Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crafts, Food, & Sugarloaf!

Sugarloaf Craft Festival
Oct 2-4
Maryland State Fairgrounds

The Crafty season is upon us. What does that mean exactly? When I think of Fall, I think of making crafts in my living room with my mom. Carving pumpkins? Glitter, glue sticks and pipe cleaners? Maybe that's just me...

Sugarloaf Craft Festival is this weekend in Timonium. I doubt there will be the same kiddy type crafts that I dabbled with in my youth...since it is a juried craft fair, but creative art, food and fun will be abundant!

Comment on this post if you would like free tix :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DC Dining - Farm to Table

Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-8783

Finally made it out to the District for brunch with Saki prior to her departure :(

She had been raving about the flavorful cuisine at Founding Farmers since our trip to Woodberry Kitchen for dinner together a couple weeks earlier. Both restaurants boast locally sourced vendors for just about everything; just check the menus for farm locations. Founding Farmer's takes environmental stewardship a step further in gaining LEED gold certification for their restaurant space. And what a lovely space it is! Situated right downtown at the bottom of what appears to be an office building, is an open dining room and bar full of crafty wood tables and wrought iron light fixtures, large windows from floor to ceiling let in more than enough light. We were initially seated in a corner two-top but opted to be swapped to the family style table next to the bar. Much better vantage point for people watching.

So the menu was gargantuous and slightly overwhelming, especially when our waiter brought out the lunch menu too. I dived right into the brunch cocktails. Saki had a spicy bloody mary and I went for some sort of libation with Absinthe... Yikes! Well they brought me the wrong drink which ended up being okay cause he let us sample it regardless. Oh and it was goooood. If only I had taken notes so I could tell you what it was! Nava? Something sweet with a warm brandy after bite.

Moving on. Saki new off the bat that we had to start with the skillet corn bread; an item found on the lunch menu but worked perfectly with our brunch. good. We cut it into slices after smothering the crispy top with butter and honey. Bread was light and moist and ridiculously addictive.

Our brunch selections do look beautiful. But...honestly? They were a little lackluster. I figured an Eggs Benedict would be a solid choice. It being such a traditional selection I envisioned the local spinach, tomatoes, creamy hollandaise sauce and homemade english muffins would catapult the dish into a new stratusphere but instead the veggies were mealy, the sauce bland, BUT the muffins were impeccable...full of buttery goodness and sopped up the egg remains nicely. My side of grits were eh. I almost didn't even clear my plate! But, then I did cause I have never NOT cleared my plate. But, I definitely thought about it this time.
Saki's spherical delight (don't you love how they poach the eggs?) was an interpretation of a skillet "hash" with cornbeef, grilled potatoes and two poached eggs. Turns out if you select the eggs poached instead of scrambled, the hash ends up pretty dry. The poached eggs didn't provide nearly enough moisture once mixed in. Perhaps with the scrambled option, the dish would have been more composed or casserole-like. At least that's what we were expecting.

Although the two brunch entrees may have not been what we were expecting, the experience more than made up for it. The service was stellar, the ambiance was creative and inviting and the prices weren't outlandish. Saki has gone back several times for lunch, dinner and drinks and has had no complaints. I definitely plan on making a second visit...the burger and shortribs are calling my name.

PS- Definitely a close call to Woodberry Kitchen. Nothing beats Woodberry's outdoor seating, rustic decor and decadent dishes...Founding Farmer's will play second fiddle until I have a chance to go back and sample more.

Back to Baltimore!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Magic of Wegmans

fruit tarts galore
olive bar

122 Shawan Road
Hunt Valley, MD 21030

Anyone that ever said they hate grocery shopping obviously have never been to a Wegmans. I finally made time for my first Wegmans adventure this past weekend out in Hunt Valley as I happened to be in the area for a 5K race in the McCormick business district.

This place is indescribable. I have had plenty of conversations about how awe inspiring the Wegmans experience can be but I couldn't grasp the magnitude until this first shopping trip. I plan on making an extra effort to travel the 20 minutes out to Hunt Valley at least once a month to explore the awesomeness of Wegmans. Be sure to give yourself at least 2 solid hours of shopping. Make sure you bring recipes for ridiculously exotic dishes you never thought you would be able to find the ingredients for; especially all at one location because you will find them here.

The international food section was phenomenal; from the japanese seaweed rolls and pocky candy to the Goya wall of goodness. The Health Foods section is like a mini Trader Joes within the Wegmans Temple of Food. A sundry of Paul Newman snacks, bulk food, and gluten-free options. The list goes on. Best of all, the bakery stole my heart. As I waltzed down the floury aisles, I found freshly baked rosemary rolls, olive loafs and multigrain flatbreads. The pastries appeared to rival any local patisserie; I didn't try them but they were beautifully done. Unreal. AND the employees were all so pleasant. From the cashier to the customer service rep that helped me find my cell phone I left in the bread aisle. Can't wait to buy more groceries!