in Baltimore for as long as I have, I have always been familiar with Philip's. However, for some reason I thought of it only as a tourist restaurant, a place in the Inner Harbor for visitors to go, and locals to pass by.......but I wasn't entirely sure why. So when I was contacted by Philip's recently for an invitation to their restaurant, I very humbly accepted. And the fact is, I was very VERY pleasantly surprised. The food was delicious.

We started off with the Crab and Spinach bowl ($9.99)- this was INCREDIBLE. I literally wanted to stop everyone in the restaurant and let them know of my love. First of all, it was delightfully seasoned, creamy and cheesy, but not overly so, with large lumps of crab meat and leaves of spinach. The bread itself was also perfectly toasted. (p.s. I have the recipe to make this appetizer at home, please check it out at the end of the post!!!!!!!!!!!)

The manager then surprised us with a smaller version of their chilled plate which featured oysters, clams, jumbo lump crab meat (a very generous amount too!), a lobster tail, and lobster claw meat. This led me to like oysters again, and also rediscover my love for lobster - wowee that meat is good! It is served with three different sauces: shallot vinegar, mustard, and cocktail sauce.

This is something I would never have ordered, not merely because of the price, but because I usually go for cooked/prepared dishes. But what was great about this dish, other than pulling me out of my comfort zone, was that everything tasted so fresh, and I guess that's the point, right? Also, I must say, the presentation was excellent.

Unfortunately, we had already ordered our meal when our surprise Chilled Plate arrived, so when our actual meal came out - not only were we getting full, but we were also ridiculously embarrassed about how much food we were attempting to eat. But for the sake of this blog, we soldiered on!

We tried the New York Strip Steak which came with broccolini and a potato hash on the side ($34.99). Cooked medium rare, as ordered, it was juicy and perfectly tender with just the right amount of pink. Slicing through this meat was so easy - what an excellent cut of beef! The yukon hash was mixed with green beans and was a crunchy side to the steak, the broccolini was good, but plain. It is also important to note that the sides came with this meal, otherwise the a la carte sides are anywhere from $5-7. The a la carte Lobster ($15) was an amazing addition to the steak as well.

The Broiled Seafood Platter ($29.99) was a no-brainer, this came with the famed crabcake, garlic shrimp and Mahi Mahi (fresh catch of the day). The crabcake was excellent with lots of lump crab meat. It's is a bit creamy (mayo-y?), but I prefer that style of crabcake over a dry one. It was also seasoned very well with a definite taste of parsley. The Mahi Mahi was lightly seasoned and a little too plain for my taste. The garlic shrimp was simple and refreshing. The entree is also served with lightly battered onion rings on the side.....which we didn't know otherwise we wouldn't have ordered...

...the French Fries with Market Sauce ($4.99)!!!!! I personally did not like the tangy market sauce, but the fries were perfection! The were crispy and yet soft and well salted. And what a large portion! It's definitely worth the price. But this serves an important lesson: always ask your server if the meal comes with anything else, even if it's not listed on the menu.

At this point I was about to explode, but Dan LOVES bread pudding, and we found out that the bread pudding is one of the dishes they make in-house, so we decided to unbutton our pants and try it :) The bread pudding had a vanilla icing glaze with cinnamon chips and was served warm. I wasn't that into this dessert, it was much too sweet for my taste, but Dan loved it.

Wow, can you believe we ate all this? If I told you I literally fasted all day before I came, would that make it better? Yea...probably not. Overall, we had a really wonderful dinner at Philip's. It's a shame that it's in such a touristy area, because then it's seen only as a tourist trap, but it really is much more than that. This place IS expensive though and I would hardly order the same amount if I came again, I would definitely get the appetizer, crabcake, and maybe some fries mmmmmmmm :)

Also, as promised, here is the recipe I received directly from Philip's for the delicious spinach and crab bread bowl:

Phillips Crab & Spinach Dip
Yield: approx. 1 qt. (4 c.)

½ lb. (8 oz.) Phillips Crab Meat
1 – 9 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach (no sauce added)
8 oz. (1 c.) sour cream
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
¼ lb. (1 c.) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ lb. (1 c.) finely shredded Smoked Gouda* cheese, rind removed
½ tsp. Phillips Seafood Seasoning

* Can substitute finely shredded Swiss cheese for Gouda, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Thaw spinach in refrigerator overnight or in microwave approx. 2 minutes, depending on microwave. Press spinach in fine mesh strainer until as much liquid as possible is squeezed out to yield about 1 c. chopped spinach. Set aside.
Heat sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan (reserve 2 tbsp. aside for topping) and Gouda in 2 qt. saucepot over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until heated through and well blended. Do not boil.
Stir in spinach until thoroughly mixed in.
Remove pot from heat and gently fold in crab meat.
Turn mixture into 2 qt. heatproof casserole or soufflé dish, top with reserved Parmesan and bake 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is golden brown.
Serving suggestion: Serve with assorted cracker breads or slices of toasted garlic French bread. For an individual appetizer idea, portion dip into 8 -4 oz. ramekins to bake and serve with breads or assorted fresh crudités, such as red pepper strips and carrots.

