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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cochon555 is back! Don't be the little piggy that stays home

They’re back; those delicious, plump heritage pigs will be making an appearance Sunday, August 6th at Cochon555 in Washington DC at the Watergate Hotel.  An all out pig out and competition where five chefs (Jon Sybert-Tail Up Goat, BJ Lieberman-Rose’s Luxury, Kosta Kontogiannis-Kingbrid Restaurant, Zach Mills-Wit and Wisdom and Ben Pflaumer-Osteria Morini) create menus featuring the most delectable, tasty and imaginative dishes from their pigs.  

Read more and watch the video at Baltimore Post Examiner - Dara Cooks

Howard County Restaurant Week kicks off

PRESS RELEASE: Visit Howard County’s Summer Restaurant Weeks run July 24 - August 7, 2017. Howard County’s top restaurants are serving up savings with special menus that feature refreshing twists on summertime favorites that will feel light on your wallet. Participating restaurants will offer fixed price chef’s menus ranging from $15.00 to $45.00 (beverages, tax, gratuity not included, promotions and menus vary.)

“Our Restaurant Weeks are a highlight of the summer. The variety and options are fantastic – 30 restaurants offering fixed price meals and innovative dishes,” said County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “We look forward to this opportunity every year to try out new restaurants and visit favorite spots. I encourage residents to get out and support local restaurants and enjoy a fabulous meal in the process.”
Amanda Hof, Director of Tourism Development for Visit Howard County coordinates the program and adds “we have a great variety of restaurants participating this year. There is truly something for everyone. All the familiar favorites are back as well as many new restaurants. Restaurant Weeks is a great opportunity for visitors and residents alike to experience the local culinary scene.”  

Also not to miss during Restaurant Weeks is the 7th annual Film ‘Feast’ival, July 25, at Clark’s Elioak Farm from 4:30 - 8:30 pm. This year’s event will include a farmers market, food trucks, samples from restaurants participating in Restaurant Weeks, music and an artisan market. In addition, ‘Feast’ival goers will have the chance to taste locally produced beer from Manor Hill Farm Brewery and spirits from Lost Ark Distilling Co. The featured film is “Forgotten Farms.”  It is the real-life story of New England Dairy Farms and talks about the challenges they face with today’s dairy industry.  These are the same challenges that Howard County family owned dairies face. It is a must-see film.  In between the two showings there will be a panel discussion of the film.  There is a $5 charge for each seating of the film, one at 5:00 pm and one at 7:00 pm.  Proceeds from the film showings will be donated to the Howard County Farm-City Scholarship Fund.


5485 Restaurant and Bar
AIDA Bistro
Alexandra's American Fusion
Baldwin's Station
BOLDER food/drink
Centre Park Grill
Clyde's Columbia
Elkridge Furnace Inn
Great Sage
Kelsey's Restaurant and Catering
Kloby's Smokehouse
La Palapa
LongHorn Steakhouse
Maggianos Little Italy
Nora's Kabob
Petit Louis
Season's 52
Stella Notte Ristorante
Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant
The Alehouse Columbia
The County Cork Wine Pub
The Grill
The Iron Bridge Wine Co
The Kings Contrivance Restaurant
The Melting Pot
The Turn House
Town Grill at Fosters Country Store
Victoria Gastro Pub

An up-to-date list of participating restaurants is available at along with behind the scenes YouTube videos of top chefs preparing their farm-to-table and dock-to-dish feasts.  

Tag For Swag Photo Contest

Diners enjoying Howard County Restaurant Weeks are encouraged to post pictures of their meals with the hashtag #HoCoRestaurantWeeks. Participants could win dining certificates from local restaurants!

McKeldin Square pop-up food marketplace adds music

PRESS RELEASE: Harbor Market, a pop-up food marketplace at McKeldin Square featuring the best eats from around Baltimore, will now feature live music on select dates throughout the summer.  Local musicians will be providing live tunes as Harbor Market visitors enjoy a variety of menu offerings from food trucks and local vendors, making Wednesday and Friday lunch breaks just that much more fun.

