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.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Birroteca takes on the Devil

The Red Devils charity that advocates for patients and their families affected by breast cancer has a commitment from Baltimore’s Birroteca Restaurant for donating a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds throughout an ENTIRE YEAR.  I emphasize YEAR LONG so as not to be mistaken for a restaurant doing a one-night benefit. Birroteca is known for its rustic Italian fare and oh so many craft beers (60) in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Hash revival

What is hash? Well, in the ’60s or later the hash I knew was not edible, but it could surely give you the munchies. Hash, in the edible world, has been around eons, usually chopped or cubed leftover meat, potatoes, and seasonings seared up in a sauté pan and topped with an egg. My Aunt Hannah was a master of making a mean hash, insanely tasty with leftovers from her fridge. Hash is not just for breakfast, it is any time of day you want a nosh or a hearty meal. Read the full story at Baltimore Post Examiner Dara Cooks

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Summer Restaurant Weeks are Back

The Turn House - Steak Frites

 The summer heat is surely upon us and who wants to spend time in the kitchen or over a hot grill when dining out is especially cost effective with multiple restaurant weeks kicking off.  Discount dining with varying dining deals are available in each region.  Check out all the upcoming summer restaurant weeks in the area along with Washington DC and New York City - click through at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Ananda - Gobinda

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Live! Casino & Hotel presents David's Private Select Dinners

Have you ever been faced with what whiskey, bourbon, rum, tequila to try? Sure, you have!  Beyond straight up and on the rocks, are you curious as to how would they taste in a cocktail, what would mix well with them?  If I have described you, then the series of Private Select dinners David’s Restaurant in Live! Casino & Hotel just might be the night out you are looking for?  Every third Thursday of the month, an ardent spirit is featured and paired with a chef-crafted 4 course dinner.

Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner

Monday, July 08, 2019

Thursdays Meats and Beats at Gordon Ramsay Steak House

Meet, meat, and enjoy the beat at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore every Thursday night when they extend the happy hour an additional hour to 8 pm with a DJ spinning music that will have you bouncing in your seats.  

Happy hour kicks off normally Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm with $5 bites and sips. 

  • A5 Fries
  • Pimento Cheese
  • Pork Belly Bites

  • Domestic Beers - Coors Lite, Miller Lite, Blue Moon
  • Sunny G - Absolut, Patron Orange Citronage, Triple Sec, Mango Purée and Sprite
  • Honestly Eye - Jim Beam, Sweet Vermouth, Amaretto and Simple Syrup
  • Gemini Moon - Rumchata, Ginger Liqueur, Half & Half with Cinnamon Sugar Rim

Grey Goose is the sponsor for Meat and Beats Thursdays,  so indulge in the tasty concoctions featuring their vodka. 

Free parking at the casino makes an ideal spot to pop in and avoid the evening rush hour home.  Stay for dinner and partake of their dry aged beef (the meats in the Meats and Beats Thursdays).  

Gordon Ramsay Steak at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
1525 Russell Street - Baltimore
Instagram  @gordonramsaysteakbaltimore
Facebook: @GRSteakBmore
Twitter: @gordonramsayGRR

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Culinary Mecca in White Marsh: Richardson Farms

Many of you reading this column already know of Richardson Farms, a one-stop-shop for not only produce, dairy, poultry, furniture, house baked goods, but finger licking ready-to-eat, home-styled comfort food like your granny would make.  Located on Ebenezer Road less than a mile off Route 40 Richardson Farms is Disneyland for food-centric enthusiasts with hand rolled butter, extra virgin olive oil refill station, greens so beautiful that you will want to eat kale, and so much more.  

The ready-to-eat food selection is a culinary mecca: rotisserie chicken, house cured deli meats (no nitrates), chopped salads, apple cakes to their big seller, individual chicken pot pies.  They have just introduced their Spring sandwich selection and let me tell you they were all unique, well-sized and priced reasonably.  Read the full story and view the snapshots at Dara Cook at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Something new: Cheese Wraps in Cheddar, Jarlsberg and Parmesan

My food curiosity was piqued when I heard about Folios: malleable, low-carb, lactose and gluten-free, 100% cheese wraps.   Eventually I received one 4-pack of each cheese: Cheddar, Jarlsberg and Parmesan. With them in hand I was all set to play, taste and now share my findings.   

