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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

FALLing in Love with Harrisonburg Virginia - weekend getaways


Fall is officially here, the autumnal equinox arrived September 22 letting us know that the summer sun and hot, humid days are almost a memory – enter the cooling brisk air and the turning of the leaves. What better place to enjoy the seasonal changes than in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where apples are crisp, vineyards dot the landscape, hiking, biking, and our country’s history permeates every nook and cranny.  An ideal weekend getaway, this fertile valley offers something for everyone’s taste and enjoyment.


Nestled in between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians is Harrisonburg, Virginia – an American Main Street Award winner; a mini metropolis, and thriving university/college town.  Harrisonburg is an ideal hub, base camp, for all your activities, whether motoring through Skyline Drive for fall foliage, Mossy Creek fly fishing or indulging in the region’s rich arts and culture. 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

New restaurant in Owings Mills: Stanford Kitchen is a winner


The made-from scratch offerings from the new Stanford Kitchen at the Boulevard College Center are hitting the right notes.  What was the former Stone Cove Restaurant, located in close proximity to Stevenson University; the Blueridge Restaurant Group has hit the bull’s-eye with the redesigned space, service and American classic dining options.


My companion, who had previously eaten in Stanford Kitchen, and I dined early. When we arrived, the bar was filled with businessmen, the garage-styled doors were rolled back to the al fresco dining patio and there were a few parties seated in the main open-kitchen dining room.  By the time we finished having dinner, the dining room and al fresco patio were full of patrons.  The restaurant has in a short time, accrued a loyal and repeat following. In fact, they have a loyalty reward program for those who dine at any of the Blueridge Restaurant Group Restaurants; Stanford Grill, Stanford Kitchen, and Copper Canyon Grill.




Friday, August 17, 2018

Fleming's Steahouse Prime Happy Hour

Fleming’s  Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, one of Baltimore’s leading steakhouses, added a NEW Prime Happy Hour and a la carte bar menu.  Add yourself to that equation for great eats and drinks from 5 pm to 7 pm for the Prime Happy Hour. Get to Fleming’s  before Labor Day, they are running Prime Happy Hour seven days a week – all evening.   


Cozy up to the bar with friends and indulge in the sharable a la carte bar menu that is touting taste tempting vegetarian options like Crispy Castelvetrano  Olives , Vegetable Tempura, Mushroom Farro Veggie Burger or go for the meat; Candied Bacon, The Calfornia Burger or the unique Filet Mignon and Potato Waffle.  You want shrimp – no problem, try the colossal U6 Shrimp Tempura. 


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Poké Fish Sushi opens in Owings Mills


Valley Village Shopping Center at 9163 Reisterstown Road has a new tenant, Poké Fish Sushi.  An Asian inspired,  fast-casual restaurant is open for lunch and dinner offering Hawaiian inspired poké and Japanese cuisine.  Poké Fish Sushi replaces Teriyaki Madness at the same location. 

The differentiating menu item is the restaurant’s signature Poke’ bowl that enables customers to participate in a six-step process to build their perfect meal. It starts with a choice of the base (sushi rice, brown rice, mixed greens and kale noodle; Poke’ Burrito; or Poke’ salad). Next comes the choice of protein with options including (Ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp, chicken and crabmeat among others.) Customers then chose the perfect sauces and flavorings, followed by crunches (peanuts, almonds, Macadamia nuts) and mix-ins (vegetables, fruits and seeds).

Poké Fish Sushi
Valley Village Shopping Center
9163 Reisterstown Road
Owings Mills, MD  21117
www.pokefishsushiom.com 
(410) 902-8889


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tis the season for Summer Restaurant Weeks


Restaurant Weeks are here and lunch, brunch and dinner specials abound and run through August 8th.  Here are some on my picks:


Ananda for  atmosphere and new age Indian cuisine
The Turn House for great patio dining
Grille 620 because you are a winner with anything Chef Fabio Mura prepares – call the restaurant for the menu because it isn’t posted on Howard County’s Restaurant Week page

If Italian is your thing – good menu selections can be found:

Sotto Sopra Restaurant
Cosima
Germano’s

Do you want dinner with a view – consider
The Boathouse

Gunther & Co – stunning interior and beautiful deck – added bonus, free parking


My number one pick for a beautiful drive, patio dining and a menu selection I personally find appealing
The Manor Tavern

Restaurant Weeks afford you the opportunity to taste test new restaurants or support your favorite dining spots.   

