31 December 2010

Top 10 Most Memorable Bites Eating Out 2010

Every food blogger loves to do top 10 lists at this time of year, so here's mine! Now, realize that these aren't necessarily the BEST bites of 2010, I ate so many damned awesome places this year that actually ranking them would be an impossible task. These are the nummy bites that stick out in my memory for one reason or another.

30 December 2010

Two Dorks, One Apple Day 2

The beginning of our second day in NYC landed us at Loncada Verde for brunch. I tossed around a few other brunch options (Shopsin’s and Public) but in the end I chose LV because I wanted to treat my brother to something a bit more elegant.

After braving the face-numbingly glacial blasts of TriBeCa we put our name in with the hostess and nabbed two spots at the bar just as another couple was paying their check. We pondered dining at the bar, but in the end we waited it out for a table of our own.

18 December 2010

Two Dorks, One Apple

I wanted to visit NYC again before the year came to it’s stunning conclusion so since my father-centric visit went so well I offered to do the same for my retarded older brother. After conversing with his better half he gave the go ahead to start planning it all out for him, which I happily spent hours doing. After securing bus tickets and hotel reservations the much anticipated day (Saturday, Dec. 4th) had finally arrived. My bus from Baltimore arrived at 11am and his bus from Philly arrived an hour later and I knew the perfect way to kill an hour. I hopped off my double-decker megabus at 28th and 7th Ave. and made my way a few short blocks to Stumptown Coffee located in the Ace Hotel on 29th St.

11 December 2010

1st Anniversary Road-trip Day 9: Homeward Bound

Shadow is a cooler name than Chance, but I don't want to be the old dude. I guess the wife is Sassy. Anyway, whilst still in the midst of an ice cream coma we packed up our things and said goodbye to Boston. We had one more stop before leaving the city proper--Flour Bakery.

I'd had my mind set on trying their sticky buns after they slaughtered Bobby Flay on his show Throwdown! which he then went on to rave about on Best Thing I Ever Ate.  We were doubly interested after realizing she covers them in self-proclaimed GOOOOO. We had to have these things in our belly. Even after showing up balls early on a Saturday there was still a line to the door. I guess that's the result of positive publicity from Food Network (among many other publications).

27 November 2010

1st Anniversary Road-trip Day 8

As you could probably tell from my last post, this series has been wearing me pretty thin. So, I've decided to give you the last two days of eating with minimalistic (for me) details thrown in so that I don't leave you completely in the dark (although that's probably where you like it, in the dark, so you can do your dirty deeds, done dirt cheap no less).

Before leaving Portland we had to score a heaping pile of those sweet almond croissants from Standard Baking Co. before we left.

Who don't love some good old goo?
They were literally right out of the oven, they hadn't even topped them with powdered sugar yet, but we didn't care, we just wanted the gushing almond gooooooooo. Goo.

20 November 2010

A Weekend of Alliteration and Canning Tuna

Yeah, so it's 1:30pm on a Friday and I have off (gotta love that government RDO) so I decided to crack open a beer and do some bloggin'. Yeah, that's right I'm drinking during the day on a weekday. You got a problem with that? I have a whole damn fridge full of beer left over from my 3rd Annual Chilly Chile Chili Throwdown this past weekend, which I of course won. Who else took home the ultra-fabulous prizes I give out you ask? Well I shall tells ye, I shall!

The Weiners
From left to right that's J, yours truly, A, and N. I won, but since the grand prize was a priceless Micro family heirloom--a hand-carved wooden llama's head--I couldn't award it to myself, so the prize was given to the runner-up, J. A there won the hottest chili so she was given a hampster to plug her raging asshole with (I figured if she needed a butt plug that night, she might as well enjoy it) and N won the gag prize for the worst overall chili. I bestowed upon her fake teeth that resemble my own since I could think of no worse punishment then to have teeth like mine.

13 November 2010

1st Anniversary Road-trip Day 7

I want to start this post with a quote from Homer Simpson’s high school year book: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Yes, that was the primary theme for Day 7 of our road-trip--our first full day in Portland.

I’d reserved a 2-hour Schooner Tour of Casco Bay for a nice start to our day so I was thrilled to find that Standard Baking Company was a short walk from the pier. Unfortunately, I was a tad skeptical after our so-so dinner at Fore Street (they’re owned by the same restaurant group) the night before, but nevertheless I had a hankerin’ for baked goodies.

31 October 2010

1st Anniversary Road-trip Day 6

Unfortunately Day 6 wasn’t nearly as awesome as Day 5. Our day began with yet another lovely complimentary breakfast in the sun room of our B&B. This time around the menu featured fresh pear juice served in a glass with a sugared rim and smoked salmon eggs benedict served with asparagus and fresh fruit.

Nice rimjob
Pretty colors

27 October 2010

Philly With the Phamily

A couple points before I begin.  First of all, I'm not going to bother censoring myself anymore.  If you don't want to read the words fuckballs and cockgobbler then there are plenty of other food blogs you can go read. I figured it would turn some people off, but take a look at the Chicago Gluttons.  Yeah, I'm pretty tame compared to those guys.  I love them, their most recent post was quite hilarious.

Secondly I just wanted to apologize for the huge alternating sections of text and photos.  As usual blogger is being a complete piece of shit and if I don't add every photo I upload then they disappear, and I'm just not in the mood to upload them all individually.  Blogger you suck!  Now that we have that cleared up, on to the show...

Our little family day-trip to Philly started off great. Some retard thought it would be a good idea to schedule roadwork on 95 North on a Saturday morning causing a 4 mile back up while our bus driver couldn’t decide if he wanted to roast our asses to a crisp by blasting the heat or give us all hypothermia by cranking the A/C. We arrived at 30th Street Station an hour and a half later than we’d planned, soaked in our own sweat and numb from the waist down. Let the eating begin.

23 October 2010

A Post of a Different Feather

I know this is a food blog, and while there’s nothing much else I enjoy more than discussing food in all its forms, I feel like this blog is an outlet for me as well. Some acquaintances read regularly. Some give it a passing glance never to return, while others might give it a quick read after finding a link through Urbanspoon. While I’m still plugging away on my road-trip posts (they’ve been a daunting task to say the least), I’m going to branch out and go a little emo on you. All over your olives, and up in your eyes. Now you can't see. Bitch. (Bloodninja is my hero)

12 October 2010

1st Anniversary Road-Trip Day 5

Oh Day 5, how you will always hold a special place in my heart. This day was sheer nuts. Mr. Planters ain't got sh*t on Day 5. When I think about how much stuff we crammed into it, I'm not sure whether to smile or blow lunch. Why? Well I'll tell you. (He's going to tell! He's going to tell! He's going to tell!...) I'm not really sure why I put in such obscure nerd references into my writing, I seriously doubt anyone gets them. Self-amusement I guess.Contrary to what you may think, Day 5 did not start out with a three-course breakfast at our B&B. We had to be on the road early so I chomped down a Clif Bar and the Mrs. had her leftover super cookies and we bolted out the door. The destination? Canyon Ste-Anne.

10 October 2010

Bluegrass Tavern with the Charm City Hounds

I attended my second Charm City Hounds dinner Thursday night at Bluegrass Tavern in Federal Hill. I hadn't heard too much about the restaurant, but after seeing the promised 5 course menu I was eagerly anticipating the meal. While I usually try to take detailed and accurate notes, at function such as this one I prefer to socialize with my fellow diners, discussing food in all it’s forms. So here is the menu we were served and some photos and a few short notes. While I felt no dish we had was perfect, no dish was a complete failure either. I wish I could’ve worded that sentence better, but no matter. On to the dishes!

27 September 2010

Gaps vs. City

My father is turning the ripe age of 55 today so for his birthday I offered to take him to NYC for the day. He hasn't been to NYC since before I was born so I felt like it was my duty to show him the best the city had to offer. Alright, that's not entirely true. He said no majorly touristy stuff (Empire State, Statue of Liberty, etc.) and that he wanted pizza. That was great because as you all know I don't care about seeing NYC, I care about eating NYC. And that's exactly what we did.

21 September 2010

1st Anniversary Road-Trip Day 4

Day 4 of our trip had us exploring Quebec City taking heed of the recommendations of our gracious host. We’d planned on checking out the Ile de Orleans for the better part of the day, but I honestly think we got a lot more out of staying in the city proper.

15 September 2010

1st Anniversary Road-Trip Day 3

We awoke Sunday morning with still-full bellies so we decided to pack everything up and prepare for our departure. I'd tossed around the idea of scrapping brunch in Montreal and just heading out for Quebec City, but once I started rattling off the few places I had in mind for brunch and what dishes they offered Mrs. Micro stopped me after I uttered the words sweet potato french toast. So apparently we were headed to Madre in Rosemont. This actually worked out well as we decided to walk there to work up an appetite. It would've been a great walk had it not been raining on and off the entire time. I did manage to get one great picture from the walk though:

05 September 2010

1st Anniversary Road-Trip Day 2

The next morning we headed straight for the Subway. I had our entire morning dedicated to eating our way through the Jean-Talon Market and we did just that. I wasn't overwhelmed when we got there, I knew just how big it was by the photos and reviews I'd read on-line. I was more than prepared to walk and munch for hours on end. Our first stop was Creperie du Marche for crepes.

01 September 2010

1st Anniversary Road-Trip Day 1

Holy hell where do I start? 9 days, 2 countries, and 4 cities eating all the way. Yes, my wife and I have just returned from our road-trip to celebrate our first anniversary and I am eager to tell you all about it. We spent 2 days in Montreal, 3 days in Quebec City, 2 days in Portland, ME, and one day in Boston. There were some fabulous surprises and some pretty disheartening disappointments, but overall I think this was the best food trip I've ever embarked on. We ate everything from fried whole-belly clams to blood sausage to lobster ceviche to tofu ice cream. And I'm going to tell you all about every single bite. Aren't you excited? I sure am. This is quite a daunting task, no doubt, but I think I'm up for the challenge. So let's begin, shall we?

24 August 2010

Mr. Micro's Top 10 NYC Bites (so far...)

As you are reading this, the Mrs. and I are on our first anniversary road-trip through Canada and New England.  So to provide you with some much needed Micro love while we're away, I've decided to post my top 10 bites that I've had in NYC up to this point in my relatively short food blogging career.  The only rule to this ranking is that only one bite could be chosen from any one venue.  I gotta spread the love around, ya dig?  I tried to rank these as best I could, the 10th spot being the absolute hardest to choose, so here we go:

17 August 2010

Tortas, falafel, and concretes, oh my!

I'm switching back to the old editor while I still can. The new one is so GD BUGGY I want to paint the walls with my brains. You'll see just how buggy it is in my next post. The spacing just won't cooperate so I gave up. What a P.O.S. So sorry, no more nifty photo captions.

