Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Today in Food History

Tuesday, March 31, 2008

Today in food history:
  • National Clams on the Half Shell Day
  • Tater Day
  • Oranges and Lemons Day
  • 1989 Chefs from Japanese restaurants in New York have finally persuaded the FDA to allow them to import and serve fogu. The first shipment of Japanese blowfish (tora fugu) arrived today. The chefs had to attend special classes to protect their customers from poisoning.

Sofi's Cepes turns 5 and offers a good deal

Sofi's Crepes is turning 5! In doing so they are inviting you out to celebrate and support a good cause. On Wednesday, April 1, 2009 from 5-9 pm at 1723 N. Charles Street.

They are offering the following specials:

  • $5 any savory crepe
  • $5 for a sweet crepe & drink

100% of the proceeds will be going to Pet Rescue of MD. There will also be live music by Occasionally Brilliant.

Sofi's Crepes is actually named after Ann's loyal pup of eleven years, Sofi, who suffered severe spinal damage the last two years of her life. Her back legs were paralyzed but that never stopped her as she enthusiastically rolled herself everywhere by way of a cart. She was an inspiration to her and never wavered in her joy, light spirit and playfulness. Sofi's Crepes was named in her honor.

My favorite savory crepe is The Kevin Bacon: Turkey, Bacon, Cheese, & Tomatoes with 1000 Island Sauce ($8). There are to many sweet crepes to pick a favorite. So here are a few I love: The Bananarama: Banana, Granola, Honey & Peanut Butter ($6), Nutty Banana: Nutella & Banana ($5), and the S'mores: Chocolate, melted marshmallows & Graham Cracker Crumbs ($5)

For more info: Got a food question email me at AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lunch turns Into happy hour

For one week every lunch can turn into Happy Hour!

Starting Friday March 27th through April 3rd make a reservation & have lunch at The Mt. Washington Tavern with four or more people and receive a $5 Happy Hour Coupon for every Lunch Special your table orders.

4 Lunch Specials =$20 in coupons
6 Lunch Specials = $30 in coupons
It goes on like this

Dining Specials:

  • Monday- Meatloaf Monday! Heaping Portion of Sammy's Homemade Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Broccolini just $12.95, 1/2 Price Burgers (Bar Only), 25 cent wings (Bar Only)
  • Tuesday- Steak and Bake night 16 oz. Black Angus T-Bone, Caesar Salad and Baked Potato for just $15.95 (after 5pm), 10 for $20 Bottled Wine Night (discounted wines from a select list)
  • Wednesday- Garden Salad & 14 oz Prime Rib Dinner $15.95 (after 5pm), 10 for $20 Bottled Wine Night (discounted wines from a select list)
For more info: Got a food question email me at AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Food Lingo

Restaurant lingo:
  • Sections- Many restaurant dining rooms are divided into sections, and each section goes to a particular wait staff each shift.
Diner lingo:
  • Bubble Dancer: dishwasher

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Results to Baltimore quick dining burger poll

Back on March 12, 2009 I posted a poll asking people to vote on their favorite quick dining burger joint.

Based upon the results 46% of the people voted that 5 Guys Burgers and Fries was the favorite place to grab a burger. So how do you like your burger from 5 Guys? Leave a comment and let me know!

When I order my bacon cheeseburger at 5 Guys I get mine loaded- which is just about everything. The only things I don't get are upon request only items. It always is a mess and drips everywhere but I love it. You can't forget the fries either- with malt vinegar splashed over it.

For more info: Have a food question? Email me AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Beer, bourbon and bbq festival Timonium

World BBQ Bean Eating Championships

60 beers, 40 bourbons and lots of BBQ

The 80's are back! It's time to take a trip back to the birth of MTV. When The B-52s, The Bangles, Bon Jovi and The Ramones ruled the airwaves. Enjoy live music all day featuring The Reagan Years at the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival Timonium.

And don't forget about the contests! Win CASH prizes!! How many BBQ beans can you eat? Do you have what it takes to be Ms. Bar-B-Cutie? How does winning your weight in beer sound?

VIP Tasting Glass - $40 Advance Only
Valid from Noon-6pm. Includes admission into the event, a souvenir tasting glass, unlimited sampling.

Regular Tasting Glass - $30 Advance Online or $35 On-site
Includes admission into the event, a souvenir tasting glass, unlimited samples from 2pm - 6pm

Designated Driver Ticket - $20 Advance and On-site
Valid from Noon-6pm.
Includes admission into the event only.

Kids 12 & Under - FREE

Hundreds of FREE Parking Spaces available or take the the Light Rail to the Timonium Fair Grounds.

For more info: Have a food question? Email me AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Wednesday Wacky Food Art

FOOD ART -32 Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RA Sushi: sushi eating contest was a slam dunk

Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura

RA Sushi, the stylish sushi restaurant and bar, invited everyone from novice to professional food eaters to enter its inaugural MAKI MADNESS sushi-eating contest on Sunday, March 22, 2009 from 12-5pm.

Just as the March Madness phenomenon sweeps the world of NCAA Basketball, MAKI MADNESS is drawing sushi supporters and wasabi warriors from around the area to face-off in this culinary consumption competition. Organized like a bracket system, this sushi-eating contest took place in rounds and heats. MAKI MADNESS eaters gamed against their opponents and a lot of sushi rolls.

