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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Starbucks Cold Brew launches on March 31st

Tested last year in Boston and San Francisco Starbucks is launching their "Cold Brew." Cold Brew is coffee steeped using cool water, while traditional iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee at double-strength and pouring over ice.  Over 2,800 Starbucks in the Northeast, Mid Atlantic and Midwestern United States and select Canadian stores in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary will be introducing "Cold Brew."

I'm not sure how many people are thinking of chilled coffee in this unseasonable cool Spring. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Baltimore's Phillips Seafood Restaurant: Lunch, Dinner, or Crab Deck

It was back in November, 2011 that Phillips Seafood Baltimore restaurant moved after 30 years from the Inner Harbor a bit east on Pratt Street to the Power Plant in a prestigious corner location which can’t be missed with its 17 foot tall Phillips sign.  The new location  has a richer feel with well-polished wood, mosaic tile floors, and a plush anteroom, piano bar, oversized models of Baltimore’s historic ships the Constellation and Pride of Baltimore II, and numerous photographs reflecting the history of the Phillips family that  adorn the walls.

Phillips Seafood in 2014 celebrated 100 years from their early start on Hoopers Island, where A. E. Phillips & Son was a processing plant for wild oysters, crabs and fish from the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways.  It was the surplus catches that were the inspiration for the first Phillips Seafood Restaurant and now Phillips has grown with numerous seafood processing plants, restaurants along with their seafood for the food service industry and retail line for grocery stores.  

It was back in February when I was invited to come in as Phillips Seafood’s guest for a meal. With a turn of events with my husband in the hospital, our lunch was delayed.  Phillips Seafood was most accommodating with the husband’s new dietary restrictions, low sodium and limited dark greens. Staffing was very communicative and adaptations were easy; a special salad with iceberg lettuce and low sodium dressing and the Simple Fish – Catch of the Day/ Swordfish with the lemon chive butter and steamed vegetables filled the husband’s tummy.

 Check out the full story and slideshow HERE.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Howard County's first craft distillery is approved

Hot off the press release!   Lost Ark Distilling, Co should start production sometime this summer.  Lost Ark Distilling, Co. will be one of the first distilleries in the state of Maryland since Prohibition and the first in Howard County.  Artisan crafted spirits the likes of mixed varieties of rums and whiskeys.

The  owners say that a majority of their grains will be purchased from Howard County farms. “Bringing in fresh grain grown locally and hand crafting it into something special and unique is what this is all about”, said Brad Blackwell, Co-Owner of Lost Ark. “It’s the special touch, the attention to detail, and the passion of our craft that we feel will make a unique and flavorful spirit that can only be found right here in Central Maryland”. They plan to host tours and tastings upon opening later in the year.

Lost Ark Distilling Company Phone: 410-562-4870 Twitter-@LostArkDist 9385 Washington Blvd N. Suite B. Laurel - Howard County, MD info @

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Who will be the national champion in craft brewing

Thrillist today has posted their version of March Madness but for craft breweries with brackets from four regions.  Their "beer" experts have chosen 16 craft breweries in four regions: south, west, east and midwest. It is up to you, the general public, to pick your favorites - seeding the breweries. You pick who should advance to the next round, voting is closing March 19th at midnight. The new round begins March 20th.

Voting starts now

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Next stop on Cochon555 tour- Washington DC

The most epic celebration of pork, Cochon555, is on the road again with its next stop at Washington DC’s  Union Market  on Sunday, March 22nd where a culinary competition between the brightest regional culinary stars create dishes based on  heritage pigs to feed attendees and notable culinary judges in a battle for the Prince or Princess of Porc. The 2015 tour has already been in New York City, Houston, Boston, Minneapolis, and Denver with upcoming celebrations in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago – each city crowns a “Prince of Porc” with a grand heritage pig cook-off at the Aspen Food and Wine Show where the King of Porc will reign for the coming year.

Five chefs, five heritage pigs and five winemakers make up this one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition promoting sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs, one whole pig at a time. The tour is aligned with the modern-day good food movement — notable chefs, barrier-breaking women, artist-like butchers, spirited bartenders, top winemakers, brewers, distillers and brazen pastry talent working together to prepare an epic feast celebrating responsible family farming.

The weekend of gastronomy culminates Sunday in a must-do culinary experience featuring five chefs cooking five pigs in a friendly competition for a cause. This year’s Washington DC competing chefs include Spike Mendelsohn of Bearnaise, Victor Albisu of Del Campo & Taco Bamba, Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia, Danny Lee of Mandu and Jonah Kim of Yona. The five chefs, champions of whole hog utilization, will prepare a maximum of six dishes with hopes to win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Smashburger to open first Baltimore location

A number of you might be saying, “Oh, another burger joint – big deal” but this one is a “fast, casual” not a “fast food” burger restaurant. The eight year old Smashburger chain cooks your 100% Certified Angus Beef burger to order. The beef is always fresh, never frozen – smashed and cooked on a 400 degree flat grill searing in the natural juices for as Smashburger says, “a better burger” experience. 

