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, June 26, 2015

Horseshoe Casino hosts 16th Annual "Taste for Life"

Just got word on this American Cancer Society fundraiser to be held Sunday, June 28 from 2 to 6 pm at Horseshoe Casino. Their press release says it all so I'm going to cut and paste.

"Enjoy specialty dishes created by chefs from restaurants at Horseshoe Casino and paired with fabulous wines.   Enjoy tasting all types of wine varietals, with approximately hundred wines to choose from.  Music by the jazz group “Sterling Silver.”  Live and silent auctions including fabulous vacation packages, restaurant certificates, art and more.

Proceeds fund cutting-edge cancer research and services for cancer patients such as Road to Recovery, Look Good Feel Better, and free lodging at Baltimore’s Hope Lodge for cancer patients travelling a distance for treatment.  (We have 31 Hope Lodges across the country).  The American Cancer Society also runs a 24/7 cancer information line (1-800-ACS-2345) – Please promote that people can call anytime for cancer help!  

The participating chefs are:
•    Jimmy Johnson, Chef De Cuisine at Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen & Bar
•    Samantha Foglesong Love, Chef de Cuisine at Johnny Sanchez
•    Eric Littlejohn, Chef de Cuisine at Jack Binion’s Steak House

Almost everyone is affected in some way by cancer – whether it’s a family member’s, friend’s or your own diagnosis.  In 2015, there will be an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed and 589,430 cancer deaths in the U.S., and in Maryland, there will be an estimated 30,050 new cancer cases and 10,470 cancer deaths.  Come to Taste for Life and help support the American Cancer Society’s mission to finish the fight against cancer!" 

Sunday, June 28, 2 – 6 p.m.
Horseshoe Casino- 1525 Russell Street, Baltimore, MD.
Tickets:  $75 in advance; $100 at the door.  410-931-6850

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bookmakers Cocktail Club – Baltimore

 There are numerous restaurant choices at Harborplace but an invite from the Bookmakers Cocktail Club in Federal Hill to dine could not be turned down. I was enthusiastic to again be able to partake of Executive Chef Sarah Acconcia’s creations and of course, a craft cocktail.  We were relishing a staycation at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, which is located across from Harborplace and the harbor.  The hotel is less than a block to the Orange, Purple and Banner free Charm City Circulator bus stops – we took the Purple Line to Federal Hill, the Cross Street stop and onward to Bookmakers which is across the street from the Cross Street Market. (Read the full staycation story HERE.)

 The dark grey exterior of the building matches the grey covered chairs and high back banquettes, bar stools and walls. The long bar with nine recessed shelving arched sections, becomes the stage for the diverse and vast selection of libations. Wood tables, both small and communal, fill the space with bright notes coming from white chandeliers, sconces and fresh flowers.  
 A cocktail to start, of course, it is called Bookmakers Cocktail Club.  The Blind Melon 2.0 made with St. George Green Chili Vodka, Ancho Reyes, fresh lime, watermelon and a sprig of Thai basil was a yin and yang of heat and refreshing fruit – I’m not sure what the Blind Melon 1.0 was but we were pleased with the 2.0 rendition.  Beverage Director Ryan Sparks’ latest creation and new to the cocktail selection was  the Corsican Rose with River Rose Gin, Cocchi Americanno, yuzu juice, fresh cucumber juice, mint and rose water – the refreshing description and taste was ideal for a very hot evening. 

Blind Melon 2.0 - Corsican Rose
Coming to an agreement with my husband on which appetizer to share was difficult because our taste in food aren’t very much aligned when we dine out.  On that hot night, I might have chosen the Barren Island oysters or the special strawberry gazpacho, but I conceded to share lamb and ricotta meatballs with a basil chimichurri. Entrees choices were still of the early spring selection: our choices that night were the Bison Meatloaf with grilled asparagus, walnut romesco mashed potatoes and scallions and the Seafood Risotto but instead of Arborio rice it was Anson Mills rice grits, shrimp, bay scallops, squid and pickled chilis (sans the chorizo listed on the menu).  

The daily featured dessert arrived in a Mason jar, a strawberry shortcake trifle, which highlighted locally grown strawberries and was topped with whipped cream, strawberry syrup and colorful jimmies for the little kid in all of us.  

When we arrived at Bookmakers, it was early, happy hour early and by the time we left the place it had filled up.  I expect with their newly introduced happy and reverse happy hours, Bookmakers will be quite busy.  Happy hour is seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. offering $2 off all items on the food menu (no daily featured items), $2 off all cocktails, drafts, wine by the glass (no straight alcohol) and from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – ½ price bottles of wine.  The late night reverse happy hour is $2 off all alcoholic beverages runs Sunday through Thursday - 10 p.m. until closing, Friday and Saturday – 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club – 31 E. Cross Street, Baltimore, MD , Federal Hill  443.438.4039  Twitter @BookmakersBmore  Instagram @BookmakersBaltimore Facebook

Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Greek restaurant opens in Harbor East.

Cava Mezze, has opened it's doors in Baltimore's Harbor East. This is not the first taste of Cava Mezze, boyhood friends; Dimitri Moshovitis, Ike Grigoropoulos and Ted Xenohristos operate and own three other Cava restaurants: Washington, D.C., Rockville, MD, Arlington, VA . This will be the first for Cava Mezze for Baltimore, a full service Modern Greek restaurant seating 120 guests at tables, booths, chef’s table and the bar. 

Check out the full story and slideshow on

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nando's Peri-Peri giving away free food

Hot off an email, just a cut and paste to keep you advised if you want to do the Nando's Dash.
Nando's Dash!
On your marks, get set, Nan-GO! On Wed. June 17, Nando's Peri Peri is putting on a #NandosDash for you at our Baltimore Street and Harbor East restaurants.

