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Friday, May 25, 2012

REVIEW: Graeter's Ice Cream

So Memorial Day Weekend is here and I know a number of you plan to host or attend some parties, so let me give you some advice if you are unsure about dessert - find some Graeter's Ice Cream and you're good to go!

Graeter's originated in Ohio, but it started to become well known after it was featured on The Food Network and after someone named Oprah became a fan (see her review here) :)

I was sent four pints of ice cream to try, and I was quite happy to oblige :)  Dan and I hosted a BBQ dinner with our families and we all had a taste test for dessert.

Everyone was pretty excited about this line-up

The flavors they sent me were Vanilla Chocolate Chip, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip.  And when they say chocolate chips they actually mean chocolate fudge chunks! Even directly out of the freezer, these HUGE chunks were still chewy and actually tasted DELICIOUS unlike most other chocolate chips in ice cream which are usually small, hard and bitter. 

The ice cream itself is creamy and luscious, but the chocolate chunks really steal the show. My favorite out of all the flavors was the Chocolate Chocolate Chip.  If you love chocolate, this is THE ice cream for you - it's just pure decadence!  The Vanilla Chip was a perfect original and I could totally see it being an amazing addition to something like this this.   The Black Raspberry tasted like a mild chocolate berry and though it was not my favorite, I still ate it because of the fudge chunks hahaha

Anyway, you bet your boots I'm buying this ice cream again!  I loved it!  So get yourself to Mars, Weis or The Fresh Market and buy yourself a pint!

DISCLAIMER: I was sent four pints of Graeter's Ice Cream to review for free, but these opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Fun Day in Baltimore County's Country and Soup'R Natural, Parkton

Soup'R Natural is located in Parkton about 30 minutes away from the Baltimore city center.  I know that's a hard sell for those living downtown, so I decided to create a Baltimore County Country itinerary for you that includes lunch at this lovely restaurant.

Baltimore County Country Daytrip

Why not start your day with some winery tours?  There are a bunch in that area, such as Basignani Winery, Woodhall Wine Cellars and Royal Rabbit Vineyards.  Sure, Maryland isn't much of a wine destination, but it's always fun to visit local wineries and find some new favorites!  Check the Maryland Wine Association's website for any events that are going on in a particular weekend.

When you are ready for lunch, drive to Soup'R Natural and relax after your hours of wine tasting, and perhaps pay for your DD's lunch :)

After lunch, make a quick visit to Gunpowder Bison & Trading Company to see where a ton of restaurants get their bison meat. It's a small little farm, but seeing the bison and looking around the cute little shop is worth it.  When Dan and I stopped in, we ended up getting some ground bison (he uses this recipe to make amazing bison sliders) and some bison sausages.  Of course the meat isn't cheap, in fact we somehow spent $50 in that trip (!), but it sure is delicious.

Head south on York Road for an easy drive back to the suburbs.  Stop in at The Filling Station if you need a cup of coffee, and then, since you probably packed a cooler to store your bison meat, head to Hunt Valley Towne Centre to load up on any foodie delights at Wegman's before taking I-83 back home!

See!  What a fun day that would be!

Crabcake sandwich (foreground) and chicken salad sandwich (background)

Now, onto my review of Soup'R Natural!  

Soup'R Natural is a small restaurant that prides itself on using local meats, eggs, and produce from nearby farms.  It has a very casual farmhouse atmosphere that is great for families as well (my sister brought my niece with us). 

My sister and I split the Chicken Salad Sandwich ($8.75) - Roasted chicken with diced fennel, grape halves and sweet almonds and we both agreed it was one of the best chicken salad sandwiches we had ever tasted.  I loved the crunch of the toasted sweet almonds, and I personally LOVE grapes in my salad, so that made me happy.  It came with regular and sweet potato chips on the side, and the sandwich itself was a nice portion.

My bro-in-law got the Crab Cake Sandwich (Market Price) - served on your choice of bread with Old Bay aioli and capers, which he really enjoyed as well.  Though I didn't try it, it definitely was a good looking sandwich.