You can order from a multitude of tried and tested burger and toppings combos like the Classic Smash, Avocado Club, Buffalo & Blue Cheese, Spicy Jalapeno Baja, Truffle Mushroom Swiss or build your own from a selection of buns, sauces, toppings and cheeses.  Smashburger creates a signature burger for each location, i.e. Baltimore’s will be the Chesapeake with local horseradish manufacturer Tulkoff’s Tiger Sauce, cheddar cheese, red onion, lettuce & tomato on an onion bun. If you were to go to a Philadelphia Smashburger you could order the Philly with grilled onions, Cheez Whiz & Gulden’s Spicy Mustard on a pretzel bun. 

Of course, there are other choices: Smashchicken with a selection ofchicken that is marinated and grilled or crispy, Avocado Ranch Black Bean Burger, fresh salads, kids meals and get this, seriously – Häagen-Dazs Hand-Spun shakes.  The sides are definitely more interesting than most burger eateries with Smashfries - tossed in Italian olive oil, rosemary & garlic, Spicy Buffalo Fries- dry seasoned with Frank’s Red-Hot & served with a side of ranch dressing, and Sweet Potato Fries or Sweet Potato Smashfries.  If you are a sole that loves to put an egg on it, they are available as well. Personally, I’m interested in the haystack onions. You can check the Baltimore menu HERE.  You’ll note a variety of certified organic freshly brewed and bottled HONEST Tea beverages and local craft beer.

 Look for Baltimore’s first Smashburger to open in Fells Point, at 616 S. Broadway between Fleet  and Aliceanna Streets in the newly developed Marketplace at Fells Point with an estimated opening the beginning of April. Smashburger Baltimore will be open 10am to 10pm daily. For more information, visit or follow Smashburger on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Guests are also encouraged to join Smashburger’s Smash Club to receive the latest news, tastiest promotions and exclusive coupons.

“We could not be happier to make our debut in Baltimore and bring the Smashburger experience to all who live, work, and play in this vibrant city,” said Tom Ryan, Founder of Smashburger. “Our goal is to bring great tasting burgers back into people’s lives, by providing an array of fresh, high quality ingredients and tempting sides to choose from.”

Bar-B-Que ala Guy Fieri coming to Baltimore's Horseshoe Casino

Hot off the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino’s e newsletter is the announcement that Food Network’s Guy Fieri is extending his name onto yet another location in the casino. Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint will be located in the casino’s Baltimore Marketplace filling in a recently available location.  Fieri, a National BBQ Hall of Famer, chef and restaurateur is breaking ground with his first BBQ joint where numerous items on the menu will be under $10.

 The website states, “The menu includes sandwiches and platters featuring championship pork, 12-hour brisket, blue-ribbon chicken and Natty Boh bratwurst; three different styles of Guy Fieri’s signature BBQ sauces (which are also available for sale); classic sides such as collard greens, cornbread, mac & cheese and baked beans; and Guy’s signature desserts, including bread pudding, banana pudding, pies, cookies and brownies.” 

Along with his multiple restaurants he already has a full service restaurant at Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino  - Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen + Bar which is open daily for lunch, dinner and late night dining offering causal food like burgers and wings.

Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint –COMING SOON!
Horseshoe Casino – Baltimore Marketplace
1525 Russell Street
Baltimore MD  21230

New Mallow Bar location kicks off customer appreciation days

Nikki Lewis started out selling her scratch made Mallow Crunchies at farmers markets, her rendition of the old time Rice Krispy Treats with her homemade marshmallows in the original and chocolate topped sweet treats. Over the handful of years she could be found at charity events, farmers markets, into her production and retail space on Philadelphia Road and at Horseshoe Casino’s Marketplace. Today, Saturday, March 14th Nikki invites everyone to her Mallow Production House, where she combines under one roof her retail space with the Mallow Crunchies, sandwiches, boxed lunches and sweet treats with  a larger production facility which will  allow growth in corporate gift giving and catering.

The new location is:

The Mallow Bar Production House
11620-H Crossroads Circle (off new extension of Route 43)
White Marsh, Md 21237

Customer Appreciation Days kicks off today where guests can get a tour of the location, sample Mallow Crunchies and Mallow Softies(housemade marshmallows) Saturday, March 14th 10am to 1 pm; Sun, March 15th 2pm to 5pm and Mon, March 16th 11am to 1 pm 

Check out video, slideshow and complete story HERE.


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