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November 29, 2010

Your (long) weekend dining

heapI took the weekend off from blogging. I've been telling friends that I feel like a new parent with the blog; I've been afraid to leave it alone. But the planet is apparently still spinning on its axis this morning. So, phew.

I didn't post the customary, "so, what's everyone doing this weekend" question on Friday (by that time, I figured you were already doing what you were doing). But, I'm asking now -- what did everyone do? Who made it out for dinner, on or off Thanksgiving Day. 

I know a few of you had been planning to take your Thanksgiving Day meal in a restaurant. I'd like to hear about your experiences.

I get asked often about good brunches -- anyone have one this weekend?

I made it down for the Oyster Festival at Kooper's. This is not that lame-o oyster festival they have in the square that is really just another drinking festival. This was cool. The festival was a few tables set up in front of Kooper's. Three amazingly adroit and (under the circumstances; it was a cold day) cheerful shuckers working with an impressive variety of East and West Coast oysters. The only problem was that it was hard to keep all of the varieties straight in your head. I'm still trying to figure out which of the West Coast oysters it was that tasted  especially crazily of the sea, as though you'd wiped out while body-surfing and taken in a mouthful of ocean water. It was a Willy Wonka oyster.

Heeaaaapppppppppp!

Baltimore Sun staff/Kenneth A. Lam

 

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 9:33 AM | | Comments (18)
        

Comments

We had some of Amie's family over for Turkey Day, so I made mashed potatoes with Indian spices and a tandoori turkey (or as close as I could get to a tandoori turkey without actually having a tandoor). The turkey didn't taste all that different but the mashed potatoes were awesome. Here's the recipe, if anyone's interested:

http://www.asianonlinerecipes.com/online_recipes/indiapakistan/hot-spicy-mashed-potatoes.php

I didn't use any mustard seeds or mint, but otherwise stayed fairly true to the recipe.

Four of us went to Charleston for Thanksgiving dinner. Amazing. The food, the restaurant, the service..it was all top notch. Kudos, in fact, esp. to the service. We were a demanding table.

The need for a very strong cocktail struck after a very hectic, and quite frankly, BS day on Wednesday.
The mrs. got done early, and her usual spot, Pratt St Alehouse, was closed so she decided on the B&O. We met Brendan Dorr, who is a very nice guy. Had the manhattan and el ozo, and shared some of the pork belly sliders. All were very good.

Friday, after another pointless why-am-I-here day at work, we headed up to Chameleon Cafe for part I of the birthday dinner.
I found out that pumpkin and leek soup is very good to eat, but not that good when you have a stupid mustache.
We got the bottle of Chianti Classico to sip on. The oyster app is always a must have. I finished out with the steak diane, with melt-on-your tongue deliciousness. She got the quail, and played with her food, making the bird dance.
It was highly inappropriate and completely hilarious.

For part II of the birthday dinner, we used the groupon for the Blue Hill Tavern. We only ate in the bar, but hot damn, does that place looks nice. The waterfall and the framed plasma tv's behind the bar were nice. But, enough of that.

You have not tasted octopus until you have had theirs. Tender, not chewy, and light on the seafood taste. She had the pork belly, and was similarly smitten. Maybe it was all of the Strongbows she had. ;-)
For dinner, we shared the Chateaubrian, another melt-on-your tongue experience.
We closed out the night with the candy bar pie for her, and the bread pudding and a side of JWalker gold.

Sunday, we had the best leftovers ever eaten during a football game.

We tried out the dim sum at Red Pearl on Saturday - the place was packed and the food was good, but I've had better. On Sunday I made game-time nachos with leftover Thanksgiving duck, and turned some cranberry sauce into a salsa. Other than that, I've had my share of cooking for a good week or so. Whew.

It's me -- Gorelick

On a previous weekend dining report, Jon Parker posted about having made a black bean and roasted poblano soup. It made me want it. I asked him for the recipe. Here it is.


Saute a chopped onion in a T. of oil. When it begins to soften, add a few cloves of crushed garlic, stirring constantly.

Add 1 T. ancho chili powder and 1 T. cumin. Stir with onion and garlic until fragrant.

Dump the whole mess into a large pot. Add 4 cans black beans and 2. c. stock -- I use chicken, but veggie would work for a vegetarian soup. Bring to a simmer.

Turn oven to broil. Put 5 or 6 medium sized poblano peppers on a foil covered cookie sheet. Broil until they just begin to blacken, flip them over and broil the other side to the same color. Remove from oven and place in a plastic bag -- grocery bag works well here. Twist the neck of the bag or otherwise seal it. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Remove the peppers, pull off the necks, remove the seeds and peel under running water. Chop peppers into about a 1/4 inch dice. Add to soup, simmer for a couple of hours, adding more stock or water if needed.

Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot or give it a couple of seconds with an immersion blender to puree some of the beans and thicken the soup. A dollop of sour cream goes well on top.

