Monday, July 21, 2014

Wine dinner at Fazzini's Taverna

Fazzini’s Taverna will be holding another wine dinner on July 31st, 2014.  The focus will be on unusual Italian wines.  Join Fazzini's Taverna for a 5 – course prix fixes menu with special wines paired perfectly to refresh the palate.

Call 410-667-6104 or email Mike Crivello at to book your reservation. 

*If you haven’t been to Fazzini’s new location on York Rd it is very welcoming and warm inside with a modern feel to it.  It also has a nice bar and wine store.

Fazzini's Taverna
9811 York Road

Cockeysville, MD 21030

Fazzini’s Wine Dinner
July 31st 6PM-8PM
$50 per person


1st Plate:
Chilled Honey-roasted Peach Soup
w/ Prosciutto crumbles & goat cheese foam
Wine: Cantine Polvanera Fiano di Minutolo

2nd Plate:
Olive oil-poached Sweet Prawn Salad
w/baby argula, fennel, grilled plum tomatoes,
avocado & gorgonzola croutons
Wine: Cantine Menhir Verdeca

3rd Plate:
Vanilla-cured Duck Carapaccio on flatbread
w/ tomato-plum Gastrique
Wine: Cantine Menhir Malvasia nera

4th Plate:
House-made Gnocchi,
Bison Bolognese & grilled asparagus tips
Wine: Cantine Menhir 'Pietra'

5th Plate:
Wine: Villa Castgliola Nero d' Troia

The Oceanaire offers scallops lovers straight from the catch, rare Alaska Weathervane Scallops

The Oceanaire Seafood Room invites scallop connoisseurs to try the world-renowned, freshest Alaska Weathervane Scallops off its Alaska Seafood & Wine Weekend five course menu available only July 25 - 27. These very limited, high quality, frozen-at-sea scallops are the freshest seasonal delicacy straight from the fishing boats of Alaska Weathervane Seafoods.

Caught from the Bering Sea on the Arctic Hunter, the fishermen catch, shuck, clean, size-sort, box and rapid-deep-freeze the Alaska Weathervane within four short hours of capture. This process locks in the Weathervane’s natural sweet flavor and delicate texture for scallop aficionados to enjoy around the world, from the remote pristine icy waters of Alaska. These scallops are not soaked in water nor combined with any chemicals in processing.

The Oceanaire’s Alaska Seafood & Wine Weekend is a five-course menu that is sure to satisfy the whole family. In addition to Alaska Weathervane Scallops, guests can indulge in exceptional seafood offerings like Alaska King Crab, Wild Alaska Halibut and Wild Alaska Salmon. Each course is perfectly paired with wine selections of JCB No. 21, Cremant de Bourgogne, NV; Domaine de la Perrière Sancerre; La Crema Monterey Chardonnay; and CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Guests can only order the Alaska Weathervane Scallops as part of the pre-fixed menu selections. The five-course dinner costs $85 per guest. 

“We are looking forward to sharing this ultra-fresh seasonal indulgence with our loyal patrons,” said Wade Wiestling, Corporate Executive Chef of The Oceanaire Seafood Room. “It is a short fishery with very limited catch so we encourage area-residents to come try these legendary scallops while we have them!” 

Alaska Weathervane Seafoods is a marketing group formed by three of the Alaska Weathervane Scallop fishing boats and their crews to sell the sweetest, all-natural scallops in the world. These three fishing boats are the only vessels to hold license to catch and freeze onboard the legendary Alaska Weathervane Scallops. The scallops are fished sustainably in a manner respectful to the environment and other fisheries. For more information regarding the Alaska Weathervane Seafoods, visit

The Oceanaire is located at 801 Aliceanna Street Baltimore, MD 21202. For more information about The Oceanaire or to make reservations, please contact (443) 872-0000.

credit:  Oceanaire

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Eight chefs remain in Baltimore culinary competition

The Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament, a live, local, interactive culinary competition, completed Round 1 competition this week. The original field of 16 top area chefs is now down to just eight, as the competition enters Round 2 and the final weeks of competition. Each week the competition is getting more intense and the scores tighter, as chef teams vie for the over $10,000 in prizes and the title of Mason Dixon Master Chef Champions!

