December, 17th 2013

Dining Options for the Holidays

Baltimore magazine

Rusty Scupper ChristmasIt seems as if we just digested Thanksgiving dinner, and now the other winter holidays are right around the corner. Here is a list of restaurants that are ready to serve you on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and to help you welcome in the New Year in style.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Charleston: (Pictured top) Three- ($79), four- ($91), five- ($103), or six-course ($114) prix-fixe menu with optional pairings, 5:30-8 p.m.

Cinghiale: Modern Italian menu ($75 plus tax and gratuity), 5-9 p.m.

Pazo: Multi-course menu, 5-9 p.m. Adults, $55; children (12 and under), $29, plus tax and gratuity.

CHRISTMAS DAY

The Prime Rib, Maryland Live Casino: Three-course holiday menu with a glass of champagne, Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir, $75 a person plus tax and gratuity, 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Wit & Wisdom: Breakfast menu served from 8-11 a.m. Adults, $32; children (12 and under), $15. Three-course dinner from 2-8 p.m. Adults, $79, optional $30 wine pairing; children (12 and under), $30. Special holiday tavern menu offered from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., lounge closes at 12 a.m.

NEW YEAR'S EVE

B&O American Brasserie: Three- ($65) or five-course ($90) menu with optional pairings, complimentary glass of champagne. Seatings, 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.

Blue Hill Tavern: Four-course menu, 5-6:30 p.m. ($55) or 8-10:30 p.m. ($75) that includes a table for the evening plus a champagne toast. The bar will offer an a-la-carte menu with open seating.

Bond Street Social: Top-shelf open bar with hors d'oeuvres, party favors, and a champagne toast ($125 in advance), 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

Charleston: Multi-course, prix-fixe menu, $149 plus tax and gratuity ($219 with optional wine pairing), 5:30-6:30 p.m; $299 all inclusive with endless champagne and premium open bar, 8:30-10 p.m.

Cinghiale: Multi-course Italian dinner, $99 plus tax and gratuity ($139 with optional wine pairing), 5-9 p.m.

James Joyce Irish Pub: Regular menu plus additional dinner specials, 11-2 a.m.

Lebanese Taverna: Early a-la-carte dinner begins at 4 p.m. Starting at 9 p.m., an array of more than 20 mezze dishes ($75 plus tax and gratuity). At 10 p.m., hors d'oeuvres are served in the lounge ($25 cover charge plus tax and gratuity).

Ouzo Bay: Four-course menu offered, price dependent on choices. Seatings, 6-7 p.m. and 9-10 p.m. with the restaurant open until 5 a.m. Reservations required.

Pabu: Five-course ($75), 5:30-6:30 p.m., or eight-course menu ($105), 8-9 p.m.

Pazo: Three-course menu. Early seating, 5-7:30 p.m. ($69 plus tax and gratuity) or later seating, 8-11 p.m., ($119 all inclusive).

Petit Louis Bistro: Multi-course menu, $79 ($119 with optional wine pairings), 5-11 p.m., reservations recommended.

Rusty Scupper: (pictured, above) Four-course dinner ($100 for general seating, $115 for premium window seating, plus tax and gratuity), 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

Waterfront Kitchen: Five-course menu offered. Seatings, 6:30 p.m. ($100, or $135 with wine pairing) and 9:30 p.m. ($125, or $160 with wine pairings).

Wine Market Bistro: Prix-fixe, four-course dinner, $59 plus tax and gratuity (additional $30 optional wine pairing). Reservations required, 5-11 p.m.

Wit & Wisdom: Three-course ($80, option of $35 wine pairing), 5-6:30 p.m., or a five-course menu ($150, option of $60 wine pairing), 8-9:30 p.m. After-dinner lounge party available through 2 a.m., $10 cover charge after 8 p.m.

—Danielle Moore 


Wondering what to do for New Year’s?