Do you ever wonder just how mental I am about planning my food adventures? Here's a good example. Take a guess at how many places I planned to go for breakfast that Sunday. Let's see if I can remember them all. First it was Buttermilk Channel. Then it was Tom's Restaurant. No, make that Joyce Bakeshop. On second thought let's go to Bark Hot Dogs. Where did we finally end up going? None of the above. I need therapy.

After seeing NYC Food Guy's 200th post about a Mexican food tour in Sunset Park and seeing the post on Serious Eats about the Hawaiian Torta de Salchicha I marked Sunset Park down as a worthy food destination.

11 August 2010

Mo'betta, mo'pain, mo'pork

This trip was planned, re-planned, evaluated, re-evalutated and ultimately just tossed up into the air.  I research my food trips entirely too much.  It's a fact.  I seriously enjoy doing it, telling myself that it's always good to have options.  Well, it is.  But not this many options.  I guess in the end it's not really hurting anything, I do feel like it is time well spent.  It usually results in my consumption of some damn good grub too.  Now about that grub...

Our bus arrived in NYC at 8:30am on Saturday.  Our first stop was another trip to Shopsin's to see if it could blow me away for a second time.  We got there at about 9:10 and it was empty so we walked across the street to use the restroom at McD's and by the time we got back all but one table was full with regular's and we had to wait in line.  I didn't mind, luckily our itinerary for the day was pretty loose.  Last time we were given a table out in the open dining area, this time we were fortunate enough to be seated in the cozy cubby right by the kitchen.

03 August 2010

Chillin' with my homies Shirley, Nielsen, and Sephiroth

As I do with all of my culinary adventures, I'd been planning this day for a while.  The second I heard that Distant Worlds was coming to Wolf Trap I bought tickets.  I didn't even think about it.  It had to be done.  And what a spectacular show it turned out to be.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves, however.  There was much eating and adventuring to be done prior to the show.  Onward my gentle sirs!

Another thing I was eagerly anticipating about this day was having breakfast at Miss Shirley's in Roland Park.  As soon as I read their menu online I popped culinary wood.  Fried green tomatoes?  Funky Monkey Bread?  Creamy bacon grits?  Yes, please.  So after a short trip around 695 West and down 83 South we had arrived.  Here's a tip for all of you potential diners: If you drive a block past Miss Shirley's there's free parking at Spaghetti Eddie's which is owned by the same folks.  Hassle-free parking equals copious amounts of bonus points.

30 July 2010

The Chipophone!

As some of you may or may not know I'm not only obsessed with RPGs, but also RPG music (and video game music in general).  Tonight I'm going to see Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy and am uber, uber excited!  But that's not the reason for this post.  The reason for this post is to spread the knowledge about the awesomeness that is The Chipophone.  Every household should have one IMO.  Check it out:

The Chipophone

Until next time!  Starcraft 2 rocks!

26 July 2010

Birfday Shenanigans Pt. 3

For the third and final chapter of the epic saga that is my birthday celebration I threw one hell of a barbecue. The food was all fantastic, the highlight of which was when my sister-in-law said my potato salad was the best she'd ever had in her life.

Personally, I was responsible for pulled pork, spareribs, potato salad, and blueberry mojitos (I octupled my recipe to accommodate my guests). Friends and family provided the rest. A co-worker of mine brought an exceptionally good bok choy salad and my sister-in-law's raspberry pie nailed the spot between tart and sweet. Another co-worker bought me a pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies. During lunch one day at work after much deliberation I decided on a strawberry-rhubarb pie with crumb topping, which wasn't on their menu, but they happily said they could make. Strawberry-rhubarb is one of my favorite pies because of the play on sweet-tart. Unfortunately, it was just too sweet. I guess all pie places have to do to become ultra-popular is make insanely sweet pies. First it was Hoosier Mama and now Dangerously Delicious. Boo.

22 July 2010

Birfday Shenanigans Pt. 2

For my birthday dinner I decided to take a shot in the dark and try out the B&O American Brasserie in Hotel Monaco on North Charles Street.

17 July 2010

Birfday Shenanigans

Well this year I celebrated my birthday in a variety of ways.  Sunday my mom took me out for crabs at Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn.  On Wednesday, my actual birthday, a group of us went out for dinner at B&O American Brasserie.  Today I am hosting a barbecue at my house with a plethora of smoked goodies and sides.  Allow me to throw some details at your slack-jawed gaping facehole.

Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn was without a doubt the best crabs I've ever eaten at a restaurant.  At $62 a dozen they damn well better be!  Luckily I wasn't flipping the bill so I ate with gusto and fury.

11 July 2010

Ribs and Skydiving

Here's a more light-hearted post... fo dat ass.  I'm giving the "new" blogger posting format a try.  We'll see how successful it goes. 

A few weeks ago I had a little get together and I smoked my best ribs to date along with a big pitcher of Blueberry Mojitos and some Creole Potato Salad. The ribs and trimmings were on for 8.5 hours over Kingston briqs and apple chunks. I used the Texas Sugarless recipe here on TVWB and sprayed with AJ every 2 hours and basted with Andy Nelson's Bama BBQ Sauce at the end.

Temps held perfectly 215-225 all through the smoke, only rising up to 235 after being hit by direct sunlight.

04 July 2010

Micro.mantage: Playing Catch-up

Micro.mantage is another nifty little column I thought up that enables me to catch up on my backlog of blog material in a succinct and comprehensive manner complete with perty pictures. So without further ado, I bring you a big juicy micro.mantage.

02 July 2010

Et Cetera Eats in NYC

Now you may think all we ate while we were in NYC was BBQ. You'd be wrong. Come on, you know me better than that. Here's a rundown of the other goodies we sampled throughout the weekend.

