The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Top 5 1/2 Pizza Parlors, Restaurants, Joints or Emporiums in Baltimore

This is the first of many Top 5 ½ columns to be written focused on restaurants, cookbooks and food – wherever my culinary curiosity will take me.  You are asking why five and a half? The half is for honorable mention but just shy of making the top five.

I have culled on line review sites, polled Twitter and Facebook fans to come up with the hot pizza joints in Baltimore.  Like crab cakes, pasta sauces or sushi houses, everyone has a favorite for a multiple of reasons.  If I left off your favorite let us know in the comment section and why they are your favorites.

Whether you fold your slice or eat it flat, whether you like thin crust or thick, New York style, pan, Neapolitan, brick oven – there is a pizza for every taste

My listings are in alphabetical order and no way reflect a ranking.

Read the full story and watch the video HERE

Friday, December 28, 2012

Culinary Review os 2012: My perspective

This is the time of year when so many reflect on the year past and what the future might hold. I’m no different. There were many highs this year with a couple of lows but all-in-all, “it was a very good year” in my food world. It wasn’t a good year for the Guy Fieri and his Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar restaurant review that went round the world by Pete Wells of the New York Times. The whole review was written in questions the likes of “What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?”

Check out the full review of 2012, the slideshow and video HERE

Thursday, December 27, 2012

McCormick & Schmick’s fresh new look for the New Year

Since 1998 McCormick & Schmick’s outpost has had their doors open at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The recently acquired seafood chain is now owned by Landry’s and with that came a refresh in décor.

McCormick & Schmick’s reflects a commitment to culinary excellence by showcasing the rich bounty of the Pacific Northwest including an array of specialties from that region, along with an emphasis on serving the freshest quality seafood from the waters of the Atlantic.

Read the full story, watch the video and the slideshow HERE

Monday, December 17, 2012

Haute Dog's Daniel Raffel launches Divine Swine

Thanks to Harvey Kallen’s invite to lunch at Haute Dog, I learned about Daniel Raffel’s latest endeavor, Divine Swine. Just like the miracle of penicillin came out of mold so has Divine Swine. As a hobby, Daniel’s dad Jerry was curing Virginia style hams; they would cure for one year. Low and behold one ham cured longer just due to oversight. The senior Raffel took the ham to his son and asked what I can do with this? Well it turned out to be a beautiful mistake, offering up an Italian speck like prosciutto, lightly smoked.

Check out the slideshow and full story HERE

Sunday, December 16, 2012

J. Paul's Harborplace: Renewed, Refreshed and Rewarding

Over the 30 plus years Harborplace has been open I can honestly say there hasn’t been a restaurant that was so fabulous that I wanted to return. Not to say in the early days that the husband and I enjoyed the stall vendors but most are gone. I preface all this to let you know should I be at Harborplace, should I crave a raw bar or tasty regional food with the equation of quality dishes, portion size and pricing, I would go to the recently renovated and reopened J. Paul’s.

Other than the expanding waistline that has come with writing about food the main benefit is public relations firms and restaurateurs invite me to sample new menu items or enjoy a meal which allows me to taste numerous dishes I might not normally order or try.

Read the full story and watch the slideshow HERE

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Lotte Asian Grocery and Honey Dumplings grand opening

The goal was to go for dim sum for lunch today but my friend wanted to try Honey Pig Korean BBQ. Since we were headed out to Ellicott City I suggested we check out the new Lotte Asian Grocery that is having its Grand Opening weekend. One reason to stop was Honey Pig was opening a dumpling stand inside Lotte which is located in the old Toys R Us location at Route 40 and Nuwood Drive.

It had the new store feel; fresh, clean and vibrant. I enjoyed taste testing all the foods being sampled and walked away with a fresh seafood noodle soup for the home fridge.

Watch the slideshow, get the video recipe for bibimbap and read the full story HERE Honey Pig (Gooldaegee) on Urbanspoon

Fine Dining in Hunt Valley: The Oregon Grille

There is dining and then there is going out to eat. One goes to The Oregon Grille to dine when one wants the atmosphere, the superior service and exquisitely executed food. Just off interstate I-83, The Oregon Grille is in the heart of Maryland’s horse country and is so reflected in its décor. The pathway from the ample parking lot has lawn jockeys in their winning colors guiding your way to the garden and porch entrance of the restaurant. The wood paneling with saddles and bits in the foyer, the bar with foxes and game fowl, and the dining room with artwork featuring horses lays homage to the region.