We’ve got you covered whether you are young, old, an early bird, a night owl, a party animal, or a wallflower.

New Year’s Eve roundup

Ringing in the New Year

NYE: What to Wear

 

December, 17th 2013

A Look Back at the 2013 Restaurant Scene

Baltimore magazine

Dining in Baltimore just keeps getting better. This past year, we said hello to a number of new places that are already leaving their marks on our palates. Sadly, we also bid adieu to several respected restaurants, including The Dogwood, Della Notte, Rocco's Capriccio, and Caesar's Den.

Operating a restaurant isn't easy, as any owner or chef will tell you. We hope these newbies will be around for a long time:

By Degrees Cafe: Chef/proprietor Omar Semidey has joined the first wave of restaurants that is transforming the landscape of South Central Avenue near Little Italy and Harbor East. His sleek-looking restaurant in a refurbished warehouse strives for well-prepared plates at reasonable prices.

The Chasseur: Named after the original "Pride of Baltimore" ship, the Canton restaurant spiffied up the former Adam's Eve and started serving upscale comfort food with one of the best meatloaves I had all year. (And there were a lot of meatloaves on menus!) The charming white-cloth bistro is a great addition to the neighborhood.

The Chesapeake: After a long wait, an updated version of its venerable, eponymous predecessor opened with a modern American menu in a historic building in the up-and-coming Station North Arts District. The kitchen's clever twist on Mid-Atlantic cuisine keeps the patrons coming back.

Cunningham's: The new dining juggernaut in town, Bagby Restaurant Group, unveiled its fourth restaurant to immediate acclaim with beautiful environs and a creative farm-to-table menu by executive chef Chris Allen. This is the place Towson has been waiting for.

Liberatore's: The longtime family restaurateurs, who have successfully operated Italian eateries for 25 years, changed it up this year, opening Liquid Lib's, a wine bar adjacent to their Timonium location, and Lib's Grill, a steakhouse/raw bar in Perry Hall. Thinking out of the box is good.

Nickel Taphouse: Chef/owner Robbin Haas, who has worked his culinary magic at Birrotecca, transformed a failed restaurant space in the heart of Mt. Washington into a go-to neighborhood tavern with burgers, oysters, and more.

Oliver Speck's: An innovative re-invention happened within a matter of weeks in Harbor East last summer. Vino Rosina closed, only to open as a barbecue place with owner Jim Lancaster and chef Jesse Sandlin still firmly in place. The new concept offers a great alternative to all the small plates in the area.

Ryleigh's Oyster: The popular Federal Hill spot stretched out to the 'burbs with a second location, taking over a hulking space once housing Gibby's and Rib 'N Reef in Timonium. The seafood-laden menu, raw bar, and newly renovated space already has a loyal following.

Shoo-Fly Diner: Wunderchef Spike Gjerde is creating his vision of American comfort food in Belvedere Square with dishes like fried chicken, cast-iron catfish, and a Chesapeake crab roll. Reviews have been borderline. We're confident the restaurant will soon follow in the footsteps of Gjerde's successful ventures Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee. 

December, 12th 2013

Charleston Named a Top 10 U.S. Restaurant

Baltimore magazine

Baltimore's premiere Harbor East restaurant Charleston is a 2013 Diners' Choice Award winner in OpenTable's "100 Best Restaurants in America," ranking an impressive No. 5 on the list.

It is in good company with other "Top 10 Best Restaurants," including St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa, CA; Mama's Fish House in Paia, HI; and Halls Chophouse in Charleston, SC.

Chef Cindy Wolf, pictured, a James Beard Award nominee who co-owns the restaurant with Tony Forman, has been turning out award-winning fare at Charleston since it opened in 1997.

Charleston Facebook fans weighed in on the distinction with such comments as: "Tell me something I don't already know! Everyone, just go to Charleston one time and you'll understand why they were chosen" and "One of the absolute best."

