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.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Greek and Korean food mashup - 1 day only - Brusco and Dooby's

Are you one of the great food explorers, stopping at no end to taste what is new and unique then you don’t want to miss this melding of ethnic flavors from Brusco and Dooby’s.

One day only, this Friday, May 6th from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. come to Cava’s luncheonette Brusco at  1302 Fleet Street in Harbor East for a mashup of Mediterranean and Korean flavors.  Get your falafels with kimchi-cucumber, and soy ginger, or lamb dumplings and other great casual bites that blends Dooby’s, Korean inspired café’s cuisine and Brusco’s modern day flavors from Greece:

Falafels // kimchi-cucumbers, soy-ginger ($6)
Lamb Dumplings // spicydill vinaigrette ($7)
Gyro Buns // tomato, feta, harissa, tzatziki, spicy hummus ($7)
Korean BBQ Gyro // wasabi crema, tomato, pickled onions ($9)
Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich // tzatziki slaw, spicy pickles ($9)
Greek Salad // choice of Korean BBQ gyro or Falafel ($10)
GREEKOREAN fries // spicy-G sauce, creamy feta, oregano ($3.5)
Kimchi Potato Salad ($3)
Fruity Pebble Rice Krisipies ($3)
HoneyGreek Yogurt & Black Sesame Gelato custom made by Dolcezza Gelato ($5)

 “We’re fortunate to have an amazingly collaborative community of chefs and restaurants to
give rise to mashups like these. I’m particularly excited about this popup, as the flavors go
so well together. It’s really a dream come true to merge both Greek and Korean casual fare.”
Phil Han, Dooby’s

No reservations necessary, it is simple counter service – you can order online through

Where: Brusco’s in Cava – Harbor East – 1302 Fleet Street – Baltmore, MD  11 am to 8 pm.  Instagram: @doobysbmore  Facebook: DoobysBmore Instagram:  @eatbrusco  Facebook: EatBrusco 

Monday, May 02, 2016

A new taste of spring at B & O American Brasserie

B & O American Brasserie’s Executive Chef Mike Ransom, Mixologist Brendan Dorr and their teams seasonally adapt and brighten their menus.  The rich, warm tones, leather appointments and décor of that of a high end rail car in its heyday add to the 2 story restaurant’s atmosphere.  Located in the former B & O Railroad headquarters, the obvious inspiration of a time passed. Not so the menu.

Attuned to the here and now, one can enjoy what is fresh with B & O’s seasonal updated menu additions.  For example, their winter cocktail menu was called The Spice Box, cocktails with the aromas of an evening by the fire – cinnamon, star anise, allspice and clove. Now that spring has sprung and the B & O American Brassiere’s Paris in Springtime cocktail list is offering the likes of the Dandy Lion; Clear Creek Brandy, Royal Combier, Dandelion Tea, Lemon Jack Ruby Tonic and Soda, The Jazzman; Barsol Pisco, Lillet Rosé, Jasmine Syrup, Lemon, Egg and the cocktail that passed my lips was Purple Rain; Lavender infused Novo Fogo Cachaca, Lemon, Honey-Apple Shrub – so smooth and well balanced. 

Check out full story and slideshow at / Dining 

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Restaurant Association of Maryland announces Stars of the Industry 2016 awards

Each year, through restaurant goers based nominations in multiple categories in the food industry, the Restaurant Association of Maryland narrows it down to the finalists for recognition for a job well done. Who is the Chef of the Year, Craft Brew Program of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, Favorite New Restaurant and more were announced this evening at the Stars of the Industry Awards Gala. 

The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel ballroom was packed with the who’s who in the Maryland restaurant industry, dressed to the nines indulging in tasty tidbits at the Spice of Life cocktail reception and then on the Moonlight in Morocco themed awards, dinner and dancing. 