What makes them great is that they are slightly baked 100% cheese discs that one can form into a tortilla- stuffing it with whatever your imagination can come up with.  If not in a roll, how about making it a frico; lightly melted in the microwave and shaped.  The creativity is endless.  I played with all three flavors and my preference was the Jarlsberg, which lends itself to working with fruit flavors as well as savory and the Parmesan.  For some reason the Cheddar, the natural sodium level registered heavy with me. Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

French Laundry chefs create gluten-free baking mixes

Great strives have been made over the years to create real options for those with gluten intolerances.  This is not an affliction I have although I have numerous friends who for various medical reasons cannot tolerate gluten.  With that in mind, I like to taste gluten-free edibles at various food shows to see if there is an outstanding product for my friends. One of my favorites is Cup4Cup Pie Crust Mix that produces light and flaky pie dough.  After I tasted the pie crust I was told it was gluten-free, I was truly surprised. 

The Cup4Cup Pie Crust Mix is one of numerous gluten-free mixes developed by the chefs from the James Beard and Michelin award winning restaurant, the French Laundry; multi-purpose flour, multigrain bread, fried chicken mix, muffin mix, cake mixes, cornbread, pizza crust, chocolate brownie and pancake. Read more at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Alma Cocina Latina: Put them on your bucket list

Celebrating their four-year anniversary this April, Alma Cocina Latina ranks as one of Baltimore’s finest restaurants and the premier Venezuelan restaurant in the United States.

Visually light and airy in décor with tropical plants adorning the surroundings, slat back chairs are a perfect match for the walnut and teak wood tables, turquoise is the accent color of choice and the open kitchen mesmerizes one with its activity.

Read the full review and enjoy the snapshots at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sip, Savor...and All That Jazz

A password or special knock, eyes peering through a slot in the door, you had to know someone. Someone with an “in”. You had on your best suit. Hair slicked back and the lovely lady on your arm had rouged her knees, feathers in her hair and ruby lips. She might have been his wife, his special lady or even his mother. They were the best of society. Back in the day that was how you got into the local Speakeasy. But we have the inside scoop for you. Join us for a night of fine food paired with wines, cool jazz and so much more.

Consider this for a Mother’s Day gift – an evening of food, libations and music at Cured /18th & 21st in Columbia on Monday, May 13th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. 

Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie
Lemongrass-Infused Chicken Skewers with a Thai Chili Glaze
Tuna Tartar with Micro Greens

Signature Cocktails
Smoked Old Fashioned - Rowan’s Creek Bourbon, Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, Smoked House Bitters
Giggle Juice - Prosecco, Orange Liqueur Soaked Sugar Cube

Prosciutto Di Parma, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Fig Jam, Crostini

1st Course (wine pairing)
Grilled Watermelon Salad - Lavender Infused Watermelon, Frisee, Mache, Spiced Walnuts, Apple Cider Vinaigrette

2nd Course (wine pairing)
Scallop & Pork Belly - House Smoked Pork Belly, Charred Corn Puree, Pickled Shallots, Grilled Pineapple

3rd Course (wine pairing)
Sliced Filet Mignon - Wild Mushroom Ragout, Poached Teardrop Tomatoes

4th Course/ Dessert
White Chocolate Mousse - Dark Chocolate Cup, Strawberries

The perfect composition of fine dining, speakeasy-inspired cocktails & live music

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Taste of Pikesville & Owings Mills is back

You know spring has sprung when you see this great food and beverage event put on showcasing Pikesville and Owings Mills’ eateries. Enjoy food, festivity and fun at The Taste signature event taking place Tuesday, Apr. 9, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at The Suburban Club (7600 Park Heights Ave., Pikesville, Md. 21208).  

Highlighting Pikesville, Owings Mills and surrounding areas, this 8th annual fundraiser will feature signature dishes from 45+ restaurants and caterers, along with complimentary beer, wine and cocktails. Adding to the fun will be music, the People’s Choice and celebrity judge competitions and other surprises.

