z

zebcook's Profile

Title Last Reply

Carry out/Deli choices in London

Thank you everyone for suggestions. I thought I should at least give a quick trip report.

Due to an unexpected lodging change and fact that we were visiting for a wedding, we didn't have the chance to try as much as I hoped. In fact, most of the time we were grabbing what we could as we rushed for trains (the wedding was out of the city) or just collapsed in heaps. That said, we did enjoy a few notable things.

La Cusine du Bar -- Just a little from Sloane Square, this quickly became our favorite breakfast stop before starting the day. Most of the time we stuck to coffee and croissant (with a pot of lemon curd!), but a shared spinach and nutmeg pate on rye tartine was a wise choice. Overall it was not too expensive, fresh, and convenient.

Atlantico (Pestana Hotel) -- Mostly chosen because we were exhausted the first night and it was close to where we were staying. The "tapas" table and main plates were a good value, though the tapas were more a selection olives, marinated vegetables, spreads and meats. The lamb was a bit more cooked than I prefer but was still flavorful and tender and the serving was generous. My wife, who normally does not care for fish, found the roast cod(?) quite good.

We were fortunate the weather was lovely so one day was cheeses, crackers and carryout salads from Harrods for an impromptu picnic in Green Park. This I would do again, weather permitting.

Kappacasein cart at the Borough Market: After dragging my wife around sightseeing she was desperate for something filling, while I wanted quick. We opted for grilled cheese sandwiches from these folks. Thick seed bread, a mixture of cheeses and sauteed leeks and onions, griddled nicely on both sides and served wrapped in paper, piping hot. It was cheap food that hit the spot. Followed with a couple of pints from nearby, we were good to keep going.

Greenwich Market was our stop while out for the tall ships. It was a great choice of cheap ethnic eats. I wound up with tikka massala plus a side and rice, while my wife got her chile craving satisfied from the Thai stand there.

Al Dar -- Thank you for suggesting this. We stopped for a early bite en route to other things. The falafel (my test of a good Middle Eastern place) was crispy outside, moist inside, light and very grease free and the hummus was likewise good. We were both impressed. The only down was the pitas were rather stale. I would like to come back and try a proper meal there.

My pizza hunt wasn't quite as planned, just never seemed to be at the right place as the right time for it. We did go to Elistano and had a nice salad of fig, argula, and parmesan, along with a simple pizza. We also ordered melon and proscuitto which came out at the same time as the pizza. We asked if they would hold it till a third course, but they insisted on remaking it fresh when we were ready. We left quite happy.

Butlers Wharf Chophouse wasn't a cheap eats, but they were doing a Blackout Dinner as part of the Thames Festival. It was a treacle-glazed smoked trout starter and beef Wellington main. Overall it wasn't exotic or trendy but was solidly prepared and well-cooked. The trout had very good flavor. The Wellington was a nice rare cut without turning the pastry into a sodden mass. The vegetables were simple and cooked to just the right firmness. Plus the view of the Thames with full moon was impossible not to enjoy.

Sep 12, 2014
zebcook in U.K./Ireland

Labor Day Weekend in Baltimore - suggestions/itinerary

Friday -- Don't do HH often in Fells, but Max's Taproom has the best selection of craft beers and bartenders who know them. Not a place for food though.

Saturday -- Suggest Bonaparte Breads in Fells Point for coffee and pastry on the waterfront. Between your lunch and dinner I don't know as you'll want a big breakfast. Woodberry has outstanding cocktails, but you might consider parking your Zipp car in Hampden and walking down from there to absorb local color (stop in the Eight Ball in the back of Atomic Books look and a drink). There's the Wine Source for liquor, the Other Corner for a light plate, Ein Klein Duvel for Belgian beers, Birroteca also has a great beer selection but a little out of the way. Union Brewery is just across the way from Woodberry -- their taproom is open from 1-4. There's a good whiskey bar close by -- Blue Pit BBQ (no BBQ yet) that has a nice beer garden in back.