Have you ever been to Philip's? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Phillips Harborplace on Urbanspoon

DISCLAIMER: Philip's generously paid for my entire meal, but they did not request me to write favorably about their meal as an exchange, nor did I feel any requirement to do so.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cypriana Cafe, Inner Harbor

As mentioned in an earlier post, I love Cypriana's pit stand, but I hadn't been to the actual restaurant in a while, so I finally decided to make an appearance.

I ordered a gyro ($6.90), obviously, and devoured that sandwich happily. This is a good gyro, hefty too. You don't need a side with this. One thing you do need? Napkins. Actually, you need a huge wad of them because I got pretty messy eating this.

I also tried a bite of my friend's hummus - and it was lovely and creamy.

I would definitely come here again.

Cypriana Café on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tony Geraci at Park School, Nov 23rd

Great Kids Farm’s Tony Geraci to Speak at Park School
Monday, November 23rd at 7pm

Tony Geraci, director of food services for Baltimore City Public Schools, has been getting a lot of publicity lately. He’s been featured in The Atlantic, the once Gourmet Magazine, NPR and many other media outlets to talk about Great Kids Farm. Great Kids Farm in Catonsville provides produce to city schools, in the hopes that the kids will learn more about locally grown and sustainable food. Not to mention it will start to teach them about making healthy choices!

Mr. Geraci will speak at Park School about the farm and his aim to revolutionize school lunches, as well as simply teaching kids about the basics of food. On top of that, the event will include tastings and recipes – something we all love!!!!

This event is free and open to the public.

Park School
2425 Old Court Road, Baltimore, MD 21208

Trinacria, Baltimore City

mmmm pasta.....not from Trinacria..but still mmmmmmm

I am so excited to share that I FINALLY went to Trinacria the other day, and oh boy was I a happy camper!!!!!!!

I loved admiring all the different Italian delights, especially the pasta, sauce and cookies. But the frozen food in the back is what really caught me eye – especially their own raviolis! I bought some butternut squash ravioli to try, and they were fabulous. The squash taste wasn’t strong at all, yet it still had a cheesy filling and it went well with a butter sage sauce I made. They also have some frozen Italian meals that were reasonably priced and looked super yummy.

I tried the mozzarella sandwich which came on foccacia (also fresh) with pesto, lettuce, tomato and the freshest mozzarella ever! This sandwich was quite large, and I could have easily saved half for later, but it was TOO GOOD. Also, in hindsight that was a good idea because the tomato slices may have made the bread soggy.

I also bought some fresh bread that was out of this WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This place is a GEM. I cannot wait to try all the other delightful offerings they have, especially their prepared foods.

Trinacria on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 16, 2009

India Palace, Cockeysville Part 2

I went to India Palace the other day for dinner, which is very unusual since I mostly frequent their buffet. I love their buffet because their choices are always so different each time you go. As I mentioned in my last post, they change up their buffet options all the time - which is great!

Going to dinner allowed me to try my favorite dish, the Chicken Korma, which is usually not on the buffet menu. This dish is just spectacular. It really and truly is. The creamy, slightly sweet sauce is heavenly, and although I eat it with rice, there's something so satisfying in scooping up the sauce with their fresh naan. Oh, this is truly a treat. I would definitely urge you to try it!

The Shrimp Biryani (rice dish) was a bit spicy for my taste, and I needed to eat it with raaita (yogurt sauce) in order to soften the spice-blow. However, there's just something about biryani - where ever I go, it never EVER manages to equal my mum's version, therefore I usually refuse to order it when I go out. I am not one to judge this one - Dan liked it, but thought it was a bit too spicy as well.

For a vegetarian dish, the Aloo Gobhi (potato and cauliflower) was incredibly flavorful and chock full of vegetables. This is fabulous with naan.

Sorry it's been so long since my last post! I have lots of goodies to share with you, please just bare with me!!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Have a Wonderful Weekend Baltimore!

Yellow Friday by Etsy Seller slgdesigns

Enjoy your weekend!

I'm going to meet up with some friends, shop for our house, sing in my choir, watch some football and hang out with my husband.

What about you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Edible Arrangements

I became a fan of Edible Arrangements on Facebook, and to thank me they sent me a coupon for a free box of chocolate covered fruit (usual price is $15). Awesome!

I picked up my free box at the Lutherville store and went home to devour them. My box had 2 pineapple pieces, 2 strawberries and 2 apple segments covered with semi-sweet chocolate.

And the verdict? They were good. Surprisingly good, especially considering pineapple and strawberries are not really in season right now. And yet, they were deliciously ripe and had a perfect amount of sweetness that contracted well with the semi-sweet chocolate coating.

However, let's be honest here. $15? $15 for 6 pieces of fruit covered with a coating that I could whip up myself if I had some chocolate chips + 30 secs in the microwave? Seems too steep for me. And although I think it's awesome that they offer incredibly ripe fruit, it almost seems too incredible. Too unreal. It makes my mind start wondering about possible additives/chemicals that are involved in keeping the fruit fresh and sweet.