Again, I will express my pet peeve for restaurants who invest in being part of Restaurant Week and don’t put up their menus – why bother participating.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

There is a new restaurant in Little Italy: Atelier de Culinaire

) Stratford University – School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality has officially opened their own restaurant, Atelier de Culinaire, in Baltimore’s Little Italy at 806 Stiles Street and is running a grand opening special for $25, plus tax & gratuity, for a three course dinner including a non-alcoholic beverage.  All additional items are at listed menu prices.   The grand opening special will run through Friday, August 3rd – be sure to mention the soft opening special when making your reservations and upon your arrival.   Atelier de Culinaire will serve the public Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.  They will be adding a Sunday Champagne Brunch as of August 12th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read the full story at Baltimore Post Examiner - Dara Cooks

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How could I have missed National Eclair Day?



I missed National Éclair Day

Yup, Friday, June 22nd was National Éclair Day and I missed it. 


I love éclairs, not one of those Rich’s frozen éclairs, nope; it would need to meet all my requirements of a great éclair. What constitutes a great éclair is the crisp, full-of-air -pockets pâte à choux oblong home to the creamy, rich, custard filling; and the pièce de résistance should be dark chocolate, ganache like crowning glory.

Read the full story and watch the Seinfeld video at my Dara Cooks Blog - Baltimore Post Examiner.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Howard County: Two separate restaurant concepts open under one roof


The respected restaurateur/chef, Steve Wecker of Iron Bridge Wine Company, and his partner Vince Culotta, former manager of Iron Bridge have created two restaurant concepts under one roof at the Columbia, Maryland’s  One Merriweather building : CURED Table and Tap, a casual dining experience and meander to the back of CURED to their speakeasy concept, 18th & 21st , where those in the know, enjoy live entertainment, dancing and upscale dining in the intimate 88 seat dining room.


CURED Table & Tap – Open  NOW  - Lunch and Dinner

The name - CURED Table & Tap - is derived from the large charcuterie and raw bar that is the focal point of the dining room. "CURED was designed as a casual dining space. People always tell us that Iron Bridge is kind of like Cheers with wine, so we wanted to create that same vibe,” stated Steve Wecker.  

The menu offers humble American cuisine (classic comfort food) featuring farm-to-table appetizers, charcuterie and raw bar options, hearty sandwiches, and entrees including distinctive seafood, poultry, and beef selections. Menu choices include Po’ Boy (masa crusted oysters, arugula, tomato, Fresno remoulade, hoagie roll), Sausage Flatbread (chicken sausage, cherry tomatoes, charred broccoli, mozzarella) and Pan Roasted Salmon (confit fingerling potatoes, spinach, romesco sauce, olive tapenade).

 Maryland craft beers, wine, and creative cocktails will highlight local products from The Baltimore Whiskey Company, Goonda Beersmiths, and Old Westminster Winery. Cocktails include The Brave Little Gherkin (Rittenhouse rye, pickle brine ice cubes) and Boom Boom Sticks (Lost Ark White Rum, Lyon Gold Rum, Lyon Dark Rum, orgeat, espresso tincture, and lime).

18th & 21st – Opening date scheduled for 2nd week of June – evenings only

 Named after the constitutional amendment that enacted prohibition and the subsequent amendment that repealed it, 18th & 21st is a modern take on a sophisticated, prohibition era supper club.