Sunday -- The JFX farmer's market is a great way to combine a good farmers market with a strolling brunch. No drinks though.

Artifact (part of the Woodberry group and close by) makes good coffee and will be doing a pop-up Breakfast Takeover Saturday from 8 to 2.

Carry out/Deli choices in London

Maybe I should have said not trying to be an "authentic" Italian pizza. :)

Aug 03, 2014
zebcook in U.K./Ireland

Carry out/Deli choices in London

Hello,

Preparing for a trip to London in September. I've been through all the posts I can find and now have a nice list of places go to but since we're renting an apartment with kitchen, one area that's been lacking is any suggestions for places to get good carryout? I'm sure some nights we'll just want to collapse for the evening. We will be based in the Sloane Square area, but don't feel confined to that.

Also, what's a good place to get a pizza that represents London? I always like to try the "indigenous" pizza wherever I travel. (Sweden is the most unusual winner so far.)

Aug 03, 2014
zebcook in U.K./Ireland

Grace Garden - family gathering what should be the MUST HAVES ?

Still BYOB.

Triple Treasure -- the tripe, tendon, & tongue is a must have everytime I've gone there.

Whatever their fresh vegetable is that day (especially the chives).

French Kitchen in Baltimore

You can find the menu here:

http://www.opentable.com/restaurant/p...

Baltimore restaurant for both vegetarians and omnivores

Cazbar is another good choice for both veg and meat eaters.

Bottega, if you can get in -- it's very small. Food is excellent. Their menu changes all the time (they post a picture of their chalkboard menu on their website). It's BYOB.

Baltimore - dinner for a group of 12 that includes vegetarian's

Hmm, Cazbar would certainly make your vegetarians happy while having plenty of meat options. It's about 6 blocks from the convention center. Their website notes they prefer to do a pre-set menu for large groups.

Note that on weekends they will probably have belly dancing (whether that's a plus or minus is your call!).

TOWSON

The rumors are true. He's got a liquor license application in the window.

Is Baltimore Boring restaurantwise?

Okay, I'll throw in my 2 cents. As a lurker (mostly), in general I just find too much repeition of the same places over and over in the posts here -- there's too much focus (and complaint) on "dining" as opposed to places to just go and get some good food. After a while I just give up because it seems like it's always the same 5 recommendations/complaints. What I want to know about are all the good hole-in-the-wall places where you can get a good meal.

So, not to be a complete whiner, here's a few offerings I'll throw out (because I should speak up if I want to be listened to):

Cinco de Mayo grocery for cripsy, porky chicharones

El Taquito Mexicano on Eastern for barbacoa (when they have it) and generally great (and real) Mexican food.

Neopol Smokery and Grand Cru in Belvedere Market because smoked things and good wine just seems right

Haute Dog at the upper end of Falls Road

Artifact Coffee (though I haven't been there since they switched to a regular dinner menu -- their weekly fixed menu had some regularly adventurous offerings thatwere fun to try)

Herb and Soul

Tooloulou -- recommened by a Louisana friend as having proper po'boys.

When you start thinking about it, it seems like there's a lot of interesting and new things happening. It just seems like no one's talking about them.

HaHa Foods Baltimore

So a group of about 10 of us stopped at Ha Ha last Saturday morning as part of our Baltimore Deli Crawl. None of us had been there before, but I wanted to check it out. We were all instantly drawn to the dining area and the dim sum. With a lot of us, we managed to order quite a few things on the menu. Didn't get a chance to taste everything ordered but valiantly tried my best.

Steamed BBQ pork buns -- Big and fluffy, came out hot in steamer tins. Served with a bowl of hoisin sauce. Generally agreed to be quite tasty.

Baked pork buns -- these were served cold, generally "ok, not great" by those that had them.

Fried Radish Cake -- Three big squares, crispy on one side with bits of roast pork. Overall chewy and good.

