Martell Speakeasy at Bookmakers Baltimore

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On Monday, April 10th I was I was invited to attend the Martell Speakeasy event at Bookmakers Baltimore in Federal Hill. It was an “invite only” affair to celebrate the 300 year old Cognac. Martell has been making cognac since 1715 and currently has 10 variations in their collection. This was my second time at Bookmaker’s Baltimore, the first time was for Baltimore Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 party.  The Martell event was on the upper level which is smaller and more intimate than the lower level. The upper level has a bar with seating for 10 and a lounge area with two large sofas and a large dining table that seats about 20 people.

Enjoying the "Future Island" cocktail
Enjoying the “Future Island” cocktail

Guests were treated to complimentary tastings of four Martell cocktails crafted by Bookmakers bartenders Ryan and Randy. R&R as I like to call them, carefully explained the ingredients in each cocktail and how each ingredient complimented the others. Because I’m also a mixologist, I particularly liked this because it gave me some new ideas to try for mixing my own drinks.  Over the course of the night, I had the pleasure of drinking five cocktails. I know I said four, but I ordered my favorite twice.

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What Is & What Should Never Be
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“Stonefist”
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“Golden Light”
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“Future Island”
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Ryan and Randy

Here’s a brief rundown on each cocktail…

What Is & What Should Never Be – made with raisins soaked in Scotch and it’s like a tiki variation of a cognac cocktail
Stonefist – a different take on an Old Fashion and tastes like banana bread
Golden Light– citrus forward cocktail that includes a unique North African spice
Future Island– a perfect balance of cognac and fruity notes

My favorite cocktail was the Stonefist. It was made with banana, bitters and allspice. The banana and allspice gave it a dessert taste but I could still taste the Cognac.  The other cocktails were equally delicious and made with interesting ingredients such as cinnamon, scotch soaked raisins, pineapple and grapefruit. R&R sure know how to mix a drink! I’m almost certain that these cocktails are also on the Bookmakers daily cocktail list, so anyone can visit and give them a try. The Martell Brand Ambassador, Jonathan Peterson, also spoke briefly about the history of Martell and the different Martell cognacs that were used for each cocktail. The event also provided a delicious spread catered by Bookmakers.

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Lobster Croquet, Chicken Croquet and Brussels Sprouts
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Fried Catfish, Mashed Potatoes, Fried Okra

All of the food was great but the catfish was heaven! Tender and perfectly seasoned, it definitely hit the spot. Guests were also given a pop quiz about the Martell brand and the opportunity to win a bottle.

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I almost forgot about the celebratory toast at the end of the night (so that means I actually had 6 drinks). A special thanks to the DMV Martell Cognac Brand Ambassador for inviting me.

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

  

Brunch at Banditos Bar & Kitchen

I know what you’re thinking… brunch at a Mexican restaurant?   Banditos Bar & Kitchen (1118 S Charles St) boasts a slogan of “Mexi-Cali Meets Maryland”  and the breakfast menu is a mash-up of the normal Mexican restaurant items with a breakfast twist.. an egg of some sort (scrambled, omelette style or over easy).  I must admit, it’s different but oh so good.

My friend and I arrived around 11:00 am on a Sunday morning and immediately found a seat at the bar. I’m always nervous going to Federal Hill on a weekend because of scarce parking, but the earlier the better because we found metered parking on the street right outside of the restaurant.  All seats were open at the main bar area and there were two large parties in the back room area.  We were greeted by an enthusiastic friendly bartender who gave us menus and explained the $15.00 bottomless mimosa option and of course we ordered that.  After looking over the menu, I ordered The Bossdilla and my friend ordered the Breakfast Nachos.

