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.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Live! Casino & Hotel presents David's Private Select Dinners



Have you ever been faced with what whiskey, bourbon, rum, tequila to try? Sure, you have!  Beyond straight up and on the rocks, are you curious as to how would they taste in a cocktail, what would mix well with them?  If I have described you, then the series of Private Select dinners David’s Restaurant in Live! Casino & Hotel just might be the night out you are looking for?  Every third Thursday of the month, an ardent spirit is featured and paired with a chef-crafted 4 course dinner.

Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner

Monday, July 08, 2019

Thursdays Meats and Beats at Gordon Ramsay Steak House






Meet, meat, and enjoy the beat at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore every Thursday night when they extend the happy hour an additional hour to 8 pm with a DJ spinning music that will have you bouncing in your seats.  

Happy hour kicks off normally Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm with $5 bites and sips. 

Bites
  • A5 Fries
  • Pimento Cheese
  • Pork Belly Bites
Sips

  • Domestic Beers - Coors Lite, Miller Lite, Blue Moon
  • Sunny G - Absolut, Patron Orange Citronage, Triple Sec, Mango Purée and Sprite
  • Honestly Eye - Jim Beam, Sweet Vermouth, Amaretto and Simple Syrup
  • Gemini Moon - Rumchata, Ginger Liqueur, Half & Half with Cinnamon Sugar Rim

Grey Goose is the sponsor for Meat and Beats Thursdays,  so indulge in the tasty concoctions featuring their vodka. 

Free parking at the casino makes an ideal spot to pop in and avoid the evening rush hour home.  Stay for dinner and partake of their dry aged beef (the meats in the Meats and Beats Thursdays).  

Gordon Ramsay Steak at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
1525 Russell Street - Baltimore
443.931.4254
www.caesars.com/horseshoe-baltimore/restaurants/gordon-ramsay
Instagram  @gordonramsaysteakbaltimore
Facebook: @GRSteakBmore
Twitter: @gordonramsayGRR

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Culinary Mecca in White Marsh: Richardson Farms

Many of you reading this column already know of Richardson Farms, a one-stop-shop for not only produce, dairy, poultry, furniture, house baked goods, but finger licking ready-to-eat, home-styled comfort food like your granny would make.  Located on Ebenezer Road less than a mile off Route 40 Richardson Farms is Disneyland for food-centric enthusiasts with hand rolled butter, extra virgin olive oil refill station, greens so beautiful that you will want to eat kale, and so much more.  

The ready-to-eat food selection is a culinary mecca: rotisserie chicken, house cured deli meats (no nitrates), chopped salads, apple cakes to their big seller, individual chicken pot pies.  They have just introduced their Spring sandwich selection and let me tell you they were all unique, well-sized and priced reasonably.  Read the full story and view the snapshots at Dara Cook at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Something new: Cheese Wraps in Cheddar, Jarlsberg and Parmesan



My food curiosity was piqued when I heard about Folios: malleable, low-carb, lactose and gluten-free, 100% cheese wraps.   Eventually I received one 4-pack of each cheese: Cheddar, Jarlsberg and Parmesan. With them in hand I was all set to play, taste and now share my findings.   

What makes them great is that they are slightly baked 100% cheese discs that one can form into a tortilla- stuffing it with whatever your imagination can come up with.  If not in a roll, how about making it a frico; lightly melted in the microwave and shaped.  The creativity is endless.  I played with all three flavors and my preference was the Jarlsberg, which lends itself to working with fruit flavors as well as savory and the Parmesan.  For some reason the Cheddar, the natural sodium level registered heavy with me. Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

French Laundry chefs create gluten-free baking mixes

Great strives have been made over the years to create real options for those with gluten intolerances.  This is not an affliction I have although I have numerous friends who for various medical reasons cannot tolerate gluten.  With that in mind, I like to taste gluten-free edibles at various food shows to see if there is an outstanding product for my friends. One of my favorites is Cup4Cup Pie Crust Mix that produces light and flaky pie dough.  After I tasted the pie crust I was told it was gluten-free, I was truly surprised. 


