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April 1, 2009

Dining@Large: the April Fools Edition

OregonGrilled.JPGNo, no tricks here. (As far as I know.) I just got several e-mails connected to April Fools Day and thought I would bundle them into one post.

First of all, Bucky (who else?) has informed me that April 1 kicks off National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month. Gee, I wonder who came up with that idea?

I don't know. I could swallow, no pun intended, a National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, maybe even a National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Week, but a month? That's pushing it. Although we did do a Top 10 on grilled cheese sandwiches once.

If you plan to celebrate, though, please feel free to tell us about it. 

On to more serious subjects. Here are a couple of good causes going on today: ... 

I got this e-mail from Pigtown:

A friend and I have created a blogger action day... called "April Food Day" to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in America. You have such a large and varied readership, I was hoping that you could post [a] link to the April Food Day site. We're asking that people make a contribution to either their local food bank, or the national food bank, Feeding America. Maryland Food Bank is an affiliate of Feeding America.

Also I hear that today from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sofi's Crepes next to the Charles Theatre will be offering either savory crepes or sweet crepes and a drink for $5. There will be live music as well. All the proceeds will go to Pet Rescue of Maryland.

Then, finally, a new Web sit launches today, the Dregs Report. It provides links to funny stories and blogs on various sites.

"A massive onslaught of wine comedy" is how the e-mail described it.

(Amy Davis/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 9:25 AM | | Comments (74)


No jokes here? Bummer!

ThinkGeek offers squeeze bacon. Just the thing for topping sushi!

Thanks EL... We've gotten dozens of bloggers from across the world to participate in the April Food Day project.

Bucky completed the quiz "How Baltimore are you?" on Facebook with the result:

Born and Bred Baby.
Brave enough to go in any corner bar, take a liesurely stroll down Edmonson Avenue after dark, and wander out in into the redneck 'burbs.

He credits D@L for his score.

No, I'm not making this up. And Bucky posted that on Facebook yesterday, not on April 1st.

I really hope squeeze bacon is an April Fool joke. Please God make it so.

There is a "How Baltimore are you?" quiz on FB? I have to go try it...

Sorry, RtSO, unless I've been April fooled (it's been known to happen, I have a friend who calls me Gullibles Travels) ot appears to be the real deal!

Hal speaks the truth.

It's one of those Facebook quiz things and was sent to me by Cosmos Girls. It is a vocaubuary test, basically, and I got that high score based things I've learned here. (And to give credit where credit is due, I think over in Wordville, too.)

So, I've got a nearly complete list of places to eat. I've got the lingo down pat. I just need a free few days to visit Charm City. (That I learned form Kate.)

Lissa, my favorite lines in the ad are "Each serving is as healthy as real bacon", and "In the immortal words of Vilhelm Lillefläsk, 'Aldrig kommer att ge dig upp!' "

Yes. Yes, indeed. Can't add anything better than that.

On that Squeeze Bacon page, it touts "now with American Flavor!"

What is American Flavor? I don't think I want to know.

The Guardian (UK) has beaten the Sun to the future of journalism.

Man, FB's search engine sucks. Won't accept Boolean logic, their prompted searching doesn't have the fields I need...they need a librarian.

YP - I feel vaguely rick rolled by that quote...

Such a beautiful day! I took the kids to Leakin Park but everybody came back.

Well, there's more to the story of course. I wanted to treat the kids to an extra-special April 1st celebration.

You see, what happened is this. I had been utterly unsuccessful in my attempt to score tickets to The White House Easter Egg Roll. The poor dears tried to hide their disappointment but I could tell by the wine-red faces and cries of "Epic Fail, Mom!" just how heartbroken they truly were. A mother can tell. Clearly, it was going to be a grim Easter. I would find a way to make it up to them.

My first thought was to take them out to a lovely restaurant. You know, the kind with white tablecloths, candles, and tuxedoed waitstaff. But seeing how the little angels were still riled up over the egg roll catastrophe, it seemed possible they might not comport themselves quite to my liking in such a refined atmosphere; might even draw the attention of other diners.

Also, the thought occurred that we would be participating in the cruel practice of forcing restaurant employees to spend the holiday at work. They should be able to stay home and observe The Feast of the Fool with their families, just like the rest of us.

Anyway, in this current economy, a picnic in the woods seemed like the best idea. So we hiked into Leakin Park, into the Uninhabited Interior, until we found a suitable site for our repast.

I had prepared all of their favorites: egg noodles with ketchup, scrapple, eel salad (to die for!), oatmeal with bowls for everyone, canned creamed corn (sheer bliss!), and prune whip.

