Tag Archives: baltimore restaurant

The Dogwood: A Review

I will warn you that there are NO pictures from my visit to The Dogwood restaurant in Hampden.  However, if there were photos, you would see mostly senior citizens in the background.

Jeremy and I realized that we have the same eating schedules as most grandparents.  We’re hungry early and we want to eat, dammit. 

So for our 3-year anniversary, we wanted to try something new.  Since we’re both vegetarians now (I can’t express how thrilled I am that Jeremy converted) – we wanted to go somewhere that offered more than 1 vegetarian entree… because sharing your meal is a part of the fun.  Hello?

The Dogwood was also appealing to me because of their “mission” (taken directly from their website):


With a respect for classical technique and a love of straightforward food, The Dogwood lets the ingredients sing with its Sustainable American Cuisine.

We cook with the seasons and feature the finest local and natural ingredients, sourcing from sustainable, artisanal, and organic producers whenever possible.

The Dogwood is community gourmet. We develop relationships and opportunity by preparing, learning about, and sharing outstanding food and wine (and our knowledge about them).

I also learned, after the fact, their “social mission” is to “transform lives one plate at a time by providing training opportunity and paid employment to individuals who are transitioning from addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and/or underemployment.”  Someone said the idea of that might have freaked them out – but I didn’t even realize.  Every staff member that approached our table was fabulous and friendly.

So what did we eat?


  • Grilled Olive Tapenade & Hummus – flatbread and crudites $5.25
  • Trio of Tuscarora Organic Beets – red beet ‘tartare’, herb creme fraiche, cider pickled golden beets, Chiogga candy striped beets, frisee lettuce and Rogue’s Smokey Blue cheese crostini  $11

It was all very good.  Jeremy was starving because he apparently skipped lunch so he devoured everything.  I had a few bits as well.  They also brought out Irish Soda Bread.  I’d never had that before either and it was awesome.


  • Forbidden Rice ’Risotto’ with Roasted Squash Curry  – zucchini and yellow squash, organic black rice, mild curried coconut sauce with Vann’s spices, currants, toasted almonds and today’s vegetable $18
  • Spring Pea Risoto & Tuscarora Oyster Mushrooms
    garlic sauteed mushrooms, parmigiano reggianito, fresh spring peas, organic pea shoots $18

I ate the “forbidden” rice risotto and it was frickin’ awesome.  I believe it was vegan as well.  Fresh vegetables, delicious and light… oh, so good.

Jeremy also really enjoyed his Spring Pea dish.  I liked it but it was A LOT of cheese.  As a person who doesn’t eat a lot of cheese, I appreciate it in small doses.  Don’t get me wrong – it was still marvelous.

I also ordered a glass of wine.  They had a special going on for 20% off bottles of Pinot Noir and normally I would have jumped all over it but we had a bottle of wine to drink at home (that super special bottle).  So… I just got a glass.  I picked this wine from their menu because it was under the section “Different (Which We Love)”:

Steele Vineyards Shooting Star 2008 Blue Franc (Lemberger, Blaufrankisch) (Yakima Valley, Washington State) 8/31

It was fruity.  And good. 

However, they had a few drinks on their drink menu that caught my eye (and are enticing enough for me to want to go back JUST to try these drinks):

  • The Dogwood, Springtime
    our signature cocktail: citrus-infused Prairie vodka, couintreau, splash of Campari, agave nectar, pomegranate juice and a splash of fresh lemon juice, topped with Prosecco, garnished with a cucumber round and a lemon twist, served over ice, sangria-style in a wine glass, 10
  • Death in the Afternoon
    the perfect amuse bouche: sparkling Cava with 21st century absinthe, in honor of Ernest Hemingway and the Pamplona running of the bulls he made famous. (Viva la celebracion!), 9
  • The Phoenix
    prosecco, splash of vodka, splash of St-Germaine Ederflower liqueur, garnished with a sprig of organic thyme (To second chances and to rising from the ashes), 9

Overall – I would highly recommend this place to anyone.  And if you go for dinner around 6:30pm (like we did) – you’ll be dining amongst senior citizens.  And I’m cool with that.



