3 Tips You Should Know Before Visiting The Natural Products Expo East

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A photo of all the freebies I collected at the Natural Products Expo East

Last weekend, I visited the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, MD for the second year in a row.  Just imagine a convention with lots of organic and natural products to sample on-the-spot and also take home with you.  With three levels and over 1,400 vendors in attendance the event is overwhelming but satisfying and the products range from food, drink, skin care, vitamins, jewelry and clothing. The photo above is just 2/3 of what I collected during my 4 hours at the expo and below are some of the foods I sampled.

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If you are planning to visit the Expo East or Expo West I have five takeaways from the Natural Products Expo East.

1. Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes and Clothes – The Expo East recently added two levels with even more vendors and this in a nutshell means more walking for you, so comfortable shoes are a must.  The aisles are set up with vendors on each side and I was literally walking up and down each aisles to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  You’re going to need comfortable clothes because of all the food you’ll be eating.  I made sure to eat a light breakfast and arrive right around lunch time because I knew I’d be hungry and eat large amounts of samples.

2. Bring A Rolling Tote – Almost every vendor there has canvas and cloth bags to give away. This sounds like the perfect idea to store all your freebies but because you get so many freebies, you end up carrying many bags also.  My first go-round my friend and I left there with six bags each and we had to drive home in her two-seater car. Imaging me driving with bags on bags on my lap…not a pleasant drive home.  It’s much easier to bring a large rolling tote to push or pull your freebies and this will free up your arms for more grabbing. Bonus Tip: Make sure you have room in your trunk to store all you’re bags and your rolling tote because you’re going to need it.

3. Attend The Expo On The Last Day –  The Expo is normally on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Late Saturday Evening or Sunday I find the vendors are eager to get rid of all merchandise because they don’t want to take anything back with them.  Normally they would give you one of their product, but on the last day towards the evening they are throwing everything at you and begging you to take it home.  You are guaranteed to get even more freebies on the last day.

If you’ve attended the expo or plan on attending the next one, leave a comment and let me know if my tips are helpful.

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

  

The Best Lunch Ever Pop-Up with The Local Fry and Ekiben

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I’ve wanted to check out Ekiben‘s sweet buns forever!  I know that sounds a little weird but, I’ve seen Instagram photos of their sandwiches with white fluffy sweet buns and I had to try it.  On Monday, a friend invited me to “The Best Lunch Ever” pop-up collaboration with Ekiben and The Local Fry.  The event was held at the Ekiben location (1622 Eastern Ave) and featured customer favorites from both restaurants.

The event was from 11:00am-3:30pm and I arrived around 2:15pm.  There  seemed to be a good turnout because the place was full with customers who were waiting for their food. The cashier was friendly and explained the menu items in detail.  I decided to order “The Original” which is two Thai chicken meatballs with coconut peppercorn sauce and slaw.  Let me tell you how that sandwich was everything I imagined and more!

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“The Original” – Thai Chicken Meatball Sandwich with Peppercorn Coconut Sauce

The meatballs were freshly made with chopped onion and green peppers inside and they were cooked to a medium well consistency – not too hard or over cooked.  The bun was soft with a little hint of sweetness.  I also ordered plain fries from The Local Fry with a side of the peppercorn sauce.

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My friend ordered the Korean fried chicken wings with gochujang sauce and of course I had to taste one.  The sauce is a savory, traditional Korean condiment and had a sweet and spicy flavor, truly awesome sauce.

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Korean fried chicken wings with gochujang sauce

I think “The Original” will be my new favorite sandwich! I also want to visit The Local Fry and taste their gourmet and unique french fry options.  What is your favorite fry from The Local Fry?

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

  

Happy Hour at Fleming’s Steakhouse

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Hail to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar– one of my favorite restaurants in Harbor East, Baltimore.  The title of this post mentions “Happy Hour,” but the photo above is the delicious dinner I shared with two friends after we ate the following happy hour items (don’t judge us).

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Sweet Chili Calamari

Can I just fawn over this Calamari for a minute?  Fleming’s Steakhouse hands down has the best calamari I’ve ever had! It’s served with a sweet chili sauce and it’s lightly breaded on the outside, tender on the inside with a spicy pepper kick.  I wanted to eat the entire plate myself, but unfortunately I had to share.

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Cocktail Shrimp
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The Prime Rib Dip with Homemade Potato Chips

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I especially enjoy the cocktails at Fleming’s Steakhouse, they are always delicious and they offer a variety of options with various liquors. You can’t go wrong with calamari and cocktails at Fleming’s Steakhouse happy hour, I’d go there everyday of the week just for that!

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

  

Roast and Rye at Wit & Wisdom

Wit & Wisdom Tavern hosted an outdoor barbecue of sorts for “Baltimore’s American Treasures Culinary Experience” event. The event was to honor Baltimore’s 2016 top chefs, Zack Mills, Executive Chef at Wit & Wisdom and Jerry Pellegrino, Executive Chef at Schola.

Guests were welcomed with a signature cocktail sponsored by Sagamaore Spirit Rye Whiskey and made by Wit & Wisdom’s lead bartender, Jonathan Levy.

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The “Welcome Cocktail”

The menu featured Blood Sausage, Barbecued Lamb Shoulder from Border Springs Farm served with Summer Succotash and Cheddar Grits.

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Zack Mills (left) and Jerry Pellegrino (right)
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Blood Sausage
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Barbecued Lamb Shoulder
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Cheddar Grits
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Summer Succotash

I’m going to be honest, the Blood Sausage I didn’t like. That flavor has no grey area, you either like it or you don’t.  My friend loved it, but I absolutely did not.  The real star of the show (not pictured) was the roast made by Jerry Pellegrino. The roast was served on a slice of Rye bread with your choice of three BBQ style sauces and three picked relishes.  I had three of those bad boys and they were so good I devoured them each and forgot to take a photo…sorry not sorry.

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

  

Recap: Chat and Chew Live with Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon

On Monday night I attended the Chat and Chew Live “Ladies Night Out” at Maryland Live Casino Rams Head Center Stage.  The event was an interactive, live talk show with guests Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon from Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of Potomac.  The night was hosted by Chat and Chew Events and a portion of the ticket proceeds were donated to the Greater DC-Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Guest enjoyed a cocktail hour from 7-7:30 pm that included a Ciroc Red Berry signature cocktail titled “Pink Lady”.  Waitstaff also passed hors d’oeuvres of steak crostinis, and a variety of flatbread that included chicken, steak and pulled pork.  There was also a dinner buffet featuring carved roast, salad, lobster mac & cheese and marinara pasta.

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Chicken Flatbread
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Pulled Pork Flatbread
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Side Salads

The Real Housewives of Potomac ladies looked FABULOUS! I mean, talk about inspiration. They were put together, poised, articulate and pretty much an open book.  They talked about everything from their first jobs, current feelings about their ex-husbands, opinions on other reality shows, race relations and everything in between.

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The #DynamicDuo plus @kalixtob equals BIG fun! @marylandlive @chatandchewevents #RHOP 🌸

A post shared by gizellebryant (@gizellebryant) on

#regram from @gizellebryant

Kudos to Chat and Chew Events for putting on a great show! I’m interested to see how they will top this event and who their future guests will be.

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

  

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