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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Free food on tax day - check out the deals


April 15th, tax day, is a rough day for those of us who have to pay taxes. I've always gotten a kick out of the people who go to the main post office, just prior to midnight, in some act of defiance or procrastination, as not to pay their bill until the last minute and still have it is postmarked the  April, 15th. Unless you are a high roller, what interest will you earn on the tax money that you couldn’t mail it the day before? Just sayin!


It seems tax day is a good day to market your wares in restaurants. Boston Market, Buca di Beppo, California Tortilla, Great American Cookie and Hard Rock Café have their deals in place. 

Check out the deals HERE.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Chefs making cocktails to benefit No Kid Hungry - come to the party




Its lunch time and you have nothing to eat, in fact, maybe there was no breakfast and possibly little if anything for dinner. If that is hard for you to imagine as an adult, imagine it as a child.  As reported, nearly 1 in 5 children in America is at risk of hunger. You have a chance to help in making sure that no kid in America grows up hungry and have a good time doing so at No Kid Hungry’s Baltimore Chefs Behind the Bars on Wednesday, April 22nd being held at Wit & Wisdom from 5:30 pm to 8 pm on their harbor view patio.

In a twist from having our leading chefs behind stations serving food they have been giving the task of creating their favorite libations in a little friendly competition. The seven Baltimore-area chefs will compete to create the best cocktail of the evening. A “people’s choice” award will be presented based on tips, and a “judges’ choice” award will be based on the decision of six judges. 

Get the full details and watch the slideshow HERE.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Fire and Ice 3 course pre-fixe dinners at Bonefish Grill




Just last night the local Bonefish Grill was jamming with families, from grandpa in his walker to the women carrying a 4 month old.  I know Bonefish always does a good, thriving business, but it seemed families were together, in town, gathering for the upcoming holidays. If you are a person who holds true to only eating fish on Good Friday you definitely have a broad selection at Bonefish Grill.      

My neighbor and I specifically went to Bonefish Grill to taste their new limited time Fire +Ice Pre-Fixe menu selections, their taste of spring.  The folks representing Bonefish Grill sent me a gift card for $50 – enough to take a guest. In the end, all we added was $10 for a tip.. The main course choices:

 •       Cold Water Lobster Tail — Steamed and seasoned, served with warm drawn butter, crispy smashed Yukon Gold potatoes and spring sugar Snap peas. 19.90
•       Shrimp + Scallop Firepot — Jumbo shrimps and scallops finished firepot style, served with rustic cut vegetables and Yukon gold potatoes. Finished with spring sugar snap peas. $23.50
•       Grilled Lamb Chops — Seasoned and lightly caramelized, served with crispy Yukon gold potatoes. $24.90
•       Oscar Turbot — From the land of fire and ice, Greenland Turbot is sautéed Piccata-style and topped with jumbo lump crab meat and asparagus. Served with mushroom ravioli, spring peas and roasted pepper. $27.90

Check out the full story and slideshow HERE

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Much more than mussels - Robert Wiedmaier's Mussel Bar and Grille




I am enamored with Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Mussel Bar and Grille that opened in Baltimore.  A recent lunchtime trip to Harbor East to where the short lived Townhouse Kitchen used to be housed and is now home to Wiedmaier’s salute to his youthful escapades at Belgium roadhouse dives.  Far from being a dive this locale is more modern with high ceilings, exposed heating and air conditioning ducts, dropped and recessed lighting, even at beer bottle chandelier, support pillars that double as a chalkboard menu – one might call it warehouse chic. 

The center bar at the Mussel Bar and Grille Baltimore boasts a neon mermaid, siren of the sea,  hanging high above the oyster sign and raw bar so as not to obstruct the multiple flat screens tuned in this day to March Madness basketball. There are craft beers on tap and bottles with local choices; Full Tilt, DuClaw, Evolution, Jailbreak, Stillwater Artisanal, Monument, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, Fin City and more.  Don’t miss out on Chef Wiedmaier’s private label Antigoon Double Blond beer and as their website states, “An official Belgian beer knight (as enthroned by the Brewers Mashstaff in Brussels in 2012), crafted for him by the brewers Brouwerij de Musketiers from Ursel Belgium” and also exclusive is their Cry Baby ale.  This is not to say that oenophiles are being overlooked, a broad list of wines from California, Spain, France , New Zealand are available – a tidy selection of choices by the glass as well as bottle.    

On this day, for this lunch, I was their guest and one of the many benefits is I get to taste, and in this case, enjoy numerous dishes – even their namesake mussels. Our group indulged in Penn Cove mussels from the west coast. One can choose from multiple mussel preparations: White Wine, Kennett Square Mushroom, Mediterranean, and Provencal.  We opted for the Spicy Thai Green Curry and we all were soaking up the broth – in fact, I brought leftover broth home and used it for a soup with rice noodles. Dip your bread in the broth or for a very small fee opt up to getting the classic frites ($1) – served with 3 dipping aioli sauces; malt vinegar, curry and spicy ketchup. 

