Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sneak Peak of Judging Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament on 6/24/13

I am back at it again - judging the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament

Here is a sneak peak of last night's competition between the Chef from Waterfront Kitchen and the Chef from My Thai - stayed tuned for the write up about the event, dishes and the winner!


Chef Egg to cater Maryland CASA gala

Maryland CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Association will present Sunsets & Safe Harbors, its second annual fundraising gala to benefit children in foster care, Saturday, July 27, from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m., at The Penthouse at Silo Point (1200 Steuart St.).

Chaired by Angela Lunczynski-Hamilton (board vice president for Maryland CASA and procurement manager for Coca Cola, Refreshments Inc.), the resort-style event will feature dinner, dancing and spectacular views of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
“As a former CASA volunteer, I am so pleased to be able to offer the use of the Penthouse here at Silo Point, which provides a wonderful backdrop for what is sure to be a great evening,” said Pat Turner of Turner Development, the event’s key sponsor along with Nixon Peabody. “Maryland CASA serves the state’s most vulnerable children and I’m happy to support their efforts.”
Guests can enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a Maryland-style Surf and Turf buffet prepared by Chef Egg, a Maryland-based private chef, culinary instructor, food demonstration specialist and host of the “Cooking with EggTV” Internet show. Adding to the fun will be music from DJ Kevin Silate and a silent auction offering the chance to bid on art, dining, entertainment, sports and travel items.
Event proceeds will be used to help Maryland’s children in the foster care system find safe and permanent homes. Last year, more than 1,400 CASA volunteers served more than 1,500 children in Maryland. But with 10,000 children under court protection, 9 out of 10 of them have no advocate speaking up for their best interests.

Tickets include admission, food, drinks and entertainment. The cost is $75 per person or $140 per couple before July 1, or $85 per person and $160 per couple afterward. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.MarylandCASA.org or call 410-828-6761 or 888-833-2272.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stone's Cove KitBar opens

left to right: B.J. Stone, III; Dave Hoffman and Jack Barry
Stone’s Cove Kitbar, a combination kitchen/bar featuring an innovative “fork-meets-cork” entertainment philosophy, has opened at 10995 Owings Mills Boulevard at Boulevard College Center.

Founded by restaurant entrepreneur B.J. Stone, Stone’s Cove Kitbar is a hybrid entertainment and dining concept centered around the confluence of innovative menu items including small plate options dubbed Appetapas, an array of mixed-drink choices such as martinis and mojitos and an open-kitchen design centered around the infectious personalities of its “Chef Tenders.”
“In the conception of this KitBar, we studied and researched the unique ways people interact at parties and social gatherings and incorporated these findings directly into many of the design and philosophical decisions made when creating Stone’s Cove,” explained Stone. “This begins,” Stone continues, “with the premise that the centerpiece of most home gatherings is the kitchen area, where invited guests tend to interact with the party’s hosts during the preparation of the food. People are intrigued by this process, are drawn to it and the food becomes a common interest and conversation starter.”
Stone’s Cove offers an assortment of Appetapas dishes, such as lobster cones, chicken salad lettuce wraps, filet of beef sliders and mini-crab cakes. The variety is meant to be partnered with the extensive mixed-drink menu including beer, wine, martinis and other specialties. Stone’s Cove has also created “Edibations,” which consists of porcelain appetizer spoons filled with “a small nibble of spirit-based sauce.” The Edibations and the Appetapas represents the creative thinking and execution behind the restaurant’s “where fork-meets-cork” philosophy.
The center of attention and action at Stone’s Cove revolves around the open kitchen sections of the restaurant, which also doubles as the food preparation and serving area, as well as the bar. It is where individual ChefTenders have the opportunity to engage and interact with the restaurant patrons throughout their dining experience.
“We invest a great deal of resources and effort to select ChefTenders that make each visit to Stone’s Cove a memorable and completely different one,” added Hoffman. “Restaurants are in the entertainment business and compete with other options such as movie theatres, sporting events, special attractions and even socializing at home. So, to win a consumer’s business and to encourage them to make return visits, we need to offer them an experience that is completely unique and ever-changing. With the social interaction that is incorporated into our environment, combined with innovative food and drink choices, we believe we have a compelling sell.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Americana is closing

The Americana, a restaurant and bar, has been entertaining Baltimore and over 1,500 U.S. Military Veterans for the past two years. After much deliberation the owner, Alex van Breukelen has decided to shut the doors to the business and re-enter the United States Marine Corps. The Americana will remain open for the next several weeks in order to host events for many of the groups that have frequented the establishment during the time of its operation.

