May, 16th 2013

A Taste of Two Cities

Baltimore magazine

We won last year. And now we get another chance to best our Washington neighbors in this showdown between the two cities' food trucks. The competition will be held June 1 at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor.

The date was announced today on The Gathering's Facebook page. The promoter promises "a gaggle of DC food trucks" vying against Baltimore's trucks to win this year's championship.

The contest will be held from noon to 10 p.m. Guests get to vote for their favorite truck.

Admission is $5 a person and can be purchased ahead of time at

Gypsy Queen food truckI'm so glad there's a round two. I had so much fun last year.

The only complaint from the thousands of attendees was the location at the out-of-the-way Westport Waterfront. The change of venue to the Inner Harbor is a great idea.

At last June's event, dozens of trucks from both cities competed. But, ta-da, Baltimore won the Mayor's Cup.

Individual awards went to Baltimore's Gypsy Queen (pictured left) for first place, D.C.'s Red Hook Lobster (pictured above) for second, and Miss Shirley's for third.

Bring chairs, blankets, kids, "polite pets," and your appetite to this year's A Taste of Two Cities.

For more information, check out The Gathering's website.

To view more photos from last year, visit Baltimore magazine's Facebook page. 

May, 16th 2013

Take a Charm City Cakes Decorating Class

Baltimore magazine

Yes, you can. Learn how to decorate a one-tier Harlequin cake, that is. And you get to take the eight-inch Charm City Cakes confection home afterward.

This Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Charm City Cakes veteran Mary Smith will show you the fundamentals. She'll teach you about fondant prep, cutout-shape application, and crafting edible roses.

The cost is $150 per person for ages 16 and older. Space is limited.

If you can't make it this weekend, there will be other classes in the future, according to Charm City Cakes' Facebook page.

To RSVP, call 410-235-9229 or send them an email. 

9:43 am Comment Count Tags: cake, classes
May, 15th 2013

“I’ll Obviously Be Serving Crab.”

Baltimore magazine

Mike Isabella, chef/owner of Graffiato in D.C. and former Top Chef contestant, is creating and producing a farm-to-table menu for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

He’ll be serving a variety of dishes at the exclusive Corporate Village and Turfside Terrace, where 6,000 guests are expected to attend. The host, The Maryland Jockey Club, is billing the event as the “the largest farm-to-table dining experience in the world.”

Isabella, who competed against the Voltaggio brothers in Top Chef’s season six, is preparing a spread that includes hormone-free-chicken with heirloom grain risotto, whipped sheep’s milk ricotta with lemon thyme, and a coffee-rubbed beef tenderloin.

He recently told in an interview that he would include a crab dish to appease Maryland taste buds. “You have to have crab,” he said. “I just have to make sure the food matches the excitement, the festiveness of the day.”

The Jockey Club plans to team up with celebrity chefs on an annual basis to make the farm-to-table initiative a yearly tradition, a press release said.

Isabella sounds excited on Twitter. He tweeted on May 8: “Prep for the @PreaknessStakes has begun.”

We’ve liked Isabella ever since he came to the grand opening of Vino Rosina near Harbor East to support another fellow Top Chef contestant, Jesse Sandlin, who opened the restaurant in 2010, left, and is again helming the kitchen.

A class act besides being an incredible chef.

May, 6th 2013

Who won Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic tonight?

Baltimore magazine

To make it to the final five is winning enough. But Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen was not named the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic tonight at the James Beard Foundation awards ceremony in New York City.

The honor went to Johnny Monis of award-winning Komi in Washington, D.C.

But that’s hardly a loss to Spike (pictured in his restaurant kitchen). He brought Maryland a lot of recognition in the restaurant world.

Some of tonight’s winners are multiple finalists. Our year will come.

Chef/co-owner Cindy Wolf of Charleston made it as finalist round twice. Now, Spike has entered the finalist circle.

There’s always next year. 

May, 1st 2013

Another Little Italy Restaurant Closes

Baltimore magazine

Rocco’s Capriccio posted on Facebook this evening that chef Rocco Gargano (pictured) has retired and that the Little Italy restaurant has closed.