The winners are:
Chef of the Year  Raynold Mendizabal – Urban Butcher
Craft Brew Program of the Year   Alewife – Baltimore
Favorite New Restaurant  Preserve – Annapolis
Favorite Restaurant  Lib's Grill – Perry Hall
Favorite Bar or Tavern   Jimmy's Famous Seafood – Baltimore
Heart of the Industry  Brendan McCool (Manager) – Victoria Gastro Pub
Wine and Beverage Program of the Year . Liquid Assets Wine & Martini Bar – Ocean City
Restaurateur of the Year David Dopkin – Miss Shirley’s Café – Classic Catering

Inducted into the Maryland Hospitality Hall of Honor:
Maggie’s – Westminster
Rusty Scupper – Baltimore
Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Grille – Ocean City
TJ’s of Calverton Restaurant – Beltsville
Western Sizzlin Restaurant – Cumberland

McCormick Cornerstone of the Industry Award:
Glory Days Grill – Statewide
Irish Restaurant Company – Annapolis
Tabrizi’s – Baltimore
Tino’s Italian Bistro – Columbia

Lifetime Industry Award – Rob Beall – Ledo Pizza Systems

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cava Mezze puts a new spin on old world Greek flavors

When one thinks of Greek food and foods of the Mediterranean, one thinks of the traditional fare the likes of hand-rolled stuffed grape leaves, spinach pie, roasted lamb, feta cheese, fish fresh from the sea, warm pita bread and many dishes redolent with lemon and oregano. Cava Mezze, now with five locations in the DMV-Rockville, Washington, DC, Clarendon, Olney and Baltimore has brought Greek and Mediterranean flavors into the 21st century with their shared dishes that salute traditional cuisine with a fresh, current day adaptation. Glancing at the Cava Mezze’s menu there are numerous marriages of the old with the new.

An e-mail invitation from Cava Mezze with photographs of their new spring culinary offerings looked so mouthwatering that an afternoon jaunt was in order to Baltimore’s Harbor East.  It is rare, I mean really rare, that I revel in and kvell over every dish in a meal, however, Cava Mezze is that rare find.  I’m not talking fancy precious food, it is casual dining, shared plates and oh, how I wish there was one in my neighborhood.  

Check out the slideshow and read the full story at Dining 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Rusty Scupper welcomes new Executive Chef William Wilt

The Rusty Scupper and Bar is the quintessential harborside restaurant offering patrons one of the most dramatic views of Baltimore’s harbor, one of the few with the view of Haborplace, Downtown, the Aquarium, Pier Five, Harbor East and down to the  Locust Point’s Domino Sugar sign that glows in rich yellow and orange hues.  The panoramic views are visible from almost any table, with numerous their large picture windows: sunset is mesmerizing, as is watching the boats coming in and out of the city’s harbor.

The Rusty Scupper and Bar is not new to Baltimore, in fact, they have been at their Key Highway location for over 30 years delighting tourist and locals alike.  A self parking lot makes it easy access, and the two hour fee of just $8 adds to the appeal.  Over 30 years, chefs have come and gone and this past March Executive Chef William Wilt took the helm, adding his 20 years experience throughout the Maryland and Washington DC area restaurants to the Scupper’s cuisine.  There are things you do not change like the crab cake, although there are featured specials.  An invite to meet Chef Wilt and partake of his culinary creations could not be turned down. 

Read the full story and watch the slideshow at / Dining

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Chef Melanie Molinaro to open Stall 11 in Remington's R. House

Executive Chef Melanie Molinaro, known to Baltimoreans for being top toque at Robin Haas’s restaurants ; The  Nickel Taphouse, Birroteca and Encantada. One of the few women chefs in the region, Molinaro has built a name for herself especially at the seasonal inspired, locally-sourced, vegetarian driven Encantada.  She has now partnered with Urban Pastoral. A high-tech hydroponic growing facility in East Baltimore to open the 2nd announced food stall on the first floor of the 50,000-square-foot historic automobile showroom and garage in Remington – Seawall Development’s $12 million food and drink emporium, R. House. 

Watch the video and read the full story on / Dining

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

New restaurants for Owings Mills: Eggspectation, Bon Fresco and IHOP

This past week Eggspectation opened in Metro Centre off Painters Mill Road, 10209 Grand Central Ave, located next to the subway station.  This Eggspectation is different from the others in the area, this is owned by the parent company based in Montreal – it is the first one they own in the US.  In fact, this Eggspectation, is and will be a template for future Eggspectations; modern, full bar, plenty of flat screen televisions serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The price point is more to the medium side than the cost effective side.  A slice of cheesecake was $10.

