« So what's new? | Main | More on Joshau Hill and Robert Oliver Seafood »

September 5, 2008

Bistro Blanc and the mysterious enomatic wine-tasting machine



I turned in my Table Talk for next week yesterday, in which I talk about the mysterious Bistro Blanc. It's not so mysterious anymore, after Chef Marc Dixon called me. (I guess someone told him about my original post.)

Suddenly Bistro Blanc is looking a lot more interesting. Dixon is the guy who opened the Iron Bridge Wine Company in Howard County, and he was cooking when I gave the place three-and-a-half stars for its food. He then went to Cafe de Paris in Columbia, and eventually ended up in Glenelg when a liquor store owner wanted to add a wine bar and restaurant. ...

This place sounds like it will have good food if nothing else, and there is something else: the enomatic wine-tasting machine. This is like an automat for wines. Bistro Blanc has 24 wines on tap, and you purchase a card (think Starbucks), then use it in the self-serve machine to try a one-ounce pour, a half glass or a whole glass.

Far out.

Look for more about the menu in next Wednesday's Table Talk column.


(Photo courtesy of Bistro Blanc Web site)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 6:19 AM | | Comments (46)


EL, I'm looking forward to hearing what you think. I agree the menu looks very good and the prices aren't bad either.
From my quick look at mapquest, it looks like it may be kinda in the wilds of suburban Howard/Carroll county though, I'm not sure I want to be drinking all that much wine with that much driving (and those HoCo/Carroll Co cops lurking around!)

I followed the link to the previous discussion as soon as I came upon it (was that only 2 weeks ago? So many words under the bridge....) and almost forgot to come back here to read the current post.

Will the machine offer tasting advice, such as reminders to be on the lookout for notes of vanilla, cherry and oak?

I generally hate having to fight for a bartender's attention, so a whizbang self-serve wine-dispensing machine could be a good alternative --- kind of like the ATM, which is infinitely preferable to actually speaking to a bank teller.

Or maybe it will just be a soulless gadget, like the automated checkout at the supermarket. It makes me think about cows at the trough, or people who play slot machines in casinos with cards attached to their wrists.

Maybe the vino automat is the greatest idea ever. You don't need to tip a machine.

Fine wine on tap. A vice president who can field dress a moose.

We are one step closer to the day when hillbillies rule the world.


I've got to start eating healthier and exercising more. I want to be around for this.

Bucky -- Those snow mobile races on the White House lawn should be a hoot.

Oh dancing monkey, why not look at the bright side of things? After all, aren't words just soulless gadgets? It's what you do with them that gives them soul. A glass itself is a soulless gadget. All technology - gadgets, doodads, thingamabobs and geegaws - are soulless.

Look to eternal joyful spirit Ludwig Wittgenstein for inspiration. He said that philosophy was like a ladder you climb and then kick away. Philosophy uses the technology of logic, words and writing and yet its truth can be had once you kick it away. Do you think poorly of the glass or the glass at all when drinking wine? No, if it is does its job properly it fades away. There is just the marriage of you and wine. If a machine can bring you closer to that fusion then great, use it and kick it away. (See Cuban sandwich.)

This song is in my head and how could I not have thought of it for a great summer song. I guess I just think of it as a great song.

Van Morrison's "The Way That Young Lovers Do" from Astral Weeks. I'm not sure why that's in my head. 8>}

We strolled through fields all wet with rain
And back along the lane again
There in the sunshine
In the sweet summertime
The way that young lovers do

I kissed you on the lips once more
And we said goodbye just adoring the nighttime
Yeah, that's the right time
To feel the way that young lovers do

Then we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that we were
and the way that we were meant to be
Then we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that I was for you
and you were for me
And then we danced the night away
And turned to each other, say, 'I love you, I love you'
The way that young lovers do

Oh oh oh! Pick me! Pick me!

Inexplicable Sarah Palin tie-in (Google-whoring): I have been pondering this icy redneck culture that seems to exist in Alaska and I have just coined a new word:


Take it, use it, slap on the bing bong. As-Salāmu `Alaykum. Right on, brothers and sisters.

Excellent, Bucky! When my hillbilly brethren take over, you shall be allowed to live.

(I grew up in WV, so I qualify as hillbilly, right?)

Someone makes a machine that dispenses mixed drinks. Ice, liquor and mixers into a glass. Wooosh. Of all the places in the world to stumble up on this bit of smart technology, who would epxect it to be in Panama? And eight years ago. Okay it wasn't at the local cervezaria, it was at the Panama Yacht Club. Still...

