Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shake Shack to open first Baltimore location in early 2015

credit: Shake Chack
Shake Shack is coming toto Baltimore, Maryland. The restaurant is slated to open in early 2015 and will be prominently located in the city’s picturesque Inner Harbor at 400 East Pratt Street across from the iconic National Aquarium.

Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed, modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, delicious flat-top dogs, fresh-made frozen custard, craft beer and wine, and more. A fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal, over the past decade Shake Shack has earned a cult-like following around the world.

“Baltimore is a thriving city that’s steeped in American history, food and culture. We feel fortunate to be joining this community, and we’re excited to have found such a great Inner Harbor location,” said Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti. “The Baltimore Shack will also have outdoor seating to take in the views of the harbor while enjoying a ShackBurger, fresh-cut fries and hand-spun shake.”

Like all Shacks, the Baltimore site will be constructed with recycled and sustainable materials, and feature energy-efficient kitchen equipment and lighting. Chairs and booths will be made from lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and tabletops will be made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes from Brooklyn’s CounterEvolution.

For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament is coming soon

One of my favorite Foodie times of the year is coming upon us - The Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament is starting up soon again! (Check out my past judging experiences)

Guests of the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament will be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful ambiance of the Inn at the Colonnade Baltimore, which boasts marble floors and hand-painted ceilings, while watching the tournament unfold right in front of them. The two fully equipped kitchens will be set-up right in the lobby foyer adjacent to one of Baltimore’s most fashionable restaurants - the Inn at the Colonnade’s very own Alizée American Bistro. The Inn at the Colonnade Baltimore is conveniently located in the historic neighborhood of Roland Park and Homewood, with plenty of on-site parking for guests.
The Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament, which pits 16 local chef teams one-on-one in a single-elimination competition begins June 16th

This multi-week event is a single-elimination tournament designed to showcase some of the area's finest executive chefs and restaurants. Guests attending this exciting event will be more than just spectators, as they enjoy the unique experience of witnessing two spectacular area chefs battle it out in the prep kitchen right on the main floor. Each evening two chef teams go head-to-head to prepare an appetizer, entrée and dessert for each of three expert judges, as well as amuse bouche portions of their entrees for up to 30 audience member judges. Their creations are scored on creativity, presentation and taste, and only one chef advances to the next round. At the end of this tournament only one of the 16 competing chefs will emerge as THE Mason Dixon Master Chef! 10% of the net proceeds of each ticket sold directly to Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. More information available at, on Twitter @MDMasterChef, and Facebook at Mason Dixon Master Chef.

Tournament Details
Tickets for all 15 dates of this summer-long single-elimination chef competition are available for purchase at: Tickets for most matches are $25 for general admission and $45 for judging experience (including all taxes). In addition, the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament donates 10% of the net proceeds of each ticket sold directly to their charity partner Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.
Competition Dates (5:30pm – 9:00pm):
  • June 16, 17, 23, 24, 30
  • July 1, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
  • August 11, 12, 24
Event Timeline:
  • 5:30 p.m. – Happy Hour with Complementary Appetizers and Wine Tasting, plus Drink Specials
  • 6:30 p.m. – Cold Prep Begins for the Competition
  • 7:00 p.m. – Chef Competition
  • 8:00 p.m. – Judging Begins, Complementary Dessert and Coffee Served

2014 Mason Dixon Chef Competitors
  • Nina Swartz, Aida Bistro & Wine Bar
  • Gerado Goncales, Anastasia/Tapas Adela
  • Kiet Philavanh, Basta Pasta
  • Janny Kim, Bistro Blanc
  • Timothy Dyson, Bluegrass Bistro
  • Rob Palen, Captain James Landing
  • Aaron McCloud, Cedar DC
  • Adam Snyder, Chef’s Expressions
  • Jake Hack, Conrad’s Seafood
  • Shawn McClure, Cowboys and Rednecks
  • Fabio Mura, Grille 620
  • James DiChiara, The Mt. Airy Tavern
  • Jirat Suphrom In, My Thai
  • Jeff Keeney, The Point in Fells
  • Mark Tracey, Roland Park Place
  • Matt Szymanski, The Wonderland Ballroom

B&O's Easter Sunday Brunch

B&O's Easter Sunday Brunch will be from 10am-2:30pm. Adults will be $35 and kids will be $15. In addition to the buffet, guests can enjoy $10 bottomless mimosas and bloody marts.

