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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Top 5 1/2 Pizza Parlors, Restaurants, Joints or Emporiums in Baltimore

This is the first of many Top 5 ½ columns to be written focused on restaurants, cookbooks and food – wherever my culinary curiosity will take me.  You are asking why five and a half? The half is for honorable mention but just shy of making the top five.

I have culled on line review sites, polled Twitter and Facebook fans to come up with the hot pizza joints in Baltimore.  Like crab cakes, pasta sauces or sushi houses, everyone has a favorite for a multiple of reasons.  If I left off your favorite let us know in the comment section and why they are your favorites.

Whether you fold your slice or eat it flat, whether you like thin crust or thick, New York style, pan, Neapolitan, brick oven – there is a pizza for every taste

My listings are in alphabetical order and no way reflect a ranking.

Read the full story and watch the video HERE

Friday, December 28, 2012

Culinary Review os 2012: My perspective

This is the time of year when so many reflect on the year past and what the future might hold. I’m no different. There were many highs this year with a couple of lows but all-in-all, “it was a very good year” in my food world. It wasn’t a good year for the Guy Fieri and his Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar restaurant review that went round the world by Pete Wells of the New York Times. The whole review was written in questions the likes of “What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?”

Check out the full review of 2012, the slideshow and video HERE

Thursday, December 27, 2012

McCormick & Schmick’s fresh new look for the New Year

Since 1998 McCormick & Schmick’s outpost has had their doors open at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The recently acquired seafood chain is now owned by Landry’s and with that came a refresh in décor.

McCormick & Schmick’s reflects a commitment to culinary excellence by showcasing the rich bounty of the Pacific Northwest including an array of specialties from that region, along with an emphasis on serving the freshest quality seafood from the waters of the Atlantic.

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

Monday, December 17, 2012

Haute Dog's Daniel Raffel launches Divine Swine

Thanks to Harvey Kallen’s invite to lunch at Haute Dog, I learned about Daniel Raffel’s latest endeavor, Divine Swine. Just like the miracle of penicillin came out of mold so has Divine Swine. As a hobby, Daniel’s dad Jerry was curing Virginia style hams; they would cure for one year. Low and behold one ham cured longer just due to oversight. The senior Raffel took the ham to his son and asked what I can do with this? Well it turned out to be a beautiful mistake, offering up an Italian speck like prosciutto, lightly smoked.

Check out the slideshow and full story HERE

Sunday, December 16, 2012

J. Paul's Harborplace: Renewed, Refreshed and Rewarding

Over the 30 plus years Harborplace has been open I can honestly say there hasn’t been a restaurant that was so fabulous that I wanted to return. Not to say in the early days that the husband and I enjoyed the stall vendors but most are gone. I preface all this to let you know should I be at Harborplace, should I crave a raw bar or tasty regional food with the equation of quality dishes, portion size and pricing, I would go to the recently renovated and reopened J. Paul’s.

Other than the expanding waistline that has come with writing about food the main benefit is public relations firms and restaurateurs invite me to sample new menu items or enjoy a meal which allows me to taste numerous dishes I might not normally order or try.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow HERE

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Lotte Asian Grocery and Honey Dumplings grand opening

The goal was to go for dim sum for lunch today but my friend wanted to try Honey Pig Korean BBQ. Since we were headed out to Ellicott City I suggested we check out the new Lotte Asian Grocery that is having its Grand Opening weekend. One reason to stop was Honey Pig was opening a dumpling stand inside Lotte which is located in the old Toys R Us location at Route 40 and Nuwood Drive.

It had the new store feel; fresh, clean and vibrant. I enjoyed taste testing all the foods being sampled and walked away with a fresh seafood noodle soup for the home fridge.

Watch the slideshow, get the video recipe for bibimbap and read the full story HERE Honey Pig (Gooldaegee) on Urbanspoon

Fine Dining in Hunt Valley: The Oregon Grille

There is dining and then there is going out to eat. One goes to The Oregon Grille to dine when one wants the atmosphere, the superior service and exquisitely executed food. Just off interstate I-83, The Oregon Grille is in the heart of Maryland’s horse country and is so reflected in its décor. The pathway from the ample parking lot has lawn jockeys in their winning colors guiding your way to the garden and porch entrance of the restaurant. The wood paneling with saddles and bits in the foyer, the bar with foxes and game fowl, and the dining room with artwork featuring horses lays homage to the region.

