Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Revisiting Some Baltimore Favorites

There are several restaurants that I love going back to again and again to try out new items on the menu, so even though we have posted on these places in the past, I wanted to provide some updates.
One of the true great discoveries in the past few years is Grace Garden in Odenton, MD. Chef Li's place has now been rated the Best Chinese restaurant 2 years in a row in the local City Paper, and just recently, he updated his menu to include some items he's made for special dinners only.
I last had the Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles, a dish with warm noodles with sweet sesame sauce, but then covered with Szechuan spicy pork and veggies.
The Phoenix Purse is an item Chef Li often made for Chinese New Year, but it's now on his permanent menu. It is a delicate dumpling that uses a thin sheet of egg white for the skin, filled with chicken and vegetables in chicken broth.
He's also added pork chops to the menu, including the savory salt and pepper pork chop. I'm going to need to get back to try several new seafood items including conch and Cantonese seafood treasures with shark fin, shrimp, & scallops.

After a couple more visits to Columbia, MD's Bangkok Garden, I've found a few more items on the menu that I just love.
The first is Pla Muk Pad Kra Pow, or squid cooked in spicy Thai basil. My favorite item is Yam Makheua Yao, a salad of warm smokey Chinese eggplant with shrimp. It is particularly good to eat on a warm summer day.

Yet another spectacular dish at Catonsville's Hunan Taste is their fish head with red chili peppers. It is a 1/2 head of large fish, so you get to have parts of the cheek, the collar and some of the neck- all the best bits.

I feel so lucky that the Bluegrass Tavern is walking distance from my place, and I surely take advantage of that. Chef Patrick Morrow continues to change up the menu weekly with local, seasonal items that respect the nose to tail ideology.
He's started making taco trios which include items like beef heart, pork cheek and tongue. One week, I tried a wonderful venison heart tartare for an appetizer.
One of the most impresssive dishes is his fried chicken. In the spirit of Airline chicken, his fried chicken is completely deboned, the white meat is wrapped by the dark meat, and the whole cut is fried, and served cut into 4 large slices. The result is meat that remains juicy and delicious with a wonderfully crispy skin. The feat is just awesome.

Grace Garden
1690 Annapolis Road
Odenton, MD
(410) 672-3581

Bangkok Garden
5810 Robert Oliver Place
Columbia, MD
(410) 992-9553

Hunan Taste
718 N Rolling Rd
Catonsville, MD
(410) 788-8988‎

Bluegrass Tavern
1500 South Hanover Street
Baltimore, MD‎
(410) 244-5101‎

1 comment:

theminx said...

When I saw that photo of pork chops, I thought it was those yummy lemongrass lamb chops we had for the NY dinner and I got excited. I wish he would put those on the permanent menu!