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, February 28, 2016

Brunch all day Sunday: FLAVOR Restaurant in Mt. Vernon

Executive Chef Julia Belton brings serious street creds to FLAVOR: A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Cornell’s Business Hospitality School and working at the 3 starred Michelin rated Eleven Madison Park under Chef Daniel Humm.

I had met Vanna and Julia Belton, FLAVOR owners, about six weeks ago to talk about the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs organization and it was at that time they invited me back as their guest. Brunch it was going to be.

The new FLAVOR Restaurant, Bar and Lounge, formerly located in the spot known as the Midtown Yacht Club and Midtown BBQ , has cleaned up the former’s act --- no more peanut shells on the floor. A total remodel on the Mt. Vernon space on Centre Street, FLAVOR is fresh, clean and bright. The muted pale grey washed brick façade with a large picture window, lets plenty of light in the main dining room and bar. Wood floors, well placed mirrors, off white wainscoting and light grey walls open up the small space to feel very spacious and airy.

Watch the slideshow and read the full story at

Friday, February 26, 2016

Frederick Restaurant Week March 6 th to March 12 th

Frederick Restaurant Week Dates and Restaurants Announced!
Frederick Restaurant Week is a 7-day promotion that features unique and fine dining options available in Downtown Frederick and the surrounding area. Participating restaurants will offer diners multi-course meals at mouth-watering prices the week of March 6-12, 2016.

Featuring 20 restaurants, Frederick Restaurant Week is the perfect ti me to visit a favorite restaurant or try something new. Chefs will prepare delicious multi-course menus. During Frederick Restaurant Week, lunches and dinners are offered at various special prices. All costs are exclusive of tax, beverages and gratuity.

2016 Participating Restaurants: 
  • Alexanders Restaurant L/D
  • Ayse Meze Lounge  L/D
  • Brewer's Alley  L/D
  • Bushwaller's  L/D
  • Cafe Nola D
  • Cellar Door
  • Family Meal  L/D
  • Firestone's Culinary Tavern L/D
  • Il Porto  L/D
  • Isabella's Taverna & Tapas Bar  L/D
  • JoJo's Restaurant & Taphouse L/D
  • Lazy Fish L/D
  • Mayta's Peruvian Cuisine L/D
  • Pistarro's  L/D
  • Red Horse D
  • Reina Bar & Restaurant L/D
  • Sumittra Thai Cuisine L/D 
  • Tasting Room L/D
  • Volt D
  • Wine Kitchen L/D
L = Lunch
D = Dinner 
   FredRestWk Logo
During Frederick Restaurant Week, no tickets or special passes are needed. However, reservations are strongly recommended. Contact the individual restaurants to make your reservations.
Restaurant menus and contact information can be found on the website.   

Leap year babies eat for free

Is it fair, I ask you that Leap Year babies get free food because they were born February 29th, a birthday that comes once every four years?  Heck, we age every year and they age every four years, is that fair?. Then again, they will have problems with Social Security and Medicare – I wonder how that works? Just  having some fun.

If you are a leap year baby here in Baltimore, you can eat for free for breakfast, brunch and dinner. These following restaurants have you covered. On February 29th, all you have to do is present a photo ID upon being seated and then order their special delectable leap year promotion meal.

Breakfast – start early, as early as 6:30 a.m. at GEB’s BBQ in Woodlawn to receive a free breakfast sandwich.  Don’t let the industrial park surroundings throw you; the interior is quite nice as is the food.

GEB’S BBQ  Restaurant - 7205 Rutherford Rd, Windsor Mill, MD 21244 410.298.4634  Facebook Twitter & Instagram @GebsBBQ

Lunch/Brunch – Leaplings eat  Free “Cakes” – that is, anyone born on February 29th and one guest, will share a free crab CAKE Po’ Boy and a tall stack of specialty panCAKES when visiting one of the Miss Shirley’s Cafes. The offer is only good for 1 visit total (one location for the whole day-February 29th)

Miss Shirley’s Café locations:  Inner Harbor, Annapolis and Roland Park -  Facebook Twitter & Instagram @MissShirleys

Dinner – Show the folks at Langermann  your photo ID that you are a leap year baby and enjoy a free entrée up to $25 value. One visit only on February 29th. The promotion is not applicable with other promotions or discounts. 