After a stroll through High Line Park the Mrs. was determined to try Stand's Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake I'd raved so much about.

While I felt it lacked a little bit of the toastiness of the last trip, it was still ridiculously good. Mrs. Micro gave it her I-sucked-it-down-faster-than-anything-else-I've-ever-drank approval.

That's my favorite pic from the entire trip.

26 June 2010

2010 Big Apple BBQ Block Party

I'm going to test a different style of posting for a while and see how you/I like it (although I know in reality no one reads this thing). If you feel you like the much more long-winded and detailed posts or these shorter straight to the point posts please leave a reply in the comments section. Previous entries were done in story mode. Now we're switching to arcade mode. Please insert coin(s).

So, my wife and I attended the 2010 Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York City a few weekends ago. It was a really awesome experience and overall I was really pleased with it. We steered clear of the NY-based institutions because we can try their products anytime we're in the city. The lines were not nearly as bad as I'd expected (granted we had a speed pass) and we got to try some really great food. Here's the short of it:

My favorite main dishes:

- The BBQ Mutton from Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn in Owensboro, KY (my overall favorite item of the entire festival)
- The Whole-Hog Sandwich from The Pit in Raleigh, NC
- The Pulled Pork Sandwich from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL
- Honorable mention: The Western-Tennessee Style Whole-Hog Sandwich from Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville, TN

My favorite sides:

- Housemade Sweet Pickles from Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville, TN
- Pimento Cheese from Jim 'N Nick's in Birmingham, AL
- Baked Beans from 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, IL

The biggest disappointment:

- Hands down the Baby Back Ribs from 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, IL

18 June 2010

Raging the Windy City à la Wind God Gau Pt. 3

After putzing around the city for a while we finally worked up the stomach room to sip a few beers at The Map Room. The sign out front was easy to spot from far off and looked like... Well, it looks like something, doesn't it?

It's not my imagination right? You see it too? Good, we're on the same page then.

10 June 2010

Raging the Windy City à la Wind God Gau Pt. 2

After seeing Taste of Peru featured on DD&D and finding out that it was mere walking distance from M's place, I immediately added it to our itinerary. So we skipped breakfast and walked over to ToP on Saturday.

04 June 2010

Raging the Windy City à la Wind God Gau

That's right, I went, I saw, I ate it all. Did I see the city? No, not really. Did I eat the city? You're GD right I did. I planned out where I wanted to eat and then we figured out the rest on the fly. My good friend M moved out there a little over a year ago and was happy to cart me around, sampling some really great foodses. From the moment I stepped off of the plane on Thursday to when we pulled out of the parking lot at Johnnies Beef on Sunday, we pretty much ate non-stop. We sampled everything from elk sausage and foie gras to to Fruto de Cacao and Thit Nuong with a detour into the Lair of the Minotaur. What the hell am I talking about you ask? Are you salivating with anticipation yet? Well then, let's get right to it.

You may find yourself asking yourself this: Did Mr. Micro have a planned food map and itinerary and did he carry it on his person at all times? Why yes, I most certainly did. No true food obsessive visits a city for the first time without researching where he wants to eat for hours on end. Slow days at work meant researching where I wanted to eat in Chicago.

My flight landed at O'Hare at 9:10pm and after finding M and (getting used to his frighteningly thick black beard that would make even the most backwoods lumberjack green with envy) giving him a hearty greeting we hopped in his car and sped off to our first destination, a place I've been dying to go to ever since I saw it on DD&D: Kuma's MFing Corner!

25 May 2010

NYC April 2010: Burgers, Buns, and Bagels

At this point after checking out Economy Candy we decided to head back to A's pad to chill out and sober up. We played such games as Heavy Rain, God of War 3, and Whip Your Mother With A Wet Hose 2. I especially loved the latter, although it takes a long time to beat. After A's significant other returned from a short trip upstate we finally headed out for dinner. Our destination? We'd caught wind that Shake Shack on the UWS was serving their Bacon Peanut Butter Burger, which they call their PB Shake'N Bacon Burger, for one day only and we just had to check it, along with the Shack Stack and the pancakes and bacon custard, out.

18 May 2010

NYC April 2010: Tapas Dinner and Bottomless Brunch

After our round of milkshakes at Stand we headed over to Union Square to get in line for rush tickets for the 8pm show of Fuerza Bruta. Yes, after hearing me rave about it so much my friends were very interested in checking it out for themselves. Well G was anyway, A proclaimed he wasn't much a fan of the performing arts. Little did he know that would change after the show.

After obtaining our tickets A suggested we see if there was a wait at one of his favorite restaurants in the city which just happened to be a few short blocks away: Pipa Tapas y Mas. Luck was with us that day as we were seated immediately. A had talked this place up quite a bit so I had some pretty high expectations, even more so since my favorite restaurant in Baltimore is also a tapas joint. I was very curious to see if Pipa would top Pazo. Unfortunately, in most cases, it didn't.

02 May 2010

NYC April 2010: Old Favorites and New

I researched the hell out of this trip (as I always do) and had some great places lined up to try. While we didn't get to hit all of the spots, I'm very pleased with how this trip went, the highlights being some of the best things I've eaten to date. Our bus was running a tad late and we arrived in NYC about 30 minutes late. I had reservations at Lupa but we decided to skip them since we were already running behind. Luckily I had backup plans as I wasn't traveling alone. I had three places in mind for late night eats and left it up to my man G to decide where to go. I gave him the options of Co. Pizza, Sushi Seki, and the famous Halal cart on 53rd & 6th. He chose the closest option which was great because we were starving. So, we made a beeline for Co. at W 24th and 9th.