One of the largest groups of customers The Americana has entertained was the local U.S. Military Veterans. With a network of over 1,500 Veterans in and around Baltimore City, The Americana has become known as the place to go if you have served. With each of the Military Services flags hanging from the corner of Kenwood & Hudson, any passerby immediately knew that the establishment was Military friendly. Over the course of the past two years every Veteran has signed a logbook and they received a coin for their respective branch of service. The logbook, the Veteran Network and what has taken place at The Americana will continue on after the closure of the establishment.

The Americana has also become home to a large group of N.Y. Giants fans, being dubbed “The Giants Bar” of Baltimore. Immediately following the victory of the N.Y. Giants during Superbowl XLVI, The Americana erupted with a sea of blue that flooded the streets in front of the establishment. With the Ravens victory in Superbowl XLVII The Americana, had the pleasure of being one of the only bars in Baltimore to celebrate so strongly for the past two NFL seasons.

Throughout the time of its existence, The Americana has hosted countless private parties, supported numerous charitable organizations in Baltimore, and taken part in numerous fund raising activities. It is with a heavy heart the van Breukelen is closing the doors. During it’s time in operation many of its loyal Veteran customers have considered The Americana the Tun Tavern of our day. The owner’s response to that is simple.
what we have done here at The Americana will never go into any history books; the relationships that have been built, the organizing that has been done and the camaraderie that we have felt will live on indefinitely.”
The Americana will remain open through the end of July. Parties are being planned for almost every day between now and the time when the doors close. While The Americana is closing its doors, what they have created in the Veteran Community will carry on in the City of Baltimore and beyond.

Friendly’s in Baltimore to host Burger Bash

On Sunday, June 23, the Friendly’s restaurant located at 1579 Merritt Boulevard in Baltimore, Maryland, will host a Burger Bash where three pre-selected contestants will present their own burger creation to a panel of local celebrity judges, while competing to win a $100 gift card to Friendly’s and the opportunity to have their burger creation featured as a limited time offering at their local Friendly’s restaurant.

During the month of May, National Hamburger Month, Friendly’s hosted an online “Build Your Own Burger,” contest where fans of Friendly’s were encouraged to submit an original burger creation by selecting their preferred bread, protein, cheeses and toppings from an approved list of ingredients and accompaniments. Friendly’s chose their three favorite contestant creations to participate in the official Burger Bash, where they will make their burger for a panel of judges. The winning burger will be determined on the judging criteria of creativity, taste, and presentation.

Friendly’s invites local residents to attend the Burger Bash and enjoy complimentary mini burgers (during the first hour of the event), face painting, balloon artists and music from a live DJ, as they watch the three contestants prepare their burger creations for the judges.

A panel of local celebrity judges including DJ Rachel Logan of Baltimore’s MIX 106.5 WWMX-FM, Kym Nelson, Deputy Chief of Staff for the City of Baltimore and CEO-Founder of CITYPeek, LLC, Patti Neumann, three burger contestants, who will be competing to be named the winner of the Burger Bash, and hundreds of local residents.

Friendly’s Burger Bash, Sunday, June 23, 2PM-4PM

**Complimentary mini burgers will only be served from 2PM-3PM**

Friendly's at 1579 Merritt Boulevard in Baltimore, Maryland 21222

*I was asked to judge but was unable to attend - have fun!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Romano's Macaroni Grill debuts "Summer Uncorked"

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is serving up a summer party like no other. This summer, the chain will offer all wines from its extensive list at “mezzo prezzo,” or half-price, every day through Aug. 25.

During Summer Uncorked, guests can choose from a wide range of quartino (glass) and bottle offerings to receive the special pricing.  With great bottles under $14 (regularly $28) and great glasses under $3 (regularly $6), Macaroni Grill is the only national chain to offer an all-day, every day special on its entire wine list.
“Summer is known for vacations, longer days and, at Macaroni Grill, we think of relaxing with a nice glass of wine,” said Macaroni Grill Vice President of Marketing Kristen Temple. “That’s why we extended mezzo prezzo – so our guests can get a little taste of summer every day of the week.”
Guests can pair half-price wines with favorites like Penne Rustica and Shrimp Portofino or with any of Macaroni Grill’s delicious menu items that evoke the Italian countryside, using fresh, humble ingredients with authentic sauces and spices.

