Sandlot Baltimore

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on the patio at the Harbor East Gordon Biersch location, looking out at the cranes and construction equipment at the newly open Harbor Point. Fast forward to summer 2017 and Harbor Point is up and running complete with apartments, a coffee shop, a furniture store and Baltimore’s newest outdoor attraction – Sandlot.  It’s a concept by Chef Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen.  The name is an homage to the baseball movie with the same name.  Sandlot can be described as a Baltimore Beach but on the harbor – a manmade beach with sand, sun and fun without the swimming.  It’s an adult playground with volleyball courts, giant jenga, sidewalk chalk, hammocks, corn hole, bocce ball and top 40’s blasting from the speakers.  I’ve been to Sandlot about five times since it’s opened and I’d say by day it’s family and dog friendly and at night it has a laid back beach party vibe that us locals enjoy.  Also, the views at night are incredible, you can see across the Baltimore skyline.  It’s normally open from 4-11pm daily but times can get delayed if it rains. 

My first visit to Sandlot was their opening day and it was packed, so packed that I stood in the line for about 45 minutes just to order a cocktail.  They’ve since worked out the cocktail kinks by adding extra beer stations around the site and allowing servers to take orders at your seat.  The cocktail selection normally includes your normal liquor selection, beer and a few frozen drink specials…gotta have the frozen drinks at the beach.

The food options include traditional American Fare such as Nachos, Specialty Hot Dogs, Chicken, Fish, Potato Salad, Onion Rings and many more options. Since I’ve visited several times, I’ve been able to try a variety of entrees.

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
Rotisserie Chicken
Crab Fritters
Chessie Nachos

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich –  Lightly fried, topped with fresh, crunchy, tangy cole slaw on a soft toasted bun… This soft shell crab sandwich was one of the best I’ve ever had.
Rotisserie Chicken – I had the chicken twice. The photo above is my first sampling and it was flavorful and falling of the bone good. My second time having it, wasn’t that great. I guess it’s a hit or miss.
Crab Fritters– Lots of corn, not enough crab.  But the chilli pepper jam made up for it…so good.
Chessie Nachos – The menu offers a variety of five nacho options. The Chessie is topped with smoked fish, crab, corn salsa, beer cheese, onion and jalapeños.  I ordered them because I’ve never had smoked fish nachos. Lots of fish and crab on every chip.  These are great if you like seafood.

Sandlot is definitely the place to take out of town guests to show them how cool we are in Baltimore.  Or visit for a chill weekday evening or a people watching weekend.

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

  

Night Brunch at Modern Cook Shop

Brunch is definitely my favorite meal on the weekends.  I get to sleep in late and wake with the anticipation that breakfast food and mimosas are on the horizon.  Even though it’s the highlight of my weekend, I can’t always make it to brunch because like most people I have errands to run and obligations to fulfill.  Scrolling through Instagram I was super excited to see a post from Baltimore entrepreneur, Jason Bass , about a new Night Brunch series he was hosting with Martell Cognac at Modern Cook Shop.   I thought this was a great concept for those who aren’t able to enjoy brunch on the weekends and for those who want something different to do on a weeknight.  Modern Cook Shop, per their website, is a “restaurant, market and bar, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Me + Mimosa

I made reservations on Open Table for the event because it was strongly suggested and  I’ve never been to Modern Cook Shop so I didn’t really know what the set-up would be.  When I arrived to the event the hostess and staff were very friendly and accommodating.  My friend was already there waiting for me so they showed me to my table.  I must say, Martell sure knows how to brand their events! The long tables were set with large bottles of Martell, menus and the signature Martell blue pillows. The price of brunch was $40.00 plus tax and gratuity and that included bottomless mimosas and one entrée item.  The menu had 13 entrée items and that I definitely liked because I love variety.  The options included Blueberry Waffles, Traditional Two Eggs any style with a side of meat, Breakfast Sandwich, Omelet, Peach Cobbler Scrapple, Corn Cakes, Breakfast Scramble, Corned Beef Hash, MCS Burger, Cuban Sandwich and Chicken & Biscuits.  In addition to the fixed entrees, there was another menu with A la Carte items that included small salads, toasts, side items and Martell specialty cocktails from the bar.