Sesame balls -- crispy on the outside with nice thick layer of chewy rice flour dough, filled with yellow bean(?) paste. These were very popular with those that got them and were as good as I've had since I've been in Baltimore.

Soy Sauce Chicken (not a dim sum item, ordered from regular menu) -- considered excellent. Didn't get a chance to taste it myself but was told it satisfied the person who'd been longing for such ever since they left the West Coast.

Shrimp dumplings (Shu mai?) -- so-so

Won ton & noodle soup -- big bowl with noodles and won tons. The broth was deemed excellent, some thought the won tons would have been better if they had sat in the broth longer before they got eaten. That just might have been us eating too quickly.

Sticky rice with meat fillings wrapped in lotus leaf (Lo mai gai) These were substantial -- sticky rice with chicken, black mushroom and salted egg(?). They were delicious and were declared by one Asian in our group to be "as good as grandma's." They reminded me of the ones I sometimes got when I worked as a kid washing dishes at a chinese restaurant. I'll order them again next time I go.

Minced meat balls -- didn't get a chance to try these but was told they were quite good.

Roast Pork -- again ordered off the main menu and got devoured.

The main menu had a number of dishes I definitely want to try, including congee (various), noodle soups, and "salt and jalapeno pepper bullfrog". The roast duck, soy sauce chicken, bbq pork and roast pig hanging in the kitchen window were another reason to come back. Got a half in duck in the fridge right now waiting to be used.

If nice surroundings and ambience matter, this might not be the place for you. It's pretty much a warehouse. The staff was very helpful and friendly and the place was busy, but not packed.

Any feedback for the JFX Farmer's Market (Baltimore)?

At the Waverly Mkt today -- many of the same vendors as JFX -- and picked up asparagus $6 for 2 lbs. from the pea man.

Recs for four day foodie trip: Wash and Balt requests

Did a Baltimore deli crawl with friends a few weeks back whiich wrapped at Belvedere Square as a good place to socialize, drink and eat in a foodie atmosphere.Cierello's (Italian deli), Neopol, Atwater's, candy and nut shop, sushi and Grand Cru wine bar which will let you bring in food from all the other places or eat theirs (which is pretty good too). Away from the downtown, so not particularly touristy.

Northern Chinese Layered Bread

Regardless of what Murphen is looking for, I miss Uigher bread. Used to get it at an Islamic Chinese place in SoCal. Anyone know where to find it between DC and Baltimore?

What to do with pea shoots?

Add them to a soup as a garnish.

Mar 19, 2013
zebcook in General Topics

Pit Beef near Timonium/Lutherville?

Yep. Just had lunch there today. As he says, "7 days a week" . Had a fine turkey sandwich.

Homemade pasta, sausage, food shops in Little Italy, Baltimore

Casa di Pasta in Little Italy makes fresh pastas and raviolis, along with sauces. Trinacria, as already mentioned, is good Italian deli/grocery. It's generally stronger on groceries and wines while Di Pasquale's in Highlandtown has a bigger array of deli items and cheeses. Neither is in Little Italy though.

New to Baltimore: where to get organic produce, etc

Let's see, from another cooks a lot, ex-Texan, here's some more.

There's a farmer's market at Whole Foods on Wednesdays, another at Cross Keys nearby (can't remember day), the Waverly Market on Saturday (our preferred fave) and the the JFX market on Sundays. Fell's Point also has one on Saturdays, which is nice to sometimes combine with morning coffee on the harbor. There's also a produce pickup from a local farm on Ruxton Road and 83 most weekends. Wegman's is probably closest to Central Market though you'll be disappointed by the comparison (as an ex-Austinite I was). They have been pushing their organics lately. Belvedere Square has one expensive produce place, but the Italian deli (Ceriello') has the best meat you'll find around, and the Waverly and JFX markets have a couple of pricey meat vendors. MOM's is okay, but the selection is small. I have yet to find a good hispanic market like Fiesta (I miss them), but Tortilleria Sinola will feed your fresh tortilla cravings and the Markets at Highlandtown will do in a pinch for other supplies. Good Greek imports at Prima Foods, and there are several good Italian delis in town -- Di Pasquale's and Trinacria in particular. Oh, and there's another decent sized farm stand at Falls and Shawan Rd. In fact if you go out and explore north and west you'll find several farms that sell direct.