Spring Greens Salad
Caesar Salad
Smoked Salmon
House Made Pastries
Chefs Selection of Desserts

Scrambled Eggs
Breakfast Potatoes
Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Corn on the Cob
Roasted Green Beans

Carving Station
Roasted Turkey, Honey Ham, and Roast Beef

Action Stations


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kooper's Tavern to open new restaurant in Jacksonville, Maryland

Kooper's Tavern was originated in 1997 when Patrick and Katie Russell renamed the former Thames Street Tavern after their beloved yellow lab, Kooper. In 2009, Kooper's Chowhound Burger Wagon hit the streets as Baltimore’s first gourmet food truck. Patrick Russell recently expanded Kooper’s restaurants in late August 2012 and opened Kooper’s North at The Roundwood Shopping center located on West Padonia Road in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland.

Kooper’s Jacksonville will continue to use our local growers, bakers, butchers, and seafood purveyors. Along with great quality food and beverage, Kooper's Jacksonville will offer a warm atmosphere for the community.
I look forward to opening our doors to the neighborhood. I have already received many enthusiastic and welcoming messages from this great community” said Patrick Russell. “I believe the outstanding service provided by my staff and the diversity of our menu will please everyone
The Baltimore County town, well-known for its appearance in Baltimore native John Waters’ movie Pink Flamingos, will welcome Kooper’s new venture. The restaurant is scheduled to open in early June 2014 after an estimated three-month renovation period that will include the construction of an outdoor bluestone patio.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Roy’s Restaurant unveils new limited-time Spring prix fixe menu

Roy’s Restaurant celebrates the changing of the seasons by offering an all-new Spring Prix Fixe Menu, a vibrant three‑course meal guaranteed to thaw any winter blues. This special menu offer is available till July 7th for only $36.95 per person.

The Spring Prix Fixe Menu is a showcase of bold color and undeniable warmth, like only springtime can provide. Each mouthwatering dish utilizes a combo of seasonal flavors and fresh ingredients. Featured courses include Short Rib and Mushroom Dim Sum, Seared Salmon and Tri‑Color Carrot Torte.

Roy’s Restaurant is known for its unique and creative menu, a sensational adventure in bold flavors, and its sincere and engaging hospitality that is a welcome escape from the ordinary dining experience. Roy’s Restaurant was born by blending two dynamic principals: delicious food and hospitality inspired by the “aloha” spirit of the Hawaiian Islands. Inspired by his Japanese roots and native Hawaiian cuisine, Chef Roy Yamaguchi opened the very first Roy's Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1988. 

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Blend your own Bordeaux wine dinner at the Fork & Wrench

A little bit different than most wine dinners but a lot more fun is Canton’s the Fork & Wrench’s “Blend your own Bordeaux” interactive food and wine event.  On Thursday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. Ginny Murphy, CSW with Trinchero Family Estates, Fork & Wrench’s Executive Chef Cyrus Keefer-City Paper’s 2013 Baltimore Best Chef and Shana Leachman, Fork & Wrench’s mixologist/bar manager invite you to this intimate (16 guests only) gathering.  Chef’s multi-course family style meal, Trinchero’s Napa Valley wines and the pièce de résistance – the guests’ creation of a Bordeaux blend create a memorable evening. Prizes will be awarded after a blind judging by Ms Murphy-CSW, Chef Keefer and Ms. Leachman of the participants’ Bordeaux blends. This entire experience is $75 per guest plus tax and gratuity.