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The “Bossdilla”

 

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Breakfast Nachos

The Bossdilla is a hybrid for Boss Quesadilla. What makes it boss? It’s packed with meat — steak, sausage, bacon, chorizo… you name it.  The steak was very tender, juicy and flavorful.  I normally don’t like my steak cut up and put into salads or sandwiches because Chipotle does such a terrible job with their chewy steak, but I definitely liked the way Banditos prepared their steak.  I do think they should have just stuffed the egg in the quesadilla instead of serving it on the side. Just put everything in there and make it extra boss.  The breakfast nachos gave me food envy.  The crispy homemade chips piled high with cheese, salsa, onions and chicken topped with an egg was heaven.  Of course we didn’t finish our meals because the portions are so big, which I like.  When you visit Banditos make sure it’s on an empty stomach.

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

  

 

Friday night brunch at Home Maid

Home Maid is a quaint brunch-only restaurant on Key Highway in the Federal Hill neighborhood.  The restaurant was originally located in Towson, but relocated to its current location in the Spring of 2016.  The location is only open Friday-Sunday and brunch/breakfast is served all day.  I visited on a Friday night for a private D’usse event hosted by Events 4 Good People.  Stepping into the restaurant was like stepping into my grandmother’s kitchen. There’s cute chicken patterned wallpaper, family-style photos in gold and silver frames and wooden chairs painted white. The restaurant has about 11 tables that seat four and a high-top bar area. Because it was a private event, the menu that night was limited and there was one server.

My friend and I decided that we would each order one dish and share with each other. I ordered the Blackened Salmon and Shrimp with Creamy Grits and my friend ordered the French Toast and Bacon.

In almost every instance that I eat salmon, it’s smothered in a tasty sauce but in this instance the dry rub salmon exceeded my expectations. It was prepared Cajun-style with a spicy rub and flavorful herbs. The cut was tender and juicy on the inside which let me know that the chef knew his way around the kitchen! The grits were thick and creamy almost the consistency of mashed potatoes and accompanied with the house sauce created a match made in heaven. The French Toast had a sweet caramel flavor with a crunchy outside texture served with whipped cream, fried plantains and sea salt.  If you notice on the photo the bacon didn’t come out with the French Toast, we had to ask for it again and it came out about 10 minutes later.

Besides the mishap with the bacon, Home Maid was a pleasant brunch experience.  It’s a little pricey though, the French Toast was $18.00 and the Salmon and Grits was $22.00.  In my opinion, Home Maid is the perfect place to brunch with family.

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

  

 

 

Benny Brunch at Wayward Kitchen and Bar

On a Sunday morning hunt for a brunch location, my best friend and I decided to visit Wayward Kitchen and Bar for the second time.  The first time we visited my best friend forgot her ID and they wouldn’t serve us Mimosas so we left. This time we were prepared to show proper identification because honestly, what’s brunch without mimosas?

Walking into the restaurant I was impressed by the Bloody Mary Bar, it’s a shame I don’t like them.  I’ll take a sip of someone else’s if they order one, but I would never order one myself.  We chose to sit at the bar and immediately ordered the bottomless mimosas.

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The brunch menu consists of the staple items such as omelettes, salads, sandwiches, wraps, skillets, French toast, waffles and something special that caught my eye…the benny.  Benny is short for Eggs Benedict and it’s basically an open-faced eggs benedict sandwich. Wayward has three variations of the Benny. I ordered the Sobo Benny, my best friend ordered the Baltimore Benny and we also ordered a Peaches and Cream Waffle topped with Whiskey Whipped Cream.

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Sobo Benny
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Baltimore Benny

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Funny story… the first item to come out was a Bris-Cuit Benny, but we didn’t order that. The server mistakenly put in the Bris-Cuit Benny instead of the Baltimore Benny, so he ordered the correct one and told us to keep the incorrect one free of charge.  Sad for my friend because she doesn’t eat brisket but more for meeee.

Bris-Cuit Benny
Bris-Cuit Benny

Having sampled all the Benny options, my favorite was the Sobo Benny. I love scrapple, can’t help it I was raised on it.  I never thought cornbread topped with scrapple, poached egg and gravy could be so good. I also enjoyed the whiskey whipped cream served on my waffle.  I could really taste the whiskey but it wasn’t overpowering because the peach puree cut the flavor.