Open at 7 a.m until 10 p.m daily, Eggspectation offers a food and drink during happy hour. WEBSITE

The leases have just been signed for two restaurants in the Boulevard College Center on Owings Mills Boulevard. Both restaurants intend to open in mid-summer of this year and join additional dining options at the shopping center that includes Bonefish Grill, Edo Sushi, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Pie Five Pizza Co., Outback Steakhouse, Stone’s Cove Kitbar and Subway.   The shopping center is adjacent to Stevenson University not far from Reisterstown Road and Interstate 795.

The press release reads, “The Owings Mills location represents the fourth for Bon Fresco, which also operates restaurants throughout Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George’s Counties. The concepts offers a variety of deli-style sandwiches such as corned beef, roasted turkey breast, tuna salad and grilled vegetable, together with freshly-made soups and salads. The International House of Pancakes owns and operates nearly 1700 locations throughout the United States and Canada and is recognized for its diverse breakfast menu including egg varieties and omelets, French toast and waffles. IHOP also offers a complete luncheon and dinner menu.    

Monday, April 04, 2016

Get your tickets for Emporiyum before they are all gone

The very unique, pop-up market Emporiyum is back for a 3rd year here in Baltimore.  Emporiyum gathers specialty food vendors, restaurants and manufactures, bringing their victuals and libations under one roof, for two days only for you to sample, and perchance to purchase. These are not your atypical vendors; they are curated each year featuring unique small, independent retailers and restaurants.

Each year the location changes, in the past year it was held at the Thames Street Wharf building and last year the former H & S Bakery distribution center at 601 S. Eden Street – this year, Emporiyum will be held  in the former Best Buy location at 600 E. Pratt Street – 3rd floor. 

Get all the details at / Dining 

Now open for lunch - Roy's Hawaiian Fusion in Harbor East

It is only recently that the well established Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurant in Harbor East started offering lunch along with their happy hour and dinner service. Lunch is served weekdays starting at 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. With Hawaiian cuisine trending, it is the perfect excuse to come into Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion  and taste the flavors of these tropical Pacific islands. 

“Maybe it was inevitable—with tiki drinks suddenly chic again and surfer culture capturing fashion’s imagination that Hawaiian food would be ready for a moment in the sun.” Vogue – Dec, 2015

“No longer lumped into Asian fusion or executed as a version of Spam-topped this, spit-roasted that, contemporary Hawaiian food is riding a new wave.” Tasting Table 5-15

Go beyond your burger or pizza for lunch and try one of Roy’s lunch plates – 4 courses on a bento inspired plate: Teriyaki tofu, Karaage fried chicken, Teppanyaki shrimp, macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi, or braised beef short ribs, each comes with a green salad, soup, pineapple fried rice and a fresh baked cookie – starting at $12.90 and topping off at $16.90.  

Check out the complete story and slideshow at 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Keccos Woodfire Kitchen to open in Reisterstown

Reisterstown, Maryland and Carroll County residents can look forward to a new restaurant located in Reisterstown Crossing on Westminster Pike.  The former owner of Glydon’s Mezzanotte Bistro, Tony Scotto DiFrega, is coming back to his old neighborhood with an Italian inspired restaurant featuring brick oven pizzas.  Kecco’s Woodfire Kitchen will be a full service, sit down restaurant.

Tony Scotto DiFrega named the restaurant after his son, and brings diverse experience in restaurant ownership and management to this new venture. He recently sold an Italian restaurant in the Elkridge section of Howard County to open Keccos Woodfire Kitchen.

“I live extremely close to the location and I understand the community and what they want from a restaurant experience,” explained Tony Scott DiFrega. “There are many families that look for reasonably-priced and high-quality meals, and we intend to service this audience in a comfortable and warm environment. The number of businesses in the area is also growing, so we see an opportunity for strong lunchtime traffic as well.”   

Look for the opening mid-summer. 