While I was busy setting out the victuals, the children went off to look for firewood. We planned to end the meal with roasted peeps and vulcanized Teddy Grahams.


I like how the ad says you can squeeze it on bacon! Umm, do you think if I had real bacon I would be using squeeze bacon? (Not that I would use it anyway)

Glad you are back Laura Lee (haven't seen you for a couple days). And back in style, too...

Nice, Laura Lee! You've got to get foie gras in there somewhere.

You can see why I confused our very own Laura Lee with Laura Lippman, can't you?

"with bowls for everyone"
Nice touch, Laura Lee.
Bucky, you're more bawlmer than I am. Way. And I had an unfair advantage coming from Milwaukeehey.
You wouldn't visit without letting us know, right?

satire is not dead!

that made my day.

Well done Leakin Park Laura Lee.

Good night Elizabeth

Thanks Bucky, I've been maniacal with the yard work (as well as taking walks in the woods). Really impressed by your performance on the Baltimore quiz! You should know then, that Leakin Park is hard by Dickeyville (not to be confused with Cockeysville).

Lissa, I'm thinking foie gras might be a little too easy but we'll see.

Dahlink, I think I read LL lived for a time in Dickeyville.

jl and Heather, Thanks! Tune in tomorrow...

I said of Laura Lee's return: And back in style, too...

I meant, of course, and back WITH style. I didn't mean it to sound like she was really, really old.

Laura Lee - I do know where Leakin Park is. Right next to Gwynn's Falls Park, right? I looked that up for some reason, back when we were still convinced that you and Laura Lippman were one in the same. (I know who Laura Lippman is married to, as well. I'm trying to fit in here...)

jl - confession: it turns out that Texan and Bawlmerese are very similar langauges. That, together with little nuggets of information I've picked up in the blogs, got me through the quiz.

Okay, I now officially feel stupid and inadequate. How in the h@#$ do you find the 'How Baltimore Are You' quiz. The saddest part is you are discussing this like its the simplest thing in the world to find. I'm beginning to think my IQ is as low as the shills who keep visiting us.

RtSO, I can't find it, either. FB really, really needs to hire a librarian to work on their search engine. It is worse than yahoo circa 1992.

Yes, Laura Lee, I believe you are right. As ever.

Looking forward to the next installment Laura Lee!

I haven't been on Facebook yet for the quiz, could someone help us find it?

Handsome and Griddle wandered through the forest, alone and afraid. They were surrounded by trees. One tree looked just like the next. Mostly birches. The occasional red maple. High up in the treetops, an owl hooted. Or chortled.

"Oh Handsome!" cried Griddle, "I believe we are truly lost. How will we ever find our way back to the spot where we left our dear Mother?"

Handsome tried to put a brave face on the situation. He could see his little sister was frightened. Her face was as white as white wine.

A chill wind blew. Handsome shoved his hands into his pocket and felt something dry and crumbly. It was corn pone. He had stuffed it there during St. Patrick's Day dinner. He had never cared for corn pone but didn't have the heart to tell his mother. After all, she put so much effort into making it: boiling water, rendering bacon grease, heating up cookie sheets, pushing the batter down with wet fingers.

Now he pulled it out and exclaimed with delight, "See Griddle, we'll just sprinkle these corn pone crumbs behind us as we go so then we can retrace our steps."

The boy and girl plodded on, dropping corn pone crumbs as they went. A little mouse followed them, eating up the crumbs.

An owl swooped down and snatched up the mouse.

* * *

Deeper and deeper into the woods. Strange noises. Random movements in the shadows. Wild animals start to appear. A farm-raised pig snorts and snuffles, looking for truffles. A rabbit with the I.Q. of a waitress hops by. An off-leash corn dog nips at their heels.

The children were cold and scared, hungry and thirsty. Suddenly, Handsome spied a brook in the distance. He ran to it and started to scoop up some water to drink. Griddle cried out, "Are you crazy! Don't you know you can get schistosomiasis that way?"

Sullen and still thirsty, Handsome and Griddle trudged on. Eventually, the woods opened up onto a clearing. By a stroke of good fortune, there was a gingerbread house sitting there.

It was coated with all manner of tempting treats: yam and bean paste on the windowsills, roof shingles made out of Little Debbies. Turkey jerky hung from the rafters. Even the door was a solid block of peyote chocolate.

Beside the door was a key. Handsome picked it up and was then startled by a curious sound:

Said a shill with a very loud voice,
That would scandalize even James Joyce,
Forget about Finnegans
Wake up to young Sullivan's.
Though the steak is not Prime, only Choice.