Matches are being held throughout the summer on most Mondays and Tuesdays at the Inn at the Colonnade in Baltimore. Round 2 matches are listed below. 10% of each ticket sold goes directly to Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, the competition’s charity partner.

Tickets*: $25 for general admission (includes tax)
$45 for judging experience (includes tax)
Available for purchase at:
*Tickets must be purchased in advance for the above pricing. $35/ $55 day of and at the door (if available).

The $25 ticket price includes admission to that night’s competition, wine/spirit tasting, passed hors d’oeuvres during happy hour, dessert and coffee bar, all taxes and a 10% donation to charity. Tickets are on sale now, and are expected to sell out quickly.

Round 2 Matches:
The line-up for July 21 and 22 matches in “Battle International Street Food” include:

Match 9: Monday, July 21 - Chef Jeff Keeney of The Point in Fells versus Chef Adam Snyder of Chef’s Expressions

Match 10: Tuesday, July 22 - Chef Nina Swartz of Aida Bistro & Wine Bar versus Chef Jake Hack of Conrad’s Seafood

The line-up for July 28 and 29 matches in “Battle Parisian” include:

Match 11: Monday, July 28 –Chef Chad Medina of Kelsey’s Irish Pub versus Chef Janny Kim of Bistro Blanc

Match 12: Tuesday, July 29 – Chef Gerardo Gonzales of Tapas Adela and Anastasia versus Chef Kiet Philavanh of Basta Pasta

Happy Hour each evening will feature a complementary wine or spirit tasting, hors d’oeuvres, as well as special pricing on drinks and food for purchase from Alizee American Bistro both days. Guests will also enjoy a complementary dessert bar and coffee to top off their evening. Event details available here.

When & Where:  
Round 2: July 21, 22, 28, 29
Semi-Finals: August 11, 12
Championship Match: Sunday, August 24

5:30 -7:00p.m. – Happy Hour (free appetizers and wine/spirit tasting)
6:25 p.m. – Cold Prep Begins
7:00 p.m. – Chef Competition
8:00pm – Judging Begins (complementary dessert and coffee bar for all guests)

Inn at the Colonnade

4 West University Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21218

Video from past competition nights:

Suggested by the author

On demand ice cream TODAY with Uber

Uber Ice Cream is back and delivering delight and a summertime favorite in 144 cities, in 38 countries, on 6 continents, including Baltimore and Annapolis.

Today, July 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Uber users in Baltimore and Annapolis will have the chance to request ice cream on-demand for a delicious and a whimsical experience. We’re also partnering with local ice cream trucks to deliver the ice cream. The cost is five ice cream treats for $25.

Just download the Uber app, if you don’t have it already, select the “Ice Cream” option in the app, hit request, and if a vehicle is available, you and your friends, co-workers and loved ones will be enjoying sweet treats and Uber swag in a matter of minutes.

We’ll be making a very special stop at 12:30 p.m. at the Baltimore Boys and Girls club on Callaway Avenue. We’ll also be delivering ice cream to the Baltimore Ronald McDonald House, and various other Boys and Girls Club locations in Baltimore and Annapolis.


  • Ice Cream will be available on Friday, July 18th - TODAY
  • To request, choose the Ice Cream option in the app. If a vehicle is available, you’ll be enjoying your desserts in minutes.
  • No cash needed—your order will be billed to your Uber account.
Demand will be very high and availability limited.
Be a part of the #UberIceCream community worldwide—share your refreshing experience on Twitter and Instagram!

More information about #UberIceCream is available here:

credit:  Uber

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fogo de Chão chef interview and Brazilian celebration with recipes - part 2

credit:  Fogo de Chão
Fogo de Chão has launched the Fogo Guide to Brazil: an online experience that shares the stories of influential writers, photographers and artists to give the world an intimate view of what makes the country truly special. Featured contributors include photographer Marcello ArrambideCesar OvallePaulo de Valle, and others.
The guide also features stories told by Fogo de Chão gaucho chefs who were born and raised in Southern Brazil, where Fogo de Chão began over 35 years ago. To see the stories visit
In honor and celebration of this beautiful experince I interviewed local Baltimore Fogo de Chão general manager and head gaucho chef, Jair Cavagnolli - read it here!
Since Fogo is spreading the Brazilian spirit, it wanted to share its authentic Fogo CaipirinhaSuperfruit Lemonade and Peruvian Sunset recipes for you to enjoy!!