I am very thankful to try the product - what a great coupon! However, I can't justify buying this box of fruit, especially knowing I can easily make it myself.

p.s. Talking about Edible Arrangements, my Bloggy pal over at DenuFood made his own Edible Arrangement from fruit and it's AWESOME:

Is anyone here a big Edible Arrangements fan? Am I missing something?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bahama Breeze, Towson Part 2

Since I had such a positive experience the last time I went to Bahama Breeze, I wanted to see what else was yummy. I decided to try the Seafood Paella which comes with assorted seafood, chicken, sausage and peas with yellow rice. In all honesty, I couldn't remember if I had even had paella before, so I couldn't compare it with anything. It was good, but definitely didn't have a complex flavor - there was a strong tomato taste, and that's about it. The amount of seafood was quite incredible, and definitely unexpected. I didn't think the chicken was necessary at all, and didn't really add anything to the dish. I know it doesn't sound as if I liked it, but I did, I am just not sure if I would order it again.

Dan ordered the West Indies Ribs that came with a guava barbecue sauce. We both agreed that there wasn't anything special about them, and the guava sauce was much too sweet anyway.

On a more positive note, we tried the yuca fries and I was obsessed. They are very similar to home fries, but much much crispier. I loved them as a fun little snack - definitely try them if you can! They come as a side to the Wood-Grilled Top Sirloin Steak.

Check out the review from my first trip to Bahama Breeze for a more positive review :) I definitely think I would order the salmon with mango-butter sauce if I were to go again.
100 East Joppa Road
Towson, MD 21286

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mango and Coconut Juice Bar, Downtown

I had heard good things about Mango and Coconut's (located within the Charles Street Shopping Center) Jamaican food, so I happily checked it out for lunch.

I ordered the Curry Chicken with rice and beans and a side of plantains. My friend ordered the Brown Stew Chicken with the same sides.

The Curry Chicken at first bit was incredibly flavorful and heavily spiced. And then , all of a sudden the sauce sneaks up on you and your mouth is one fire (granted, I have a VERY low tolerance for spicy foods). The heat wasn't so bad that I didn't enjoy it, though, especially since the rice and beans were a perfect accompaniment to the sauce. Despite the spice, I enjoyed this meal thoroughly. It's a warm and comforting meal, perfect for a cold day. The plantains were good and sweet, though nothing to write home about.

On the opposite spectrum, the Brown Stew Chicken - what does Brown Stew even mean? - was a delightfully savory and non-spicy sauce that soaked right into the meat of the chicken. Which brings me to another point - in both dishes, the chicken was incredibly moist and came right off the bone.

So, if you are new to Jamaican cuisine, or you aren't a fan of spice - start with the Brown Stew chicken . And if you love the burn - try the Curry! I'm excited to try other dishes from this place - my next choice is going to be their jerk chicken, I can't wait! And perhaps I'll also choose a smoothie, especially if they are known as a juice bar!

Mango and Coconut Juice Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crossroads Restaurant, Radisson Hotel in Cross Keys

Crossroads Restaurant, at the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys, recently announced their new farm-to-table menu. The menu features seasonal items from local growers, and makes up more than half of the Crossroads menu – which is really great!

I personally love when I see menu items from local farms – and I believe other people do too. I think it can really add to a restaurant's popularity, like Woodberry Kitchen or Abbey Burger Bistro.

Village Trio Lunch special

Crossroads offers a Village Trio lunch dish for $11.95 which is a combination of the daily soup special, daily sandwich special and a salad. Super healthy and satisfying, I am sure!

Cross Keys Burger made with meat from Albright Farms

Their dinner menu includes items such as an appetizer of Steamed Shrimp and Mussels, and pasta and burgers for entrees, with many ingredients coming from local farms. Dinner entrees start at $13.95 and daily specials start at $10.95

Farms and local businesses represented include: Ham from Kunzler and Company; ground beef from Albright Farms’ grass fed, free range cows (yay!); homemade pastas from The Great Cheese; Stone Mill Bakery’s fresh baked goods and breads; organic greens and produce from Earthbound Farms; specialty Chevre goat cheese from Cherry Glen Farm; and, organic and rich cheeses fromHawks Hill Creamery.

If you end up going, let me know what you think!

Crossroads Restaurant
Radisson Hotel at Crosskeys
5100 Falls Road, Baltimore MD 21210

Breakfast: Mon-Fri, 6:30-10:30AM and Sat-Sun, 6:30-11:30AM
Lunch: Mon –Fri, 11:30AM-2:30PM and Sat-Sun, 12Noon-2:30PM
Dinner: Sun-Thurs, 5-10PM and Fri-Sat, 5-11PM
There's also a Crossroads Lounge that offers free live jazz on Thursdays, 6-9PM.

Pub Dog, Federal Hill

7 of my friends wanted to meet in an affordable City establishment for some dinner and drinks. Some of them were from out of town, so the Baltimoreans were asked to come up with the meeting place. Easy enough, right? Especially when there's a food blogger in the midst!
We chose Pub Dog
We chose poorly
I destroyed all of my Foodie credibility.

Let's be honest, anyone who has ever been to Pub Dog knows that it's not the place for a group dinner centered around conversation and catching up. We had to take up two tables (of the four) in the back, and by the end of the night my voice was hoarse from shouting in order to be heard by my neighbor. This is a bar. A bar that just happens to serve pizzas. This is not a restaurant where you can hang out and chat.

