Sunday, June 29, 2008

Restuarant.com -VS- Baltimore Dining Deals

Who isn't always looking to save money and a good bargain? I know I am!

Over the last couple years I have used restaurant.com many times to get $25 restaurant gift certificates for $10 (and it you sign up for the emails they have sales where things are 50% off or sometimes more).

As I was surfing the net I found another site called Baltimore Dining Deals that has $100, $50 and $25 gift certificates at half price ($25 for $12.50). They also carry other denominations of certificates.  Now I never used this site.

So from prior experience and what I researched here is some information about both--

Restaurant.com
  • it covers not just Baltimore but other states
  • has many more places to pick from
  • lower prices
  • good for one year after purchase date
  • has a customer service if there are problems
  • all certificates are printed from home
  • can purchase more than one certificate
  • offers a way of making online reservations
  • each certificate has stipulations about party number, bill total, etc.
Baltimore Dining Deals
  • limited number of places
  • can be used for multiple visits until credit is fully used
  • $3.00 charge on all orders for shipping and handling
  • If their is more than one location of restaurant can only be used at the one listed
  • can be used towards alcoholic drinks
  • expires after 6 months
  • limited to how many of each certificate you can purchase.

There are many more things that I could have listed about each place but then this post would have gone on and on- so stop by each site and check it out.  Let me know if you use Baltimore Dining Deals or your thoughts on either place.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Restaurant Week Part 2

I was reading over the listed restaurants on the Restaurant Week site and I must say the number of participating restaurants has increased. I was really impressed. I have no idea where to begin and where to go!

You can now also start make reservation via Open Table.

Discounted parking: 5pm - midnight, Saturday July 26 - Sunday August 3, at the following garages:

* Arena, 99 S. Howard Street, $3
* Baltimore Street, 15 Guilford Ave., $5
* Caroline Street, 805 S. Caroline Street, $3
* Fleet & Eden Garage, 501 Eden Street, $3
* Franklin Street, 15 W. Franklin Street, $4
* Little Italy, 400 S. Central Ave., $3
* St. Paul Street Garage, 210 St. Paul Place, $5
* Water Street, 414 Water Street, $7

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Baltimore Chefs and Wine Experience

Sunday, July 13, noon-6 p.m. at the Tremont Grand, 225 North Charles St.

Explore restaurants, talented chefs, and fine wine at the Baltimore Chefs and Wine Experience hosted by the Food Network's Sandra Pinckney. Enjoy cooking demonstrations from TV Personality and cookbook author Ted Allen and top national and local chefs including Warren Brown and Martha Hall Foose, wine seminars and tastings with wine experts Tim Hanni (Master of Wines), Paul Lukacs, Monyka Berrocosa, and Sharon Charny, book signings, and the Grand Tasting.

Go to www.chefsandwine.org to buy tickets

Sunday, June 22, 2008

James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant

616 S. President Street
Baltimore MD 21202
(410) 727-5107
www.thejamesjoycepub.com

My Husband and I ventured down to Harbor East this weekend to check out the new Landmark Movie Theater (we saw Get Smart- very funny) and get a bite to eat at James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant. The weather was perfect and it was a great day.

So before the movie we walked around Harbor East and went to eat at James Joyce Pub. As we entered the pub I was intrigued to find out that was designed and built in Ireland and then shipped over here to Baltimore in the fall of 2002. The pub is named after the famous Irish poet and author (Ulysses and Finnegans Wake). They have live music about 5 days a week form 9 pm – 1:30 am.

The inside of the restaurant has a nice Irish atmosphere with a family setting. The section we sat in had high tables with high benches and chairs. The walls are adorned in Irish artwork and pieces.

We started with a cup of the Irish Potato Soup (Cup $3.25) - pureed potatoes, onions and leeks cooked in a chicken stock. The flavor was perfect as was the texture. I didn’t find any component of the soup to be over powering- the marriage of ingredients was perfect.

For my entrée I had the Beer Battered Sausage and "Chips" ($11.95)- traditional Irish Bangers lightly battered then deep fried and served with french fries and baked beans. I was a bit leery of the fact that the sausage was beer batter and fried but once I bite into it all my reservations dissolved away. It was wonderful. The sausage was sweet and the batter gave a perfect crunch to it that added to the taste. The fries were perfectly cooked. The baked beans were very sweet and runny (I prefer my baked beans not as sweet and thicker) but the taste was average. They served it with malt vinegar and ketchup. Now I add vinegar to my “Fish and Chips” so I was unsure as to add it to the sausage or not. I tired a few bites with it and it was good.