Keccos Woodfire Kitchen – 114 Westminster Pike – Reisterstown, MD 

Maryland crab season starts today - no joke

I know it is April 1st, April Fools Day but I'm not joking, the Maryland Seafood commission has advised that April 1st kicks off Maryland blue crab season.  Start saving your newspapers to line your tabletops for the hot steamed crabs and look for soft shell sammies appearing on  your favorite restaurant menus. The Maryland blue crab season runs now through December 15, 2016.

Friday, March 25, 2016

International guide to the best pizzas worldwide: Where To Eat Pizza

What constitutes the best pizza? Well, we all have different tastes: deep dish, thin or thick crust, pan baked, coal or wood burning oven, round, square, lots of toppings or minimalist, old school or nouveau. 

Daniel Young, the former restaurant critic of The New York Daily News and London’s pop-up pioneer behind, reached out to chefs and culinary mavens world-wide, 121 regional experts, to find the best of the best pizzas and the end result is Where To Eat Pizza,  coming to bookshelves in April. This was no small feat: 576 pages, 48 countries, 1705 pizzerias, 1077 experts equals this one guide: Where to Eat Pizza. These are the top pizza parlours, pizzerias and joints in 48 countries world-wide listed in this compendium, but the discussion on the best slice is always in play.

From Argentina to Vietnam, no matter your travels, you can and will be able to find the best pizza the city has to offer, and there is more than one per location. Each pizza parlour is complete with an address, phone number, website, hours, credit card or cash, style of pizza and their recommended pizza and the local expert’s commentary. From the best crusts, to the tastiest toppings --- you will not be disappointed.

Author Daniel Young reached out to me to coordinate the experts for the Baltimore pizza picks.  A thanks to my culinary experts: Chef Cyrus Keefer, Kathy Patterson, and Downtown Diane for their submission to the book:  

What local places made the Baltimore pick - well you may or may not agree:

Bagby Pizza (The original one on Fleet Street)
Earth, Wood & Fire
Johnny Rads
Matthew's Pizza
Our House
Verde Pizza

The book cover says it best, “This international guide is by the real insiders: over 1,000 chefs, critics, pizza makers, bakers and industry people in the know.  Where To Eat Pizza will tell you all you need to know from where to find the tastiest Margherita in Naples to the most popular late-night joint in São Paulo.”

Where To Eat Pizza – The Last word on the Slice  Author: Daniel Young Publisher: Phaidon / Hardback Facebook  Instagram & Twitter @WhereToEatPizza  Available for purchase on Amazon  On sale April, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Bagby Restaurant Group Welcomes New Executive Chef at Cunningham’s

Towson's Cunningham Restaurant announced today that Chef Jay Rohlfing, a Baltimore native has taken over the top toque position. Rohlfing has worked at a number of top restaurant in Baltimore: Harbor Court and Linwoods in Owings Mills.

Chef Rohlfing describes his approach to cooking as “cooking with the seasons,” and enjoys creating approachable dishes and a fantastic experience for each and every guest. He is excited to have the ability to source products from Cunningham Farms – and believes that knowing where a product comes from only multiplies the respect culinary staff has for their craft. Chef Rohlfing’s favorite pastime is growing his and his wife’s small farm. The couple raises chicken, ducks, rabbits, and a bounty of vegetables each season.


Monday, March 21, 2016

The Manor Tavern in Baltimore's northern horse country: Refreshed and fresh

In recent years, The Manor Tavern was bought, a rebirth began, and the expansion and renovations continue.  It was 2015 that The Manor Tavern brought on Executive Chef George Batlas, a seasoned pro, who has taken the tavern to new heights.  For those regulars, certain dishes can’t come off the menu like their gumbo and the crab and turkey club; they are quite good – a couple of my favorites when I worked at the Manor Tavern.  What is exciting are the new menu items, they intrigue me- their beer can chicken, a whole chicken roasted upright in their ovens, perched on a can of National Bohemian beer or their grilled cauliflower steak with lemon herb emulsion – perfect for the vegan in the family.  

