Whining and Dining July 2010

Randi Rom

Courtesy of Michael Birchenall, Editor, Food Service Monthly


Check it out! Boordy Vineyards kicked off Good Life Thursdays a few weeks ago and it’s “the talk of the town.” Billed as a sustainable happy hour and farmer’s market, they have live music, wine on the patio (hello?) and seriously tasty (organic and local) tidbits. Clementine Restaurant from the Hamilton/Lauraville neighborhood is the only vendor of prepared foods-- local burgers, patés (serious chacuterie), grilled seafood & organic salads. And those of you in the know-know how amazing the food is. Owner/executive chef Winston Blick—massively talented and pretty damn cute. Word. Other vendors include: Gunpowder Bison - local, naturally raised bison (shout out to Director of Sales and Marketing Nathan Stambaugh, hubby to Slow Foods Liz Stambaugh and an almost daddy); Kaylala Farm - natural emu cosmetics (that’s right-I said emu); The Apple Lady - gourmet apples & sweets and Doggone Goodies - organic dog treats. Hours are 4-8 pm and it goes through September 9th.  For a complete listing of entertainment and vendors, go to Boordy.com. And tell Winston that I sent you!

Need something incredibly cool for your special event? The people at OH MY CHOCOLATE (apples and fountains and berries..OH MY!) make sinfully good chocolate treats-pretty much anything you can think of. But—the newest and coolest thing they offer is chocolate printing. They can put any picture, logo or text on a chocolate bar or cookie—how cool is that? I worked the advance screening of Sex & the City 2 and they had these small chocolate bars with the SATC2 logo. Go to OhMyChocolate.com.

To celebrate their first anniversary, B&O American Brasserie (2 North Charles Street) will host their first annual CRAB BASH on Tuesday, August 3 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. to benefit the Great Kids Farm.  (GreatkidsFarm.org.) Six chefs from the region will create THE best crab dish - that will be judged for a variety of awards by a panel of local celebrity judges. (And yes-I AM available—hint, hint.) For only $10 you can sample the crab-tastic creations, sip a signature cocktail from head bartender Brendan Dorr and get a chance to win an overnight at the Hotel Monaco and a $100 gift certificate to B&O. Some of the participating chefs include B&O’s E. Michael Reidt, Salt’s Jason Ambrose, Brewer’s Art’s Dave Newman and Christian deLutis formerly of alizee. Purchase tickets at www.missiontix.com or the hostess stand. For more info, go to www.bandorestaurant.com or call 443-692-6172.

The Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament is happening now. This multi-week event - is a single-elimination tournament that showcases some of B-town’s finest chefs and restaurants. 32 chefs over 16 weeks through September 13th! The competition is held at the historic Belvedere at the corner of Charles and Chase streets. The Belvedere, Baltimore’s first luxury hotel has five gorgeous ballrooms and has hosted events for society's elite like F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. And..my wedding. (The Belvedere lives on—the marriage—not so much.) It’s also the home of the famed Owl Bar. Here’s a lil tidbit ‘o info: back in the days of Prohibition the Owl Bar was a speakeasy and perched atop the oak bar sat ceramic Owls--and if the Owls' eyes blinked you knew the Feds were elsewhere and it was safe to buy booze. On July 27th, check out one of my all time fave chefs—Bill Crouse-formerly of Sotto Sopra, now doing his “thang” for Slainte, Kooper's Tavern and Woody's Rum Bar in Fells Point. (Mr. Bill-I’ll follow you anywhere.) Proceeds benefit Moveable Feast, a local nonprofit that delivers nutritious food to people living with AIDS and breast cancer.  An amazing organization, Moveable Feast feeds over 1,000 people each week – people who are very sick, struggling financially and often isolated. For a great time and—for a great cause. For a full listing of chefs and other info, go to MasonDixonMasterChef.com.


Yippee!! Gino Troia’s Grano Restaurant on Chestnut Avenue in Hampden is expanding. The addition, to be called Emporio Grano will include a salumeria (roughly translated-a cured meats shop) and Italian pastries from Chef Simone Santinani. So—now for the complete Grano explanation. Grano originally opened a storefront restaurant on the Avenue in Hampden—it’s still there and is now known as Little Grano. Down the street on Chestnut, Troia opened a sit down spot that’s known as Big Grano. So---now there are three Granos-big, little and Emporio. And FYI they make amazing gluten free Bolognese. And speaking of gluten free Crepe du Jour in Mt. Washington now offers gluten free crepes and Pizzazz Tuscan Grille on Pier 5 has really good gluten free pizza--almost impossible to do.

Calling all Moroccan food fans. Tangier’s Bistro Bar and Martini Lounge will open this month in Canton at the corner of Montford Avenue and Boston Street in the space formerly occupied by Meridian 54. Tangier’s is the vision of Casablancan-born restaurateur Alan Suissa and will offer traditional Northern French Moroccan recipes handed down from several generations and prepared on-site by his mother Nadia Edery and his aunt Liliane Abitbol. “When you come to Tangier’s, whether it’s for a small plate of chicken bastilla, a glass of homemade sangria, or a traditional Salmontagine mezze, you are going to feel as if you are transported to northern Morocco,” said Alan Suissa, owner and operator of Tangier’s. Suissa has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry; his most recent position was as Managing Partner and Maitre d'Hotel of Operations for Il Canale Restaurant in Georgetown.

Vino Rosina, the new wine bar venture from the Rosina Gourmet people and former "Top Chef" contestant Jesse Sandlin, is now open at 509 South Exeter Street in Harbor East. Word is that the bison tartare from Gunpowder Farms (love them) is a hit.

The Cazbar Kebap House (no-I didn’t spell it incorrectly) opened at 10840 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Kebabs and boat shaped pizzas called pides. Hmmm…



Congrats to Chef’s Expressions Executive Chef John Walsh for winning "Hospitality Mentor of the Year" at the National Academy Foundation's Academy Awards!

Good luck to Chef Timothy Dean in the Top Chef D.C competition. DC is Dean’s hometown but he’s been in B-more for a while. He owns Prime Steakhouse in Fells Point—in the spot where Timothy Dean Bistro was. So—congrats on being chosen as one of 17 cheftestants.



ESPN Zone has closed its doors after 12 years at the Inner Harbor. The Walt Disney Company closed 5 of its sport themed restaurants. The property owner – The Cordish Company has not announced any future plans.

Lemongrass and Tapabar in Little Italy on Eastern Avenue has closed as has Ecuadorian restaurant, La Cazuela, just down the street




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