For a complete list of winners, visit OpenTable's website. 

December, 9th 2013

How Many Eggnogs Can I Drink?

Baltimore magazine

vale tudo eggnogAt Saturday's Fells Point Olde Tyme Christmas festival, the other judges and I started out before noon to sample various eggnogs at bars and businesses around the neighborhood, looking for a winner.

In the meantime, festival attendees were also making the rounds to come up with a people's favorite. The new, hipster Vale Tudo bar—where Cheerleaders used to be located—got their vote. And it was delicious with tequila, whipped cream, and roasted ginger sugar, pictured left.

But by mid-afternoon, there was no doubt about our top pick—Thames Street Oyster House's seductive version, pictured above, laced with bourbon and dark rum and garnished with a house-made candy cane.

Sergio Vitale, co-owner of Chazz and Aldo's; Amy Langrehr, Charm City Cook blogger; and friends Greg, Sal, and Melissa were my cohorts for the day. Along the way, we sampled 19 eggnogs with all manner of booze and cleverness.

It's not as bad as it sounds. The rich, creamy holiday drinks were more filling than debilitating from alcohol. We learned quickly not to down the whole drink—or some of us did!

Natty Boh eggnogThe ringer was a visit to Natty Boh Gear on Thames Street for the "Baltimore eggnog," pictured, which turned out to be straight Natty Boh, of course.

Another nod for Charm City creativity goes to Max's Taphouse for its eggnog with Full Tilt Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout, topped with crumbled Berger's Cookies.

Here's a quick overview of some of the other drinks we liked:

The Point (our second favorite) for its rye whiskey, cherry liqueur, cherry-vanilla bitters, and orange zest; One-Eyed Mike's for its Grand Marnier whipped cream, Sofi's Crepes for serving Nutella crêpes, too; Riptide's pistachio eggnog; Woody's Rum Bar for RumChata and sprinkled coconut, and Party Dress (yes, the women's shop) for fueling us with Brie cheese and grapes in addition to its peppermint eggnog presented in a gorgeous punch bowl.

We somehow survived the caloric intake of the day. But mark your 2014 calendars for Dec. 6, the date of next year's contest. I just may be ready to drink more eggnog by then. 

December, 2nd 2013

Petit Louis Comes to Columbia

Baltimore magazine

The Foreman Wolf restaurant group confirmed today that it will open a Petit Louis in the Columbia lakefront space once occupied by Red Pearl. An opening date was not announced.

Petit Louis Bistro on the Lake will feature traditional French bistro cuisine, according to a press release. The ever-changing menu will offer items like duck leg confit, mussels Provençale, cassoulet, and steak frites.

The Howard County restaurant will also feature a comptoir, a walk-up space inspired by Parisian cafes. It will have pastries, classic sandwiches, soups, salads, and a coffee program with casual seating and carryout.

The restaurant is the sixth for owners Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf, who also operate Charleston, Pazo, Cinghiale, and Johnny’s in addition to the original Petit Louis in Roland Park.

Foreman Wolf, which announced the Columbia venture in June, is typically closemouthed about their concepts and names until closer to an opening date. But howchow.blogspot.com reported today that the prospect of a Petit Louis was likely.

The blog had been alerted that a notice about an alcohol-beverage-board application was posted in The Sun. The liquor-board hearing is set for Dec. 17, it said.

The new French restaurant will include outdoor seating, a pastry operation, and private dining and event space, the Foreman Wolf announcement said.

The executive chef is James Lewandowski. Maître d’hôtel is Peter Keck. And the pastry chef is Ashley Roop.

4:28 pm Comment Count Tags: chefs, what's new
November, 22nd 2013

Dining Out on Thanksgiving Day

Baltimore magazine

There's a lot going on this November 28 besides turkey, including Hanukkah and the Ravens-Steelers dust-up. Who has time to cook? If you're looking forward to a delicious Thanksgiving spread—or just a nice meal—without the dreaded cleanup, we've compiled a list of restaurants around the metropolitan area that will do the work for you.