It has always been a sellout crowd, at least the past four years when I have attended.  I’m excited to taste offerings from new businesses to the area like Il Palio, Stanford Kitchen, Costco and Brendali as well as neighborhood staples like La Food Marketa and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

To date, participating vendors are as follows:

Atrium Village
Bonefish Grill/Outback Steakhouse
Clean Cuisine
Double Tree
Edible Arrangements
Gourmet Again
Gourmet Girls
Il Palio
Island Quizine
Knish Shop
La Food Marketa
North Oaks
Outlaw BBQ
Pariser’s Bakery
Pearlstone Center
Rincon Italiano
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Saval Food
Simply Elegant @ Grey Rock Mansion
Stanford Kitchen
Stone Mill Bakery
Zeffert & Gold

BC Brewery
Belle Isle Moonshine
Boordy Wines
Foundry Row Wine & Spirits
Great Shoals
Hidden Hills
Old Line Spirits
Lyon Distilling Co
Sandy Bottom Cocktails
Wild Kombucha

Admission at $48/person in advance and $55/person at the door – includes all you can eat and drink, goodie bag and complimentary valet parking. To purchase tickets or learn about vendor or sponsorship opportunities, visit or call the Chamber at 410.484.2337.

Event proceeds will support the Baltimore Hunger Project a 501(c) 3 non-profit charity that feeds hungry children on weekends during the school year. The remainder will support the Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to improve Pikesville and Owings Mills in order to attract more people and businesses.

About the Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber
The Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber of Commerce (POM Chamber) is dedicated to promoting and improving the business community in Pikesville, Owings Mills and the surrounding areas.  The POM Chamber works in partnership with the residential communities and local government to create an environment that is a great place to live, work and shop. For more information, visit

Monday, March 25, 2019

An irreverent and funny look at food: The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast

The real tagline for this podcast is “a food podcast for schmucks,” that alone gives you the first hint of what is to come from chefs Allison and Matt Robicelli, their teenaged sidekick  Noah Parker, and  producer Evan Siple, recognized for his work on the award-winning podcast, The City that Breeds.

Food will always be central in the bantering by this motley crew, although you can be assured of off-the-wall discussions (arguments). Beneath all the bickering is humor, off-color comments and occasional truths to be learned. Nothing, I mean nothing, is sacred, no holds barred with this group.  Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Successful home delivery meal kits spur manufacturers to new innovations

For those of you who don’t know what a home delivery meal kit is, let me enlighten you. A meal kit contains pre-portioned food ingredients along with recipes so the home cook, either those in a time crunch or those lacking the skill set to cook, can create a wholesome home cooked meal.  It is a subscription service, where customers pick the meals they want to prepare and they are delivered to their door. This concept started in Europe just over 12 years ago and quickly surfaced in the United States. Estimates say that this segment of the food business will garnish 1.3% of the food and beverage business by next year.  More popular subscription services are: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Freshly, though there are well over 100 services now available.

Food manufacturers have taken this concept and created main course kits for the grocery store; usually with three separate envelopes in one package: whole spices, marinades or seasoning paste, and sauces. The consumer just adds the protein or vegetables. Read the full story at Dara Cooks - Baltimore Post Examiner

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pleasures or Poisons: The Science and Culture of Food

This is year two of Great Talk Inc lecture series, which covers many diverse subjects.  The second in their series is Pleasures or Poisons: The Science and Culture of Food will be held Wednesday, April 17th at 7 pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton Baltimore North located at 695 and Reisterstown Road.  Tickets are $15

The panel for this evening’s discussion has a PhD in microbiology from MIT (Michael Jacobson), Chef Malcolm Mitchell, restaurateur Alan Hirsh, and a James Beard Award winning writer from the Washington Post (Maura Judkis) . WBAL-TV weeknight co-anchor Deborah Weiner will be the moderator. 

The Great Talk Maryland Series fosters Conversation With A Purpose, enriching and providing interdisciplinary learning and intellectual engagement for the Greater Baltimore and Maryland communities by bringing people together to share live, accessible and interactive conversations featuring distinguished speakers that address relevant issues, including the arts, culture, the humanities, science, social concern and other areas at a wide range of venues in Maryland.

There are five Great Talks a year:  the remaining three after Pleasure or Poisons are Is it Time for Psychedelics in Mainstream Medicine and Street & Conventional Art: the Relevance of Museums Today, and Baltimore: Not Just an American City – For further details

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cooking and baking classes with Chef Liz Sitaras Wilcox

Wow, I thought I knew all the cooking classes in the area, but this my friend is the real deal with Chef Wilcox.  When her initial dreams of being an architect/interior designer were dashed because of her dyslexia, she moved on to her passion; cooking and baking.  With the help of a math teacher, who suffered from dyslexia as well, taught her how to adapt and navigate her disability into a viable way of learning.

