Saturday, November 06, 2010


The sabbatical is over! It's going to be strangely difficult to get the juices flowing again. So why not just start with a few random, food-related observations that I have had over the last two months:

1) One actually hits oneself in the head when one goes on sabbatical just before the Baltimore City Paper informs one of one's blog's "Best of Baltimore" status. But one still feels very groovy.

2) When you spend four years writing a food blog and then suddenly stop, you start feeling the need to just start writing about your recipes and restaurant visits, only to remember that you're not writing it right now.

3) Drinking more water before you drink soda (which is not something you ought to be drinking anyway) really does cut down your overall desire to drink the caffeinated stuff. I'm drinking less soda now, which is always good.

4) Dad spent a weekend a few months ago in St. Joseph's Medical Center. They don't have many patients (I guess they all went next door to GBMC). In fact, they don't have many of anyone - doctors, nurses, patients or visitors. It's like one of those abandoned hospitals in the Silent Hill game series, only without the monsters and gore on the walls.

4a) I mention St. Joseph's because they do something I've never seen a hospital do: room service for visitors! Yes, you too can order stuff off the menu to eat right alongside dear old Dad, Uncle Bob or Mee-Maw, anything at all for just $5. Even more surprising: it's actually not half-bad. For hospital food, it's quite good. For hospital food.

4b) You do not, however, want to eat the food at your local hospice care facility. Nasty as sin. They want these people to actually eat, right?

5) Graul's Market actually sells bags of pre-baked Maryland Beaten Biscuits! Maybe it's just my bag, but they taste a wee bit freezer-burnt. Must make my own.

6) Over the last few months, my sister tried to put my niece, who has autism, on a gluten-free diet. It didn't work very well, but one plus came out of it: my notoriously picky eater of a niece actually started eating new and different foods. Note that she did not finish all of them. I picked up some gluten-free cupcakes from the Sweet Sin Bakery. Their cupcakes are lovely. I like them a lot and plan to get more for myself. None for my niece, however. You should have seen the face she made when she bit into her gluten-free chocolate cupcake: anticipatory, then immediately plummeting into equal parts confused and none-too-pleased. I felt bad. Oh well. More for me.

7) Marie Louise Bistro has been getting better every time I visit. But remember: if you order their crème brûlée, just keep in mind that it isn't actual crème brûlée.

8) Look what I just made!

Plus, I made a lobster roll for the first time, from a lobster I steamed just a little while before. I was tempted to use my wasabi mayonnaise, but I wanted to do my first one "authentically", the way they do up in New England.

9) My gardening has gotten more adventurous, and next year I am planning to take up a second plot! Some of my successes this year: lettuce galore, lots of Roma tomatoes (grown from seed - so proud of that), chilies out the wazoo, potatoes, kale greens, herbs (basil, rue, sage, rosemary, cilantro that bolted, and more oregano and mint than I will ever be able to use). Failures: garlic, strawberries (a total of four edible berries, and right over an ant nest too), and cauliflower. Don't ask me about it.

10) My friend Eric has fallen in love with the New York Times recipe section. Loved a lamb in parchment recipe he made for a few of us recently. But I will still needle him for not reading ahead to where it said the lamb must stay in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. (Not going to discuss that one time that I did the same thing...)

11) The next time you go to see a friend in a play, make sure you reserve tickets ahead of time.

12) Recent food finds that have become an even more important part of my culinary landscape: the nut-free brownies at Graul's; home-strained, Greekified yogurt; the English Rose and Key Lime flavored cupcakes from Iced Gems Baking; just about anything at the Haute Dog Carte; and at least one beer from each brewery that came to the Wine Source for Baltimore Beer Week 2010.

That is it for now. Over the next week or so I am rolling out my return to the Beltway Snacking series. And stay tuned for a brand new long-term project.


Valser said...

Re: #10 There's a new book out that chronicles recipes from the last hundred years of the New York Times Dining. It is quite awesome I am cooking the book right now!