Friday, October 17, 2014

Washington DC’s first EmporiYUM: Win a pair of VIP tickets

Back in April, Baltimore experienced the first ever EmporiYUM, a pop up marketplace featuring restaurants, local artisan food purveyors and celebrity chefs - it was a sellout crowd. EmporiYUM is back, with numerous purveyors of fine foods for your day-to-day table and your holiday entertaining on Saturday, November 15 from 11 am to 4 pm and Sunday, November 16th from 11 am to 3 pm in Washington DC adjacent to Union Market.

As their website states, EmporiYUM is a way to introduce people with a passion for food to a curated selection of artisans both local and from around the country.  There will be food and beverages to sample as well as purchase from the many featured vendors. Who will be there? The organizers have done an amazing job of giving you an outstanding cross section of food purveyors like Milk – momofuku milk bar, Woodberry Kitchen, Luke’s Lobster, Mouth Party, Pho Wheels, Kinderhook, Neopol Smokery, Bread Furst, Chef Geoff’s, Kapnos, Cure, Ryleigh’s Oyster, Shake Shack and many more. 

Expect to see Bravo’s Top Chef alumni: Bryan Voltaggio, Mike Isabella and Paul Qui meandering amongst you.

EmporiYUM is offering two workshops, a new element to their marketplace:
11 a.m. Saturday, November 15th Mast Brothers Chocolate Tasting at the nearby Dolcezza’s NE Factory 

11 a.m. Sunday, November 16th  Chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground and Maketto – Learn to make ramen from your home kitchen – seminar at the nearby Dolcezza’s NE Factory

If you like to get a jump on the crowds grab a VIP Ticket for $40 which gets you in the doors at 10 am, an hour earlier that general admission along with VIP Gift Bags, complimentary snacks and beverages. Children under 12 are free.

You can win a pair of VIP tickets for Sunday, November 16th simply by Tweeting a link to this story with the hashtag #EmporiYUMcomestoDC. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, October 26th. You will be asked for your email address so the ticket QR can be sent to you.  Enter as many times as you like, but be sure to link to this story with the above hashtag.   

General Admission Tickets are only $20 with access to EmporiYUM at 11 a.m., a complimentary tote, along with food and beverage samples from select vendors.  Children under 12 are free.

Emporiyum – Union Market – free parking – Washington, DC   Facebook ,Twitter and Instagram: @TheEmporiyum  Saturday, November 15th and Sunday, November 16thPurchase Tickets Now

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It is not all black and white: Ware House 518 Restaurant is open

Ezra Tilaye decided to rebrand, rename and reformat his restaurant Crēme located on one of the America’s historical byways, Charles Street situated in Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood. This section of Charles Street, in its day, was like New York’s Fifth Avenue. It was filled with boutiques and artisan shops like Potthast Brothers and Ware & Company, both furniture manufacturers. It was the history of the building that was Tilaye’s muse, to refresh the restaurant with an earlier industrial era look.

The location at 518 N. Charles Street was formerly the infamous Louie’s Bookstore & Café, Ixia Restaurant and then there was Tilaye’s Crēme Restaurant and Bar - now it is Ware House 518 Restaurant and Bar. The entire front façade is hand painted by artist Lyla Shlone with eye catching white images of food, drink, knives, and books encircling the restaurant logo which was designed by Posttypography.

Check out the slideshow and read the full story HERE.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction and Gala: Save the date

So many worthy causes and how does one choose which ones to support? One of my picks is the March of Dimes of Central Maryland that helps moms have full-term pregnancies and researchs the problems that threaten the health of babies.

Every year the March of Dimes of Central Maryland serves up an evening of signature chefs’ cuisine tastings and an extensive auction, both silent and live. This year, the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction will be held Monday November 3rd at 6 p.m. at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.Tickets are $150 with $100 of the value being tax deductible – tables of 10 can be purchased for reserved seating.