The musician line-up is below:
8/18: Sloe Jim
8/25: Mike Manos

The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore hosts the Harbor Market at McKeldin Square every Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. throughout the summer.

Rotating food vendors include:
·      Doobys
·      Smoking Swine
·      Green Bowl
·      Mex on the Run
·      Sobo Café
·      Dizzy Cow
·      Gypsy Queen
·      Ekiben
·      Bon Fresco

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Ed Kim's Mi & Yu Noodle Shops expanding

Mi & Yu Noodle Shop reminds me of Tampopo, a 1985 Japanese comedy of many subplots, but at its core, making that perfect bowl of slurpable ramen noodle soups and we aren’t talking those packaged dried noodles with the flavor packets.  One might call Mi & Yu Noodle Shop a Ramen—ya, where ramen is a specialty and the soups are a reflection of the chef’s culinary prowess.  Chef Edward Kim worked months perfecting and creating his own broths, his own culinary spin on the ideal bowl of ramen. 

READ MORE at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Eddie's of Roland Park sampling Le Bon Magot - Don't miss this!

So, I ran into Amy today who I haven’t seen in eons and we were playing catch up with our lives.  We both discovered that we were at the Summer Fancy Food Show; she was scouting new products and food trends for Eddie’s of Roland Park. Our conversation proceeded with what did you see that you liked?

Read more: Baltimore Post Examiner - Dara Cooks  

Goodbye Jack Binion’s Steak, hello Gordon Ramsay Steak

By year’s end, Jack Binion’s Steak on the 1st level of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore will become the first east coast Gordon Ramsay Steak. Chef Ramsay’s cache, a television personality with multiple shows, currently: MasterChef, The F Word with Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen. His expertise, his Gordon Ramsay Group operates a total of 31 restaurants globally, with seven Michelin stars.

“I’m thrilled to be coming to Baltimore, a really exciting and emerging culinary city,” Ramsay said. “Our exceptional team is developing a menu that will combine the best dry-aged beef, finest seafood and freshest locally-sourced ingredients to create a unique Charm City dining experience.”

The press release states, “Ramsay’s vision for the restaurant is reflected in the dishes on the modern steakhouse menu. Gordon Ramsay Steak showcases prime beef dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days and cuts such as the 32-ounce Royal Long-bone Chop for two as well as American Kobe. With a nod to his British roots, Ramsay has expanded on the traditional land and sea offerings and developed a menu that is both distinctive and creative. Ramsay’s Beef Wellington and Sticky Toffee Pudding dishes, which have been popular items at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas, will be signature items on Ramsay’s Baltimore menu.” 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Points South Latin Kitchen will have you saying olé

My Points South Latin Kitchen review is live on  They are located on the  cobblestone Thames Street in Fells Point. The restaurant is sizzling with great cuisine, service and you don't want to miss the Drag Brunches. You can also find them on the Hot 10 Baltimore Restaurants list.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

World Renowned Jazz Pianist in Baltimore for 1 Night Only

 Peter Beets, World-Renowned Pianist
“Chopin meets the Blues”
Sotto Sopra Restaurant - 405 N. Charles Street - Baltimore, MD 21201
Wednesday, June 28th
Open Reservations: from 6 pm to 9 pm
410 625 0534
 $10 cover charge per person plus dinner reservations -ala carte menu

It is with great pleasure that Sotto Sopra announces the internationally-acclaimed jazz pianist Peter Beets will be back performing at their restaurant on Wednesday, June 28th from 6 pm to 9 pm when he returns to touring in the United States.  Beets wowed our guests back in March and so enjoyed the intimacy of playing our dining room, he has agreed to play for you once again. 

 Beets is regularly featured at major concert venues and international jazz festivals.

The Dutch-born pianist will be playing limited engagement concerts in the US, on the East Coast: New York, Philadelphia and in Baltimore at Sotto Sopra. The theme will be "Chopin meets the Blues," a take on his album, Chopin meets the Blues Live.