She enrolled in the top culinary school in the country, the prodigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), where she matriculated through two programs earning two degrees; Culinary Arts and Pastry.  While at the CIA she was an intern at The TV Food Network on their shows during their early days featuring chefs  Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, David Rosengarten, Michael Lomonaco, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Sara Moulton and more.   

Learn more about Chef Wilcox's classes at Dara Cooks at Batlimore Post Examiner

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

St. Patrick's Day celebration at Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House

There is no other place to celebrate the “wearing of the green” than Baltimore’s Guinness Brewery. Newly opened, this is the first year Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House will be open for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and what a party it will be with live music, brewery tours, a pint or two, and a menu of Irish favorites.

The celebration for the public begins Saturday, March 16th with two session, 10 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm and then Sunday, March 17th with two sessions, 10 am to 3pm and 5 pm to 10 pm.  Tickets are $15 and include your first can of beer (choice of Draught or Blonde), a donation to charity, and a commemorative button. Festivities include an Irish beer tap take over, limited edition merchandise, a holiday-themed food menu, and the debut of the new Guinness Food Truck.  Limited edition brews have been created just for this celebration and only available for two to three weeks:  rye stout and a new IPA.   

Friday, March 08, 2019

Dine and Drink Around the World: When caterers throw their own party

photo by Michael Temchine
Each  year, the Baltimore Chapter of NACE (National Association for Catering and Events) throws their annual fundraiser – a party with a purpose*.  The bonus is Baltimore’s top caterers, party planners put on an evening of eye catching décor, exceptional culinary treats, and beverages for everyone’s taste, in fact it is a contest and they are all in it to win it. They are showing off what they do for their clients, how to throw the perfect party.   Guess what, you are invited, it is Wednesday, March 13th 5pm to 10pm at the Radisson Inner Harbor  – tickets for this outstanding event are a mere $99 per person (all inclusive)

Over 300 guests  are anticipated for this international-themed fundraiser, which invites the public to “experience how the event industry throws a party.”  The cocktail celebration kicks off with hors d’oeuvres and tasting stations from Fogo de Ciao and the Radisson Inner Harbor, beverages from Founders Brewing Co. and Tito’s Vodka, and live entertainment.

Next, guests will “travel” to a number of countries. Each destination will have a customized vignette featuring signature delicacies, specialty cocktails and décor. Voting will take place for the Best International Experience Award among the following teams:

Caterer: Eleven Courses
Designer: Innovative Party Planners
Beverage Pairing: Lyon Distilling Company

Caterer: La Tavola
Designer: Nick Codd
Beverage Pairing: Baltimore Spirits Company

Caterer: Chef’s Expressions
Designer: Eric Henning Magic
Beverage Pairing: Lanterna Wines

Caterer: The Pantry Catering
Designer: To Be Announced
Beverage Pairing: Aaron Joseph of R Bar

Caterer: Camden Yards
Designer: Tira Lynn Events
Beverage Pairing: Espolon Tequila

Adding to the fun will be gaming tables, a photo and video booth by Maryland Mojo, silent auctions including a trip to Florida, raffle and additional beverages from Breakthru, Full Tilt Brewing Co., J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Fiji Water and Tito’s Vodka. The evening will conclude with an After Party featuring desserts, a coffee bar from Zeke’s Coffee and additional entertainment by Sly 45.
Tickets to Dine and Drink Around the World are $99 per person. For more information – including a full list of sponsors – or to purchase tickets, visit For additional details on social media, visit #nacedineanddrink on Twitter or
 *A “party with a purpose,” Dine and Drink Around the World is intended to raise over $30,000 to support the following nonprofits: St. Francis Neighborhood Center, The National Association for Caterering and Events, and The Foundation of NACE.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bakery, Restaurant, Bar: Charmed Kitchen does it all!

The lucky locals of Upper Fells, Butchers Hill and those around Patterson Park have the recently opened, bakery, restaurant and bar, Charmed Kitchen.  They are open 7 days a week from early 6:30 a.m. for takeout Ceremony coffees and the bakery’s offerings from croissants, bagels to Danish pastries. At 9 a.m., seated breakfast service starts (omelets, waffle, and more) and lunch kicks in at 11 a.m.   The grueling schedule continues Wednesday through Sundays with happy hour, small plates, dinner service and full bar in the evening hours. 

Passion is the word that best describes Christa Bruno (chef) and Shadee Holden (baker) and their combined visions for this small, urban corner restaurant-bakery-bar, Charmed Kitchen. 


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