Monthly Archives: November 2009

Restaurant Review: Good Stuff Eatery

Goodness Gracious

So after waiting a year or so for the crowds to die down, Adam and I (plus friends) ventured over to the Hill last night to enjoy burgers, fries and shakes at Good Stuff Eatery.  We had to take a short detour to view the new Capitol Visitor Center grounds, because we haven’t been able to see the eastern side of the building for the past 10 years due to construction.  The fountains and reflecting pools enhanced the lights on the clear night, and lead to some great photo opportunities.

Nestled into a skinny space on a block that houses some of the classic Hill dining / drinking institutions, Good Stuff Eatery was still packed even at 8:00pm.  People were milling about, waiting for tables or clinging to their buzzers eagerly anticipating their toasted marshmallow shakes.  After a quick look at the menu, we decided on the favorites – 2 Spike’s Sunnysides (previously called the 5+Napkin burger), an order of Village Fries, and toasted marshmallow and black&white shakes.  We grabbed a seat at the counter by the door, filled cups with samples of the different mayonnaise dips available, and waited for our little buzzer to go off along with everyone else.

The food arrived in the obligatory grease-lined bags, and it didn’t disappoint.  The burgers were perfectly cooked, well seasoned, and really, you can’t go wrong with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg.  The Village fries, seasoned with rosemary, thyme, garlic and salt, had the right amount of flavor, and mixed well with all of the different spices in the mayos.  The standout was the milkshake, with the smokey malted flavor reminding us all of campfires and s’mores.   Matt contemplated ordering a wedge salad as “dessert”, but decided to save that for another trip.

Chef/owner Spike Mendelsohn walked in halfway through out meal, making his way directly to the counter to help out the staff.  We thanked him for the food on the way out, and he mentioned that they are in the process of opening a new place next door in Feb.  It’ll be a NY Pizza place, to include pizza, sandwiches and gelato.  Perhaps that’s why he walked in with a pizza wheel in his hand?  I asked him about the rumor going around town that his fellow Top Chef competitor Richard Blais is looking to open his “Flip Burger” restaurant in the city, which he neither confirmed not denied (although Spike did mention that Blais is looking for space around the Verizon Center), but wished him the best of luck.  Do Liquid Nitrogen shakes beat out Toasted Marshmallow?

Good Stuff Eatery on Urbanspoon


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Restaurant Review: The Vineyard Wine Bar

On a recent trip to visit my mother, we were walking around downtown Havre de Grace, MD, and walked by a new restaurant, The Vineyard Wine Bar.  Since I’m always on the lookout for new places, we decided to give it a try.  Vineyard is broken down into two areas – a restaurant with tables and a bar, and a lounge with about 200 bottles of wine for purchase.

We decided on a high tabe in the front window of the restaurant side and were warmly greeted by our server, who explained the menu, wines, and restaurant concept (it’s only been open for about a month).  While reading the concept, I was amazed to read that if you make a reservation for dinner, they don’t expect to turn the table – it’s all yours for the rest of the night.  The menu focuses on small plates prepared to order with fresh ingredients.  I ordered a serrano ham and manchego cheese sandwich with field greens and Dijon mustard on fresh cibatta.  My mother ordered  a caprese sandwich on fresh foccacia.  We both paired our meals with wine, receiving excellent advice from our server.  Our meals arrived well plated, with a line of flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.  Both sandwiches had excellent flavor and freshness.  Yummie!

We’ll certainly being going back to Vineyard, taking advantge of our “all night” table.  Until then, check out their blog.


The Vineyard Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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Cooking Class: Herbs, Spices, and Grains

We started tonight’s class – Herbs, Spices, and Grains – with a pop quiz, spice and herb identification.  We could only look and smell, no tasting.  See how many you can get right without peaking at the answers below.

a. Cumin, b. Cardamom, c. Allspice, d. Lavender, e. Turmeric, f. Nutmeg, g. Poppy Seeds, h. Clove, i. Gumbo File, j. Anise, k. Black Mustard Seed, l. Dill, m. Fennel, n. Caraway, o. Coriander, p. Sage, q. Juniper, r. Celery Seed, s. Mace, t. Saffron

After spices, we moved on to herbs.  Again, we could only look and smell, no tasting.  See how many you can get right without peaking at the answers below.

1. Curly Parsley, 2. Mint, 3. Dill, 4. Rosemary, 5. Sorrel, 6. Basil, 7. Sage, 8. Cilantro, 9. Oregano, 10. Flat Leaf Parsley, 11. Thyme, 12. Winter Savory, 13. Marjoram, 14. Chive, 15. Tarragon

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