The food itself was decent, nothing spectacular. I ordered the Spinach Pizza ($8.50), without bacon, which was heavy on the cheese (good) and salt (not good). I tried the Veggie Dog Pizza ($8.50) which had an ample amount of veggies (good) coupled with an ample amount of Soggy Crust Syndrome (not good). The BBQ Chicken pizza ($9) was flavorful and sweet, though personally a tad too sweet for me to have more than a slice.

Since the place is also known for its beers, I tried a couple of those too (beware - you have to buy 2 of the same kind for $4, which works well in groups, but not so well for a couple, perhaps). Both beers (Raspberry and White) were light and pleasant, though definitely more summer beers. The fruit flavored beers are not overwhelming, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preference. I personally liked them a lot.

Overall, I can see the appeal of Pub Dog if you live close by and want a neighborhood bar that has good pizza. But I definitely would NEVER recommend for a group dinner.

Pub Dog Pizza & Drafthouse (Federal Hill) on Urbanspoon

Email Issues :(

OH NO!!!!!!!!

My tasteofbaltimore email account has not been forwarding correctly to my regular email account - a bunch of emails have been lost in the Spam box :( And then they get deleted every 30 days :(

I want to apologize if you have sent me an email and I've never replied - I LOVE LOVE LOVE email, I ALWAYS write back. So If I never wrote you know what happened!

What upsets me the most is that I may have missed people's entries into my giveaways.

This sucks.

GOOGLE. Why did you do this to me :O(


Was it just us, or was there a short supply of trick-or-treaters on Saturday? My husband and I bought SO MUCH CANDY, and we probably only had 5-6 kids show up. I was ridiculously upset! I love seeing little kids in costume!!!!!!

This was the first Halloween we spent in our new house, so now we are nervous that this is what it's going to be like every year!!!! But maybe it was just because of the rain?

Either way, we have a TON of Kit Kats and Snickers lying around the house - NOT GOOD.

Luckily we had plans later at night, so our evening wasn't a complete bust. I went as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, what about you?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Claddagh Pub, Canton

A couple of my friends came in from out of town, so a group of us decided to go out for dinner to sit and chat. We ended up choosing Claddagh Pub in Canton Square.

I ordered the Seafood Club ($9.95) which usually comes with crab cake, shrimp salad, bacon, lettuce and tomato. I opted out of the bacon though. Sounds delicious, right? Well, it was good but it just didn't work cohesively as a sandwich. First of all, it was piled WAY too high so I could hardly manage to take a bite! The shrimp salad was great - jumbo shrimp, celery, not overly mayo-y. The crabcake was also well done, with a good amount of meat. But together, the flavors didn't meld. I just felt like I was eating two separate things, which disappointed me a little. Though, I kept in mind it gave me the opportunity to try both! Oh, but the fries were pretty excellent, the right amount of softness vs. crispiness.

One thing I must mention is that most of our sandwiches came un-toasted, which was very odd since there was a "Cold Sandwiches" section on the menu. Doesn't that automatically mean the other sandwiches will be warm?

Anyway, the prices were good for what we got, but the food definitely didn't blow me away. Next time I come to Canton, I can't imagine choosing this place over the other options - especially when it's right next to Helen's Garden! If you just want to go to a pub for a couple of beers, then this place may be super fun, but not for a big group of people that wanted to get dinner and chat.

Claddagh Pub on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Man Vs. Charm City's Food

So, what are you up to tonight? How about watching Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel- Host Adam Richman is in Charm City for the Great Steak Challenge!

Steak & Main is where he’ll participate in his crazy challenge – he has ONE HOUR to eat FIVE different cuts of beef (74oz in total) and 1lb of sides. Check out this video for a sneak peek of the challenge:


More power to him!

Check out Baltimore on TV, yay!!!! Wednesday (TODAY), Oct 28th, 10pm on the Travel Channel

I’ve never eaten at any of these places- have you? What do you think of them?


As seen on Asylum's The Worst Candy Ever
I like wine. I like Kit Kats.
Not together.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don Roberto Tequila at Morton's

As I mentioned on my blog, I was invited to Don Roberto's Tequila unveiling at Morton's Steakhouse. Once again, I had a really fun evening - great drinks, amazing food, and really great foodies/drinkies :) Also, I must say, if anyone knows how to cook a lamp chop- it's Morton's! Wow, those bad boys were good.

We had the option of trying three different tequila cocktails. Two were infused with Tea Fortes (one with lavendar, and one with lemongrass and mint that I was NOT a fan of) and one classic margarita. Ah the classic margarita. It was delish. Many times during the evening, I kept wondering out loud if my drinks had any tequila in it. Oh, there did, but it was just that smooth.

Don Roberto Plata (Silver, White spirit and un-aged); Don Roberto Reposado (Rested, aged 6 months in white oak barrels); and Don Roberto Anejo (Vintage, aged 1.5 years in white oak barrels).