During the first three rounds, the competitors who demolish two uncut RA Sushi signature Tootsy Maki (crab mix, shrimp and cucumber topped with tempura bits) in the fastest amount of time during their heat advance to the next round. The “final four” competitors competed in the Championship Sushi Showdown. During the championship event, opponents ate as much of 6 Tootsy Maki rolls as they can in three (3) minutes.

Cali Combo

Jay Gorman, the champion, receives 12 $50 RA gift certificates, as well as bragging rights as the first RA Sushi MAKI MADNESS champion. Second place won a $50 gift certificate and third place won a $25 gift certificate.

Registration to compete included a $10 fee, which will be donated to The Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Cancer Foundation along with donations from guests at the door.

I was amazed how fast these guys and gals took down the rolls of sushi! The determination on their faces was fierce and they each had their own technique for getting it down. A common technique was to dip the sushi roll in the water take a huge mouth full and then chase it down with a gulp of water.

For those of us who were there to be amazed and cheer them own we had some treats to try out also. RA Sushi will also offer guests Tootsy Maki rolls for $5.00 and drink specials throughout the event including the Double Dribbler ($3.00), “RA”ckin’ Rebounder ($3.00), Metromix Madness ($4.00) and the Elite 8 ($8.00), a drink for two.

Chicken Yakitori

I tried the Metromix Madness with was a peach and rum mixture what was perfectly peachy- they were so yummy you would have thought it was a juice box being sucked down by a 2nd grader. My table went on to try some items off the menu. We tried the Chicken Yakitori- 3 chicken skewers sauteed in teriyaki sauce ($7.25). It was very moist and tasty. We then went on to try the #13 Cali Combo w/ shrimp & vegetable tempura- it was served with miso soup and uchi no salad ($12.25). The portions of #13 were much larger than expected and if worth the $12.25 for lunch. I love the dressing on the salad- a ginger Asian dressing.

Even with the roar of the crowd and contest service was spectacular and very friendly! When you walk into Ra Sushi you are greeted by a very modern and sleek atmosphere dawned in a dark and dramatic lighting with red and glowing sphere lights and thumping music (some say the music is too loud but I felt it fit the atmosphere they had set and you could still hear each other talk). The space is divided into several dining areas, with your traditional sushi bar and a cocktail bar and lounge area. They offer Happy Hour 7 days a week. From 3-7 on Monday through Saturday and then on Sunday they have Reverse Happy Hour from 8-11 pm. During Happy Hour they offer a wide variety of appetizers and sushi at ½ off. They also have a drink list the offers a vast variety of drink from $1 to $5. The Happy Hour specials are offered through out the entire restaurant.

Check out the slide show and then to see even more photos click here. To know more about the concept or RA Sushi read my interview with Executive Chef of RA Sushi, Tai Obata.

Metromix Madness Metromix Madness & Miso Soup
For more info: See More Photos

Ra Sushi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday Today in Food History

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today in food history:
  • National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
  • 1896 Clement Hardy received a patent for the rotary disk plow.
  • 1989 The worst oil spill in U.S. history occurred as the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound, and eventually leaked 11 million gallons of crude oil. The effects on wildlife and fish was devastating.
  • 1990 Cookery book author Jane Grigson died at age 61.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Create Dunkin's next donut contest

Photo: Dunkin' Donuts

Donuts bring people happiness, smiles and fun...and now a chance to win $12,000. Dunkin' Donuts, America's all day, every day stop for coffee and baked goods, has launched its first-ever "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" online contest, offering Americans the opportunity to channel their imagination and love of donuts into inspiration by creating their own original donut for the chance to win a $12,000 grand prize and have their tasty treat sold in participating Dunkin' Donuts locations throughout the country.

Running through April 7, visitors can go to www.DunkinDonuts.com/donut can build their virtual personal donut masterpiece from among dozens of flavors, toppings, fillings and shapes. A dozen finalists, selected by a panel of Dunkin' Donuts judges, will travel to Dunkin' Donuts University, the worldwide training center for the company located in Braintree, Massachusetts, in May for a bake-off facilitated by Dunkin' Brands Executive Chef Stan Frankenthaler and the company's donut experts. The public will also be invited to vote for their favorite finalist online beginning May 15. The grand prize winner / creator of "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest will be unveiled on National Donut Day, June 5.

Dunkin' Donuts locations nationwide are also offering a donut for 49 cents, with the purchase of any medium or larger hot coffee. Baltimore locations also have 6 donuts for $3.

Dunkin' Donuts today also introduced two new delicious donuts, Berries n' Kreme and Dunkin' Delight. The Berries n' Kreme donut is a bavarian creme filled donut, topped with strawberry icing and Berry Bark sprinkled on top. The "Dunkin' Delight" decorated donut features a yeast ring donut with chocolate icing, and pink and orange sprinkles on top. Both new donuts are available nationwide at participating stores through April 21.

For more info: Have a food question? Email me AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Free Chick Fil A

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fazzini's Italian Kitchen reopens

Earlier this year my husband and I were very sad to find out one of our favorite "mom and pop" places called Fazzini's Italian Kitchen had been closed. However, I am now glad to say it has reopened and is just as tasty as it was before.

Fazzini's sells home-made pasta very cheaply by the pound with a choice of seven sauces among other great pasta dishes, pizzas and subs. It is a very plain and simple place but the portions are BIG!