Stacy - I'm not exactly sure what constitutes a hillbilly. I tend to use that word in lieu of "redneck" which at one point in my life had definite cultural-political implications. (It has been dulled to acceptability, I guess, by Jeff Foxworthy and others.)

I don't intend it to be geographical, so being from West Virgina doesn't automatically qualify one as a "hillbilly" in my book.

Going to Luby's for lunch after church on Sunday does. (And--listen up Rock Chicklet--if you know the song, songwriter, singer and college roomate from which that allusion is derived, you are my friend, you hillbilly.)

I'm talking about people who not only know the difference between Ralph Lauren and Levi's, but also understand the difference between Levi's and Wranglers.

I'm talking about people who would never, EVER, think about putting blue cheese on a cheeseburger (and would correct the spelling of bleu to blue.)

Cheese Girl - she would just be the VP, so I'm not sure she would get to run her Artic Cat around the Rose Garden.

Maybe the EOB parking lot?

Bucky -- LOL. There's always that stretch of PA Ave that's closed in front of the White House -- good for, at least, snow mobile sprints. (If there isn't such a thing, there should be.)

As for rednecks -- yea, that wasn't exactly a term of endearment when I was growing up.

Lay off Sarah Palin. I heard she rastled a bar when she was only twelve.

Thanks Buckiddy-doo-dah. Reflecting pool on the Mall ... hockey rink. National Zoo ... shoot-your-own supermarket. Mmmm ... meerkat fritters. Hmmm, out of chillbilly jokes. Silly Rabbi, Trigs are for kicks.

Rock Chicklet was in an accident and can't type right now, but she is enjoying reading some of your posts. Chicklet can't fly with a broken wing.

Owl, I am moved. Anyone who quotes (lesser known at that) Van Morrison has the soul of a true poet.
My personal favorite lyrics of his come from Into The Mystic:
"And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will flow into the mystic"

Stacy and Bucky, do either of you have an "uncle daddy" or an "aunt mommy"? If so, you might be a hillbilly...

hmmm...I'm not sure whether I qualify or not, Bucky. I know the difference between Levi's and Wranglers, though I wear neither. I wouldn't put bleu cheese on a burger, but only because I don't like bleu cheese. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with it.

As a bonus, I attended a three-day party in the country last weekend (in WV) and there was a short gospel sing on Sunday morning, complete with banjos. However, it was tongue in cheek and everyone was extremely hungover.

Perhaps I'm hillbilly-light.

I re-read my first post and it sounds a little cranky. Sorry about that--it was supposed to be funny.

Rock Chicklet -- hope the accident wasn't too serious -- heal fast.

My favourite hillbilly redneck joke (actually its about the only joke I can ever remember):

In West Virginia, why is drivers ed only offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays?

Sex ed needs the car on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Apparently Caribou Barbie is a big proponent of home schooling. I hope she gave her daughter a failing grade for the sex ed course.

Stacy - I didn't think you were cranky. WV is a great state. In the 80's I did some business there around the Buckhannon area. Was always taken by how nice that country was.

Joyce - I want it noted, for the record that I didn't use "hillbilly" in that way. LOL. Send your protests to Joyce, Arkansas commenters.

Cheese Girl - you are intriguing...

Banjos--I love banjos! (Except in scenes that remind me of Deliverance ...)

Hey Joyce, nice one. That was my favorite Van Morrison love song until I heard the Astral Weeks "The Way that Young Lovers Do." Interesting fact: both are track #5 on their respective albums.

Some Van Morrison fans. There's hope for the world after all.

Bucky, you're lucky you saw West Virginia before the coal companies started blowing the tops off of the mountains.

Dahlink, a gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo, but doesn't.

Actually, I like banjos and even associate with banjo players, but don't tell anyone... keeps the lights on.

Is an enonomic machine anything like an enomatic machine?

Thanks. My mistake. I'll correct it. EL

Coal...its not just for kids at Christmas any more.

They dug for the coal 'til the land was forsaken
And wrote it all down as the progress of man.

Coal...oil that led a hard life.

"Clean coal"--I would add that to my list of least favorite phrases. It's dirty, people.

Down in PCB, people are proud to be called rednecks.

Are they just hillbillies without the hills?

Hope I'm not replowing an area already covered but...

"the photographer smiles
you take a break for awhile.
Do you best .do your very best..
Blue Money....