Here's a roundup by city and county.

Baltimore City

The Ambassador Dining Room, Tuscany-Canterbury: Regular menu is offered from 4:30-10 p.m. Reservations are required.

Bluegrass Tavern, South Baltimore: Reservations required, 2-8 p.m. Traditional holiday dinner, whole smoked hog, smoked turkey, vegetarian options, and selection of sides. "Big boy plate" includes meats and all sides, $26; healthy portion includes one meat and all sides, $22; vegetarian plate, $18; kids portion includes choice of one meat and select sides, $10. Limited game-day fare will also be available.

The Capital Grille, Inner Harbor: Reservations recommended, 12-9 p.m. Regular menu offered in addition to Thanksgiving menu of slow-roasted turkey, stuffing, and a cranberry-pear chutney, pictured. Pumpkin cheesecake offered for dessert. Adults, $36; children (12 and under), $15.

Charleston, Harbor East: Three-course Thanksgiving dinner, 3-7 p.m. Includes sweet-potato-and-andouille-sausage soup, Southern chopped salad, roasted turkey breast and turkey-leg confit, braised beef short rib, and pan-roasted wild rockfish. Sides and desserts are also available. $79 per person, including complimentary valet parking.

Dick’s Last Resort, Inner Harbor: In honor of the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dick’s will be open from 11 a.m. until whenever the party stops. Tailgate items include gator bites, wings, and a slice of pumpkin pie, which are available to go. Happy hour from 4-7 p.m. features $3 house liquor, $2.50 domestic bottles and pints, $4 margaritas, and select appetizers for $5. Enter in the  Thanksgiving pie-eating contest for a chance to win a $100 Dick’s gift certificate.

Grille 700 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Inner Harbor: Traditional Thanksgiving buffet served from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., $24 per person. Menu items include carved turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and mini desserts in addition to the regular breakfast buffet. Reservations required.

Kali's Court, Fells Point: Regular and a la carte Thanksgiving menu offered, 12-8 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

Mt. Washington Tavern, Mt. Washington: Regular menu and special turkey dinner available, starting at 12:30 p.m.

The Prime Rib, Midtown: Three-course, fixed-price menu, 1-8 p.m. Choice of one appetizer: roasted tomato soup, Maine lobster bisque, house salad, or Caesar salad; entree of roasted turkey with sides, and homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. Adults, $45.95; children (12 and under), $24.95. Regular menu is also available.

Rusty Scupper, Downtown: Thanksgiving buffet, 12-6 p.m. Carved roast turkey, roasted salmon, herb-crusted roast prime rib or beef, sautéed Prince Edward Island mussels with a white-wine reduction, choice of sides, raw bar, salads, and desserts. Adults, $44.95; kids (10 and under), $19.95. Reservations are required.

Ruth's Chris Steak House, Inner Harbor: Three-course turkey dinner with first-course options including Louisiana seafood gumbo, Caesar salad, steak house salad; entree selection of oven-roasted turkey breast with homemade gravy, sausage-and-herb stuffing, and cranberry relish; additional choice of sides; and pumpkin cheesecake with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Adults, $38.95; children's menu offered (12 and under), $12.95.

Wit & Wisdom: A Tavern By Michael Mina, Harbor East: An a la carte breakfast will be served from 7-11 a.m. Thanksgiving dinner, 1-8 p.m. Choice of pear-and-endive salad, fried oysters a la poulette, duck confit and acorn squash risotto, or pumpkin soup for the first course; second course, turducken roulade, Maryland jumbo-lump crab cake, Gunpowder Bison rib-eye, or Maryland rockfish; dessert options of pumpkin parfait, chocolate tart, or mid-Atlantic cheese selection; choice of sides available. Adults, $69 with an optional $30 wine pairing; children (under 12), $35. A holiday tavern menu to be available in the lounge from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closing at 12 a.m.