I suggest if you like mozzarella sticks you try theirs. They are large and packed full of cheese. You get 6 nice sized sticks for $5.99 and a side of sauce. They tasted homemade. I also enjoy their Italian Wedding soup ($2.99)- it is made a bit differently then most but taste wonderful.

We always seem to stick to the pound of past and added chicken. You get one cooked pound of our homemade pasta served with fresh Italian bread and butter. Your choice of linguini, fettuccine, rigatoni or cappellini pasta. One of our favorite sauces is the tomato cream ($9.99 plus $3.29 for chicken). Another one that I enjoy is the tetrazzini sauce which is a mix of the tomato cream and sherry ($9.99 plus $3.29 for chicken).

Besides the pound of pasta we like some of the following:

  • Pasta Fazzini- home-made lasagna noodle stuffed with beef, sausage, onions, and cheese, then rolled and sliced into three medallions and topped with a light tomato cream sauce. Served with a side of linguini marinara ($13.99)
  • Chicken Parmigiana- lightly breaded then smothered with Fazzini's secret sauce and mozzarella cheese ($13.89)
  • Chicken Giovanni- sauteed chicken topped with spinach and provolone cheese in a white wine and rosemary sauce. Served with a side of linguini marinara ($13.89)

We haven't tried any of the pizza and subs- but they look good as they pass us by to the table next door. You can dine in or out, plus order online at Fazzini's Italian Kitchen

578 Cranbrook Road
Cockeysville, Maryland
410-667-6104 phone
410-667-1922 fax

Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 AM - 09:30 PM
Friday & Saturday: 11:30 AM - 11:00 PM

Fazzini's Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue recipe from Melting Pot

The Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue is one of most popular fondues at The Melting Pot and can now be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home straight from the Melting Pot Cookbook. So, grab your favorite vegetables and breads for dipping and give this recipe a try. If you need help, check out the instructional video below from The Melting Pot's Chef Shane Schaibly. Don't forget to check out my post about their current Tuscan BIg Night Out.

Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Butterkase cheese
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Fontina cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup white wine
¼ cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons chopped shallots
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup crumbled Blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped scallions

Toss the Butterkase and Fontina cheese with the flour in a bowl. Place a metal bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water. You may also use a conventional double boiler. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and pour the white wine and sherry into the bowl. Stir in the shallots using a fork. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add half the cheese blend and cook until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add the remaining cheese blend in a small amount at a time, stirring constantly in a circular motion after each addition until the cheese is melted. Fold in the pepper and Blue cheese. Pour into a warm fondue pot and keep warm over low heat. Garnish with the scallions.

To see a video demo of making the fondue click here

Friday, March 20, 2009

Interesting Press Release

I got an interesting Press Release yesturday in my email and then again today- since times are hard I thought I would pass this one.

Here is what it said:

Pane' Rotundo

Tuscan big night out at the Melting Pot

Lemmo's enjoying The Melting Pot

Starting on Friday, March 20 you can embark on a tour of Italy as The Melting Pot inspires your taste buds with their new Tuscan-themed Big Night Out Menu featuring a special cheese and chocolate fondue, salad, entree selections, cocktails and wine.


Quattro Formaggio Cheese Fondue – Award-winning Fontina, Gruyère and Gran Queso cheeses blended with roasted garlic, basil and tomato pesto and fresh mozzarrella Perlini.


Caprese Salad – Mixed field greens topped with fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and finished with an imported balsamic glaze.


Fondue Feast – Filet Mignon Florentine, Limoncello Balsamic Sirloin, Shrimp Diablo, Sun-dried Tomato Chicken, Orange Fennel Pork Tenderloin, Porcini and Portobello Sacchetti, Fresh Vegetables. ($40 per person/$80 per couple)

Fondue Fusion – Lobster Tail, Filet Mignon Florentine, Limoncello Balsamic Sirloin, Shrimp Diablo, Sun-dried Tomato Chicken, Orange Fennel Pork Tenderloin, Porcini and Portobello Sacchetti, Fresh Vegetables. ($88 per couple)

Lobster Indulgence – Twin Lobster Tails, Limoncello Balsamic Sirloin, Shrimp Diablo, Sun-dried Tomato Chicken, Orange Fennel Pork Tenderloin, Porcini and Portobello Sacchetti, Fresh Vegetables. ($48 per person/$96 per couple)


Milk Chocolate Tiramisu Fondue – Milk chocolate blended with Espresso Mousse and Lady Fingers.

Check back tomorrow for a special reciepe of the Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue

*Prices/specials subject to change

Friday Food Lingo

Restaurant lingo:
  • On the Fly- Get it done right now! This term pops up when something has to be cooked last minute.
Diner lingo:
  • Bronx vanilla/Halitosis/Italian Garlic: garlic

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Feed your spring 'free-ver' wth free italian ice from Rita's

Friday, March 20 will mark a "sweet" date for Italian Ice lovers - and those looking for a free dose of happiness in today's troubled economy! Rita's Franchise Company, the nation's largest Italian Ice chain, will hold its 17th annual First Day of Spring Italian Ice giveaway. A time-honored tradition, more than one million Rita's guests are expected to "scoop up" the offer and feed their spring fever.

A Philadelphia-born springtime tradition, the annual Rita's giveaway is held from noon to 10 p.m. at more than 500 Rita's locations in 17 states. Guests who visit their neighborhood Rita's will receive one free, regular-sized, 10 oz. cup of Italian Ice to commemorate the beginning of spring.

