Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Market - August 30

Somehow, everything at the market that I wanted to photograph, just looked the same as every other week. I decided not to take pictures of the sartorial mistakes, and only shot about six pictures. Here are my two favourites.

The guy from Zeke's coffee had a portable coffee dispenser on his back. If you look at his left side, you can see the sleeve of cups, too. I guess you have to take the coffee black.
I think this little guy is adorable. His stuffed bear/rabbit is almost as big as he is. He's carrying a bag of raspberries! Yum.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

RIP Brass Elephant

I was shattered to find out that the Brass Elephant has closed its doors. There was a good article in the Sun today, in which I am quoted, about the high-end restaurants that are shuttering in the economy. BrassElephant1 I loved the Elephant. We spent many happy times there. Here’s a little story:

Before I moved to England, my final celebration meal was at the Elephant, and when I came back to Baltimore, one of my first outings was there again. That's the one event that stands out in my mind the most.

For several years, during the lighting of the Washington Monument, Jack Elsby, the Elephant’s manager and I would serve cocoa to all the visitors in the park. It was free to everyone and we were happy to do it. It was a little pre-Christmas, small-town celebration. Then the city decided that the vendors had to charge for their food/drinks, so Jack stopped doing it. But at the lighting, I'd always stop by the restaurant for a quick hello and a drink.

Late in 2005, I had to come back to Baltimore unexpectedly, and not many people knew I was coming home. It was right before the Monument Lighting, so I met up with the Blonde and the Redhead. We watched the lighting and then headed up to the Elephant. It was crowded, as usual, and Jack was running around.

I spotted him through a crowd of people and just grinned. He looked up and saw me and he just lit up. We made our way over to each other and hugged. He told me that he'd been thinking about me all day because of our tradition of serving cocoa, and then he looked up and I was there.

It was a tiny personal moment in hundreds of happy moments that I've spent at the Elephant, and one that I will never, ever forget.

I hope that everyone associated with the Brass Elephant can find another job. RIP.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No Market....

I have in my care this week, a 10-month old puppy. We thought he was a chocolate lab, but when the DNA testing was done, it turned out he's part greyhound, part airedale and part Germand short-haired pointer. He has two speeds: zoom and zero. My dog has two speeds: slow and sleep.I was scared to leave him home with my dog, so I skipped the Farmers Market.

Here's a picture from a previous market.

Next week, though!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday Market - August 16

The market seemed a little more crowded this week, not really sure why, but we both noticed it. I was focusing this week on tomatoes. Not your "garden variety" tomatoes, but on the heirloom varities. I hate the look of some of these, they're all knobby and anatomical-looking. Not attractive to me at all.
I should have paid more attention to the names, but here's a sampling of what I saw.
Lovely orange cocktail tomatoes.
Next week, I think I might take pictures of people who should have looked in a mirror before they left home... Consider yourself warned!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


As part of Restaurant Week, four of us had dinner last night at Salt in Butcher’s Hill. I have heard loads of great things about this place, but have never managed to visit.salt

We started with some drinks, the men had beers and I had a strawberry mojito, and an order of Salt’s famous Duck Fat French Fries with a trio of aioli – malted vinegar, truffle and smoked pepper. We all preferred the truffle and the fries were gone in a flash.salt2

Since they just seemed to be offering the Restaurant Week menu, that’s what we ordered from. I started with a fabulous salad of bibb lettuce, watermelon, feta and a balsamic reduction. salt 003 Julie had a seafood chowder salt 004 and Mike had fajitas.salt 005

For our mains, I had the Grilled Giant Prawns with roasted chickpeas, lemon, olive oil, garlic brioche, which I thought was the least successful of the four dishes. It was very hard to eat the prawns and there was very little meat in them. They had HUGE long legs that stuck out everywhere. I thought the chickpeas, lemon and olive oil would be more like hummus, and less like three separate ingredients. salt 010

Julie had a Fresh Pasta with Corn, Asparagus, Chiles, Sweet corn butter, fresh thyme, shaved Pecorino Romano, and proclaimed it a hit.salt 008

Mike had a pork shank with peanut Udon noodles, which he liked more than the pork, which was falling off the bone. salt 007

Joe had Grilled Lamb Shank with a Curried carrot fritter, watercress and bean salad, feta vinaigrette and he ate every speck of it, so it was apparently a success.salt 009

For dessert, we each had something different. I had a creme brulee, Julie had mini-donuts with lavender honey and salt, and coffee-chocolate chip ice cream, Mike had lemon sorbet and Joe had a biscuit with fresh whipped cream and berries.

The pictures above all have a very strong green cast to them due to the lighting in Salt, which you can see in the top image. I don’t think that colour does either their patrons or their food any favours.

Otherwise, we though the food and service were both excellent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


In honour of my friend Jefe’s birthday, we had lunch at Crush today. Crush is located in Belvedere Square, and if you’re old Baltimore, like I am, you might remember it as the location of Hess Shoes with the sliding board. They do still have the sliding board, but it’s raised so you can’t slide down it.

I hadn’t been in the restaurant since it was Taste, and didn’t really remember what it looked like then, but this iteration is really well-decorated and interesting.crush 002

We got there right at noon, and there was only one other table taken, but by the time we left, an hour and a half later, there were about 10+ tables filled.

Since they were offering a Restaurant Week menu, I ordered off of that, but Jefe ordered from the regular lunch menu. A few weeks ago, I’d written about the amazing idea of grilled cheese croutons, and Crush had a creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons. We both started with that, and it was excellent. crush 007

My next course was grilled salmon with lobster mashed potatoes(!!!), spinach and a red wine reduction. crush 009 Jefe got a grilled chicken sandwich with Brie and bacon. Both were excellent. Just beautifully presented and fresh. crush 011

As we were eating, I saw the waitress walk by with a colourful timbale. I started describing it to Jefe, but then she  walked back with it and I flagged her down to tell us what it was. She said it was the Uncobb salad, with layers of arugula, lobster, shrimp, avocado, crab and tomato on a pool of vinaigrette. It was just gorgeous, and the perfect thing for a summer day.crush 012

We finished by splitting a Jewish apple cake with an excellent caramel drizzle and vanilla ice cream. crush 014

The bill was quite reasonable and both of us agreed we’d go back there in a heartbeat.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday Market - August 9

As I mentioned in last week's market post, I am trying to find themes at the market. This week's theme is market baskets and bags. Once we started looking, we noticed that there were several varieties:
woven reed, straw or wood baskets,
pulled or pushed baskets and carts,
logo and printed bags
and collapsible market baskets.
What do you carry at the market?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Food Blogger Code of Ethics

A few weeks ago, I wrote about ethics and sponsorships after reading an article in the New York Times, and it created quite a lively conversation. I also recently had a conversation with some friends about this topic and everyone agreed that it’s best to disclose, so as not to muddy the waters with what's been given and what's been bought.

Today, as I was reading the Guardian on-line, I found a
piece about a food bloggers' code of ethics, which I thought was very interesting, and could be revised slightly to encompass bloggers who write about products and services.

The Food Blog Code of Ethics is from a blog entitled exactly Food Ethics. Here’s the Code which they’ve written.

The Code
We wrote the Food Blog Code of Ethics after many heated conversations with fellow food bloggers. Those discussions inspired us to lay down some basic guidelines for food writing on the Internet because we couldn’t find any that already existed. These aren’t laws that we expect everyone to follow. These aren’t rules you have to accept as your own. We know they don’t apply to everybody. They’re a jumping off point to start a bigger discussion.

The Code is not intended to limit anyone’s freedom of speech. We offer these pages to advocate accountability, accuracy and honesty in the world of food blogging. The Code is designed as a set of guidelines, not a punishable set of laws.

1. We will be accountable

  • We will write about the culinary world with the care of a professional. We will not use the power of our blog as a weapon. We will stand behind our claims. If what we say or show could potentially affect someone’s reputation or livelihood, we will post with the utmost thought and due diligence.
  • We understand why some bloggers choose to stay anonymous. We respect that need but will not use it as an excuse to avoid accountability. When we choose to write anonymously for our own personal or professional safety, we will not post things we wouldn’t be comfortable putting our names to.
  • If we review a restaurant, product or culinary resource we will consider integrating the standard set of guidelines as offered by the Association of Food Journalists.

2. We will be civil.

  • We wholeheartedly believe in freedom of speech, but we also acknowledge that our experiences with food are subjective. We promise to be mindful—regardless of how passionate we are—that we will be forthright, and will refrain from personal attacks.
3. We will reveal bias
  • If we are writing about something or someone we are emotionally or financially connected to, we will be up front about it.
4. We will disclose gifts, comps and samples
  • When something is given to us or offered at a deep discount because of our blog, we will disclose that information. As bloggers, most of us do not have the budgets of large publications, and we recognize the value of samples, review copies of books, donated giveaway items and culinary events. It’s important to disclose freebies to avoid be accused of conflicts of interest.

5. We will follow the rules of good journalism

  • We will not plagiarize. We will respect copyright on photos. We will attribute recipes and note if they are adaptations from a published original. We will research. We will attribute quotes and offer link backs to original sources whenever.

Even though this code is for food bloggers, I think that it is a good basis for most bloggers who write about products, services and the like. I am very interested in your thought on this subject.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunday Market - August 2

When I was looking through last year's July pictures and comparing them to what's in the market now, it's very obvious that we're running behind where things usually are. It's also obvious to me that I could slap some pix from last year in this post and you'd never know, since the produce is all the same, year after year. More or less...So, I am going to try to find themes for each week. This week's theme is stripey produce.
Eggplants. Beans.Tomatoes.
See you next week!