Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vaccaro's Overload

222 Albemarle Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

With my big move looming, it was imperative that I make it to Vaccaro's for their Monday night All You Can Eat dessert and coffee special. I have seen this advertised for the last four years I have been in Baltimore and have been aching to experience the sheer gluttony first hand. I finally made the effort yesterday, and met up with Britta for an after dinner binge fest.

The special is only available Monday's from 6-9. It can sometimes be extremely busy so opt to get there early. I had planned on doing my weekly Monday run with the Fed Hill group at 6:30 so I cut the run slightly short and made it to Vaccaro's by 7:15 or so. Nothing like a decent run before a gorge fest. The website features the special at $12.95 but pricing has gone up to $15.50 which seems like a lot but ends up being worth it if you make sure to drink and eat enough, which I certainly did.

I started with a decent portion of traditional Tiramisu (as opposed to the amaretto option) and a double espresso. So yummy. The lady fingers were moist and flavorful.

Tiramisu dish COMPLETE.

Round 2 consisted of the Vaccaro's Sampler; vanilla and chocolate cannolis, almond cookie, pignoli cookie, butter ball, and cream puffs. I wasn't as impressed with this assortment as I was with the Tiramisu. Maybe that's because I was sickly full after the Tiramisu but still pressed on.

Sampler attempt fell short as I left a decent portion of the cream puffs and cookies. I tried my best though :)

Britta also went for the All You Can Eat but was a little more conservative with her selections. She definitely got her moneys worth by ordering to Vaccaro's style cappucinos and the Death by Chocolate cannoli cake with chocolate gelato. It was absolutely enormous and unfortunately, even with the two of us chipping away, we could not conquer this behometh dish.

All in all, definitely worth it for a special occasion. Make sure to skip dinner so you have more room but keep in mind you will be staying up pretty late due to sugar and caffiene overload. Yikes!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Coming and Going

Mt. Vernon park and washington monument will be replaced with...
Downtown Takoma Park and the landmarks of my youth...

To all of my loyal blog readers, I am posting to inform you that as "okay" Baltimore has been over the last 3 and a half years, it is time for me to say goodbye. I have accepted a new position that will require me to relocate to the metropolitan area (DC/NOVA) and I must leave my Mt. Vernon sanctuary to brave the streets of the nation's capitol. This has been a bitter sweet decision for me because, although I am SUPER STOKED about my new position, I will dearly miss all that I have come to call home here in Baltimore. Of course, I am more than comfortable with my soon to be new digs since I grew up in the Takoma Park/Silver Spring area. So in essence, this will be a bit of a homecoming...more so because I will actually be living at home. Yeah, really cool, I know. This is a temporary stop gap for me to save money and get acclimated before I find an affordable place with a cool new roomie :)

Some of the things that come to mind that I will miss...
Zeke's coffee at the JFX Farmer's market on Sunday mornings...
Iggie's pizza as often as possible...
night caps at midtown yacht club and Sunday morning brunch buffets...
wednesday night runs with the Iggie's running club...
team thats what she said and Ryan's awesome ability to rally all of Baltimore's runners...
my 5 mile stadium run through Camden Yards and Ravens Stadium...
morning runs with McVets no matter how cold and how tired I might have been...
trips to canton dog park with the pups and my boyfriend...
working with such amazing and positive people at Friends...
my tremendously fantastic Friends School XC team...
being able to walk everywhere...
being able to run everywhere...
I will miss everything. Baltimore and my life here has been way better than okay...

I don't think this necessarily means I will cease blogging...nor do I have plans to rename the blog. I will continue to critique and comment on events, restaurants and general happenings that I stumble upon wherever they may be. I only hope to be as influenced and affected by my new/old environment. Until then...

Ciao Baltimore.

Autumn Cravings

Farmer's Market Butternut Squash Soup with yellow zucchini, caramelized onions, and a garnish of toasted pine nuts, sour cream, and turkey bacon.