In addition to serving more than a million guests on March 20, Rita's will also launch its new Mystery Flavor Italian Ice. After tasting this new, secret-flavored Italian Ice, guests will have the opportunity to submit their suggested name for the Mystery Flavor and vote for their favorite name submission at www.ritasice.com. The winner of the Mystery Ice Flavor Naming Contest will receive FREE Rita's Italian Ice for one year. The contest begins on March 20 and ends on April 17, with the winner being announced on April 27 through the company's website.

In addition to Mystery Flavor Italian Ice, Rita's fans can also enjoy 30 more sweet and refreshing Italian Ice flavors, all made fresh daily at each location. From classics like Cherry and Mango to favorites like Twisted Melon and Cappuccino Cream, there's a tempting flavor for every taste bud. Cones, custard, and other sweet treats are also available at Rita's, including Gelatis and the signature Misto(R) and Blendini creations.

Also new for 2009 is Rita's "Light Line" menu, a comprehensive offering of healthier frozen treat options. Rita's "Light Line" menu items include Sugar-Free Italian Ice and Slenderita, a creamy and delicious fat-free soft serve.

For more info: Got a food question email me at AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Red Brick Station restaurant & brew pub

Photo: Jessica Lemmo Cuban

I head out to what used to be a staple in my dining list but I hadn’t been in a long time- Red Brick Station. With the tradition of English pubs in mind, they brew English style beers and feature several English dishes. It is independently owned and operated. The décor is set up with a firehouse feel and memorabilia through out the pub.

We arrived at about 4:30 on a Saturday night and were pleased to see a crowd but had no wait. We started off with a crock of their French Onion Soup that had a dark broth filled with fresh onions and topped with croutons and melted provolone cheese ($4.59). My husband and I both felt that it was very bland and had really no flavor at all- not even onion. We tried adding some salt but it really didn’t help much. It had a nice ratio or onions, bread, broth and cheese but lacked flavor.

We decided to each order a sandwich and share them. We ordered the Red Brick Burger which was a sirloin burger topped with sharp Irish cheddar and crispy smoked bacon ($7.99). It looked very appealing but was dry and lacked flavor once again. The bacon was hardy and very chewy and the burger was dry and crumbly. The bun however, was fresh. We added some ketchup and mayo but it didn’t help much.

We also ordered the Cuban with Cuban style roasted pork, sweet ham, Swiss cheese, diced pickle & yellow mustard grilled golden brown ($8.99). Here we also found that it looked very appetizing but was lacking flavor. There were nice amounts of meat and cheese but lacked the traditional Cuban sandwich flare.

The service was good and we were never with out a refill. On a good note the french fries were perfect- and French fries are one of my weaknesses. I was disappointed with my food since in the past I have had a good experience with the flavor. However, I feel I owe them as another meal before I cross them out. I think I will wait till it is Blueberry Beer time.

Red Brick Station
8149 Honeygo Blvd
White Marsh, MD 21236

To see more pictures click here

*Note that you can download a money saving coupon on their website

For more info: Got a food question email me at AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Red Brick Station on Urbanspoon
Red Brick Station on Urbanspoon

Wednesday Wacky Food Art

FOOD ART -35 Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patty's Day Festivities at Power Plant Live

St. Patty's Day Bash at Howl At The Moon
With $3.75 24oz Green Beers, 86oz Lucky Charm Buckets of Booze for $15 and 2 for 1 Irish Car Bombs, it is sure to be a good time! This party starts at 5pm and doesn't end till they say so.

St. Patrick's Day Greenout Party at Luckie's Tavern
Go green and get luckie at Luckie's 1st annual St. Patrick's Day Greenout Party! Whether you have Irish in you, or just want some, be at Luckie's and enjoy NO cover, $4 Car Bombs, $2 Green Beer, $3.17 Guinness and FREE Corn Beef & Cabbage!

St. Pedro's Day Fiesta at MEX
Celebrate the St. Patty's Day the Mexican way at MEX! Go in for their Loco Beat The Clock drink specials...drafts, rails and domestic bottles for $.50 from 9-10pm, $1.50 from 10-11pm and $2.50 from 11pm to close!

Sotto Sopra's chef 3-course dinner

Executive Chef Bill Crouse

Wednesday Evenings in March ~ March 18 & 25th

Executive Chef Bill Crouse has created a multi-course tasting menu for the month of March for everyone to enjoy. Similar in concept to Restaurant Week, you have many options to choose from under each course. Cost is $38 for the 3 course dinner (reservations highly recommended)

First Course~choice of

  • Soup of the Day
  • Boston Lettuce- served with Gorgonzola cheese, apples,
    caramelized walnuts and maple balsamic vinaigrette
  • Grilled Octopus Salad- served with red onion, capers, sun dried tomatoes and lemon oil
  • Soft Polenta with Mushrooms and Truffle Oil
  • Vitello Tonnato- thinly sliced poached veal with tuna, anchovy caper sauce

Second Course~choice of

  • Ravioli dell'Amore-spinach and ricotta ravioli sauteed in butter and sage served with fresh tomato sauce
  • Ravioli ai Funghi- mushroom ravioli served with Gruyere fondue
  • Bucatini All'Amatriciana- bucatini pasta served with bacon, Vidalia onions, crushed red pepper and fresh tomato sauce
  • Wild Salmon Glazed with Honeyand lavender- served with roasted broccoli and chive mushed potatoes
  • Game Hen- stuffed with sausage served with haricot vert and roasting jus