Filed under Charm City Kim Eats

Pizzazz Tuscan Grille – A Review

Another good friend turned 30 this past weekend and to kick off the celebration, we went out to dinner.  It was a beautifully sunny day on Friday (although it was a bit chilly) so we wanted an outdoor/good view restaurant.

I asked some tweeps for recommendations in the Federal Hill area and got some great ones (that I will have to check out someday) but as soon as I sent it – I thought of Pizzazz Tuscan Grille.  It is attached to the Pier 5 hotel (the wedding location of the birthday girl), I read that they had vegan options (so I knew it was veg-friendly) and it was near the water.

But of course – everyone and their mothers had the same idea about dining outdoors.  We were all starving so we opted to dine indoors but it was still close enough to windows and whatnot.  They also have quite the happy hour… it is equipped with “beer tub girls” and a live band. 

One of my complaints is that when we walked into the restaurant, it wasn’t entirely clear where/who would seat us.  We saw the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign by the entrance attached to the hotel so we walked over to the sign and waited.  And waited.  Jeremy finally grabbed a server and we were seated.

The birthday girl and I shared a bottled of Pinot noir (only $20) and it was fantastic.  I thought I snapped a pic but my phone apparently ate the picture.

I appreciated that the waitress wasn’t totally stuffy about the wine.  She started the whole schpeel where the server shows you the bottle and blah blah blah but I quickly told her that I don’t that formal sort of thing because it makes me uncomfortable.  She admitted that it makes her uncomfortable too and just poured me a full glass.  I liked her.

Since we were starving, we each ordered an appetizer and split it with our significant other.  Jeremy and I had the Insalata Mediterranean (organic spring mix, avocado, red onion, tomato, black olives, cucumbers and imported cubed feta, lightly tossed with cold pressed organic olive oil, seal salt and fresh squeezed lemon – piccoli $11, grande $15).

Photo of the Insalata Meditteranean

This is the "grande" portion size.

The birthday girl and her husband ordered the Caprese Con Pomadoro (seasonal organic tomatoes, layered with fresh basil, fresh mozzarella.  drizzled with cold pressed olive oil aged balsamic vinegar – piccoli $12, grande $16)

Photo of Caprese Con Pomadoro

I think this is the "grande" portion size.

After the bottle of wine and knowing what was in store for us for the evening, I didn’t want to order a large meal.  The birthday girl felt the same way so we split the Rustica pizza (roasted peppers, tomato slices, black and green olives and artichoke 9in $12, 12in $16).  One of the things I really like about Pizzazz is that they offer whole wheat pizza crusts:

“Fresh dough whole wheat, gluten free and cornmeal pizza available in 9″ only.  Can be substituted for any 9″ for an additional $3.  Rice and soy cheese add $2.”

Photo of the Rustica Pizza.

Mmmm... pizza....

The pizza was f’n awesome.

Jeremy ordered a Build your own pizza (piccoli $10, medium $14, grande $16).  For the life of me I can’t remember what he put on it other than artichokes.

Photo of pizza.

I think there are onions, artichokes and... I'm not sure what else is on this pizza.

The birthday girl’s husband also did a build your own pizza and got prosciutto and other stuff on it.

Photo of pizza.

Gross! prosciutto!

And what is a birthday dinner without dessert?  The server brought out a tray (I love when they do that) and I was stoked to hear that they had vegan desserts.

Jeremy and I split the vegan tiramisu:

Photo of vegan tiramisu

No animals were harmed in the making of this dessert. 🙂

And the birthday girl and her hubs split a strawberry shortcake:

Photo of strawberry shortcake dessert.

I'm not sure what animals were harmed in making this dessert - perhaps they sacrificed a lamb?

So would I go back?  Sure!  I have to say, I’m pretty flexible when it comes to pizza.  I love it.  It is hard to fuck it up.  I just like that they offer whole wheat dough!

I will say that I found it to be a tad pricey… however.  They offer pizza toppings that I can’t find everywhere (most notably artichokes… it is SUCH a good pizza topping).  So, if you’re visiting the Inner Harbor, I definitely recommend trying this place.