Owner Ted Bauer and his executive chef Matthew Siegmund recently celebrated The Oregon Grille’s 15th anniversary which is a true accomplishment in the restaurant business. It says they are doing things right.

Watch the slideshow, video recipe and full story HERE The Oregon Grille on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 14, 2012

Give the gift of Italy: Enjoy the Amalfi Coast

So this story begins at the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s holiday party when I chatted up my friend Mary Ann Cricchio, owner of Da Mimmo Restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy. The question to her was what’s new since I last saw you? The dam broke as Mary Ann exploded with excitement about an Amalfi Coast tour that she and her executive chef Masood Masoodi had put together for 20 customers.
photo courtesy of Steve Filippi

I love Italy; have been twice on cost effective tours where we were packed liked sardines on tour buses. Do you remember the old movie If It’s Tuesday it must Be Belgium? That is what my tours were like, packing and unpacking, going from city to city. Mary Ann’s tour had her guests stay in one city, Maiori, where they relaxed and didn’t have that syndrome of being in a new city every other day.

Check out the slideshow, video and the full story HERE

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Munching lunch on the Charm City Circulator Purple Route

I'm thrilled to say that my first story on dining at the restaurants on Baltimore's Charm City Circulator Banner route was such a huge success this summer. So I've come back for another tour, this time I took a closer look at the Purple Route that is like the United Nations of culinary treats.. 

Blue Agave
I'm going to link to the story and the gal you see in the photograph with the fuschia umbrella is is my Mary Poppin's look.  So please click through to the entire story and sidebar at www.BMoreMedia

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Shiso Tavern: Canton Square's Asian fusion dining

Shiso is an herb, predominately used in Japanese cuisine but also used in other Asian cultures like Vietnamese and Chinese. The name seems apropos as the name of the Canton Square restaurant Shiso Tavern that serves sushi, ramen, pad thai and wok specials like orange chicken and beef broccoli. Shiso Tavern is located in the former Te Amo space with the bar greeting you when you first enter. The upstairs dining room is subtle in décor with a kimono on one wall and crossed samurai swords on the other; one would think they used feng shui to aid the minimalist surroundings.

Watch the slideshow, video and read the full story HERE 

Shiso Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Verde Pizza Napoletana: a great addition for your dining wish list

Canton and the city have garnered a great new restaurant, Verde Pizza Napoletana. As a guest at the grand opening I had the opportunity to taste numerous styled pizzas, salads and chat up the owners. The space, formerly Birches has been revitalized and refreshed with reclaimed wooden beams, brick walls, tile floors, a coal fired / wood burning oven and a bar backed with a chalkboard menu. Stylized, fresh, cozy, urban and chic, one might find this on the upper east side of New York. The couple behind the vision is Edward Bosco and his wife Marianne Kresevich.

Read the complete story and watch the slideshow HERE 

Verde Pizza Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Food for Though Symposia: Cretan food and wine event

The Inn At The Black Olive, The Institute for Integrative Health and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, introduce the Food for Thought Symposia: A return to the ancient Greek ritual of gathering to partake in good food, fine wine, and communal discourse which, when shared together, provide sustenance for intellectual and cultural growth.

This year’s symposia will focus on presentation and discussion of a number of wellness oriented strategies and a major one, of which, focuses on healthy food.

Get the full details HERE

Holiday Gifting: Chocolates galore at Ma Petite Shoes

Gentlemen, ladies, children, friends and family if you don’t know by now, chocolates, especially fine chocolates should be at the top of your gift giving list for the holiday season. Susannah Siger, owner of Ma Petite Shoes in Hampden is a visionary not only with the hottest shoe collection for sale but with her vast array of the finest, most creative chocolate selections in the city.

It was probably about 10 years ago when Fran’s Chocolate in Seattle paired sea salt with chocolate covered caramels and stirred the confectionery world. Even President Obama orders the milk chocolate version from Fran’s

Watch the video and read the full story HERE


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