 The menu offers modern American cuisine featuring handcrafted small plates, mid-Atlantic seafood and classic cuts of beef. Eclectic menu items include whole roasted Bronzino, dry aged steak, roasted bone marrow, lobster poutine and duck pastrami. Handcrafted and barrel-aged cocktails include Smoked Old Fashioned (Henry McKenna 100 Proof Bourbon, Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, Smoked House Bitters) and The Peat and The Petals (Laphroaig 10yr Scotch, Saint Elder).     

The charcuterie and raw bar items are available at both concepts.

Christopher Lewis is the Executive Chef and comes with stellar credentials, i.e. The Milton Inn, The Brass Elephant and the Iron Bridge Wine Company.  Like all chefs of quality, Chris’s focus is on locally grown and raised ingredients…i.e. dry aged beef and regional oysters.

Eat Well – Do Good

Owners, Wecker and Culotta, were named corporate philanthropist of the year by the Community Foundation of Howard County.  Right now, they are working on a fundraiser to benefit  those so tragically affected by the recent flooding.  

CURED Table & Tap/ 18th & 2st
One Merriweather Building - 10980 Granchester Way – Suite 110
Columbia, MD  21033
667.786. 7111
www: cured1821.com
Social Media: @cured1821


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Feastival: A Food Adventure for a Cure

The Sandlot at the harbor’s edge is the new home for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations Annual Feastival, an al fresco dining and drinking adventure scheduled for Saturday, June 9th from noon to 4 p.m.   Join fellow foodies at the Sandlot Baltimore for a rare culinary experience. Guests will feast on delectable bites by Baltimore’s hottest culinary talent and sip stylish cocktails and craft brews. With refreshing sights and sounds, relish in this epicurean adventure.
  
Proceeds from this event go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Founded in 1955, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world's leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation was started by parents desperate to save their children’s lives. Their relentless and impassioned determination to prolong life has resulted in tremendous strides over the past 60 years in accelerating innovative research and drug development, as well as advancing care and advocacy. Virtually every approved cystic fibrosis drug therapy available now was made possible because of the Foundation and its supporters. 


Baltimore’s top restaurants that will be providing tasty bites:

·         Ampersea
·         Blue Pit BBQ
·         Chez Hugo
·         Cosima
·         Ikiben
·         Gunther & Co
·         Hersh’s
·         Honey Grow
·         La Fod Marketa
·         Minnow
·         SandLot
·         Stall 11
·         Charmery

Libations:
·         BCB brewery
·         Belle Isle Moonshine
·         Ceremony Coffee Roasters
·         Lyon Distilling
·         Moet & Chandon
·         Tequila Partida
·         Sagamore Spirit Rye
·         Sandy Bottom
·         Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Feastival - Saturday, June 9th  - Noon – 4 pm
The SandLot
1000 Wills Street
Baltimore MD  21231


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

When chefs cook for chefs and you’re invited



If “food and wine” are your middle and last names then you need to clear your calendar for the American Academy of Chefs dinner Saturday, June 23rd at 6 pm at the historic  Maryland Club, 1 East Eager Street, Baltimore.  The theme is East meets West:  Asian/Pacific rim meets Mid-Atlantic cuisine. 

This black-tie optional gala tantalizes from the opening champagne reception:

Hors d’oeuvre Reception

Szechuan Gin Cured Salmon
(Squid Ink Coral Tuile-Crème Fraiche-Roe-Grated Horseradish)

Nori Wrapped Marbled Beef Tenderloin
(Charcoal Cracker-Crispy Potato Brunoise-Miso Cream-Micro Bean Sprout)

Oyster Raw Bar
(A selection of local and Mid-Atlantic varieties)

General Tso Sweetbreads

Korean BBQ Quail Steamed Bun

Seared Bluefin Tuna with Wasabi Cotton Candy

Maryland Club Display Table
(A variety of Charcuterie, Cured Meats, Cheese, Breads, Vegetables)

Don’t over eat at the reception, even though there is so much to enjoy!  You have a five course dinner perfectly paired with a selection of wines to round out your evening:

Dinner Menu

Maryland Summer Vegetable Terrine & Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
Daikon Spring Roll - Roasted Baby Carrots - Thai Basil Oil
(Governors Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017)

Pan-Seared MD. Rockfish with Lemon Cream Sauce
Vegetable Threads-Korean Sweet Potato Puree
Spiced Shrimp - Asian Pear “Kimchi”
(Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling 2015)

Whistle Pig Hollow Crispy Pork Belly with Cantonese Soy & Garlic Broth
Egg Noodles-Macoma Clams-Cilantro Lime Foam
(Iter Pinot Noir California 2016)

Koji Marinated Venison Loin with Sour Cherry Gastrique
Summer Vegetable Medley-Pickled Ramps-Morel Dashi
(Oak Ridge Zinfandel Lodi AV)

Coconut Sticky Rice with Basil Foam
Brown Sugar Rhubarb – Black Pepper Tuile
(Rivata Moscato d’ Asti)

The honor society of American Culinary Federation (ACF), the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), represents the highest standards of professionalism in the organization, society and industry. The Academy’s primary mission is to promote the education of all culinarians by mentoring culinarians, awarding scholarships to students seeking a future in the culinary industry, and by providing grants to professional working chefs looking to further their career.

The Greater Baltimore Chapter (GBC) of the ACF is hosting this AAC dinner at the Maryland Club. Proceeds for the dinner will support the AAC scholarship fund at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) as well as donate to the ACF National Culinary Olympic Team.

AAC Gala
Saturday, June 23rd – 6 pm
Maryland Club
1 East Eager Street – Baltimore, MD

Cost per person $125 per person (all inclusive)
When purchasing, please advise if you would like to be seated with certain guests.

1)      Tickets are available by credit card – email Lisa Tomecek @lchristhilf@bcps.org with your contact information and she will get back to you for your credit card information

OR

2)      Pay by check made payable to:

GREATER BALTIMORE ACF
Include your email address and phone number

MAIL TO:
John Johnson
AACC/HCAT Institute
7438 Ritchie Hgwy
Glen Burnie, MD  21061

You will receive an email confirmation once payment has been received.

Due to recent renovations, parking is limited at the Maryland Club. There are several parking lots within a 2-block radius of the club. Use www.spothero.com  app to find parking lots with reduced rate and reserve space or let UBER or LYFT do the driving.



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Apropoe's new spring menu tells a story

The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel Apropoe’s restaurant and bar, plays tribute to the city’s most renowned author, Edgar Allen Poe.  Poe wrote mysteries, even a food-related short story, The Duc de L’Omelette , who ate an ortolan (a rare tiny bird, eaten whole in one bite) and then damned to hell’s fire. Apropoe’s story is different, if you partake of their comestibles, you will be heaven bound.

Watch the slideshow and read the complete story at Baltimore Post Examiner - Dara Cooks Blog

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

How will you celebrate National Shrimp Day

It is National Shrimp Day -- if I was going to pick a favorite for me, shrimp scampi with an artichoke is my favorite preparation next to a good shrimp salad sandwich. The scampi sauce is perfect to dip the artichoke leaves - rich, unctious, full of flavor.

Personally, I haven't met a shrimp I didn't like. What is your favorite shrimp preparation? 


Friday, May 04, 2018

National Hoagie Day! What's your favorite?

Hoagies, subs - no matter what you call these gutbuster sammies, they come overloaded. Today is National #Hoagie Day and on this day I salute Atlantic City's White House Sub Shop, in business since 1946. they have  the best Italian cold cut anywhere. The rolls are especially key, French baguette crunchy on the outside but a soft center. My first White House sub was in 1966. I never miss getting my Italian cold cut on each visit to Atlantic City.  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Duck Duck Goose to replace 8 Ball Bar & Grill

Announced just yesterday on their Facebook page, Fells Point’s  8 Ball Bar & Grill is closing at 814 South Broadway.  The meatball centric restaurant and bar opened its doors February, 2016 which had previously been Tapas Adela. In their Facebook farewell notice they reminded folks, “to continue to shop local, eat local, BE local.”  There will be lots of specials happening building up to their grand finale on Monday, April 2nd.    