The Fork & Wrench’s libation mistress, Shana Leachman, expressed, “Sometimes wine can come across as intimidating or unapproachable and adding a formal coursed dinner can be uncomfortable for some.” Leachman continued, “This ‘Blend your own Bordeaux’ dinner is different; it is more interactive, fun and welcoming to all levels of wine enthusiasts.” Guests will enjoy conversing with the experts along with each other at this small gathering at the Fork & Wrench’s “Blend your Bordeaux” food and wine event. 

Participants can look forward to tasting Trinchero Napa Wine:
  • Calistoga Sauvignon Blanc
  • Petite Verdot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Guests’ crafted Bordeaux blend  using a selection of the above mentioned wines

Ginny Murphy-CSW of Trinchero Family Estates will inform and guide the guests on how master blenders hone their craft and palate to create a final cuvee. Trinchero Family Estates has bragging rights to having more than fifty 90+ awards and accolades. The estate has an exceptional reputation for producing exceptional Bordeaux-style wines.

Fork & Wrench’s “Blend your own Bordeaux”
Thursday, March 27th – 6:30 p.m.
$75 per guest for reception, 4 course dinner and paired wines  (Excludes tax and gratuity)
Limited Seating: 16 guests
Reservations: 443.759.9367

The Fork & Wrench
2322 Boston Street
Baltimore, MD

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fresh Market Celebrates National Artichoke Heart Day with Tasty Tips and Recipe

Spring is almost here and with it comes the arrival of artichoke season! The Fresh Market is stocked with everything shoppers need to celebrate National Artichoke Heart Day onMarch 16.  Giant artichokes are a fan favorite and can easily be made into a delightful dinner. The specialty grocer serves up fresh ideas and tips in its acclaimed cookbook, Cooking in Season with The Fresh Market.

While most are familiar with the appetizing flavor artichokes add to recipes, the ease of getting to the heart is not as well known. When the giant (soft-ball sized) artichokes arrive in late spring, they can be simmered to tenderness and served with a delicious vinaigrette as a light lunch.  As foodies eat their way through the artichoke, the reward is the wide, saucer-shaped flesh at the base. The artichoke leaves can also be enjoyed as a tasty treat!

The Fresh Market recommends that food lovers celebrate National Artichoke Heart Day with this “hearty” recipe from Cooking in Season with The Fresh Market:

Giant Artichokes with Mustard-Herb Vinaigrette

½ tsp black peppercorns
2 lemons
¼ c distilled white or cider vinegar
4 giant artichokes, stemmed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh chives
2 tsp minced fresh tarragon
2 tsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large stockpot of salted water, with peppercorns, to a boil over high heat.  Cut eight ¼ inch-thick rounds from lemons; set aside.  Pour vinegar into a large, nonreactive bowl and half-fill with cold water.  Using a large, sharp knife, cut off top inch from each artichoke.  Using scissors, snip off thorny tips from artichoke leaves.  Put each trimmed artichoke in vinegar water to discourage browning while preparing remaining artichokes.

Drain artichokes, discarding vinegar water.  Sit an artichoke on a lemon slice and place a second lemon slice on top.  Using kitchen twine, tie artichoke and lemon slices like a package to hold lemon slices in place. Add artichokes to boiling water and partially cover with a lid.  Reduce heat to medium.  Cook at a brisk simmer, occasionally turning artichokes, until a bottom leaf can be easily pulled from a base and flesh is tender (scrape leaf against your teeth to check), about 1 ¼ hours.  Using tongs, transfer artichokes, upside down, to a platter to drain.  Let cool.  (Artichokes can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

To make vinaigrette: Pulse lemon zest and juice, vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a blender to combine.  With machine running, gradually pour oil through hole in lid to emulsify.  Add chives, tarragon, and parsley and pulse to combine without pureeing herbs. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour vinaigrette into 4 ramekins.