·      1 medium to large lime
·      2 tbls sugar (to taste)
·      2 oz cachaca
·      Ice

1.     First cut off lime end caps then cut in half.  Remove core.  Slice each half in half again and slice into 5-8 pieces.
2.     Place lime in a rocks glass, add 2 tbls of sugar and muddle.
3.     Top with ice and add 2 oz of cachaca.  Shake in a shaker and serve.

credit:  Fogo de Chão

Superfruit Lemonade
·      1.5 oz VeeV Acai Spirit
·      1.5 oz Grand Marnier
·      1 half lemon cut into wedges
·      2 strawberries – sliced (or 2 tbsp blueberries)
·      1 oz Simple Syrup (2 tbsp sugar)
·      2 oz of Sprite
·      6 oz Ice

1.     Muddle lemon, strawberries and Simple Syrup together.
2.     Add VeeV, Grand Marnier and ice – shake well.
3.     Pour into Rocks Glass and add a splash of Sprite
4.     Garnish with a whole strawberry
credit:  Fogo de Chão

Peruvian Sunset
·      2 oz Portón Pisco
·      1 oz St-Germain Elderflower liqueur
·      Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
·      Squeeze of fresh lime

1.     Pour ingredients into a mixing tin with ice – shake well.
2.     Strain into chilled martini glass.
3.     Garnish with a lime twist

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fogo de Chão chef interview and Brazilian celebration with recipes - part 1

credit:  Fogo de Chão
Fogo de Chão has launched the Fogo Guide to Brazil: an online experience that shares the stories of influential writers, photographers and artists to give the world an intimate view of what makes the country truly special. Featured contributors include photographer Marcello ArrambideCesar OvallePaulo de Valle, and others.
The guide also features stories told by Fogo de Chão gaucho chefs who were born and raised in Southern Brazil, where Fogo de Chão began over 35 years ago. To see the stories visit
In honor and celebration of this beautiful experince I interviewed local Baltimore Fogo de Chão general manager and head gaucho chef, Jair Cavagnolli.

Jessica Lemmo:  Did you cook growing up?
Jair Cavagnolli:  "Yes. At an early age, my father taught me churrasco, the art of cooking meat over open pits of fire. Being from Southern Brazil, I was immersed in the gaucho culture, and currasco was a very important part of our customs."

JL:  What made you decide you would become a professional cook?
JC:  "I developed a passion for currasco-style cooking growing up. Looking back, I believe that watching my father’s immense passion for this cooking style left a lasting impression on me."

JL:  Where you were trained and how difficult was your training?
JC:  "The majority of my training occurred on our family’s farm as I was growing up. At first, it was extremely difficult, mainly because the fire was so hot and I sometimes burned myself."

JL:  Would you do it again?
JC:  "Yes, without a question. Churrasco is a huge part of the rich traditions that my family held back in Southern Brazil."

JL:  What is the best part about the job?
JC:  "At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than hearing our guests having fun and enjoying their food. One of the reasons why I was always drawn to Fogo de Chao is its unprecedented attention to outstanding service."

JL:  Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
JC:  "Don’t cut corners – use quality ingredients and take the appropriate amount of time for preparation."

JL:  Favorite kitchen gadget?
JC:  "A sharp gaucho knife.  At Fogo, we use Tramontina Passador knives, which are made in Brazil. I was first provided a knife on the farm by my father. He taught me at a young age how to responsibly care for and use the knife for farm duties and churrasco cooking. The knife is an important piece of tradition when growing up on a farm in Southern Brazil."

JL:  Favorite food to cook with?
JC:  "Picanha, our house special. It is a prime cut of the top serlion, and is very popular in the churrascarias of Southern Brazil."
credit:  Fogo de Chão

JL:  If you were to write & publish a cookbook what types of things would you include?
JC:  "Barbeque skewers or Churasco, the traditional southern Brazilian cuisine."

JL:  When at home, what do you like to eat?
JC:  "I enjoy pasta-based dishes that often include steak with fresh vegetables."

JL:  Which item in your home refrigerator would you least like to cop to?
JC:  "Frozen pizza and ice cream"

JL:  In your opinion, what are the most important elements when creating a recipe from scratch?
JC:  "In my opinion, the first and most important element when creating a recipe from scratch is to know who you’ll be sharing it with. Only then, should you begin to create. My joy in cooking stems from pleasing the ones I’m sharing meals with, so I always try to keep their tastes and preferences in mind."