Between 5:00pm and 8:00pm, we're giving away a 1/4 chicken, chicken sandwich, wrap, or pita to each of our fans*, on a first-come-first-served basis. You have to eat-in though, so make sure you get your dash on as there's a limited number of seats available (though we'll try and accommodate as many of you as we can within the hour).

So, what are you waiting for? Come and get some free chicken, on us!

*Terms & Conditions: Only available on June 17, 2015, between 5:00pm and 8:00pm at Nando's PERi-PERi Harbor East located at 1300 Fleet Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202, and Nando's PERi-PERi Baltimore Street located at 421 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201. One free 1/4 chicken, chicken sandwich, wrap, or pita per person, on a first-come-first-served basis, dine-in only. You need to pay for any extras, including sides or drinks (only if you want them!).
Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African-Portuguese restaurant known worldwide for its succulent flame-grilled chicken, hatched its newest location this year in the booming Harbor East neighborhood of Baltimore. Next door to the new Hyatt Place hotel at the corner of South Central and Fleet Streets, the 122-seat restaurant is Nando’s second downtown Baltimore location. “Ever since we opened in Baltimore in 2013, Nando’s fans have been incredibly supportive,” said Burton Heiss, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi USA. “Harbor East provides us with the perfect opportunity to share our fiery PERi-PERi flavors with an even greater Charm City audience.”

Harbor East is a former warehouse district nestled between Little Italy and the Inner Harbor. Before the 20-acre neighborhood was “rediscovered” in the 1990s, one local newspaper described it as a “checkerboard of parking lots and industrial plots.” Today, Harbor East is one of the city’s most upscale haunts, with chic shopping and a vibrant nightlife.

For Nando’s, Harbor East marks the sixth location in Greater Baltimore. There’s the original restaurant at 421 West Baltimore Street plus locations in Towson, Arundel Mills, Laurel and Waugh Chapel. “Baltimore fans clearly get us and love our spicy PERi-PERi chili seasoning,” Heiss said. “We hope to keep expanding in and around Baltimore as our fan base grows.” 

My favorite New York City restaurants

The Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference, Book Expo and meeting up with my sister are all reasons for recent trips to New York City.  The Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference in April pretty much had all the meals covered with dining prepared by the leading women chefs in this country, though a meal before and a meal after the conference made the agenda.  With our opening hours turned around at the Book Expo, my companion and I did lunch instead of dinner.  The 24 hour trip to New York to visit with my sister who was in from California is always filled with great options. A former travel agent, she arrived in New York with things to do, places to see and where to dine on little notes that can be shuffled around at a moment’s notice.

Check out all my top picks for NYC dining, slideshow and recipe video HERE.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Creative Tourism Network wants to bring creative tourism to Baltimore

The Creative Tourism Network,based in Barcelona, Spain wants to bring creative tourism to Baltimore.

“Creative tourism is travel directed toward an engaged and authentic experience, with participative learning in the arts, heritage, or special character of a place, and it provides a connection with those who reside in this place and create this living culture” - UNESCO, Creative Cities Network.

Caroline Couret, co-creator and manager of the Creative Tourism Network, an international organization created with the aim of developing creative tourism, currently operating in over 30 countries, states:

‘I’m very excited about the possibility of this project and to find the points in Baltimore that can be fostered to this kind of tourism and to build bridges between our two cities!
The last couple of years it grew very, very quickly to a much more generalized audience. Conventional tourists are including these participative activities in their program in order to have another approach to the destination. In Barcelona, for instance, in 5 days, the length of our traditional stay in the city, more and more people are devoting 1 day or half a day to an activity which could be a cooking lesson or a dancing lesson, things very different for them and above all, they will certainly bring the best report back, the best souvenir of their stay!”

Blowing glass in Biot (French Riviera), dancing Rumba in Barcelona, baking croissants in Paris, performing a concert in a church in Rome, participating in a cooking class in Bangkok, weaving according to Mayan tradition in Guatemala or even producing chill out music in Ibiza…are some of the many experiences the creative tourists are eager to live, when they travel.’

Ms. Couret talks about her organization in an interview on Baltimore Internet Radio, an internet only radio station that networks Baltimore Md. with people worldwide. The station has listeners in 40 countries and throughout the USA. 

For more information contact:
David Custy                                       
Baltimore Internet Radio LLC      
1810 Bank St                             
Baltimore, Md. 21231
Ph. 410-675-0682
Cell 443-813-8214
Twitter @BaltIntRad

Monday, June 08, 2015

B and O American Brasserie new menu items for spring

B and O American Brasserie is an interesting multi-level dining room in the historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad headquarters that now is home to The Monaco Hotel. The look is reminiscent of a private, luxury rail car – the deep tones of wood and leather permeate both floors with a big picture window to the street, a backdrop to their bar.  Brendan Dorr, mixologist extraordinaire, award winning will shake you up a mean cocktail.  

Invited back by B and O American Brasserie to taste and write about Chef Ransom’s new seasonal additions to their menu. Having enjoyed and relished chef’s culinary offerings when he first made his appearance in the fall of 2014, I couldn’t refuse. 

Check out slideshow and complete story HERE.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Preserve Restaurant - American regional cuisine on Main Street Annapolis.

A short walk up from the marina on Annapolis’s Main Street is Preserve restaurant, a recent addition to state capital’s lunch, dinner and brunch dining establishments. Preserve is a salute on the plate and in a glass to what is fresh and local now and the art of preserving via canning, pickling and fermenting what vegetables and fruits were in their prime seasons before.   

On a pleasantly warm evening in May when I dined at Preserve the garage-styled, rolling front wall was up and pleasant breezes from the bay wafted through the small, but smartly designed restaurant. 

Watch the slideshow and read the full review HERE.


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