I could go on, but most of these have been mentioned elsewhere on the board already.

Baltimore Restaurant Week

The Food Market in Hampden was offering a good menu. Felt like they were trying to impress on their first time at it.

Hanger steak or flat iron steak in Baltimore grocery stores

Cereillo's often has them. Late in posting but may help for next time.

Beef brisket in Baltimore

Alas, Andy Nelson's brisket is not up to good Texas standards. The times I've been there it's been dry and on the tough side.

New Restaurant Report: The Food Market in Hampden

Okay, for about as long as I've been here (which ain't that long) there's been a dingy storefront down in Hampden, a convenience store in the middle of the block between Parasio and whatever was east of there. I'll admit, I never had the inclination to go in - the faded beer posters and gloomy interior were enough to put me off. The prospect of limp vegetables and sad canned and bagged goods had no appeal. Then, not surprisingly, it closed and the whole place sat dark. Eventually the windows were papered over. Like a butterfly cocoon it sat for six months, brown-paper windows featureless and mysterious.

Then in the last few months there was activity. Work was happening inside. New signage went up. Paint and, god forbid, marketing. A new place was coming, even if it did have the uninspired name The Market. And then, in what must have been a trial by fire, the Market opened for brunch, just in time for HonFest. Therefore against all better judgement about trying brand new places we had to go.

Four of us went last Friday night at 8:00. We'd made reservations, which was a good thing. The place was jammed. Who knew everyone in Hampden was waiting for a place called the Food Market to open? First observations -- the service was friendly and efficient and the place was LOUD. This was not the have a quiet dinner conversation with friends place. It was a lean across the table to hear your dinner companions night.

With four of us feeling celebratory (I don't know why), we decided to share a selection of appetizers. The menu was divided into Little, Small, Big, and In-Between. We had an order of spiced edamame, soft pretzels with a beer-cheese fondue, and potato skins with duck confit and mornay sauce. The edamame was a modest-sized bowl dusted with a chile-based spice mix, quite tasty and light. The "pretzels" were 4 stubby soft breadsticks and crock of fondue sauce. The breadsticks were okay but not enough, but the fondue sauce was hailed by everyone. Nicely beery, cheesy but not gloopy. In fact it was so good it we added it to the potato skins which were deemed good but otherwise a bit bland.

We tried an assortment of main dishes, all of which hit the mark quite well. There was much sharing of tastes all around. The "small" crab cake was quite large enough and came on a bed of lobster mac-n-cheese. The crab was large chunks with little filler and fresh tartar sauce. The buffalo steak was cooked perfectly rare on a potato pancake(?) with housemade steak sauce. The third dish was scallops in a bacon-y cream sauce with the smoked bacon pronounced but not overpowering the scallop. Last was blackened tuna -- four large pieces of tuna, with a spice crust crisped by not horribly charred on a bed of edamame succotash and a sauce of caramelized soy around it. The sweet actually went quite well with the blackening. Everybody cleaned their plates and thought their meals were fine.

Splurging we shared two desserts -- a fresh peach cobbler with cognac sauce and ice cream (can't remember the flavor, but it wasn't vanilla) and chocolate mousse on shortbread. The cobbler was excellent, though some thought it too sweet. The mousse was very light and chocolatish. Unfortunately, the shortbread was so dense you practically needed a knife and fork to break it up.

Judgement all around was that we would definitely come back. It's another good addition to the Hampden restaurant choices. The cunning plan is to opt for the smallish bar next time and concentrate on the Small and Little plates.