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

  

 

 

Tapas In The City at Points South Latin Kitchen

If you love visiting new restaurants, meeting new people and sampling everything on the menu – Tapas In The City is the perfect event for you!  Tapas In The City is a monthly pop-up dinner that allow guests to sample five to seven courses at some of Baltimore’s Best Restaurants.  The courses can be purchased with drink options or without.  Created by two food bloggers, Like The Tea Eats and JZ Eats, the event is quickly becoming the place to be for the Baltimore foodie-verse.  I’m not sure how I managed to miss their first four events, but looking at their Instagram page I was having major FOMO, so I decided to attend the most recent event at Points South Latin Kitchen.

Points South Latin Kitchen is a recent addition to Fells Point, Baltimore. I previously visited the last two tenants in that space and I was excited to see what new improvements and upgrades were made with the new restaurant.  The restaurant definitely has a South American flair with colorful walls, colorful accents and unique artwork hanging on the walls.  During the dinner, the owner gave us a brief summary of the cuisine that includes dishes from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and El Salvador. The best part is all menu items are gluten free!!

Octopus Ceviche Tostada
First Course – Octopus Ceviche Tostada

I was the last person to arrive, but I got there just in time for the first of five courses. I sat down at the table and was immediately handed a refreshing red sangria. It was light and fruity – exactly how a sangria should be.  They wait staff allowed guests time to enjoy conversations over the first cocktail before bringing out the first course Octopus Ceviche Tostada. A warm tostada served on a bed of shredded mixed greens topped with fresh chewy octopus ceviche.  I’ve had ceviche with shrimp before but this was my first time having octopus, I was a little apprehensive at first but I likened it to eating calamari…which I love. I know calamari is a squid but I figured the taste would be similar and I was right. I really enjoyed the two sauces that were drizzled on the ceviche, it gave it a tangy taste.

Coconut Jasmine Poached Head-on Prawns
Second Course – Coconut Jasmine Poached Head-on Prawns

Another first was the Head-on Prawn. Like a shrimp but a little larger and shaped slightly different.  It was served with clams, polenta and peas in a bed of broth.  One of my tablemates told me we were supposed to suck the head from the shell and I laughed.  She didn’t do it, so I didn’t either. LOL

 Duck Pazole, Wing Confit with Tamarind Glaze
Third Course – Duck Pazole, Wing Confit with Tamarind Glaze

The Duck Pazole was full of meat and I like lots of meat in my soup. It was almost like a stew with vegetables and a savory broth. I do wish it was served hot, it wasn’t warm or hot, it was served at room temperature.  But I’m sure it’s hard to prepare a large batch of soup for 45 people.  The tamarind glaze on the Wing Confit was sweet and sticky, it taste like a sweet and sour glaze or sauce.

Fourth Course - Chipotle Lime Barbeque Glazed Lamb Ribs
Fourth Course – Chipotle Lime Barbeque Glazed Lamb Ribs

My favorite course was the Barbeque Glazed Lamb Ribs. The meat was tender and the glaze was flavorful. I actually thought about ordering another serving.  It was served with pickled papaya salad and a garlic sauce and small garlic chips.  I’m a garlic lover and the sauce was perfect and bursting with garlic flavor. I repeatedly dipped my lamb ribs in the sauce but I’m still uncertain that it was paired for that reason.

Fried Plantain Empanada
Fifth Course – Fried Plantain Empanada

The final course was a fried plantain empanada served with ice cream, chopped strawberries, apple compote, caramel sauce and topped with toasted coconut. Delicious as it was, the final course cocktail stole the show in my opinion. The Lavender Royale was made with Champagne and Lavender Liqueur. It was very fragrant and my tablemates joked that it tasted like flowers in your face, but in a good way.

The Lavender Royal (Champagne+Lavender liqueur) tastes like flowers in your face…but in a good way 😀 #tapasinthecity

A post shared by Arli's Appetite (@arlisappetite) on

For more information on future events, visit their website at Tapasinthecity.com. #TapasInTheCity

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

  

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