Friday, July 24, 2009

Owl Beer

Spotted this owl beer at Well's Liquor last night in Towson. Anybody ever tried this? It appears to be japanese. Either way, I am in love with the logo.

Owls make great beer spokesmen.

After some interweb perusal, I found that Gracie at Design Sponge - one of my top 5 favorite blogs - scooped me on these darling beers a mere 3 years ago. So what? I'm a little late to the party; but that's cause I'm in Baltimore...what are you gonna do :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Belvedere Square Market

Ugh. This place is HEAVEN. I have been in Baltimore for nearly 7 years now and never have I ever set foot in the Market side of Belvedere Square. Why did no one spend more time raving about this place?! Belvedere Square is a collection of restaurants and boutiques, tucked away near the corner of Northern Pkwy and York Rd. So I have spend multiple Sunday mornings "in the square" at Ryan's Daughter for their brunch; but never in the actual Market. Little did I know what I was missing :)

Look at this lunch. This is why I eat. Neopol Smoked Salmon Salad with Ceriello Grilled Vegetables on a bed of greens for lunch! I couldn't decide on a single dish from just one seller so I chose some sauteed veggies from the prepared foods case at Ceriello (sorta expensive- $9/lb) and then opted for a half portion smoked salmon salad from Neopol. A harmonious blend of flavors and was actually very filling. I can't even fathom finishing the full portion of this. The smoked salmon salad may seem like a foreign concept but it works, seriously. The salmon is smoked on premise and then mixed with a light amount of mayo, herbs and some standard seasonings to make for a delicious salad. The texture was not off putting as one might find mushy fish to be.

Looking forward to my next lunch break at the Market. But next time, I will be sure to leave room for dessert from one of the other neighborly vendors.

Here's a short list of the Market sellers in case anyone's interested. I hope to sample something from each at some point before...I leave Baltimore?


Excellent artisan baked goods, soups and sandwiches...expensive but worth it.

Bon Bon's
Ice cream and sweet treats.

Ceriello Fine Foods
Italian grocery with a fabulous prepared foods selection...fresh mozz and homemade bottled sauces for sale!

Earth's Essence
Don't know...didn't stop by but I'm sure it's good.

Farmstead Cheese
Fromagerie, associated with Atwater's. J'adore fromage!

Grand Cru
Darling wine bar. Very low key and unpretentious looking.

Ikan Seafood & Sushi
Everybody needs a sushi joint.

Market Bakery
More Atwater's affiliates...specialty bakery with gourmet tea & coffee.

Planet Produce
Fresh produce I presume.

Neopol Savory Smokery
I dream about their cheese spreads; the presentation is beyond adorable. (see below)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Starling Diner

Starling Diner
4114 E. Third St.
Long Beach, CA
(562) 433-2041

I first found Starling Diner while driving through town with my mom situated amidst a low key residential street. The window treatment was quaint with crafty details. I said immediately- "We have to go there". I could tell it was my kind of place, specializing in breakfasts, baked goods and hearty sandwiches; no need for frilly dramatic dinner menus. We finally go for breakfast nearing the end of my vacation and it was oh so worth it. I was EXTRA hungry following an early morning spinning class and swim. This proved helpful as it allowed me to sample more from their rich selections. I started with an excellent "baked every morning scone" with a decadent house-made lemon curd and butter on the side. This was devoured immediately.

The menu was concise which made ordering a breeze. I get anxious when menus are noticeably overworked. Starling capitalizes on their simplicity with a no nonsense and well rounded menu. I chose the smoked salmon dish, pictured above. Sauteed spinach and smoked salmon came topped with delicately poached eggs and some other frou frou items (chopped tomatoes and sprouts) obscuring the dish a bit in the pic. Side of potatoes were just crispy enough and not overly greasy. Twas a lovely breakfast; salmon was fresh as can be, not the slimy packaged type and melded well with the sauteed spinach. Eggs were pretty standard, although...I have never made a decent poached egg so kudos to all that are able to successfully do this cause they taste great!

