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, October 30, 2015

Win $2,500 in restaurant gift certificates - 'A Year of Dining" Raffle

The Restaurant Association of Maryland has kicked off their fundraising campaign for their Maryland ProStart program, a hospitality school-to-career program and you could be one of the three winners. Pick one of three regions that best suits your dining needs: Baltimore, Howard County/Washington DC Suburbs and Annapolis/Eastern Shore and then buy your raffle ticket for $25 – up your odds buy buying 5 tickets at once for $100 or 12 tickets for $200.  

Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for 25 different area restaurants -  a $2500 total value in prizes.  Drawing date is December 7, 2015 Purchase  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Center Cut Doughnuts and Sugarvale's cocktail and doughnut one night only event

For a culinary adventure, the new taste junkie should consider making it to Sugarvale’s on Wednesday, November 4th when they host Center Cut Doughnuts for an off-menu cocktail and doughnut mash-up. Surgarvale’s owner Phil Han describes the event, “We are teaming up with Josh Kowitz from Hampden Farmers’ Market celeb Center Cut Doughnuts to serve up cocktails that pair with his sell-out doughnuts. We’ll also be working together to come up with a collaborative items where charcuterie meets baked goods, like a Hog Syrup-Glaze wth cinnamon pork rinds and a Smoked Chicken doughnut sandwich with raspberry-scorpion chili jam.”

The event starts at 7 p.m. and runs through to 11 p.m. but ‘dollars to doughnuts’ they will run out of the doughnuts before 11 p.m. – “fair warning Will Robinson!!!”

Sugarvale, a micro wine, cocktail and charcuterie bar is located in Mt. Vernon at 4 W. Madison. They are open Tuesdays through Saturdays opening at 5 p.m. till 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturdays until 2 a.m. 410-609-3162. Twitter and Instagram: @SugarvaleBmore  Facebook

Free coffee for a year to first 100 customers at Corner Bakery Cafe

Corner Bakery Café is known for made-to-order scramblers, grilled panini, hand-tossed salads, homemade soups, hearty pastas and freshly baked sweets. Mark your calendar to be one of the first 100 guests in line on Monday, November 2 at 6 a.m. at the new Corner Bakery’s Columbia location.  Not only will you receive refills of the hand-roasted coffee for a year, you will receive a commemorative travel mug to hold those coffees.

The new location of the Corner Bakery Café will be 10000 Town Center Avenue, Columbia MD 21044 443-917-4042.  @corner bakery

During opening week, guests will also have a chance to win FREE signature panini for a year. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Free parking makes Horseshoe Baltimore Casino optimum place to spend your happy hour

Horseshoe Baltimore Casino might not have been your first thought on spending your happy hour in Downtown Baltimore but with ample, and I mean ample, free parking and special happy hour deals – why not. Don’t fight the evening traffic, just park your car and choose from the specials at Johnny Sanchez, Jack Binion’s Steak or Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen + Bar.

Check out the all the specials and the slideshow at Examiner .com / Dining

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Autumn inspired lunch menu at Wit and Wisdom Tavern

The new Autumn menu at Wit and Wisdom Tavern is two parts, the casual menu comes with a pencil so you can tick off your choices on the Make Your Own Salad (choose up to 10 items for $13), Signature Salads, Soups & Sandwiches or the Mix & Match (Soup and ½ Sandwich). For a heartier salad choose a protein from hard boiled eggs to seared rockfish.  

Personally, I couldn’t resist the new Oyster Po Boy, crispy fried oysters with the Old Bay rémoulade and dill pickle, that and a bowl of their chicken noodle soup to take that edge off the autumn chill.  The new cocktail on the lunch menu is the Fig Pimpin 2.0 – Nikka Coffey grain whiskey, yellow chartreuse, maple, Carpano Formula Antica, lemon, house fig jam – shaken (not stirred) in a Collins glass with a fig seemed to be the choice of my lunch companions and a sip of theirs proved their good taste.  Since one cocktail can put me out, my beverage of choice was the yuzu mocktail. My two hostesses created their own salads and had the very rich crab bisque. By the way, their bread is to-die-for especially with the honey butter.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow at / Dining

Boorito is back from Chipotle - $3 meals on Halloween

In anticipation of Halloween, Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced the return of its popular holiday fundraiser, Boorito.  On Saturday, October 31, from 5pm to close, Chipotle will offer $3 burritos, salads, bowls and tacos to those who arrive dressed in costume—with an added “unnecessary element.”

