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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Seasons 52 Restaurant opens at the Mall in Columbia

Seasons 52 Restaurants bragging rights are that no one item on their menu is more than 475 calories, which led me to picture one of those sterile looking, healthy food mall concession type food outlets. Boy was I wrong!!!!! The visually stunning interior inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters with the richness of the wood, greenery and subdued lighting offers the customer a warm and inviting atmosphere. 

The bar, with Season 52 etched glasses in the hanging racks around the perimeter acts as a chandelier effect.  Totally equipped for the technological age, one can find electrical outlets for charging their smart phone all along the bar and booths.  For entertainment, there is a pianist-singer whose piano is located inside the physical bar and whose music is piped throughout the restaurant and private party rooms. 

If you are a wine enthusiast, know that one of the founders of Seasons 52, George Miliotes, is one of only 211 Master Sommeliers in the world and is hands on to finding outstanding wines. You will find them by the glass and bottle under “Drink Them Before They Are Famous” menu listing.  The menu showcases over 100 different bottles of wine, 50 of them available by the glass. 

Not only is it about each item being less than 475 calories, it is about seasonally inspired ingredients with the main menu changing with the seasons and then weekly featured special s(i.e. Seasons 52). It is said before they put lobster on the menu, that one could not find butter in the restaurant.  

At a recent media dinner many of us sampled the upcoming fall menu items.  What was very unique, they asked about dietary or life choice food preferences: i.e. gluten-free, vegan, pescetarian etc. and accommodated with special dishes.  Check out their alternative menus.

Yes, they have desserts, but you ask how do Seasons 52 keep the calories below 475 calories, the desserts are mini’s offering that little something sweet but not too much.

The Columbia Seasons 52 is around the backside of The Mall in Columbia - Broken Land Parkway near all the other large restaurants. Valet parking is available.

Seasons 52
The Mall in Columbia
10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy Suite 3150
Columbia, MD 21044
410 715 1152 - open lunch and dinner @seasons52

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bar Louie opens in Hunt Valley: Free food

Do I have your attention now with the free food. It is real. To celebrate their grand opening, Bar Louie will be hosting a 4-day blowout bash from September 4th – 7th. Every guest will receive their first appetizer or flatbread FREE just for stopping by at any point during the four-day span. In addition, the signature martinis that made Bar Louie famous will be featured for $2 from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m.  "We're going big with our opening celebration," says Bar Louie GM, Shawn Smith. "There's a need for a place like Bar Louie in the Baltimore area. Our guests are going to be blown away when they see what we have to offer."

Located in Hunt Valley Towne Center, this Texas based brand opens their doors on August 29 making it the second Maryland location for Bar Louie brand.

 In addition to their grand opening celebration, Bar Louie Hunt Valley will open with drink features and some amazing food specials. During happy hour every Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. guests can enjoy $3.25 drafts, $4.25 wines by the glass, $5.25 signature martinis, half price flatbreads & select appetizers. Locals won't want to miss Burger Night every Tuesday from 5 p.m. – close (signature burgers with tots or fries are only $5!), and Blues & Brews every Thursday night.

Founded in downtown Chicago in 1990, Bar Louie is an eclectic urban bar and eatery catering to guests looking for a casual, yet lively atmosphere. Known for their handcrafted signature martinis, they also feature an exceptional selection of appetizers, flatbreads, salads, burgers and sandwiches. While beer and wine connoisseurs will be impressed with the extensive selection of imports, beers on tap and wines by the glass, cocktail drinkers will revel in the 32 signature martinis, mojitos and margaritas made from premium liquors, fresh fruit and hand squeezed juices.

Located at 118 Shawan Rd in Hunt Valley, Bar Louie seats more than 200 and will be open daily for lunch, dinner and late night dining from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Sunday, with entire menu available until last call. or Facebook @barlouie

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Food Market offers Restaurant Week rain check

Clever marketing on the Food Market’s part to come up with a prix fixe 3 course $35 menu and call it a rain check for those who missed making it in for Summer  Restaurant Week.  Monday September 8th kicks off the Food Market’s promotion and ends on Sunday, September 14th. You might want to get your reservations in early, it could be an excellent preamble to events at the Star Spangled Summer Celebration.

The Food Market has more leeway with the menu since it is no longer under the auspices of Baltimore City Restaurant Week having to maintain a $30 price dinner. With a slight up charge to $35 per person the menu it a bit more substantial.