“Thank you to all our friends and family for your support throughout the past 17 years,” the post said. “You all have help[ed] create beautiful memories that we will not forget.”

The Facebook announcement has prompted comments from fans expressing happiness for Rocco but sadness that the restaurant has closed.

Kristi Fogle Halford wrote: “I can't believe it! Rocco's was our favorite little Italy restaurant. We just had a wonderful meal there a few weeks ago. This is so sad though I'm happy for Rocco.”




April, 30th 2013

The Latest Chef News

Baltimore magazine

For your dining pleasure, B&O American Brasserie and Fleet Street Kitchen have new executive chefs in the kitchen. On the awards front, Wit & Wisdom's pastry chef scores again.

As the new executive chef at B&O American Brasserie, Bradley Willits (pictured), the restaurant's former chef de cuisine, brings an impressive bio. He's worked with two of my favorite chefs—James Beard award winners Sean Brock at McGrady's and Mike Lata at FIG, both in Charleston, S.C.—as well as other noted chefs from Florida to Seattle.

He also worked with former B&O American Brasserie chefs E. Michael Reidt and Thomas Dunklin and will be sticking to the restaurant's concept of serving local, seasonal American cuisine. Expect a focus on seafood.

At Fleet Street Kitchen, chef Chris Amendola has taken over for executive chef Chris Becker, who was promoted to chief operations officer for The Bagby Restaurant Group.

The group runs Fleet Street Kitchen, Ten Ten, and Bagby Pizza Co. and is preparing to open Cunningham's in Towson this summer.

Chef Amendola, formerly of New York's Blue Hill at Stone Barns, also has an industrious background. He's worked with chef Sean Brock as well as chef Todd English in Orlando, FL.

He's also an experienced farmer and will continue chef Becker's commitment to local, seasonal fare.

Pastry chef Chris Ford—named "The People's Best New Pastry Chef" for 2012 in Food & Wine magazine—continues to rack up honors. He recently won the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition Season Two. Watch it here.

The contest's founder, Jimmy Macmillan, said in a press release, "Chris's final dessert was selected as the winner because of its textures, techniques, intense flavors, and dramatic plating."

If you've ever eaten one of Chris's desserts at Wit & Wisdom: A Tavern by Michael Mina—and if you haven't, you really should—you'll understand why he won. 

April, 26th 2013

Meet Top Chef Tom Colicchio at Heavy Seas Alehouse

Baltimore magazine

Be still my heart. Chef/restaurateur Tom Colicchio, who is probably best known as the lead judge on Bravo's Top Chef, will be visiting one of his former chefs today. And you're invited, too.

Colicchio will be stopping by Heavy Seas Alehouse at 5 p.m. to meet with the restaurant's executive chef Matt Seeber (pictured right with Colicchio), who worked at Colicchio's Craftsteak at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas before coming to Baltimore.

The restaurant confirmed Colicchio's visit via Facebook and Twitter today, saying, "Come on out and meet him." They also posted that Colicchio is in town for filming. They didn't specify what.

Matt also posted on Facebook about the meeting: "very excited to see my old friend and [have] Top Chef, Tom Colicchio, visit us." 

April, 24th 2013

Alchemy Hosts Award-Winning Cookbook Author

Baltimore magazine

Here's a chance to meet Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of several prestigious cookbooks including the respected The Cake Bible. She will attend a luncheon at Alchemy in Hampden on May 1, followed by a discussion and Q&A session.

Evidently, Rose has a relative who is fond of Alchemy. She recently wrote on her blog, "Real Baking with Rose Levy Beranbaum": "My wonderful cousin, Lois Schenck, has been singing the praises of her favorite Baltimore restaurant Alchemy for two years now since it opened."

Rose also went on to say, "What could possibly be a more perfect venue than Alchemy! My husband has long referred to me as an alchemist. I know I'm going to love it."

Cake BibleTickets are $35 for the three-course luncheon and can be reserved at 410-366-1163. Autographed copies of The Cake Bible also can be reserved in advance for an additional $35.

