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, August 22, 2016

Dove Chocolate's New Commercial - Premieres today

The 60-second commercial features the timeless voice and lyrics of Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” (“No, I Do Not Regret Anything”), a song that serves as an anthem to live life to its fullest. Titled “Each and Every Day,” the ad shows a woman as she ages from baby to older woman in one 24-hour day and prioritizes pleasure as essential throughout her life each and every day.

Taste 15 wines with personality and wit: Pours Personified

Wit and Wisdom is your host as their award winning sommelier, Julie Dalton, takes guests through the tasting of 15 wines they offer by the glass this Thursday, August 25th.  It should be a enlightening evening on their harbor-side patio starting at 5 pm through to 7 pm.

Dalton, earning Wine Spectator’s 2016 Best of Award of Excellence for Wit & Wisdom, put personality and wit to this wine tasting “Pours Personified.”    Each wine on the Wines by the Glass menu is personified, containing three unique descriptors: one witty, another wise and the third a pop culture icon evocative of the respective wine’s qualities.

Below are a few examples and attached is the full menu:
·         Selbach-Oster Pinot Blanc is: Utilitarian, Delicious, Coco Chanel
·         Wimmer Zcerny Roter Veltliner is: Broad, Apricot, Clark Kent
·         Chandon Etoile Brut is: Sexy, Smokey, Lana Del Rey

During the event, guests will rotate from three categorized tables to taste a total of 15 different wines from the menu. Guests will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve learned by recommending their own pop culture descriptor of four additional wines. Dalton will pick her favorite descriptor and add it to the Wines by the Glass menu for the fall season. 

Wit & Wisdom will also offer small bite pairing provide by Executive Chef Zack Mills to furth highlight the wines’ characteristics.
Pours Personified – Thursday, August 25th 5 pm to 7 pm  $40 per guest (all inclusive)

Wit & Wisdom
Four Seasons Hotel
200 International Drive
Baltimore, MD  21202

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Funday at the Rusty Scupper

With the best view of Baltimore’s Harbor, the Rusty Scupper invites you to their top deck to take in the view, nosh a nosh, have a cold one and enjoy the tunes.  Every Sunday, is Funday on the upper deck of this well established restaurant. 

·         Nosh a nosh:  From oysters to a juicy bacon burger – there is something for everyone’s hunger level.
·         Have a cold one:  Adults chill with a draught or bottle beer, specialty cocktails and wine and the kiddies can kick back with an Arnold Palmer, soda or a non-alcoholic version of the specialty cocktails.
·         Enjoy the tunes:  Enjoy the breeze on the upper deck while The Jimmy Buffet cover band plays some mellow tunes.  Added bonus, the musicians playing at Pier 6 streams into the evening air.

From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., every Sunday hopefully throughout to early fall – grab a seat, a plate and a drink and soak in the best view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit or call (410) 727-3678.

The Rusty Scupper
402 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD  21230
410 727 3678
Facebook: RustyScupper  Instagram & Twitter @RustyScupper1

Friday, August 12, 2016

New Owners for Tark's Grill: City Cafe's Bodie and Cardinale

Come October 1, 2016, Gino Cardinale and Bruce Bodie, owners of City Cafe will take over ownership of Green Spring Station's -Tark’s Grill.  City Cafe has been a success and a neighborhood staple in Mount Vernon for 22 years and will remain, continuing to grow.  Cardinale and Bodie’s plans for Tark’s Grill will  slowly evolve. At this time, the name will not change, but interior renovations will take place in 2017.

City Cafe’s popular ala carte brunch will soon be arriving to Tark’s Grill once they take ownership.  James Jennings, executive chef of City Cafe, will partner with Cardinale and Bodie on this new venture. Jennings was recently chef de cuisine at The Food Market and sous chef under Michael Mina in San Francisco. All Tark’s staff will be retained, including kitchen staff, who will work under Jennings come October 1. For those concerned, Tark’s gift cards will still be honored.

Tark’s namesake and co-owner Terry Arenson said Tark’s has always been a labor of love. “We’re Valley area guys and our first priority has always been to do right by this wonderful community. We’ve had a great run, but the time has come to pass the torch. In our careful analysis, City Cafe came up first-rate across every metric. We’re confident that they bring the experience and reputation necessary to succeed.”

Patrons can soon enjoy recent renovations to the courtyard at Tark’s, completion scheduled in September. Tom Peddy, principal at Foxleigh Enterprises, an owner at Green Spring Station stated, “The outdoor area connected to Tark’s will soon be a one-of-a-kind place with a fountain featuring both fire and water. The Italian-made pergola will give those who love dining al fresco the chance to do so for nine months out of the year.”

Fun Factoid:

Tark’s Grill, has had a successful run since 2008, taking over the restaurant spot that once was Harvey’s Restaurant @ The Green Spring Station owned by Harvey Shugarman.  It was also Shugarman who was the food and beverage guru at the old Girard’s night club that occupied the same space, wait for it, City Cafe.  

Tark’s Grill is located at 2360 West Joppa Road in Lutherville/Timonium - Baltimore County and City Cafe is located at the corner of Cathedral and Eager Streets in Baltimore City.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Orioles’ Adam Jones versus The Local Fry’s Kevin and Elizabeth Irish

Elizabeth and Kevin Irish - The Local Fry
The best I can tell, this is the 5th year for CareFirst Fans’ Ballpark Cooking Challenge, it is taking place this afternoon and airing tonight, August 3 on MASN during O's Xtra, the Orioles exclusive pregame show, before the Birds take on the Rangers. The Orioles’ outfielder has won the past two Ballpark Food Challenges and the bragging rights but will that stand for another year?

Back in June, fans were asked to Tweet or Instagram their best recipe tagged with #IChallengeAJ and the #StayHungry man chose the winner.

AJ’s competition is the husband and wife duo who own Federal Hill’s The Local Fry  famous for their British Isles inspired chips topped with  the tastiest toppings.  French fry aficionados need to try The Local Fry’s selection of specialty French fries.  The plain and unadulterated triple fried Idaho potatoes are top-notch, crispy and tasty, but at The Local Fry you want to dig into their specialty French fries.  This isn’t just stoner food, the French fries are topped with tasty flavor profiles that are globally inspired: Poutine, Greek, Kimchi Pork, Buffalo Chicken, Hawaiian,Bahn Mi,  Tonkatsu Curry and the house fries named ‘The Local Fries’ on the blackboard menu are spicy Mexican.  
The Local Fry's Hawaiian fries
Judges include Chef Chad Gauss from The Food Market and 13-year-old Bryce Taylor, a Food Network Teen Chef and Junior Finalist from Food Network’s show Chopped Junior. Chris Person, Sous Chef for Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant, will serve as Jones' assistant for the day.

For those of you who like to follow on social media: Adam Jones @simplyaj10 – The Local Fry @The LocalFry

Maryland wine competition announces their winners

The Annual Comptrollers Cup Competition, formerly known as the Winemasters Choice Competition, brings together wine makers from across the state of Maryland for a blind judging where the judges only know the composition of the wine, not the label, price nor any other details.  A flight of wines in a single category was dispersed to the five judges for evaluation.  

It is time to make room in your wine cellar for 2016 "Best in Class" Winners:

  • BEST WHITE: Boordy Vineyards • Landmark Reserve Albariño 2015 (Baltimore Co.)
  • BEST WHITE BLEND: Old Westminster Winery • Greenstone, Third Edition (Carroll Co.)
  • BEST ROSÉ: Crow Vineyard • Rosé 2015 (Kent Co.)
  • BEST RED: Old Westminster Winery • Malbec 2014 (Carroll Co.) *Best in Show
  • BEST RED BLEND: Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard • Evoe 2013 (Montgomery Co.)
  • BEST CIDER: Great Shoals Winery • Hard Blackberry (Montgomery Co.)
  • BEST FRUIT: Linganore Winecellars • Mango Sangria (Frederick Co.)
  • BEST MEAD: Charm City Meadworks • Sweet Blossom (Baltimore City)
  • BEST DESSERT: Linganore Winecellars • Indulgence (Frederick Co.)

Monday, August 01, 2016

Dine well in August with Summer Restaurant Week promotions

Sotto Sopra's 2 Course Restaurant Week lunch - $15 thru Aug 7th
Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week which kicked off last week has numerous restaurants that have extended through to Sunday, August 7th while Baltimore County Restaurant Week will start this Friday, August 5th and run through Sunday, August 20th.  A number of restaurants both in the city and county are offering special brunch options for the weekends. There is a little overlap, some county restaurants participate in the Baltimore City’s promotion and vice versa. 

Traveling during August, check your destinations for their summer restaurant week promotions.  NewYork City started their restaurant week in July,  July 25th, and it ends August 19th – 2 course lunch $29 and 3 course dinner $42.  

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sellout Fork & Cork dinner series is back: Four top chefs and four top sommeliers

Such a success last year,  Fork & Cork dinner series, now called Fork & Cork 2.0 brings together a selection of Baltimore’s top chefs who for one night a month fashion a pop up dinner at each other’s restaurants as they cook together.  Now their sommeliers are challenged to find the best pairings with the chefs inspired culinary renderings.  Last year was a sell out with three nights, three chefs and three sommeliers.  This year there are now four chefs and four sommeliers, adding Chef Ben Lefenfeld of La Cuchara and their sommelier, Greg Schwab.

Each pop up dinner, the chef host and sommelier set the tone with their choices for the main course and dessert, the other three visiting chefs and sommeliers put their best visions on their plate and in the wine glass to cover the three remaining courses.  Each month, on a Tuesday evening at 6: 30 pm, all four chefs and all four sommeliers put together your food and wine dining experience.

1.       August 16th – Aggio Restaurant – Chef Bryan Volaggio and Advanced Sommelier Chris Coker
2.       September 13th – La Cuchara – Chef Ben Lefenfeld and Advanced Sommelier Greg Schwab
3.       October 18th – Fleet Street Kitchen – Chef Chris Becker and Sommelier Tim Riley
4.       November 15th – Wit & Wisdom – Chef Zack Mills and Advanced Sommelier Julie Dalton

You can attend one, two or three of these dinners BUT if you purchase all four dinners, there is an added bonus, you will receive a $20 gift card to each of these four restaurants and you will be entered in to "WIN dinner for Two" at all of them.

The five course dinner and wine pairing is $115 per person (excludes tax and service charge) Purchase tickets at EventBrite

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The biggest, best Bloody Mary east of the Rockies: Phillips Crab Feast Bloody Mary

Come the weekends with brunches in full swing, Instagram is saturated with snaps of the latest and greatest Bloody Mary’s topped with bacon, burgers, ribs, chicken almost every concoction of food toppings but nothing like Phillips Seafood’s Crab Feast Bloody Mary Meal. A pitcher of Bloody Marys bedecked with skewered Maryland steamed crabs, jumbo shrimp, chicken wings, corn and baked potatoes all draped with fishermen’s netting and lemon slices presented with plastic cups rimmed with their seafood seasoning and a ladle to fill those cups with local favorite, George’s Bloody Mary Mix, and jalapeño-infused vodka – you should be full just reading this!

The Crab Feast Bloody Mary won’t be around long, it is a limited engagement available only on Saturdays and Sundays at Phillips Crab Deck where you can enjoy a nice breeze, great view, people watching and when we were there, live music. 

Phillips Bloody Mary Crab Feast brought oohs and aaahs and it was placed on our paper-covered table and diners lined up to take photographs. The real fun began digging in, what first a steamed crab, no shrimp; no, let’s have a taste of the chicken wings.  My gal pal and I put a serious hurting on this gargantuan Bloody Mary Meal – I think there was only a potato left when we cried uncle. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Horseshoe Casino Lucky Food Truck Festival

On Thursday, August 4th from 4PM - 9PM bite into the delicious flavors of nine of Baltimore's most delicious food trucks. Partake of this culinary adventure at Horseshoe Casino’s Entertainament Plaza.This gathering is sure to exceed your expectations with nine insanely delicious mobile eateries and drink specials all night!

The Food Truck Lineup:
-Bistro Lunchbox
-Deja Roux
-Greek On The Street
-Jimmy's Seafood
-Koco Korean Fusion
-Pasta La Vista Baby
-Pizza Di Joey
-T&J Waffles
-The Smoking Swine

All Total Rewards members will also have a chance to win a 4 NIGHT STAY at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas and new members can win up to $250 in Free Play!

Horseshoe Casino – 1525 Russell Street – Baltimore, MD 21230

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It’s a party – Hampden’s The Charmery turns 3

A 3 year old would have ice cream at their birthday party, but this 3 year old, Baltimore’s most creative ice cream parlor, the Charmery, will be rocking out their specialty ice cream flavors on Saturday, July 23rd from noon until 11 p.m.  This year’s theme is 90’s R&B and hip-hop complete with a performance by the Team Squad Up Baltimore Dance Crew and a 90’s invasion at the dipping cabinet. 

