Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pazo Garners New Chef, Format

IN THE NEWS: Baltimore Sun critic Elizabeth Large blogs, "Pazo, Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman's Fells Point tapas restaurant, has a new chef and a new format. Michael Costa took over as executive chef a couple of weeks ago and he's made some major changes in the menu. Tapas is still part of the mix, but there are now also main courses to choose from. The official line is that the change is simply to make guests happy with more choices. But the owners of the Charleston group of restaurants are savvy enough to make me wonder if the tapas craze has peaked. Maybe things are starting to trend the other way, back to more traditional ways of having dinner. ... By the way, Costa takes over as executive chef from Tony Foreman. As the pr woman said to me, "Something not widely known, that Tony is a chef." ... Large also reports on the opening of Rumor Mill (8069 Tiber Alley), a new Asian fusion restaurant that's opened in Ellicott City where Sidestreets used to be. ... Michael Harmel, 33, Jack Starr, 28, and Richard Karoll, 35, have found a spot for their new restaurant where the Parkside was (2901 E. Baltimore St.), near Patterson Park. Their eatery, which they're hoping will be ready to open sometime in June, will be called, appropriately enough, Three ... Harmel helped open the popular tavern One-Eyed Mike's. ... "John Staley, general manager of the Salsa Grill (6644 Security Blvd.) in Woodlawn, is remarkably cheerful for someone whose restaurant nearly burned down May 1. But he feels this is a chance to fix up the place with a new and better interior, including a state-of-the-art kitchen for chef/owner Jay Angle. "I've been telling people we'll reopen July 15," he tells Large with a laugh, "but it'll probably be September. I've dealt with contractors before." ... Fans of the Salsa Grill's Peruvian, South American and regional American cuisine (everything is made from scratch) can sign on to the Web site (eatsalsagrill.com) and request e-mail updates about when the restaurant will be back in business. ... Large also reviews Pazza Luna, while The Sun's Karen Nitkin gives two and a half stars in her review of La Fiesta Grill (9022 Church Lane, Randallstown, MD). ...The Takeout column recommends the bread pudding at Ale Mary's (Fleet and Washington streets, Baltimore). baltimoresun.com ... Blogger The Baltimore Snacker baltimoresnacker.blogspot.com visits Big T’s BBQ (intersection of Ft. Smallwood, Riviera and Bar Harbor Rds., Pasadena, MD.) and Carmen’s Italian Ice (8461 Ft. Smallwood Rd., Pasadena, MD).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

Brewer's Art, Shamrock Inn on Esquire List

Esquire magazine's second annual Best Bars of America list is out in the June 2007 issue. They include:

Lou's Pub & Package, Birmingham, Ala.; J Lounge, Golden Gopher, The Edison, The Broadway Bar, La Cita, Bordello, Redwood, and Bar 107, Los Angeles; Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood, Calif.; The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills; Beach Ball, Newport Beach, Calif.; Brennan's Pub, Marina Del Ray, Calif.; Bourbon & Branch, The Owl Tree, Vesuvio, and Zeitgeist, San Francisco; The Sportsman, Sonora, Calif.; Cruise Room, and El Chapultepec, Denver; Jimbo's, and Churchill's Pub, Miami; The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta; Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani Hotel, and La Mariana Sailing Club, Honolulu; The California Clipper, The Red Lion Pub, Bungalow, The Matchbox, Hideout, and Chipp Inn, Chicago; The Red Key, and Nicky Blaine's, Indianapolis; The Old Seelbach Bar, Louisville; The Chart Room, The Bar at Tujague's, Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, and Napoleon House, New Orleans; The Brewer's Art, and Shamrock Inn, Baltimore; B-Side Lounge, Cambridge, Mass.; No. 9 Park, Boston; Doyle's Cafe, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; The Bar at Seldom Blues, Detroit; Miller's Bar, Dearborn, Mich.; Bulldog NE, and Nye's Polonaise Room, Minneapolis; Half Time Rec, St. Paul; John D. McGurk's, St. Louis; Any bar on the Strip, Double Down Saloon, and Petrossian Bar, Las Vegas; Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, Little Branch, The Bar at Keens Steakhouse, Minetta Tavern, Jimmy's Corner, The Angel's Share, The Brooklyn Inn, The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Flatiron Lounge, The Saloon, San Domenico Restaurant, Spuyten Duyvil, 21 Club, Grassroots Tavern, Bill's Gay 90s, Julius', and Pegu Club, New York City; Freddy's Bar & Backroom, Brooklyn; Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Queens; Thomas Street Tavern, Charlotte, NC; Andyman's Treehouse, Columbus, Ohio; The Library Bar & Grill, Norman, Okla.; Friendly Lounge, The Grey Lodge, and Southwark, Philadelphia; Dee's Cafe, Pittsburgh; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and Robert's Western World, Nashville; La Tuna, San Antonio; Donn's Depot, Austin; The Inwood Lounge, Dallas; Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah; Sambar, Zig Zag Cafe, and Fu Kun Wu, Seattle; Hawk 'n' Dove, and The Tune Inn, Washington, DC; Holler House, Milwaukee.