Amongst the rolling hills of northern Baltimore County, the heart of Maryland’s horse country sits the Manor Tavern.  The “Tavern” as it is called to its regular patrons, started out as a stables back 1750, it is said that George Washington’s horse slept there. It has evolved from a dirt floor saloon with its latest, and greatest incarnation, a restaurant that embraces the American and regional bounty along with sustainable products from their garden. Local providers’ names; Verdant Valley Farm, Charlottetown Farm, Jarrettsville Creamery, Creekstone Farms, and Stone Mill Bakery dot their menus.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow at  / Dining

Full Service Restaurant Magazine names local chef as "Rising Star"

Chef de Cusine, Zachary Leonardi,  at Reisterstown's Ristorante Firenze is named "Rising Star" by Full Service Restaurant Magazine.  Leaonardi is the youngest in the list of 40 rising stars nationally. Leonardi’s lineage includes a family of restauranteurs with his great-grandfather, grandfather, great uncle and father all being involved with a number of Italian-themed restaurants and pasta shops, and he naturally meshed in his new role with Ristorante Firenze, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. He is currently completing his culinary degree at Anne Arundel Community College.  

Ristorante Firenze offers an upscale casual atmosphere with a diverse lunch and dinner menu that delivers a consistent Tuscan dining experience made from fresh ingredients. The restaurant is outfitted with a stylish bar/lounge with comfortable armchairs facing a ribbon fireplace and wide-screen television sets. Adult beverage offerings include creative hand-made cocktails, a premium wine list with more than 100 labels, and a diverse selection of bottle and draft beers. Free parking is available on a connected surface lot. 

Ristorante Firenze - 2 Hanover Road - Reisterstown Maryland 21136  410 394 5577  @eatfirenze 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chopped Junior now casting

Can your child flambé, sous vide and roulade? Do they cook way better than you? If they are really good, consider entering them in Chopped Junior on the Food Network.

Food Network is looking for the most talented kid chefs around the country who have what it takes to compete on Chopped Junior. They are in search of young culinary masterminds between the ages of 9 and 13 who can take the heat in the kitchen and the competition!

For more information and how to apply, please visit their website at  If you have any questions or require further information, please email them at or feel free to contact Samantha Miller Casting Assistant 212-359-9514

Three local restaurants expanding in the Baltimore region.

&Pizza opening first Baltimore location.
Here are 3 new restaurants coming to the Baltimore region. Most of the information below has come from their press releases.  Indulge and go to their websites or social media pages to learn more. 

Basta Pasta, a full service Italian and seafood restaurant/bar has signed a lease with St. John Properties, Inc for a space at Liberty Exchange, at the intersection of Maryland Routes 32 and 25 in Eldersburg. This will be the 3rd Basta Pasta and the first for Carroll County, the other two one in Fallston and one in Timonium

“The Eldersburg trade area continues to be under-served by restaurants, and Basta Pasta is introducing an extremely popular concept that has been well-received in Baltimore and Harford Counties,” explained Bill Holzman, Vice President of Retail Leasing for St. John Properties. “We envision Basta Pasta appealing to both families and businesses in the local trade area that are looking for a quality dining environment and experience.” 

Read the full story at / Dining 

Mark your calendar and buy your ticket: 5th Annual Taste of Pikesville

Eat, drink and be merry at the  Annual Taste of Pikesville, Wednesday, April 6th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 pm.  This is the fifth year that the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce has pulled together numerous restaurants who will sample their comestibles and libations for attendees.  Whether you are a Pikesville resident or living in Canton, this is the deal of the month, $40 per person with advanced ticket sales or if you are a procrastinator, it is $45 at the door. Even better, a portion of the proceeds will be going to Meals on Wheels. 

The Taste of Pikesville will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton Pikesville, just off 695. There is plenty of free parking, easy access off Reisterstown Road at the beltway and again, only $40 per person.
Enjoy the noshes from these local restaurants and food purveyors (in no particular order):

Stone Mill Bakery
Bagby Pizza
Gourmet Again
Suburban House
Silk Road
Island Quizine
Mari Luna Latin
MIski Peruvian Chicken
Mr. Chan
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Corner Bakery
For the Love of Food – cooking school and catering

5th Annual Taste of Pikesville – Wednesday, April 6th – Double Tree by Hilton Pikesville – 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.   TICKETS:  $40 IN ADVANCE - $45 AT THE DOOR


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