Owner Ted Bauer and his executive chef Matthew Siegmund recently celebrated The Oregon Grille’s 15th anniversary which is a true accomplishment in the restaurant business. It says they are doing things right.

Watch the slideshow, video recipe and full story HERE The Oregon Grille on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 14, 2012

Give the gift of Italy: Enjoy the Amalfi Coast

So this story begins at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s holiday party when I chatted up my friend Mary Ann Cricchio, owner of Da Mimmo Restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy. The question to her was what’s new since I last saw you? The dam broke as Mary Ann exploded with excitement about an Amalfi Coast tour that she and her executive chef Masood Masoodi had put together for 20 customers.
photo courtesy of Steve Filippi

I love Italy; have been twice on cost effective tours where we were packed liked sardines on tour buses. Do you remember the old movie If It’s Tuesday it must Be Belgium? That is what my tours were like, packing and unpacking, going from city to city. Mary Ann’s tour had her guests stay in one city, Maiori, where they relaxed and didn’t have that syndrome of being in a new city every other day.

Check out the slideshow, video and the full story HERE

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Munching lunch on the Charm City Circulator Purple Route

I'm thrilled to say that my first story on dining at the restaurants on Baltimore's Charm City Circulator Banner route was such a huge success this summer. So I've come back for another tour, this time I took a closer look at the Purple Route that is like the United Nations of culinary treats.. 

Blue Agave
I'm going to link to the story and the gal you see in the photograph with the fuschia umbrella is is my Mary Poppin's look.  So please click through to the entire story and sidebar at www.BMoreMedia

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Shiso Tavern: Canton Square's Asian fusion dining

Shiso is an herb, predominately used in Japanese cuisine but also used in other Asian cultures like Vietnamese and Chinese. The name seems apropos as the name of the Canton Square restaurant Shiso Tavern that serves sushi, ramen, pad thai and wok specials like orange chicken and beef broccoli. Shiso Tavern is located in the former Te Amo space with the bar greeting you when you first enter. The upstairs dining room is subtle in décor with a kimono on one wall and crossed samurai swords on the other; one would think they used feng shui to aid the minimalist surroundings.

Watch the slideshow, video and read the full story HERE 

Shiso Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Verde Pizza Napoletana: a great addition for your dining wish list

Canton and the city have garnered a great new restaurant, Verde Pizza Napoletana. As a guest at the grand opening I had the opportunity to taste numerous styled pizzas, salads and chat up the owners. The space, formerly Birches has been revitalized and refreshed with reclaimed wooden beams, brick walls, tile floors, a coal fired / wood burning oven and a bar backed with a chalkboard menu. Stylized, fresh, cozy, urban and chic, one might find this on the upper east side of New York. The couple behind the vision is Edward Bosco and his wife Marianne Kresevich.

Read the complete story and watch the slideshow HERE 

Verde Pizza Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Food for Though Symposia: Cretan food and wine event

The Inn At The Black Olive, The Institute for Integrative Health and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, introduce the Food for Thought Symposia: A return to the ancient Greek ritual of gathering to partake in good food, fine wine, and communal discourse which, when shared together, provide sustenance for intellectual and cultural growth.

This year’s symposia will focus on presentation and discussion of a number of wellness oriented strategies and a major one, of which, focuses on healthy food.

Get the full details HERE

Holiday Gifting: Chocolates galore at Ma Petite Shoes

Gentlemen, ladies, children, friends and family if you don’t know by now, chocolates, especially fine chocolates should be at the top of your gift giving list for the holiday season. Susannah Siger, owner of Ma Petite Shoes in Hampden is a visionary not only with the hottest shoe collection for sale but with her vast array of the finest, most creative chocolate selections in the city.