The Cup4Cup Pie Crust Mix is one of numerous gluten-free mixes developed by the chefs from the James Beard and Michelin award winning restaurant, the French Laundry; multi-purpose flour, multigrain bread, fried chicken mix, muffin mix, cake mixes, cornbread, pizza crust, chocolate brownie and pancake. Read more at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Alma Cocina Latina: Put them on your bucket list


Celebrating their four-year anniversary this April, Alma Cocina Latina ranks as one of Baltimore’s finest restaurants and the premier Venezuelan restaurant in the United States.

Visually light and airy in décor with tropical plants adorning the surroundings, slat back chairs are a perfect match for the walnut and teak wood tables, turquoise is the accent color of choice and the open kitchen mesmerizes one with its activity.

Read the full review and enjoy the snapshots at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sip, Savor...and All That Jazz

A password or special knock, eyes peering through a slot in the door, you had to know someone. Someone with an “in”. You had on your best suit. Hair slicked back and the lovely lady on your arm had rouged her knees, feathers in her hair and ruby lips. She might have been his wife, his special lady or even his mother. They were the best of society. Back in the day that was how you got into the local Speakeasy. But we have the inside scoop for you. Join us for a night of fine food paired with wines, cool jazz and so much more.

Consider this for a Mother’s Day gift – an evening of food, libations and music at Cured /18th & 21st in Columbia on Monday, May 13th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. 

Cocktails
Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie
Lemongrass-Infused Chicken Skewers with a Thai Chili Glaze
Tuna Tartar with Micro Greens

Signature Cocktails
Smoked Old Fashioned - Rowan’s Creek Bourbon, Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, Smoked House Bitters
Giggle Juice - Prosecco, Orange Liqueur Soaked Sugar Cube

Amuse
Prosciutto Di Parma, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Fig Jam, Crostini

1st Course (wine pairing)
Grilled Watermelon Salad - Lavender Infused Watermelon, Frisee, Mache, Spiced Walnuts, Apple Cider Vinaigrette

2nd Course (wine pairing)
Scallop & Pork Belly - House Smoked Pork Belly, Charred Corn Puree, Pickled Shallots, Grilled Pineapple

3rd Course (wine pairing)
Sliced Filet Mignon - Wild Mushroom Ragout, Poached Teardrop Tomatoes

4th Course/ Dessert
White Chocolate Mousse - Dark Chocolate Cup, Strawberries

The perfect composition of fine dining, speakeasy-inspired cocktails & live music



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Taste of Pikesville & Owings Mills is back

You know spring has sprung when you see this great food and beverage event put on showcasing Pikesville and Owings Mills’ eateries. Enjoy food, festivity and fun at The Taste signature event taking place Tuesday, Apr. 9, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at The Suburban Club (7600 Park Heights Ave., Pikesville, Md. 21208).  

Highlighting Pikesville, Owings Mills and surrounding areas, this 8th annual fundraiser will feature signature dishes from 45+ restaurants and caterers, along with complimentary beer, wine and cocktails. Adding to the fun will be music, the People’s Choice and celebrity judge competitions and other surprises.

It has always been a sellout crowd, at least the past four years when I have attended.  I’m excited to taste offerings from new businesses to the area like Il Palio, Stanford Kitchen, Costco and Brendali as well as neighborhood staples like La Food Marketa and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

To date, participating vendors are as follows:

Cuisine
Atrium Village
Bravo
Bonefish Grill/Outback Steakhouse
Brendali
Clean Cuisine
Costco
Double Tree
Edible Arrangements
Gourmet Again
Gourmet Girls
Il Palio
Island Quizine
Knish Shop
La Food Marketa
Mezcal
North Oaks
Outlaw BBQ
Pariser’s Bakery
Pearlstone Center
Rincon Italiano
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Saval Food
Simply Elegant @ Grey Rock Mansion
Stanford Kitchen
Stone Mill Bakery
Wegmans
Zeffert & Gold