First Course (choice of one)
·         Moroccan Lamb Taco
·         Beets, Pears, Citrus
·         Truffled Portobello Bisque
·         Little Lobster Roll

Second Course (choice of one)
·         Kinda Famous Spaghetti & Crab Balls
·         Seared Duck Breast
·         BBQ Beef Short Rib
·         Shrimp Pho
·         Fish Surprise

Third Course (choice of one)
·         Heathbar Bread Pudding
·         Dirt Cup
·         Banana Cream Pie
·         Salted Caramel Pots de Crème
·         The Charmery Ice Cream Cond Du Jour

For reservations call 410 366 0606

The Food Market · 1017 W. 36th Street · Baltimore, MD 21211 @FoodMarketBmore Street and Valet Parking available 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Venti Tre Modern Italian: Fresh, friendly and flavorful

Venti Tre Friday night free concerts - Canton Crossing
The Venti Tre in Baltimore’s Canton Crossing is the first one, the original, created by the same folks who created Fazoli’s Restaurants.  Venti Tre means 23 in Italian and they offer 23 or more fresh, flavorful ingredients to choose from daily.  We had a guided tour of Venti Tre from Chef Ryan Herzing, whose enthusiasm for the concept was infectious.  When I asked him for three words to describe Venti Tre he said, “Fresh, friendly and flavorful.”

It is fast, fresh casual Italian food. You go down the line and you choose your own ingredients or you can simply go with one of the house specialties marked on the billboard menu.

Mix and match the ingredients but chef advised that on the first visit you might want to try one of the house specialties.  My choice was the spaghetti pomodoro with crispy pancetta, bruschetta salsa, Grana Padano cheese and my companion went for the piada with grilled Tuscan lemon chicken, pomodoro sauce, romaine, spring greens, crispy pancetta, creamy Parmesan and herb dressing and Asiago cheese on the warmed Italian flatbread. 

Check out the full story and slideshow HERE.

Venti Tre on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast: Tales of Dorchester County

For me, when given a choice of staying in a top rated hotel or bed and breakfast, the bed and breakfast always wins out. There is warmth, a feeling of belonging that innkeepers exude; a genuine interest in their guests.  If you have never stayed at a bed and breakfast your vision just might be a revitalized Victorian mansion with beautifully decorated suites, spacious common rooms, modern amenities yet still maintaining that slice of living in past times. And that vision would all come true with the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in historic Cambridge, Maryland. Guests luxuriate with a gourmet breakfast, lemonade and cookies on the veranda while feeling a cool summer breeze or a glass of wine fireside taking off the winter chill. 

What made Jennie and Skip Rideout, retired educators, want to take on a rundown, over-worn historical house and spend two years, 8 months uninhabitable, and go into the hospitality business? The answer is passion, sheer passion.  That passion for creating their own bed and breakfast started during their domestic travels throughout the east coast and travels abroad to the United Kingdom, having relished their stays in bed and breakfasts. 

In our chats, Jennie responded to my question as to who was the most unusual guest or guest scenario at the Mill Street Inn Bed and Breakfast? She smiled, laughed and said, “A magician who tried to make his bill disappear.” For a more realistic look at their guests it has run from a mortician’s conference to Brits on a mid-Atlantic history tour from Philadelphia to Williamsburg. On my stay, a couple picking up their 6th grade daughter who was finishing her work at Hornpoint, University of Maryland’s environmental camp on the 850 acre old DuPont Estate.  When I inquired why the couple picked the bed and breakfast over the traditional hotel/motel experience they responded, “We wanted a more local experience, to get a sense of the community.” 

View the slideshow, read the full story and get the recipe for grit souffle HERE.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino: A behind the scenes culinary preview

The media was invited in for a behind the scenes preview of the $442 million dollar Horseshoe Casino that will open on August 26th. The casino, the second largest casino in the State, is located on Russell Street, just a hop, skip and jump from our M & T Bank Stadium  It is amazing what they were able to create and build in just over a year as well the added bonus of  2200 jobs. 

There are 2,500 video lottery terminals (VLTS) or for those of you in my generation, the new age slot machine. There are numerous VLTS and gaming on balconies/terraces for those who like to gamble and smoke at the same time.  One hundred table games, and 25-table World Series of Poker-branded poker room and electronic table games on the multi level casino.  There is a two story video wall greats patrons with visual updates on their food, drink and entertainment at the Horseshoe Casino. 

Check out the 20 snaps on the slideshow and read the full story HERE.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Corner Pantry: Grab- n-go cafe, cooking classes, afternoon teas and more

The Corner Pantry located on Falls Road at the foot of Lake Avenue is so much more than tea and crumpets.  Chef and co-owner Neill Howell  offers a selection of his native British fare along with locally sourced Maryland goodies to eat in, carry-out and enjoy at a catered event.

Let talk lineage, Chef Neill Howell has left his culinary mark in London, Los Angeles and New York where he met his wife and now business partner, Emily, a Baltimore native. He was the executive chef at the successful Baltimore’s Bond Street Social; one might say his stepping stone to the Corner Pantry where it would be his food, his commitment to locally sourced products. Talented is a statement one would use when describing chef’s culinary acumen, his wife’s stylized marketing and their Massachusetts imported pastry chef Julie Sutula’s sweet and savory pastries. 
Check out the full story and slideshow HERE. 