At Summer Uncorked prices, diners can enjoy the full Italian experience and even try special bottles at a great price. For example, Macaroni Grill Senior Beverage Manager/Wine Megan Wiig recommends this summer’s featured entree, Chicken Under a Brick, with the Tuscan Antinori Chianti Classico called “Pèppoli.” Usually presented at $48 a bottle, this modern, juicy red from one of Tuscany’s great wineries is just $24 a bottle this summer. 

Macaroni Grill will offer additional wine pairings and summer specials on Twitter and Facebook. Summer Uncorked is available at participating locations throughout the U.S.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Local Chef Competition Begins June 17th

The Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament, a summer long single-elimination culinary competition, featuring 16 local restaurants and chef teams is set to begin this month. The tournament, which began in 2010, has moved back to Baltimore City this year, and found a new home at Mari Luna Bistro (1225 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201) right in the heart of the cultural district.

This year’s tournament looks to be the best year yet, and has some exciting new features to offer guests, all included with their admission:

  • Each week of the tournament will feature a geographic region. Chef teams will be required to keep that theme as they create and prepare an appetizer, entrée and dessert using featured products from tournament sponsors.
  • Happy Hour will include wine and spirit tasting each evening, with different vintners and distributors hosting and bringing some interesting and different things to try each week, like a Tequila tasting and a Punch Bowl tasting, as well as traditional wine tastings.
  • Happy Hour will also include hors d’ouerves prepared by Mari Luna Bistro using featured products from some of the tournament’s top sponsors.
  • A dessert bar and coffee will be provided at the end of each evening throughout the competition.

The first week of competition (June 17th and 18th) will be “Battle Chesapeake” featuring:
  • Rockfish, local oysters and clams from E. Goodwin and Sons
  • Clam juice from Roland Foods
  • Mustard and apple cider vinegar from Heinz Foodservice
Happy Hour will feature a Punch Bowl Tasting hosted by Eric Rumenap of Country Vintner and will feature drinks and tips from The Punch Bowl  by Dan Searing. With guests tasting small batch spirits in the complementary Punch Bowl tasting, including rum, bourbon, and Tennessee whiskey.

Event details for each match of the tournament are available at: http://www.masondixonmasterchef.com/about-the-tournament/menu.php

Tickets for this live, interactive, local event are on sale now at www.masondixonmasterchef.com and are just $25 for General Admission, $45 for Judge Experience (where guests get to taste the entrees and vote on the winner) with 10% of the net proceeds going directly to Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (www.mealsonwheelsmd.org).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Michael's Cafe Raw Bar & Grill undergoes patio renovations

Michael's Café Raw Bar & Grill, the family owned and managed restaurant known for its award-winning crab cakes, announces its plans for the restaurant's renovations to The Patio at Michael's Café.  The makeover will alter the restaurant's outdoor patio dining area.  The restaurant will remain fully operational during the 4,300 square foot renovation, which is anticipated to be complete by the end of the summer 2013.
The Patio at Michael’s Café will include a newly designed indoor bar, outdoor lounge, dining area, and back bar, all of which will accommodate up to 120 guests. 

The renovation will feature a modern sleek décor with muted tones of gray and earth shades, along with pops of red.  Both bars will feature beautiful gray slate.  The indoor bar will have a walnut countertop while the outdoor bar will have a sandy tan panel.  A stone wall will encase a two-sided fireplace that will provide heat and ambiance to the interior patio bar and outdoor casual lounge area.  Plasma TVs will be located throughout The Patio at Michael’s Café, allowing guests to enjoy sporting games while dining.  Along with the contemporary aesthetics, live music will provide a nightlife destination-feel every weekend.