To showcase the simplicity of its ingredients, this year Chipotle is asking its costumed customers to add an “unnecessary” element to their outfits, drawing attention to the extraneous additives typically found in fast food (ingredients that Chipotle does not use in its food preparation).

Proceeds from Boorito, up to $1 million, will benefit the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which provides resources for farmers, promotes better livestock husbandry, fosters food literacy and nutritious eating, and more:

In conjunction with Boorito, Chipotle will also release its second short film, Endless Line,piggybacking on the success of its 2013 animated release “The Scarecrow.”  For more information on Boorito and to watch “Endless Line,” visit

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cucina Antica's Tuscany Pasta Sauce - all natural, gluten free

What the Oscars are to the movies, the Tonys to the Broadway plays, the James Beard Award to restaurants and chefs is what the Sofi Awards are to the specialty food industry and in 2014, Cucina Antica Foods’s Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce won first place in the Outstanding Pasta Sauce Division.  Learn more about this scrumptious sauce and how you can win a jar at Examiner . com  / Food

Monday, October 19, 2015

Baltimore City annouces the dates for 2016 Winter Restaurant Week

Visit Baltimore informs us, “Hungry patrons can take advantage of this opportunity to explore their own backyards and try new cuisines each year. Restaurants offering lunch will feature a two-course, prix-fixe menu for $15 or $20 (not including liquor, tax or gratuity). For dinner, a three-course, prix-fixe menu will be offered for $25 or $35 (not including liquor, tax or gratuity).”

I know it is hard to think winter when summer is just behind us. Possibly the freezing temperatures last night will put us in the correct mindset.  Getting restaurant reservations during Winter Restaurant Week will heat up starting Friday, January 22nd and concluding on Sunday, January 31, 2016.  A number of restaurants do extend the promotion but that won’t be posted until we are in the promotional dates.

Restaurant week is a combined effort of Visit Baltimore and Downtown Partnership of Baltimore to promote our restaurateurs during the slower weeks of the year. 

Not all participating restaurants will offer BOTH lunch and dinner prix-fixe pricing, and some restaurants do exclude weekends. 

The official website is still reflecting Summer Restaurant Week but will change soon with a full list of the participating restaurants -  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Barrel-aged vinegars from California wine country: Sparrow Lane

One of my favorite finds from this summer’s International Fancy Food Show, I was able to talk with Sparrow Lane’s Chef Jesse Layman and taste their numerous vinegar offerings.  This was Nirvana for me, the well-balanced flavors of the natural products; I wanted to take them all home with me.   My flavor palate has always run sweet and tart and vinegars are most definitely in my flavor wheelhouse. Picking a favorite on of their vinegars is too difficult!

Walnut champagne vinegar, ginger pear rice vinegar, vanilla bean balsamic vinegar,  Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, California peach vinegar and those are just a few of Sparrow Lane’s vinegar selections.  Based in California wine country, Sparrow Lane uses only the best wines to make their vinegars, aged with local fruits and spices adding a well-round burst of flavor for your culinary creations and libations; salads, shrubs or that special splash of acid to finish your dish.  

Read the full story  and watch the video at Examiner. com  / Food

Friday, October 16, 2015

Local restaurants cook with Guinness

Each year local restaurants are challenged to create a menu item ( it could be sweet or savory) containing Guinness Stout for the Taste of Guinness. And it is that time of year for the Irish Charities of Maryland’s Annual Taste of Guinness cook-off fundraiser this coming Thursday, October 22nd.  Each year multiple restaurants take on this challenge in the hopes of being chosen the “Judges Choice” and have the opportunity to showcase their winning recipe during the Maryland Irish Festival.

You are invited to join in the tasting for a mere $10 / payable at the door – plenty of food and a cash bar to whet your whistle.

Thursday, October 22 at the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3, 3920 Buena Vista Avenue in Hampden/Baltimore. Door open 6 -10 p.m. – Proceeds benefit the Irish Charities of Maryland

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Baltimore's Crab and Oyster Celebration at over 20 local restaurants.

Over 20 local restaurants are participating, featuring these culinary gifts on your plates from the Chesapeake Bay. The seafood party starts Friday, October 16th through Sunday, October 25th. Peruse the participating restaurant menus and make reservations – go, indulge in the bounty of the Chesapeake. I have to admit, this is a cut and paste from Dine Downtown Baltimore, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. 