Sotto Sopra will be serving our regular ala carte dinner menu and offering open seating between 6 pm to 9 pm. There will be a $10 cover charge per person along plus dinner from our ala carte menu. Seating is limited to 100 guests for the evening.
Listen to Peter Beets
Facebook: @PeterBeetsNL  Twitter: @PeterBeets
Cost per Person:  $10 cover charge per person plus entree order from our ala carte menu
Reservations required: (410) 625-0534
Sotto Sopra Restaurant - 405 N. Charles Street - Baltimore, MD  21201
(410) 625-0534

Link to Event Web Page

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Adult vacation playground: Virginia

For a couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to focus on writing my story about a recent trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, finding a focal point.  First, Virginia is core to our American History, over 400 years since the landing of the first English colony, Jamestown, and of course historic Colonial Williamsburg, where one steps back in time to what life was like in the days of yore. Virginia is steeped in the roots of America’s history. 

Virginia boasts an ever growing aquaculture, the largest producer of oysters on the East Coast.  Oyster lovers can indulge by following the Virginia Oyster Trail to 8 distinct locations throughout the state.  As aquaculture grows, so does the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ekiben: Don't leave Baltimore before trying their Asian fusion fare

The word “ekiben” loosely translates as a boxed meal sold at railway food stalls in Japan to passengers for their journey. The proprietors of Ekiben on Eastern Avenue are three college buddies who created a steamed bun phenomenon, selling their Asian fusion mashup fare at the local farmers market, and now at their own restaurant. 

Read my review at  - 10 Hot Spots for Dining in Baltimore

Friday, June 09, 2017

Potato Masala Recipe: National herb and spice day - Saturday June 10th

Your Dining Dish will be on Channel 45 WBFF at approximately 9:50 a.m, Saturday, June 10th  talking about National Herb and Spice Day.  I will be sharing spice and herb hacks along with preparing the potato masala recipe.  

Potato Masala

6 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Garlic powder to taste
10 curry leaves (not available use a teaspoon of madras curry)
24 oz. boiled waxy potatoes, cubed
Green chili, cut into small pieces
Add salt to taste
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
Cilantro, chopped fine

Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let crackle. After cumin seeds start to crackle, add garlic powder and curry leaves. Add potatoes while ingredients crackle in pan. Lower heat to simmer and add green chili, salt, sugar, red chili powder and chopped cilantro. Mix well and cover for 3-5 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and serve!

I crave Indian food from time-to-time but don't have the time to do it right, grind the spices fresh, or don't have all the ingredients...for a "quick Indian food fix" I eat the Tandoor Chef frozen dinner products found here in Baltimore at Whole Foods and Safeway. 

Watch the cooking demonstration on Fox 45 Baltimore: Cooking Segment

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Feastival is back: Come hungry

Benefitting Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, this waterfront food and drink walkabout is my charity event pick for June.
Enjoy the waterfront view at the Four Seasons Hotel Promenade on Saturday, June 17th from noon to 4 p.m. as you indulge in culinary delights from restaurants  like Wit & Wisdom, Gnocco, Cask & Grain, Minnow, La Food Marketa, Center Cut Doughnuts, Modern Cook Shop, Loch Bar, Clavel, Azumi, Gunther & Co., Hersh’s, Blue Pit BBQ,and more!

Feastival, Date: June 17, 2017 - Time: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Harbor East’s Waterfront Promenade (Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore) - 200 International Drive, Baltimore, MD 21202
Tickets: $125 or Two for $200 
Purchase tickets at the event website:
Instagram @Feastivalbaltimore

Friday, June 02, 2017

Hot top 10 restaurants in Baltimore: Cosima

You will never go wrong seeking out Cosima, the Sicilian based cuisine restaurant. Executive chef Donna Crivello's vision is inspired by her Italian grandmother. Check out my review on where they have already been put in the top ten Baltimore restaurants as well as top al fresco dining.  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hot Club of Baltimore back by popular demand at Sotto Sopra Restaurant

Sotto Sopra Restaurant is on fire with their live entertainment for the month of June, especially for jazz lovers.