Nothing about Facebook should make anyone feel stupid or inadequate. It is not intuitive at all, in my experience.

I don't know how to find quizes, either. But when you take one, you can challenge others on your friends list to take it too. That challenge gives them access to the quiz. Cosmo Girls challenged me to take the quiz. That's the only way I knew it existed.

Cosmo Girls - maybe you can help everyone. Do you know how to find the quiz?

True, Bucky. I took one for my death date, which is apparently last October.

LL, my sinuses are twice the size of my skull today. Moving my eyes hurts. I laughed out loud at Part I. I read Part II knowing it would be painful. Worth it.

Waiting for Part III...

I think Laura Lee needs a weekly guest column.

Monday and Tuesday are still open if she's interested. EL

This link might get you to the "How Baltimore are you?" quiz. No guarantees.

I have the perfect side order for these comments: link

Thank you, Hal. I'm apparently a native, just like Bucky.

I nominate Bob UU for Link of the Week.

Thanks Bucky! You can bacolicious anything! There's more applications than time.... :D

Thank you Mr Laurent, the link worked perfectly and yes I'm born and breed. Having said that, I am so not a Facebook kind of person. Why would want to send 3 other people my quiz results?

Thanks Hal. I can't take the quiz here at work but I will when I get home.

Agreeing with the baconites! Great link, Bob UU! Great 3D effect!

RtSO, I've learned that you don't have to send anything to anybody. They just tell you to but you can ignore it. Once they told me to send something to like 20 people and I had about 4 friends at the time. I'm not even sure you're sending your results as much as getting others interested in doing the stupid quiz. I'm still kinda novice at FB.

Why would I want to send 3 other people my quiz results?

So far as I can tell with my limited Facebook experience, the answer would be:

1. Because you can.

That said, I'm getting sort of sucked into the whole FB thing myself. (And I have only, like, 8 friends. How do people with hundreds of friends keep up?)

Another interesting FB thing happened to me...I got a message of some sort that says I'm a fourth cousin to Barack Obama. It even provided a limited family tree to show how we were related. According to the family tree, my great-grandfather was born two years before my dad was born.

Who knew?

Why would want to send 3 other people my quiz results?

RtSO, don't ask me! I didn't even take the quiz. My inner paranoid person doesn't know who wrote that Facebook application and what they might do with information about me.

Thanks, gang. Sometimes the written word just does not convey the meaning you want. I did figure out that I didn't have to send my results to anyone, and yes I hate the Facebook interface. Maybe I'm a little too the Single One. I don't think of myself as anti-social, but why would I want to tell the world about me, and unless you knew me, why would strangers care. I'm going back to my garret now, and close the door.

Lissa, why on earth would you want to limit Laura Lee to once a week?

I am the same way. I don't feel like the world has to know everything about me. So, open a window in that garret and let in some fresh air!

Dahlink, Bucky and Owlie aren't limited, why would Laura Lee be?

Facebook is certainly otherly-interfaced. It can be an interesting way to keep up with folks. I'm a bit paranoid about putting stuff online, though.

Having said that, any of you all want me to create a D@L group? Then the regulars who want to be found could, and we wouldn't be stuck impinging on Elizabeth's good will to pass e-mail addresses and such along.

Dahlink, Lissa isn't suggesting limiting Laura Lee to once a week, just featuring her once a week.

Oh there are lots of great things about Facebook besides being an exhibitionist. You can get out of the job you hate by posting old spring break photos. You can experience the world of identity theft. You can meet a stalker. The possibilities are endless.

Lissa, a D@L facebook group would be a good idea. It was hard finding you on facebook...I wouldn't have a chance trying to find RtSO.

I could have my own stalker? Like Rose on Two and a Half Men?

Okay, I've found a few things on Facebook and a D@L group would be nice. I feel like I know more than just the group who were at our first ever meeting. And the nice thing, you can lie about almost everything so we can still maintain privacy. And I agree, it would take a burden off EL. Every time I e-mail her with an issue (other than blogware issues) I feel I'm imposing and feel guilty.

Lissa and Hal--that was a feeble attempt at humor.

Bucky, I just learned that gymnast Shawn Johnson (currently kicking butt on DWTS) has a very scary stalker. They have arrested him, but how many more creeps are out there?

I created a group called "D@L". Anyone have a good picture for it?

I don't have a picture, but here (I hope) is a direct link to the D@L facebook group.