Third Course~choice of

  • Pistachio Chocolate Creme Brulee
  • Tiramisu
  • Apple Strudel with Vanilla Gelato

$38 per person (excludes beverages tax and gratuity)

Reservations highly suggested - call 410 625-0534

Tuesday Today in Food History

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today in food history:
  • National Green Beer Day
  • St. Patrick's Day. According to many studies, this is the biggest day of the year for combined food and beverage sales in restaurants and bars.
  • 1864 Work began on a 2 mile long, 5 foot diameter, water supply tunnel for Chicago. It was completed in 1867.
  • 1958 The Champs' 'Tequila' was number 1 on the music charts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Closing of the day: Fin in Fells Point

I was just reading on Dining@Large that Fin Steak & Seafood closed a couple days ago- It just opened last summer.  She called and a recorded message said, "Unfortunately we've had to close operations" and goes on to thank Fin's customers.

Baltimore Monday dining good deals

Not sure what is for dinner tonight? Then check out these good deals.

  • Get over that terrible case of the Mondays with cheap beer and burgers. Half price wings and burgers, $1.75 domestic beer and $2.75 imports, microbrews and shots at The Rec Room in Towson
  • You have to sit in the bar area to get your six-ounce strip steak, baked potato and salad bar for a whopping $2.99 at Bill Bateman's.
  • Sandwiches are so last week, and full-priced wraps are for suckers. Head to Camden Pub on Mondays for half-priced wraps ($3), and you'll be cool again.
  • Sandwich Night at Little Havana Restaurante y Cantina -Select sandwiches and drafts are discounted until 10pm!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Interview with Executive Chef of RA Sushi, Tai Obata

Photo courtosy: Ra Suhi

Executive Chef of RA Sushi, Tai Obata draws upon his rich culinary background and applies his passion for superior cuisine to achieve perfection in every dish he creates. Raising the bar for sushi restaurants across the country, Tai gained extensive experience developing his skills under world-renowned sushi chefs in Japan, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition to RA, his career highlights include work with restaurants such as Japan’s Hamasaku, as well as the esteemed Hatsuhana in Chicago.

His passion began to develop at the age of four in Kagoshima, Japan, helping his grandmother in the kitchen daily. He earned his culinary arts degree in Japan at the age of 18 and then spent the next 20 years working his way up the professional ladder, honing his skills not only in Japanese cuisine, but in Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian fare as well. As a result, Tai has mastered what he calls “the flavors of the Pacific Rim.”

In 1997 Tai co-founded RA Sushi Bar Restaurant. He was a key figure in perfecting the balance between notable, quality food and an upbeat atmosphere. The combination has been a refreshing hit. Tai’s menus offer a huge selection of fresh sushi along with cooked fare such as tempura, teriyaki, seafood, and many signature dishes. With 22 restaurants open, and more preparing to open in 2009, RA has become a destination spot for sushi lovers, as well as those who just enjoy its stimulating ambiance.

Tai’s artistic talent does not end in the kitchen. He is also an avid painter and dabbles in the Japanese ceramic art of Raku. His artwork is displayed in the RA Scottsdale and Tempe locations. Tai’s paintings express his interpretation of traditional Japanese beauty with a modern twist—much like RA, the restaurant he helped create.

What made you decide you would become a professional cook?
I was inspired and determined when I realized that my culinary skills were versatile and important for making a living. Also, I believed that my culinary skills were universal and I could obtain a job anywhere across the globe.

Would you do it again?
Absolutely! I wouldn’t be where I am today without that training and time spent honing my skills.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
Study a lot and know the ingredients. Use and work with the natural flavor of the ingredients.

Favorite gadget?
For cooking - I cannot think of any at the moment…just my hands! I depend on them the most!

Funniest kitchen incident?
Pranks I did to the staff. One time…
- I asked a new employee to go and find a left-handed sauté pan.
- I asked a new sushi chef to borrow a tuna stretcher, which I claimed would stretch and maximize the uses of tuna, from neighborhood sushi restaurants.

Favorite food to cook with?
Seafood items.

Favorite dish to make at work?
Sushi / Sashimi, of course

When at home, what do you like to eat?
Believe it or not, but I like to eat pasta.

Which item in your home refrigerator would you least like to cop to?
Mayonnaise / Cream Cheese

Your favorite cookbook?
Les Dîners de Gala by Salvador Dali

To see a slidewhow of Ra Sushi photos click here

For more info: Got a food question email me at AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sushi Sono March madness specials

During the month of March 2009, Sushi Sono in Columbia, MD will be running a 33% discount on select menu items. This is in part to help everyone during this tough economic condition and to celebrate the restaurant's 11th year anniversary. The specials run every day in March, for lunch and dinner. No coupon is necessary.

Remember to also ask for the daily specials as these are modified daily, according to due to the fresh fish availability of the day.

