Brunch at Spoons Café in Federal Hill

My favorite brunch buddy and I are up early on Sunday morning, I mean early like 8:00 am.  We’re ready to eat early too but most of the restaurants we frequent don’t open until 10:00 or 11:00 am.   Last Sunday, however, my friend wanted grits and I told her that I had the best cheesy grits at Spoons Café in Federal Hill, Baltimore.  We googled the hours and luckily they open at 8:00 am. We arrived at Spoons around 8:45 and half of the restaurant seating was already occupied. The hostess sat us quickly towards the rear of the restaurant at a two-seat table adjacent to the kitchen.  Spoons is a quaint restaurant space that looks like it could have been a house converted into a restaurant.

My friend and I order a carafe of Apple Cider Mimosas because it’s October and that means you drink apple cider.  That was my first time trying that flavor mimosa and I was impressed. I ‘d never thought to mix apple cider with champagne, but it was a fresh Fall take on the original mimosas. We scanned the menu and decided on The Beast, Fried Oysters and Grits, Deep-Fried Stuffed French Toast and the 2-2-2 (Two Eggs, Meat of your choice and French Toast or Pancakes).  I know, I know… we’re greedy.

The Beast
Fried Oysters and Grits
Deep-Fried Stuffed French Toast
Poached Eggs, French Toast and Scrapple

The Beast sandwich is — well you guessed it — A Beast. It’s a biscuit sandwich with buttermilk fried chicken, fried egg, smoked bacon, American cheese topped with sausage gravy.  Even though the menu describes it as a sandwich it’s not meant to be handheld, you have to eat this with a fork and knife.  In addition to the chicken and bacon, the sausage gravy added another meat element. The chicken was a tender cut, seasoned well and the biscuit was moist.  The Fried Oysters and Grits were my favorite. The oysters had a crispy, seasoned, thick batter on them, what you would call chicken-fried,  and the oyster inside was soft and fresh. The grits at Spoons are always great, even when I get them as a side with cheese, they are thick like grits should be. It also had an oyster sauce that was the consistency of soup and paired well with the oyster/seafood grits dish.  The Deep-Fried Stuffed French Toast was just light and flaky on the outside and stuffed with warm sweet cream on the inside, it’s the perfect portion to share.

Spoons is a great neighborhood restaurant with tasty food and great service. It’s the type of place you bring family that’s visiting from out of town, they’d love it.  They have beer and lunch options also. And because it’s in the heart of Federal Hill, you may want to stop at one of the nearby bars after brunch.

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

 

Baltimore Blogger Bytes with Will Drink for Travel and Ty Alexander

Last week I attended the first Baltimore Blogger Bytes series featuring Ashlee Tuck of Will Drink for Travel and Ty Alexander of Gorgeous in Grey.  A crowd of about 30 bloggers gathered at Forno in Downtown Baltimore to eat, drink, network and learn a few blogger tips from Ty. The cocktails were courtesy of CAMUS Cognac and the bites were prepared by the restaurant.

Baltimore Blogger Bytes Camus Cognac

The cognac cocktails included the classic Sidecar and Old Fashioned, there was also an option to drink it neat or with a mixer.  I ordered the two cocktails on the menu and I really enjoyed them.  It was my first time sampling the CAMUS brand and it was smooth and perfect for mixing.  The bites included mini crab cakes, fried polenta, meatballs and bruschetta.

This was my second time at Forno Baltimore and I forgot how cute the restaurant is. They have an outdoor patio area on the side with heated lamps for those chilly nights.  The restaurant also reserved a plush room for us, perfect to host small events. Guests were  given gift bags that included, a small bottle of CAMUS Cognac, a Baltimore Magazine, skin care and hair care products.

This was such a fun event, I hope they’ll be more to come.  For more photos and information on future events check out Will Drink For Travel‘s blog.

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

 

 

 

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Annapolis, MD

Recently I visited Annapolis, Maryland for a two-day seminar and of course I was excited to explore and visit a new restaurant.   While researching nearby restaurants I decided on Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant because it was minutes away from my seminar location and their menu options looked amazing.  My second day of the seminar ended early enough for me to stop in Cooper’s Hawk during their lunch time.

Cooper’s Hawk in Annapolis is a two-story restaurant and bar with a wine tasting room, retail store and barrel-aging room.   The bar side of the restaurant has an extended outdoor patio that includes seating.

As I mentioned, I’d already looked at the menu and I knew what I wanted to order for lunch.  My waitress was very pleasant and helpful explaining the wine list and food pairings.  Because the wine list is so extensive, some guests have a hard time deciding and they are encouraged to sample one or two wines.  Of course I sampled two…who doesn’t like free wine samples?!  The restaurant provides complimentary pretzel bread warm and fresh from the oven.  For my appetizer I ordered the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Cashews, Mint, Sweet Thai Chili and Sesame-Sriracha Aioli. Best Brussels EVER! Hands Down! I think it was the Sweet Thai Chili sauce and the Sriracha, that sweet and spicy mix with the perfectly crisp Brussels is a hit! And it’s a hearty appetizer size, I wasn’t able to eat it all and had to take the leftovers home.

After sampling three wines because I couldn’t’ decide on which two to sample,  I decided to order the Sparkling Wine Flight.  Cooper’s Hawk offers six different wine flights – Sparkling, White, Red, Dessert, Cooper’s Hawk Lux and Create Your Own. Each flight is the equivalent of two glasses of wine.  The Sparkling Flight featured an Almond Sparkling, Raspberry Sparkling, Sparkling Rose’ and Blanc de Blanc.  Surprisingly I loved the Almond Sparkling wine, I wasn’t sure about how an Almond wine would taste but it tasted like almond cookies or candy.