Beverage
BC Brewery
Belle Isle Moonshine
Boordy Wines
Foundry Row Wine & Spirits
Great Shoals
Hidden Hills
Old Line Spirits
Lyon Distilling Co
Sandy Bottom Cocktails
Wild Kombucha

Admission at $48/person in advance and $55/person at the door – includes all you can eat and drink, goodie bag and complimentary valet parking. To purchase tickets or learn about vendor or sponsorship opportunities, visit  www.tasteofpikesville.com or call the Chamber at 410.484.2337.

Event proceeds will support the Baltimore Hunger Project a 501(c) 3 non-profit charity that feeds hungry children on weekends during the school year. The remainder will support the Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to improve Pikesville and Owings Mills in order to attract more people and businesses.

About the Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber
The Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber of Commerce (POM Chamber) is dedicated to promoting and improving the business community in Pikesville, Owings Mills and the surrounding areas.  The POM Chamber works in partnership with the residential communities and local government to create an environment that is a great place to live, work and shop. For more information, visit www.pomchamber.org.



Monday, March 25, 2019

An irreverent and funny look at food: The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast

The real tagline for this podcast is “a food podcast for schmucks,” that alone gives you the first hint of what is to come from chefs Allison and Matt Robicelli, their teenaged sidekick  Noah Parker, and  producer Evan Siple, recognized for his work on the award-winning podcast, The City that Breeds.


Food will always be central in the bantering by this motley crew, although you can be assured of off-the-wall discussions (arguments). Beneath all the bickering is humor, off-color comments and occasional truths to be learned. Nothing, I mean nothing, is sacred, no holds barred with this group.  Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Successful home delivery meal kits spur manufacturers to new innovations

For those of you who don’t know what a home delivery meal kit is, let me enlighten you. A meal kit contains pre-portioned food ingredients along with recipes so the home cook, either those in a time crunch or those lacking the skill set to cook, can create a wholesome home cooked meal.  It is a subscription service, where customers pick the meals they want to prepare and they are delivered to their door. This concept started in Europe just over 12 years ago and quickly surfaced in the United States. Estimates say that this segment of the food business will garnish 1.3% of the food and beverage business by next year.  More popular subscription services are: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Freshly, though there are well over 100 services now available.

Food manufacturers have taken this concept and created main course kits for the grocery store; usually with three separate envelopes in one package: whole spices, marinades or seasoning paste, and sauces. The consumer just adds the protein or vegetables. Read the full story at Dara Cooks - Baltimore Post Examiner

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pleasures or Poisons: The Science and Culture of Food


This is year two of Great Talk Inc lecture series, which covers many diverse subjects.  The second in their series is Pleasures or Poisons: The Science and Culture of Food will be held Wednesday, April 17th at 7 pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton Baltimore North located at 695 and Reisterstown Road.  Tickets are $15

The panel for this evening’s discussion has a PhD in microbiology from MIT (Michael Jacobson), Chef Malcolm Mitchell, restaurateur Alan Hirsh, and a James Beard Award winning writer from the Washington Post (Maura Judkis) . WBAL-TV weeknight co-anchor Deborah Weiner will be the moderator. 

The Great Talk Maryland Series fosters Conversation With A Purpose, enriching and providing interdisciplinary learning and intellectual engagement for the Greater Baltimore and Maryland communities by bringing people together to share live, accessible and interactive conversations featuring distinguished speakers that address relevant issues, including the arts, culture, the humanities, science, social concern and other areas at a wide range of venues in Maryland.