The Corner Pantry on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rocking out happy hour on the harbor at the Hard Rock’s pier

Tourists or Baltimoreans alike might want to check out Hard Rock Café’s happy hour at their pier in Baltimore Harbor. The free music rocks, the food and drinks are damn good especially with half off happy hour.

A recent media gathering at the newly renovated Hard Rock Café Pier gave a number of us an opportunity to taste their food and drink.  It was a perfect early summer evening, a slight breeze, the view of Baltimore’s harbor outstanding, music rocking and a front row seat to serious people watching. 

So let’s talk Hard Rock Café Pier’s happy hour details.  Check out the slideshow, details and full story HERE.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Crab Cake 2014: Expat Maryland celebrities throw Los Angeles crab feast

photograph courtesy of Crab Cake 2014
On Sunday, August 17th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. an array of displaced, Los Angeles living Maryland celebrities are throwing their 2nd annual crab feast with all the trimmings at Hollywood’s  No Vacancy Bar and Lounge. 

During a recent interview with celebrity chef Duff Goldman of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes fame and Charm City Cakes the question about missing steamed crabs now that he lives in Los Angeles was brought to the table. Goldman lights up and says, “Funny you should ask that.”  Duff continued on to say that last year a handful of Maryland expats put on a full blown crab feast to benefit the Los Angeles Mission. Crab Cake 2013 was a huge success with steamed crabs, crab cakes, peel-n-eat shrimp, hush puppies, corn on the cob, potato salad and Duff’s Smith Island Cake.  There was even Flying Dog Beer from Maryland to whet everyone’s spicy crab seasoned whistle.  

Get the full story, watch the slideshow HERE.

Roy's invites you to eat creative

It was the world renowned restaurateur and James Beard award-winner Chef Roy Yamaguchi, who in 1988 with his first Roy’s Restaurant in Hawaii was a pioneer in establishing Hawaiian regional cuisine. In the years that have followed, his regional Hawaiian cuisine has shown brightly at his twenty plus restaurants throughout the United States but the culinary tide has changed. Roy’s is no longer just Hawaiian cuisine that is the center of their plate, but the flavors of the Pacific Rim; Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam , Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.  One of the best places to taste Roy’s creative cuisine is an upcoming Pinot Noir Wine dinner at a majority of Roy’s restaurants with details listed below.

With Roy’s new Pacific Rim influences one can enjoy starters of Misoyaki Butterfish Lettuce Wraps, Beef Short Rib Bi Bim Bap or the Canoe Appetizer for Two that takes you on a Pacific Rim culinary tour with Thai Peanut Chicken Satay, Vegetable Spring Roll, Szechuan Ribs, Spicy Tuna Roll, Kim Chee and Shrimp.  

Check out the Pinot Wine Dinner Menu, slideshow, and full story HERE.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey: A hunger provoking, visually stunning film

A sneak preview to the well-publicized Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey produced “food themed” The Hundred-Foot Journey film had me craving Chef Floyd Cardoz’s Indian and French food creations and more of Linus Sandgren’s luscious cinematography. With the official world premiere just held in New York and general release of the movie today, The Hundred-Foot Journey is well on its own path.

The Hundred-Foot Journey directed by Lasse Hallström, a former cinematographer himself, has put his special visual stamp on his movies; The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and now The Hundred-Foot Journey. Given the locales of India, rich with bright colors and earthy tones and southern France’s quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val’s green valley and L’Aveyron River one wants to grab their passport and visit both.

There is no denying that food is one of the leading characters in this film of a budding Indian culinary talent who learns French technique from a cookbook, finds a mentor and Michelin stars. Chef Cardoz, the former executive chef of New York City’s Tabla Restaurant and 2011 Top Chef Masters’ winner had never styled food for a movie previously; it was his connection with the book’s author that had him based in Paris for five days creating the Indian and French food filmed in the Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val scenes.
Read the full review and watch the slideshow HERE.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Old Salty’s Restaurant: Tales of Dorchester County

Old Salty's Crab Imperial Oysters
When in Dorchester County Maryland no matter if your are on the way to and from Ocean City, doing Iron Man competitions, biking, fishing, birding or touring the historic sites schedule time to drive to Hooper’s Island and dine for lunch or dinner at Old Salty’s Restaurant located at Fishing Creek. Visually the drive to the island offers panoramic views of the Chesapeake Bay on one side and the Honga River on the other side and on the narrow sections of Hooper’s Islands you can see both.

Old Salty’s is located in the old high school, which to this day the gymnasium hosts many a special event from weddings to an upcoming concert from Ronny Dove on September 22. This is destination dining you need to drive there, as many do and have done repeatedly. Old Salty’s is not fancy in the sense of high end surroundings, in fact, that would deter from country feel, the sense of family dining.

 Maryland crab meat, oysters and rockfish are the center of the plate literally and figuratively at Old Salty’s, all come from the waters right there off Hooper’s Island where fishing, harvesting oysters and crabbing have been a way of life for centuries. Read the full story and watch the slideshow HERE.

Old Salty's Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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