26 April 2010

2010 NYC Pizza Conquest Part 2

Our initial itinerary had us going to Motorino East Village next and then finishing the trip with a final stop at Keste. We hadn't included a stop to Paulie Gee's simply due to the fact that his establishment didn't open until 6pm and we needed to be at Penn Station for our return bus trip no later than 7pm. But Paulie being the very gracious man that he is, opened early and had us all over for a private pizza tasting. How was the pie? I'll be honest, for me it was very hit or miss, but the hits were definitely homers. The full breakdown of Paulie Gee's and our final stop at Motorino East Village after the jump.

17 April 2010

2010 New York City Pizza Conquest: Part 1

When I recieved an email from my fellow Baltimore-based food blogger pizzablogger I couldnt've been more surprised. I was already in the thick of planning a pizza tour for when I visit my friend in East Harlem this week. But this email sidelined that idea. He wanted to do a weekday pizza eating tour of NYC and you know I love food tours. It was all I needed to hear, a quick trip to the megabus website to secure a bus ticket and I was set.

The itinerary? DiFara, which I'd already had a less than pleasant experience at, Totonno's of Coney Island, Motorino East Village, with a final stop at Keste. Little did we know a wholly pleasant and unexpected wrench would be thrown into the spokes of our trip resulting in one of the most unique and pleasant food experiences I've had to date. April 15th, 2010 would forever be remembered as the 2010 NYC Pizza Conquest. That title may have to be changed slightly as we've already got plans for another trip in the works. Yep, that's how we roll. Keep reading to find all the cheesy details.

14 April 2010

Matchbox and Caps with a bunch of Donks

While I don't really publicize it that much, I've always been a hockey fan. When I was growing up my favorite player was Pavel Bure so naturally I was a Vancouver Canucks fan. After he retired I really enjoyed watching the amazing lineup of the Detriot Redwings, so I followed them for a number of years. After all of my favorite players on Detroit retired or went to other teams I was kind of in a rut as most of my hockey-watching buddies grew out of the sport, largely due to the 2004-05 Lockout. So I was in the market for a new team and luckily our home team (since Baltimore doesn't have a hockey team) the Washington Capitals had acquired a lot of new young talent and I met a bunch of guys at my new job who were fanatic Caps fans. So we jumped on the first opportunity to go to a game together. I, of course, looked into a place we could pre-game and landed on Matchbox, which was a few short blocks from the Verizon Center. We had some nosebleed seats for the last game of the season hosting the Boston Bruins. But before I get ahead of myself, we must first discuss the food!

09 April 2010

This Dark Horse should be put down

As soon as I caught wind about the Carolina barbecue/tex-mex themed menu of the Dark Horse Saloon (originally titled the Stranger's Pub) I caught wood. I'd been counting the days until it's grand opening in early-March. Barbecue and Nuevo-Tex-Mex fusion is most certainly a type of cuisine I'm very passionate about, and I was uber-excited to try a local chef's take. I was able to find a few more details about the chef's crudentials on the great local blog Bel Air News and Views and was also excited to see that the food was positively reviewed there. So I invited a few friends out to try as much of their menu as we could for lunch a few Sundays ago.

02 April 2010

Feast your eyes on my meat

Sorry I haven't been updating this like a good blogger, but with the change in weather we've been trying to get things done around the house, plus the warm weather social life is starting to kick in.

I've also been busy planning two food-centric trips to NYC (one of which is a pizza tour with my fellow blogger friend pizzablogger) and one to Chicago as well as our first anniversary road-trip which will include Montreal, Quebec City, Portland, ME, and Boston. Yes, lots of planning and food research is involved. Suggestions welcome. I'm leaving the non-food-related stuff to the Mrs. although I did manage to score front row center tickets to Cirque de Soleil in Quebec. I'm pretty stoked about that.

21 March 2010

Baltimore Foodies: Tequila Tasting at Miguel's

The most recent Baltimore Foodies event we attended was a tequila tasting dinner at Miguel's Cocina y Cantina in the newly renovated Silo Point. I choose not to take notes at these functions so I can focus on enjoying good food with a group of like-minded individuals so, again, the details will be a tad sparse. It took a little navigating after we found parking, but when I spotted Spanish writing from afar I knew we'd found it. I will admit that my dad opened the door into the kitchen thinking it was the front door. Apparently we weren't the only ones for it was a hot topic of conversation throughout the night.

06 March 2010

An impromptu feast at Lebanese Taverna

After a nice long grueling session of giant slaughtering, my D&D buddies and I on a whim decided to make some spur of the moment dinner plans. Luckily, we were within walking distance of about 90 great restaurants so it wasn't much of a challenge to obtain some terrific grub. Our destination (if you couldn't tell from the title of the post) was Lebanese Taverna. I didn't have my camera on me, but fortunately for you guys my friends let me borrow their shiny new (and much more snazzy) one. This isn't really apparent in the resulting images because, unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to actually learn how to use the thing. Did the pictures turn out better or worse than usual? You tell me.

28 February 2010

Ain't it perty?

My blog got a shiny new custom template thanks to my friend Kathy. I'm still tweaking it, but leave a comment and let me know what you think!

26 February 2010

Reubens & Cubans: Atwater's plus more!