We recieved a presentation about the Tequilas and it's new introduction into the United States. We also were offered Reidel Tequila glasses to sample the tequilas.
--- Straight ---
I had to sip on straight tequila?????
I was terrified. Drinking tequila straight is not my idea of delicious. But for the sake of the blog, I closed my eyes, tried not to smell it too much, and took a sip.
And you know what?
They didn't make me gag, spit up or cry! Miraculous!!!!!
In fact - they were smooth, had different tastes and I could see them being quite pleasant for a Tequila-sipper. That just shows you right there the quality of this liquor.

After our sampling was over, I went back to my margaritas - they were awesome!
p.s. I met Mark Burlet, who writes the Baltimore Drinks Examiner blog. Check out his post on the Don Roberto evening.

p.p.s. Tonight, at Morton's, is their Champagne and Chocolate Tasting. If you go (you are SO LUCKY!!!!!), let me know which chocolate is your favorite!!!!!

The Corner Stable, Cockeysville

Sorry to write two BBQ posts in two days, but the restaurants were quite different!

Corner Stable, which is located just down the street from Andy Nelson's is situated on the corner of Cranbrook Road and York Road - a fairly busy area, and yet I had never been!

I had heard about the ribs more than anything else, so I knew I had to get them. They are a little expensive, at $17.50 for a rack of ribs and fries (I split them with Dan) so I expected a lot.

They came out doused in their sweet BBQ sauce (hence the terrible picture quality below), incredibly succulent and juicy. The meat reminded me more of something you would get in a slow cooker than on a BBQ (which is how Andy Nelson's ribs tasted). Overall though, I felt they were excellent. Dan, however, liked them but said he would choose Andy's ribs over these any day. Once again - taste is all a matter of opinion! The fries were OK, a little too burnt for me.
Wow. This is a really terrible picture

Dan tried their Chicken Philly Cheese Steak ($7.99) which comes with thinly sliced grilled chicken, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes and fried onions. I ended up taking multiple bites from it, I liked it so much. Talk about comfort food. Be warned though - they put mayo on the sandwich, and I know some people (DAN) don't like the surprise of mayo-y sandwiches!

Even though it's a terrible picture, at least you can tell the size of it!

You'd think that we would be full with all that food, but since we went to watch a football game, after a couple of hours....I wanted dessert! We chose a cookie cake type sundae, and as you can see from the picture it was monstrous. The cookie cake (it was a huge cookie, therefore it had more of a cake or brownie consistency) came with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce, and the most whipped cream I've ever seen. It was decadent to say the least.

So there you have it. Not exactly the most healthy meal in the world, but it went well with football and sharing :)

Corner Stable on Urbanspoon

Andy Nelson's BBQ, Cockeysville

Cornbread, ribs, BBQ Tater Wedges, more cornbread and apple cake

Andy Nelson's BBQ is the go-to BBQ place for the Hunt Valley-Cockeysville-Timonium corridor. It's located on York Road, and you'll see it because there's a giant pig on the building. There's much more seating than you would think, and they also open a barn next door for larger parties.

Andy's is famous for slow cooking all their BBQ and serving it Memphis style.

I ordered a half rack of Memphis dry ribs. I always like to get ribs dry so that I can control how much of the sauce I eat. The ribs were yummy- they fell right off the bone and into my mouth! Also, I thought it was a generous half-rack portion.

With a couple pieces of cornbread (good- very sweet, though a bit dry) and the ribs, I was happily full. Dan ordered the same thing, but also with the BBQ Tater wedges that I'm not really fond of. They are too......potato-y. I mean, it's just too much. I'd rather have fries.

I also bought some homemade apple cake, which I saved for later, that was sweet and moist and full of large pieces of plump apples.

I've had the sandwiches from there before, as well as the brisket, and I must say the meat is just perfectly cooked here - very flavorful and tender. I would suggest getting cuts of meat or sandwiches where you can add your own sauce, because sometimes it can be a bit too much when they add it themselves.

p.s. Yes, Andy Nelson is a former Colts Football player - and there are lots of pictures and other sorts of memorabilia posted around the place. What's great is that most of the time, Andy Nelson is working there whether it's the weekend or weekdays. I love that commitment he has to his restaurant- it really shows.

Andy Nelson's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Cooperstown Cookie Company

Cooperstown Cookie Company contacted me recently to try one of their cookies –Bunts – the classic shortbread baseball cookies.

Why are they called baseball cookies? Cause they’re shaped like baseballs and they come in cute baseball packages that you can customize based on your own Major League Baseball Team!

The best part of these cookies, to me, is that they have 5 ingredients! Sorry about the terrible picture below, but I was so excited when I saw this! How often do you pick up a package of something and not understand a word of the ingredients? It says Unbleached flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Wow. I know what all of those words mean :)

And how do they taste? Like shortbread! Classic shortbread: buttery and not-too-sweet. It's great that you can find natural cookies, with real ingredients, and not have to sacrifice taste!

So check out the website: and let me know what you think. There are lots of other cookies to purchase as well. These cookies would be a great gift for a Baseball lover!

10/28/09 UPDATE: Here is the new website:

DISCLAIMER: Cooperstown Cookie Company sent me free cookies to try, but in no way was I paid for my opinions!

