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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rye Street Tavern shines in Port Covington

Nestled between the Hanover Street Bridge and Ft. McHenry on Cromwell Street in the ever expanding Port Covington neighborhood, Rye Street Tavern shines brightly, day and night.  Lunch, brunch, social hour, and dinner – there is something for everyone’s taste on their diverse American themed menus. 


On my initial visit when they first opened, the waterfront view of the Patapsco River as the sun was setting was breathtaking. Whether from the bar or the dining rooms, that view was there for all to enjoy.   Though this is not the season to sit out on their lawn in their Adirondack chairs, they surely will be filled to capacity as well as the patio tables come the warmer months.  On my recent visit, as you rounded the corner of the building from their parking lot, the area glistens with string lights, brightening the winter’s night.   It is located next to Sagamore Spirit Distillery whose rye whiskey celebrates the resurrection of this Maryland tradition and is the inspiration for the tavern’s name.  


See all the photographs and the complete story at Dara Cooks - Baltimore Post Examiner

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Children's Valentine Celebration at Sotto Sopra Restaurant

What is Valentine’s Day but a day about love, all types of love, including family love!  For the third year in a row, Sotto Sopra Restaurant is continuing their tradition of celebrating families during Valentine’s Day week with a special evening focused on the children.  With that said, they invite parents to bring their children to Sotto Sopra Restaurant at 405 N. Charles Street to celebrate an early Valentine’s Day on Monday, February 11th.   The children will enjoy this event filled with kid-oriented entertainment, surprises, along with dining on a specially designed children’s menu.  Chef/owner Riccardo Bosio’s daughters, Amelia and Victoria, will be the hostesses for the evening. 

Check out the full menu and details: Dara Cooks - Baltimore Post Examiner 

Monday, February 04, 2019

Your sneak peek: Orto Restaurant opens today in Station North



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The growing arts and entertainment Station North district in Baltimore, from Maryland Institute of Art and Penn Station to North Avenue, where the Parkway Theatre, Charles Theatre, BIG (Baltimore Improve Group) and Motor House Art Hub adds the Italian inspired, locally sourced Orto Restaurant on Charles Street.


In Italian, Orto translates to vegetable garden and is reflected in their menu.  As their website states, “Our menu is built on the foundations of Italian Food, and culture – simple, fresh, flavorful cuisine served in a welcoming space.”

Read the full review and enjoy the photographs at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Fresh and refreshed Severna Park's Cafe Mezzanotte

Trip Advisor lists Cafe Mezzanotte as the number one restaurant in Severna Park and after dining there over the holidays I can understand why.  First impressions always count and I had a lovely young hostess greet me with a smile and warmth that initially set the tone for what was to come.  There was something about her sense of caring that made me feel she might be related to the owner, Kosmas “Tommie” Koukoulis.  Koukoulis is also the owner of Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz in Harford County.



Cafe Mezzanotte recently went through six weeks of renovations, opening up spaces, new furniture, artwork and interior décor.  Large photographs of scenes from Italy and farms overlooked tables in multiple dining rooms.  The farm theme in the photographs supports the restaurant’s strong commitment to buying from local farms, seasonally and wherever possible eliminating supplies that are GMO. There is a strong sense of supporting the local community – in fact, 50 cents is added to each check as a donation to The Food Project that educates and trains southwest Baltimore youth in food-focused skills.  Read the full story Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Restaurant Weeks - Catch them if you can!


During what is considered the restaurant doldrums; cities, counties and municipalities put together discounted dining to get you into your favorite restaurant or for you to try a new restaurant.  I always like to post the restaurant weeks throughout the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland & Virginia) with the added bonus of Philadelphia and New York City. 

Winter Restaurant Week officially launches Friday, January 11 in Baltimore City – so don’t hesitate, the best reservations are going fast.  Lunch, Dinners and Brunches….check out the menus and deals.