For dessert we all split their homemade apple pie with ice cream.  The pie was STUFFED full of sweet apples, and it was quite a crowd-pleaser.

This was a wonderful, comfortable, locally-sourced and family-owned restaurant in a scenic part of Baltimore County.  What's not to love?  Next time, I'll definitely try the soup :)

p.s. Thanks to my brother-in-law for taking some awesome pictures!  If you're into biking, check out the blog he writes for!

Soup'r Natural on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lamill Coffee, Harbor East

 If you feel like treating yourself to a swanky cup of coffee and some treats, look no further than Lamill Coffee, located in the new Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East.  Be warned though, one look at the dessert counter, and your plans of getting a quick cup of coffee will be gone..... 

......because they make beignets.

I ordered a cup of coffee and my sister ordered a tea.  After a LONG wait (I am assuming they made the beignets fresh to order, so I forgive them hahaha), they brought out our treats, but I was a little annoyed that my coffee was in a mug and hers was in a to-go container - how does that make any sense?

Anyway, the drinks were great, but the real star of the show were the beignets (3 for around $4.50 with your choice of a lemon curd sauce or Valrhona chocolate sauce).  They were hot, covered in icing sugar and melted in my mouth like soft dough-y pillows dipped in an obscene amount of chocolate sauce.

We sat for a while in the coffee shop/bar area of Wit and Wisdom Tavern, and never felt any pressure to leave.  It's such a beautiful space, and a great place to go with a friend, a good book, a laptop etc.

And yes, there were 3 beignets and yes, sharing was tough :)

Lamill Coffee on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 4, 2012

RB Kebob, Towson

Samosa Chaat

RB Kebob is a tiny, slightly hole-in-the-wall South Asian (with a slight Mexican fusion) kebob place in Towson. 

Don't judge this place on its appearance - it more than makes up for the bare walls and lack of decoration with their food.  In fact, the times that Dan and I have come to visit, we still eat there rather than get carryout because we don't want to wait a single minute to start eating!

To start, we ordered the Samosa Chaat ($4.99 pictured above).  We had tried and loved their Samosas ($1.50 for one) before, so we knew we had to see what the Chaat was all about.  It's hard to tell from the picture above, but it was a very large portion and definitely enough for a person's entree!  It's one samosa (maybe's hard to tell) crushed on the plate and then topped with chickpeas, tomatoes, yogurt and tamarind sauce and cheese (UGH - there should NEVER be cheese in a South Asian restaurant unless it's Paneer).  Despite the cheese calamity, we LOVED this and would definitely order it again.  Beware, though, it's quite spicy because of the chickpea curry!

If you choose to get the Kebob Wrap ($5.99), you can order your wrap (aka a Naan Burrito) in a Chipotle-like style at the counter where you can choose your own toppings (chickpeas, rice, assorted meats, cucumbers, etc.) and sauces.  Dan likes to get the chicken tikka with rice, chickpeas, tomatoes and a ton of sauces.  Customize your wrap the way you like it, but please let them know your spice comfort-level so they can adjust accordingly!!!

The Kebob Platter ($6.99), which comes with rice, chickpeas, salad and a choice of meat, is a little less filling than the wrap (and I mean that in a good way).  The shish kebobs are EXCELLENT, made with chunks of cilantro and onions, they taste and look so authentic!  I enjoyed getting the Kebob Platter because the meat didn't get lost, like I felt it did when I ordered a wrap on a separate occasion. 

Now let me tell you a very important tip.  If you decide to get a Kebob Platter, please still order a side of Naan ($1.50).  They roll out the dough and make it right in front of you, so it's incredibly fresh and hot - there's really nothing like it!!!

At the end of the meal, I ordered a cup of sweetened milky chai ($1.50) made in the saucepan.  Perfect.

This place totally gets my approval, please check it out! I know I'm going to continue to go back again and again!

P.S. The photos on RB Kebob's menu are stock photos - their food looks MUCH better than that!!!!

RB Kebob on Urbanspoon
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