Executive Chef Warren Norris will continue to lead the kitchen offering a large and varied contemporary American menu with specialties in seafood featuring the signature crab cake and prime beef. The bar and patio menu will showcase signature selections such as Surf & Turf Burger, soft shell crab, black angus burger, Pecan smoked bacon, American cheese, avocado, lettuce, topped with sweet chili mayo; Michael’s Mac, two turkey patties, special sauce and toppings; and Sweet Chili Calamari, fried and tossed with banana peppers and sweet chili sauce.  Michael’s will extend a happy hour menu, available from 3-7 p.m. in the bar and patio, with new creations such as Crab Deviled Eggs, chef’s special recipe with crab meat; Buffalo Shrimp, fried and tossed with a buffalo sauce topped with crumbled blue cheese; Crab Nachos, topped with crab meat, jack cheese, jalapenos, tomato, olives, lettuce and sour cream; Saku Tuna Toppers, 4 served on top of crispy wontons, seaweed and wasabi; among much more.

 The Patio at Michael’s Café will feature an extensive beverage menu of top shelf liquors, moderately priced wines by the bottle or glass, local wine such as Boordy Riesling, and a full array of domestic and imported beers along with local craft beers including Brewer’s Art, Union Craft Brewing, and Flying Dog.  Hand crafted cocktails will also be available in the bar and The Patio at Michael’s Cafe.

 “We are thrilled to add a more modern and hip component to our restaurant.  The Patio at Michael’s Café will help us to reinvent ourselves, and give our customers a choice,” says Steven Dellis, Restaurant Manager.  “While we will continue to offer the same great food, quality service, and charm, we will provide an up-scale lounge for young and seasoned professionals, existing clients, and new friends alike.”

 “What makes us an award-winning restaurant will remain.  Our clients will be able to enjoy their menu favorites, but we will be adding new seasonal exciting dishes.  We will offer a great outdoor bar and lounge with special happy hour menus for everyone to enjoy,” says Michael Dellis, owner of Michael’s Café.  “We are excited to welcome guests to experience our new renovations in a few months.”

 The patio renovation is the first phase for Michael’s Café Raw Bar and Grill.  Additional exterior mortar renovations will take place in late 2013.

Macaroni Grill instagram contest (Update)

Macaroni Grill has launched an Instagram contest that encourages guests and fans to create their very own masterpiece from the restaurant group's “Create Your Own Pasta” menu. 

All you need to do is create your own dish, post a photo on Instagram with hashtag #MyMacGrillPasta and @MacaroniGrill and be entered to win a $75 gift card.   Check out Macaroni Grill on Instagram (http://instagram.com/macaronigrill).

I am getting curbside today so stay tuned for my creation!  This is what I am thinking for my dish (may change by lunch time):
  •  Penne pasta
  • Pomodoro sauce
  • Toppings:  Roasted Garlic/Roasted Mushrooms/Asparagus
  • Chicken 
Bibb & Blue salad

My Pasta

*Note that this tasting was a complementary media tasting to share the menu items, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, June 10, 2013

RA Sushi celebrates International Sushi Day by giving away sushi

credit: RA Sushi
On June 18, 2013, RA Sushi Bar Restaurant will celebrate International Sushi Day, an informal holiday created to encourage sushi lovers around the world to eat more sushi. In honor of this special day, members of RA’s “The Hook Up” will receive a special offer good for one complimentary Tootsy Maki with the purchase of any beverage.

To make the holiday official, in 2010, RA Sushi declared June 18th as International Sushi Day in the Chase’s Calendar of Events. The date continues to be included in this most comprehensive and authoritative reference book available on special events, worldwide holidays, civic observations, and more.

The complimentary Tootsy Maki certificate will be emailed to “The Hook Up” members on June 18 and can be redeemed on the same day only. Those not yet members of “The Hook Up” can sign up by Friday, June 14 at www.RAsushi.com to receive the offer.

Tootsy Maki is one of RA Sushi’s most popular rolls containing kani kama crab mix, shrimp and cucumber, rolled and topped with crunchy tempura bits and drizzled with a sweet eel sauce. It does not contain raw fish, so it is the perfect starter roll for those looking to begin their exploration into the world of sushi.

The presentation of sushi has evolved over the years, when it began as a means of preserving raw fish in Southeast Asia and eventually became a form of “fast food” sold from street vendors. Now a celebrated cuisine worldwide, sushi has become an art form, with each restaurant offering its own signature dishes of nigiri, sashimi, and maki. On International Sushi Day, sushi connoisseurs and sushi novices are encouraged to dine on their favorite RA Sushi dishes or explore the menu and try something new. All 25 RA Sushi Bar Restaurant locations nationwide will participate in International Sushi Day.