The A to Z list of the restaurants from Baldwin Station to the Wild Pea will be delighting your culinary taste buds on this special evening:

Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards
Baltimore Marriot Waterfront Hotel
Café Gia
Farmstead Grill
Fat Frankie’s Pizza
Fleet Street Kitchen
Grilled Cheese & Co
Innovative Gourmet
Kent Manor Inn
McFaul’s Ironhorse Tavern
Renaissance Hotels
Royal Sonesta
Roy’s Restaurant
Rumor Mill
Saval Foods
Sotto Sopra
Stratford University
Sugar & Ice
Sullivan’s Steakhouse
Thames Street Oyster House
Waterfront Kitchen
Let me take my hat off to the Baltimore’s food community who are always staunch supporters, donating time and food to so many charities. 

The March of Dimes Foundation origin  started in the 1930’s as the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis when polio was sweeping the globe.  It was vaudeville star Eddie Cantor who coined (excuse that pun) “March of Dimes” as a play on the then contemporary newsreel series “The March of Time” launching their annual fundraising event. They asked each child to donate a dime. As a child of the 50’s I remember collection cards with slots where we would add dimes and mail if off once full. Polio was very large threat during that time, as children we all received polio vaccinations. 

Eventually the “March of Dimes” became synonymous with the charity and back in 1976 changed its name to March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation and in 2007 to the March of Dimes Foundation.

Hope you will join us on this special night; enjoy the food, buy at the auction and know you are helping more and more infants from ending up spending their early days at a NICU – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Monday, November 03, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel 
700 Aliceanna Street
BaltimoreMD 21202 

Friday, October 10, 2014

What does the “O” stand for at The Valley Inn’s “O” Bar

With our Baltimore Orioles so close to the World Series after 27 years one might think that is what the “O” in The Valley Inn’s “O” Bar represents - it doesn't.  The Valley Inn “O” Bar is a great place to watch the Baltimore Orioles (the O’s) efforts to win the World Series: the atmosphere is clubby, intimate and offers delicacies of local, regional and national waterways.  

In reality the “O” stands for oysters in the recently renovated Valley Inn’s original bar space.  The circa 1922 Valley Inn locale was taken over by restaurant entrepreneur Ted Bauer in 2013, renovated and opened earlier this year.  It has been just the past month that the “O” Bar was opened to the public.

The late Ann Wilder, co-founder of Vanns Spices and former employer, loved coming to The Valley Inn for fried oysters, one of the restaurant’s specialties. When taking over The Valley Inn, Bauer, the original owner of the Mt. Washington Tavern and owner of The Oregon Grill, the restaurateur that he is, recognized that oysters should still have a featured place in The Valley Inn’s story.

Check out the slideshow and read the full story HERE.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Soon to open Ejji Ramen will be more than just ramen

If all goes according to plan, Ejji Ramen should be opening sometime this month in Belvedere Square Market  at the Ikan Sushi’s former spot.  I sat down with Oscar Lee, co-owner of Chocolatea Café and his uncle, Chef Ten Vong, partners in Ejji Ramen for insight as to what they will be serving when Ejji Ramen opens and their native Malaysian influences. 

Yes there will be ramen and assortment of noodle soups: curry laksa (Malaysian spicy noodle soup) and Vietnamese gluten-free pho offering long simmered broths like tonkotsu (pork). Vegetarians have choices with vegetarian miso and vegetable noodles. Patrons can expect the added bonus of Malaysian satays, sambals along with Japanese yakatori.

Malaysia’s populous is a majority of three ethnicities: Chinese, Malays and Indians whose influences can be found in their melting pot cuisine along with Thai, Indonesian and Portuguese. The pronounced flavor profiles in Malaysian food tend to be kaffir lime leaves, belecan -fermented shrimp paste, galangal and coconut.

At Ejji Ramen you can slurp your noodles at their bamboo counter or take your food out into the market to their communal tables.  Don’t forget to order a sake or beer to cool off your palate.  
Chef Ten Vong,  Malaysian  by birth, spent a good deal of his early culinary career here in Baltimore at Citronelle, Jennier’s and the Milton Inn and even had his own restaurant called Profusions almost 20 years ago.  Over that period of time chef has been in New York City heading up the kitchens at Yumcha, Yourasian,  Barmaché, Bread, and Meet.

