Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Tomato Palace

10221 Wincopin Cir
Columbia, MD 21044
(410) 715-0211

We went here back in February and had a good meal if your read my post.

We went again last night and I am sad to say I wasn't as impressed last night. The bread and garlic knots were still very good along with the service and atmosphere. However, our food wasn't as good.

I ordered one of the specials called Grilled Asparagus Pasta ($14.95) which on paper sounded great with chicken, garlic, smoked tomatoes, grilled asparagus, grilled red onions with penne pasta and white wine sauce and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar sauce. However when I got it and took my first few bites I was note impressed. Overall, it was very flavorless (both the sauce and the chicken especially). I asked for more of the balsamic vinegar sauce which helped some. However, the smoked tomatoes and grilled red onions were very flavorful but they got lost when you mixed it all together. The asparagus was not the best also. Some of it was good but most of mine was very thick and stalky (if its to thick is not good at all).

My husband got the Chicken Rigatoni and was also disappointed- he wished he had order his staple of Chicken Parm. He ate less then myself.

This experience makes me skeptical about going back.

Tomato Palace on Urbanspoon

The Meadows Original Frozen Custard

8601 Walther Blvd. Baltimore Md 21236
Phone: 410-661-7505
Fax: 410-661-7506
Perry Hall Flavor Menu

My husband and I have been going to this place in PA for years- he started taking me when we started dating back in 1998. Then this place opened a year or so ago down here in Perry Hall we were so excited! I haven't had a flavor I haven't liked yet! And yes all the flavors are homemade!

Everyday they have vanilla and chocolate frozen custard plus two or three additional flavors that change daily. They also have a fat free no sugar added vanilla frozen yogurt or our low fat yogurt flavor that changes on Monday and Thursday. They also feature at least 8 flavors of Italian ice everyday and you can create your own custom gelati or try one of the many sundae toppings or candies. Of course they also offer sundaes, shakes, malts, smoothies, arctic swirls, and specialty items such as a banana split served in a 2 pound bowl (a 1 pound version is also available), a chocolate chip brownie sundae, and a variety of cookie sandwiches.

Each week they offer a weekly special off their menu at a discounted price (Week of 5/26: Brownie Sundae Reg-$4.49; Petite $3.49). FYI- if you get a regular cake cone save the wrappers of it because after 10 wrappers you get a free small cone!

Meadows Original Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

By the Docks Restaurant & Lounge

3321 Eastern Blvd.

Middle River, MD 21220
Phone 410.686.1188
Fax 410.686.2672

My parents and aunt were in town this past weekend for my Master's Graduation and we wanted to out for seafood on Monday. I hadn't been to this place in sometime and thought it would be a nice place to take them. The place wasn't busy but had a nice crowd.

The atmosphere is very crisp and airy in the sense of a everything is white with nautical accents all around and plenty of natural light form the windows. All our food was perfect.

Three of us (myself included) got the Jewels of the Sea ($28.99) - petite lobster tail, crab cake, jumbo shrimp & jumbo scallops broiled and served with drawn butter. My dad got the Broiled Seafood Platter ($27.99)- crab cake, stuffed oyster, shrimp, scallops and a filet of flounder that is broiled in lemon butter. My husband got the By the Docks Crab Cake ($24.99) - two lump crab cakes. Each meal was served with a side salad, bread/butter and a side.

Everything was done to perfections. No one found shells in the crab cake (or at least didn't mention that they did- I didn't). The scallops were tender and not chewy. The shrimp and lobster were also cooked to perfection. We all had leftovers to bring home- enough for my lunch today and for my husband to have them also with a dinner the next night.

We however, left room for a stop at the Meadows Frozen Custard on the way home in Perry Hall.

By the Docks Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Olive & Sesame II

2 W. Pennsylvania Ave.
Towson, MD 21204

Well it was a big weekend for me with my graduation with my masters and 9 family members coming into town from both the east and the west coast to help me celebrate. For the last couple months I was raking my brain as to where I should go throw my graduation celebration dinner. It was after some thought that my favorite Asian restaurant popped into my mind… and I am SO glad I picked this place!