There are five Great Talks a year:  the remaining three after Pleasure or Poisons are Is it Time for Psychedelics in Mainstream Medicine and Street & Conventional Art: the Relevance of Museums Today, and Baltimore: Not Just an American City – For further details www.greattalk.org.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cooking and baking classes with Chef Liz Sitaras Wilcox

Wow, I thought I knew all the cooking classes in the area, but this my friend is the real deal with Chef Wilcox.  When her initial dreams of being an architect/interior designer were dashed because of her dyslexia, she moved on to her passion; cooking and baking.  With the help of a math teacher, who suffered from dyslexia as well, taught her how to adapt and navigate her disability into a viable way of learning.


She enrolled in the top culinary school in the country, the prodigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), where she matriculated through two programs earning two degrees; Culinary Arts and Pastry.  While at the CIA she was an intern at The TV Food Network on their shows during their early days featuring chefs  Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, David Rosengarten, Michael Lomonaco, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Sara Moulton and more.   

Learn more about Chef Wilcox's classes at Dara Cooks at Batlimore Post Examiner

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

St. Patrick's Day celebration at Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House


There is no other place to celebrate the “wearing of the green” than Baltimore’s Guinness Brewery. Newly opened, this is the first year Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House will be open for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and what a party it will be with live music, brewery tours, a pint or two, and a menu of Irish favorites.


The celebration for the public begins Saturday, March 16th with two session, 10 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm and then Sunday, March 17th with two sessions, 10 am to 3pm and 5 pm to 10 pm.  Tickets are $15 and include your first can of beer (choice of Draught or Blonde), a donation to charity, and a commemorative button. Festivities include an Irish beer tap take over, limited edition merchandise, a holiday-themed food menu, and the debut of the new Guinness Food Truck.  Limited edition brews have been created just for this celebration and only available for two to three weeks:  rye stout and a new IPA.   


Friday, March 08, 2019

Dine and Drink Around the World: When caterers throw their own party

photo by Michael Temchine
Each  year, the Baltimore Chapter of NACE (National Association for Catering and Events) throws their annual fundraiser – a party with a purpose*.  The bonus is Baltimore’s top caterers, party planners put on an evening of eye catching décor, exceptional culinary treats, and beverages for everyone’s taste, in fact it is a contest and they are all in it to win it. They are showing off what they do for their clients, how to throw the perfect party.   Guess what, you are invited, it is Wednesday, March 13th 5pm to 10pm at the Radisson Inner Harbor  – tickets for this outstanding event are a mere $99 per person (all inclusive)

Over 300 guests  are anticipated for this international-themed fundraiser, which invites the public to “experience how the event industry throws a party.”  The cocktail celebration kicks off with hors d’oeuvres and tasting stations from Fogo de Ciao and the Radisson Inner Harbor, beverages from Founders Brewing Co. and Tito’s Vodka, and live entertainment.

Next, guests will “travel” to a number of countries. Each destination will have a customized vignette featuring signature delicacies, specialty cocktails and décor. Voting will take place for the Best International Experience Award among the following teams:

SPAIN
Caterer: Eleven Courses
Designer: Innovative Party Planners
Beverage Pairing: Lyon Distilling Company

ITALY
Caterer: La Tavola
Designer: Nick Codd
Beverage Pairing: Baltimore Spirits Company

AUSTRIA
Caterer: Chef’s Expressions
Designer: Eric Henning Magic
Beverage Pairing: Lanterna Wines

THAILAND
Caterer: The Pantry Catering
Designer: To Be Announced
Beverage Pairing: Aaron Joseph of R Bar

MEXICO
Caterer: Camden Yards
Designer: Tira Lynn Events
Beverage Pairing: Espolon Tequila

Adding to the fun will be gaming tables, a photo and video booth by Maryland Mojo, silent auctions including a trip to Florida, raffle and additional beverages from Breakthru, Full Tilt Brewing Co., J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Fiji Water and Tito’s Vodka. The evening will conclude with an After Party featuring desserts, a coffee bar from Zeke’s Coffee and additional entertainment by Sly 45.
Tickets to Dine and Drink Around the World are $99 per person. For more information – including a full list of sponsors – or to purchase tickets, visit www.baltimorenacefundraiser.com. For additional details on social media, visit #nacedineanddrink on Twitter or www.facebook.com/Baltimore-NACE-Fundraiser.
 *A “party with a purpose,” Dine and Drink Around the World is intended to raise over $30,000 to support the following nonprofits: St. Francis Neighborhood Center, The National Association for Caterering and Events, and The Foundation of NACE.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bakery, Restaurant, Bar: Charmed Kitchen does it all!