My Husband had the Beef and Guinness Stew ($13.95) - pieces of beef braised in Guinness stock with diced carrots, onion, leek and celery and was served over traditional champ potatoes. The pieces of meat were tender and very plentiful. The consistency of the stew was perfect and not overly thick or runny. The serving was pretty big but he finished every last drop.

They are participating in Baltimore's Summer Restaurant Week 2008 and have their menu already posted on their website.

James Joyce Irish Pub and on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Something I found...

Now this site isn't just a food related site but it does offer some food things.

The site Retail Me Not is database of coupon codes for more than 13,000 online stores.

There is a food category that has coupons for Papa John's, Domino's, FreshDirect, Quizno's, Cold Stone Creamery, and some others.

So Check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Baltimore Summer Resturant Week

www.baltimorerestaurantweek.com

July 26, 2008 till August 3, 2008

Three-course dinners for $30.08
Three-course lunches at select restaurants for $20.08

* New this summer- some restaurants will also offer special culinary experiences (wine pairings, cooking classes, tasting menus)

*Select Baltimore City garages are offering special $3 parking

Taco Fiesta

618 S Exeter St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 234-3782
www.tacofiesta.com

I went out to lunch with a friend I used to teach with in Harbor East to a place called Taco Fiesta. I let her pick the place and her friend owns it. It advertises fast, fresh and fun Mexican food that comes from generations of passed down recipes from the owner’s family. . It is set up food wise like a Chipotle or Qdoba but has a full bar. It offers things such as burrito, tacos, quesadillas, and many more. It has a bright and fun décor and has a classic rock music playing.

It has a salsa bar that has salsas that are made from scratch every morning. On the wall above the bar is a layout and explanation of each salsa. They also have a 26-ingredient Enchilada sauce that I would like to try. The guacamole and chips are also made fresh every day. They use no lards or oils when they make the beans every morning. The steak is lean and hand trimmed. The white chicken breast is lean and skinless.

I got the Fiesta Meat burrito with rice, beans, Jack cheese, Fiesta Salsa, and roasted seasoned pork ($8.39). I then personalized it into a Chimichanga- they deep fry the burrito to a golden brown and serve it with lettuce, tomato, guacamole and sour cream (add $2.79). It was very good and the shell had a perfect crunchiness. The meat had a nice little spice to it and the beans and rice were perfectly cooked.

We were there during lunchtime and it had a nice crowd. The also have tables to sit at outside. They have a full bar and offer many happy hour and daily specials (check the website).

The food and atmosphere were both really good. I will go back again!

Taco Fiesta on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 16, 2008

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

I was out running some errands today and saw that a new Five Guys Burgers and Fries is opening in my neighborhood.

Nort Plaza Shopping Center
8904 Waltham Woods Road
Baltimore, MD 21234

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Crackpot Restaurant

8102 Loch Raven Boulevard
Towson, MD 21286
(410) 828-1095 phone(410) 825-1095 fax
crackpotcrabs@comcast.net
www.crackpotcrabs.com

Well at last it was June 13th and that meant the last day of the 2007-2008 school year- School’s out for summer! To celebrate we had our end of the year dinner at the Crackpot.

The Crackpot Seafood Restaurant was opened in 1971 and offers a casual, comfortable setting, One side of the restaurant has a long, narrow bar area, while the other is all wood-shingled walls, paintings of sailboats, and crab pots around the light fixtures. If you are having crabs the wooden tables are covered with sheets of rough brown paper, and we were given a plastic basket with wooden mallets, paper napkins and plastic knives.

The Crackpot offers several crab cake variations, including Italian ones with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and Hawaiian ones with ham and pineapple (plus a few other variations beside a regular crab cake).We got there around 2:00. About 5 people order crabs and the rest of us ordered of the lunch menu whereas, a few ordered off the dinner menu. The lunch menu has many sandwich offerings and light fare orders of certain things. The dinner menu offers a variety of seafood and land items.