Filed under Charm City Kim Eats

Mr. Rain’s Funhouse Brunch – A Review

My very dear friend turned 30 over the weekend and to continue our celebration (we karaoke’d our hearts out on Friday) – we hit up Mr. Rain’s Funhouse in the American Visionary Art Museum for brunch on Sunday.

Before even suggesting this location, I swore that I had seen a TON of vegetarian options here so I didn’t bother to revisit the menu before brunch.  I mean – its brunch.  There will be waffles and stuff, right?


I don’t want to imply that I had a bad meal – I think I was just caught off guard by the super fancy and unusual brunch menu.  I was also surprised that there was only ONE vegetarian brunch menu option.  ONE.  for brunch.


I liked their centerpieces.  They were peacock feathers in this weird metal twisted tube thing.

Picture of the centerpiece at Mr. Rain's Funhouse

We kick started our brunch with some drinks.  Most of us ordered the classic bloody mary ($9).  Just an FYI – there is no clam sauce (yay!) and they use ginger.  It was good but I really prefer my bloody mary spicy.

The birthday girl ordered a mimosa ($9) and she liked it.

Picture of a mimosa drink and a bloody mary drink.

The drinks were garnished: orange peel on the mimosa and an olive in the bloody mary.

Jeremy and I both got an order of the curried crepes (seasonal vegetables, bulgur wheat, chevre – $14) since it was the only vegetarian brunch menu item (outside of a salad).

Picture of curried crepes from Mr. Rain's Funhouse restaurant.

Delightful but not breakfast-y.

It was REALLY good.  However, I prefer (and Jeremy said the same thing) my brunch food to be more breakfast-y.

I don’t remember what anyone else got but I do know that they had kimchi pancakes with the bday gal’s meal.  And the pancakes were good!  Not as good as from a Korean restaurant (in my opinion) but still good.

I’m not sure if this review seems like a positive one for the place.  I thought it was good, just different.  It was also a tad pricey.  We spent $100 in drinks alone (2 drinks a person)!  I’ve always been accustomed to “all you can drink” bloody mary/mimosas at other brunch establishments.

Anywho – after brunch, we popped into the AVAM’s gift shop.

Picture of "beer goggles" and "champage glasses" from the American Visionary Art Museum gift shop

Jeremy's got beer goggles and Theresa's got champagne glasses.

Picture of "Happy Birthday" glasses and margarita glasses from the American Visionary Art Museum gift shop

Happy Birthday! And Jeremy's ready for some margaritas.

Picture of a two-headed baby doll from the American Visionary Art Museum gift shop

My what an adorable baby you have there. Yikes!

Apparently if you become a member at the AVAM, you get 10% off your meal at Mr. Rain’s Funhouse. 

Would I go back?  Sure!  Was I a little disappointed?  Yes, but am I not disappointed about something.  I tend to have really high expectations about certain things (like restaurants).


Filed under Charm City Kim Eats

A Weekend of Good Eatin’: Samos and Great Sage

So while I am bummed that I didn’t attend FitBloggin‘, I am happy that I got to hang out with good friends Friday night and my old college roommate on Saturday.

Friday night – I met up with Katie and Stacy (and their dudes) for dinner at Samos.  It is a delightful Greek restaurant in my neighborhood.  If you’re in the area – GO THERE!  But FYI – they only accept cash.  Another fun FYI – they are BYOB.  They charge a small fee for BYOB but its still a hell of a lot cheaper than when you order a bottle of wine from a restaurant.

Samos Restaurant - Baltimore, MD

We all split an appetizer spread of tatziki, hummus and olive tapenade.  Magic!

I ordered the Greek Pizza without any meat (so it was comprised of tomato sauce, feta, mozzarella,artichokes, onions and olives for $10.25).  I didn’t pay attention to what anyone else got but my pizza was delightful.  I used to order the vegekabob until I found out (from one of the servers) that the rice is cooked in chicken broth.  Boo! 