Baltimore County

Cafe Troia, Towson: Regular menu and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 2-9 p.m. Adults, $39.95; for a smaller portion size, $22.95. Reservations are suggested.

The Manor Tavern, Monkton: Traditional Thanksgiving buffet with seating at 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5 p.m. The menu includes Caesar salad, cornbread muffins, turkey, brown-sugar ham, caramelized-onion prime rib au jus, mini crab cakes, sweet potatoes, Yukon mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, and assorted cheesecakes. Adults, $38; children (3-12), $15; under age 3, free. Reservations required.

The Milton Inn, Sparks: A la cart traditional three-course Thanksgiving feast, 12-7 p.m. Choice of split-pea soup, Caesar salad, or baby spinach salad; entree of hand-carved white and dark meat turkey accompanied by a variety of sides; dessert selection including pumpkin pie, apple pie, or chocolate truffle torte. Adults, $52; children (12 and under), $26.

The Oregon Grille, Hunt Valley: Full regular menu and a three-course Thanksgiving dinner, 1-8 p.m. Offerings include butternut-squash bisque or beef-barley soup, fresh-roasted turkey, sausage dressing, cranberry, whipped potatoes, yams, baby zucchini, maple-apple cheesecake, and pecan pie. Adults, $49; children (12 and under), $32. 

Anne Arundel County

Maryland Live! Casino, Hanover: A fall heritage buffet featuring traditional Thanksgiving favorites in addition to offerings from the snow-crab-and-seafood menu; $35 per person plus tax and gratuity. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 5-9:30 p.m.

The Prime Rib at Maryland Live! Casino, Hanover: Regular menu plus a three-course “prix-fixe fall heritage menu,” 5:30-10:30 p.m. First-course options include roasted butternut-squash soup, mizuna-and-butter-lettuce salad, or oysters on the half shell; entrees are herb-roasted heritage turkey or butter-poached cod loin; sides are oyster stuffing, black-truffle mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans with crispy leaks. Each course is paired with a glass of Roederer Brut or George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. Desserts include pumpkin cheesecake, a caramel-pecan bar with pumpkin ice cream, and a 16-layer chocolate cake with eggnog ice cream. Reservations recommended, $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. 

Severn Inn, Annapolis: Buffet and appetizer selection, butternut-squash soup, crab bisque, raw bar, light and dark meat turkey, prime rib, jumbo crab cakes, mashed potatoes, and selections of pie. Three seating options: 12-12:30 p.m., 2:15-2:45 p.m., 4:30-5 p.m. with the buffet closing at 7 p.m. Adults, $49.95; children (5-12), $24.95; ages 4 and under eat for free. Reservations required.

Carroll County

Antrim 1844 Country Inn, Sykesville: Six-course Thanksgiving dinner, $68.50 per person (tax, gratuity, and beverages not included). Limited seating available for 1 p.m. hors d'oeuvres and 1:30 p.m. seating or 1:30 p.m. hors d'oeuvres and 2 p.m. seating.

Baldwin's Station, Sykesville: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., reservations recommended. A la carte Thanksgiving dinner with slow-roasted, hand-carved turkey, pan gravy, herb cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, pumpkin bisque, and pumpkin cheesecake.

Harford County

Josef's Country Inn, Fallston: Limited a la carte menu in addition to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, 12-6 p.m. Dinner includes Maryland crab soup, turkey breast and sides, and pumpkin pie. Adults, $31.50; children (12 and under), $15.95.

Mountain Branch Grille & Pub, Joppa: Reservations required, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. A traditional Thanksgiving family buffet, carving station, butternut-squash soup, Caesar salad, broccoli wild-rice salad, roast turkey, roasted Norwegian salmon with lemon butter and crab, beef tenderloin tips with wild mushrooms, roast pork loin with shallot demi-glace, and selection of sides. Kids menu is offered. Adults, $27.95; children (3-10), $10.95; ages 3 and under eat for free.