The Hot Club of Baltimore, a gypsy jazz group specializing in the vast repertoire of vintage jazz including early swing, musette waltzes, bebop and French standards from the 30’s and 40’s.  Along with the musicians, Ethan Philion, Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin, you will be treated to their song stylings from the young chanteuse Alexis Tantau who will mesmerize you with her authentic treatment of songs from Edith Piaf to Ella Fitzgerald

Hot Club of Baltimore thrilled Sotto Sopra's 21st Anniversary Party crowd back in April and they are excited to have them in on this Sunday evening to entertain you once again with their gypsy jazz and renditions of tunes both old and new.   

Hot Club of Baltimore with chanteuse Alexis Tantau
Sunday, June 11th
6 pm to 9 pm – open reservations
$10 cover plus dinner reservations / ala carte menu

Sotto Sopra Restaurant – 405 N. Charles Street – Baltimore, MD  21201  410 625-0534

Friday, May 26, 2017

Broadway Night at Sotto Sopra: Join in the sounds of music

Sotto Sopra Restaurant at 405 N. Charles Street is turning Mt. Vernon into their own Great White Way with their Broadway Night on Sunday, June 4th starting at 6 p.m.  Featured performers from the Baltimore Men’s Chorus (BMC); Cole Reilly, Nathan “Brad” Bradley, and Stephen McMahon will breathe life into popular Broadway Musical songbooks

Sotto Sopra is encouraging attendees to come dressed as anyone of their favorite Broadway show characters, so put on your lederhosen if Sound of Music is your favorite or rollers in your hair if you are a beauty school dropout from Grease. 

READ MORE: At Dara Cooks Blog at Baltimore Post Examiner

Friday, May 19, 2017

Seafood bonanza: By the Docks

By the Docks, a Middle River restaurant, a prominent fixture on Eastern Boulevard, has been recognized and awarded numerous accolades for Baltimore’s Best Crab Cake.  Is it the best, many will agree that the large, lump  Blue Swimming crabmeat cake, broiled to golden brown perfection reigns supreme.  By the Docks’ crab cakes are so popular that you can now have them shipped to anywhere in the contiguous United States. 

Read more and watch the slideshow at my Dara Cooks Blog on Baltimore Post Examiner. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Pappas Sports Bar in recently renovated Holiday Inn Inner Harbor

Located in the heart of downtown Baltimore, a short walk from Baltimore’s Convention Center, Camden Yards, and Royal Farms Arena is the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor at 301 W. Lombard Street.  Along with the refreshed 365 rooms are the common areas including the lobby, lounge, coffee and gift shop serving Baltimore’s own Zeke’s Coffee, business center, indoor pool, event space including the 4,000 sq. ft. Chesapeake Ballroom and notably a new restaurant, Pappas Sports Bar.  Yes, Baltimore, one the contenders for the Best Crab Cake in Baltimore, Pappas will be offering their award-winning crab cakes to visitors and locals alike in their first downtown location.

“For decades, this iconic hotel has graced the Baltimore skyline, and welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests.  The renovations are extensive – it looks and feels like a brand new property and we couldn’t be happier,” said Adam Novotny, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor. “We know our guests and meeting attendees will appreciate a higher level of comfort and exceptional service delivered by our outstanding team.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

New bar bites and crafted cocktails at Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill calls it their Hand-Crafted Happy Hour because they feature their $5 Hand-Crafted Martini and Cocktails the likes of the Raspberry Vodka Collins with Tito’s vodka, Blueberry Lemon Drop with Absolut Citron, Tropical Tiki Martini with Captain Morgan rum, and Fresh Margarita with Dimeca Altos Tequila.  There are other libation specials: $1 off draft beers, $4 House Wines and select spirits $5. The Raspberry Collins was a bit strong for my companion, but the Tropical Tiki Martini was enjoyed by both of us. The Tropical Tiki Martini was a refreshing blend of island flavors and not to overly sweet.

