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, December 29, 2016

Citron Restaurant and Bar: A legacy from the past and a fork to the future

Baltimore County, Quarry Lake off Greenspring Avenue is home to caterer Charles Levine’s dream come true restaurant, Citron.  Levine’s culinary career started at the iconic Pimlico Hotel Restaurant, working for his uncle, one of the partners and there was no looking back.

A number of you probably never heard of the Pimlico Hotel Restaurant although, many have; celebrities, dignitaries, sports figures and Baltimoreans dined there. It was “the place” to be and be seen, and featured a menu thick with culinary options from Chateaubriand to their big egg roll. There wasn’t an occasion that wasn’t celebrated at the Pimlico Hotel, in fact, that is where I had my wedding dinner. Always top-notch food and service, it was Baltimore’s premier restaurant.  My sensibilities feel Levine’s Citron yearns to pick up where Pimlico left off. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays

Thank you for your continuing support of Dining Dish over the past 11 years. We wish everyone the brightest of Christmas and Hanukkah holidays.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sneak peek at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Pikesville redux

Happenstance and with my phone handy General Manger of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Tom Isabella, offered an impromptu Facebook Live Tour showing off the recent updates in furnishing, lighting and carpet redux at their Pikesville location. Initially the video had some WiFi connection issues, but it clears up so do enjoy the tour along with the short slideshow.

Normally open for dinner only, they have been open for lunch during the holidays which ends this Friday. They are offering a prix-fixe menufor New Year’s Eve. They are still accepting reservations for New Year’s Eve. 

Since I was at Ruth’s Chris Steak House at lunchtime, I dove into their crab stack appetizer for a light lunch; colossal blue crab peaks perched above a fresh medley of avocado, mango with a spicy rémoulade sauce.  Luckily, my friends like to share so I savored a bite or two from her  ahi tuna appetizer with an Asian sweet, sour dressing. 

There are restaurants that are meant for you to eat and run, that is not Ruth’s Chris Steak House – they want you to sink into the cushioned chairs and richly appointed banquettes and dine. 

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
1777 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, MD  21208
410 837-0033
Instagram: @ruthschris_pikesville Twitter: @RuthsChris_PIK

Monday, December 19, 2016

Food and Wine's Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Every State

Hot of the web, Food and Wine's list of their top picks for the  "Best farm-to-table restaurants" in every state. If you are anything like me, I immediately went to see who they picked for my home state of Maryland. For Maryland, it is a Baltimore local, Maggie's Farm in the Hamilton ---kudos and well deserved..

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dylan's Oyster Cellar officially opened in Hampden

The long awaited Dylan's Oyster Cellar is open at 3601 Chestnut Avenue. Finally in their permanent home, the soft opening was a success, so much so they needed to take a day to re-stock and prepare.  Located in the old florist shop at the corner of Chestnut and 36th Street, Dylan's offers up a diverse menu. Keep in touch via social media.

Facebook and Instagram: @dylansoystercellar
Twitter: @dylansoyster

Waldo is still missing but we found Harvey Shugarman in a little chocolate shop in New Mexico

Baltimorean Harvey Shugarman first came on the scene back in the 80’s when he was the chef at Girard’s Disco and then started rocking it out in the newly opened Greenspring Station with his Harvey’s Restaurant. 

A trend setter, feeding the crème de la crème in Baltimore, the “place to go and be seen” he instituted a lavish brunch buffet back in the day before “brunch” was the hot trend.  Eventually, Shugarman left the day-to-day operation of his own restaurant to go into restaurant consulting, but by 2008 it was hard.  The Shugarman’s Little Chocolate Shop is thriving in New Mexico and has been since he opened it 4 ½ years ago. Read the full story, watch the slideshow and give Harvey a call, he is accepting chocolate orders up through to Monday December 19th no later than 3 pm. The story is at Baltimore Post Examiners Dara Cooks Blog 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Amazing beer and food pairing at Fleet Street Kitchen

Honestly, I thought I hated beer but a recent food and beer pairing from MillerCoors turned me around. 

The only beer I remember having that tasted any good was at the Bluebird Bar on South Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City circa 1968. Not a far walk off the beach to the bar with a friend who treated me to a beer, it was cold, it was wet and it had been a sizzling 100 degrees out in the sun.    

Circa 2016 and an invite by MillerCoors to their Tasting Room,  a multi course beer and food pairing  at the highly touted Fleet Street Kitchen arrived.  Normally I don’t do beer or coffee – I have too many bitter receptors.  A friend and mentor, Antoinette Bruno of had recently encouraged me to taste EVERYTHING when we were at a local coffee shop, even if it isn’t in my culinary roundhouse 

Check out the slideshow and menu at my Dara Cooks blog post at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mama’s on the Half Shell will be open Christmas Day

Mea culpa in my list of restaurants open Christmas Day I forgot put down that Mama’s on the Half Shell in Canton which will be open from 11 am and operating regular hours.  The kitchen will be open from Noon-8pm and offering out their regular menu.