Not sure about ramen, there are numerous choices, broths, toppings – let me direct you to Serious Eats Guide to Ramen Styles – you will be well informed.

Expect that social media will explode once Ejji Ramen opens so follow them on Twitter @EjjiRamen or on Facebook

Ejji Ramen – Belvedere Square Market – 529 E. Belvedere Avenue – Baltimore, MD  21212

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Eat your beer: 2014 Taste of Guinness

In the spirit of Oktoberfest, the biggest beer month of the year, Irish Charities of Maryland will present its 11th annual Taste of Guinness cook-off on Thursday, October 23 for a mere 6.21£ or in Yankee terms $10 which is payable at the door. 

To date, AnPoitin Stil, The James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant, Tír na nÓg Irish Bar & Grill, Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub will be cooking up dishes featuring the hearty stout. The cook-off is open to all restaurants, not just limited to Irish pubs – reach out to Irish Charities if you wish to participate.

Along with a Judges’ winner there will be a People’s Choice winner. The "Judges' Choice" winner will have the opportunity to showcase the winning recipe during the Maryland Irish Festival.

Stomp your feet and sing along to Tommy’s Fault music, sample the chefs’ culinary creations and grab a brew or two or three at the cash bar.  

Join in the festivities at the F.O.P. Lodge #3 at 3920 Buena Vista Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21211.  The doors are open from 6 to 10 PM, judging from 6:15 PM to 8:30 PM and winners announced at 9 p.m.

You may also want to mark your social calendar for the 2014 Maryland Irish Festival  from November 7th to November 9th at Timonium Fairgrounds.

Learn to make ravioli for free at St. Leo's Church

St. Leo’s Church in Little Italy is looking for volunteers to make ravioli for their Spaghetti and Ravioli Dinner that will be held Sunday, November 2 at the church.  Show up at St. Leo’s School Hall on Saturdays October 11 and/or October 18 at 9 a.m. They will show you how to make ravioli and even feed you lunch.  If you are available to help all you have to do is just show up at the church.  As they say at St. Leo’s, “It’s a little work, a lotta of fun and a nice social event.”
 What a great way to get a sense of one of Baltimore’s oldest neighborhoods, meet new folks and share stories. Baltimore City was formed by the numerous ethnic neighborhoods when many of our great grandparents came to this country for a better life. 
So, come make the ravioli then plan to come to the Spaghetti and Ravioli Dinner on Sunday, November 2nd.  The fundraiser which is held twice a year will be serving homemade ravioli, meatballs, salad, Italian bread, coffee. Cash bar, soda, dessert. Tickets are sold at the door to dine in (School Hall) Adults $12 Children $6 Carryout $12.50 available in the Church Hall on S. Exeter Street.

St. Leo's was built in 1881 and has since been the emotional and spiritual 'heart' of Baltimore’s Little Italy. They have ministries and societies such as Hands & Hearts, an outreach program that serves those in need; St. Leo's Seniors Group; Knights of Columbus; St. Anthony Society; Sodality of Our Lady, and others. The Pandola Learning Center an arm of their parish which offers Italian language classes and other Italian related cultural classes held in the former St. Leo's School.

St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Little Italy, 227 S. Exeter Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 675 7275 Follow on Facebook.  

Friday, October 03, 2014

Jif® Salted Caramel Flavored Hazelnut Spread: A demon in a jar

As you can see the jar of Jif® Salted Caramel Flavored Hazelnut Spread in the photograph is not a full jar. In fact, half of it is gone which only took about 36 hours since opening it. Yes, it is Beelzebub in a jar, a demon food that I am unable to resist – I can’t eat just one spoonful.