The lucky locals of Upper Fells, Butchers Hill and those around Patterson Park have the recently opened, bakery, restaurant and bar, Charmed Kitchen.  They are open 7 days a week from early 6:30 a.m. for takeout Ceremony coffees and the bakery’s offerings from croissants, bagels to Danish pastries. At 9 a.m., seated breakfast service starts (omelets, waffle, and more) and lunch kicks in at 11 a.m.   The grueling schedule continues Wednesday through Sundays with happy hour, small plates, dinner service and full bar in the evening hours. 


Passion is the word that best describes Christa Bruno (chef) and Shadee Holden (baker) and their combined visions for this small, urban corner restaurant-bakery-bar, Charmed Kitchen. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rye Street Tavern shines in Port Covington

Nestled between the Hanover Street Bridge and Ft. McHenry on Cromwell Street in the ever expanding Port Covington neighborhood, Rye Street Tavern shines brightly, day and night.  Lunch, brunch, social hour, and dinner – there is something for everyone’s taste on their diverse American themed menus. 


On my initial visit when they first opened, the waterfront view of the Patapsco River as the sun was setting was breathtaking. Whether from the bar or the dining rooms, that view was there for all to enjoy.   Though this is not the season to sit out on their lawn in their Adirondack chairs, they surely will be filled to capacity as well as the patio tables come the warmer months.  On my recent visit, as you rounded the corner of the building from their parking lot, the area glistens with string lights, brightening the winter’s night.   It is located next to Sagamore Spirit Distillery whose rye whiskey celebrates the resurrection of this Maryland tradition and is the inspiration for the tavern’s name.  


See all the photographs and the complete story at Dara Cooks - Baltimore Post Examiner

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Children's Valentine Celebration at Sotto Sopra Restaurant

What is Valentine’s Day but a day about love, all types of love, including family love!  For the third year in a row, Sotto Sopra Restaurant is continuing their tradition of celebrating families during Valentine’s Day week with a special evening focused on the children.  With that said, they invite parents to bring their children to Sotto Sopra Restaurant at 405 N. Charles Street to celebrate an early Valentine’s Day on Monday, February 11th.   The children will enjoy this event filled with kid-oriented entertainment, surprises, along with dining on a specially designed children’s menu.  Chef/owner Riccardo Bosio’s daughters, Amelia and Victoria, will be the hostesses for the evening. 

Check out the full menu and details: Dara Cooks - Baltimore Post Examiner 

Monday, February 04, 2019

Your sneak peek: Orto Restaurant opens today in Station North



.
The growing arts and entertainment Station North district in Baltimore, from Maryland Institute of Art and Penn Station to North Avenue, where the Parkway Theatre, Charles Theatre, BIG (Baltimore Improve Group) and Motor House Art Hub adds the Italian inspired, locally sourced Orto Restaurant on Charles Street.


In Italian, Orto translates to vegetable garden and is reflected in their menu.  As their website states, “Our menu is built on the foundations of Italian Food, and culture – simple, fresh, flavorful cuisine served in a welcoming space.”

Read the full review and enjoy the photographs at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Fresh and refreshed Severna Park's Cafe Mezzanotte

Trip Advisor lists Cafe Mezzanotte as the number one restaurant in Severna Park and after dining there over the holidays I can understand why.  First impressions always count and I had a lovely young hostess greet me with a smile and warmth that initially set the tone for what was to come.  There was something about her sense of caring that made me feel she might be related to the owner, Kosmas “Tommie” Koukoulis.  Koukoulis is also the owner of Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz in Harford County.