IN THE NEWS: The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Gov. Martin O'Malley has signed the bill (on May 17) that would ban smoking in bars and restaurants in Maryland. The statewide ban will take effect Feb. 1, 2008, one month after a smoking ban goes into place in Baltimore City. Bar and restaurant owners will get a written reprimand from the state for their first violation. A second violation will result in a $100 fine and at least $250 for subsequent violations, the paper reports. ... The Baltimore Sun's Karen Nitkin awards three stars to Eclectic Café and Creperie, 723 S. Broadway in Baltimore, while Elizabeth Large navigates the buffet at Wegmans' Wokery. www.baltimoresun.com ... The City Paper's Richard Gorelick reviews Gino Troia Ristorante, 2304 Boston St. in Canton. citypaper.com ... The Baltimore Snacker baltimoresnacker.blogspot.com reports the sad news of the final night (May 18) of Seidel's Duckpin Bowling Center (with snack bar), opened 1929 on Belair Road ... Dan Taylor's The Hungover Gourmet hungovergourmet.blogspot.com stops by Zack's Hot Dogs and Cafe Hon ... The New York Times spends 36 Hours in Baltimore and hits the restaurants Obrycki's, The Blue Moon Cafe, Attman's, the Helman, The Brewer's Art, and Nick's . nytimes.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

America's Best Restaurant Cities

"Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent ForbesTraveler.com piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
1. New York City
2. Chicago
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. New Orleans
6. Houston
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Las Vegas

Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

IN THE NEWS: The Sun's Karen Nitkin gives two and a half stars to Looney's Pub North, 312 St. Main St. in Bel Air. Colleague Elizabeth Large also gives two and a half stars to Brightons, 550 Light St., InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel, and also blogs that Longo's in Green Spring Station may not be reopening this week after all. baltimoresun.com ... City Paper's Richard Gorelick reviews Lebanese Taverna, 719 S. President St. at Inner Harbor East, while Cheap Eats looks at Chicken Shack in West Baltimore. citypaper.com
Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

James Beard Awards Announced

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

IN THE NEWS: Yes, she knows it's a chain. But the Sun's Elizabeth Large still gives three stars to the new P.F. Chang's China Bistro, which opened in March in the Inner Harbor. Karen Nitkin also awards three stars to Smedly's, 600 S. Wolfe St. baltimoresun.com ... Baltimore magazine looks at: Artifact Coffee, 2010 Clipper Park Road; Highlandtown's Carlos O’Charlie’s Sports Bar and Grill, 3508 Eastern Ave.; and the Crown & Thistle, 10 Fila Way, Sparks. The mag also reports on the recent closings of the fine-dining Hampton's at the InterContinental Hotel, Golden Gate Noodle House in Towson, and the Italian eatery Buono in Mt. Washington ... Blogger The Baltimore Snacker visits longtime late-night (until 4 am) favorite Nam Kang Korean Restaurant on Maryland Avenue ... Blogger Johnny Dollar's Vault stops by the Big Kahuna Cantina ... Blogger Pigtown Pigout goes to Chesapeake Wine Co. in Canton. ... Baltimore Business Journal reports that "nearly 60 restaurants have signed up to participate in Baltimore Restaurant Week, a week in August when diners can bite into three-course lunch and dinner meals for a fixed price. Organized by Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association and taking place July 30-Aug. 5, the promotion will offer lunch for $20.07 and dinner for $30.07. New restaurants participating this year include Lebanese Taverna, Brewer's Art, Eden's Lounge and Vin, in Towson." Baltimorerestaurantweek.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com