Baltimore Restaurant Week
January 11 – January 20

Bethesda Restaurant Week
January 11 – January 20

Philadelphia Center City Restaurant Week
January 13 – January 25

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week
January 14 – January 20

Harford County Restaurant Week
January 18 – January 27

Alexandria Restaurant Week
January 18 – January 27

Baltimore County Restaurant Weeks
January 18 – February 2

Howard County Restaurant Weeks
January 21  - February 4

New York City Restaurant Weeks
January 21 – February 8

National Harbor Restaurant Week
January 26 – February 1

Annapolis Restaurant Week
March 2 – March 10

Frederick Restaurant Week
March 4 – March 10



Tuesday, January 08, 2019

A Taste of Baltimore is back - Santé


A New Year and the flush of charity events begin.  Santé is the Kidney Foundation of Maryland’s annual fundraiser taking place Thursday, February 28 at the Visionary Art Museum, 6-9 pm. An evening filled with food and drink from Baltimore’s top restaurants and caterers.  Adding to the festivities will be celebrity judges, the People’s Choice competition, entertainment, raffles and a silent auction. Admission to this business causal evening is $100/person or $2,500 for a table.  Actually $100 per person for an array of unlimited food, libations and entertainment is pretty much a steal for an evening out……more information and tickets HERE.

I have always supported the Kidney Foundation, in memory of a girlfriend, Peanut Kassel, who was the first live kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins.  Also, my cousin Debby… both, who for long periods were on dialysis and had their lives prolonged with a transplant.  Both are gone now, but I am ever so grateful for the strides the Kidney Foundation has made for patients in the past 40 years since they passed. 

WHEN:    Thursday, February 28, 2019
TIME:       6:00pm to 9:00pm
WHERE:  American Visionary Art Museum
The Jim Rouse Visionary Center, 3rd Floor
840 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD 21230

Individual tickets are $100.00 per person.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Gypsy's Truckstaurant cruises into Hampden Woodberry

I bet you are asking what is a truckstaurant?  In essence, it is a former industrial garage, converted into a restaurant and bar with the kitchen being outside in what seems to be a large car carrier. And who better than the winner of numerous tri-state food truck cook-offs than Chef Anne Langton of Gypsy Queen Café to bring her casual cuisine to this unique space. Now add, Chef Tom Looney, her former partner from Helen’s Garden in Canton and you have another big time winner.  Looney’s Bar Liquorice has just garnered Baltimore’s Best Cocktail Bar by the Baltimore Business Journal. Of course, one can find the same creativity at the bar at the truckstaurant.  Now that is not to say that Looney’s creativity is limited to cocktails – his culinary creations are probably 50% of what is on the menu.  Continue reading at Baltimore Post Examiner Dara Cooks. 

Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Turn House in Columbia: Seasonal dining at its best!


There is a real sense of warmth and hospitality with the staff at Columbia’s The Turn House Restaurant and that is a trickle down from owner and chef, Tom Zippelli beliefs.  Zipelli’s CV lists him working at world renowned Michelin starred restaurants:  Eleven Madison Park and The French Laundry, both known for locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.  Chef Zippelli is zealous about supporting local farmers and producers with menus that reflect that respect of the land and sea.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Maryland's only pop up Christmas cocktail Bar: Miracle on Magothy Beach



What started approximately 4 years ago, a Christmas themed pop up bar with all the holiday decorations and clever designed cocktails, has grown into an international phenomenon. This year almost 100 Miracle™ Christmas Pop Up Bars are participating.  Christmas lights, tinsel, and holiday décor set the tone while cocktails like Christmaspolitans, Jingle Bell Nogs, Naughty or Nice Shots take holiday ‘spirits’ to the next level. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin's theories on pizza

Author of Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin's shares his theories on New York City pizza and the best places where you might find Daenerys Targaryen, John Snow or anyone from the Lannister family.  Just published is a new book by the author, Fire & Blood, 300 years before a Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History).

Do note that the true authority on pizza is Daniel Young who compiled  a world-wide compilation of Where to Eat Pizza.  


Friday, November 30, 2018

A modern twist on Greek cuisine: Cava Mezze


One of my favorite restaurants here in Baltimore, Cava Mezze, puts a modern day spin on our Greek favorites.  Their menu items are traditional in the sense of Greek cuisine but their presentations are more upscale.  Just look at the Dolmades photograph:  stuffed grape leaves, roasted eggplant, za’atar rice, presented on a celery root puree, caper chimichurri, with micro cilantro.