Reubens & Cubans is a column I've been wanting to start ever since I've been on my most recent culinary kick: sandwiches. This column will exclude burgers as I consider them in a realm all their own. A realm ruled by dragons... and robots. No wait, robotic cyborg-dragons! Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. And ninjas. You know I love me some burgers so they'll have posts solely dedicated to them. See what I do for you, burgers? You'd better put out when I'm in the mood... for meat. Big honkin' heaps of meat.

Since I've become a "foodie" I've gone through various phases of being obsessed with cooking/eating certain dishes or cuisines. From memory my phases of obsession went something like curries, then tex-mex, chili, barbecue, fish tacos, burgers, and now straight up sandwiches. My newest infatuation is the reuben, hence the title of this column. This is a prime example of how my tastes have done a complete 180 since I was a kid. Growing up I hated sauerkraut, rye, and swiss! Now I'm completely entranced by the marriage of flavors encased in a reuben sandwich. But I digress this post doesn't involve a reuben (although there will be one in the very near future). This is about Atwater's with a bonus review of the awesomeness that is the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Cockeysville. So let's get to the meat of this (sandwich) post!

21 February 2010

My first dim sum experience at Asian Court

Two of my best friends had a baby recently so we went to see the little tyke the first opportunity we got, which was on a Sunday a few weeks ago. Since they live in Frederick and we'd be passing through Catonsville on our way out there I took this opportunity to check out dim sum at Asian Court.

15 February 2010

Five Guys: Could it live up to the hype?

Since I've been on a pretty epic burger kick as of late, everyone and their mother was astounded to hear that I had never been to Five Guys Burgers and Fries. They made such lofty claims as it was the best burger they'd ever had in their life. I was pretty skeptical of that statement but I went in with an open mind.

Was I about to experience the best burger of my life? From a chain no less? Keep reading to find out!

07 February 2010

Eating the strip at the Harford Mall

Mrs. Micro finally landed a new job enabling her to cast of the horrible shell that is the corporate coffee biz so to celebrate we dined at a restaurant of her choice, Bonefish Grill. We picked up her best friend en route and were all in good spirits until we arrived and found the place utterly packed with an hour wait. On a Tuesday... in Bel Air... WTF?

30 January 2010

Our first encounter with the Baltimore Foodies

I've been a member of the Baltimore Foodies for a while but for one reason or another hadn't been able to attend a gathering until this past week. The event? The 6th season kick-off cocktail party at Alexander's Tavern.

22 January 2010

Date Night: The Good, The Bad, The Phallic

Mrs. Micro partake in date night ever so often so this time we decided to try out the new Sam's Kid asian-inspired tapas restaurant in Fells Point. A friend of mine brought this place to my attention after Elizabeth Large gave it fairly high marks in her recent review.

We trekked down to Fells and found parking and walked/ran to the restaurant. We actually went right by it without even noticing our first time around. If we hadn't had the street address we may have never found it at all. The storefront looks more like an art museum, a theme that persists throughout.

14 January 2010

Third times a charm: Home-cooked burgers done right.

On New Years day my wife and I finally made found ourselves in the perfect situation to finally try out the much raved about ice cream at Bloom's Broom dairy farm in Bel Air. After a few tastings I finally settled on a delicious rendition of rum raisin I began aimlessly browsing the store as I happily noshed. Lately, I've been on a personal mission to find good quality local ingredients to cook with. Driving 40 minutes to Wegman's in Hunt Valley every time I wanted to cook something exotic was getting old fast. So you can imagine my glee when I happened upon freshly made beef and lamb products in their freezer straight from the Woolsey lamb and beef farm in Churchville, a farm I had no idea existed until I read the label on the dark crimson packages of freshly ground beef. I asked the girl at the counter what the fat content of the ground beef was and she looked at me like I had two heads. Nonetheless I was determined to take another stab at making passable home-made burgers and was thrilled to find good beef to serve as a foundation.

09 January 2010

Tasting Hunan Taste

I had the privilege of attending my first meeting of the 'Charm City Hounds' this past weekend for lunch at Hunan Taste in Catonsville. We sampled 21 things from their extensive authentic Hunanese menu (we didn't touch the American menu).

Although I had a lot of unique dishes and most certainly broadened my horizons, there weren't any groundbreaking dishes to be had. While that may be the case, there were some damn fine ones. Let's take a look at the order list posted here near the end of the topic by one of my fellow diners accompanied by some of the pictures I managed to snap while we feasted. Keep in mind that these dishes were going around the tables so some of them were almost gone by the time they came around to me. I did the best I could!

To save myself A LOT of repetition, as my fellow foodies reported: the heat was lacking across the board, I was expecting much more after reading various internet reviews. I think they may have dumbed it down for us a bit, which is bizarre considering we were a huge group of people all ordering from the traditional Hunanese menu. Bah, we want the heat!

(#2) Spicy sliced ox lung

This was one of my higher ranked dishes. The meat was super tender and the overall flavor was great. There was much discrepancy at the table over exactly what we were eating, but nonetheless it was very tasty.

(#8) Shrimp with mixed bitter melon

I can appreciate bitter, but this melon was just too bitter. Unbalanced dish in my opinion and one of my least favorite.

(#17) Mao's braised pork

I was really looking forward to this dish and it wasn't quite as good as I expected. I would've preferred the fat rendered down a bit more due to a longer cooking time. Overall it was still one of the better dishes.

(#19) Spicy fried mutton chops

Sweet batter on lamb? Fail. And I love lamb. So sad.

(#21) Spicy pig skin

Strange texture. I, as most other diners, expected crispy skin. It was still very interesting and the texture reminded me of something but I can't quite put my finger on it... A thick seaweed salad maybe?