Anyways – I love this place.  It gets packed very quickly so I recommend going early to beat the rush or be prepared to wait awhile.  I don’t think they take reservations either.  You go in and you write your name down then wait for your party to be called.

Now onto Saturday with my old roomie…

Despite not having lived together for 8 years – she will always be my college roomie because (1) she was the ONLY college roommate I ever had and (2) we had a blast living together and have lots of crazy stories from it.


She currently lives in Silver Spring and since I live in Baltimore – we met in the middle for lunch.  It was a great opportunity for me to go to Great Sage – a marvelous organic vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Clarksville.  And lucky for me – Angie was totally game for it too.

It was also GORGEOUS out so we wanted to eat outside.  Of course the patio was packed but we decided to wait it out and got an appetizer at the bar.  And I must say, the staff at Green Sage is AWESOME.  So awesome that I am willing to make that drive again and again.

I didn’t snap any photos because well… I forgot.  so I’ll just briefly chat about what I ate:

As an appetizer, I didn’t want anything too heavy (I had a big dinner the night before) so we split the MEDITERRANEAN HUMMUS PLATE:  house-made hummus accompanied by dolmas, artichokes, kalamata olive tapenade, roasted onion, crudités and toasted naan bread. $11

For lunch, I ordered the ROASTED VEGETABLE WRAP: Roasted vegetable medley of eggplant, red onion, zucchini and sweet potato with balsamic reduction drizzle, mesclun greens and chickpea hummus in a grilled flour tortilla. Served with Kettle potato chips. $9.50

It was f’n awesome.  I was presented with a plethora of marvelous things but I really just wanted a nice light wrap and this totally hit the spot.

Angie ordered the TERIYAKI CHICKEN SANDWICH: Teriyaki glazed ‘chicken’ on toasted naan with spicy Asian sesame slaw. Served with wasabi roasted potatoes. $10

She said she really liked it and I believe her because she doesn’t lie. 

We also split the RAW CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: Extremely rich, powerful and silky smooth, made with raw cacao, Tahitian vanilla and agave nectar. (Gluten free, RAW) $7

Holy shit – I am in love with this dessert.

I realize this isn’t the best post since I don’t have any photos to accompany it but trust me – this place is awesome!  I can’t wait to go back.


Filed under Charm City Kim Eats

Latest Dining Conquests

Despite how often I eat out, I rarely post about it.  I really need to stay on top of these things because I feel like the “Charm City” part of my blog is lacking.

So here’s a blip about the last 3 places where I’ve dined.

Sabatino’s – Little Italy

I feel bad about what I’m going to say about this place because it seems a lot of people like it (or at least have fond memories of it).  But this place sucks.  I went for a girls dinner Friday night (there were like 15 in this group).  I’ve always associated Sabatino’s with large group accommodations but never could remember much else about the place.

While I will say that they accommodated our large gaggle of ladies, their service was ridiculously slooooow.  The waitresses were super nice but holy hell, they were slow.  And I was starving.  Since just about every lady ordered a drink (mostly wine… and Theresa and I split a bottle of champagne like we were toasting an anniversary) – it just prolonged the amount of time it took for them to take our food orders. 

They did bring out fresh (?) bread and it was delightful although I’m not sure if I liked it so much due to being SO!HUNGRY! 

I ordered the gnocchi with marinara sauce. 

Words cannot being to describe how much I did not enjoy this meal.  I ate half of it because I was SO!HUNGRY! Did I mention the ridiculously slow service?  But it was a bland plate of mush balls.  I took the rest home to share with Jeremy and he stopped eating once he injested 3 of them.

I’ve chatted about my experience with some friends and it seems that people fall into 2 categories when it comes to Sabatino’s: they love it or they hate it.  I’m now firmly planted in the “hate it” group.

Also – I was irritated with some of the other patrons.  Apparently people don’t understand that 15 people = a loud and boisterous bunch.  Jeremy  likes to point out that it was 15 women as though that makes a difference in decibels but there was a group of 3 people next to our table that spent the majority of their dinner complaining about the volume of our conversations.  I have to say, what a sad dinner for the 3 people if they had nothing better to chat about.  Shoot me if that happens to me.