I started with the Cream of Crab soup. It was good but lacked the kick of sherry that a lot of places put in it. It had an average amount of crab in it- but of course it could have had more.

For my main course I had the light fare crab cake that came with 2 sides. The crab cake had a lot of meat but was dry and according to my taste buds lacked flavor. It was also very small compared to a bunch of other places. My broccoli was cooked well but had nothing on it and was served not very hot- in fact when I asked for butter it didn’t even melt when I put it on. My French fries were over cooked (however a few other people had some that were done perfectly). Overall, I was very disappointed.
Some of the other entrees that were ordered were the Crab Imperial, Stuffed Lobster Tail, Broiled Scallops and Shrimp Basket. The person sitting next to me got the Crab Imperial and was disappointed she ordered it and wishes she got the crab cake.
AS for the crabs they were dirty the way they should be and the people eating them were enjoying them. However the price for me that day was a bit step for the size that they were getting (around $55 a dozen). This place may just be good for crabs and that’s it.

Overall, I must say I was disappointed. I had been here around 4 yrs ago and thought things were pretty good. I am not sure if I will be going back to this place at all to give it another chance (even with the Restaurant.com savings coupon). The only thing I would consider going back for are the crabs.



Crackpot on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bamboo House

26 Cranbrook Rd
Cockeysville, MD 21030-3404
(410) 666-9550
www.joeychiurestaurant.com

So it was my birthday on the 10th and this year I gave my husband the job if picking where we would head to eat. The only stipulations I gave him was that it had to be somewhere we never went, and fit into a category of food I wanted (Italian, Seafood, Mexican or Asian). So after a little research he picked the Bamboo House (the sister restaurant to Joey Chiu Greenspring Inn).

This is one of those places you would drive right by in a shopping plaza if you didn’t know it was there. You walk in and you a greeted by a large wood carving of animals and a lobster tank full of live lobsters. The place is a nice dim and surround in colors of pink and green. We went for an early meal around 3:00 and were given the lunch menu. I was hoping for the dinner menu according to what I had read- I didn’t feel like asking for the dinner menu and just picked something new to eat (plus it had nice prices).

Each table is given a bowl of fried noodles and 2 sauces to munch on as you look over the menu. We started with pan-fried meat dumplings. They were very good. A lot of times when I get these they can be very greasy but these weren’t.
Then we order a General Tso’s chicken at the lunch price of $7.50 and an order of the Mou Sho Pork at $7.50 lunch price. Since it was the lunch price we were expect a smaller portion that is usually good for one person. However, we were surprised and the portions for the lunch menu were bigger than expected and we shared them and even had left over’s to bring home. Each dish also came with a bowl of fried rice.

The Mou Sho Pork was very good and had a nice ratio or veggies, pork and egg. The pancakes were perfect and not sticky or stale. The plum sauce was decent also. We finished this entire dish.

However, we were a bit disappointed by the General Tso’s chicken. The sauce was good and had a nice kick but it was the meat and coating that wasn’t a big hit. The coating was in a sense mushy- almost like the skin was still on and it hadn’t been fried. You can tell the coating was fried but it didn’t have the normal bit of crunch to it. It was hard to describe the texture of it when you bit into it. The meat was a mixture of light and dark meat. Overall, the flavor was good but not the texture. We had left over’s of this but no one has touched it.

The rice looked very good but when I ate it was disappointing because it lacked the flavor I thought it had because of its color. It was cooked right but the flavor was on the weaker side.

Maybe we are spoiled by Olive & Sesame in Towson and the crunch of their General Tso’s all white meat Chicken.

Overall, the food was average and so was the service (my glass was empty for a little bit and I needed a drink with the spicy sauce). My husband and I agreed we would give it one more chance and try the dinner menu next time at a normal dinner hour.

Bamboo House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Towson Diner

718 York Rd.
Towson, MD 21204
Phone: 410-321-0407 / 410-321-0408
Fax: 410-321-0412
Email: towsondiner@gmail.com
www.towsondiner.net

So this past weekend we were out and about doing some shopping for some minor home improvements and wanted to get a bit to eat. We didn’t want to wait in line or have some supper heavy meal so we decided to give this place a try. It wasn’t packed but it also wasn’t empty. The atmosphere was your typical diner feel with its crisp and cool colors and nostalgia.