For my lunch option I ordered the Chicken Piccata and swapped the baked chicken for their Parmesan-Crusted Chicken and it was the best decision. Perfect pasta topped with a buttery lemon sauce seasoned with crisp capers. Seriously this meal is amazing. I’ve been back to the restaurant two more times in the last 30 days because I had to have it again and again.

During my last visit I ordered the Dessert Wine Flight and I especially liked the blueberry wine. As you can tell, I tend to like sweet wines.  Maybe on my next visit I’ll venture out and order a red wine or white wine flight.

Have you been to Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant? What’s your favorite dish to order?

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

#RyeDayThe13th Celebration at Rye Street Tavern and Sagamore Spirit Distillery

Rye Street Tavern has been open for about a month now and has received nothing but great reviews.  The restaurant is next to Sagamore Spirit Distillery and recently they joined forces to host a Rye celebration held on Friday, October 13th – they cleverly titled it “Rye Day the 13th”.   That Friday happened to be a wet one, but despite the weather hundreds of people came out to see what the new restaurant and distillery had to offer.  The event was both inside the restaurant and outside on the restaurant grounds with some of the outdoor portion covered by large white event tents. Outside, guests enjoyed music from a live band, they were also welcome to commemorate the night at the photo/video booth station.  Inside the tents guests were entertained by numerous games including giant versions of Pac-Man, Tetris, Light Bright,  Cornhole and the longest foosball table I’ve ever seen.  There was also an option to take a distillery tour during the event.

There were two food areas set up at the event, one was a taco station that served Pork Tacos and the other served Yellow Fin Tuna Poke and assorted desserts.  The event also featured restaurant wait staff passing hors d’oeuvres such as Roast with Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Carrots and Grilled Oysters.

There were two bar areas serving wine, beer and of course specialty Rye cocktails.  The two featured cocktails were the “Sagamore Rye Goldrush” and the Sagamore Brooklyn”.  I particularly liked how the bar staff pre-batched the cocktails because it cut down on wait time in the drink line.  If mixed drinks aren’t your thing, they also had a table serving free shots of Rye.

If this is any indication of how Rye Street Tavern and Sagamore Distillery celebrate, count me it, I’ll be there every time! #RyeDaythe13th

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

 

 

Rye Street Tavern

Baltimore’s newest neighborhood has recently welcomed Baltimore’s newest restaurant – Rye Street Tavern in Port Covington opened on September 12, 2017.  The New American restaurant is next to Sagamore Spirit distillery and boasts views of the Port Covington waterfront.  My first experience with Rye Street Tavern was during my visit to Sagamore Spirit’s “Whiskey On The Water” event.  The restaurant wasn’t open to the public yet, but they prepared and served a few entrees from their menu.  My recent visit was to dine and explore what the newly opened restaurant had to offer.

I visited on a Saturday evening around 6:00 pm. Some visitors were already enjoying their meal with a view in the outdoor seating area.  My friend and I decided to eat inside and we were escorted to seating near the kitchen area.  It’s always a plus when I get seated outside of the kitchen because I like to see and smell all the deliciousness coming out. The restaurant features an open-kitchen concept, though there is glass separating visitors from the kitchen, if you’re seated close by you can still see what’s going on.

These were our seats. Pretty cool, huh?!

 

We were greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable waitress who brought us some complimentary jalapeno cornbread and answered questions we had about the dinner and cocktail menus.  I was torn between two drinks and she convinced me to try the “Sagamore Swizzle”… great choice! My drink was a cross between a Mint Julep and a Dark and Stormy but with Chocolate Bitters and they were not skimpy on the Rye.  Once we finished our cornbread the waitress come to our table and cleared the plates and excess crumbs from the cornbread and gave us fresh plates and silverware.

My friend and I were curious about the Fried Popcorn Softshell Clams because we’d never had fried clams before, so of course that’s what we ordered for our appetizer. Soft texture and flavorful, they were amazing.  As soon as the plate hit our table we could smell the jalapeno and peppers on the plate, that’s how you know they have the freshest ingredients.   For the main courses I ordered the Wood-Grilled Maryland Rockfish, Shrimp and Grits with smoked tomato and my friend ordered Cornmeal-Crusted Wild Blue Catfish and Gumbo with Carolina Gold Rice.  The shrimp succulent, the grits were creamy and the rockfish was cooked to tender perfection with a crispy skin. I also liked the contrasting flavor of the smoked tomatoes.  The gumbo was seasoned well and the entrée included two healthy pieces of catfish. Everything about our meal was perfect, I have no complaints.

We decided to split a dessert. The waitress told us about the dessert special made with a rare fruit named “PawPaw” she explained that it’s a cross between a banana, mango, citrus fruit and it’s only in season for about 6-8 weeks. We decided to order it.  They prepared it as an ice cream and drizzled caramel sauce and pecans…delicious!

After our meal, we walked upstairs to see the rest of the restaurant… actually the restrooms were upstairs and that gave us the opportunity to explore.

Stairs to the upstairs dining area
One of the empty dining rooms upstairs
That’s me blending in with the décor…same colors, not planned.

Have you visited Rye Street Tavern? Or Sagamore Spirit Distillery?  Tell me about your experience.

And always follow my foodie and cocktail adventures on social media …  

  

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