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  1. Chef Spike Gjerde has opened his long awaited farm-to-table restaurant in Clipper Mill. The wife and I went there last night and were shocked at the full dining room, given the restaurant's out-of-the-way location. No matter though, we had made reservations and were seated promptly in the loft overlooking the dining room. The renovation to the building is stunning. The exposed brick walls and recycled old-growth lumber that were used are dramatically illuminated, looking both elegant and cozy at the same time. A wood burning oven is the center piece of the open kitchen, and most of the food on the menu seems to be cooked in it. We ordered: Oysters (raw and roasted) Chicken liver parfait Hamburger Autumn vegetables Everything was very good: the food, the service, and the space. We'll be back soon. Woodberry Kitchen
  2. La Cuchara website Located in the converted factory Meadow Mill across from Union Craft Brewing, La Cuchara opened in April from chef-owner Ben Lefenfeld, the former executive chef at Petit Louis. The review from the Baltimore Sun covers a lot and provides some pictures of the area, bar, grill (which I was impressed by - I'm not an expert on the subject but I'm told it's very unique to the region), and of course food. Gorelick seemed fairly impressed by most everything, so I'd recommend reading his professional review before diving into my amateur one. "La Cuchara and its Basque Cuisine Make a Bold Entrance" by Richard Gorelick on baltimoresun.com The menu changes daily, so don't expect to see the same things as below, but I'll outline everything anyways. I started off with a unique cocktail recommended by a friend, Bull's Blood (Red Beets, Green Hat Gin, Tarragon, Pepper, $11), which tasted like fresh beets. Obviously would not recommend if you don't like red beets because that's the bulk of the flavor, but it was extremely delicious to me. The other cocktail I had was the False Idol (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Lemon, Agave Nectar, $10) described by Gorelick above and his review was spot-on so I won't say more other than I highly recommend it as well. I decided to explore the pintxos and tapas last night (but I'm told the duck confit entree is amazing), so we started off exploring the pintxos available. Very small portions, mostly served on skewers, were readily available upon ordering as they were prepared at the bar where we were sitting. The Tortilla Espanola and manchego/red onion/pedro ximenez were great starters while the jamon croquette was a highlight - this was just served individually FYI so harder to split than the skewars which were served as two pieces each. You'll be able to eyeball them at the bar or ask to see the serving sizes. We didn't sample a lot of the bread that was served after we ordered our tapas, but the four varieties were baked there and the couple small pieces I had were on point. We snacked on some shishito peppers, grilled and lightly salted/flavored, before squash blossoms were served - stuffed with goat cheese and fried, these were excellent - we were lucky to get the last order. We rounded everything off with a veal tenderloin that was very tender and flavorful and a variety of early summer vegetables served with a dollop of soft sheep's cheese. All in all, a great meal and experience. La Cuchara 3600 Clipper Mill Rd, Baltimore Open 7 days/week, 5p-10p (11p Fri & Sat)
  3. Matt and I went to Blue Pit BBQ on Saturday night after a few beers at Union with some friends who recommended it. I thought the BBQ was definitely up there, better than anything I have had in the DC area for ribs and pulled pork. I thought the smoke level was good, I liked the rib rub, it was so good you didn't really even need sauce. I wouldn't have minded a spicier bbq sauce for the pork, but I ended up really liking their mustard sauce with the pork actually. Our friends didn't care for the bratwurst, of course they are from Minnesota and their parents make bratwurst so... I liked the sides, the collards tasted like collards, but were cooked down nicely. I wasn't crazy about the potato salad, I thought the potatoes were a bit under cooked, however the flavor was there. I really liked one of the coleslaws, I think it was the MD seasoning one. The cornbread was really good. They also had a great bar selection of whiskeys and bourbons, I had a Frisky Kitty cocktail that was good. A nice can beer list too, Matt had something from San Francisco he really likes, but can't find often. All in all a very good stop, especially after drinking some beer.
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