Pasta Mista – Canton

After my sock monkey saturday fiasco, my friend and I stopped in here for lunch.  In retrospect, we should have stayed at the AVAM and eaten at Mr. Rain’s Funhouse (conveniently located in the AVAM and veg-friendly) but I was worried that my pal might have gotten a parking ticket (since I had only paid for 2 hours of parking not knowing that making a Sock Monkey is ridiculously laborious and it took us nearly 4 hours). Anywho – we left and I couldn’t think of where to eat and Pasta Mista is a go-to place for me and it was located near the Squidfire Art Mart.

I love this place.  My husband and I get pizza here regularly (the Zappatore with sauce).  It surprises me when people don’t like this place.  It’s delightful and delicious.

My favorite pizza (the zappatore) is comprised of: mushrooms and eggplant.  I don’t know what else is on there but it is like a flavor orgy in my mouth.  I love it.  And their prices are right on par with most of the other pizza places in the area (unlike some of the “fancy” pizza places I’ve patronized).

Indigma – Mount Vernon

I had the pleasure of dining here with some great pals (Geoff and Jamie).  Jeremy and I have eaten here for a total of 3 times now and each experience has always been great.  We love Indian food and this place does not disappoint. 

I’d categorize this place as fancy Indian.  Instead of regular ol’ Samosas, they serve “open face” Samosas.  They have fancy plating and their manager is on top of providing good customer service.

I can only speak to what Jeremy and I ate since that is all I sampled (but Geoff and jamie liked their meals as well).

For starters I got an open face samosa (coriander pods, flash fried spinach, potatoes, burnt garlic and mango chutney).  Delightful.  I actually prefer this as an open face app because it makes it easier to eat.

Jeremy got the avocado pakora (cilantro, amchur, sweet lentils and mango syrup).  He really liked it.  I had a bite and it was very light.  And good.

And of course we had to get naan (although jeremy got fancy and ordered garlic naan).

Sadly – I don’t remember what Jeremy got for dinner.  Or even what my dish was called.  My dish had cauliflower in it (no potatoes) and I ordered it mild.  It was so damn good.

Jeremy got some sort of vegetarian masala dish and ordered it very spicy.  I had a bit (and dipped my naan in the sauce) and it was good.  But I know that I could not have handled that much spice.

For dessert we ordered the caramelized mango (sweetened ginger, vanilla ice cream and pomegranate syrup).  Apparently we ordered this last time.  I think that pretty much implies that its a good dessert.

I’ll probably go back to this place again… and again… and again.

But a side note – I think we were getting the stink eye from some other patrons.  Is there something about me?  I thought that we were pretty pretty quiet.  I noticed a pair of women constantly staring our way.  Maybe she didn’t understand the 1 woman to 3 men dynamic or something.

To summarize this post:
Sabatinos (Italian) – gross
Pasta Mista (pizza) – delish
Indigma (Indian) – awesome


Filed under Charm City Kim Eats

A Baltimore-centric Weekend

Despite the fact that I am now in the final stages of grad school and what I have left to do can only be equated to HELL… I made some plans over the weekend to check out various events around Baltimore.  And dammit, I am not changing my plans.

I guess I could argue that most of my weekends are Baltimore-centric since I live in Baltimore and generally stay in the city but I don’t always check out events.

Last night, I checked out the pop up shops in Harbor East.  There was some sort of party last night with champagne (champagne that was never offered to me and my pal… I was a little miffed).  I had read about these shops through some tweets and you really don’t have to twist my arm to get me shopping.

I picked up a pair super cute earrings from the DoubleDutch boutique pop up shop (their store is located in Hampden) :

My crap camera phone doesn’t do them justice.  I think these were made by an etsy seller and sadly I don’t remember which one (or I’d check our their shop online). 

After picking these up, I headed over to the Shine Collective shop (their main store is also in Hampden) and grabbed this Baltimore t-shirt:

Even though that was a Thursday night, I’ll still count it as my Baltimore-centric weekend extravaganza.