Proceeds will benefit Cure PSP-Foundation for progressive supranuclear palsy and related brain diseases.

I've been told that seating is limited and that tickets must be purchased in advance. Hope I can get one!

April, 22nd 2013

Harbor Candy Shop Offers Ice Cream

Baltimore magazine

As if there aren't enough reasons to visit The Best of Luck Candy & Gifts store at the Inner Harbor—think walls of vintage candy like Mary Janes, Goetze's Caramel Creams, jawbreakers, and Tootsie Rolls—there's a new draw: hand-scooped ice cream by local Taharka Bros.

Taharka Bros. ice creamFlavors include vanilla bean, Key lime pie, salty caramel, and honey graham (pictured), a top seller, says owner Lucky Thompson. After a personal taste test, I can see why it's a favorite. There are bits of graham crackers in the ice cream.

But I'm a Taharka fan, so I have no doubt that all the flavors are delicious. Sugar cones and cups start at $3.50. Add 25 cents for a waffle cone.

Lucky originally opened her shop in Harbor East in 2011; then moved to a location next to Phillips Seafood in May 2012. "It's an awesome corner," she says. "We catch people going to different places here, from O's games to the Aquarium."

She also sells sodas, slushies, coffee, and popcorn among other items at the colorful confectionery.

Walk off the luscious calories while meandering around the harbor, or settle in at the store's counter or outdoor tables. 

April, 19th 2013

Highlandtown Wine Festival

Baltimore magazine

Enjoy homemade wine, Italian food, live music, and more at the 10th annual Highlandtown Wine Festival from 1-6 p.m. on Sunday at Our Lady of Pompei Convent Garden (3600 Claremont St.).

Tickets are $25 ($20 in advance at the festival website) for ages 21 and older. Admission includes a wine glass, a selection of antipasti from DiPasquale's, and five complimentary tastings of homemade wines. Children and teens are admitted free with an adult.

It's all for a good cause, too. Proceeds support Highlandtown Community Association initiatives like street improvements, movies at Patterson Park, and neighborhood greening projects. 

11:30 am Comment Count Tags: festival, wine
April, 18th 2013

"This Fool Is Representing"

Baltimore magazine

The Pie Man, known in real life as Rodney Henry, announced on Facebook this afternoon that he will be competing on the ninth season of Food Network Star, which premieres at 9 p.m. on June 2.

"It's official. I'm going to be on Television," he wrote. "And this fool is representing. Check it out. Super fun and pretty darn wild."

The Food Network describes the show as a "life-changing competition," during which contenders have to do more than show off "advanced cooking chops or shining camera-ready smiles."

Rodney, pictured second from right, who has Dangerously Delicious Pies shops in Canton, D.C., and Detroit, will go against 11 other contestants. All have already appeared on food TV shows.

Competition mentors and judges include Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, and Giada De Laurentis.

Each week, a contestant will be eliminated until the finale, when fans will be able to vote live to determine who is the winner.

May the best man (Rodney) win! 

5:09 pm Comment Count Tags: Food Network
April, 18th 2013

Little Italy Restaurants Close Quietly

Baltimore magazine

It's no fun writing about closures. Pacific Coast Dining Co. and India Rasoi, neighboring restaurants on South High Street in Little Italy, have closed, according to the Neighborhood News from Little Italy, Baltimore, an email newsletter.

The closings come on the heels of Max’s Empanadas on South High Street shutting its door in March. Although Max’s retail shop is gone, the wholesale side of the business continues to operate with products being sold at area groceries and farmers’ markets.

There’s no word on what is happening at Pacific Coast or India Rasoi. The phone at Pacific Coast went unanswered this afternoon. That spot (413 S. High St.) was formerly occupied by the restaurants Tapabar and Diner, both short-lived.

The phone number at India Rasoi is not in service.


April, 15th 2013

Working in the Culinary World

Baltimore magazine

Get the scoop from executive chef Cindy Wolf of Charleston on what it’s like to mix business with culinary pleasure. She will be speaking at Notre Dame of Maryland University on April 23.