Aggio - Reservations
Tonnarelli Nero

Maryland blue crab, jalapeño, uni, pepperoni crumb, chesapeake bay spices

B&O American Brasserie -
Maryland Crab Cake
Lemon confit fingerlings, slaw of celeries, lemon vinaigrette
Chesapeake Oysters
Smoked trout roe, campari mignonette, shiso

Cava Mezze -
Crab Cakes
CAVA classic, baked jumbo lump crab, spring herbs, lemon

Charleston -
Cornmeal Fried Oysters
With lemon-Cayenne mayonnaise & upland cress

Cinghiale -
Beau Soleil Oysters

With chiogga beet & horseradish agro dolce, borage
Diamond Tavern -
Grilled Oysters
Grilled oysters with Fra Diavolo sauce
Raw Oysters
On the half shell; dozen and ½ dozen
Crab Cocktail
Jumbo lump cocktail, house made cocktail sauce
Crab and brie pretzel bites
Grain mustard cream and burnt sugar
Broiled crab cake
Zucchini risotto, corn, roasted red pepper butter

Germano's PIATTINI -
Maryland Crab Cake

With garlic and sea salt fries 
Mamma Mia Sunday Brunch Menu
Miss Baltimore Crabs/ Crab Cake Benedict
Poached egg, jumbo lump crab, hollandaise, peppers, chives, arugula salad

Luna del Sea -
Maryland Crab Soup
Cream of Crab Bowl
Fresh Maryland Crab Cakes
Fresh Maryland Crab Imperial
Fresh Oysters on Half Shell
Oysters Stuffed with Crab Imperial
Maryland Soft shell Crabs
Seafood Trio
Jumbo Lump crab cake served with sautéed shrimp and scallops, and topped with a garlic white wine sauce. Served with a side of ratatouille.

Miss Shirley's
Down on the Bayou Benedict 
Poached eggs & cornmeal encrusted fried oysters, Andouille sausage & collard greens on an English muffin with Cajun hollandaise, Old Bay remoulade & Tabasco bacon onion jam, dusted with Cajun spice
Seafood Caesar
Cornmeal-encrusted oysters, blackened shrimp, grilled salmon, baby red & green romaine, red & yellow grape tomatoes & shaved Parmesan cheese with creamy horseradish Caesar dressing & fried salt & pepper flatbread crouton, dusted with Old Bay
Bay-O Po’ Boy 
Cornmeal-encrusted oysters or jumbo lump crab cake, Tabasco bacon onion jam, Bibb lettuce, red & yellow tomatoes Ciabatta, dusted with Old Bay
Pazo - Reservations

With ruby red Granita, chili, shallot and radish
Crab and Avocado Bruschetta

Phillips Seafood -
Oysters on the Half Shell
A rotating selection of local Maryland oysters
Chesapeake Combo
Hoopers Island Crab Cake made with Maryland crab meat alongside local oysters fried to a golden brown
Ultimate Crab Cake
Eight ounces of Maryland jumbo lump crab meat; served with crab macaroni and cheese and asparagus

Riptide by the Bay -
Crab Stuffed Shell Pasta
With Old Bay béchamel and anchovy velouté
Oyster Risotto
With truffle oil
Grilled Oysters
With passion fruit sabayon

Rusty Scupper -
Raw Oysters
Fresh Choptank Sweet Oysters 

Oyster Po' Boy
Cornmeal fried oysters, rémoulade, lettuce, tomato, john’s baguette
Maryland-Style Crab Cake Sandwich
Lettuce, tomato, rémoulade
Cornmeal Fried Oysters
Apple-fennel slaw, oyster stew emulsion, bacon lardons
Maryland-Style Crab Cake
Fried green tomato, seasonal succotash, roasted tomato coulis, rémoulade
Local Oyster Night every Tuesday, featuring $1 Chesapeake Oysters

The French Kitchen -
Oyster Rockefeller
Crab Cake (appetizer size)

Tir NA Nog Baltimore -
Crab Cakes

Ware House 518 
Fried Oysters
Tomato Crab Bruschetta

Check back soon for menus from the following restaurants:
Family Meal -
La Scala Ristorante Italiano -
Ryleigh’s Oyster Federal Hill and Mount Vernon
The Oceanaire Seafood Room -


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