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, March 25, 2016

International guide to the best pizzas worldwide: Where To Eat Pizza

What constitutes the best pizza? Well, we all have different tastes: deep dish, thin or thick crust, pan baked, coal or wood burning oven, round, square, lots of toppings or minimalist, old school or nouveau. 

Daniel Young, the former restaurant critic of The New York Daily News and London’s pop-up pioneer behind, reached out to chefs and culinary mavens world-wide, 121 regional experts, to find the best of the best pizzas and the end result is Where To Eat Pizza,  coming to bookshelves in April. This was no small feat: 576 pages, 48 countries, 1705 pizzerias, 1077 experts equals this one guide: Where to Eat Pizza. These are the top pizza parlours, pizzerias and joints in 48 countries world-wide listed in this compendium, but the discussion on the best slice is always in play.

From Argentina to Vietnam, no matter your travels, you can and will be able to find the best pizza the city has to offer, and there is more than one per location. Each pizza parlour is complete with an address, phone number, website, hours, credit card or cash, style of pizza and their recommended pizza and the local expert’s commentary. From the best crusts, to the tastiest toppings --- you will not be disappointed.

Author Daniel Young reached out to me to coordinate the experts for the Baltimore pizza picks.  A thanks to my culinary experts: Chef Cyrus Keefer, Kathy Patterson, and Downtown Diane for their submission to the book:  

What local places made the Baltimore pick - well you may or may not agree:

Bagby Pizza (The original one on Fleet Street)
Earth, Wood & Fire
Johnny Rads
Matthew's Pizza
Our House
Verde Pizza

The book cover says it best, “This international guide is by the real insiders: over 1,000 chefs, critics, pizza makers, bakers and industry people in the know.  Where To Eat Pizza will tell you all you need to know from where to find the tastiest Margherita in Naples to the most popular late-night joint in São Paulo.”

Where To Eat Pizza – The Last word on the Slice  Author: Daniel Young Publisher: Phaidon / Hardback Facebook  Instagram & Twitter @WhereToEatPizza  Available for purchase on Amazon  On sale April, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Bagby Restaurant Group Welcomes New Executive Chef at Cunningham’s

Towson's Cunningham Restaurant announced today that Chef Jay Rohlfing, a Baltimore native has taken over the top toque position. Rohlfing has worked at a number of top restaurant in Baltimore: Harbor Court and Linwoods in Owings Mills.

Chef Rohlfing describes his approach to cooking as “cooking with the seasons,” and enjoys creating approachable dishes and a fantastic experience for each and every guest. He is excited to have the ability to source products from Cunningham Farms – and believes that knowing where a product comes from only multiplies the respect culinary staff has for their craft. Chef Rohlfing’s favorite pastime is growing his and his wife’s small farm. The couple raises chicken, ducks, rabbits, and a bounty of vegetables each season.


Monday, March 21, 2016

The Manor Tavern in Baltimore's northern horse country: Refreshed and fresh

In recent years, The Manor Tavern was bought, a rebirth began, and the expansion and renovations continue.  It was 2015 that The Manor Tavern brought on Executive Chef George Batlas, a seasoned pro, who has taken the tavern to new heights.  For those regulars, certain dishes can’t come off the menu like their gumbo and the crab and turkey club; they are quite good – a couple of my favorites when I worked at the Manor Tavern.  What is exciting are the new menu items, they intrigue me- their beer can chicken, a whole chicken roasted upright in their ovens, perched on a can of National Bohemian beer or their grilled cauliflower steak with lemon herb emulsion – perfect for the vegan in the family.  

Amongst the rolling hills of northern Baltimore County, the heart of Maryland’s horse country sits the Manor Tavern.  The “Tavern” as it is called to its regular patrons, started out as a stables back 1750, it is said that George Washington’s horse slept there. It has evolved from a dirt floor saloon with its latest, and greatest incarnation, a restaurant that embraces the American and regional bounty along with sustainable products from their garden. Local providers’ names; Verdant Valley Farm, Charlottetown Farm, Jarrettsville Creamery, Creekstone Farms, and Stone Mill Bakery dot their menus.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow at  / Dining

Full Service Restaurant Magazine names local chef as "Rising Star"

Chef de Cusine, Zachary Leonardi,  at Reisterstown's Ristorante Firenze is named "Rising Star" by Full Service Restaurant Magazine.  Leaonardi is the youngest in the list of 40 rising stars nationally. Leonardi’s lineage includes a family of restauranteurs with his great-grandfather, grandfather, great uncle and father all being involved with a number of Italian-themed restaurants and pasta shops, and he naturally meshed in his new role with Ristorante Firenze, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. He is currently completing his culinary degree at Anne Arundel Community College.  

Ristorante Firenze offers an upscale casual atmosphere with a diverse lunch and dinner menu that delivers a consistent Tuscan dining experience made from fresh ingredients. The restaurant is outfitted with a stylish bar/lounge with comfortable armchairs facing a ribbon fireplace and wide-screen television sets. Adult beverage offerings include creative hand-made cocktails, a premium wine list with more than 100 labels, and a diverse selection of bottle and draft beers. Free parking is available on a connected surface lot. 

Ristorante Firenze - 2 Hanover Road - Reisterstown Maryland 21136  410 394 5577  @eatfirenze 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chopped Junior now casting

Can your child flambé, sous vide and roulade? Do they cook way better than you? If they are really good, consider entering them in Chopped Junior on the Food Network.

Food Network is looking for the most talented kid chefs around the country who have what it takes to compete on Chopped Junior. They are in search of young culinary masterminds between the ages of 9 and 13 who can take the heat in the kitchen and the competition!

For more information and how to apply, please visit their website at  If you have any questions or require further information, please email them at or feel free to contact Samantha Miller Casting Assistant 212-359-9514

Three local restaurants expanding in the Baltimore region.

&Pizza opening first Baltimore location.
Here are 3 new restaurants coming to the Baltimore region. Most of the information below has come from their press releases.  Indulge and go to their websites or social media pages to learn more. 

Basta Pasta, a full service Italian and seafood restaurant/bar has signed a lease with St. John Properties, Inc for a space at Liberty Exchange, at the intersection of Maryland Routes 32 and 25 in Eldersburg. This will be the 3rd Basta Pasta and the first for Carroll County, the other two one in Fallston and one in Timonium

“The Eldersburg trade area continues to be under-served by restaurants, and Basta Pasta is introducing an extremely popular concept that has been well-received in Baltimore and Harford Counties,” explained Bill Holzman, Vice President of Retail Leasing for St. John Properties. “We envision Basta Pasta appealing to both families and businesses in the local trade area that are looking for a quality dining environment and experience.” 

Read the full story at / Dining 

Mark your calendar and buy your ticket: 5th Annual Taste of Pikesville

Eat, drink and be merry at the  Annual Taste of Pikesville, Wednesday, April 6th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 pm.  This is the fifth year that the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce has pulled together numerous restaurants who will sample their comestibles and libations for attendees.  Whether you are a Pikesville resident or living in Canton, this is the deal of the month, $40 per person with advanced ticket sales or if you are a procrastinator, it is $45 at the door. Even better, a portion of the proceeds will be going to Meals on Wheels. 

The Taste of Pikesville will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton Pikesville, just off 695. There is plenty of free parking, easy access off Reisterstown Road at the beltway and again, only $40 per person.
Enjoy the noshes from these local restaurants and food purveyors (in no particular order):

Stone Mill Bakery
Bagby Pizza
Gourmet Again
Suburban House
Silk Road
Island Quizine
Mari Luna Latin
MIski Peruvian Chicken
Mr. Chan
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Corner Bakery
For the Love of Food – cooking school and catering

5th Annual Taste of Pikesville – Wednesday, April 6th – Double Tree by Hilton Pikesville – 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.   TICKETS:  $40 IN ADVANCE - $45 AT THE DOOR

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Successful Mother's Grille Restaurant opens 3rd location in Timonium

Dave Rather, founder of Mother’s Grilles - Federal Hill and Pasadena, had a packed house this week when he opened his 3rd bar and grille in a former Applebee’s location on Padonia Road.  Mother’s, an established  bar and restaurant,  started out in 1997 in Federal Hill, which was and is still perceived to be a sports bar that serves food, but not plain bar food, from scratch made food (95% made in house).

Rather and his brother Adam, the Executive Chef for Mother’s have regular customers who patronized Mother’s back in 1997 and have gotten married, had children and now living in the suburbs. That is the impetus to their expansion with the 2nd location in Pasadena and this new Mother’s North Grille in the Timonium/Hunt Valley corridor. Those of you in the Howard County area can look forward to your own Mother’s with an opening date in 2017.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow at / Dining

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Three Baltimore businesses featured on the Food Network

Reality shows reign supreme on the Food Network and Baltimore has been well represented in the past and March delivers a full plate of two Baltimore chefs and one food loving student of no-nonsense BBQ on three very different shows. 