Watch the slideshow and read more at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Nickel Taphouse keeps brunch hot with Nashville Hot Fried Chicken

If I rave on about the Nickel Taphouse Brunch it is because there is so much that is good.  Yes, I was invited in as their guest to taste their new brunch menu items, to spread the Nickel Taphouse Brunch good word, but I fell in love with numerous brunch offerings, especially the Nashville Hot Fried Chicken with French toast.  They take a couple liberties with the traditional Tennessee recipe rather than Tabasco or Texas Pete they use honey Sriracha for that sweet hot bite of flavor which is counterbalanced with the cool, airy, whipped cream on their French toast. It was so good, I have had sense memory flashbacks and I find myself licking my lips.  

Watch the slideshow and read the full story at my Dara Cooks blog - Baltimore Post Examiner 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Spring has sprung on new menu: B & O American Brasserie

TIS the season where menus change featuring what the farmers, the waterways and ranchers are featuring.  Always a joy to go back to the B & O American Brasserie and see and taste their new menu offerings by Executive Chef Scott Hines and his culinary crew.  Chef Hines explained the menu has been trimmed down as he did with the fall/winter menu, but with dishes we all know, with his updated embellishment.  Take his Wedge Salad, it looks somewhat traditional with blue cheese, then again, add the guanciale, tomato salt and white balsamic ranch and it is taken a level above the traditional Wedge Salad or the Meatballs in Sunday Gravy – these are mortadella and foie gras meatballs.
Read the full story on my Dara Cooks blog on Baltimore Post Examiner

Chesapeake Farm to Home launches Baltimore's first online farmers market

Chesapeake Farm to Table just launched a new online farmers market for residential customer with delivery to three culinary partner pickup locations in the Baltimore Metro Area: Culinary Architecture, Remington Wine Company and Towson Tavern will be the weekly pick up locations. Chesapeake Farm to Home offers the same quality, fresh, local produce, honey, meats and dairy items to the home consumer.

Read the full story at my blog Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner 

Friday, April 28, 2017

If you missed the first one - Underground Kitchen is back!

The popular supper club that originated in Richmond, Va. and later expanded into the Mid-Atlantic will make its return to Maryland. On May 22, Underground Kitchen, the ultra-luxe, super-secret, pop-up dining society featuring buzzed about chefs, unconventional locations, and tickets that routinely sell out within minutes, comes to Baltimore/Stevenson.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow at my Dara Cooks blog at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Harbor Market returns to McKeldin Square

Waterfornt Partnership’s pop-up food marketplace, Harbor Market, returns for another summer season of lunch time culinary adventures.  Starting May 5, Harbor Market will be at McKeldin Square every Wednesday and Friday from 11 am to 2pm. Locals and visitors alike can partake of a good cross section of culinary choices:

·         Dobby’s
·         Smoking Swine
·         Green Bowl
·         Mex on the run
·         Sobo Café
·         Dizzy Cow
·         Greek on the Street
·         Gypsy Queen
·         Ekiben
·         Bon Fresco

Forget that tired old yoghurt or tuna sandwich, live large and eat well!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Taste of Pikesville is back for the 6th year

Personally, I’m looking forward to 6th Annual Taste of Pikesville on Wednesday, April 26th from 6:30 to 9 pm – each year it gets bigger and better with over 45 plus restaurants and caterers participating with signature dishes to taste.  Not to worry about beverages, there will be beer, wine, and cocktails for those who care for an adult beverage.  This enjoyable event takes place at the Double Tree by Hilton, Baltimore North-Pikesville at 1726 Reisterstown Road at the Beltway. General admission tickets are only $48 – purchased in advance and $55 at the door.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Marco's Pizza franchise debuts in central Maryland

Local residents in Anne Arundel County, Brian Bogard and his wife Beth, have selected Lakeshore Plaza in Pasadena as the location for their inaugural Marco’s Pizza in Maryland.  The Lakeshore Plaza location at MD Route 100 and Magothy Beach Road opened earlier this month. The couple plans to open a total of six locations throughout Anne Arundel and Howard County within the next couple years.
Brian Bogard, a former officer in the US Army, served as Company Commander of the Food Service training center at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and his wife Beth, a former caterer, understands a quality product.  It was a visit with relatives in West Virginia, where the Bogards first tasted a Marco’s Pizza, and it was love at first bite. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Baltimore's Station North restaurant of note: Pen and Quill

