Sunday Brunch

February 16, 2009

My friends Ramzi and Steph have been raving about Mick’s made-to-order omelettes that he serves up at the Mill Valley General Store up in Hampden. It’s a market open year-round, but they really don’t have much produce in the winter time. We know Mick through our frequent visits to Pickles Pub near the stadium. Little did we know, Mick actually has a whole business called Whiskey Island selling his own spices and he’s even got his own cooking show! Anyway, we made our way up to the market only to discover that Mick had a catering thing that day and wasn’t making his omelettes. So we had to settle for coming back another time. Instead, we headed over to Slainte in Fell’s Point for some brunch.

I ordered the Breakfast Boxtie, which consisted of Irish potato pancakes stuffed with bangers and rashers, topped with Guinness-infused cheddar. I thought it was pretty good. The Guinness-infused cheddar didn’t really taste like cheddar…or Guinness. I don’t really know how to describe it. The “fresh fruit” that came with every order didn’t taste fresh. I think the strawberries tasted like they were soaked in sugar; like what you would use to top a strawberry shortcake.

Afterwards, we stopped by Bonaparte Breads for some coffee and I got an apple tart to go. I usually really like Bonaparte’s pastries, but I actually wasn’t super impressed this time. I didn’t like the tart crust; it was a little burnt. And overall it was too sweet.

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A couple nights ago a few friends and I went to Louisiana Restaurant in Fell’s Point for Baltimore Restaurant Week. Located on Aliceanna Street, the outside doesn’t look like anything to brag about. I wouldn’t have ever thought that inside was a beautiful restaurant with a mansion-like atmosphere.

I started with the Louisiana crab bisque that was supposed to be garnished with jumbo lump crab meat. As you can tell from the photo, jumbo lump crab chunks are apparently nonexistent/really really tiny. I wasn’t a huge fan of the bisque crab meat or no crab meat. It was on the salty side, and there were visible pools of oil floating on the top, which I could see going right to my arteries. But I guess if I’m here for Restaurant Week, I’m not really looking to go healthy.

For the second course I chose the Grilled Black Angus New York Strip Steak. This course made up for the bisque big time. It was cooked perfectly (to my taste), very tender and juicy. The huge portion of steak also came with a side of potato puree (fancy talk for mashed potatoes) and asparagus.

For dessert, I had the chocolate mousse, which I thought was very tasty. Not too rich or sweet. Just creamy enough. However, I was disappointed that they had switched out the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee for the Apple Beignet. I was really looking forward to having creme brulee.

Some of the other items that my friends ordered. Clockwise from the top right: bread pudding, apple beignet (+ Peter), slow cooked duck confit, and blackened jumbo shrimp with grits.

Afterwards, our server kindly took us on a tour of their mansion. They literally have a mansion behind the main dining room. The first floor was filled with tables to accommodate all the Restaurant Week patrons, but the space could double as a ballroom. There was a grand staircase leading up to a second floor with more tables. You can book that area of the restaurant for private events, and depending on the size of your party, they may reserve either a section of the mansion or the whole thing. Pictured is a view from the staircase.

The food was decent, the service better than decent, the wine not so great. The restaurant offered a few bottles for $25 just for Restaurant Week. We chose a pinot noir; unfortunately I don’t remember the name, but it just wasn’t good. Overall, though, a pleasant dining experience.