Chicken, Biscuits and Gravy
Breakfast Scramble
Ricotta & Jam Toast

I ordered the Chicken and Biscuits, my friend ordered the Breakfast Scramble and we both wanted something savory so we ordered the Ricotta & Jam Toast.  Normally with breakfast chicken and biscuits I’ve seen it served with a sausage gravy, but this brown gravy was a pleasant delicious change.  The Ricotta toast I also liked because it was made with rye toast. The house made ricotta was perfectly soft but I do wish the jam was a bit sweeter. I sat next to the kitchen o I got to snap photos of other menu items as they were coming out.

House made scrapple over rye bread with soft egg
Breakfast Sandwich
Two eggs any style
Open Faced Cuban Sandwich

In addition to brunch and booze the event also included beats by DJ Impulse – it was essentially a brunch party with music and I must say I had a nice time.  I used to be able to party into the wee hours on the weekday but not anymore and at the Night Brunch I got to eat, drink, two-step and socialize all by 10:00 pm.  It was a mature crowd and there were some very attractive men at this event, OooKaaayy.! (insert emoji eyes).

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

  

 

 

 

Rum Day DC at Hank’s Cocktail Bar

The rum selection used in the competition

Yes, Yes, I’m sure you know by now how much I love a good spirit-themed holiday!  And it’s not because I like to drink but mainly because I enjoy seeing the competition and tasting the unique cocktails that each bartender creates with the ingredients they are given.  I had so much fun at last year at the Margarita Standoff at Quarter & Glory that I decided to attend “DaiqOff,” another event hosted by the US Bartender’s Guild DC Chapter.  DaiqOff (such a clever name) was the title given to the official Rum Day DC event at Hank’s Cocktail Bar.

My friend and I arrived at Hank’s a bit early because we wanted to grab a bite to eat and check out the bar before the competition, turns out it was burger night…sweet! We ordered a 1/2 priced “Hanks’s Burger” with swiss cheese and bacon and that came with homemade chips.  We also ordered the loaded sweet potatoes, my first time having a loaded sweet potato and I really liked them.  We also both ordered the 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney which was made with Glenladough Gin, Honeydew Agua Fresca & Lime.

After we ate, we headed to the rear of the restaurant and onto the outdoor patio where the competition was set to take place. It was a perfect summer evening to sit outside, I’m glad it wasn’t too hot or raining. The competition included seven rums each assigned to a different bartender.  The bartenders were timed and had to create a cocktail some complete with garnishes.  The six judges sat at the bar while the bartenders made their cocktails and were given the first drinks to sample. After the judges tasted the cocktail the attendees were given samples to try.

Patio before the crowd
Patio with the crowd
@Kapri.Possible
@FrenchNotScotty

Garnish Game on Point!! That’s a banana btw.

The cocktail sampling tray was passed around at least 10 times, some cocktails we got to taste twice. Also, I received a free cocktail as a bonus for registering for the event early.  Hank’s Cocktail bar was kind enough to create four signature cocktails for the event and $2.00 from each cocktail purchased went to the US Bartender’s Guild DC.

I chose the Tea Time cocktail pictured below, it was made of Cruzan Rum, Hibiscus, Chamomile and Lime.

“Tea Time” cocktail

And did I mention that Hank’s Cocktail Bar is located on a quaint residentail block that also includes a Taqueria and pizza restaurant.

I enjoyed another fun event hosted by the USBGDC! Follow them on social media and keep up with their future events.

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

  

Ciroc Brunch Series at The Elephant

Ciroc Vodka’s latest marketing train recently made a stop in Baltimore.  Not a train in the literal sense but figuratively Ciroc is always on a roll and full steam ahead when it comes to marketing their brand and new products.  Ciroc has hosted brunch across the country to promote their products. Last Saturday, Ciroc partnered with The Baltimore Sun to host a local brunch at The Elephant restaurant in Mount Vernon, Baltimore.  Some of you may remember when The Elephant was a nightclub in Baltimore for a short time, that was my first time in the space.  The short-lived nightclub is now a beautiful restaurant with multiple rooms and levels, each with a different look but an elegant, cohesive theme. The brunch was held on the first level in the front dining room. The room was decorated with pink walls, marble fireplaces, chandeliers and gilded trim mirrors – all feminine elements that I loved!