Variant: a tsp or so of five spice powder added to the onion-garlic-spice mix adds an interesting flavor. Sometimes I feel like it, sometimes I don't.

We were exhausted from moving household items all weekend so we ordered carry-out from Friendly Farms.
Pork chops were nice and juicy, fries were well-done, white meat fried chicken is the best around, and cole slaw rounded out the meal.
And we didn't have to stick around for the hour long wait in the restaurant.

We went to the Rusty Scupper for Thanksgiving dinner and were pleased overall. It didn't blow us away, but the buffet food was fresh and plentiful, with lots of options for the vegetarian and toddler in our group. Standouts included moist turkey (carved to order) and the sage and sausage stuffing. We had anticipated being hurried out (a 90 min time limit for enjoying the buffet had been communicated to us when we placed the reservation), but we never felt that pressure -- we lingered for over 2 hrs!

Thanksgiving eve a smaller group of us went to B Bistro and were a bit disappointed. Mushroom risotto and a bacon cheeseburger were spot-on, but a turnip veloute starter tasted purely of cream, and a duck leg confit featured a half inch of fat under its crispy skin -- slimy and unappealing. Desserts were deliciously well-balanced though.

Well we were up in NJ, so took the family for lunch Saturday to RU Hungry, one of the "grease trucks" at Rutgers, famous for the Fat Darrell. My Son had a Fat Cat(Dbl Ch Bgr, FF,LTM), my daughers each had a Fat Beach (PC spelling and pronunciation) which is a Cheesesteak, Chicken Fingers, Mozz Sticks, FF, LTM), and I had a Fat Veggie Indian (Falafel, Mozz Sticks, Marinara, LT, FF) with Hummus. Each for about $6-6.50.

We went to the Prime Rib on Thursday. It was good, as usual.

We made the traditional turkey dinner at home on Friday.

Saturday we made andouille and three-fowl gumbo with the turkey carcass along with a duck and a chicken carcass from the freezer. Used the last of my duck fat supply for the roux.

Had a wonderful meal at Wine Market on Saturday night

I need to post one change to that recipe. I've made that for Courtney and I quite a few times, but she'd never noticed that I was steaming the poblanos in a grocery bag. She linked me to an article that basically says that they are full of germs.

So use paper or a gallon Zip-Loc. Sure, you wash them and peel them after they steam, but I don't want my recipe to make anyone sick.

blue hill friday, chameleon saturdat. both very good. wwell deserving of top 50 status. its amazing how friendly good service , hot food with a chef's own personal touch can be so easy in some restaurants and never get there in others

My wife and I decided to partake in Catonsville's Matthews 1600 restaurant's Thanksgiving meal, and weren't impressed. Hostesses were rude, though the food was good (turkey and a good variety of side dishes to choose from), and carvery station very professional. To top it off, a mandatory gratuity of 18% was added (for a party of two), as well as taxed on the bill, which I'm not sure is legal. We certainly won't be back, though the food coma was delightful.

My fiance' and I just had the worst dining experience at The Falls in Mt. Washington. Our service was a nightmare and the food which consisted of a crabcake that was mediocre at best and macaroni and cheese that tasted like it just came from a box. The waiter asked one time how our entrees were and I expressed that my dish was cold and he took it and placed it in the microwave and brought it back to me. I have supported many of our local establishments but never have I not been asked at least a few times by the manager or the wait staff if my meal was to my satisfaction. I don't think I will be supporting this establishment anytime soon and I would caution anyone that may have been curious. Also the staff do not appear to have a system for serving tables. Several dishes were offered to parties that did not order them.

My fiance' and I just had the worst dining experience at The Falls in Mt. Washington. Our service was a nightmare and the food which consisted of a crabcake that was mediocre at best and macaroni and cheese that tasted like it just came from a box. The waiter asked one time how our entrees were and I expressed that my dish was cold and he took it and placed it in the microwave and brought it back to me. I have supported many of our local establishments but never have I not been asked at least a few times by the manager or the wait staff if my meal was to my satisfaction. I don't think I will be supporting this establishment anytime soon and I would caution anyone that may have been curious. Also the staff do not appear to have a system for serving tables. Several dishes were offered to parties that did not order them.

My fiance' and I just had the worst dining experience at The Falls in Mt. Washington. Our service was a nightmare and the food which consisted of a crabcake that was mediocre at best and macaroni and cheese that tasted like it just came from a box. The waiter asked one time how our entrees were and I expressed that my dish was cold and he took it and placed it in the microwave and brought it back to me. I have supported many of our local establishments but never have I not been asked at least a few times by the manager or the wait staff if my meal was to my satisfaction. I don't think I will be supporting this establishment anytime soon and I would caution anyone that may have been curious. Also the staff do not appear to have a system for serving tables. Several dishes were offered to parties that did not order them.

I just had the worst experience reading the same post three times. I did not order that.

The WORST DINING EXPERIENCE? Never heard of Umberto's clam bar?

Puh, puh, testing. Is this mic on?

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner 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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