I’ve always considered Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood the city’s cultural district and when you cross over Mt. Royal Avenue it becomes Station North’s Art District, up to North Avenue and a wee bit beyond. Center to the arts district is the Charles Theatre, bastion of indie and first run movies and close by, at the corner of North Charles Street and Lanvale Streets is Pen and Quill Restaurant, where the original 20th century Chesapeake Restaurant reigned supreme for many years.

The space lay dormant for many years, went through a revival under the name of the Chesapeake but failed to garnish customers.  Step in Helmand and Quayum Karzai of the Helmand, B Bistro and Tapas Teatro restaurant group to re-imagine the space, food and beverage offerings. 

Watch the slideshow and read the full story at my Dara Cooks Blog - Baltimore Post Examiner 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Marriage of Culinary Icons: The Elephant and Sascha's Catering

Hot off of Facebook comes this post from Mallroy Staley, General Manager and Co-Owner in the Elephant. I'm not going to re-write this, here it is:​​

When two of Baltimore’s culinary icons – rich in great food, hospitality, style and entertainment – join hands, one can expect a welcomed smile of anticipation for upcoming dining delights and special events.

The Elephant restaurant, with its stunning revival of a historic Mt Vernon mansion and welcoming culture, has been winning the hearts and appetites of its guests since its recent opening. And now, The Elephant has added one of Baltimore’s most well regarded and charming caterers to its family – Sascha's.

“Together, The Elephant and Sascha's will blend their culinary creativity, kitchen mastery, guest-centered service, commitment to excellence and stylish presentations to better serve the Baltimore community's fine food and entertainment needs,” promises Mallory Staley, General Manager and co-owner of The Elephant and the new co-owner and catering director of Sascha’s.

The “marriage” was arranged soon after Mallory Staley met Sascha Wolhandler, a trend setting caterer in Baltimore for the past 40 plus years, a few weeks ago. “It quickly became clear to both of us that this was a marriage made in heaven,” admits Sascha.

In the late 70’s, Sascha Wolhandler started making French crepes prepared on authentic griddles outdoors on Charles Street. Then due to its popularity, she was invited to provide them at Center Stage, as before and/or after theatre treats. Sascha soon became known for her outstanding and out-of-the-ordinary food, presented with flair and in a way that no one else was doing at the time. People wanted Sascha to provide her creative and taste-forward creations for dinner parties at their homes and special events at various venues around town. Thus, by public demand, Sascha’s Catering was born and became one of the premier caterers in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Now after more than 40 successful years, Sascha found herself wanting to offer her thriving catering business to – Mallory Staley, a life-long hospitality professional with a background in high-end catering and the co-owner of one of Baltimore’s top-rated restaurants – The Elephant.

As a young girl, Mallory spent a lot of time on her grandparents’ farm in Frederick, Maryland. She loved the farm life – growing plants, riding the tractor, digging for potatoes, and picking beans and corn. “I remember the farmhouse meals: the smell and taste of simple, local, fresh-picked food,” she fondly recalls.

With this love for farm fresh food in her soul, she head to New York City to study at the French Culinary Institute, one of the most highly respected culinary schools in the world. Upon graduation, she began her professional career at some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants and catering companies. With passion, creativity, and culinary skills – she worked her way up to become the Pastry Chef at the Plaza Hotel in NYC and at Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s American Cut restaurant in Atlantic City. But after a few years in New York and New Jersey, she wanted to get back to her Maryland roots. Heading to Baltimore, she moved from the “back-of-the-house” to the “front-of-the-house” becoming the General Manager at Sotta Sopra and helping to manage Ouzo Bay in Harbor East.