Langermanns - 2400 Boston St #101a, Baltimore, MD 21224 410.534.3287  Facebook   Twitter @langermannsBalt

Don’t forget to take care of your servers. Certain restrictions do apply at each location. Happy Birthday leaplings!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Private Kitchen at The Food Market now open to the public

Chefs’ tables are dining tables set up in restaurant kitchens so guests can be immersed in the mystique and the  intensity of the kitchen’s inner workings during service.  Chefs’ tables are not new but what is new and open to the public is the “Private Kitchen” at The Food Market in Hampden.  The Private Kitchen is not exactly in the restaurant kitchen, it is located in the basement where one walks past storage, the walk-in and around the corner to a private dining room and fully equipped kitchen.

Having recently sampled the Monthly Open Chef’s 5 Course Dinner that The Food Market is offering on March 26th, one would be lucky to grab one of the twelve tickets for sale at $80 each.  Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis.

Watch the video, slideshow and read the full story / Dining

Friday, February 19, 2016

Discount dining with free app Loupe in multiple cities: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New Orleans

Loupe, formerly City Dining Cards, is evolving with their new app for both I-Phones and Droids. The app lists a large selection of restaurants in the city and surrounding areas.  A good number of those restaurants offer a $10 discount on $40/ $5 off $20 purchases of food and reusable after 90 days from the previous dining.  Baltimore, Buffalo, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Rochester and Syracuse are enjoying the discounts now with Chicago, Philadelphia and Toronto to soon come aboard.

The application is free, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. New restaurants are being added every day. 

For Baltimore readers here are just a handful of the numerous restaurants on Loupe offering the discount:

Nickel Taphouse
La Cuchara
The Food Market 
Tapas Teatro
Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano
The Brewer’s Art

 Go to to download the free app and save on dining. Facebook   Twitter and Instagram @getloupeapp 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New food hall R. House announces the first of 10 concepts: Ground & Griddled

Chef Dave Sherman, owner of Hampden’s Café Cito is the first confirmed concept for R. House and it’s called Ground & Griddled.  “Ground & Griddled will be a destination where both the food novice and super foodie can come and enjoy unpretentious breakfast and brunch cuisine with ridiculously warm hospitality,” Sherman said. “My mission is to make people feel completely comfortable asking questions about different coffees, techniques, and menu ingredients so that they can really enjoy their experience. I just want to share my love for coffee and eggs with everyone in Charm City.”

Read the full story and watch the video - Dining

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

8 Ball Meatball - Get your meatball on and more

Photo courtesy of 8 Ball Meatball - Meatball sub with salad
Yes, there are meatballs and I’ll get to that in a minute. There are starters like charcuterie, fried pickles, bruschetta of the day and rotating specials.  Salads, yes – house salad, seasonal salad and roasted veggies.  Starches, check – mashed potatoes, creamy, cheesy polenta, a daily risotto, white beans and kale and spaghetti or rigatoni.  Put an egg on it, available for a small surcharge. Your sweet tooth isn’t ignored – churros with dipping sauce and ice cream by the scoop.  

Burger King was on to something a long time ago with the concept of “having it your way.” As fast food chains like McDonalds and others like them are scrambling to get their customers back, fast casual concept restaurants that let you choose your ingredients, creating a meal to your personal preferences  are the rage.  Enter Baltimore’s latest fast casual concept, 8 Ball Meatball that is opening this Sunday, February 21st in Fells Point at the old Tapas Adela location, 814 South Broadway. 

Owner, local Paul Weitz, “There are a ton of great restaurant options in Fells Point, but we hope to bring something unique to the table (pun intended). This is a town that appreciates solid, high-quality food and we are very optimistic our customizable meatball selections will hit the spot.”

Open for lunch daily at 11 a.m. and until midnight from Sunday, through Wednesday and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday – perfect for the bar patrons in the waterfront neighborhood. 

As the 8 Ball Meatball website says, anything can be made into a meatball. The restaurant will offer four types of meatballs daily — classic, gluten-free herb chicken, spicy pork and vegetarian — and five sauces, classic tomato, Parmesan cream, spicy pork, pesto and mushroom gravy. A fifth rotating "special ball" and sauce will also be available each night.  Customers can order their meatball selection to be served in a bowl, as a sub or sliders with their choice of side dishes.

Oh, don’t let me forget that guests can imbibe with a beer, wine or a craft cocktail.

