Food and drink


Finally, finally. As a resident of the Silo Point condominiums in Locust Point, I had the pleasure of attending the “sneak peak” and grand opening of Miguel’s Cocina y Cantina as part of Silo Point’s retail and restaurant expansion. Restaurant owner and Chef Michael Marx has once again delivered to this proud Texas foodie. Marx, owner and chef for Rub BBQ in Federal Hill, has hit Texas BBQ spot-on with quality meats, kick-ass sauce, and flat- out good-ole-fixin’s. And with this in mind, Miguel’s Cocina y Cantina surely won’t disappoint.

Situated off the main lobby of Silo Point, Miguel’s is 4,000 square feet of concrete and glass – enough space for a full kitchen, bar  and restaurant seating.  Suspended from the restaurants high urban ceilings are oversized tin stars that glow,  playing off the funky yet dramatic folk art which mimic’s Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Diners can also enjoy views of the condominiums swanky outdoor seating  – which overlooks landscaping reminiscent of the silo’s grain operation and charming yellow box cars from the functioning B & O railroad.

The menu Marx created  for Miguel’s includes delicious and imaginative small plates that are sure to bring variety at a small cost. Of my favorite samplings were the handmade empanadas, the thick homemade corn tortilla chips, and of course the guacamole which had a nice “kick.” An array of tequilas were also on hand for sampling as well as an assortment of imported mexican beers and house made margaritas. I found Miguel’s margaritas to be average but good. I couldn’t help but to be biased when sipping my rita because of the serious love affair I have with the fresh ones my Chris makes – the kind that make my cheeks flushed, my nose tingle, and my laughs hard from the belly. Miguel’s however, will definitely rank as ‘the place to be’ in south Baltimore  – the place to dine on great regional mexican food, catch a Raven’s game, or meet friends after work for a round or two of chips and margaritas.

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It’s that time! The upcoming invitation-intense month is right around the corner and while wine is the perfect gift to give, it can be difficult to match the appropriate bottle to a particular personality. Whether the gift is for a boss, hostess, wine novice, or foodie, this article, courtesy of Cooking Light magazine, provides inexpensive options that are sure to take the stress out of any holiday gift-giving woes.

“A little matchmaking elevates a bottle from nice gesture to a very thoughtful gift indeed – and you might even get to drink a glass…” Cooking Light, December 2009.

For your boss

Aim to impress but be realistic. You could spring for a $100+ luxury wine, but your boss is better equipped to splurge anyway. Instead, choose bottles that show you did your homework. A couple are costly, but good values. 2006 Hess Collection Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon($18). 2007 Achaval Ferrer Malbec Mendoza($55). 2006 Chateau Talbot($60).

For a foodie

For people who will go to the ends of the earth just to taste a fabled food, opt for a cutting edge wine. 2008 Castell Castell Silvaner Franken Germany($16). 2003 Alois Lageder Lagrein Lindberg Vineyard ($25). Pierre Peters Cuvée de Reserve Blanc de Blancs Non-vintage Champagne ($50).

 

For a wine novice

Wine can be intimidating to a beginner, but a lush Aussie shiraz is easy to get to know (and love). With bold flavors up front, they’re not subtle. But they’re not simplistic or one dimensional either. 2007 Rosemont Diamond Label Grenache Shiraz ($10). 2007 Jim Barry Lodge Hill ($20). 2008 Two Hands Angels Share Shiraz ($25).

For a wine connoissuer

Each of these picks comes from a name wine lovers will appreciate and from a stellar year for winemaking in Tuscany. 2006 Monte Antico Tuscano ($10). 2006 Félsina Chianti Classico ($22). 2006 Talenti Rosso di Montalcino ($30).

 

 

For a host or hostess

These interesting wines from around the world can be enjoyed anytime – noon or night. Lively and refreshing, they make good conversation starters, too. 2008 Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($12). 2006 Raventós Reserva Rosé Cava ($23). 2007 William Fèvre Chablis Montée de Tonnerre ($35).

For a kosher friend

Although gifts are not widely exchanged at Hanukkah, a bottle of wine is a welcome addition to any celebration. 2007 Golan Heights Chardonnay Galilee Yarden ($17). Goose Bay Pinot Noir Malborough New Zeland ($21). 2007 Covenant Red C ($42).

 

For a tree hugger

These selections are made by houses that use environmentally sound methods. And they taste great, too. 2007 Bonterra Viognier Mendocino/Lake Counties California ($13). 2006 Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Oregon ($45). 2006 Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Papa La Bernardine ($50).

Did you know?

Natural cocoa powder contains more antioxidants per cup  than red wine, blueberries, and tea. Natural, unsweetened cocoa powder is almost 2 times stronger than red wine, 2-3 times stronger than green tea, and 4-5 times stronger than that of black tea. A triumph!

Cocoa’s healthy compounds add to the growing evidence that high levels of flavonoids (antioxidant activity) are shown to fight cancer, heart disease, and even aging. Ah ha! I always knew chocolate was the fountain of youth.

“Although we know that antioxidants are important for good health, nobody knows the exact daily amount required per person,” says Chang Yong Lee, Ph.D., head of the study and a professor of food chemistry in Cornell’s Department of Food Science and Technology, located in Geneva, N.Y. “Nevertheless, a cup or two of hot cocoa every once in a while can provide a delicious, warm and healthy way to obtain more antioxidants.”

Alright everyone, this good-bit of chocolate info isn’t meant to send you sprinting for the box of Swiss Miss with candy marshmallows, but rather send you on a quest for a natural cocoa that can be doctored and served anyway you like – mindfully.

This favorite winter beverage can easily be sweetened with, the milk of your choice, vanilla, or all natural marshmallows (yes, they’re out there). To make your hot cocoa extra rich, melt in a few dark chocolate chips – my favorite!

Today, I’m trying Green & Blacks organic hot chocolate drink made with bittersweet and dark chocolate – just add milk.

A toast to the season!

P.S. Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa (sans mini mallows)

 Ingredients: (Yuck!) sugar, nonfat dry milk, modified whey, cocoa, corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut oil, everything else is less than 2%. What is “everything else?” Really, I want to know.

 

 

Ingredients matter at a new burger chain that is popping up all over the northeast. With joints in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and even Texas and Florida (opening 2010), Elevation Burger focuses on offering quality food products that are healthy for both you the consumer and the economy. WOW! A burger that is actually guilt-free? You’ve got it! Elevation Burger uses 100% USDA Certified Organic, grass-fed, free range beef that is ground on premises.

What about the sides you ask? Elevation Burger creates their golden fries with organic potatoes which are deep fried in 100% pure olive oil. Shakes? You betcha! EB’s shakes are made with all natural ingredients and contain no trans-fats.

Not in the mood for a burger? EB also offers a salad and fresh fruit. And, if you are watching your bread intake, EB will gladly wrap anyone of their delicious burgers with fresh lettuce leafs.  

Can’t get any better than this!

Check out their website and learn more about their menu and philosophy (they even address the issue of corn!).

http://www.elevationburger.com/