Howard County

The Kings Contrivance, Columbia: Reservations recommended, 12-7:30 p.m. Three-course Thanksgiving dinner with first-course options of roasted butternut-squash soup, shellfish bisque, mesclun salad, Caesar salad, baked Brie, crispy fried oysters; choice of entree including roast turkey from Maple Lawn Farms, jumbo-lump crab cakes, pan-roasted Norwegian salmon, pan-seared prime pork chop, New York strip au poivre, and veal Marsala; choice of dessert. Adults (not including beverage, tax, or gratuity), $45; children (12 and under), $25.

Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant, Ellicott City: Limited a la carte menu, with an additional traditional Thanksgiving meal, 12-7 p.m. Adults, $30.95; children (12 and under), $17.95.

—Danielle Moore 

November, 19th 2013

Pancake-Eating Contest at Pete's Grille

Baltimore magazine

Who doesn't want to earn money eating pancakes? The annual event at Pete's Grille still has openings for contestants.

The competition starts at 7 a.m. on Friday. And local TV stations will be on hand to capture every bite.

The top winners in the men's and women's divisions will receive $500. Sign up at the restaurant during its business hours between 7 a.m.-1:15 p.m. The entrance fee is $20.

Or just drop by that day to cheer on the hearty eaters. Hang around afterward to eat your own delicious pancakes.

Pete's Grille is at 3130 Greenmount Ave. 

November, 15th 2013

More Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Day

Baltimore magazine

Additional area restaurtants are scheduled to be open on Thanksgiving day. Be sure to view our extended list for a complete selection

Dick’s Last Resort, Inner Harbor: In honor of the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dick’s will be open from 11 a.m. until whenever the party stops. Tailgate items include gator bites, wings, and a slice of pumpkin pie, which are available to go. Happy hour from 4-7 p.m. features $3 house liquor, $2.50 domestic bottles and pints, $4 margaritas, and select appetizers for $5. Enter in the  Thanksgiving pie-eating contest for a chance to win a $100 Dick’s gift certificate.

Grille 700 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Inner Harbor: Traditional Thanksgiving buffet served from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., $24 per person. Menu items include carved turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and mini desserts in addition to the regular breakfast buffet. Reservations required.

The Manor Tavern, Monkton: Traditional Thanksgiving buffet with seating at 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5 p.m. The menu includes Caesar salad, cornbread muffins, turkey, brown-sugar ham, caramelized-onion prime rib au jus, mini crab cakes, sweet potatoes, Yukon mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, and assorted cheesecakes. Adults, $38; children (3-12), $15; under age 3, free. Reservations required.

Maryland Live! Casino, Hanover: A fall heritage buffet featuring traditional Thanksgiving favorites in addition to offerings from the snow-crab-and-seafood menu; $35 per person plus tax and gratuity. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 5-9:30 p.m.

The Oregon Grille, Hunt Valley: Full regular menu and a three-course Thanksgiving dinner, 1-8 p.m. Offerings include butternut-squash bisque or beef-barley soup, fresh-roasted turkey, sausage dressing, cranberry, whipped potatoes, yams, baby zucchini, maple-apple cheesecake, and pecan pie. Adults, $49; children (12 and under), $32. 

The Prime Rib at Maryland Live! Casino, Hanover: Regular menu plus a three-course “prix-fixe fall heritage menu,” 5:30-10:30 p.m. First-course options include roasted butternut-squash soup, mizuna-and-butter-lettuce salad, or oysters on the half shell; entrees are herb-roasted heritage turkey or butter-poached cod loin; sides are oyster stuffing, black-truffle mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans with crispy leaks. Each course is paired with a glass of Roederer Brut or George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. Desserts include pumpkin cheesecake, a caramel-pecan bar with pumpkin ice cream, and a 16-layer chocolate cake with eggnog ice cream. Reservations recommended, $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. 