Once inside we were directed to the back bar area to grab our welcome cocktail “The Charles”.   A delicious, light cocktail complete with edible flower ice cubes.  After grabbing our welcome cocktails, guests started to fill in the dining room and select seats, once seated we were given a bowl of small cinnamon French Toast Bites with cinnamon butter. The French Toast bites were perfectly seasoned with cinnamon, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.  I think the bites are a great idea for an intimate brunch party at home.

Our second cocktail was the “924 Breeze,” made with Ciroc, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and lime.  The name is a twist on the traditional “Bay Breeze” cocktail that features the same ingredients and the “924” is the address of the restaurant 924 Charles Street.  The second brunch course was a Belgian Blueberry Waffle with Thyme Maple Syrup topped with a Lamb Chop.  The blueberries in the waffle were fresh, no frozen waffles here and that pork chop – delicious and grilled to perfection…I wanted another one.

The final cocktail was the “Heatwave,” made with Mango Ciroc, Habanero Simple Syrup, Mango Puree and Lime. With a name like that, you already know it was spicy but in a good way. The final brunch course was The Elephant Eggs Benedict made with a Potato Latke, Duck Bacon, Spinach and Hollandaise.  I do love a runny egg and it’s always a great idea when I can eat vegetables with my brunch food.

After all courses were served, the Ciroc liquor representative introduced us to the newest flavor Ciroc French Vanilla and the servers passed out samples to everyone.

Enjoying my French Vanilla sample

Guests were also asked which cocktail was our favorite because the winning cocktail would be featured on The Elephant’s drink menu for the next month. Overall the food was delicious, but I would have liked larger portions especially to help balance all that liquor we were drinking…I’m sure the portions were made petite for the brunch only.

If you are ever looking for a restaurant with great food and ambiance, The Elephant is the place!  Have you been to The Elephant?  Tell me about it.

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

  

Stella Artois’ “The Art Of The Chalice” in Washington, D.C

On August, 20th, Stella Artois stopped in Washington, D.C for their latest edition of “The Art Of The Chalice”. The D.C event was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Atrium and other like it also took place across the country. Previous cities that have hosted this event include Cincinnati, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Seattle and Phoenix. For the D.C. event, Stella Artois commissioned local art duo No Kings Collective to create a mural for the the Stella Artois Chalice. They also invited Chef Bart Vandaele to cook party bites for guests and give a brief cooking demo. The menu included Watermelon and Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad, Grilled Beef and Brussels Sprouts and Leek and Lobster puff pastries.

Guests were greeted with Stella Artois Cidre, which I actually loved because that is my Cider of choice. There were also beer stations around the venue for guests to walk up and get a beer. Stella Artois did not hold back with their branding and marketing, they had a cute little section with Stella Artois table and chairs and walls branded with the Stella Artois name.

Beer expert Max Bakker gave a small five-minute lecture on the Stella Artois Chalice and the brand’s signature Nine Step Pouring Ritual. Max is one of only 13 people  worldwide to earn the title of Master Cicerone, that means he has an exceptional understanding of brewing, beer, and pairing and wide knowledge of beers.  As if that wasn’t enough fun and excitement, upstairs on the second level actually took the party to another level.  Upstairs was an atrium area featuring additional seating and a Stella Artois airstream beer trailer.  There was also a glass blowing artist from the McFadden Art Glass Studio giving live demonstration of his artwork.

Guests ended the night with a live performance from the local folk rock music group Wylder and everyone got to take home the limited edition Washington, DC. Stella Artois Chalice.  This was such a great event by Stella Artois with a good variety of interests and activities, they had something of interest for everyone.

In case you wanted to check out the mural, it will be on display for six months between Meridian Hill and Logan Circle on 1738 14th St NW. Here’s a look below…

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

  

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