The Jif® people describe it as a delicious combination of creamy chocolate hazelnut and salty sweet caramel.  They suggest you spread this on fruit, crackers or toast but it never got beyond the spoon for me.  That spoonful in the snapshot was gone as soon I put down the camera.

The folks at Jif® sent me a sample jar. Honestly it sat on my kitchen counter maybe a week or so but the other night I just needed something chocolaty.  Like I have done in the past with Nutella, I took a spoon to it.  In a blink of an eye, one quarter of the 13 ounce jar was gone.  Creamy, rich, and ooh, those little crunches of salt granules – it was my food addiction, my culinary heroin.

The suggested retail is around $3.49 but the Jif® Salted Caramel Flavored Hazelnut Spread junkie I have become would pay $5, $10 or $25 – it is edible dope to me.  If I don’t get rid of it soon you will find me at some underpass, wearing rags and living in a cardboard box doing anything for a mere tablespoon of Jif® Salted Caramel Flavored Hazelnut Spread.

I have no control, I can’t stop eating this. I’m going to throw the rest of the jar, lid off in the big trash – this will keep me from pulling a George Costanza of going back into the trash for food. If two tablespoons of the spread are 230 calories can you imagine I’ve eaten a week’s worth of calories in a day in a half?   

Limited engagement Four Seasons Food Truck East Coast tour: Next stop Baltimore

Worldwide luxury hotel and resorts Four Seasons is taking their food on the road, literally. The Four Seasons has a food truck that tours the country, featuring their chefs’ concept of street food and restaurant favorites. The current tour of the East Coast started September 15, 2014 and is due to arrive in Baltimore at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore this Monday, October 6th through to Saturday, October 11th and then continue their journey on to Washington, DC.

Both locals and Four Seasons guests will indulge in the culinary creations by Executive Chef Oliver Beckert of Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, Executive Chef Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom, and Pastry Chef Dyan Ng. “We’re excited to be a part of this roving national culinary campaign,” says Beckert. “Food is our passion, and we’re always seeking new and inspiring ways to provide memorable culinary experiences to our valued guests and friends in the community. We’re looking forward to sharing items from our menus that diners may not have tried yet, as well as signature items we’ve created just for the Food Truck.”

Watch the slideshow, the truck's schedule and full story HERE.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Big Anniversaries in Baltimore’s food community

The food industry is notoriously tough, restaurants come and go in a blink of an eye so when a restaurant celebrates 25 years in business that is a true accomplishment. What do you say to two local grocers who are celebrating respectively 70 and 100 years in business here in Baltimore?

Today, Chef Nancy Longo’s Pierpoint Restaurant is 25 years old.  Very early on, her commitment to raise awareness of what was going on in the seafood industry, her celebrity chef fundraisers to Save the Bay set the bar for the current up-and-coming chefs to achieve.  I’m sure there will be lots of celebrating tonight at her Fells Point restaurant.

Eddie’s of Roland Park will be celebrating 70 years as the neighborhood grocer.  Join them during their anniversary week, October 12 – 18 as they celebrate this monumental anniversary with special events and in-store promotions.  These include culinary demonstrations, a meet and greet with local vendors, free birthday cake, one-day sales throughout the week, in-store surprises and more.  The 70th anniversary celebration will be capped by an in-store food festival at the Charles Street location on Saturday, October 18.

Since 1914 DiPasquale’s has been in the heart of Baltimore, offering up Italian specialties for its legion of patrons.  On October 12, 2014 DiPasquale’s will celebrate their 100th anniversary (anniversario) from 1 to 6 p.m. at 3700 Gough Street.  A $10 donation to benefit the Luigi DiPasquale Scholarship Fund gets you into the party with food by DiPasquale, DiPinoteca, Fired Up Pizza and beverages provided by Bacchus Imports. There will be performances by Elio Scacco and Biagio Bucaro, games and you can even win a Vespa.

Congrats to all three for your continued success, constant support of the local community and being a part of what makes Baltimore great. 