Even though Van has supplied every sappy rom-com with one of his songs (Guinness and Jameson's doesn't grow on trees), at least he has the integrity to not license Domino to that craptastic pizza place.

Oh oh Domino's
Oh yeah
Roll me out some pizza dough
There you go
Lord have mercy
I said oh oh Domino's
12 inch pizza for low dough
There you go

My favorite Van Morrison tune has always been Tupelo Honey.

And I thought the stuff was made in Tupelo MS. WRONG! Most is made in my now-for the time being-home state of Florida, down near the Apalach.
For you yankees, that'd the Apalachicola River.

Yee Hah!

sorry, we've been having a bit of a hurricane party here. That's what we do down south.

As I type this, the sun just came out!

Yee Hah!

PCB Rob In Baltimore - Beachbillies?

I find it amusing that a Republican from Alaska is a hillbilly but a Democrat and his wife from Arkansas are not. I define rednecks as people who treated returning Viet Nam veterans as heroes not villains.

Elite Elephant Lover - I said I wasn't speaking geographically, so the fact that the Democrat in question hails from Arkansas is irrelevant. The fact that he attended Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship probably doesn't work in his favor, as far as being classified a "hilbilly." (And his wife, I'm pretty sure, is from Illinois, not from Arkansas.)

EEL, I hope you will treat the service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with respect, not spit on them as was done to Vietnam veterans. Whether you think a war is justified or not, these men and women went to do a job they did not ask for in a place they did not want to be.

Nobody would deny that Bill Clinton has some hillbilly in him, but he's not a redneck. George Bush aspires to be a redneck. Caribou Barbie's clan are chillbillies.


Meet me at The Wall the Saturday before Memorial Day and I will show you the tremendous respect I have for all veterans but most of all the friends and relatives I lost in Viet Nam. In Southern Illinois they were all heroes. By the way I come from a long line of rednecks.

EEL, I'm sorry I took your statement the wrong way. I thought that you were putting down those of us who welcomed and respected those who fought and died serving their country. Since I have lived in Maryland for more than forty years, I guess I am an honorary redneck. Please forgive me.

I have a problem with equating "redneck" with "patriot". It's kind of like equating "green" with "warm". The terms exist on different continuums (or should that be "continui"?)

I remember well a time not all that long ago when it was dangerous for me to travel in some parts of the south, because I was a male with long hair. I personally don't consider that patriotic at all.

Not to go off-topic here, but . . . I sent a link to this entry to some HoCo friends who I know love Iron Bridge. They told me today that they went to Bistro Blanc last night, and that the food was wonderful - actually I think the word they used was "exquisite." (One had the rockfish and the other the salmon, for anyone keeping score.) The server was very pleasant and eager but not yet well trained enough on the wines and couldn't answer questions about them. My friends had wanted to try the wine tasting machine, but the server didn't mention it and by the time they asked about it, they decided it was too late into the meal to start a tasting. But in any event, they say they will definitely be back.

KristinB thanks for changing the subject. It was getting a little tense in here for a Sunday.

Given the current state of things, I don't think anyone should be making fun of anyone or putting people in little boxes. True love of this country is appreciating that there is a room for everyone in it.

Perhaps we should all try to follow the example of Mark Darcy, who loves Bridget Jones, just as she is. (Of course, I'm not suggesting she is qualified to be vice-president).

Except among themselves, I didn't think anyone would consider 'redneck' anything but a rightly pejorative term. Oh, wait, they must be patriots, they have their Dollar Store flag lapel pins on. That makes them patriots.

I think the hurricanes have led to a tear in the blog-space-time continuum. There's Muskrat Love to my left and redneckery to my right. People, people, people, there are bigger issues here. Like bacon. Can't we all celebrate our love for bacon? Bacon love is all you need.

Lj, really, I almost choked on my Cocoa Puffs. Bridget Jones? Oh, I can almost feel last week's lasagna coming back. Quick, where's my Sham Wow? (You know it's made in Germany.) Weren't you the one who got my Hegel/Kierkegaard joke last winter? Existential dread and Bridget Jones don't mix, except that one will cause the other in a reasonable human being. Perhaps it's time to titrate your meds for autumn. Just kidding. But seriously, the Captain and Tenille and Bridget Jones sounds like a cry for help. Maybe you and Bourbon Girl should do a happy hour together. I think her ornery sassiness will slap you back into reality. I still have a small suspicion that she had something to do with Rock Chicklet's unfortunate accident. Nothing I can prove. :)

Post a comment

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected