Friday, December 02, 2016
Monday, November 28, 2016
B & O Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco is one of our favorite restaurants, especially for special occasions, but also for a simple weeknight dinner. The restaurant has seen several executive chefs over its relatively short existence, but each has created complex, high-end dishes that have never been boring or predictable. B & O's current executive chef, Scott Hines, continues the tradition set by his predecessors with a new fall menu that entertains the palate with layers of flavor and ingredient combinations that are new and exciting. We were happy to be invited to try out the new offerings recently.
We started our meal with a Brussels sprout salad made of the bright green outer leaves of the sprouts. Crab apples, onion, Marcona almonds, and pancetta round out the salad, providing a variety of flavors and textures. When I first tasted it, I thought the pancetta was Mexican chorizo. I later found out that the maple vinaigrette included achiote (or annatto) which lends an earthy flavor as well as a yellow hue, and is also used in chorizo. I was glad to discover that my tastebuds were not playing tricks on me.
The oxtail marmalade is slow cooked oxtail (actually the tail from cattle we think of as cows, as opposed to oxen) blended with sweet and savory ingredients to create intense, meaty, flavor. When combined with a bit of bone marrow schmaltz (a rich combination of bone marrow and beef tallow) and a little of the lightly acidic pickled shallot and peppercress garnish on a slice of ciabatta, the result is a rich and satisfying bite that is lovely and well-balanced. A top-notch appetizer that would also be a perfect bar snack when paired with one of the B&Os always inventive cocktails. In that vein, I had the Harvest Moon from the new fall menu, a surprisingly dry combination of apple brandy, cacao nib syrup, lemon, and Millstone gingerroot cider. The Minx had the Rock Wall, a combination of mezcal and rum with cider, lemon, and spiced sugar syrup that reminded her of wood smoke and fall leaves.
Full disclosure - Chef Hines provided several recipes for our latest book, Maryland's Chesapeake. He's a terrifically creative chef who is also very generous. We are so pleased that he's running the kitchen at B & O, and look forward to many more delicious meals there.
B & O Brasserie
The Hotel Monaco
2 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland, 21201
Posted on Minxeats.com.
Friday, November 25, 2016
Today, The Milton Inn has undergone an extensive renovation. The wallpaper is lighter, the curtains are of lighter fabrics and no longer weighed down by tassels, and many of the equestrian paintings have been replaced with other subjects, although there is a beautiful equestrian mural painted on all four walls of one of the upstairs dining rooms. The rooms are brighter, and while still elegant, the overall look says "classic" rather than "old-fashioned."
The menu, too, has received a face-lift in the form of fall flavors. It's quite extensive, covering all manner of fish, fowl, meat, and vegetables. Many of the items are available on the restaurant's small plates menu, albeit in smaller portions. Most small plates are $12 while some that use pricier ingredients have an up-charge. Make sure to read the menu carefully.
We were invited in to experience the changes. Everything that we tasted during our visit was quite delicious, including the items pictured below.
All next year, The Milton Inn will be offering a special menu to celebrate their 70th anniversary, which will also be Chef Brian Boston's 20th year with the restaurant. The menu is full of turn-back-the-clock classics like chateaubriand and shrimp remoulade, and includes hors d'oeuvres, mignardises, and coffee, plus a bottle of champagne or wine, for the bargain price of $130 per couple. The Minx and I look forward to dining there at some point after the first of the year, perhaps to celebrate our own anniversary.
The Milton Inn
14833 York Road
Sparks, MD 21152
Posted on Minxeats.com.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Normally, if I get a recipe off the Internet, I write the ingredients on a piece of scrap paper and take that to the kitchen with me. In the case of this recipe, I neglected to write down "1 ½-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced." So I made it without the ginger. Nevertheless, the sauce was lovely (after I added more mayo and a pinch of cayenne to up the heat level a tad). It worked very very well with the roasted carrots, but would be even better, I think, as a dressing for a Caesar salad. Just add parm. Had I remembered the ginger, however, I don't think I would have made the connection.
Fortunately, this recipe makes more dressing than needed for the carrots. Toss it on some romaine lettuce, add croutons and lots of fresh Parmesan, and you'll have the Caesar salad of your dreams.
Roasted Carrots with Creamy Nuoc Cham Dressing (adapted from Bon Appetit)
2 pounds medium carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch cayenne (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss carrots and vegetable oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, 20–25 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring shallot, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until shallot is soft, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a blender or mini-prep food processor, add lime juice and mayonnaise, and blend until smooth. With motor running, gradually stream in ¼ cup oil; blend until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper, if you'd like the dressing to be spicier.
Drizzle dressing over carrots just before serving.
Posted on Minxeats.com.