Olive & Sesame is a restaurant that promises healthy Chinese and Japanese meals through the use of olive and sesame oils in its wok concoctions (hence the name). The food is always fresh whenever we go and the service is always top notch.

The managing staff was very helpful with all the planning and setting up. They gave me the private dining room and 2 servers that were just ours. They helped me plan out a menu for a family style dinner that included unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, 4 orders of dumplings, a choice of soup or spring roll per person, rice and 9 entrees for $18.00 a person- plus a 20% tip. I brought in my own cake and they only charge me $5.00. For 11 people it came to around $258.

Now the one thing I was disappointed with was parking validation. They used to validate your parking ticket it you parked across the street at the garage. I told everyone to park there because they validated and come to find out they stopped doing it a few weeks ago. However, it was a big deal just a disappointment- life goes on.

My four favorite entrees are what we served for the dinner...

General Tso' Chicken

Mongolian Beef

Roast Pork Lo Mein

Volcano Shrimp- which is served on a sizzling platter and then topped with flaming rum

Everything was perfect and I recommend this place for lunch, dinner, carry out or your next party!!!

Olive & Sesame II on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Baltimore's Taste of the Nation

Where do you start when you know children are going hungry in this city? Some statistics I gleaned showed that 29% of the hungry in Baltimore are children under 18. Another statistic that is shocking, 81% of the food insecure in the city are families with children. Nearly 185,000 children are facing hunger in Maryland.

Mark your calendar for Monday, June 2 as Baltimore's best chefs and restaurants cook to end childhood hunger at the American Visionary Art Museum from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. for Share Our Strength's (SOS), Baltimore's Taste of the Nation which raises critical funds needed to support SOS's efforts to end childhood hunger in Baltimore and across America.

The area charities that will benefit from this year's event include Baltimore's Garden Harvest, Maryland Committee for Children, and Advocates for Children and Youth.

~ ~ ~

More than 20 of the city's finest restaurants will participate in this gastronomic event including (in no particular order):

Jack's Bistro
Inn at Perry Cabin
Jordan's Steakhouse
Sotto Sopra
Red Maple
Lebanese Taverna
The Capital Grille
Ixia Restaurant
Cabot Creamery
Lindt Chocolate
Kali's Court
Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine
Karma's Cupcakes--and others

Guests will enjoy the city's finest foods paired with beverages by Finlandia Vodka, Herradura Tequila, Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Southern Comfort.

Where Do I Buy My Ticket?

Tickets for Baltimore's Taste of the Nation are $75 (100% tax deductible) and $125 for VIP admission (VIPs receive seating, champagne and surprise perks). Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-877-26-TASTE or visiting Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation. The evening will be fun, fulfilling and filling.

Show your local restaurateurs and chefs that you can support their childhood hunger relief fundraiser as they have consistently and without waiver, supported all our charities year-after-year, day-after-day.

So, What are you eating?

I love to eat and I love food and there is no way of getting around it! But I have been trying my best to eat more healthy and not eat things that i love but will kill me: french fires, etc! So I have been spending some time surfing the net and looking around for things to help me out while I eat at home and out in my adventures in local joints! I came across this site today Nutrition Data.

This site has everything you ever wanted to know about the things you eat (and probably a few things you didn't want to know, too). So click over and check out Nutrition Data.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Burger Bros.

14 Allegheny Ave.
Towson, MD

My husband and I were off to see a week night movie and wanted a quick bite to eat before hand. We had both heard of this place but hadn't had the chance to try it. So we thought this was the perfect night.

We both got the Bacon Cheeseburger ($5.99) and added our favorite toppings such as mustard, ketchup, mayo, pickles, and caramelized onions. They were very good. However, it was a bit on the sloppy side (at least mine was because I had more topping added then he did). I will say that next time I would either not get the caramelized onions or ask for a smaller portion of them- it seemed to be a bit over powering. Overall, we both agreed that they were very good and equal to Five Guys Burger and Fries.

We also ordered a large Fresh-cut Spuds that are Genuine Idaho potatoes, hand-cut and prepared fresh daily ($3.79). IT was HUGE! We hardly even made it half way through it. I think a large serves 3-4 people. The fries were very good (and I love my fries). My husband thought they weren't as good as Five Guys Burger and Fries.