Mom got the breakfast polenta starter. No it is NOT an ice cream sundae as it may appear to be, although it was pretty intense for a breakfast dish. I have only had polenta served in a savory context or fried in a cake. This sweetened version with cream tasted almost like tapioca but with small flavorful grains. Yum! Looking forward to my next Starling Diner meal; I've heard there french toast is to DIE FOR.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Friendly Otacon attendees pose for a shot on St Paul on their way to the Convention Center for this years event. Strange how Baltimore transforms during this busy weekend; with the hipsters up north for Artscape and the nerdy types further south for Otacon, there is no denying the Charm in this city.

Artscape Happenings

My coworker and NEW friend, Erin makes an appearance on my electrifying blog. She has now utilized 5 of her 15 minutes of fame. Our excursion led to many Smalltimore moments; ranging from old high school sweethearts to foes alike :)
People walking on Charles.
Art cars...this particular one tickled my fancy. My fav from last year wasn't there; the one that has dancing lobsters and fish? Oh well, this'll do.
Stilt women. There were a lot.
A bit further down Charles, there was a healthy collection of food vendors; ranging from the fantabulous falafel fellows from the JFX Farmer's Market to the eccentric smoothie entrepreneurs from Wheely Good Smoothies...details below.
Ok. Best idea ever. Who needs blenders to mix your smoothies when you can have quirky MICA students build bike contraptions that blend your smoothies FOR you with your own leg power. Leave it to Baltimore! Check the name- "Wheely Good Smoothies" ha. Check the smoothie prices too...yikes! 50 extra cents if you have an employee "blend" it for you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Native Foods in California

Native Foods
Westwood Village
1110 1/2 Gayley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 209-1055

During our trek to Ventura from Long Beach, my mother and I decided to stop off at a vegan-friendly, organic lunch chain in Westwood, near UCLA. Native Foods have a couple locations throughout CA and came highly recommended on Yelp when searching the area on my iPhone for healthy food options. The location was small with two seperate areas for take-out and sit-in diners. The ordering scenario is very Pei Wei-ish or Noodles & Co. style; you order and pay up front at the register, then are issued a number and the food is then brought to you at your table. I like this system as it is usually pretty efficient, but the kitchen staff here were definitely on "California time" when sending dishes out...

All our food came out at the same time; including our appetizer. Eh. No biggie I guess. I figured my Ensalada Azteca would not be filling enough so I added the Awesome Threesome app, pictured above which consisted of hummus, a tomato bruschetta, and grilled flatbread. The sauces were a bit on the oily side but the bread was nice and crispy and just what I needed.

Here is my pretty Azteca Ensalada, suggested by the cashier as supposedly their most popular dish. was a little lackluster for me, but that doesn't mean I didn't finish the whole thing. No surprises there. The ingredients were fresh no doubt but the combinations didn't seem to jive. Just a few too many ingredients and textures, especially when you incorporate jicama fruit which is so tough and bland flavored. Mostly, I was just jealous of my mom's selection so I resented my choice the whole time knowing how good her hot bowl on :)
Mom went for the Ghandi Bowl which blew me a way with its flavorful steamed veggies, tart dried cranberries and aromatic Jasmine and brown rice. The heat from the curry sauce was subtle and gave the dish just enough moisture; the grilled tempeh added heartiness and substance to an otherwise relatively light dish. As you can see, mom is posing like Ghandi would have had he eaten his namesake something.

Overall a worthwhile pit stop. If you are looking for a quick bite this might not be the place, but if you have a smidge of extra time it's a solid option. I especially loved watching our food get assembled from our 2nd floor perch atop the kitchen. (pictured top)

OH! A must mention; the gratis water came flavored with fresh lemons and limes. This trend I noticed was more typical than not in California cafe style establishments, perhaps because natural California tap water is icky tasting, either way I totally dug it.

Venice, CA

monsters I found.

Groundworks Coffee Shop.
intense handlebars.

Traveling Feet

Back porch lounging. Mt Vernon-Baltimore, Maryland

Naps on the Beach. Ventura Beach, California

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

Philly Weekend: Farmicia Restaurant

Farmicia Restaurant
15 S. 3rd Street
Old City, Philadelphia

Great food. Enough said.