Cafe Mezzanotte recently went through six weeks of renovations, opening up spaces, new furniture, artwork and interior décor.  Large photographs of scenes from Italy and farms overlooked tables in multiple dining rooms.  The farm theme in the photographs supports the restaurant’s strong commitment to buying from local farms, seasonally and wherever possible eliminating supplies that are GMO. There is a strong sense of supporting the local community – in fact, 50 cents is added to each check as a donation to The Food Project that educates and trains southwest Baltimore youth in food-focused skills.  Read the full story Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Restaurant Weeks - Catch them if you can!


During what is considered the restaurant doldrums; cities, counties and municipalities put together discounted dining to get you into your favorite restaurant or for you to try a new restaurant.  I always like to post the restaurant weeks throughout the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland & Virginia) with the added bonus of Philadelphia and New York City. 

Winter Restaurant Week officially launches Friday, January 11 in Baltimore City – so don’t hesitate, the best reservations are going fast.  Lunch, Dinners and Brunches….check out the menus and deals.

Baltimore Restaurant Week
January 11 – January 20

Bethesda Restaurant Week
January 11 – January 20

Philadelphia Center City Restaurant Week
January 13 – January 25

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week
January 14 – January 20

Harford County Restaurant Week
January 18 – January 27

Alexandria Restaurant Week
January 18 – January 27

Baltimore County Restaurant Weeks
January 18 – February 2

Howard County Restaurant Weeks
January 21  - February 4

New York City Restaurant Weeks
January 21 – February 8

National Harbor Restaurant Week
January 26 – February 1

Annapolis Restaurant Week
March 2 – March 10

Frederick Restaurant Week
March 4 – March 10



Tuesday, January 08, 2019

A Taste of Baltimore is back - Santé


A New Year and the flush of charity events begin.  Santé is the Kidney Foundation of Maryland’s annual fundraiser taking place Thursday, February 28 at the Visionary Art Museum, 6-9 pm. An evening filled with food and drink from Baltimore’s top restaurants and caterers.  Adding to the festivities will be celebrity judges, the People’s Choice competition, entertainment, raffles and a silent auction. Admission to this business causal evening is $100/person or $2,500 for a table.  Actually $100 per person for an array of unlimited food, libations and entertainment is pretty much a steal for an evening out……more information and tickets HERE.

I have always supported the Kidney Foundation, in memory of a girlfriend, Peanut Kassel, who was the first live kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins.  Also, my cousin Debby… both, who for long periods were on dialysis and had their lives prolonged with a transplant.  Both are gone now, but I am ever so grateful for the strides the Kidney Foundation has made for patients in the past 40 years since they passed. 

WHEN:    Thursday, February 28, 2019
TIME:       6:00pm to 9:00pm
WHERE:  American Visionary Art Museum
The Jim Rouse Visionary Center, 3rd Floor
840 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD 21230

Individual tickets are $100.00 per person.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Gypsy's Truckstaurant cruises into Hampden Woodberry

I bet you are asking what is a truckstaurant?  In essence, it is a former industrial garage, converted into a restaurant and bar with the kitchen being outside in what seems to be a large car carrier. And who better than the winner of numerous tri-state food truck cook-offs than Chef Anne Langton of Gypsy Queen Café to bring her casual cuisine to this unique space. Now add, Chef Tom Looney, her former partner from Helen’s Garden in Canton and you have another big time winner.  Looney’s Bar Liquorice has just garnered Baltimore’s Best Cocktail Bar by the Baltimore Business Journal. Of course, one can find the same creativity at the bar at the truckstaurant.  Now that is not to say that Looney’s creativity is limited to cocktails – his culinary creations are probably 50% of what is on the menu.  Continue reading at Baltimore Post Examiner Dara Cooks. 

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