My Husband got the baked meatloaf with 2 sides (mashed potatoes and broccoli). It also came with a side salad. The meatloaf severing was huge with about 4 large slices of meatloaf. He didn’t finish the sides that came with it. Hew said it was Average/Good.

I had the deluxe Gyro (pronounced yee-roh). It was filled with rotisserie meat (usually a mixture of minced beef and lamb), tomatoes, and onions, along with a yogurt-based tzatziki sauce (made with Greek-style yogurt, diced cucumbers, dill weed and a small amount of vinegar) then all wrapped up in a pita. It was then served with a Greek salad and the typical side dish of a Gyro- French Fries. Their version of a Greek salad had the lettuce (a Greek salad normally doesn’t have lettuce- except in North America) plus chopped tomatoes with a few slices of cucumber, and red onion, seasoned with salt, black pepper, and oregano, feta cheese, bell peppers, kalamata olives, and dressed with olive oil and vinegar based dressing with various herbs and seasonings.

The Gyro was pretty good (even though it got messy towards the end). My husband and I both agree that this place has some great fries- they were cooked perfectly (a crispy bit with the inner core smushy) and weren’t over slated and didn’t have an over bearing oil taste you get sometimes!

We both noticed the dessert cases when we came in and thought we would try something. When I asked to see the menu the waiter suggested the easiest thing was to just get up and look- which I am glad I did… too many choices. The guy that seemed to be the owner was sitting at the counter while I was looking and he offered to help me out and took me on a tour of the desserts. There were all types of things to choose from, crème pies, cakes, baklava, turnovers, pies, cookies, tiramisu, etc. I felt a bit over whelmed- in the end I ended up with a slice of Banana Crème Pie and the thing was huge! We couldn’t finish it and the waiter and the owner laughed at us when they bagged it up.

Overall, the service was great, the food was good and the atmosphere was pleasing! I will be going back!



Towson Diner on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS




There will be a celebrating of the 62nd Annual Tony Awards June 15, 2008 beginning at 6:30 pm at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in the M&T Bank Pavilion that will benefit Broadway Cares, Equity Fights Aids. The celebration will consist of performances by local theatre groups, a Broadway Flea Market and silent auction, food tasting provided by local Baltimore area restaurants and the live airing of the Tony Awards Broadcast on CBS, and locally WJZ-TV by closed circuit television beginning at 8:00 pm.

The event is open to the public, but reservations are required by calling 410.483.1162 and a $15 donation by cash or check is requested at the door. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $150.00.

All proceeds of this event will go to Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA). This is the first Tony Event in the country to benefit Broadway Cares. BC/EFA is the nation’s leading industry-based, not for profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization.

BALTIMORE TONY AWARDS CELEBRATION

Monday, June 02, 2008

Another website related to food...

Surfing the web again today I ran across another food site that was intresting to say the least. It is called Food.Alltop.com.

They advertise it as an "online magazine rack" full of the latest news from websites and blogs. Alltop sucks in the feeds for about one hundred websites and blogs per topic and displays the most recent five stories from each source. Hover your mouse over a headline and you'll see the first paragraph of each story to determine if you want to click through to the actual site and continue.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cake

I was talking with some co-workers this past week about cakes and where to get a good tasting cake at a good price. Now I know you can buy good cakes that are the size of my hand but the sticker price is as big as me (I keep telling my husband I want a cake from Charm City Cakes but I haven’t gotten one yet).

I have found that Costco does a pretty good cake for about $16.00. You get to pick what kind of cake, frosting and what kind of moose type filling you want. I got one for my birthday dinner last year and for my graduation/birthday celebration this year. I always get the strawberry filling (and they have to be refrigerated). They are a bit limited to designs on top.


Back in college we used to get our sheet cakes for Zta Tau Alpha things at Wal-Mart. They were good a decent price. The one in Lock Haven, PA even did wedding cakes.

Carvel Ice Cream cakes are good. However, you don’t get bang for your buck in the way of size. I do know they send you a $3.00 off coupon around the time of your birthday for a cake.

Now my parents were on their way down from NY last weekend and picked up these cakes form the Oregon Dairy in for Lititz, PA $5.00 each.  Cut but we never ate or even tasted them.  I guess they were technically cupcakes decorated.






So where do you go for a good cake? Leave a comment and let us know!


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