—Danielle Moore

November, 12th 2013

The Pride of Baltimore, Culinarily Speaking

Baltimore magazine

Last night, Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen went against a top-notch D.C. chef in the finals of the 10th annual Capital Food Fight—and won.

"Lamb tenderloin with mole in 10 min and Rick Bayless is a judge," posted Woodberry Kitchen on its Facebook page.

It probably didn't hurt that Bayless is known for his Mexican cuisine. Other judges were Tom Colicchio, Todd English, and Art Smith, all very big deals in the food world.

The D.C. event got another Baltimore nod from Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes, who hosted a first-time "cake battle" contest.

While on stage, he couldn't resist commenting on Washington's perception of its neighbor city, according to dc.eater.com.

After stumbling over his words, he told the audience that he could indeed read:

"People in Washington, D.C., think people in Baltimore don't know how to read. There's a weird thing about D.C. people. You think you need a passport to go to Baltimore."

He then invited guests to visit his home city, bragging about how cool it is.

In addition to the culinary competitions, the prestigious event benefited DC Central Kitchen, an organization that feeds the hungry and offers culinary training to unemployed men and women.

On Facebook, Woodberry Kitchen summed up its enthusiasm at Spike's (pictured, center) success: "We won! A big thank you to everyone at DC Central Kitchen for having us tonight."

How nice that Baltimore left with bragging rights. 

November, 8th 2013

Meet and greet with Giada De Laurentiis

Baltimore magazine

Giada De Laurentiis, the star of Food Network's Everyday Italian and Giada at Home, will be making appearances at Wegmans in Columbia and Williams-Sonoma in Annapolis on Saturday, November 9.

At Williams-Sonoma, De Laurentiis will sign copies of her latest book, Giada's Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets, starting at 1 p.m. Space is limited to 400 ticketed customers.

You can also guarantee admission by buying her book at Williams-Sonoma.

To secure a seat to the celebrity chef's book signing from 5-7 p.m. at Wegmans, pick up a free voucher at any of the store's service desks. A copy of De Laurentiis's new book ($22.75) must also be purchased at Wegmans in order to attend.

—Danielle Moore 

November, 8th 2013

Are Baltimoreans Ready for Fried Chicken Feet?

Baltimore magazine

fried chicken footOne of the signature dishes at the new Shoo-Fly Diner in Belvedere Square is the fried-chicken supper, a cut-up half chicken with a bonus part—a chicken foot.

You are not warned ahead of time. You just sort of discover it.

As I poked around my plate, I kept coming upon a crispy chicken piece with talons, pictured left. When questioned, my server affirmed the anatomy and said the restaurant likes to use all the parts of an animal.

Some people like to chew on it, she added.

I know chicken feet are an Asian delicacy and can be found on dim-sum carts. But I wasn't expecting to find the claw amid the more recognizable chicken pieces in a diner-like setting.

The chicken ($24), served in a cast-iron skillet, pictured above, also comes with braised greens, cornbread, and pepper gravy. It was down-home delicious, though I didn't nibble on the foot.

Maybe next time. 

November, 7th 2013

Maggie’s Farm Featured Tonight on “Restaurant Divided”

Baltimore magazine

The owners of Maggie’s Farm in Lauraville get a starring role tonight on the Food Network show Restaurant Divided. And, surprise, Baltimore restaurateurs Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman are a judge and mentor, respectively, on the show.

What a collaboration. The show airs at 10 p.m. with a viewing party being held at Freddie’s Ale House in Parkville.

I’m especially intrigued by a Facebook comment made today by Maggie’s Farm sous chef Sarah Acconcia:

“Come to Freddie’s tonight to watch me get the rage on national tv.”