First up for your viewing pleasure is BBQ traditionalist L. Drew Pumphrey owner of the food truck, The Smoking Swine. Pumphrey’s show airs  this Friday, March 11th at 10 pm on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – the episode “Smoke and Seafood.”  

The Waverly Brewing Company and The Smoking Swine invite you to the premiere party of the episode this Friday at 1625 Union Avenue - BBQ will be slung and brewery-fresh beers will flow.  Follow Smoking Swine:  Facebook    Twitter & Instagram @thesmokingswine.  

Read the full story and watch the video at

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Four Chefs and a Pairing: Fundraiser of the month

If anyone knows how to throw a party, caterers and event planners do!  On Monday, March 21st the Baltimore Chapter of NACE (National Association of Catering and Event Professionals) will have their annual party and fundraiser at the Grand Baltimore benefitting Moveable Feast.  Enjoy a Grand cocktail hour, and then stroll through FOUR ballrooms with cooking demonstrations with 4 Celebrity Chefs.  Each chef will prepare a dish while you watch and learn.   And each dish is paired with a refreshing libation.

After you've schmoozed with four celebrity chefs, join the BONUS Celebrity Chef for dessert, while dancing the night away to live entertainment!

The Baltimore NACE Fundraiser is always the party of the year!  Get your tickets now, and support Movable Feast.

Hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour prepared by
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront , Eleven Courses , The Manor Tavern

The Four Chefs - Cooking Demonstrations & Main Plates:
Chef Egg (Erik Berlin), with The Grand 
Chef Brigitte O. Bledsoe from Miss Shirley's, with The Classic Catering People
Chef Daniel Horwitz from The Pantry Catering
Chef Jerry Pellegrino from  Schola

Chef Jason Hisley from La Cakerie 

Breakthru Distributors, Full Tilt Brewing & Barr Hill Gin sponsoring paired cocktails 

Learn more about Four Chefs and a Pairing at Facebook -

Four Chefs and a Pairing - March 21, 2016 - 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
The Grand Baltimore
225 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Venue Website

Friday, March 04, 2016

Big birthday bash for 200 year old Loane Brothers

The party to see and be seen was last night, harbor side, at the historic lighthouse at Pier 5 where the Baltimore based business, Loane Bro, Inc. put on their 200th birthday party.  The family owned business known for tenting, party rentals and awnings decked out the pier with the strategically placed tenting that offered up views of the harbor and the sky.

Two hundred years ago, Loane Brothers, sail makers, at that time, were located at the base of South Street near Pier 1 and have ridden the test of time throughout Baltimore’s great fire, making tents and flags for the Union Army through to manufacturing parachute sling assemblies for B-26 bombers during World War II. The name has changed and adapted over the years as has the business.  

Watch the entire slideshow and read the full story at / Dining

Thursday, March 03, 2016

You get to vote for top chef, restaurant, brewery in Maryland - see the finalists

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Beanarosso at Shakers: Dining and drinking deal of the week

Shakers Fine Spirits and Wine Lounge are revisiting a successful concept from a couple years ago called BeanaRosso.  It is an evening of Italian and Napa Valley wine tastings paired with hors d’ouevres at stations, hence the “Rosso“ in the name. The “Bean”, represents the end of the evening with a tasting of two special Ceremony coffees – espresso and chocolate roast paired with assorted pastry.

Co-owner/Manager Derrick Vaughan, “No one will go home hungry. I will be serving Châteaubriand tableside at our two  communal tables for guests to sample.” Also guests will indulge with a Grand Marnier after-dinner cordial. 

There is very limited seating for the evening’s festivities – only 30 seats:

Cost per person: $30 plus tax and gratuity
When: Thursday, March 3, 2016 – 6:30 pm
What: Beanarosso – Wine & Coffee Tasting
Where: Shakers Fine Spirits & Wine Lounge, 737 Carroll Street, Baltimore MD  21230 – Free street parking after 6 p.m.
Reservations: 410 727 1813 or email shakersbmore (@)

Follow Shakers on Facebook  Twitter @shakersfine 


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