RoCK - everything you just said perfectly encapsulated all my phobias about the internet, as well as computers in general. It's mainly why it took me so long to even begin to post here. One thing I'm not clear on: are you saying Facebook is inherently less safe than a site such as D@L? I guess I feel somewhat cocooned here as I already knew EL through her writing and I always felt like The Sun was a reputable institution.

Bucky - I thought I was your stalker. Are stalkers usually silent? And what exactly is a troll?

RtSO - I'm with you on the maintaining privacy thing. I only hope you weren't fibbing about the Chesterfield and Turkish carpets.

Lissa - thank you for the guest column suggestion, it really is flattering. The truth is though, I would be a miserable failure at that. Nothing like a deadline to shut me down completely. One reason I enjoy this blog so much is it's the only aspect of my life where nobody is demanding something from me. Everything is freely offered and received. Utopia.

Laura Lee - I didn't actually say you were stalking me. You do take good notes, however. LOL. And if you want to stalk me, feel free. I'd be quite flattered and not the least bit a-skerd.

And what exactly is a troll?

Wait! I think I actually know this!

Trolls pop up to make troublesome remarks. Mostly - in my experience - vulgar or provoking. There is always an agenda other than the purpose of the group. They are differentiated from those who read frequently but rarely get around to posting (for any combination of reasons) by the unpleasantness of intent. On some boards, what we call shills would be considered trolls.

OK, I'm lost on the trool reference.

Right, you've got it, Eve. Although, I'm not sure the shills stick around long enough to become trolls. Usually, trolls are looking for a nice, disruptive fight. Wikipedia used to have a great article on trolls (it is the best place to look up computer, Star Trek and comic related questions).

Hal, thanks for the link.

Like Eve said,

Trolls are more commonly found on message boards, where they post a random, usually very snarky comment. They can post quite a bit until they are banned. They sometimes can take an intelligent thread and turn it into a name-calling verbal battle.

For example, visit any Ravens board and look for Steeler fans that post.
I used to frequent some Ravens message boards but don't any more just because of the juvenile stuff that is posted.

Handsome and Griddle entered the gingerbread house. Inside, there was a lively din. Loud music played; Piano Rob was at the keyboard.
Someone shouted, "Hey hey, RayRay!" and "Eve! Here's lookin' at you kid!"

One man sat alone at a table, reading a book. A terrier wandered through the room, scarfing up scraps from the floor. A gentleman with a monocle and a top hat seemed to be sniffing something on the bar. Next to him, a woman brushed her teeth and then, smiling brightly said, "Hi! My name is Barbie!

A little further along was a guy notable for his normalcy. "Just up visiting from Florida." he explained to the bartender.
"Listen Dude", snapped the bartender, "If you just want to shoot the breeze, you'll have to talk to the manager. I'm alone here and kind of busy."

Holding a mug aloft, a customer called out, "Would it be asking too much to get a cup of fresh tea around here? Sheesh, I feel like I've been waiting three years."

Adroitly ignoring the man with the mug, a witch came up to greet Handsome and Griddle. With breath smelling faintly of Maker's Mark, she had a certain decrepit charm about her. Peering at them through squid eyes, she spoke to the children in a thick, anglo-saxon accent:
"Come in, my sweet porchetta, my new zealand lambs, my little dahlinks. Welcome to the House of Large!"

The children were seated and immediately brought big glasses of cool water ($15). An amuse-bouche of woven bacon arrived, followed by a platter of Lebanon Bologna, Syrian Salami, and Gaza Strip Steak.

"Eat up lambkins", said the witch, "We need to fatten you up, heh, heh, heh."

Handsome politely declined the offerings, saying, "I'm a vegan" to which the witch responded, "Oh fab! I'm a pagan! Together we have the Power of Three..."

Griddle could hear the dots as the witch uttered them. She longed for a glass of Clos la Coutale but had forgotten to bring her fake I.D. so she settled for some coffee served in a plastic soda cup.

"May I have some bruschetta?" requested Handsome.
"You mean brew-shedda", retorted the witch.

Handsome eyed her fishnet stockings. "Have you worked here long?" he asked.
"I'm kind of new," she admitted. "I used to be an opera singer."
"Ah well," Handsome nodded knowingly. "You'll find you make a much better living in this line. Wait till you see the tip we leave!"

Griddle glanced apprehensively at her brother. She knew what was coming.

"By the way," went on Handsome, "You do split checks, don't you?"

The witch stiffened and cast a withering look at him. "Oh. You mean you didn't know? At House of Large, we only play Credit Card Roulette!"

Handsome and Griddle stared at each other. They thought of their mother waiting for them, tormented with worry. And then, a commotion at the front door momentarily distracted the witch. Protesters were outside, blocking the thin mint sidewalk.