Mezze in Greek translates to appetizer, but it often makes up an entire meal, combining an assortment of dishes: hot and cold, vegetables and meat - the assortment at Cava Mezze doesn’t disappoint.  Along with their popular array of small and medium plates they have just introduced fourteen new dishes to their Baltimore location and coming soon to their other four locations in the DMV.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Holiday themed dinner and live holiday music


Last year I had the joy of attending Sotto Sopra Restaurant’s evening of holiday songs. They created an ensemble of their Broadway Night singers for an evening of the holiday season’s most beloved songs.   The live performances in this stunning venue really set the tone for 2017’s holiday season.  Lucky you, they are doing an Evening of Holiday Songs and a Four Course Dinner, Sunday, December 2, 2018 starting at 6 pm.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Got the late night "hangries?" Taco Noche!

Northern Mexico inspired tacos, chips and dips, burritos and more are now available at Taco Noche at the Rotunda patio.  Their kiosk is open from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. every day. Patrons can go to the walk-up window for carryout or use delivery services, UberEats and Grub Hub. Taco Noche is a perfect little spot if you have been out late and want a bite of authentic Mexican food - the perfect “street food.”  


Taco Noche ‘s Chef Audiel  Vera also holds the title of executive chef at The Avenue Kitchen and Bar in Hampden.  Chef Vera reminisces, “It was not until I moved to Houston, Texas, where I first discovered the northern flavors of Mexico. Flour tortillas, shredded lettuce, fresh Pico de Gallo, cream on tacos, queso fundido, all that great food. It was a game changer in my opinion.  All these flavors really caught my attention and opened my pallet to different Mexican flavors that I never knew before.  A lot of people may think this is Tex Mex but it's not. These are flavors that were always there in Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Tijuana. 

For you chili heads, their salsas run the gamut on the Scoville chart from Tomatillo with fire roasted Serrano chiles, tomatillos, roasted garlic, onions, cilantro and lime to Scorpion Sting with fire-roasted Habanero chilies blended with vinegar, spices and tomatoes.

Taco Noche
The Rotunda Patio
711 West 40th Street
Baltimore MD 21211
Facebook: @taconocherotunda
Instagram: @taconoche

Saturday, November 10, 2018

GDL Italian now open for Saturday and Sunday Brunch

GDL Italian by Giada in Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino has expanded their hours to include brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 2 pm, tempting patrons and casino goers to indulge in their Italian fare.   Giada de Laurentiis (GDL) , Food Network star and cookbook author , combines her California take on her family’s  Italian cuisine (Kale Caesar Salad, Seasonal Frittata) with local Maryland dishes for brunch (Maryland Crab Hash, Crab Arancini).  Read the full story at Baltimore Post Examiner - Dara Cooks 

Monday, November 05, 2018

Pizza contest, which pizza won


The fifty eight year old Grotto Pizza wanted to do something different to kick off October’s National Pizza Month and launched “Create Your Own Pizza Competition.”  Out of forty submissions they received, Grotto Pizza narrowed it down to these five finalists that were judged October 29th at their Columbia, Maryland location.

Fall’n for Brie – ham, brie, apple
Ultimate Burger – ground beef, bacon, avocado,  blue cheese
Coastal Crab – white pizza with crab and old bay
Swirl of Fire – banana peppers, sausage, spicy tomato sauce
Big Fat Greek – spinach, sliced red onion, garlic, Kalamata olives, pizza cheese, feta cheese

Find out which pizza won at Dara Cooks Blog - Baltimore Post Examiner

Friday, October 05, 2018

Atelier Culinaire intros 2 Course Dinner - $9.95


Yes, you can eat at the fast food joints for under $10 but is it a quality meal?  For $9.95 you can indulge in an Early Bird Two Course Dinner at Stratford University Culinary Program Restaurant, Atelier Culinaire located in the heart of Little Italy.  From 5 pm to 6:30 pm, Wednesdays through Saturday... Read the full story at Baltimore Post Examiner - Dara Cooks 

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.




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