Then over two years ago, Mallory teamed up with Linda Brown Rivelis and Steven Rivelis to open The Elephant restaurant, serving globally inspired cuisine and classic cocktails in an 1850’s midtown mansion. Located in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, The Elephant is recognized as one of the regions “Top Ten Restaurants” with a vibe that is chic, yet elegantly casual.

Now with the marriage of The Elephant and Sascha’s, they will be able to enhance the boutique catering company’s delivery of best-in-class experiences from small corporate lunches to intimate parties to large scale weddings. “Our vision is continue the success of Sascha’s legacy with a smooth transition of leadership and in combination with the resources and reputation of The Elephant to delight and wow each of our clients and their guests,” states Mallory Staley.

Whether you desire a …
- Sumptuous dinner in a lovely historic townhouse
- Gourmet "Silver Sac" luncheon for your next business meeting
- Private Chef to design, create and serve an intimate dinner party at your home, or
- One-of-a-kind wedding reception or other elegant event to honor a very special occasion

… Sasha’s and The Elephant will be at your call, providing you, your friends and family with a spectacular and most memorable experience.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Notable local finalist for 2017 James Beard Awards

The finalists for the food world's Oscars, the 2017  James Beard Awards were announced today and two standouts from Baltimore made the list.

First, Cindy Wolf as Best Mid Atlantic Chef - she is so good she gets nominated every year and she is due, do you hear me James Beard Award committee! Chef Wolf has been at the culinary helm of the ForemanWolf Restaurant Group - Charleston, Petite Louis, Cinghiale, Johnny's,  and Bar Vasquez.

Under the category of Personal Essay - our newly transplanted Brooklynite Allison Robicelli whose story In Sickness, in Health, in White Castle on website Food52 has garnished a big nod and nomination.  She and her husband owners of the well-known Robicelli's Bakery came to Baltimore about a year ago. Since then they have been through a number of trial and tribulations, a lot reflected in the story.  What I have learned that Allison's creative wit and charm comes through even in the darkest of times.  Way to go Allison - Dining Dish is rooting you on!
Always making faces for the camera - Allison Robicelli with her husband Matt. 
Restaurant awards will be held in Chicago the beginning of May and the media awards at Chelsea Pier in New York.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

There is more to Hersh's than just pizza

Their logo, a woman eating a slice of pizza with ooey, gooey melted cheese running from the slice to her lips denotes that this is the item to indulge at Hersh’s located in Baltimore’s up-and-coming Riverside neighborhood but they are offering much more than just pizza.  Check out the entire story and slideshow at my Dara Cooks blog at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Get your wedding on at &pizza on Pi Day- Rescheduled to 3/15 due to impending snow storm

RESCHEDULED TO Wednesday March 15th due to impending snow storm. Same hours

This is not the first year that &pizza has become a lasting memory to numerous couples married under the &pizza sign, but it is the first year that it is happening at their Baltimore location. Back in 2015, eager couples got in queue at the &pizza in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural Pi Day Wedding Chapel. “The ampersand has always stood for connecting two things, “ and the &pizza spokesperson continued, “The annual &pizza Pi Day Wedding Chapel is a way of celebrating those values through one of the most meaningful and personal acts two people can experience.”

Read the full story and get all the details at my Dara Cooks blog at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Asian inspired five course dinner at Sotto Sopra Restaurant: Guest Chef Tayfun Abuska

Baltimore’s award-winning Sotto Sopra Restaurant located in the heart of the Mt. Vernon cultural district has been very active with special events, especially their guest chef series.  Mark your calendars for a most engaging five course Asian inspired dinner from Chef Tayfun Abuska on Wednesday, March 22nd with two seatings:  5:30pm to 6:00 pm and 7:30pm to 8pm

Chef Tayfun Abuska, a Turkish native who started working at an early age at the Izmir Palmiye Hotel, transitioned to the 5-Star Ankara Hilton Hotel and continued to work for the Swiss Hotels. His culinary path has taken him through the French Embassy to the United States in 2008, where he worked for the Four Seasons Hotels in Wyoming, California and here in Baltimore. A stint at Michael Mina’s Pabu Japanese Restaurant working with Chef Jonah Kim has inspired his penchant for Asian dishes which is apparent in his Guest Chef Dinner’s menu.