Chef Ashish Allfred
In a press release received yesterday comes the news that Bethesda Chef Ashish Alfred is bringing his popular French-style brasserie to Fells Point this summer in the same location.   Southern Living magazine named Bethesda’s Duck Duck Goose (DDG) Maryland’s best restaurant. 

Everything you want to know at this time is in the press release, so let me just paste it all for your edification and review.

“The new Duck Duck Goose will bring its fresh take on the classic French brasserie, focusing on seasonal ingredients prepared through simple, time-honored cooking methods. Guests will savour delicious, expertly-prepared cuisine spanning classical to modern Parisian influences. Chef Alfred has a simple description of his creations: “good food, done well.” As in Bethesda, guests will be treated to an unparalleled standard of service from the moment they arrive. But Alfred is adamant that the new Baltimore location isn’t going to be a clone no Duck Duck Goose, The Deuce here. Instead, he says it will have its own unique personality and flair.

Unique to Baltimore: the facility’s front and rear private outdoor patios, large centralized bar, and busy Fells Point locale, perfect for catering to locals and tourists. Chef Alfred plans to offer more small plate options than in Bethesda. The average entree is expected to cost less than $24. In peak times, Duck Duck Goose will accommodate about 85 people at 22 tables and the bar, plus more at the outdoor cafes. With its five-star location near the water and posh atmosphere, Alfred plans to tap into Fells Point sophisticated nightlife scene and serve food and cocktails late into the night. It will be the ideal place to start, enjoy and/or end the evening.

The culinary star has competed on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchenand Chopped. Chef Al, as he’s often called, ​ ​trained at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, and sharpened his skills in some of the best kitchens in NYC. He is the chef and owner of the Alfred Restaurant Group’s three restaurants (George’s Chophouse, also in Bethesda, is the third). Alfred opened Duck Duck Goose in Bethesda in 2016, and it quickly became the destination for casually elegant dining, fine wine tastings, weekend brunches and intimate, late-night cocktails.


Chef Al is also candid about his long running drug and alcohol addiction issues, which started when he was in his late teens. He credits his passion for creating recipes and cooking among the reasons he’s been sober now for three years. In addition, he’s named his latest restaurant after his late brother George, who was also critical in helping him find the road to sobriety.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Best place to slurp oysters on National Oyster on the Half Shell Day


Ok, there are a number of places to get your raw oysters on National Oysters on the Half Shell Day on March 31st BUT, how about free valet parking all day long, an amazing view and portions of the proceeds benefit Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation.  Oysters are only $1.50 each and if you order a dozen, enjoy a glass of Prosecco for just $6.

You ask, OK, where is this place? It is 16 on the Park (the 16th floor), the Residence Inn Baltimore at The John Hopkins Medical Campus’ rooftop restaurant in Eager Park. Located at 800 N Wolfe Street, near Orleans Street, and again, let me stress free valet parking all day.  We might even be seeing spring that day, highs near 60 – enjoy the patio and the sunshine. 


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Spanish Paella Day

Paella flashback! In honor of today being Spanish Paella Day I submit to you, for your review, a paella I made for 40 people back in the days I worked in the kitchen at the Center for Hellenic Studies. Tapped into my big supply of saffron*, homemade chicken stock and went for it. chicken, shrimp, mussel - no peas, why - because I don't like peas. The pan was so heavy that someone had to lift it to the buffet. Success was gauged by the two Spanish women who worked there who said it was one of the best paellas they had ever had. I think they were kissing up so they could take leftovers home with them. I don't believe I've made paella since.

*From my days working at Vanns Spices.

Have you made paella, if so, what do you like to put in your paella?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

It's National International Waffle Day

NATIONAL INTERNATIONAL WAFFLE DAY 

Food memory:  This tasty tidbit is the Not Your Mama's Shortcake Belgium Waffle at the Iron Rooster in Hunt Valley. I was awarded yet another gold star in the clean plate club.  Ice cream, waffle, strawberries and whipped cream - you would clean the plate as well.  So if you are brunchng this Sunday, feel free to indulge!