House of Kabob, Parkville

For our date night last week, Dan and I went to House of Kabob in Parkville. We both LOVE kabobs, or really just any type of Middle Eastern food, so we were happy to give a new place a try (plus, we had a coupon for a free entrée courtesy of The Entertainment Book!!!)

Our appetizer sampler- what a great deal!

We ordered the appetizer sampler for $6.99 which allowed us to pick 3 appetizers. We choose the hummus, kashk o’ bademjan (dip made of sautéed eggplant mixed with garlic and onion) and stuffed grape leaves. The sampler came with pita bread, and we got a second plate of pita without asking!

The hummus was very creamy and I could definitely taste the garlic and lemon. The kashk o’bademjan was hands down my favorite, Dan’s too. It was such a wonderful dip – you could really taste the roasted flavor of the eggplant. The stuffed grape leaves were not my favorite, I think it is an acquired taste, but I suppose I'm not a fan of the mint and dill combination.
In the forefront is the kabob platter, and the fesenjune is in the middle. Look at that rice!

For dinner I ordered the chicken fesenjan ($10.99) which is described on their website as sautéed chicken tenders and walnuts simmered in a sweet and sour pomegranate sauce. This actually doesn’t really describe it well. The sauce is made of walnuts and pomegranate sauce, which gives it a thick nutty consistency from the blending of both ingredients. The chicken was a bit dry and quite plain, but the sauce was sweet and well made.

$10.99 for this dish is a steal, as it is usually much more expensive at other Iranian restaurants. However, (and I REALLY hate comparing restaurants) I would probably go back to Orchard Market and Café if I craved this dish, though it is more expensive ($16-17). I must say, I was able to make this into 3 meals since there was so much food and after the chicken soaked in the sauce overnight, it was much more flavorful!

Dan ordered the Koobideh (ground beef kabob) and Chicken kabob combination platter for ($12.75). The platter was immense! I’ve never seen so much rice and meat at a kabob place before!! The koobideh was my absolute favorite. It was perfectly spiced and grilled. The chicken was good, but I’m not really a grilled chicken fan – but Dan is, and he loved it.

We were both WAY too stuffed to even consider dessert, but if we had room we both agreed that the Akhbar Mashti ($2.95), or Persian ice cream mixed with fresh cream, saffron and rose water would have been our only choice since that and the Faloodeh (lemon flavored ice with floating sweet noodles- so says the website) are the only options made in-house.

Next time, I think we are both going to stick to kabob platters, especially the Koobideh. YUM! Also, it's a BYOB (with no corkage fee), so that's a great plus as well!

House of Kabob on Urbanspoon

Pom Iced Coffee

My husband loves to buy me new and fun products anytime he goes to the grocery store by himself. He also knows that I love POM anything, so this time he decided to get me Pom Iced Coffee, the Cafe Au Lait flavor*.

I was super skeptical at first, because a Pomegranate flavored coffee DID NOT appeal to me, but on closer inspection I read that it contains the "Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Antioxidant Extract" rather than pomegranate flavoring.

And the verdict? Pretty delicious, I must say! With the first sip I noticed an unfamiliar taste, but as I kept sipping the difference was really subtle but really nice. There was a very slight bit of pomegranate to the flavor, but it's not enough that would make me say it's flavored. It's definitely not overly creamy, which I like, and it's very smooth and has the right amount of sweetness.

I don't usually buy coffee this way, but if I ever saw this again and I was in the mood for a nice iced coffee, I wouldn't hesitate in grabbing it from the shelf. I think it would be especially delicious over ice!

There are two other flavors: Chocolate and Vanilla. Yes, please!

Check out POM's website, I love their drinks, including their teas. My favorite is their Pomegranate Lychee Green Tea (which my husband had chosen for me as a treat a while ago!) Soooo refreshing.

****I promise! In no way was I contacted by POM, nor do I represent POM. My husband really does like to buy me treats (yay!), so I thought I would share! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Strapazza, Towson

What a lovely little road Strapazza's is on in Towson. The trees are lit up with Christmas lights, there are plenty of outdoor seating, and suddenly Towson is sweet and charming.

If you come to Strapazza's for some hearty and authentic Italian food guess what? You will NOT be disappointed.

The food here is filling, plentiful and best of all AFFORDABLE. IT'S A MIRACLE!

I ordered the tortellini bolognese - tri-colored tortellini filled with parmesan and topped with a creamy bolognese sauce. This was amazing. VERY rich and hearty, and enough that you could either share - or take for lunch.

Dan ordered the gnocchi with a tomato, mozzarella and basil sauce (shown below). The gnocchi was soft and had just the right amount of chewiness. I loved them, those perfect little potato balls. The sauce was great because of the yummy cheesy balls melted throughout.

I also liked that they served fresh garlic bread on the house with your meal - perfect for sopping up the leftover sauce. Oh and sop we did. That was quite some bread - I'm pretty sure the chefs enjoy garlic butter :)

For dessert they offer a bunch of frozen options (the exact same menu from Pasta Blitz actually), as well as homemade tiramisu and cannoli. I asked our server if these were made in-house, but he just replied homemade.....I'm thinking that they are not made in house. That being said, the tiramisu was delish! Very very very creamy and decadent. The cannoli was good - I liked the cream better than the pastry, which left a weird cardboard-y taste in my mouth which I could taste hours later. Hm. Gross. Get the tiramisu.