Check out the menu and further details at my Dara Cooks blog on Baltimore Post Examiner

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Top Chef Season 7 contestant cooks for charity event in Baltimore

For those who love a good party, food, and drink this just crossed my desk.  No time to put my own spin on this - here is the press release: 

Bmore Together is hosting a Culinary Showcase on Monday, March 20, to benefit local youth arts organization Muse 360Tickets are on sale now.

When: March 20th from 6-9pm
Where: Church & Co, 3647 Falls Road
Cost: $60 in advance ($75 at the door)

Your ticket includes:
Hearty small plates from five culinary superstars, assisted by high school culinary arts students from the National Academy Foundation in Baltimore City. Drinks and wine pairings included. Vegetarian options will be available at each station.

**The following chefs (who have graciously donated their time and top-notch ingredients!) will be preparing haute cuisine in their own distinct styles.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Restaurant Association of Maryland announces finalist for 2017 Stars of the Industry

This is a ride-by post, a simple cut an paste of those in the restaurant industry who have garnished the notice of the general public and are finalist in the Restaurant Association of Maryland's 2017 Stars of the Industry Awards. You as the public get to vote who walks away with the award. 

Voting is open March 8-29, 2017 for the statewide Stars of the Industry Awards celebrating Maryland’s most elite restaurants and hospitality professionals. The dining public can vote for their favorites online at and on Facebook,

Winners will be announced on Sunday, April 30th at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s Stars of the Industry Awards Gala – Cirque. Each winner will get statewide bragging rights and the opportunity to display their 2017 award-winning logo on their website, menus and other promotional materials. The following restaurants and restaurateurs have been nominated as the top finalists in each category:

Maryland's Chef of the Year, presented by Oracle:
1. George Batlas – Manor Tavern
2. Brigitte Bledsoe – Miss Shirley’s Café
3. Scott Chambers – La Ferme
4. Jeremy Hoffman – Preserve
5. Enzo Livia – Il Pizzico

Craft Brew Program of the Year, presented by Evolution Craft Brewing Company:
1. The White Oak Tavern – Ellicott City
2. Tapp’d – Bethesda
3. World of Beer - Baltimore
4. Frisco Tap House - Gambrills
5. Oscar's Alehouse – Eldersburg

Maryland's Favorite New Restaurant:
1. Alchemy Elements – Bel Air
2. Sello’s Italian Oven & Bar – Ocean City
3. Duck Duck Goose – Bethesda
4. RockSalt Grille– Westminster
5. Slice New York Pizza- Towson

Maryland's Favorite Restaurant:
1. Iron Rooster – Annapolis
2. Madrones - Frederick
3. Mission BBQ – Statewide
4. Mon Ami Gabi – Bethesda
5. The Prime Rib – Baltimore

Maryland's Favorite Bar or Tavern:
1. Dock Street Bar & Grill – Annapolis
2. Fish Head Cantina – Halethorpe
3. Harborside Bar & Grill – Ocean City
4. Nottingham’s – Columbia
5. The Point in Fells – Baltimore

Heart of the Industry:
1. Garret Hadel (Bartender) - Jimmy’s Famous Seafood
2. Manny SanJuan (Manager) - Captain Dan’s Crabhouse
3. Hilary Hogarty (Server) - Elkridge Furnace Inn

Wine and Beverage Program of the Year:
1. Dry 85 – Annapolis
2. Jules – Ocean City
3. Bond Street Social - Baltimore
4. The Tasting Room – Frederick
5. Wine Market Bistro – Baltimore

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sunday Brunch Pick: Iron Rooster

Sunday brunch, where to go?  One of my picks for Sunday Brunch is the Iron Rooster, an upscale full service restaurant that serves breakfast all day long with the option for lunch and dinner choices.  It was just before Christmas that they opened their 3rd location in Hunt Valley; the other two locations are in Canton and Annapolis.  All three locations offer out a new twist on traditional comfort food.


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