Friday, March 16, 2018

MY SHIP- Songs from 1941 Cabaret comes to Baltimore

 New York’s Cabaret MAC Award Winner
Dawn Derow’s  docks “My Ship” at Sotto Sopra
Sunday, August 8th – 6 pm to 9 pm
ONE NIGHT ONLY 



Cabaret at its best – MY SHIP has won accolades from New York City audiences this past fall and for a “one night only” performance, singer extraordinaire Dawn Derow and her pianist, Ian Hermann, will perform the award winning show at Sotto Sopra Restaurant. Step back in time and listen to Dawn Derow’s renditions of 1941’s Hit Parade interspersed with a five course, fine dining Italian dinner from Sotto Sopra.

The reviews are in, MY SHIP ~ Songs from 1941 - “Dawn Derow’s show exceeds and changed my opinion of cabaret singers. This isn’t just a cabaret, but a fabulous one women show.” - Suzanne Bowling - Times Square Chronicles. “The title song of the show, “My Ship” (Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin), which she sings far better than Gertrude Lawrence ever did… “ - Robert Windeler from The Bistros

Tapping into the top hits of 1941 with songs like "Chattanooga Choo Choo", " Boggie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "The White Cliffs of Dover," Dawn Derow's "My Ship" explores the emotional climate of America as it entered WWII and opens our minds and heart to the women of that era, whether they were a 'Rosie the Riveter', a housewife raising children alone, a USO entertainer, or a nightclub singer. Derow revisits the music that comforted and uplifted a nation until there was peace "At Last."

Menu

Boston Lettuce Salad
Gorgonzola cheese/pomegranate seeds/Champagne vinaigrette/balsamic glaze

Asparagus Risotto
with scallop /orange brown butter

Mango Sorbet

Duck Confit
With mashed potatoes/broccolini/demi-glaze

Vanilla & Orange Cheesecake
with raspberry sorbet

$62 per person
(includes 5 course dinner & live cabaret show)
Excludes beverages, tax and gratuity

Tickets/Reservations: 410 625 0534
Watch Dawn perform songs from MY SHIP https://youtu.be/w2Hs84N14So

DAWN DEROW: A graduate from Boston Conservatory with a degree in Music: Vocal Performance & Opera Emphasis. Since moving to New York, she has performed in various clubs such as Birdland, The Metropolitan Room The Cutting Room, Don’t Tell Mama, The Friar’s Club and Carnegie Hall, as part of “Cole Porter’s 125 De-lovely Celebration.” Dawn won a 2015 MAC award for her work in the duo show REVOLUTION. Her album MUSIC 4 TWO with guitarist, Sean Harkness won for her a 2014 MAC Nomination for album of the year and in 2016 Bistro Award for Outstanding Vocalist for LEGIT: a Classical Cabaret.


IAN HERMAN: He began his musical career studying classical piano. At the age of thirteen he was a guest soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. After attending Manhattan School Of Music, Ian began working with performers including Jane Olivor, Donna McKechnie, Anita Morris, Judy Kaye, Tom Andersen, Karen Mason, Sharon McNight,Marilyn Sokol, Angela LaGreca, Carole Demas, and Joy Behar in nightclubs in New York and around the country. In 1999 he received the Backstage Bistro Award for best Musical Director. He was a pianist and vocal coach at the Broadway revival of Grease, working with guest stars such as Al Jarreau, Jon Secada, Sheena Easton, Chubby Checker, and Darlene Love. His other Broadway credits include “Jelly’s Last Jam”, “The Who’s Tommy”, “Song And Dance”, and “Swing”, for which he wrote vocal and dance arrangements. and “Laughing Room Only” with Jackie Mason. Recently he performed a concert with guitarist Sean Harkness, celebrating their new CD “DUET”, consisting of all original music.

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