Taylor Egg Timer you boil with your eggs

I was food curious when I received an email from the folks known for making timers, Taylor, about their egg shaped timer that goes right in the pot with your eggs. My interest was piqued, so I agreed to try it. I was mentioning this to a friend, a food blogger known for testing products. Her first response was so what until she learned the timer goes in the pot with the eggs - it piqued her interest as well.

Everyone has their method for cooking their eggs, hard boiling especially.  What works for me is I use large eggs, from the refrigerator and put them in the pot. I fill the pot with hot tap water. When the water comes to a boil I time it 12 minutes. I drain the pot of boiling water and let cold tap water run over the eggs. Without fail the eggs are perfect not undercooked or overcooked with a green rim around the yolks. 

There are many variations on how to boil an egg and have them peel easily. Older eggs tend peel easier. Most eggs you get at the grocery store have already been held at the farm for a period of time.  If you keep your eggs at room temperature then the cooking time reduces. If you are doing large numbers of eggs at one time, you would want to put them in an ice bath and then move them in the fridge - the longer the better. But I digress.

Watch the slideshow and read the full story HERE.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchen coming to Riverside: Quick casual fresh Italian

Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchen can be the start of something big for Chef Greg Nalley who has already had great success in Baltimore for his Nalley Fresh Restaurants. He and his partners have opened the Nalley Fresh quick casual food concept in downtown Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Towson with a Timonium location opening in a couple weeks, in Canton at the Can Company late October and another downtown location at 400 E. Pratt Street early winter.

The quick casual Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchen will be opening in the old Ullswater location at 554 E. Fort Avenue not quite Federal Hill and not quite Locust Point, just in-between. The Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchen concept is patrons choose from established pasta and salad bowl offerings or customizing their own by picking their pasta shape preference (gluten free available), sauce and protein. There will be daily offerings of additional gourmet sauces, proteins and pastas. Pick your beverage; Tuscan Fresh has a liquor license so they will be serving wine on tap from mini kegs or indulge in a bottled brew. They put our meal together tout suite and bring it to your table. Look for a November opening date for Tuscan Fresh. 

This like the first Nalley Fresh, will be a prototype for future Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchens. Nalley advised, “Like Nalley Fresh where we do a nice portion of our business in carryout, I foresee the same for Tuscan Fresh – guests will be able to order on line.” He continued, “The price point will be in the $12 to $15 range.” Chef expressed that Tuscan Fresh will be conducive to family dining.

Chef Nalley started in the business back in 1992 where he spent 10 years as the executive chef at the Maryland Jockey Club. He opened his first restaurant at Tide Point, the Harvest Table, and sold it after seven years. Since then he has been doing consulting and developing his Nalley Fresh concept. His partners in Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchen are not the same as Nalley Fresh and wish to remain silent.

When asked why the Riverside/Locust Point location chef Nalley replied, “There isn’t an Italian restaurant in the neighborhood so the location is ideal.” So get ready to get your Italian on Riverside, Buon Appetito.

Coming Soon: Tuscan Fresh Italian Kitchen – 554 E. Fort Avenue – Baltimore, MD Facebook/Tuscan Fresh

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baltimore’s Tin Roof: A live music joint with Tenn- Mex cuisine

Since mid 2014 Baltimore’s Power Plant became home to the Tin Roof, a Nashville chain that started back in 2002 as a place for musicians to play and hang out. Baltimore’s Tin Roof is large, broken up into three sections with the stage in the center with a couple tables, room to dance or stand up close to the musicians. A long bar with television screens aplenty parallels the live performance stage and on the other side of the stage, a section with more tables for dining and its own bar with television screens aplenty (23 TV screens)  Weather permitting, enjoy the front patio with plenty of seating and a cool breeze off the harbor.

The Tin Roof is the latest restaurant incarnation in this corner location of the Power Plant formerly Babalu and then Kettle Hill. The vibe, very informal – funky, with road signs, other memorabilia throughout and bicycles on the tin roof façade over the back bar. It took me back to the days, yeah, the good ole days, at the Opus Bar in Atlantic City sans the 23 television screens, where dancing, drinking and hanging out until the wee hours was a nightly affair - always closing the joint down.
Media maven Downtown Diane threw a private party for the local media to introduce the Tin Roof venue.  Lucky us, we got to listen to Nelly’s Echo, a local singer who made it to The Voice. His rendition of Ain’t No Sunshine is a standout!