Go, Sarah! Here’s the situation:

Maggie’s Farm, in the former Chameleon spot, has been struggling, according to the show’s promo. It’s been losing money despite being recognized for its food (including being picked as one of our magazine’s “Hot Spots for Brunch and Breakfast” in October).

Not sure what to do about the situation, the restaurant turned to Restaurant Divided—which helps family restaurants on the brink of failure—and its host/chef Rocco DiSpirito (pictured with the owners: chef Andrew Weinzirl, his fiancée/pastry chef Laura Marino, and general manager Matthew Weaver) for help.

The owners are divided over two concepts they think will save their business. Matthew wants to serve Southern-influenced small plates and deluxe cocktails, while Laura wants to stick with the restaurant's “farm-to-table” format, making some improvements.

Enter Cindy, the award-winning chef of Charleston, and business partner Tony. Cindy discusses the concepts and menus with Rocco, while Tony helps the owners on the business side.

We’ll find out tonight how it’s resolved. I can’t wait to watch.

 

1:16 pm Comment Count Tags: chefs, restaurants, TV
November, 6th 2013

Mt. Washington Tavern Says Thank You

Baltimore magazine

On Thursday, the Mt. Washington Tavern will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its re-opening after a devastating fire in 2011 caused extensive damage to the popular restaurant.

To show its gratitude to firefighters who battled the blaze, it will donate 20 percent of its bar sales and a portion of its food revenues to the Baltimore City Fire Foundation and a charity chosen by the Baltimore County Fire Department.

"We have always been civic-minded and like to give back to good causes," said Rob Frisch, owner of the Mt. Washington Tavern. "We are fortunate to still be serving the Baltimore community."

Danielle Moore 

November, 5th 2013

Cunningham's Is Taking Reservations Now

Baltimore magazine

Cunningham'sDon't wait. Diners are already booking reservations at Cunningham's for its opening date, November 22, and beyond. I can see why after an insider's tour today of the Towson restaurant.

It may just upstage Ouzo Bay on the décor level. Jane Smith, the wife of owner David Smith, has combined rustic and elegant accouterments to create a lovely setting.

There are several dining areas, pictured, some more formal with white tablecloths; all equally stunning. The floors are hickory; the wood accents are oak; the wine room is cedar.

A crystal "waterfall" of beads hangs over a countertop bar overlooking the open kitchen. The main bar has a white-marble top with a base of rocks hewn from the owners' property, Cunningham Farms.

Cunningham is the maiden name of David Smith's mother as well as the name of the family farm, which provides produce, eggs, lamb, and pork for Smith's other restaurants—Fleet Street Kitchen, Ten Ten, and Bagby Pizza Co., all located in the Bagby Building in Harbor East—as well as the new restaurant.

Cunningham's chefWith a wood-fired grill and a brick oven, Cunningham's executive chef Chris Allen, pictured, will be turning out a variety of wood-oven flatbreads and grill items like a 16-ounce Creekstone Farms T-bone steak, a whole Maine lobster, and a house-blend burger.

The menu also includes appetizers like pretzel-encrusted fried oysters and chicken pot pie, pastas, gnocchi, and entrees including Hudson Valley duck breast, seared rockfish, and Dorchester County jumbo-lump crab cakes.

A bakery/cafe component of the restaurant will open in early 2014.

Cunningham's is located in the new Towson City Center, One Olympic Pl., off the Towson Roundabout. There will be complimentary valet parking. For reservations, call 410-339-7730. 

October, 31st 2013

Halloween Coin Flip

Baltimore magazine

Here's an incentive to go out to dinner tonight. The Food Market in Hampden is inviting diners to "avoid the chaos and celebrate Halloween with us."

The restaurant also wants to sweeten the pot. At the end of your meal, you get to flip a coin and call heads or tails. If you call it correctly, your entire bill will be 50 percent off.

Even if the discount doesn't work out, they'll send you home with candy.

Costumes are encouraged. No tricks. Just a treat! 

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