It was probably about 10 years ago when Fran’s Chocolate in Seattle paired sea salt with chocolate covered caramels and stirred the confectionery world. Even President Obama orders the milk chocolate version from Fran’s

Watch the video and read the full story HERE

Friday, November 30, 2012

Food Network is casting for The Next Food Network Star

Do you have a great personality, I mean GREAT? Can you cook, and can you create your own brand for yourself? You my friend should get to this casting call.

Just into me from Michael Birchenall, Editor of FoodService Monthly that Dana Abrams, a Casting Assistant for Food Network Star, Food Network’s hugely successful culinary reality series is seeking to get the word out that they are currently casting for season 9 and holding an open casting call in Washington, D.C. on December 10th!

Get all the details HERE

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hands on Sushi Rolling classes at Pabu

The class is a hands-on class, the first of monthly sushi classes at Pabu Restaurant that starts this Saturday, December 1st. Learn to season your sushi rice, how to properly let it cool and the knack of working with nori on your rolls.

PABU Izakaya will begin hosting Sushi 101 Class at the restaurant with Executive Chef Jonah Kim, beginning this Saturday, December 1st, 2012. In this first class, Chef Kim will incorporate traditional Japanese New Year fare including “Osechi” small dishes that are served and cooked in a “jubako” (similar to a bento box).

Get the full details and watch the sushi rice video HERE

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sotto Sopra Restaurant's Green Monday promotion

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving, of giving thanks for their customers’ continued patronage, Sotto Sopra Restaurant at 405 N. Charles Street has created a whole new holiday, GREEN MONDAY. There is Thanksgiving, there is Black Friday, there is Small Business Saturday and now there is Sotto Sopra's GREEN MONDAY, Monday, November 26, where customers can recycle their expired gift certificates into savings. That is any expired gift certificate or expired discount coupon - think Groupon, Living Social etc, for any services, not only restaurants.

Bring Sotto Sopra Restaurant any expired discount coupon or gift certificate on GREEN MONDAY.. read the full story, watch the video and/or  slideshow HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baltimore's top five caterers

Can you hear the holiday music, I do, I have an earworm of Nat King Cole’s A Christmas Song…”chestnuts roasting over an open fire” on a permanent loop in my head. The holidays are upon us with company parties, entertaining at home and sometimes, it is just too much handle. I thought it apropos to list my five favorite caterers in Baltimore who can help you not only with your holiday entertaining but with any of your special occasions. Some have been in Baltimore for a number of years and others are fairly recent. My list is alphabetical and no particular ranking, just my favorites for consistency, innovation, service and some damn fine food.

For the full list and the slideshow click HERE Classic Catering People on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Stuffing Cookie recipe just in time for Thanksgiving

Other than the Thanksgiving Turkey, what else screams Thanksgiving but stuffing. Dan Guerrera, owner of NYC’s Downtown Cookie Co., has taken his love of cookies to an unexpected place: November’s Cookie of the Month is the Stuffing cookie! His exclusive recipe (which features Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing) makes the most of sweet-meets-savory goodness—tart cranberries, a hearty seasoning blend and the right combination of traditional cookie essentials. Dan noted: “I spent the better part of a month trying different things to get the flavor perfect. I laugh when I say it, but it was seriously the only stuffing that worked.” It looks like Pumpkin Pie might be taking a back seat to these indulgent, limited-time treats this year

Read the full story and get the recipe HERE

Baltimore's holiday culinary classes for adults and children

Expanding your cooking knowledge is fine and dandy from the web or television shows but the best is physically taking a cooking class whether a demonstration or hands-on. Being able to see, touch, feel, enjoy the aroma of what is being cooked far exceeds anything Giada, Ina, Bobby or Martha can offer you. Immediate answers to your culinary questions, the camaraderie of others who want to learn how to cook or who love to cook, and tasting the end results of the endeavor is the pinnacle of the class. With that being said, check out the FREE wine tasting and cooking demonstration at Grano Emporio, Donna’s Cross Key’s holiday cooking class series and the children’s gingerbread event at Maja’s Kitchen.