The menu is just as casual as the atmosphere, with plenty of Tenn- Mex, a mix of southern and Mexican offerings like chicken and waffle nuggets, the smoked brisket and mushroom quesadillas, or the Creole shrimp and pig soft rolled tortillas. Chef prepared Maryland crab cakes to go along with the other tasty fare for the evening’s gathering. The venue is ideal for private parties and chef has proven that they are adaptable in culinary offerings.

The bar’s liquid libations has the usual suspects along with offering up some kick ass cocktails for those who wish to imbibe. I’m an occasional drinker, so they fixed me up with a pumped-up Arnold Palmer, something that wouldn’t knock me for a loop but made me smile for a couple hours.    
Football Sundays, karaoke Tuesdays singing with the band, and other musical performers  fill the week. Pop in for lunch, happy hour or late night munchies – enjoy the live music joint called the Tin Roof.

Tin Roof – Power Plant – 32 Market Place – Baltimore, MD 21202 (443) 873-8137 Find them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @tinroofbmore

Friday, September 26, 2014

Enjoy fine dining at Bistro Poplar: Tales of Dorchester County

As a guest of Dorchester County this summer I spent two days with my agenda packed with the county’s offerings; dining, aquaculture, shopping, music, an evening’s stay at a bed and breakfast, vineyard tour to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.  No one story can encompass, nor should it, all that there is to do and enjoy in this Maryland County.  This is my final segment of the Tales of Dorchester County – nationally recognized, award-winning, fine dining Bistro Poplar in downtown Cambridge Maryland.

Chef Ian Campbell, a native of Maryland’s Eastern Shore returned to his hometown in 2007 to open his own restaurant, Bistro Poplar. After working with numerous highly acclaimed chefs at restaurants of renown his resume listed the French Laundry and working with Chef Cindy Wolf.

Chef Campbell is inspired by the simple yet well prepared French bistro cuisine along with his nods to the foods of the Mediterranean and Asia. Of course, seafood from right there from Choptank River plays a prominent role as does produce, dairy and meats from the nearby farms. 

Check out the full story and slideshow HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fleet Street Kitchen Tavern Room Tastings says olé to Spain

The more casual side to Fleet Street Kitchen their Tavern Room is entering its second rendition of their Wednesday night travel the world fare. Along with the Tavern Room’s menu of local fare both small and large plates that are offered nightly, chef is featuring a supplemental menu to take your taste buds airfare free across the globe. 

Most recently the Tavern Room featured fare from France on their Wednesday night addendum menu but chef has taken flight once again, this time to Spain. Every Wednesday night now through October 29th say olé to the cuisines of Andalucía, Catalonia, and Basque country with the Fleet Street Kitchen Tavern Room Tastings:    

CROQUETAS DE JAMON SERRANO Y POLLO  - Serrano ham and chicken fritters - $9
GAZPACHO ANDALUZ - Refreshing chilled soup made with bread, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomato and garlic - $8
PAELLA DE BOGAVANTE A BANDA - Lobster and squid paella - $15

FRITURA DE PESCADO - Rockfish fried the traditional way, served with lemon and aioli - $12
ALMEJAS AL JEREZ - Littleneck clams simmered in sherry vinegar - $11
SETAS EN ESCABECHE - Bay leaf olive oil poached mushrooms with Spanish sweet paprika - $10

Basque Country
GAMBAS AL AJILLO - Spain’s famous tapa of sauteed shrimp with garlic - $10
PATATAS BRAVAS - Fried fingerling potatoes topped with FSK brava sauce and aioli - $8
TOMATIOS RELLENOS DE CANGREJO - Crab-filled cherry tomatoes - $9

Fleet Street Kitchen – 1012 Fleet Street – Baltimore, MD 21202 (410) 244-5830 @FleetStreetFood 

Fleet Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

ShakeUp Lab shakes up the traditional milkshake

SkakeUp Lab is all about milkshakes but in a modern version. They make their own ice cream which isn’t too sweet and in its low fat version still has the rich mouth feel as the their rich version.  Their concept has been four years in development which started in Israel and gone through research at universities abroad and in the United States. ShakeUp Lab  is  just about ready to launch their soy based and sugar free milkshake options.