Gently squeeze each artichoke to remove excess water.  Remove twine and lemon slices.  Serve each artichoke in a shallow bowl with ramekin of vinaigrette for dipping and a large bowl to collect leaves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oregon Grille host woman's Springtime in Paris wine tasting event

Gather your girlfriends, sisters and new friends and join The Oregon Grille Women’s Wine Club with Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach®, for a Springtime in Paris wine tasting event. Guests will learn about (and taste) some of Laurie’s favorite French wines guaranteed to brighten your day. Selecting French wines can be confusing, but The Wine Coach® will demystify the way these wines are classified during a crash course on some of the most important regions. Additionally, The Oregon Grille will create masterful French inspired tasting plates to accompany each wine. Visit to learn more and purchase tickets.

Thursday, March 20
6:30 p.m.

The Oregon Grille
1201 Shawan Rd
Cockeysville, MD 21030

$85 per person
Tickets are all-inclusive and include hors d’oeuvres and three tasting plates, wine tastings, tax, tip and, of course, wine edu-tainment from The Wine Coach!
Purchase at:

The Oregon Grille, founded in 1997 by restaurateur Ted Bauer, is an award-winning restaurant located in Hunt Valley, Md. Known for its prime dry-aged steaks, the restaurant features five fix-priced menus, including lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch, bar/lite fare, party, and wine menus. The renovated 19th century stone farmhouse is nestled in the heart of Maryland’s horse country, and has four unique dining rooms, a granite bar, and a newly-renovated bluestone patio with outdoor seating. Guests can make reservations on or by calling 410-771-0505. To stay informed of The Oregon Grille’s latest news, follow the restaurant on Twitter at @TheOregonGrille, on Facebook, or visit the website:

Laurie Forster is an award-winning sommelier, author, TV personality and comedian. Her edgy approach to demystifying wine caught the eye of major networks and led her to guest appearances on FOX Morning News, Martha Stewart Living Today and ABC News at Noon. She’s performed her comedic wine tasting at the Caroliones on Broadway, DC IMPROV, Caesars Atlantic City, Broadway Comedy Club, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Tampa IMPROV, Avalon Theatre and RamsHead On Stage. Forster is also the host of her radio show The Sipping Point on WBAL 1090AM and her mobile application “The Wine Coach” was listed as one of the Top 8 Wine Apps in Wine Enthusiast, Top 5 Wine Apps in the World by Departures International Magazine and 2012 App of the Year from Go Mobile Solutions.

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Roy’s Restaurant presents exclusive Duckhorn wine dinner

credit: Roy's
Roy’s Restaurant is partnering with Duckhorn Vineyards for a spectacular dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12. Guests will delight in five unique courses expertly prepared by the Roy’s culinary team and accompanied by four Duckhorn Vineyards wine pairings. The cost per person is $85 plus tax and service charge.

The Duckhorn Wine Dinner combines the best seasonal offerings of Roy’s Restaurant and the palate-pleasing wines of Duckhorn Vineyards. Courses include Kona Kampachi Tartare, Lobster & Peas, Maple Leaf Duck Duo, Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Peach Napoleon

Special Roy’s and Duckhorn Vineyard prizes, including a Roy’s cookbook, hukilaus and an autographed Duckhorn Vineyards wine bottle, will be available during the evening’s raffle. Prizes depend on location.

The internationally-acclaimed Roy’s Restaurant is known for its unique and creative menu, a
credit: Roy's
sensational adventure in bold flavors, and its sincere and engaging hospitality that is a welcome escape from the ordinary dining experience. Roy’s Restaurant was born by blending two dynamic principals: delicious food and hospitality inspired by the “aloha” spirit of the Hawaiian Islands. Inspired by his Japanese roots and native Hawaiian cuisine, Chef Roy Yamaguchi opened the very first Roy's Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1988.

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