Get all the details of the classes HERE.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Super Bowl commercial filmed at Langermann's Canton

Langermann’s Canton, a southern inspired Baltimore restaurant, hosted a local production company that has entered the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial contest. If their entry is chosen, Frito Lay will spend a million dollars to air it during the most-watched TV event of the year.

Read the full story and watch the video HERE

Friday, November 09, 2012

Harbor East restaurants: Three anniversary parties and one birth

I'm like Prissy in Gone with the Wind who said, “I don’t know nothing about birthin no babies,” I don’t know nothing about birthin no restaurants but some very talented hospitality folks do and did. Harbor East has really blossomed over the summer with new restaurants; Townhouse Kitchen and Bar, Ouzo Bay, Manchuran Rice Company, Pabu, and right on the boundary of Harbor East, Fleet Street Kitchen.

Almost gone with the wind, sorry – I can’t help myself here, was the grand opening of the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant who had their grand opening during Hurricane Sandy last week.

Learn more about the anniversary parties and watch the slideshow HERE

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Saigon Remembered reopens in Timonium

The Saigon Remembered Vietnamese Restaurant that you remember was the one across the street from the Senator Theatre on York Road by Belvedere Square. That location closed in the spring of 2011. Good news for their fans and those of us who love Vietnamese food – they reopened today in Timonium.

Watch the recipe video and read the full story HERE

Saigon Remembered on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 05, 2012

Psst, the Mt. Washington Tavern is back

Almost a year to the date when the beloved Mt. Washington Tavern caught fire it has been rebuilt and the doors officially open Tuesday, November 6th at 5 p.m. The tavern was built almost from the ground up from the fire and with the rebuild came raising the building more off the ground, a precaution for a neighborhood that has frequently seen floods.

Tonight with friends and family coming in to test the staffing, the kitchen and get the first had glance of all the changes had the Tavern booked solid with about 200 guests.

Watch the slideshow and read the full story HERE Mount Washington Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tao Asian Bistro in New York City hosts Jimmy Fallon and Lindsay Lohan

Where to dine in New York City during Hurricane Sandy and celebrity watch seems to have been Tao Asian Bistro in midtown. Tao boasts a huge 16 foot Buddha over a virtual reflecting pool and high vaulted ceilings. The building was the 19th century Vanderbilt stables. One can dine on mixed Asian cuisine from fatty toro to Sunday’s Dim Sum.

Read the full story and watch the video HERE

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Americana Restaurant: Networking central for military veterans

The Americana restaurant in Canton is owned and operated by Alex van Breukelen, a United States Marine that is adamant about building a strong military veteran network in and around Baltimore. There are currently over 500 U.S. military veterans that frequent The Americana and use the bar for a location to network, build relationships and give back to the community.

With the United States election and Veteran’s Day around the corner it seems apropos that van Breukelen celebrate his fellow military brothers and sisters. The Americana will be giving back to veterans through different events each day from November 5 through November 10.

Get the full story and watch the video HERE The Americana on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Everyone wins with the 13th annual car raffle benefitting ProStart

Let’s talk prizes first and foremost. When you purchase a ticket you are entered to win a 2012 Infiniti G25 from J.B.A. Infiniti of Ellicott City or $25,000 cash. You also could win the second prize of $7,500 or third place prize of $5,000. There is even more, NEW, this year, an early bird drawing, if you have purchased your raffle ticket by noon, November 5th you are entered to win $2,500.

Watch the video and read more HERE

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fifty Shades of Chicken arrived bound

I cackled when I found the cookbook parody of Fifty Shade of Grey, Fifty Shades of Chicken in my mailbox. The author’s name F. L. Fowler is a pseudonym so whoever is behind writing this chicken seduction cookbook is laughing all the way to the hen house.

The characters in Fifty Shades of Chicken are Miss Hen and Mr. Blades owner of 50 blades..READ MORE and watch the video

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Vienna cafe's project allows men a peek into the ladies bathroom

An Austrian café has installed a one way mirror in the ladies restroom as part of an art project. The artist, Alexander Riegler, told the local paper that the one way mirror is a way to stir a discussion on voyeurism and surveillance.