Partner “T” Zilberfarb explained, “ ShakeUp Lab milkshakes are a decadent treat that is more nutritious, natural products, the ice cream is enriched with dietary probiotic fiber.”  One can indulge in multiple flavors and combinations.  There are even seasonal flavors to be had like honey apple and apple cake - perfect for the fall season. The standards are there with Oreo cookie being the top seller, strawberry and all the chocolate varieties. Those are some of the standard fare flavor combos but with so many flavor choices at ShakeUp Lab: ie wasabi and green tea, coffee and caramel, salty pecan pie, pomegranate one can have creative license to make their own unique milkshake. As their signage says, “ The best milkshakes in town.”

There are two  locations of ShakeUp Lab found here in Maryland at Towsontown Mall and the Mall in Columbia.  Towsontown has been in place for over a year and the Columbia location will be a year in October. Both locations are templates for future franchised ShakeUp Lab opportunities.

For sure ShakeUp Lab milkshakes aren’t  like the days as a pre-teen working behind the fountain counter at my dad’s patent drug and luncheonette only  offering vanilla and chocolate milkshakes. Who knew from low fat, lactose or gluten intolerance and sugar free in those days.  With ShakeUp Lab, everyone can indulge.

ShakeUp Lab - @ShakeUpLab

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chef Cyrus Keefer partners to open Allbird

Many of you know Chef Cyrus Keefer who has really made a name for himself not only locally but on a national platform by cooking at the James Beard House twice and at his most recent posting at Canton’s Fork & Wrench where he and his culinary and beverage team were featured August on StarChefs’ CEO Antoinette Bruno came to Baltimore to meet Keefer and his team, and to taste Chef Keefer’s culinary creations like his stuffed trotter that its recipe can be found on the website.
Keefer is partnering with Sean White and Andrew Dunlap of Bandito’s in Federal Hill in a new concept called Allbird featuring Asian inspired poultry. In the interim until they finalize a location Chef Keefer will be continuing doing menu development for Bandito's.
It was just this past Saturday evening that Chef Keefer posted his goodbyes to all his friends and co-workers at Fork & Wrench on Facebook. Curiosity as to his next step has been rampant so he was able to tell us just enough to quell any rumors.
Personally, I’m excited to see what interesting and tasty flavors combinations will take place when Keefer finally has his own restaurant.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Charm City Cakes announces upcoming cake decorating classes: Enter to win

Fans of the Food Network’s Ace of Cakes are everywhere and many were in the recent cupcake decorating class at Duff Goldman’s Charm City Cakes. A mother and daughter from Montgomery County, a 9th grader with a passion for baking, a pair of Baltimore gals out for fun, a huge California fan who recently moved to the mid-Atlantic region and treated her visiting Michigan friend for her birthday and myself.

Teaching the class was Mary Smith, recognizable as one of the numerous talents on Ace of Cakes and a true artist. At each of our stations we found cupcakes, recessed spatula, X-Acto knife, paint brush, stippling tool, fondant cutters and a communal bowl of royal icing.

 The cupcakes were far from perfect and Mary directed us to trim the cupcakes with a small peak in the center.  The next direction was to top the cupcake with the royal icing which would act as a cement for the coming fondant topping.  Mary told us, “Try not to get the icing over the edges of the cupcake, you don’t want to see it coming out from underneath the fondant.” 

Check out the details on how you can win one of Charm City Cake's cake decorating classes, the complete story and the slideshow HERE.

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