Owner and master flavor mixer, David Alima has stated, “There are at least eight brand new flavors based off the lyrics of our favorite 90’s R&B songs. We’ve based the flavors on song lyrics and there is a contest for who can identify the most songs. As we believe in fair play, this means we can’t tell you the flavors just yet, but some of the new flavors include a Sourdough & Jam, Fresh Mint and Honeydew, and one based off of a Philly Cheesesteak.“

Thursday, July 14, 2016

14th Silver Diner opens in Frederick

The Maryland owned Silver Diner chain has opened their 14th diner in Frederick Maryland.  All shiny and new, the Silver Diner will have all the bells, whistle and replica 1956 Seeburg jukeboxes. Updated since starting 27 years ago, the diner offers a number of items that are locally sourced, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items. Unlike some Silver Diner locations, the bar at the Frederick location will be expanded with handcrafted cocktails, local beers and wines and spiked shakes.    

This latest Silver Diner is located 5120 Buckeystown Pike, located at the Westview Promenade, has a whopping 230 seats.  If you are heading to the Frederick Wine Festival, Saturday, August 6th, might be a great time to pop in and grab a bite going to or from the festival.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

And the winner is Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey

Baltimore’s newly based rye whiskey company, Sagamore Spirit, won two SIP Awards for their flavor profile and packaging; the Platinum Best in Class Award in the American Straight Rye whiskey category and a Gold Award in the Individual Bottle Design category.  Sagamore Spirit was one of 462 international brands presented to consumers in a double blind tasting.

The new rye whiskey born, where rye whiskey distillers had their home since the mid 1800’s, Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey brings back the American rye whiskey tradition.  From the pure naturally filtered spring waters, fed from a limestone aquifer, Maryland’s Sagamore Farm/ Sagamore Spirit has risen to wow whiskey drinkers

Impressive kitchen creds for new chef/owner of Coho Grill

Coho Grill, overlooking Hobbit’s Glen Golf Course in Columbia, Maryland welcomed a new chef owner, Thomas Zippelli on  July 1st.  Chef Zippeli  has a very impressive CV: Bachelor of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales, worked 3 years, not a week’s stagiaire, 3 years  under 3 Michelin Star chef Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park in New York and 2 ½ years under Chef Thomas Keller, another 3 Michelin Star chef of the world renowned The French Laundry. I did say impressive and I don’t lie.

My food curiosity is up and a trip to Coho Grill is on my itinerary and probably should be on yours. A look at their regular dinner menu lends insight into a moderately priced bistro, casual dining operation.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dinner guests with food allergies

When entertaining these days, how do you cope with people's food allergies and/or dislikes. What used to be simple has become fixing a different meal for each guest? Your thoughts?

You don't want to go to the trouble of fixing a meal and finding out your guest can't eat half of what you have fixed BUT between food allergies, specialty diets your window of what to fix has narrowed or you become a short order cook meeting everyone's needs. What do you do?

Talk amongst yourselves and then share!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Frederick Wine Festival inaugural event – can you say “Day Trip”

Frederick, Maryland, a city with a rich history, is having their first ever Wine Festival on Saturday, August 6th at  Carroll Creek Linear Park.  A visit last year to Frederick reminded me how much I like the quaint Main Street feel and embraced the new Carroll Creek Linear Park along the water – centerpiece of the city’s revival. 

No more than an hour away from Baltimore and Washington DC, located in the rolling hills for Frederick County – come get your wine on!

Twenty local wineries are participating – enjoy complimentary tastes and take advantage of the Wine Check for your bottles of wine  purchased:

Tentative chefs/restaurants and offerings are:

Langermann's expands

pan roasted Alaskan Halibut
Langermann’s, the Southern, Lowcountry inspired restaurant located in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood, at the Can Company, has grown, adding additional seating for outdoor dining plus, get this…a bocce ball court. Be sure to grab one of those new extra seats for live entertainment on Wednesday evenings located on the patio and indulge in the ½ price wine special for that evening.  

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Madame BBQ and Bistro Lunch Box food trucks partnering in Share Kitchen

Hot off Facebook! Friend and talented chef Nikki Mcgowan, owner of the Madame BBQ (@MadameBBQ) food truck has partnered with the folks at Bistro Lunch Box (@bistrolunchbox) food truck and signed a lease on a 2400 square foot kitchen in Locust Point.  It is to be called Share Kitchen and it will be a commissary space for like minded food lovers. They will be in the same building including Diamondback Brewery which will be right next door.


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