Price for 2 Littles, 1 Small, 4 Bigs, 2 desserts and assorted cocktails, beers, and wines was about $200, a bit much for the night's budget but we were splurging.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Dang, wish I knew you were on a bike. Could have shown you some of the routes through the city.

Where to find great sea scallops? Preferably near White Marsh!

Wegman's in Hunt Valley usually has very good fresh scallops.

Will a Gujarati thali place work in the Baltimore area?

Personally, I love chaats and would be happy to go to one, but Columbia/Ellicott is too far away for me. I'd need something more central/north.

Friday Lunch near Flower Show?

First off, want to thank everyone for their helpful suggestions. There were a lot of options and it was a good thing because, like so many things, the day did not go quite as planned. Due to car issues, we didn't get there until post-lunch, so the idea of taking our time and having a leisurely lunch went right out the window. Instead, we decided to take our slightly-frustrated mood someplace where we could get a decent meal and a beer quickly. Fortunately, I remembered the Molly Malloy's discussion and since RTM was right there, it won.

To the poster who many had not discovered Molly's, I'd add that many have. It was packed after 1:00. We managed to squeeze a couple of bar seats, though. Being in a hurry we just split a steak sandwich and had beers. The sandwich was good, not astounding, but filled us up. The beer selection was good. The staff was really friendly and helpful (even suggesting we split an order instead of getting two dishes). I'd like to come back when it is less crowded and explore more.

After some time at the show, we decided to try for an late afternoon snack/early dinner. I remembered that 13th St was closest, so we went down there. After poking around, we decided to land at Zavino.That proved to be a real winner. We were pre-dinner, so things were pretty quiet. The wine selection was good, not too pretentious. We had a few small dishes -- grilled peppers with salt and oil and burrata with a bit of fig jam and bread. Again the staff was friendly -- my wife started trading recipes with the the pasta maker behind the bar.

From there we roamed to Di Bruno's for cheese. One the way back to the car we made one last stop at Jamonera just to check it out. We tried a small plate of the ham croquettes (so small I wonder if they shorted the order). They lacked the pronounced flavor I was hoping for so I'm not sure I'd order that again.

By the end, we had a enjoyable enough time to realize that we should come up to Philadelphia more often. Thanks again for everyone's help!

Mar 13, 2012
zebcook in Philadelphia

Friday Lunch near Flower Show?

Two of us are coming up from B'more to the Flower Show on Friday and were looking for a good place for lunch that's reasonably in the area. Particulars are:

- Yes, I've searched the board but not knowing the city layout it's hard for me to sort out best suggestions.

-- We don't mind walking especially if the weather is good and there's interesting things to see on the way.

-- A place with good food, beer, and wine. We're fond of brewpubs, quirky places, local, spicy, charcuterie, low key, bistros, and so forth. Maybe not Mexican (because I lived in the SW too long) or standard bar food unless, of course, it's above standard.

-- We'll be hiking the flower show, so someplace comfortable and friendly is good. Formal places probably not so good. If there's a good bar we may linger.

-- Price is not an decider, though I have nothing against saving money.

A friend recommended Dandelion. The menu looks promising. Is it a good choice and are there other suggestions?

Thanks,

Zeb

Mar 06, 2012
zebcook in Philadelphia

Saturday lunch spot needed - Baltimore area

I'd agree that Dogwood is a good choice. Gertrude's has the advantage of location if the weather is good.

Good Caribbean-style hot sauce?

Sounds like what you want is Lotties Hot Pepper Sauce. Made in Barbados -- mustard, scotch bonnets, tumeric, onions, vinegar, garlic. You can find it online or in a well-stocked hot sauce shop (usually).

Top ten favorite things to eat (and where to get them) in Baltimore

The Rustic Gourmet is a storefront for the folks (same name) you find serving Indian dishes at the farmer's markets around town.