Thursday, June 16, 2016

Food in June

We are just about to head out of town on a pretty great trip (Ireland!) - and while I probably should've spent the last two weeks packing, instead, I spent it eating. It's been great.

Here's what I've been up to:

On one gorgeous Thursday night, Cooper and I went to The French Kitchen, at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, to check out their new spring/summer menu. We especially liked the fried green tomato starter, which had a spicy remoulade that was excellent. Shrimp and corn bisque, crab cakes (very traditional! In a good way!) and wild rockfish served with stewed tomatoes were other high points.

The French Kitchen's space, with its high ceilings and Eiffel Tower centerpiece, is a fun interpretation of fancy. But the hotel's real star attraction is the rooftop bar, LB Skybar. It has a killer view and we had a couple very nice cocktails. The weather was gorgeous and I left thinking that if I still worked nearby, I'd be up there every night.

The Brewer's Hill area is just blowing up lately. Last week, I went to a fun media preview at Gnocco, the new spot from Brian Lavin, formerly of Salt and Fork and Wrench. The food - Mediterranean - was excellent and the space is super cute.

And I was especially happy to see that Gilles, who worked with the chef at Salt, will be working the front of house. He's great - that he's a part of the team definitely bodes well for service!

Gnocco officially opens next week. Everyone should go!

Gunther + Co. is another recent opening, right around the corner from Gnocco. It's been open for close to a month now. We went about two weeks after it opened and already, both the service and food was in great shape.

We were especially impressed by the service; our waiter knew the menu backwards and forwards. The food was very good, too - the duck confit lumpia was probably my favorite dish - and the space is gorgeous. It's a great spot for drinks and oysters - both menus are solid - or for a full meal.

With so many places opening all the time, it's often tough to revisit restaurants, even if they're always good. Like Woodberry. I love it and don't go nearly enough.

This past weekend, I found myself there for brunch with a bunch of other moms. It was the kind of meal that is so fun to attend but, I'm sure, a nightmare to handle from a service end because everyone is so chatty, it takes a million years to turn the table.

But it was really fun - and a great reminder that Woodberry just gets it right. My meal was straightforward - a bloody mary that was exactly the right amount of spicy and a perfectly, perfectly seasoned asparagus and goat cheese flatbread. Just great all around. I should go there more, especially now that it's nice out, so the patio is open.

Finally, and also last weekend, Cooper and I attended Feastival, an afternoon on the harbor, with food from some awesome restaurants, all benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland.

The cause is such a good one and it warms my heart to see how the city's chefs rally behind it. It is also super fun. The day was a little breezy, but sunny, and Cooper and I arrived right when the party started so we could make the most of our time there.

Here's what I remember eating: tacos from Clavel, shrimp with pineapple foam from The Food Market, oysters from Loch Bar, salmon sashimi from Azumi, a spicy banh mi from Gunther + Co., sticky and sweet sesame wings from Hersh's, a gorgeous gruyere gougere from Colette (OK, three of them - they were so good), sausage and peppers from Wit + Wisdom, squid ink pasta from Aggio and raw carrot cake from Encantada.

I'm sure I'm leaving someone out, too! Everything was good (for real), but those gougeres...I could've eaten about forty of them and still gone back for more.

I washed everything down with an herbaceous vodka lemonade that was ideal for outdoor day drinking. It would have been easy to have about forty of those, too.

This actually isn't even everything. We've also had some fun pool cookouts and last night, we went to an amazing dinner at Boordy Vineyard, catered by The Food Market and featuring their new line of wines, Sweetland Cellars. More to come on that - the drinks, the food and the space all blew me away and I remembered just how much I love it up there.

It's been a good month so far, no doubt. Good...and full!

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