Specials for March 2 - March 14 (restaurant is closed Sunday)
Avocado Roll $2.33
Tuna Sushi $4.66
Tuna Sashimi $4.66
Spicy Tuna Roll $3.66
Tuna Roll $3.66
White Tuna Tempura Roll $3.33
Tuna Tempura Roll $4.00
White Tuna Sushi $3.00
White Tuna Sashimi $3.00
White Tuna Roll $3.00
Salmon Teriyaki $18.75

Specials for March 16 - March 31 (restaurant is closed Sunday)
Salmon Sushi $3.00
Salmon Sashimi $3.00
Salmon Tempura Roll $3.33
Fresh Salmon Roll $3.00
Salmon Skin Roll $3.00
Alaska Roll $3.33
Spicy Salmon Roll $3.33
Cucumber Roll $2.33
Shrimp Tempura Roll $3.00
Chicken Teriyaki $13.00

10215 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, Maryland 21044
Phone: 410-997-6131
Open Monday-Saturday
Lunch-11:30am-3pm / Dinner- 5pm-10pm

For more info: Got a food question email me at AIBR.Blog@gmail.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Whats going on in Baltimore for St. Patrick's Day

Find out whats going on in Baltimore for St. Patrick's Day...

On St. Patrick's Day, expect wall-to-wall Irish cheer all day long at Mick O'Shea's. One of the best-known pubs in Baltimore for all things Irish hosts live music from the get go, featuring NUA from noon-4 p.m. and Move Like Seamus from 7 p.m. until Irish eyes stop smiling. Tuesdays are also rib night- $12 St. Louis Ribs, slaw & fries. Don't forget you can get shepherd's pies all day for just $6.99 on Sundays.

For even more events click here

Friday Food Lingo

Restaurant lingo:
  • POS System– A point of sale system is a computer system that helps businesses track sales. It also tracks employee sales (who sold the most during a shift) and which dishes are sold most often.
Diner lingo:
  • Bridge/Bridge party: four of anything (from bridge the card game)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take my Poll: "Where is your favorite place to go for a burger"

Photo: Jessica Lemmo

I am interested in finding out where is your favorite quick dining place to get a burger is. Vote and let me know! Click here to take my poll

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thursday Good Deals

Here are some good deals for a Thursday:
  • Magerks Pub & Grill offers cheesesteaks for just $4, as well as $1 Coors Light bottles (7 p.m. to close) and $1 domestic bottles (9 p.m. to close).
  • Stop by Baltimore Cupcake Company's happy hour. For what you'd pay for a bottle of Miller Lite at other happy hours, you can get this more delicious treat instead. From 5:30–6 p.m. all cupcakes are just $1. Watch out for checkpoints, though, you don't want to have to explain to some flat-topped rookie cop what that white glob is on your cheek.
  • Feeling crabby? Little Havana has the cure. Choose from half-priced crabcakes, crab quesadillas and crab dip every Thursday. $10 pitchers of Margaritas until 8pm

*Good deals are always subject to change

Wednesday Wacky Food Art

FOOD ART -38 Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Save money on your next meal out

I have made 2 prior posts called "Eat, drink and save money" and "Eat, drink and save even more money"about a great website to save money while we dine. We they are having 80% off again right now and I wanted to pass along the information. Right now there is a new code to save 80%- Right now $25 Gift Certificates are only $2.

Click here to find out how

Tuesday Today in Food History

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Today in food history:
  • National Blueberry Popover Day
  • 1845 John Chapman, ‘Johnny Appleseed’ died. An American pioneer and legend, he planted apple seeds in the Ohio River valley area (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois)
  • 1867 Lillian D. Wald was born. She was a scientist and nurse, and among her activities, she helped initiate the enactment of pure food laws in the U.S
  • 1914 At the National Gallery in London, a suffragette slashed Diego Velázquez's 'Rokeby Venus' with a meat cleaver
  • 2005 Patience Gray, British cookery writer, died. ‘Plats Du Jour’ (1957), ‘Honey From A Weed’ (1986)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Restaurant customer loyalty engagement winners

The annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Winners are those brands best able to engage consumers and create loyal customers. The firm interviews customers on both "emotional" and "rational" attributes. It claims to identify "what consumers actually think as opposed to what they say they think." The research creates an ideal for each category, then determines which brands come closest to meeting that ideal.

Brand Keys includes restaurant categories casual dining, coffee, pizza and quick service. This year's Customer Loyalty Engagement winners are: Click Here

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ship wine or beer to MD

I know someone of you may already following this movement, and are giving your support, but it never hurts to ask. Many of us are supporting and trying to get HB 1262 passed. HB 1262 would allow beer and wine to be shipped to the home of Maryland residents over the age of 21.

So please join me in supporting the Support HB 1262 campaign. It's easy, just go to http://citizenspeak.org/node/1497 and make your voice heard.
For more information you can check out the website at http://www.mbbwl.org/ or their facebook page at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/219249/

Where to go in Baltimore for shepherd's pie?

Cottage pie, also known as shepherd's pie, refers to a meat pie with a crust made from mashed potato. The term cottage pie is known to have been in use in 179, when potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor. In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined with mashed potato as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.

So where do you go in Baltimore for shepherd's pie? Click here to find out

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The new and up-and-coming restaurants of Baltimore

Check out some of the new places that have just open and the places that will be open in the near future.

Now Open:

  • Mekong Delta Café is now serving at 105 W. Saratoga St. The locally-owned café offers Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, and is open for lunch and dinner.
  • Northstar Bistro is now open at 1417 Thames St., on the ground floor of the Douglas-Myers Maritime Museum. The affordable menu features soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and calzones with freshly-made bread. Northstar is also working with Living Classrooms to train individuals in culinary arts and basic job skills.