(#?) Spicy Chanzul Frog

This was frog? I never would've guessed... Unmentionable otherwise.

(#24) Steamed fish head-on with diced hot peppers

My first helping was great because I got a nice meaty hunk of cheek meat. The second helping was all bones and fat and remembering it now is making me sick to my stomach. I'd recommend this dish if you don't stray too close to the head and pay attention to what you're putting on your plate.

(#41) Double cooked pork with garlic

Another one of my favorites. Maybe some of the other diners didn't get a pepper on their plate but I definitely bit into some heat from this dish.

(#52) Preserved sausage with smoked bamboo shoot. Not sausage - slices of salt preserved pork

The last dish that arrived at the table and by far the best. This would be the dish I return for. Excellent balance of pork and smoky bamboo shoot. Very very good.

(#55) Minced pork with sauteed sour beans

This was the first dish that hit the table and remained at the top of my list until the very end. I can't really describe it but the flavors were very addicting. A great start to the meal.

(#75) Eggplant in clay pot with garlic sauce

Nothing memorable/mentionable.

(#83) Stewed duck with ginseng. A thin soup, more than a stew

Sorry, no pic for this one! This was by far the most flavorful soup. It was like liquid essence of duck. Very good.

(#94) Tea Tree mushroom with pork casserole

I didn't realize until my second helping that this dish had pork in it. It didn't matter, the mushrooms alone made this one of my favorite dishes. Sweet woodsy, earthy bliss. Would definitely order this again.

(#95) Eggplant on iron plate

Nothing mentionable.

(#106) Soft Shell Turtle in brown sauce

This was turtle? Everyone thought it was duck until our waiter told us otherwise. Who knew?

(#128) Duck soup

A big disappointment. This soup was very thin and only faintly tasted of duck. Completely outclassed by the stewed duck with ginseng.

(#130) Clam soup with winter melon

This was my personal addition to the order and a big disappointment. As in the case of the duck soup, this tasted like broth with a very faint clam flavor. Intentional or not, this was a letdown.

[off-menu] Saute snow pea leaves

Again, no picture of this dish. This dish reminded me of perfectly cooked broccoli rabe.

(#?) Taro pancakes

Sorry but that was my share so that was all I could snap a shot of. This was doughy and juicy, the texture reminded me of the sesame balls they sometimes have at chinese buffets. I love those things so naturally I liked this dish.

Holy crap my eyes are bleeding. If that's not enough pictures for you, then I give up... Until next time my micro friends!

Hunan Taste on Urbanspoon

05 January 2010

The Portrait of a Pazo Pig-out

Yes, that's right, I've finally mustered up the courage to compose a Pazo post. As you may know by reading my front page bio Pazo is my favorite restaurant in Baltimore. So here we go.

Everytime I go to Pazo I order some standby dishes as well as try some new ones. We were dining with another couple who had never been there and Nikki and I love to see new diners reactions to the outstanding food. This trip was no exception. There was one major letdown and that was that they were out of calamari which is the best calamari I've had.

Immediately we had our friends try the little sesame seed crackers that Pazo has set out on the table, complimentarily of course. They loved them at first bite, and even more so after we told them to drizzle some of the house olive oil on them.

We could eat pounds of these things, they're subtly sweet and have a great crunch without being dry and splintery. We also pointed out the little dish of crack dust as I called it, which was the house sea salt which makes virtually every dish on the menu better. Even beverages. I sprinkled some over my water and it turned into a three olive vodka martini. Honest. Throughout the night we went through two bottles of the Clos de los Siete which is a Malbec/Merlot/Syrah/Cabernet blend. It was good, not great, but definitely sufficed.

Let us get right to the order. I ran through my favorite things on the menu for them and after much discussion and deliberation we placed our order.

Malloreddus alla Norma(2)
Manchego & Manzana(2)
Sauteed Broccoli
Cristina pizza

New dishes:
Wood Grilled Chicken
Kobe Beef Brisket
Lamb Chops(4)
Seared Scallops alla Plancha
Pan Roasted Spanish Octopus
Goat's Cheese Stuffed Agnolotti
Sausage & Arugula pizza

(for more in-depth descriptions of the dishes please see their menu)

The first plates to hit the table were the Manchego & Manzana and the Sauteed Broccoli.

The salad is one of my favorite items on the menu. The cheese, apples, and walnuts create such a wonderful flavor profile. The key is trying to get a little bit of each item in every bite. The sweet crisp apples, the nutty cheese, and the oaky crunch from the walnuts. It's blissfull.

The brocolli is another dish that is surprisingly good. I actually discovered just how good this dish was when I took my mother and her fiance here for her birthday back in September. The liberal application of lemon shines through and makes the dish.

Next up were the tuna and the scallops (our two replacement orders when the waitress regretfully informed us that they were out of calamari... which made me die a little on the inside.)

This is another dish that usually delivers, my only qualm being that sometimes their salsa verde comes out a little bland. Luckily this time it was spot on. The jicama salad while good on its own, didn't really feel like it matched the other components of the dish. And I will admit I'm not quite sure what those corn things were but they tasted like upscale beer nuts, which garnered no complaints from me!

Ever since our dinner at Le Bernardin I've been a little wary of unique scallop flavor combinations. These were served along side a butternut squash puree and 'aromatic peppercorn sauce'. Well the scallops were just how I love them, sweet and flaky with a nice sear and fortunately they worked wonderfully with the butternut puree. I don't recall tasting the peppercorn sauce, but then again this was probably around the time we were killing our first bottle of wine so that may have had something to do with it.