JL:  What’s your favorite music to play in the kitchen?
JC:  "Traditional Gaucho music of Southern Brazil."

JL:  Best meal you have ever eaten at a restaurant? (Chef/Where/etc)
JC:  "Baltimore has so many wonderful places to dine, but my most favorite as of late has to be the filet mignon with sauce at Talara on President St."

JL:  What’s your favorite meal?
JC:  "Any pasta-based steak dish is my absolute favorite."

Since Fogo is spreading the Brazilian spirit, it wanted to share its authentic Fogo Caipirinha, Superfruit Lemonade and Peruvian Sunset recipes for you to enjoy - read part 2 of the interview!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nando’s PERi-PERi hatches in the new Towson Square

Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African-Portuguese restaurant known worldwide for its succulent flame-grilled chicken, is hatching its newest location July 16, 2014 in Towson. Adjacent to the 15-screen Cinemark movie theater, the new Nando’s is the first restaurant to open in the $85 million Towson Square entertainment center.
“We are proud pioneers in Towson Square and can’t wait to share our fiery PERi-PERi flavors with Nando’s virgins and veterans alike,” said Burton Heiss, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi USA.
The 136-seat restaurant celebrates Nando’s journey from South Africa to two dozen countries on five continents. Giant metal shipping containers have been cut into colorful tiles decorating the restaurant, and wooden shipping pallets have been repurposed into dining-booth enclosures. The 3,500-square-foot space features open-flame grills, a reclaimed-elm communal table and a wraparound patio that seats 38. Like all Nando’s, the restaurant also showcases original contemporary South African artwork.
“We got an incredible welcome when we opened our first Nando’s in downtown Baltimore a year ago, and now are doubling down in Charm City,” Heiss said.
Besides the Nando’s at 421 West Baltimore Street, Nando’s also is building another location in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood. Located inside the new Hyatt Place hotel, the restaurant is expected to open by the end of the year. In September, Nando’s expands to Laurel, with a restaurant at the new Towne Centre at Laurel.

The new Towson Square restaurant is located at 109 East Joppa Road in Towson. Convenient parking is available in the main Towson Square parking garage. Nando’s will provide customers with free parking for one hour.

The first Nando’s restaurant opened its doors in 1987 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, the Nando’s flame has spread to 24 countries on five continents. Nando’s is known worldwide for its succulent PERi-PERi chicken, marinated for 24 hours, flame-grilled to perfection, and basted to the customer’s preferred flavor and spice. It’s equally renowned for its spicy PERi-PERi, the Bird’s Eye chili pepper that indigenous Africans introduced to the Portuguese centuries ago.

Nando’s PERi-PERi made its U.S. debut in 2008 with the opening of its first location on 7th Street in the Chinatown neighborhood in Washington, DC.  Nando’s PERi-PERi now operates 18 restaurants in and around the Washington area including Chinatown, Dupont Circle, The Yards and Tenleytown in DC; Bethesda, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, National Harbor, Annapolis, Baltimore, Towson, Waugh Chapel and Arundel Mills in Maryland; and Pentagon Row, Gainesville, Ashburn, Woodbridge and Old Town, Alexandria, in Virginia. For more information, please visit

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Rosy Cooler - refreshing drink with strawberries and basil

One thing I love about the summer is the refreshing cocktails with fresh ingredients you can make.  When I dine out I am always looking at the cocktail menu (even if I am not drinking for some inspiration) for the restaurants seasonal offerings.

As I was surfing the Internet and magazines I came across the drink called the Rosy Cooler by Angry Orchard.  It is refreshing and has great flavor.  The first drink I made I followed the recipe exactly (except the simple syrup – I just eye balled it).  The second time I made it I used more of the vanilla vodka and I enjoyed the drink even more.

Rosy Cooler
                2 medium strawberries, quartered
                2 basil leaves, torn
                2 wedges of lime
                1/2 oz. simple syrup
                4 oz. Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
                1 oz. regular or vanilla vodka (optional)

In a pint glass, gently muddle together strawberries, basil, lime and simple syrup. Fill glass with ice and top with cider and vodka.

My picture isn't the best but you get the idea!

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