Coming Soon:

  • The owner of Joe Squared Pizza will be bringing a new concept called Quadrado to North Ave. later this year. The menu will focus on Mexican barbecue, as well as Latin seafood specialties.
  • After a brief closure in Little Italy, Vellegia’s will re-open at 110 Water St. in the Spring of 2009. The restaurant will feature the same classic Italian menu in a new, upscale atmosphere.
  • TALARA is coming soon to Harbor East in April- A Nuevo Latino Tapas Restaurant with a South Beach Attitude. Featuring authentic, open seviche bar, Mojitos and island cocktails, cool South Beach interior, hot Salsa rhythms, and colorful selections of tapas, bocadillos and ensaladas.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Food Lingo

Restaurant lingo:
  • Plating- Putting the food on the plate is referred to plating. This includes adding any sauce or garnish before handing over to the expeditor or the server.
Diner lingo:
  • Breath: onion

Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day tea

When was the last time you enjoyed an afternoon of live, soothing music and delicious food with friends? Click here to find out how you can enjoy live music and a St. Patrick’s Day tea.

You will be serenaded by traditional Irish music while they serve an Irish inspired afternoon tea menu

This is a special event tea: Afternoon Tea is $22.95 and High Tea is $26.95.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sushi-eating contest at RA Sushi

RA Sushi's "Viva Las Vegas Roll" Photo by Andrew Lemmo
Calling all competitive eaters! RA Sushi, the stylish sushi restaurant and bar, invites everyone from novice to professional food eaters to enter its inaugural MAKI MADNESS sushi-eating contest on Sunday, March 22, 2009 from 12-5pm.

Just as the March Madness phenomenon sweeps the world of NCAA
Basketball, MAKI MADNESS is drawing sushi supporters and wasabi warriors from around the area to face-off in this culinary consumption competition. Organized like a bracket system, this sushi-eating contest will take place in rounds and heats. MAKI MADNESS eaters will be gaming against their opponents and a lot of sushi rolls.

During the first three rounds, the competitors who demolish two uncut RA Sushi signature Tootsy Maki (crab mix, shrimp and cucumber topped with
tempura bits) in the fastest amount of time during their heat advance to the next

The “final four” competitors will compete in the Championship Sushi Showdown.
During the championship event, opponents will eat as many Tootsy Maki rolls as they can in three (3) minutes. The grand prize eater will receive free sushi for a year, a $600 value, as well as bragging rights as the first RA Sushi MAKI MADNESS champion. Second place will win a $50 gift certificate and third place will receive a $25 gift certificate. All participants will receive a RA Sushi sweatband and participants who don’t make it to the final four will receive Penny Drink Cards for use at another time.

MAKI MADNESS is limited to the first 40 entries. Applications are available at RA Baltimore, 1390 Lancaster Street. Deadline to register is Sunday, March 15 and all eaters must be at least 18 years old to participate. Registration to compete includes a $10 fee, which will be donated to The Tyanna Barre O’Brien Breast Cancer Foundation along with donations from guests at the door.

All ages are welcome to attend the event and watch the second round of March Madness. RA Sushi will also offer guests Tootsy Maki rolls for $5.00 and drink specials throughout the event including the Double Dribbler ($3.00), “RA”ckin’ Rebounder
($3.00), Metromix Madness ($4.00) and the Elite 8 ($8.00), a drink for two.


  • First place wins sushi for a year ($600 value)
  • Second place wins $50 gift certificate
  • Third place wins $25 gift certificate
  • All other participants receive RA Penny Drink Cards
  • All participants receive a RA Sushi sweatband

WHEN: Sunday, March 22, 2009 from 12-5pm

  • 12:00pm Check-In
  • 12:30pm Round 1
  • 2:00pm Round 2
  • 3:30pm Round 3
  • 4:30pm Championship Sushi Showdown

RA Sushi Baltimore
1390 Lancaster Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

A Baltimore fixture closes

I was reading on Dining@Large that Angelina's Restaurant has closed.

"It was an Italian restaurant and Irish pub known for its crab cakes. Now the building, furnishings, name, liquor license and even the "legendary" crab cake recipe are being auctioned off on March 18."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Wednesday Wacky Food Art

FOOD ART -42 Pictures, Images and Photos

NAF "Restaurant Night" was a success

I had the privilege to be invited to the National Academy Foundation High School for the Baltimore’s inaugural “Restaurant Night” on Wednesday, February 25. The public was invited to attend this event that the students from the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism will prepare and serve a three-course dinner using the skills that they have acquired during internships and in the classroom. Twenty-five culinary students under the guidance of Jerry Pellegrino, Executive Chef of Baltimore’s Corks restaurant cooked the meal. NAF High School’s Café Aroma cafeteria was transformed into a full service restaurant for 150 guests.

When you arrived you were asked for your reservation name and then were escorted to your table and handed a champagne flute of sparkling cider. The host then wished a wonderful evening. Once I was seated my server, Margaret, introduced herself, took my drink order and then recommended that I go try the freshly prepared appetizer of Chicken Sharma.

For our seated service we started with a Winter Salad with warm crispy goat cheese, roasted butternut squash, walnuts, and baby green with apple cider vinaigrette. The main course was a pan roasted chicken breast with glazed field carrots, garlic mashed potatoes and a black truffle pan gravy. The third course was an apple cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream with a Chantilly cream.