The place had great colors on the walls but other than that was basic and simple. I will say the construction that the town was doing outside did hinder the appeal of a window seat.

Next time I would like to try some wings and a salad. I would give this place 4 ½ stars out of 5 for a burger joint.

Burger Brothers on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something I found...

While surfing the web I found this intresting site that has some great photos of food and then tells you how to make them... check it out TasteSpotting

I also found another great site that has do-it-yourself projects from arts, crafts to even food called Instructables

Here is another site that is a comprehensive guide to online video sites, including those containing TV shows, movies, user-generated content and video games... my favorite FOOD so check out OVGuide

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Reusable bags

Back on March 8, 2008 Elizabeth Large of the blog Dining@Large had a blog post that sparked the talk of reusable bags. With the comments on this topic she started working on an article called Shoppers saving the planet, one reusable bag at a time.

I use these bags when going shopping for groceries and I was excited to see my comments made the article Shoppers saving the planet, one reusable bag at a time. So go check it out!

Zen West

5916 York Road
Baltimore, Md 21212
(410) 323-3368

When you enter this place a nostalgic Route 66 and a casual Western Roadhouse atmosphere surround you. We were sat in the large rear dining room that features a long wall mural of a thundering cattle drive rendered by painter Raoul Middleman.
The menu carries all the typical Tex-Mex items you’d expect, as well as interesting combination of southern specialties such as chicken-fried steak, blackened catfish and shrimp and grits.

We started off with some margaritas, salsa and West Texas Cowboy Nachos-topped with spicy Texas chili, 
chili con queso, guacamole, sour cream, black olive, pico de gallo and 
jalapenos ($8.95). They were messy but good. The salsa had some heat but wasn’t too hot (they say its never the same each day since they make it themselves).

For dinner my husband had the Giant Jason's Belly Buster Burrito- seasoned ground sirloin, roasted corn
relish, black beans, jalapenos, topped with 
chili con queso ($8.95). It was very big and he barely finished it. I didn’t taste it but it said it pretty tasty (above average).

I had Carnitas Ranchros- Slow-cooked pork marinated in oranges,
garlic and other top secret roadhouse spices, sautéed with scallions and cilantro, served with flour tortillas, rice & beans, sour cream and pico de gallo ($13.95). This was very good and was up on the top of my list for the best Carnitas.

Overall, this place was pretty good- above average but not 5 star. The food is served quick and the wait staff was friendly and attentive. It is very family friendly and welcoming. Next time I would love to sit next to the window during nice weather when they have them open and people watch. This place is a good place for a bite to eat before or after a movie at the Senator Theatre. I will be going back.

Zen West on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 03, 2008

TV Chef visits Baltimore

Either you like them or you hate them... Celebrity Chefs. It could be the local chefs, chefs from other cities or chefs from TV- we all have an opinion of them. But, I don’t know about you, I can’t help be proud when one of these chefs who isn’t from our area visits the Baltimore area and then publicizes their findings- Especially when they have their own magazine, TV shows, etc.

I am talking about Rachael Ray. She is for sure one of those chefs you either love or hate. I will admit I like her!
In her current May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray on page 168 she has a blurb about nachos and one of our local restaurants made the 1 page blurb: Ocean Pride Seafood.

She comments on how “the locals stop by to crack a few crab legs while watching the O’s game on big plasma TVs” and “count on Marylanders to add crab meat to any dish, including nachos ($10), packed with cheddar, scallions and spicy jalapenos.”

I was driving up York Rd and did notice that the sign outside Ocean Pride did read, “Rachael Ray says best crab nachos” and wondered when she was there.

Now I have eaten there but never tried the nachos- I will next time I go.

Another local blogger, Suzanne Loudermilk, from the Baltimore Magazine discovered the same thing and blogged about it in her blog called In Good Taste on April 18, 2008.

After some web surfing I discover that Rachael Ray has publicized some other local restaurants on her websites for Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine and the official website for Rachael Ray.

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