30 May 2011

Various Foodsings

I wanted to take a little break from the NOLA love to catch you up on what I've been up to lately.

A week before our NOLA trip Daddy Micro and I saw Rush at the 1st Mariner Arena. Beforehand we got some gyros at Samos in Highlandtown right off of Eastern Avenue. I was jonesing for a gyro and this more than satiated my craving. The Greek salad was pretty damn good too.

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After dinner we headed over to Fells to check out Max's for a beer before the show. We weren't the only Rush fans with this idea so the place was relatively hopping. I overheard that the bartender was also going so I knew I had an immediate hookup. On Fridays Max's serves Big Ass Drafts which are 32oz. drafts for only $6. I asked the bartender what the abv cutoff was for the offer and he said usually around 7%... but since we were fellow Rush fans he let me order Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball which is 9%. Score! Unfortunately I don't remember what my dad ordered. I wish I had a frame of reference for this picture, these beers are freakin' huge!

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32oz. of 9% beer meant I was feeling no pain by the time we got to the show. It was good, not great. The instruments sounded awesome, but Geddy Lee's voice literally sounded like a dying cat. I definitely cringed more than once on those high notes...

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When Cinco de Mayo came along, the wife and I decided to celebrate with some tacos at Fiesta Grill in Bel Air. They have some pretty authentic fare. If you ever check them out I highly recommend the yucca fries, lengua tacos, and the pupsas. On this visit I ordered a lengua taco, a camarones (shrimp) taco, and even though it wasn't on the menu, they honored my request for a chorizo taco.
We also split an order of yucca fries.

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I'm really starting to love yucca fries. They're super crunchy on the outside, with a soft slightly sweet inside. I was surprised that they served the chorizo taco undressed. It was some pretty damn good chorizo though, it bled orange all the way to my elbow, and had a great lingering spice. The shrimp taco tasted good, but the shrimp itself was a tad stringy. The lengua was definitely the star of the bunch: juicy, tender, and supremely beefy.

My taco craving wasn't satiated so two weeks later I decided to have a full blown taco feast.

Here I am with my chorizo nunchucks.

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And here is the pretty platter of authentic carnitas I made (using manteca I purchased from La Familia which is right next door to Fiesta Grill and under the same ownsership.)  I bought the chorizo and the corn tortillas there too, score!

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And finally a plated picture. That salsa verde I made was bangin'. That's definitely going on the restaurant menu.

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Memorial day weekend we had a nice little Saturday planned. No, it didn't involve picking out wallpaper at Home Depot or Bed Bath and Beyond. Firstly we went to the Visionary Arts museum with our friends J&J. There was a pretty great What Makes Us Smile? exhibit with all kinds of fart and poop pieces, but the exhibit that really blew me away was a collection of artwork by Eugene von Bruenchenhein. The best part is that all of his most famous pieces are available for download from his website for free! In high-res no less! I'm not kidding when I say that by the time my next BBQ rolls around, I might have a few of his pieces on our walls. Awesome, awesome stuff.

After that we headed on over to The Little Havana for some mojitos overlooking the water.

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The weather was gorgeous and the mojitos were surpisingly not overly sweet. Actually, I don't think they were sweetened at all, and they were quite tart. After two rounds of mojitos and an order of so-so Masitas de Puerco Frita (my friends loved them, but I thought they were a tad dry...

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Then again, that didn't stop us from popping them like candy) a co-worker of mine met up with us and we went to check out his (relatively) new digs just a few short blocks away. He lives with three roommates in a pretty swanky rowhouse with a rooftop deck.

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Man, my wife is right... I don't have an ass... After a short tour and another round of beers we headed on over to our dinner res at Bluegrass Tavern at 7. This is the second time I've dined there where I can honestly say I really liked every single item on the table. This place is definitely one of my favorite spots in Baltimore.

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For starters we had the pimento cheese and skillet corn bread. I decided to split the beet & arugula salad with J and then I ordered the soft-shelled crab for myself. The wife had the burger with a side of mac n cheese, J had the shrimp n grits and her husband had the smoked fried chicken.

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The butter was served ice cold, but when it hit that piping hot cornbread it melted almost instantly. The pimento cheese was every bit as good as last time, it's definitely becoming one of my favorite dishes. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that this salad was one of the best I've ever had (that might not be saying too much since I hardly ever order salads.) It was perfectly dressed and all of components played off of each other without any singular item overpowering the others. Quite fantastic indeed.

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All of the entrées were just as good as the apps. The fry on my crab was perfectly light, and the avocado butter on the plate was a stroke of genius. My wife's burger reinforced my initial reaction the last time I ordered it that it's one of the best burgers in the city. The spicy mac n cheese was very smooth and not overly cheesy or too heavy. It went down a little too easy and I had to physically restrain myself from devouring it. Both the shrimp n grits and the fried chicken received very high marks from J and her husband.

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It's amazing what natural light can do for the quality of your photos, isn't it?

The night finally concluded with a semi-tipsy (we had a few more rounds at Bluegrass) jaunt over to Woodberry Kitchen to see if we could snag seats at the bar and feast on some C.M.P. action. Did we succeed? You tell me:

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But at $11 apiece, that is some seriously expensive dessert. But they're just soooo fucking good! It's the malt ice cream that makes it for me.

And finally we had a few friends over yesterday for a nice little holiday weekend cookout. I grilled some burgers and veggies and made up a few pitchers of sangria and we played Mushroom until the sun went down.

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Goddamn, that last shot would've been awesome if it had focused properly. Ah well, can't win 'em all. A great night had by all.

Samos on Urbanspoon
Max's Taphouse on Urbanspoon
Little Havana Restaurante Y Cantina Cubana on Urbanspoon
Bluegrass Tavern on Urbanspoon
Woodberry Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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