Check out the slideshow and full story HERE.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Starbucks Cold Brew launches on March 31st

Tested last year in Boston and San Francisco Starbucks is launching their "Cold Brew." Cold Brew is coffee steeped using cool water, while traditional iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee at double-strength and pouring over ice.  Over 2,800 Starbucks in the Northeast, Mid Atlantic and Midwestern United States and select Canadian stores in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary will be introducing "Cold Brew."

I'm not sure how many people are thinking of chilled coffee in this unseasonable cool Spring. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Baltimore's Phillips Seafood Restaurant: Lunch, Dinner, or Crab Deck




It was back in November, 2011 that Phillips Seafood Baltimore restaurant moved after 30 years from the Inner Harbor a bit east on Pratt Street to the Power Plant in a prestigious corner location which can’t be missed with its 17 foot tall Phillips sign.  The new location  has a richer feel with well-polished wood, mosaic tile floors, and a plush anteroom, piano bar, oversized models of Baltimore’s historic ships the Constellation and Pride of Baltimore II, and numerous photographs reflecting the history of the Phillips family that  adorn the walls.

Phillips Seafood in 2014 celebrated 100 years from their early start on Hoopers Island, where A. E. Phillips & Son was a processing plant for wild oysters, crabs and fish from the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways.  It was the surplus catches that were the inspiration for the first Phillips Seafood Restaurant and now Phillips has grown with numerous seafood processing plants, restaurants along with their seafood for the food service industry and retail line for grocery stores.  

It was back in February when I was invited to come in as Phillips Seafood’s guest for a meal. With a turn of events with my husband in the hospital, our lunch was delayed.  Phillips Seafood was most accommodating with the husband’s new dietary restrictions, low sodium and limited dark greens. Staffing was very communicative and adaptations were easy; a special salad with iceberg lettuce and low sodium dressing and the Simple Fish – Catch of the Day/ Swordfish with the lemon chive butter and steamed vegetables filled the husband’s tummy.
 

 Check out the full story and slideshow HERE.





Sunday, March 22, 2015

Howard County's first craft distillery is approved

Hot off the press release!   Lost Ark Distilling, Co should start production sometime this summer.  Lost Ark Distilling, Co. will be one of the first distilleries in the state of Maryland since Prohibition and the first in Howard County.  Artisan crafted spirits the likes of mixed varieties of rums and whiskeys.

The  owners say that a majority of their grains will be purchased from Howard County farms. “Bringing in fresh grain grown locally and hand crafting it into something special and unique is what this is all about”, said Brad Blackwell, Co-Owner of Lost Ark. “It’s the special touch, the attention to detail, and the passion of our craft that we feel will make a unique and flavorful spirit that can only be found right here in Central Maryland”. They plan to host tours and tastings upon opening later in the year.

Lost Ark Distilling Company Phone: 410-562-4870 www.LostArkDistilling.com www.facebook.com/lostarkdistilling Twitter-@LostArkDist 9385 Washington Blvd N. Suite B. Laurel - Howard County, MD info @ lostarkdistilling.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Who will be the national champion in craft brewing

Thrillist today has posted their version of March Madness but for craft breweries with brackets from four regions.  Their "beer" experts have chosen 16 craft breweries in four regions: south, west, east and midwest. It is up to you, the general public, to pick your favorites - seeding the breweries. You pick who should advance to the next round, voting is closing March 19th at midnight. The new round begins March 20th.

Voting starts now

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Next stop on Cochon555 tour- Washington DC




The most epic celebration of pork, Cochon555, is on the road again with its next stop at Washington DC’s  Union Market  on Sunday, March 22nd where a culinary competition between the brightest regional culinary stars create dishes based on  heritage pigs to feed attendees and notable culinary judges in a battle for the Prince or Princess of Porc. The 2015 tour has already been in New York City, Houston, Boston, Minneapolis, and Denver with upcoming celebrations in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago – each city crowns a “Prince of Porc” with a grand heritage pig cook-off at the Aspen Food and Wine Show where the King of Porc will reign for the coming year.

Five chefs, five heritage pigs and five winemakers make up this one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition promoting sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs, one whole pig at a time. The tour is aligned with the modern-day good food movement — notable chefs, barrier-breaking women, artist-like butchers, spirited bartenders, top winemakers, brewers, distillers and brazen pastry talent working together to prepare an epic feast celebrating responsible family farming.

The weekend of gastronomy culminates Sunday in a must-do culinary experience featuring five chefs cooking five pigs in a friendly competition for a cause. This year’s Washington DC competing chefs include Spike Mendelsohn of Bearnaise, Victor Albisu of Del Campo & Taco Bamba, Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia, Danny Lee of Mandu and Jonah Kim of Yona. The five chefs, champions of whole hog utilization, will prepare a maximum of six dishes with hopes to win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges.

Read the full story, watch the slideshow and video HERE.

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