They carried signs saying "Support cruelty-free candy" and "Boycott Voodoo York Peppermint Patties". Soon they started chanting "Inhumane Sugarcane". The police arrived, texting each other as they drove up. They installed speed cameras at each corner of the gingerbread house. One of the protesters smashed a camera and a scuffle broke out. Amidst the free-for -all a cop muttered to his buddy, "These Meatballs are crazy! If I survive this riot, I'm headin' back to Colorado."

A man in a white collar smiled wryly and remarked, "It is indeed a Ship of Fools."

A valet, wearing a name tag which read David Simon, barreled through the mob full throttle, parking brake engaged. The garage attendant at Patterson Park Parking refused to let him enter.

"Open the pod bay doors, Hal" the valet demanded.
"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." replied the attendant in a reasonable voice.

Nearby, a conservatively dressed white male climbed up on a big RoCK candy mountain and proclaimed "You're trying to cram ten pounds of stories into a five pound sack."

Meanwhile, the witch, taking a swig of Maker's Mark glared at the gathering crowd and spat out,
"Deconstruct this!"

Inside the House of Large, the lost lambs were considering their options.
"Griddle, I think we should make a run for it!"
"You don't mean we should walk out on the check do you?"
"Just this once, we'll never do it again."
"Oh alright, I might as well steal a menu for my scrapbook."

Back in the woods.
It was getting dark, darker than blue. The moon gleamed on corn pone crumbs. High up in a tree an owl watched silently.

Tattered plastic bags were stuck among the tree branches along with some torn sheets of a newspaper. On one scrap of paper could be seen the words "Top Ten Tuesdays". Another read "From our blog".

The children, now well fed, strode along contentedly. They would be reunited with their mother before long.

With a mighty flapping of wings, the owl flew off. In silhouette against the moon, it appeared to be wearing a smoking jacket.

Griddle gazed up into the night sky and pointed her finger. "Look, Handsome! Three and a half stars!"

Laura Lee, I am agog (in a good way). Thanks for the shout out, btw!

Laura Lee - I'm a gog, too. We're all gogs, I'm sure.

(I assume she was the good witch, by the way.)

Laura Lee,
That was most excellent! Thank you for the kind shout out as well.

Hopefully there are more installments of the House of Large.

Could Bourbon Girl be the Good Witch? I only ask because of the Makers Mark she was drinking.

Good heavens, Laura Lee. I'm surprised you didn't shatter the time space continuum with all those in-jokes!

Ms Laura Lee

An incredible compilation it is.

Thanks Bucky. At first my feelings were hurt, but then I remembered reading somewhere that bad witches drink vodka. That's what makes them so mean. They are reportedly extra mean when they drink white russians, being lactose intolerant and all.

LL you are quite talented, thanks for the good read, looking forward to the next installment.


LL, I see you didn't have the witch making owl stew, too fusiony for me. You are a wordsmith. How do you have any sanity if you have kids?

Bourbon Girl,

It was me and I certainly meant no disrespect.

Now that I think more about it, perhaps the Makers reference was just more to the fact that we talk about it quite often on this blog.

With the Triple Crown races coming up, Makers should be quite popular.

Going to the Thoroughbreds and Redheads party?

Dahlink - Thanks for reading all that.

PCB Rob, Bucky, and BG - Of course she is a Good Witch as evidenced by her refined taste in drink. Could be Bourbon Girl; she's already cast a spell on OMG which is a good thing.

LEC - Thank you. Obviously a lot was left out but it had to end somewhere.

terriermom - Great link! I now know way more about terriers than I ever thought possible. Don't know about sanity but Handsome and Griddle are spending Spring Break with their father (helping him make brooms) so I had some time to type.

Lissa - It's always been a goal of mine to break the time space continuum. Right now I'm in pretty deep with the spring cleaning and realizing I live in a matter/anti-matter containment chamber.

I was just checking about the good witch can't tell the players without a scorecard.

Laura Lee,
Loved the story! Reading it was sheer bliss.

Brava, Laura Lee! Clever and so witty. Grazie for the mention as well!

LL, splendid indeed. But no, she is not a good witch ... wait for it ... she's the best witch – I thought I was impervious to spells. Thanks for giving me such dignified status and natty attire. I rarely wear the smoking jacket outside; it makes for a raggedy flight path.

Laura Lee, that was an incredibly entertaining story! God you're good!! Thanks, and best wishes.

Well done and well reseached. I wouldn't have thought my comment on Friday Night Lights was noticed by anyone, including David Z and it was posted on his blog.

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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.

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