The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Langermanns in Canton gets a jump on Restaurant Week

Looking for great dining bargains? What do you do in-between the specially priced pre-fixe lunches and dinners with the end of Baltimore County Restaurant Week that just ended January 24th and Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week, now called Absolutely Febulous, that kicks off February, 15th?  Langermann’s in Canton decided to get a jump on that promotion by offering a very special week that kicked off Friday, Jaunuary 23rd and runs through Sunday, February 1st.
Chef Neal Langermann has designed a delicious 2-course lunch menu for $15.15 per person and a 3-course supper menu for $30.15 per person. “We look at Restaurant Week as a special event for our guests. We changed things up a bit and included a little something for everyone—from chicken to pasta and steak. Of course we also have some of our most popular dishes such as Creole-spiced shrimp, our famous heirloom grits in bacon butter sauce and sweet potato cheesecake,” said Chef Langermann.

Langermann’s specializes in fresh, Southern inspired, Lowcountry (land along the coast of South Carolina with Charleston lying at the heart) dishes prepared by award winning Executive Chef/Partner, Neal Langermann – a seven time James Beard Guest Chef at the prestigious James Beard House in NYC. Prior to opening Langermann’s, Chef Neal received numerous accolades as Executive Chef at the world renowned Georgia Brown’s in Washington D.C and was voted Chef of the Year there in 2001. Langermann’s is located at 2400 Boston Street in The Can Company, Baltimore, Maryland 21224. For reservations call 410-534-3287. For more information, go to

Friday, January 23, 2015

Brunch in Baltimore

Wow, has this segment of the restaurant industry grown in Baltimore, it seems every restaurant and bar is offering brunch nowadays. Usually brunch is on Saturday and/ or Sundays, but there are other restaurants that kick off brunch on Fridays like Hampden’s The Food Market.  You can choose from ala carte or buffet, libations by the glass or pitcher, singles or bottomless- each place puts their own twist on brunch.  My brunches of late have been Nickel Taphouse in Mt. Washington Village, Mari Luna Latin Grille in Pikesville, and Wit & Wisdom located in the Four Seasons Hotel/Harbor East.  

Check out the full story on brunch in Baltimore and the slideshow HERE.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Restaurant Impossible's Chef Robert Irvine LIVE at the Hippodrome

When is a Friday 13th not bad luck? It is when you can grab tickets to the Food Network star of Restaurant Impossible’s Chef Robert Irvine LIVE show at the Hippodrome on Friday, February 13th. Irvine combines his chef and soldier know-how on stage interacting with numerous attendees, with challenges from a digital challenge wheel that they spin which determines time limits to ingredients to the challenge itself. Don’t expect a scripted show or a cooking demonstration – it is much more.

Anything and everything can (and likely will) happen! Depending on the challenges chosen for the evening, up to 30 people may be called on stage to participate! Audience members can be part of the show with social media: Twitter and Facebook. Posts are collected prior to and during intermission and incorporated in the show. New video footage will be interjected into the show with insights into who Robert Irvine is from his military background and getting on the Food Network.

Before you read my interview with Chef Irvine, let me say that a pair of tickets to his Baltimore show can be won by linking this story on Twitter with the hashtag #ChefRobertIrvineinBmore. We will draw the winning Tweeter’s name January 25, 2015. Read the complete interview HERE. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Family dining at Voltgaggio's Family Meal - concept expands

Among the numerous restaurant concepts that Chef Bryan Voltaggio and his partner, Hilda Staples, have opened, Family Meal focuses on a place where families can enjoy time together, around the table sharing food and conversation at a pocketbook friendly price. The Culinary Institute of America graduate, Chef Charlie Palmer protégé, James Beard Award nominee and Top Chef runner up, Chef Voltaggio’s culinary acumen can be seen on every plate at Family Meal reflecting his rendition of American diner fare.

At the beginning of January, the second Family Meal restaurant was opened in Baltimore at the end of Pier 4 at the harbor and in close proximity to the National Aquarium.  The first Family Meal was opened in Frederick, Maryland – home for both Staples and Voltaggio and where the initial partnership started at their restaurant VOLT. With a strong belief in the Family Meal concept, the two are expanding beyond the Maryland and Washington DC market into Ashburn and Richmond Virginia.  

Both Hilda Staples and Chef Voltaggio had time to chat for the Dining Dish radio program on Baltimore Internet Radio.  The vivacious Hilda gladly shares how she and a complete stranger, Chef Bryan Voltaggio, went into business.  Chef Voltaggio on why “farm-to-table” could be waning and why. Bryan was very articulate about Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry initiative; he waxed passionately about how no child should go hungry. In 2015 Maryland legislation is geared to have breakfast, lunch and dinner for those school children without and a summer program to keep them fed with nutritious meals.  

Watch the slideshow, read the full story HERE

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sooey! Cunningham's Cafe is having a pork dinner

Cunningham’s Café is kicking off their supper series with a pork tasting, a Cunningham Farms pork tasting on Saturday, January 24th at 6:30 p.m.  Pork, the other white meat, is more than just bacon and Cunningham’s Executive Chef Jason Lear and Bagby Group Chef Chris Becker and Angie Law, their Executive Pastry Chef will be creating a five course dinner featuring their own heritage breed pork from Cunningham Farms in Monkton, Maryland.

As the world famous culinarian James Beard said, “If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.” The ticket price is priced right for a great Saturday evening out, only $49 per person, excludes tax and gratuity but includes one alcoholic drink, the food and valet parking. Additional alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Be advised that seating for this dinner is very limited.  Stop in the café to purchase your tickets or call them at 410-339-7750. 

Heritage breed pigs can be traced back to a time before industrial farming and were kept out in the pasture and foraged during all kinds of weather. Time and industrial farming diminished these heartier breeds of hogs.  Some farmers held on to these breeds so they didn’t become extinct and we now call these numerous breeds “heritage.”

Cunningham’s Café – 1 Olympic Place – Towson, MD 21204  Facebook  Twitter& Instagram: @CunninghamsCafe

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Morty's Delicatessen open in Maryland Live! Casino

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 14th is National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. Can’t you just taste that warm pastrami on fresh cut Jewish rye with a glob of yellow mustard and a slice of half-done Kosher pickle on the side. Maybe splurge for a cup of steaming hot matzo ball or crab soup on a cold winter day.

Maryland Live! Casino welcomes its newest restaurant offering to the casino floor – Morty’s Delicatessen. Now open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining, Morty’s features a menu of classic, made-to-order deli sandwiches, served with a selection of homemade soups, sides, salads and desserts.

To celebrate the grand opening, Maryland Live! Will give away 500 FREE Pastrami Sandwiches through a Facebook offer on January 14, 2015, which is “National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.” To claim a free Pastrami sandwich, visit the Maryland Live! Facebook page on January 14 to claim an offer valid through January 18, 2015. While supplies last.

The 84-seat restaurant, which was designed to offer a traditional, New York-style deli experience, features a selection of classic Core Sandwiches, such as Corned Beef, Roast Beef, Brisket, Ham, Salami, and of course, Pastrami.

 Morty’s Delicatessen is located on the casino floor, next to the Live! Buffet. Guests must be 21 to enter. For information, visit  Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 6:00am–3:00am; Friday, 6:00am–4:00am; Saturday, 7:00am–4:00am; and Sunday, 7:00am–3:00am. Breakfast will be served until 11:00am each day.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chef Cyrus Keefer’s Pop-Up sneak peek dinner at Sotto Sopra

Chef Cyrus Keefer, who has cooked twice at the James Beard House in New York City and featured by for his culinary prowess, has a large following in Baltimore and beyond. Formerly the chef at Fork & Wrench, Birroteca and other regional restaurants, Keefer wants a place that is truly his own  – hence the pop-up dinner for Keefer’s Pique Restaurant will be hosted at Sotto Sopra Restaurant at 405 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD.  This is a one evening event with limited seating on Thursday, January 22 with the reception and silent auction starting at 6:30 p.m. with passed hors d’oeuvres and adult libations.  At 7 p.m. the five course tasting styled seated dinner will follow; a sampling of what restaurant goers can expect at Pique when it is opened. Guests will receive packets on the new concept restaurant and ask to donate to their Kickstarter campaign.     

Chef Cyrus Keefer is looking to open his own restaurant in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood at 846 W. 36th Street and he is looking for funding through Kickstarter to raise the dollars necessary.  The restaurant is called Pique, a restaurant committed to seasonal ingredients with an eye to Asian and French cuisine. It will be a 25 seat micro restaurant with dining at the tables as well as the exhibition kitchen counter. Initially Pique will start with dinner service Tuesday through Sunday. They will be BYOB and looking to expand to licensing for beer and wine and numerous special events.

The name of the restaurant Pique (pronounced PEE cue), is actually named after an onion pique, a method of cooking where one pins bay leaves with whole cloves to onions although the other definition of pique, to excite, is as relevant never knowing what else is up Chef Keefer’s culinary sleeves. 

What:  Chef Cyrus Keefer’s Pique Restaurant Pop-Up & silent auction at Sotto Sopra Restaurant
Reception of passed hors d’oeuvres /wine and silent auction plus a seated 5-course Pique tasting menu – Cash Bar

When:  Thursday, January 22, 2015
                6:30 p.m. Reception & Silent Auction
                7:00 p.m. Seated Dinner

Where:   Sotto Sopra Restaurant (Host restaurant)
                405 N. Charles Street
                Baltimore, MD  21201 – valet parking available

Menu:   Reception / Silent Auction
Passed hors d’oeuvres and adult libations

Seated Dinner
·         pork belly dumplings+ whiskey vinegar/ dashi crema
·         insalada bianca + cippolini onion, pickled mushrooms, cauliflower, tart Apple
·         tender octopus+ tomatillos+ green curry+ coconut poached potato
·         egg custard+ marinated tomato & olives, smoked olive oil
·         duck pot au feu + roast turnips, black garlic, ginger, Thai basil

Cash bar

Tickets:  $75 per person includes reception, seated dinner, tax and gratuity - does not include beverages  during the dinner / cash bar. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. Valet parking will be available

Kickstarter:  Readers can donate at Pique’s Kickstarter Page

Pique Social Media:  Facebook  Twitter @PIQUEBaltimore

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Baltimore County Restaurant Week has begun

Baltimore County Tourism and participating restaurants get together for a media launch on their Summer and Winter Restaurant Weeks. With microphone and recorder in hand I set out to interview a number of the participating restaurants, some of your favorites for Baltimore Internet RadioBaltimore County Restaurant Week started yesterday, Friday, January 9th and goes all the way through to Saturday, January 24th encompassing three weekends. 

  • The 2014 Mobbies “Best Food Blog” winner Taylor Seidel of Good Eats discusses good bars for the under 25 set
  • Chef Brian Boston of the Milton Inn and Highland Inn and why I was eating dessert first
  • Dave Seel with Bagby Restaurants – Cunninghams talk about snow storm promotions
  • Justin Windle of Pappas Restaurant in Cranbrook Shopping Center talks about some old time favorites
  • Ryleigh’s Oyster Bar Hunt Valley updates on their new location in Baltimore City
  • Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz informs about the restaurant industry's economic impact
  • Marjorie Hampson, Director- Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion offers the official welcome to Baltimore County Restaurant Week
  • Dining Dish probes as to new and old trends on the dining plate. Can you say “kale?”
Be sure to check out Dining Dish's previous podcasts . Stay tuned for interviews with Chef Bryan Voltaggio and his partner Hilda Staples, next up on the Dining Dish podcasts.  

We are seeking sponsors for the Dining Dish podcasts - Reach out to Dave Custy @ 

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Madame BBQ food truck takes to the streets for those who love pork

Nikki McGowan, aka Madame BBQ, hit the streets of Howard County with her aluminum sided food truck in November  with her unique pork BBQ, a passion for food, and witty tête-à-tête. If you work or live in Howard County, consider yourself lucky being able to partake of McGowan’s Madame BBQ food truck edibles.

It was a rainy, dismal December day that I spent in Madame BBQ’s food truck off Coca Cola Drive, privy to the inside workings and being fed really, really, really well.  I was perched on the driver’s seat next to their mascot ‘Evil Debbie’ watching Nikki and her assistant Cynthia do their food truck ballet; maneuvering around each other, reaching high, behind and below for the necessary components for the Todd Sandwich. McGowan assembles a seared bun, deviled eggs, a splash of salt, pulled pork, bacon, Sriracha soaked pickles – voila, the Todd sandwich and as different as it might sound, they sold out. Personally, the Todd was an explosion of flavor and textures – a burst of joy in one’s mouth.  You will want a side of Madame BBQ’s Brussels sprouts with bacon and a dose of the snarky, funny conversation with Nikki herself.
The soup of the day was the Porter Cheddar Soup topped with popcorn. Normally, cheese soup with beer would not be something I would order but WOW, after sampling it from Madame BBQ I won’t miss an opportunity to have it again.  And on that rainy, damp day it warmed me through and through.

Check out the complete slideshow and full story HERE

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Winter Restaurant Weeks - 2015

Baltimore County restaurants are the first to the table when it comes to Winter Restaurant Weeks 2015. Kicking off on Friday, January 9th through Saturday the 24th over 40 restaurants are offering up special, multi-course meals and special discounts. Hopefully the restaurants will have their menus up on their website now that the holidays are over.  From Artful Gourmet Bistro to Yasou Greek Bistro they have all the corners of the county covered.  Check out to see if your favorite restaurant is participating Baltimore County Restaurant Week
Starting Saturday, January 18th through the Friday, January 23rd and Sunday, January 25th to Friday, January 30th Center City Restaurant Week in Philadelphia puts it on the table with their three course lunch for $20 and three course dinner for $35 for Winter Restaurant Week. 

Alexandria Restaurant Week kicks off Saturday, January 23rd through Sunday, February 1st. You get to choose from lunch, dinner for two or prix-fixe three course menu at the vast selection of restaurants from fine dining to casual.  Alexandria, Virginia Restaurant Week.

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week pops on the calendar Sunday, January 19th and runs through Sunday, January 25th with lunches at $20.15 and dinners at $35.15. Choose from Art Smith’s Art and Soul, Todd Gray’s Equinox, Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare, José Andrés’s Jaleo locations, Mike Isabella’s Kapnos to Wolfgang Puck’s The Source with Chef Scott Drewno. Menus and details can be found at  Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week.

Howard County Restaurant Week starts the same time as Washington DC’s on Sunday, January 19th but continues through to Monday, February 2nd.  The website at this time is listing the restaurants participating with more information to come for each location – Howard County Restaurant Week .

Baltimore City Restaurant Week starts Sunday, February 15th and runs through to Sunday, February 28th. As in previous restaurant weeks, you will be offered two course lunch for $15 and multi course dinners for $20 and $30.  Their website hasn’t been updated yet from Summer Restaurant Week but keep checking for the changeover to Winter Restaurant Week – Baltimore Restaurant Week.   

New York City Restaurant Week dates are Monday, February 16th through to Friday, March 6th for 3 course lunch or dinner at over 300 restaurants. They have yet to update their website for Winter Restaurant Week but keep checking – New York City Restaurant Week.
Annapolis restaurants are the late arrivals starting Monday, February 23rd through to Sunday, March 1st.  The Restaurant Week promotion from the Annapolis Business Association gives one a choice of a 2 course breakfast for $12.95, two course lunch for $15.95 and a three course dinner for $32.95. Over 40 plus restaurants are lined up to participate. Check them out at Annapolis Restaurant Week.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New restaurants coming to Baltimore in 2015

As 2015 kicks off it seems we have some exciting new crop of restaurant openings to look forward to around Baltimore; diverse styles from French, Nepalese, sushi, ramen, burgers, pizza and more.  Here goes:


As reported in the Baltimore Dish it looks like we can look forward to another opening in Hampden at 3520 Chestnut Avenue called  Aromes Restaurant. Chef/owner Steve Monnier is from Reims, France and his pedigree includes a stint at Taillevant in Paris, winner of numerous Michelin stars. Eventually Chef Monnier he moved to the states, Los Angeles, and is now opening his own restaurant here in Baltimore.  The focus is said to be big flavors centered in new American and French cuisine.  The word is the restaurant is very close to opening. Baltimore Dish states they will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays evenings.


Downtown Diane was walking by the corner restaurant at Montford and Boston Street, the old Hollywood Burger, Tangiers, Red Fish, Meridan 54,  and Weber location (obviously, the place has had many incarnations) and noticed a sign stating that Katana Sushi & Ramen was coming to this location.
After further investigation I found the owner Jimmie Chang, whose family owns a number of Katana Sushi restaurants here in Maryland, each a bit different from the other. Jimmie owns the one in Clarksville and hopes to open the Canton location on and around March 1st. This will be the only Katana Sushi that will be offering ramen.  The ramen will be available with beef, pork and vegan broths. Chang will bring to the Canton location other dishes that are extremely popular at his Clarksville location. Whereas the Clarksville location serves Thai food it will not be offered at the Canton location.


Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal will open tomorrow, Friday January 2nd at the end of Pier 4 on Pratt Street, serving lunch and dinner. Come Monday, January 5th they will add breakfast to the mix. 

Read the complete story and watch the slideshow HERE.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal opens Friday, January 2nd

We wrote about this just before the holidays that Chef Voltaggio was close to opening his Family Meal restaurant at the Harbor at the end of Pier 4 in the old Houlihan’s space.  It seems they are ahead of schedule and opening their doors for lunch and dinner on Friday, January 2nd. Come Monday add breakfast to their mix – they will be open 7 days a week.

As stated in their press release, “Offering re-invented classic American diner fare, the first location of the Family Meal concept opened in Frederick, MD. The 6,000 square-foot Baltimore restaurant, with additional outdoor dining space, will serve Family Meal classics such as Hoecakes with Pimento Cheese, Maple Bacon Jam, Pickle Relish; Shrimp & Grits; and Fried Chicken, as well as regionally-influenced dishes like Lobster Risotto with English Peas, Maitake Mushrooms, Parmesan; and a Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with John Cope’s Corn, Tomato, Old Bay, and Bacon.”

“This restaurant is all about family,” says Chef Voltaggio. “My wife, kids and I eat together at Family Meal in Frederick, MD all the time, and I’m thrilled to bring a concept that’s so personal to me to the families of Baltimore. Adults will love our unique approach to classics that they may have grown up with, and kids go crazy for items on our ‘Happy Campers’ section.”

Family Meal, reiterates what is important, families dining together, sharing the day-to-day joys and conquest along with a great meal.  

This is the second restaurant in Baltimore by Chef Bryan Voltaggio, the other is Aggio at 614 Water Street - around the corner from Power Plant Live.

Family Meal – 621 E. Pratt Street – Baltimore, MD


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