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, November 20, 2019

Croustille Café authentic French bakery opening in Pikesville

If all goes well with construction, permits, inspections, etc., Croustille Café is scheduled to open in the Pikesville Shopping Center by year’s end.  The 3,800 square foot authentic French bakery will be occupying a portion of the former space held by Rite Aid.  The shopping center is located on Pikesville’s main thoroughfare, Reisterstown Road. 

Paris, France is where baker/owner Moshe Mimoun mastered his craft and is bringing his in-house freshly baked breads (can you say baguettes?), Danish, fruit-filled brioche, turnovers, strudel, biscotti, madeleines, tarts and French-styled cookies to his café.  Personally, I’m looking forward to his Gaufres waffles -Flemish waffles, or Gaufres à la Flamande, which are a specialty of northern France and portions of western Belgium. 

The café portion of Croustille will serve breakfast and lunch with a focus on bagels, custom-made salads, sandwiches and in-house made ice cream.

“That section of Reisterstown Road is extremely pedestrian friendly with many businesses and residents located within walking distance, and we envision our bakery and café becoming a central gathering spot for both local residents and businesspeople,” explained Mimoun. “To facilitate lingering, a section of the bakery and café will contain a lounge area to encourage groups of people to gather, socialize and conduct business. There will be booths and also high-top tables to address the needs of different audiences. We believe young people in particular will gravitate to our environment.” 
Mimoun and his family operated several bakeries and supermarkets in France and he intends to instill these traditional cooking and baking principles in this new concept. 

Croustille in French translates to “crunchy” – did I mention real French baguettes, sure I did, but it is worth mentioning again.   

Bienvenue Croustille Café

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

International Chef Nick Malgieri comes to Baltimore area

It isn’t often that a chef of such renown comes to the Baltimore area, and to be teaching a cooking class, but Chef Nick Malgieri will teaching at Basic Kneads, A Culinary School on Friday, December 6th. It will be a night of learning, sipping wine and tasting the holiday inspired recipes prepared.  Students are invited to bring any of the 12 cookbooks by Chef Nick Malgieri for personalized inscriptions. This is a rare opportunity to learn from the master.  Seating is limited.

Learn more about Chef Malgieri and details on this fabulous Holiday cooking class at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Big score on retro candy Mallo Cup

Mallo Cups, the combination of milk chocolate with crunchy bits of infused coconut covering a soft, gooey marshmallow center – a childhood favorite that I have rarely seen anymore.  In past visits to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, I found Mallo Cups and scooped up these delicious denizens of the confectionery world. That first bite took me back to my childhood in the ’50s and hanging out at the corner drug store, we called it Docs, where Walbash and Sequoia Avenues converge and met up with Rosedale Road.  Those were days of nickel candies and fountain cokes.

Enjoy the balance of the story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Chef Li leaves popular Grace Garden Restaurant

Since the news broke that Chef Li chef/owner of Grace Garden restaurant was leaving his 14 year old restaurant, Grace Garden has been packed to the brim with devotees of his authentic Chinese cuisine.  Whereas Grace Garden will physically remain, the heart and soul has departed as Chef Li and his wife, Mei takes a respite. After that, Chef Li said, “I may go work at the casino or take a job in a restaurant other than Chinese.”  Where ever he goes, there will be abundant followers.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

True Chesapeake Oyster Co. Restaurant opens in Whitehall Mill

There is so much good to say about the True Chesapeake Oyster Co.: their location, décor, partnerships, drinks, food and dare I say oysters! 

Oysters are at the crux and heart of this restaurant; they are at the center of this friendship/partnership of oyster farmer Patrick Hudson of True Chesapeake Oyster Co. from St. Jerome Creek in Southern Maryland, award-winning Executive Chef Zack Mills, and Nick Schauman – founder of The Local Oyster.  True Chesapeake Oyster Co. is the first Maryland oyster farm to open a restaurant. Bring in another award-winner, Chelsea Gregoire, the general manager and beverage director to round out an already outstanding hospitality team.  Everyone mentioned above is a story unto themselves and deserves more than this mere mention.  

Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner

Thursday, October 24, 2019

BRD opens 2nd location in Federal Hill

Slightly different than the Trashmen’s song 1963  Bird is the Word, this BRD is becoming the word in Baltimore with their creative fried chicken sandwiches (sandos in BRD language ), wings and BRD bites. BRD is committed to sourcing the highest quality chicken; they use boneless chicken thighs that never received hormones, antibiotics and are fried in 100% peanut oil.

Read the full story at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Birroteca takes on the Devil

The Red Devils charity that advocates for patients and their families affected by breast cancer has a commitment from Baltimore’s Birroteca Restaurant for donating a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds throughout an ENTIRE YEAR.  I emphasize YEAR LONG so as not to be mistaken for a restaurant doing a one-night benefit. Birroteca is known for its rustic Italian fare and oh so many craft beers (60) in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Hash revival

What is hash? Well, in the ’60s or later the hash I knew was not edible, but it could surely give you the munchies. Hash, in the edible world, has been around eons, usually chopped or cubed leftover meat, potatoes, and seasonings seared up in a sauté pan and topped with an egg. My Aunt Hannah was a master of making a mean hash, insanely tasty with leftovers from her fridge. Hash is not just for breakfast, it is any time of day you want a nosh or a hearty meal. Read the full story at Baltimore Post Examiner Dara Cooks

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Summer Restaurant Weeks are Back

The Turn House - Steak Frites

 The summer heat is surely upon us and who wants to spend time in the kitchen or over a hot grill when dining out is especially cost effective with multiple restaurant weeks kicking off.  Discount dining with varying dining deals are available in each region.  Check out all the upcoming summer restaurant weeks in the area along with Washington DC and New York City - click through at Dara Cooks at Baltimore Post Examiner.

Ananda - Gobinda

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. 

  • A5 Fries
  • Pimento Cheese
  • Pork Belly Bites

  • 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
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. 

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

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:

Atrium Village
Bonefish Grill/Outback Steakhouse
Clean Cuisine
Double Tree
Edible Arrangements
Gourmet Again
Gourmet Girls
Il Palio
Island Quizine
Knish Shop
La Food Marketa
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
Zeffert & Gold

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 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

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.


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