Perfect if you want to carry over the Italian tradition of 7 fishes on Christmas eve through to Christmas day.  It is a great way to get your seafood on for the holidays; a nice bouillabaisse, crab imperial or a solid crab cake platter.    

Mama’s on the Half Shell – 2901 O’Donnell Street- Baltimore, MD 21224 Reservations (410) 276-3160 Facebook and Instagram: @mamasonthehalfshell Twitter: @mamashalfshell

Check out the other restaurants that are open on Christmas Day at my column at Baltimore Post Examiner 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Baltimore area restaurants that are open Christmas Day

When you just want something different for Christmas brunch or dinner. As in years before, I have put together a list of restaurants that are open on Christmas.  I don’t know about you, but all I want for Christmas is Dim Sum from Asian Court in the morning and for the first day of Hanukkah, which falls on Christmas Day, brisket and potato latkes for dinner from Regi’s American Bistro in Federal Hill. Guess what, both are available, as is Italian fare at Sotto Sopra Restaurant in Mt. Vernon or Indian cuisine at Akbar Palace in Randallstown.  Dare to be different and wear your PJ’s and you will get 20% off your tab at Blue Moon and Blue Moon Too in Fell’s Point / Federal Hill.  

Read the full listing and watch the slideshow at my post on Baltimore Post Examiner.

Ellicott City's Asian Court has moved - Dim Sum for Christmas

My go to Asian restaurant for Hong Kong Style Dim Sum, Asian Court, has just moved from its original digs in the Home Depot / Chatham Station Shopping Center just off Baltimore National Pike to Turf Valley Towne Square, 11105 Resort Road  in Ellicott City. 

A recent visit to the new digs on the weekend when dim sum is served from the carts from 11 am to 3 pm offered out too many temptations. Having dim sum with friends, both who have lived in China, is even more fun as metal steamers baskets stacked up upon each other as we delved into dim sum Nirvana. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Local Chef Brian Cieslak on Food Network’s Chopped

A mere 24 years old and chef Brian Cieslak has worked at a number of the top kitchens in Baltimore; Fleet Street Kitchen, Bookmakers and Waterfront Kitchen.  Currently yu can find Chef Cieslak working at the highly regarded Preserve in Annapolis.

Cieslak has worked with Chef Chris Amendola for the last 4 ½ years who is known for his foraging skills and passed that passion on to Brian.

Cieslak’s episode of Chopped will air Thursday, December 15th on the Food Network

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Cha cha changes: B & O American Brasserie

They say timing is everything; well mine might just be a bit off sync in my review of the newly renovated B & O American Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco. Off sync or on sync, as I sit to write my take on a recent meal, The Baltimore Sun food reviewer Suzanne Loudermilk just published her review of the B & O American Brasserie and I concur with her 4 stars.  

Read the full story and watch the slideshow  in my Dara Cooks Baltimore Post Examiner column

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Milton Inn continues to impress

It all adds up! Take a historic 1740 fieldstone building, an inn for travelers for 100 years, one that was a school for boys for 50 years, a private residence and then in 1947, a restaurant, The Milton Inn.

People plan vacations around where they dine and The Milton Inn, which is located in Maryland’s Hunt Country, is just one of those unique establishments where everything from the award winning wines, the local Maryland edibles from the Chesapeake tributaries to rolling lush hills of county farms, rich décor and service make gatherings there so memorable.

On a recent visit to the Milton Inn, a media dinner for the press, we tasted dishes from their C. 1740 Lounge Small Plates menu (starting at $12 per plate) available in the C. 1740 lounge, mingled at a small cocktail reception and toured the restaurant taking in all the recent renovations.  The Milton Inn and Chef Boston’s vision of décor and cuisine always impresses. Being November the Milton Inn, refreshed from the extensive exterior and interior renovations was decked out to ring in the holiday season with panache.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meatballs, Mustaches and Movember, Oh My!

November, designated Movember, is when men grow mustaches to heighten awareness of men’s health issues.  With that in mind, my charity pick and fun evening choice for this coming week is Eatmore (Meat) Balls for Movember. 

Mark your calendar, one of Baltimore’s leading Instagrammers @EatmoreBaltimore and Fell’s Point restaurant 8Ball Meatball  have combined forces to raise awareness of men’s health issues, supporting the Movember Foundation .

There will be no ta-ta’s talk during this evening, it’s about challenging men to be cognizant of their physical and mental health: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide prevention plus a lot of balls (meatballs).  

Participants will enjoy a selection of appetizers, their choice of a complimentary draft beer or specialty cocktail, and Movember swag for a mere $20 donation.

  • When: Wednesday, November 30th from 5:30 to 8:30pm.
  • Where: 8 Ball Meatball – 814 S Broadway – Baltimore MD 21231
  • Purchase Tickets: $20 per person donation  

Prizes will be awarded for the best Movember mustaches! 


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