Tonight I’m meeting up with a bunch of girlfriends for dinner.  We’re eating at Sabatinos in Little Italy.  I haven’t eaten here in YEARS and don’t remember much about it.  But I know they accommodate large parties and it’ll be nice to get together with the girls.  I’ve been a social hermit for awhile.

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to check out the American Visionary Art Museum‘s Sock Monkey Saturday event:
Saturday • December 12 • 11AM–3PM • FREE:  SOCK MONKEY SATURDAY!

Don’t let the holidays drive you BANANAS! Relax by making your very own Sock Monkey. A great last-minute gift! And something just fun to do! FREE, but you must bring 2 pairs of (clean) socks to get in! Instructions, stuffing, sewing needles, thread, visionary baubles, and camaraderie provided.

I love sock monkeys.

Afterwards, I’m hoping I’ll have time to check out MICA‘s Art Market event.  Tomorrow is the last day for it and it closes at 6pm.  I’d really love to pick up some great artwork from local Baltimore artists.

When that’s done, I’ll be working on school stuff (hopefully).  I’m relying on my teammate to upload data online so that I can access it for my project.  I hate relying on people for this but I don’t have time to go by school today. 

Sunday, I’m checking out the Urban Chic sample sale.  They have a store in Harbor East.  My friend owns the store, one of my good friends is a buyer for the store and I basically wait for this sample sale every year.  Technically this sample sale is NOT in Baltimore but they have a store in Baltimore so I’m still counting it.

Afterwards, I’ll be studying for one of my final exams. 

So if you’re in Baltimore, you should check out some of these events.  And if you’re not – what are you doing this weekend?


Filed under Charm City Kim Plays, Charm City Kim Shops

Baltimore Restaurant Week – 2nd Stop

To continue on my gluttonous week of dining out, I met up with Theresa, Jamie and Geoff at Ixia in Mount Vernon.  I’ve heard about this place and driven by it a few times.  It looks uber hip so I was pretty stoked when their Restaurant Week menu had vegetarian options.
To keep my little write-up brief, this place is fantastic.  They took my coat, the bar service was amazing and the wait staff in general was great. 

The ambience is very trendy and it definitely made me want to come back.  This particular Baltimore Restaurant Week menu offered a special “wine pairing” with the meal.  Can you guess if I went for the special?

For the first course, we all had a salad with a parmesan crisp.  I love those crisps.  I’m a person that not only eats with her eyes, but I love a good crunch.  The salad was paired with a Sauvignon Blanc that went down quite nicely.

For the second course, I got the “Exotic Mushroom Risotto” paired with a Chardonnay.  Theresa and Geoff got the “Crispy Skin Salmon” paired with a Pinot Noir (my favorite type of wine!) and Jamie got the “Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Schnitzel” (try saying that 3 times quickly) and it looked like enough food for a small family.

I absolutely loved my risotto.  LOVED IT.  I think everyone else was happy with their meal but I wished I would have switched wines with Theresa or Geoff.  While I can enjoy a good white wine every so often, I really prefer red wine.  I like staining my teeth purple and looking like a fool whilst talking in a nice restaurant. 

For dessert – we all agreed.  Chocolate wins.  We all got the “Dark & Delicious” chocolate mud cake.  A-frickin-mazing.  The only downfall was the Port that it was paired with.  None of us are big fans of Port so I ended up chugging mine like a shot because I paid for it so I’m going to drink it.  If you’re not aware, we’re in an economic crisis!  I’m being frugal and making sure I get my money’s worth wherever I go.  🙂

Basically, you can take me to a classy restaurant but that doesn’t guarantee classy behavior.
Overall – I loved this place.  It made me feel fancy and important.  My only real complaint (aside from that gross Port) was that we were charged a gratuity for a party of 4.  It’s not the end of the world and it won’t keep me from coming back.  Jeremy doesn’t know it – but I have a lot of date nights planned to return to these restaurants. 

Hopefully we’ll stay longer than an hour to actually enjoy the food and each other’s company.  Ha!


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