Overall, I am more than excited to have a neighborhood Italian restaurant which I can't wait to support. And thankfully, because of their prices, AND because they are one of the restaurants on (which is currently taking 70% off their gift certificates until Sunday if you use the code PUMPKIN)- I can!

Strapazza on Urbanspoon

Yamato Sushi, Timonium

We get carry out from Yamato Sushi, so thought I would write a quick note about them.
They are delicious! I love their shrimp tempura, their salmon and avocado and their california roll.

Also, it's nice to note that every time my husband picks up an order, he always comments on how pleasant and friendly all the employees are.

The restaurant itself has plenty of other dishes to try, plus they are a BYOB with no corkage fee.

Thanks, Yamato Sushi, for making delicious meals for me to eat in front of my TV :)

Yamato Sushi on Urbanspoon

This should be a "tweet"

I'm starting to feel like I'm the only person in the world that hasn't been to B&O American Brasserie. It doesn't make sense, I literally work right next to it. Anyone been there for lunch? Would it be the same?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Panera Bread, Timonium

Isn't it lovely when you wake up on a weekend morning and go out for breakfast? I don't know what it is about going out for breakfast, but it seems like such a wonderful treat, especially if it's a lazy breakfast with coffee and lots of conversation.

Well, recently we decided to meet my parents at Panera Bread in Timonium for just that - and unfortunately, everyone else in the area had the same idea. It was almost chaotic at 10:30am!

What makes it worse is that Panera's pick-up system is RIDICULOUS. Even though you order everything from the same register, you pick your pastries (BEAR CLAW) at the pastry counter, your coffee at the coffee counter, and your sandwiches all the way down the other end.

This makes for a confusing breakfast, especially when you are trying to figure out four people's meals. In the end it all worked out OK, sure, although I received bacon on a sandwich when I didn't want any and we got 2 orange juices instead of 1 - we still left hungry and satisfied. However, this was enough of an annoyance that would make me question coming back here again.

Now, onto the food:
I ordered the egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on ciabatta bread - pretty yummy and hearty, I must say.

Dan ordered the four cheese egg souffle (only because the turkey sausage and potato one was already sold out!) and he enjoyed it. I found the pastry to be a bit sweet, which I don't like because it's meant to be savory!

I also ordered the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, reviewed here

My parents swear by their Bear Claw - an almond paste-filled pastry. This is sooo delicious, and quite big too!

Overall I enjoy Panera's food - but they just HAVE to get a bit more organized or they are going to start losing customer's!

Panera Bread on Urbanspoon


I had another Pumpkin Spice Latte for the sake of research *cough and because I love them cough*

Check out my addition of Caribou Coffee here!

How was everybody's weekend? Mine was pretty awesome - hung out with friends, ate a TON, watched football (boo) and Friday Night Lights! I love that show.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Drink some tea and stay warm if you can!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Take on Wine Tasting at Swirl Wine

When I buy wine, I usually head towards a familiar bottle that I've had before, or I choose based on pretty packaging married with a happy price tag. I usually have an idea whether I want white or red, and after that I can also tell you which popular grapes I like the best - but sometimes even that throws me for a loop.

This is why it has been really helpful to go to Swirl, my local wine shop, for their free wine tastings on Fridays. They supply their customers with a list of the wines - and tasting notes they've written about each. I write ALL OVER that paper. I always take notes - especially if I like a bottle. Then I transfer those notes to my wine journal so I can keep a log of all the wines that I love. Because I've been going so often - I have a LOT!

Now, I know that many wine shops have free wine tastings, but I had to give a shout out to Swirl for coming up with an AWESOME idea for their tasting tomorrow (Oct 16th) - the Vs. Tasting.

They are going to have a blind tasting!
They will pair a Napa Cabernet (Freemark Abbey Cabernet) against an Argentinian Cabernet (Felino Cabernet)
An Italian white (Bidoli Pinot Grigio) against a Spanish white (Shaya Verdejo)
It will be interesting to see whether people like a wine they wouldn't usually choose on the shelf!

How much fun!

Swirl Wine
2320 York Road
Timonium, MD

Mobbies Gala

I missed it :(

I wasn't feeling quite myself, and didn't want to make anybody else sick - especially with all the handshaking going on.

Was it fun? How was the food?

Tell me everything!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ace of Cakes Book Signing, Oct 27th

Head to Atomic Books to meet the cast of Ace of Cakes and get your book signed!!!
Duff Goldman, Mary Alice, and the rest of the gang will be there from 7-10PM to meet and greet. The book is called Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes

Tuesday, October 27
7-10PM. Free.
Atomic Books.
3620 Falls Rd., Hampden, Baltimore, MD.

Cold Stone Creamery, Cockeysville and Everywhere

When I'm in the mood for ice cream, I usually just head to my local grocery store and grab a pint. This practice is MUCH cheaper, especially because a pint is four servings for me.