8 Ball Meatball – 814 South Broadway – Baltimore, MD 21231 – 443-759-5315  Facebook  Twitter and Instagram @8ballmeatball

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Asian restaurant Red Goji is now open in Baltimore county

The restaurant is named after the bright orange-red berry from a shrub in China that has a sweet tart taste. Not only is the goji berry the namesake of this restaurant you will find the slightly sweet tart berry in one of the house specialties, Red Goji chicken --- stir fried chicken with goji berries, mushrooms and scallions in a sweet oyster sauce.  The menu boasts a whole Peking duck, dinner for two with the appropriate scallions, hoisin sauce and pancakes.  

If I hadn’t been going to Goldberg’s Bagels in Club Center I wouldn’t have even known there was a new Asian restaurant. The shopping center sits recessed off Reisterstown Road in the heart of Pikesville’s commercial district.  A number of you might remember it as Olive & Sesame.  Open now for a couple months, Red Goji is Asian – offering a selection of Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes.

For those who love sushi, nigiri and/or sashimi, Red Goji can accommodate you ala carte or choose the lunch or dinner choices.  

Pad Thai, lettuce wraps and Tom Yum soup give a nod to the Thai influences that are served up at Red Goji. 

Red Goji Restaurant – Club Center – 1500 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD  21208 443 450-5993 Closed on Mondays. Eat in or carry out.  There is no website and no social media. There is plenty of free parking available.  

Charm City Chocolate opens their doors in Hampden

Charm City Chocolate candy shop offers up an assortment of handcrafted chocolates by local owners Todd and Michelle Zimmerman, along with a variety of gummy candies, jelly beans and old-time sweet treats. 

With Valentine’s Day, just a couple days away, seems the perfect timing to taste test the new Charm City Chocolates located at 809 W. 36th Street (the Avenue) in Hampden Village.  Nothing could be better for your loving partner than a heart shaped box of the rich, decadent chocolate covered, gooey cherries! Well, that and the chocolate covered strawberries would rank high on my list. (hint, hint!)

Chocolate bonbons, truffles, creams, fondants, fudge and more are handmade on-site at Charm City Chocolate using the finest ingredients and family recipes. Specialties include the above mentioned cordial cherries and their Chesapeake Crunch, a savory chocolate confection that blends old Maryland flavor favorites.

Maybe you want to give more than a box of chocolates; the Zimmerman’s have themed gift baskets.
Current store hours are 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For more information, go to or follow them on Facebook at or on Twitter @charmcitycandy and Instagram @charmcitychocolate  443-449-5164

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

"The Supper" culinary competition announces names of competing chefs

The emcee, a James Beard nominee, celebrity chef and restaurateur Bryan Voltaggio, announced today the competing, award-winning Baltimore chefs for the Saturday, April 23rd St. Agnes Hospital  Foundation “The Supper” fundraiser to be held at the Marriott Waterfront.

Similar to Chef José Andrés long-running Washington, DC ” Capital Food Fight” in its format, “The Supper” has four of Baltimore’s top chefs cook, Iron Chef style, in a kitchen arena, for guests to cheer on.  The emcees will dish out play-by- play commentary for guests as the 3 course culinary duels commence. Like March Madness’s tiered competition, the winning chefs from the first two courses will go sauté pan, chef knife and Microplanes against each other to receive the top toque bragging rights.

Baltimore’s Ouzo Bay Restaurant is template for 2nd location in Boca Raton

Baltimore’s own Atlas Restaurant Group, owners of Ouzo Bay, Azumi, Harbor East Deli and soon to open Loch Bar are expanding with a second rendition of their Ouzo Bay Greek Kouzina to open in Boca Raton, Florida late summer 2016.

When contacted, spokesperson Joe Sweeney advised, “We have an operating partner in Boca Raton and this is the first part of their planned expansion and goal of opening multiple units for the Ouzo Bay concept over the next 10 year.” 

Located in the upscale Mizner Park in Boca Raton, the new Ouzo Bay will seat 325 comfortably and continue to promote their Mediterranean cuisine with a strong salute to its Greek influence – OPA!  Menu items will highlight whole, fresh fish flown in from around the world, grass-fed lamb, and prime beef.   The “posh” full-service bar and lounge will feature handcrafted cocktails, small batch whiskeys and a strong Greek selection of wines. 


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