All the food was perfectly prepared and tasted wonderful. The service was spectacular and very orderly. The atmosphere of Café Aroma was so brilliant with the décor and live jazz ensemble that you didn’t even notice you were in a high school cafeteria. The students and NAF staff really out did themselves with their inaugural “Restaurant Night”. This experience for the students was truly a great opportunity for the students that are part of the Academy of Hospitality and Touris

To see pictures click here

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

City Paper's annual dining guide

City Paper's annual dining guide is up and live. This is their annual guide to the "eats" of Baltimore. This year they organized the restaurants by type of cuisine.

So now you can sit down and compare notes between City Paper's annual dining guide and Baltimore magazine's food issue.

Jessica's advice for the day:

"Food is one of the greatest things to awake our senses and helps us enjoy life with our friends and family! It is amazing how many great places to eat can be found in one city. So never be afraid to explore and ask around! "

Tuesday Today in Food History

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today in food history:
  • National Mulled Wine Day
  • National Cold Cuts Day
  • 1709 Andreas Sigismund Marggraf was born. A German chemist, in 1747 he extracted sugar from the sugar beet and determined it was identical to cane sugar. It wasn't until 1802 that the first beet sugar refinery would be built.
  • 1879 Elmer McCollum was born. He was a chemist who discovered vitamins A, B and D.

Aldo's 11th anniversary celebration

Aldo's has cleared out the tables and opened their dining rooms for a casual cocktail-reception-style wine tasting event. Six wine distributors will be on-hand to pour tastings of up to 8-10 fine Italian wines each. And you'll be able to purchase your favorite wines at special, discounted prices from our partner retailers

To top it off, they've paired these great wines with Chef Aldo's own Calabrese cuisine. Chef Aldo will be preparing his food--the hearty and flavorful food of Calabria that is served at Chef Aldo's very own home table. Each guest will also receive a $25 gift certificate redeemable for future dining at Aldo's.


Friend of Aldo's at $55 per person (all-inclusive), you'll experience Chef Aldo's award-winning cuisine and the award-winning wines of Italy as they celebrate their anniversary together. Also, as a special gift to you, you'll receive a $25 gift certificate redeemable for a future dining event.

Aldo's Exclusive VIP Grand Wine Cellar Experience at $185 per person, (all-inclusive) you'll enjoy exclusive access to their VIP Wine Tasting Experience in Aldo's Wine Cellar featuring rare and ultra-premium Italian wines personally selected from their cellars by Aldo's Wine Director Vincent Transparenti, including: fine vintage champagne, the wines of Angelo Gaja, Super Tuscans and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste Dal Forno Romano Amarone ($1,050 / btl). This exclusive event begins at 6:30pm and is limited to 36 guests, on a first-come-first-serve basis. Also, as a special gift to you, you'll receive a $25 gift certificate redeemable for a future dining event.

Purchase tickets here

March 19, 2009 | 6:00pm - 9:00pm

306 South High Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Monday, March 02, 2009

America’s Top 10 healthiest fast food restaurants

Health Magazine has come out with a list of America’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants. They surveyed the nation’s 100 largest fast-food chains (by the number of locations). The restaurants are scored on such things as the use of healthy fats and preparations, sodium counts, availability of nutritional information, and organic produce to determine the 10 highest-ranking restaurants.
  1. Panera Bread- comprehensive menu of healthy choices for every meal
  2. Jason’s Deli- devotion to organic food because about one-fifth of all its ingredients are organic
  3. Au Bon Pain- serves up sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot entrées made with whole grains, veggies, and hormone-free, antibiotic-free chicken (on-site nutritional information via computer kiosks)
  4. Noodles and Company- only healthy soybean oil is used in sautéing, hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, and organic tofu
  5. Corner Bakery Cafe- healthy breakfast menu, salads, sandwiches, and soups made with whole grains, fresh, lean meats, and vegetables
  6. Chipotle- commitment to organics, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and produce sourced from local suppliers and low-sodium options
  7. Atlanta Bread- muffin tops (half the size of regular muffins), whole-grain bread, fresh sandwiches (including paninis), and hearty, healthy soups and salads
  8. McDonald’s- Happy Meals you can order with a side of apple dippers (with low-fat caramel) instead of fries and low-fat milk or fruit juice instead of soda. Fries are made in a healthy canola-blend oil.
  9. Einstein Bros. Bagels- reduced-fat shmears, hummus, and peanut butter
  10. Taco Del Mar- fresh ingredients and fish instead of beef and chicken, whole-wheat tortillas, banned lard from its beans and bakes its fish and taco shells instead of frying

Source: Minkin, Tracy, & Renaud, Brittani (2009). America’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants. Health magazine.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I want a convection toaster oven

So I feel we need a new toaster oven and I think we should get a convection toaster oven. However, I have no idea what brand to get or which one is best. Now I don't want to spend a fortune- I am looking to spend under $100.

Got any recommendations?

Caribou Coffee offers $1 bakery item with large beverage

Caribou Coffee has launched a campaign called “More Bou for Your Buck" campaign. During this time they offer any bakery item for the promotional price of one dollar each to customers who purchase a large beverage at Caribou Coffee through March 22, 2009.

The promotion applies to any large beverage purchased at Caribou Coffee, a consumer buying a large brewed coffee and a bakery item will pay only about $3.

The $1 bakery promotion will be available at all Caribou Coffee locations. All bakery items, including multi-grain bagels, breads, coffee cake, cookies, donuts and scones, are included.

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