However, we were hanging out with our friends one evening and Dan suggested Cold Stone for some dessert. Usually I would give him the evil eye to make him re-suggest Taharka Brothers, but I decided to be a good wife instead and held back the evilness :)

When i go to Cold Stone, my favorite ice cream to get is actually a Signature Creation - the Banana Caramel Crunch (French vanilla ice cream mixed with bananas, roasted almonds and caramel sauce). I realize this is pretty taste specific because I LOOOOOVE bananas while others have intense hatred for them. But I'm telling you, if you love bananas, they are a delicious add-in! I am always happy when I get that, and then on top of the caramel and almonds- SOOOO extra special.

Not to take any business away, but I think it's important to note that this would be VERY easy to make at home. I should probably try that one day.

Cold Stone Creamery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Latte Update

I know everyone is waiting with bated breath to hear about my Pumpkin Spice Latte quest. Well, I decided to be proactive and contact Cosi to see what was going on, and I recieved this very nice (but extremely sad) email back:

Good Afternoon Nakiya,

Unfortunately the Pumpkin Latte will not be making a come back. This
year we're doing the Chocolate Covered Almond Mocha & the Peppermint Hot
Chocolate as our holiday beverages. We're sorry for this inconvenience.
Thank you for your continued support and patronage.


Cosi Guest Services

Whyyyy Cosi? WHYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!

For good measure I tried the Chocolate Covered Almond Mocha, and unfortuantely I found it pretty undrinkable. The almond flavor was WAY too intense and almost mechanical. It was too overwhelming, there should have been more chocolate to balance it maybe. I cannot believe they thought this drink would be a good replacement for the genius that was their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

In order to mend my wounded heart, I scoped out other places for their versions:
Dunkin' Donuts: YIKES. I'm glad I got the small because this was so sweet I found myself cringing and wanting it to stop.
Panera Bread: Actually quite delicious and not overwhelmingly sweet. Maybe too milky though - I would have liked a stronger coffee flavor I think. I also discovered that a medium size at Panera Bread is quite a bit too much for me - I would definitely order the small next time. I ordered other things too, so I'll write a seperate post soon.
Starbuck's: OK fine. I know it's delicious. I just didn't want to admit it.
Caribou Coffee: Very sweet and much spicier than any that I've tried - definitely taste nutmeg. It also has a distinct orange color to it. Definitely go for the small (16 0z) version. Also, it was $4.24 for the medium, is that outrageous to anyone else?

Does anybody know of other places that sell Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Caribou Coffee is currently on my list, but I would like to try non-chains as well. Maybe Java Joe's has one?

UPDATED 10/19/09 with Caribou Coffee info

Friday, October 9, 2009

Last Day to Vote for the Mobbies

Thank you so incredibly much for your votes during the past two weeks (what a long time to vote!!!!) And most importantly, thank you for reading my blog!!!! I love reading and responding to comments! It humbles me to think that people check what I have to say about Baltimore's Deliciousness.

And to all my new readers - I hope you stick around!!!!

Once again, if you haven't already done so - please give Taste of Baltimore a little shout out for a Mobbie! Voting ends TODAY (October 9th) at 5PM.

Thanks :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cosi PART THREE, Everywhere USA

Before I get into my review, I think it’s important to mention that Cosi does not have their Fall Menu up yet! It usually shows itself in September! Where is my Pumpkin Spice Latte, Cosi? Where is it????? I’ve been a loyal fan (READ: OBSESSED) of your version, and now I have to contemplate getting my Pumpkin Spice fix elsewhere. Tragedy all around.

OK, now that I have that out of my system, onto the review!

I don’t normally eat at Cosi, which is surprising considering last year at this time I was pretty much a regular. Now, I only associate it with special coffee treats (see above) and nothing else. This may also be because I’ve had a couple of terrible meals from there before. However, I decided to give it another try, and aimed to get a delicious sandwich. I already loved the bread, so I knew I could join it with another love—TUNA.

I tried their tuna melt ($7.41 w/tax) and OH I WAS HAPPY! Soooo much melted cheese. Not that much mayonnaise! SOOO filling.

Thank you, Cosi, I have faith in you once more.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Caribou Coffee, Baltimore

Went there recently for a quick coffee (I feel like this has been a pattern lately! Why am I always so tired???!) and tried Amy's Blend, a medium roast coffee that was very easy to drink, it also cost $2.01 after tax for a 16oz, which made me realize that I wasn't wrong in this post.

Amy's Blend is named after Amy Erickson, a roastmaster from Caribou Coffee who passed away from breast cancer. In October, 10% of the sales of Amy's Blend (tea, coffee, and merchandise) will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Also, at this particular location, the manager said he would dye his hair pink if they reach a certain amount! How great is that?

Another great promotion is the 1-2-3 Monday Coffee:
$1 for a medium coffee
$2 for a white chocolate cold pressed coffee (yes, please!)
$3 for a medium latte

OH yes, and I must not forget to say that they have introduced many Fall Favorites at their stores!
Maple Scones
Reduced Fat Cinnamon Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Bread
Wild Pumpkin Coffee and Cooler: A white chocolate mocha with pumpkin syrup
Wild Caramel Apple Coffee and Cooler: A white chocolate mocha with a sweet and tart caramel apple syrup

p.s. Read an earlier post about Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee on Urbanspoon
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