The seafood portion of our meal concluded when our grilled octopus hit the table. The other couple we were dining with were very hesitant and only agreed to trying it after much prodding. They were glad they did.

This was definitely the best rendition of octopus I've had to date. The suckers (there's gotta be a more scientific word for those...) were nicely crispy and tasted like straight up bacon. The application of lemon and capers added a nice acidity to the dish. The crushed potatoes rounded out a very hearty yet light dish. This was one of two pleasant surprises of the evening.

The next round of dining featured our heavier veggie dishes: the agnolotti, malloreddus, samfaina, and croquettas.

This turned out to be one of the best dishes of the evening. I've been craving mushrooms recently and have newfound love of goat cheese after the eye popping fried appetizer at Sala 19. The shrooms were super woodsy, but once my teeth pierced one of the agnolotti I immediately felt as if fireworks were going off in my mouth. The filling was super creamy and tangy. Wonderful. The bitterness of the greens succeeded in cutting down the freight train tanginess balancing out the flavors. At my next visit I may just have them strap an agnolotti feedbag to my face and burn me with lit cigarettes. Wait, scratch that last part. Just the feedbag.

The second disappointment of the meal (the first being the absence of calamari) was the malloredus. While discussing the menu with our friends I pointed out that this was my favorite dish and we order it every time. Since I have pictures of this dish from two separate visits I want to do a little comparison. Can you tell which malloredus is the bad one and why?



Well? Did you figure it out? No, of course you didn't, it's freakin' pasta. The second picture is the pasta in question and the issue with it was the pasta was undercooked which resulted in chewy almost gummy texture. After our initial tastings, we barely touched it. Disappointing, but considering the overall fantastic meal we'd been having up to that point, who were we to complain about one dish?

Luckily the samfaina was there to save the day. What an amazing dish. Add a little crack dust to this beauty and the flavor sails off the charts.

While it may not look all that pretty, trust me this stew is straight up money. This one is also feedbag worthy. If all Catalan cuisine is this good I need to get my ass to eastern Spain ASAP.

The croquettas were just as good as they always are.

A nice lightly fried crust containing fluffy whipped potatoes with a little zing from the added manchego. Slice one of these bad boys open, sprinkle a little crack dust on the exposed innards and dive in.

In my opinion by far the best deal on Pazo's menu are their individual 10" pizzas which run $11-14. Nikki always orders the cristina but this was the first time I'd had the sausage & arugula.

The star of the cristina is definitely the creamy buffalo mozzarella. The crust is reminds me of a more deep dish style crust, buttery and semi-crumbly. While generally I'm not a huge fan of deep dish pizza, it works very well here. The tomato sauce is thin and tangy. My only qualm, and I really am being nitpicky here, is I wish the basil leaves were torn up and spread out. Yep, that's my only complaint.

The proportion of sauce to cheese to crust is perfect and the crust provides the perfect vessel for the toppings which is a huge plus because I hate sloppy soggy pizza.

I have a love/hate relationship with arugula which made me skeptical as to whether or not I would like this pizza. Luckily the combination of sausage and arugula worked well here. I think arugula may be growing on me. The bitterness was balanced by the slightly sweet(I think... damn wine!) and smoky sausage. This sausage kind of reminded me of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, in a good way. I would've liked some spiciness, nonetheless this was another great pizza.

It kills me to say this, but I've enjoyed the pizza here more than any pizza I've had in NYC. Yes, even Di Fara. It just proves just how subjective pizza love can be. There are so many styles and variations that there just can't be any single best pizza joint. I do, however, plan on returning to Di Fara at some point before I'm six feet under and ordering straight pies with minimal, if any, toppings. Someday.

Our last wave of plates arrived, the meats. At this point we probably could've taken the check and been happy as we were all groaning with bloated stomachs. But we toughed it out, bring on the meat I say!

The empanadas are served alongside the aforementioned salsa verde. The dough used in this dish is very similar to the pizza dough, I wouldn't be surprised if they were one and the same. Now that I think about it, the sausage is very similar to the sausage topping our pizza. I guess that means basically the empanadas are little pizza pockets sans cheese served with salsa verde instead of tomato sauce. Here's a nice interior shot:

Empanadas in the morning, empanadas in the evening, empanadas at suppertime... That was a great jingle.

The brisket was almost too tender. It was like if your mom on a whim decided to use Kobe beef instead of the usual discount bin meat to make pot roast.

There was a very slight chew to it, but not much. I scoffed at the offering of a knife, you could cut this with a wet noodle. I didn't try the potatoes because honestly I was beyond full at this point, but they smelled like the bomb.

The lamb chops were as good as lamb chops should be. They were moist and gamey, which I love. Give me a big old bucket of gaminess, I love it.

The pomegranate sauce/seeds gave a nice bittersweet pop to the dish. The bright red sauce along with the green pile of arugula created a nice semi-Christmasy visual appeal. Here's a shot of the interior doneness of the lamb chops. I know it's very blurry, but it gets the point across: The chops were cooked perfectly.

After looking through my photos I just realized I neglected to get a shot of the wood grilled chicken, sorry about that. I know you guys love perty pictures. The chicken was moist and the wood grill at Pazo, the only one in Baltimore according to our waitress, imparted a lovely smokiness to the meat.

Welp, at this point I'm pretty burnt out. This is a lot of writing in one sitting! Yikes, I gotta go get ready for my dad's New Year's Eve party. Even though this post will be delayed since I just posted the conclusion of our trip to NYC, happy New Year everyone!

Pazo on Urbanspoon