Read the full story and watch the video HERE

A gallon of BBQ sauce sells for $10,000

What’s in your kitchen cupboard? Could there be a hidden condiment worth $10,000?

Mort Bank just sold the twenty year old gallon of Michael Jordan’s burger promotional McJordan’s sauce on E-Bay for a sum just shy of $10,000. From the KFYR/CNN report, Bank, a former Mc Donald's franchisee saved the sauce after the Michael Jordan burger promotion back in 1992.

Read the full story and watch the video HERE

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cookbook Corner: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett

Holiday cookie exchanges are just around the corner. I want ooohs and aaahs on my cookies. I am a cookie spotlight hog! If you are anything like me and want the adoration of friends and family for your cookies then the just released Simply Sensational Cookies by the “Queen of Cookies” Nancy Baggett is a must have.

 Read the full story, link to recipes and enjoy the video HERE

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten is coming to Baltimore: It's foolproof

The Food Network star and cookbook author Ina Garten is coming to Baltimore kicking off her cookbook tour for Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust which hits the shelves on October 30.

Get all the details of her visit, recipe link and video HERE

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marlin & Ray's brining seafood to Bel Air: Can you say steamers?

Marlin & Ray’s Seafood & Sunsets has been open for about three weeks in Bel Air, Maryland. It is pretty ballsy to bring seafood to a seafood state and on a number of levels they are successful. 

It was only a couple weeks ago that I wrote about this small restaurant chain opening in Bel Air on Business Route 1.  They appreciated the write up and invited me to come up for dinner. Not knowing how the dinner would proceed, I had the planned to order one of the Steamer dinners. Little did I know it was going to turn into a scene from Barry Levinson’s Diner* where we were served what I believe was half the menu.   

Read the full review, slideshow and video HERE

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Langermann’s Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry dinner and book signing

Langermann’s has established itself in Baltimore as a southern inspired restaurant sharing the joys of the South Carolina Lowcountry cuisine. Chef Neal Langermann is a long standing friend of culinary historian and writer John Martin Taylor, author of numerous award winning cookbooks. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Taylor’s Hoppin John’s Lowcountry Cooking and in honor of the occasion the book has been reissued with a new preface plus the original 250 Lowcountry recipes.

Get the details on the this exclusive evening's festivities and menu HERE

Olive Garden: Dine out and dine in

I’m always on the lookout for a good dining deal for my readers, one that is cost effective and bountiful

My chain restaurant pick is Olive Garden’s Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow promotion for $12.95*. Choose from three new entrees and two existing entrées for dinner at the Olive Garden along with the unlimited homemade soup or garden fresh salad and breadsticks.

Check out the selection and the promotion HERE

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stoney River Legendary Steaks: Sonoma Wine Tour Sweepstakes

There are contest and then there are contest. Stoney River Legendary Steaks has put together a pretty nifty sweepstakes with multiple ways to enter. The sweepstakes is promoting their customized wine flights at their restaurants. The grand prize is a chance to win a 3-night Sonoma County tasting tour for four – your own personal “Sideways” tour.

It is simple to enter, and there are 50 additional prizes beyond the grand prize - Get full details HERE

Haussner’s Restaurant: A look back to 1961 in video

With all the posts I could write at the moment of restaurants opening, chefs moving and my freezer full of chicken stock, I wanted to share a video.

Sonya Marshall, a lovely acquaintance, posted the video of the former landmark restaurant Haussner’s Restaurant on her Facebook page. The video is from The Port that Built the City circa 1961.

Read the full story, enjoy the video  HERE

Monday, October 08, 2012

The 13th Floor refreshed, remodeled and reopened: lucky you

The black cat on the gold colored invitation to the sneak peek of newly remodeled 13th Floor in the Belvedere seemed apropos for Halloween month but it is far from spooky or ominous – it is sophisticated and posh.

The 13th Floor in the historic Belvedere Hotel, known for its outstanding views of Baltimore city- read the full story and check out the slideshow HERE. 13th Floor on Urbanspoon


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