RA Sushi’s “The Hook Up” earns members a $20 RA gift certificate every year during the month of their Half Birthday. Additionally, by signing up for the preferred customer email program, customers will be the first to hear about food and drink specials, parties, events and all other happenings in the RA.

RA Sushi Baltimore is located at 1390 Lancaster Street in Harbor East’s The Eden. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is served until 11 p.m. daily. The bar is open until 1 a.m. or later. Happy Hour food and beverage specials are offered Monday through Saturday, 3 to 7 p.m.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Maryland CASA to hold charity happy hour with celebrity bartenders

Maryland CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association will hold a Charity Happy Hour, Thursday, June 13, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Bond Street Social (901 South Bond St.) in Baltimore’s Fells Point community.

The event will serve as the official kickoff celebration for Team CASA, which will participate in the Under Armour® Baltimore Running Festival, Saturday, Oct. 12, at M&T Bank Stadium to support Maryland’s victims of child abuse and neglect.
Guests can meet fellow Team CASA members and recruit new ones to walk or run in the marathon, half marathon, 5K or team relay. Anyone who registers for Team CASA will receive a free drink ticket, possibly poured by celebrity bartenders, including Baltimore Ravens Super Fan Captain Dee-Fense, Baltimore Blast Players, Mike Deasel and Marco Mangione, and 92Q On-Air Personality Persia Nicole. What’s more all attendees can enjoy complimentary appetizers.

Happy Hour admission is free, but 10 percent of proceeds from drink and food purchases and 100 percent of celebrity bartenders’ tips will support Team CASA, which will raise awareness and funds for the 10,000+ Maryland children who are under the protection of the courts as a result of abuse and neglect. Most of these children live in temporary foster homes and institutions, where they wait an average of three years before reaching safe, permanent homes.

Marco Mangione
Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained volunteers, appointed by the court to speak up for the best interests of vulnerable children. Last year, more than 1,400 CASA volunteers served more than 1,500 children in Maryland. But with 10,000 children under court protection, 9 out of 10 of them have no advocate speaking up for their best interests.
“By joining or supporting Team CASA, you can help close the gap by raising money to recruit more trained, committed advocates to help every child in Maryland find a safe, permanent home,” said Ed Kilcullen, Maryland CASA state director.
Mike Deasel
For more information about the Happy Hour or to register for Team CASA, visit www.GoTeamCASA.org, email Kay@marylandcasa.org or call 410.828.6761.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

RA Sushi watermelon special to kick off the summer months

credit: RA Sushi
A Sushi Bar Restaurant is ringing in the start of the warmer months with a cocktail and entrée pairing that is a perfect refresher for hot summer days. A cool combo inspired by backyard picnics and lazy day lounging, the Watermelon Kiwi Shrimp and Watermelon Margarita are available from June1-July 31, 2013

Take a bite out of summer with the Watermelon Kiwi Shrimp entrée. It’s a light, fruity dish made with layers of watermelon, kiwi, orange slices, and lychee, topped with shrimp. Cool off with the refreshing Watermelon Margarita; Patron Silver tequila and Cointreau orange liqueur are muddled with fresh watermelon and lime juice, then topped with a float of Grand Marnier.
The Summer Pairing is available from June 1-July 31 for $18 ($10 for the entrée and $8 for the cocktail).

RA Sushi Baltimore is located at 1390 Lancaster Street in Harbor East’s The Eden. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is served until 11 p.m. daily. The bar is open until 1 a.m. or later. Happy Hour food and beverage specials are offered Monday through Saturday, 3 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

S’ghetti Eddie’s is closing its doors

Got an email today...

S’ghetti Eddie’s will be closing for business on June 12, 2013. Crazy Man Restaurant Group (CMRG) has decided to close this restaurant operation in order to accommodate the recent business growth of their brand Miss Shirley’s Café. The new expansion of Miss Shirley’s Café, Roland Park increased business considerably, which initiated the decision to close S’ghetti Eddie’s to better accommodate patron parking. The closure will open up many more parking spaces for breakfast, brunch & lunch diners seven days a week. CMRG will continue to maintain the property at, 410 W. Cold Spring Lane, and utilize the parking lot for guests of Miss Shirley’s Café, Roland Park.

CMRG gift cards will be honored at Roland Park Bagel Co. (500 W. Cold Spring Lane), and any of our Miss Shirley’s Café locations, Roland Park, Inner Harbor, and Annapolis or gift cards can be returned for a refund.

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