So, this seriously was the most simple and rewarding dish I have EVER made. Here's the quick breakdown of my make-shift recipe-

1 Butternut Squash- peeled and cubed
1 other squash, etc- I happened to have a zucchini or two, that seemed to work fine (cubed)
**Next time, I would love to add chic peas. Great texture and would add lots of depth**
1 red onion- half sliced and added to broth, other half to be sauteed with brown sugar and butter
4-5 slices of turkey bacon- to be cooked with the onions as they caramelize
1 package of vegetable broth
some pine nuts, or something to add extra crunch...
dollop of sour cream
oh yeah, some nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper for the simmering broth and veggies

1) Add cubed squash, zucchini, onions and seasonings to vegetable broth in pot of sorts. Let simmer on low for as long as needed for contents to soften.
2) Simultaneously, caramelize onions in skillet. As they sauté in butter and brown sugar, add bacon strips to skillet.
3) Once veggies in pot are soft, start MASHING. No need to puree or emulsify anything, just take any old kitchen utensil and smush those veggies until the soup thickens and becomes smoother.
4) I am not a fan of perfectly smooth soups, reminds me too much of a juice from concentrate or something. I like to leave a bit of texture in the soup, so I stop mashing once I am satisfied with the consistency.
5) Add bacon and caramelized onions to bowl once prepped. Dollop of sour cream and pine nuts added for garnish.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkins Galore

Stopped by Harbor East with Ross in the poopy weather for a free burger at Elevation Burger and a matinee of Where the Wild Things Are at Landmark. Stumbled upon some Halloween festivities which included live music by a local favorite, The Crawdaddies, face painting, scarecrows on stilts, and a couple of middle aged witches. Very kid-friendly, which meant I enjoyed myself. Here are some pretty pumpkins I spotted.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bmore Run Fest/Burger Binge

What do you follow up with after taking part in the largest Running event in Baltimore? Eat! A lot! Well, that's what I did. This past weekend was the Baltimore Running Festival, a gigantic event that brings a ton of publicity and tourism to our city that is "okay"... The fest consists of a full marathon, half marathon, team relay and 5K. For the third year, I have participated in the team coed relay and for two straight years we have been victorious! It is so much fun and makes eating as much as I do not feel quite as bad.

After sticking around at the finish line area for a bit, my fellow relay mate and some friends needed some post-race nourishment. To my surprise and excitement, it was settled we would rendez-vous after showering, at Abbey Burger Bistro in Fed Hill. I had been craving a beer and a burger The Abbey seemed to be a solid choice...seeing as they specialized in burgers...and beer.

They were packed, lots of other race participants, most of which didn't have the luxury of going home and showering. The staff was very accomodating and even tolerated us huddling by a smaller table near their entry way until a larger table opened up. Drink specials were available; a couple lagers at $2 and $3, not bad.

What enticed me most on the menu was the Build a Burger option available. Similar to my experiences at the Counter in California; a form is provided on a clipboard (part of the kitsch factor) and categories are broken out with check boxes next to the available options for your sandwich concoction. You can customize your burger all the way down to the type of aioli sauce! The options weren't too overwhelming and my eyes went straight to the desired items. Pretzel bun, turkey burger, avocado, homemade mustard with whole mustard seeds, fresh lettuce and tomato and my favorite-the dill yogurt sauce (sounds weird but super yummy for homemade chip dipping- served on the side as requested). The burger was tender and just the right size. I really liked it. The presentation was cute with the traditional toothpick and olive, and the accompanying chips were prepared nice and crispy even amongst the burger juice.

A friend had ordered the "Waffle nachos" from the appetizer menu and didn't realize that it was going to be served with waffle fries instead of nachos. Uhhh...duh. Her bad. None of us got to try this loveliness but I figured I'd still snap a shot before it was sent back. I definitely would have housed it.

Abbey Burger Bistro
1041 Marshall Street, Fed Hill

Sunday, October 04, 2009

St Paul Food Mart

Who knew you could find traditional Indian food ingredients at your local food mart?

Mere blocks from our humble abode in Mt Vernon, Ross and I have stumbled upon a quick-stop that stocks not only the best Ben and Jerry's selection in downtown Baltimore- I'm talking all the newest flavors, marzipan madness and all the oldies too- but also a sundry of Indian food ingredients! I've never prepared Indian fare but I certainly eat it and if I were to ever cook Indian food, perhaps I would consider purchasing my ingredients here. Pretty authentic stuff. I couldn't tell you exactly what they were selling...beans and grains of some sort? Also pictured, Bakar Khani? Maybe I'll investigate more...

St Paul Food Mart is located just up St Paul near Read St and the Spotlight Theatre. Good stuff.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Random Thought

Halloween inspired dinner...

Bratwurst sauteed in Pumpkin beer with mashed sweet potatoes and sauerkraut.

Someone make this.

Happy Halloween.