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, 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.




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

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