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.

Sorry for that little tangent. This post is about the weekend prior to my chili cook-off. This weekend was truly one of the best I've had in these parts in quite a while. Like a donkey eying up your mother for stealing it's back-scratcher let me get right to the point. Both my wife and I are huge fans of Tosh.0 and when I found out he was going on tour (his tour being called Tosh Tour Twenty Ten) I secured tickets the very moment they went on sale. That was months ago. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when after researching all of the restaurants in the nearby area (Woodberry was already booked up, but I'm finally going there next month, I can't wait!) I settled on checking out b Bistro in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore as our pre-show dinner destination. Who the flippity floppity fucking foreskin doesn't love some good old alliteration, eh? Goddamnit, even when I try to be succinct with my writing I still end up babbling about dumb shit. GET TO THE FREAKING POINT YOU SILLY FUCK.

We made car go to place, sat down, put food in mouth. How's that for getting to the point? Booyah! The spacing was a bit tight, and I was sitting on some bizarre booth that ran the length of the dining room and was lined with long uncomfortable cyllyndrical pillows, but we really loved the space otherwise. The high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows reminded us of Cafe du Clocher Penche and that was definitely a good thing.

Now that's a view!
Since we had a very long day of feasting and beer-swilling ahead of us the next day (more on that later) I opted for a jug o' wine. We went with the cheapo 2008 Culley Pinot Noir which ended up being pretty unremarkable. That saddened me because any respectable restaurant should offer delicious options at all price points. Boo.

Hey Culley, you suck.
The complimentary bread would've been great as it had a fluffy airy crumb, but it lacked that great sourdough crust that I love. The provided olive oil was practically flavorless and immediately forgettable.

We tossed around some ideas for appetizers and I almost went with the Fig Leaf Farm Petite Spinach Salad with local bacon lardons, bleu cheese, creamy mustard dressing, and a poached farm egg after seeing one go by but the wife said it would be too much food combined with the other items I wanted to try. Ultimately, we agreed to try the charcuterie plate since neither of us had ever ordered one and b Bistro owns their own farm and most (not all) of the meats were made in-house.

Isn't the proportion of meats to toast a little off?
This plate featured housemade duck pastrami, chorizo, lardo, and serrano ham imported from Spain. They also provided very thinly sliced toasted baguette, green olives, and pickled cornichons and Mexican cucumbers.

Thinly sliced animal parts
I couldn't pick a favorite of the meats, but the lardo was definitely the least favorite. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it (the wife on the other hand had to immediately chase hers with a big swig of wine), I just would've rather had another meat on the plate instead of little strips of pure fat, although they were quite luscious and creamy. The toasted baguette was sliced too thin, each piece shattering as soon as we attempted to use them as a vehicle for the cured meats. The chorizo was very mildly spiced, I would've preferred a more aggressive seasoning and the serrano definitely had a smoky saltiness to it that screamed pig. What really blew me away were those Mexican cucumbers. They were very poppable and burst in the mouth with a flavor reminiscent of a caper berry. Very good indeed.

For our entrées I had been eying up the Ragout of Springfield Farm Lamb Leg with gold potato gnocchi, fried almonds, and sheep's milk cheese ever since I looked at their menu online so I went with that, and the Mrs. had been on mussels kick so she chose the Moules and Frites in a green curry broth with leeks and coriander leaf, hand cut fries, and garlic aioli.

This is exactly the type of food I like to eat...
This dish was so great because it was exactly what I was in the mood for at exactly that moment. It couldnt've hit the spot better than it did. I told the waiter that if I closed my eyes while enjoying it, I could've been in a hip bistro in New York City, and that feeling has been rare for me. It had a very pronounced star anise flavor to it, which brought to mind a traditional Mexican mole sauce, minus the chocolate. The gnocchi were the perfectly al dente, providing just a hint of that gummy chew that I love. The sliced almond provided a great crunch and a slight nuttiness which served to only enhance the already substantial earthiness of the tender braised lamb.
...so go eat it right fucking now!!
I can't say enough good things about this dish, it's one of the best entrées (if not the best) I've had in Baltimore. The only thing I couldn't puzzle out is where the sheep's milk cheese came into play. In the gnocchi maybe? Anyone want to take a guess? I forgot to ask our waiter about it, but honestly I didn't miss it, the dish was near perfect as is.

Moules and Frites (Mussels and Fries for you Cecil County folk)
Don't you just want to fork one of those into your gaping facehole?
While usually I'm a human trash compactor when I eat, when I find a dish as good as this I take my time with it, savoring every bite. I gazed through the haze of my rapture across the table to discover only emtpy shells, broth, and fries were left of my wife's dinner. Apparently when she finds a dish she loves, her usual dainty eating habits fly right out the window and she reveals the true colors of her inner glutton. The garlic aioli was supremely garlicky and the fries were perfectly cooked. The mussels were huge and perfectly portioned and the broth had a very pronounced curry flavor, without being overpowering. The only thing I could've wanted was a couple thick slices of bread to sop up the broth, as that is my favorite part of the mussels in broth experience.

A lot of people claim that Baltimore is a strong force in the national food scene, but I haven't experienced much to support that statement. b Bistro would definitely fit that bill.

We tipsily walked over to the Lyric Opera House for the show. After we both hit the head, we waited in line for cocktails and then were told (of course) that they weren't allowed into the theatre, so bottoms up! With a pretty strong buzz going we found our seats and proceeded to laugh our sloppy balls off. Daniel Tosh had two openers, both of which were very funny, but he, as expected, stole the show. The highlight is when he discussed his mom's reaction to one of my favorite quotes from Tosh.0: "I want to tongue punch your mom's fart box". Classic.

I kept screaming "Show your tits!" but no one responded...
The object of my heterosexual (I think...) man-crush
So that was the alliteration segment of our show. Now you may be wondering just what the hell I meant by "canning tuna" in the title of this post. Well what I was referring to was how we got to watch the Baltimore Ravens slaughter (for the most part) the Miami Dolphins the next day. A friend of mine had an extra ticket and tailgates in Lot O with another friend who was an ex-executive chef who attended the CIA. So to say we ate well before the game would be a vast understatement.

I didn't really get any great shots of the food, I was too busy stuffing my face and pounding beers, but here's a small gallery of the shots I did manage to take in between rounds of flip cup and shrimp boils.

He's a fucking grilling fool
There wasn't a single rib left and I'd be lying if I said I didn't dip the cornbread in the mussel broth...

My ass is to' up!

Who's that retarded guy in the back? Oh, wait...
Oh and in case you were wondering I made a pot of my Hog Apple Baked Beans and Mr. Chef provided all manner of chips, dips, nuts, cheese, sausage, steamed shrimp, steamed mussels, baby back ribs, skillet corn bread, grilled veggies, and the pièce de résistance: three perfectly seasoned filet mignon. Throw in a drunkenly ordered box of Girl Scout Cookies and I was happy as a (bearded) clam.

Get the fuck out of here with your Thin Mints, Samoas are where it's at!

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Nakiya @ Taste of Baltimore said...

You went to b Bistro (I got the mussels as well- holy moly that dish was awesome) and saw Daniel Tosh the same night? I can't even begin to describe my jealousy. What a great day!!!!!!!!!

Xani said...

This makes me want to give b another try! I saw Tosh as well, effing hilarious.

Mr. Micro said...

Yes, it was one of those nights that truly couldnt've gone any better. Thanks for the comments guys. I strongly encourage you to give b another try!

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