The event is free with registration. A networking wine-and-cheese reception starts at 6 p.m. in the formal lounge in Doyle Hall, followed by the lecture at 7 p.m. in Knott Auditorium.

Cindy is a partner in the Foreman Wolf group, which owns and operates five Baltimore restaurants, including Cinghiale and Pazo. She is a two-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation award for best chef in the mid-Atlantic region.

Her insights should be interesting. Register online or call 410-532-5201.

11:25 am Comment Count Tags: events, restaurants
April, 4th 2013

Baseball Food: Inside/Outside Camden Yards

Baltimore magazine

If you're lucky enough to get to Camden Yards for Friday's Opening Day, look for some yummy new additions to the food lineup. Here's what you'll find:

Crab waffle fries, pictured top: Waffle fries topped with Old Bay crab dip. Available at the concessions kiosk, main concourse; upper deck.

A triple crown sandwich: an Esskay hot dog, bacon on a stick (minus the stick), and pulled pork. Available at Jack Daniel's Grill, Eutaw Street concourse, or as a slider at Dempsey's.

Tako-Korean BBQ stand: Menu items include Korean beef steak tacos, edamame bao, pad Thai noodle salad (gluten free), and kimchi. Location: concessions kiosk, main concourse.

Dempsey's Brew Pub: New desserts include an O's Smith Island cake (an orange-flavored version of the multi-layer cake) and chocolate stout cupcakes (filled with Bailey's Irish Cream mousse and topped with Jameson butter-cream icing and a side of vanilla ice cream).

Elsewhere around town, several restaurants are offering specials as the O's take on the Minnesota Twins.

RA O's rollRA Sushi will again be serving its O's roll, pictured—an eight-piece lobster and cucumber roll topped with fresh salmon and avocado and drizzle with an orange spicy mayo sauce. It will be available during the 2013 baseball season, and diners will receive $2 off the roll ($11.25) if they bring in their ticket stub on the day of the game.

Rusty Scupper will celebrate the start of Orioles home games with food and drink specials in the restaurant's bar and lounge from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday. Menu items ($4 each) include: crab-and-artichoke dip, popcorn fried shrimp, Black Angus burger, and pepper-Parmesan calamari. Game day parking validation is $11. Fans who are going to the game and dining at the restaurant can take the restaurant's shuttle to and from the game at no additional cost.

Wit & Wisdom is offering a "burger and a Boh" special for $20.13 all day Friday in the restaurant's lounge and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.

LAMILL Coffee at the Four Seasons is running a Twitter deal for followers. They'll be tweeting a secret code @LAMILLcafebmore for 20 percent off a purchase.

And if you're preparing a home meal, Ripken Gourmet Burgers are now available in the frozen food aisle at Giant supermarkets throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The four (six-ounce) patties (around $9.99) named after baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. are 100 percent Roseda Black Angus beef from Roseda farm in Monkton.

Go O's!

Photos courtesy of Delaware North Companies's Sportservice and RA Sushi. 

April, 1st 2013

Ouzo Bay Hosts TV Crew

Baltimore magazine

Chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Maneet Chauhan will be preparing dinner at Ouzo Bay with its chef Rey Eugenio on Saturday, April 20. Diners will be able to enjoy the results that evening at a special dinner.

A three-course, prix-fixe meal will be available for $95 a person, including a craft cocktail. The appetizers and entrees will be paired with wine, and guests will receive a copy of Chauhan's upcoming book Flavors of My World, which she wrote with Doug Singer, a travel editor at Jetset Magazine.

A TV crew will be tracking Chauhan—who was a judge on Chopped, a contender on Iron Chef, and is a James Beard award winner—for a new reality show as she visits Ouzo Bay in Harbor East and 20 other restaurants nationwide during her book tour. She will also be working with local high-school students during a cooking competition.

Ouzo Bay's bar will be open to all visitors during the dinner. Contact the restaurant at 443-708-5818 for more details. 

1:54 pm Comment Count Tags: chefs, events, TV
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