Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blue Agave

Blue Agave is one of those restaurants I've always wanted to visit, but due to the challenges in finding a parking space in Federal Hill and their once-odd hours (they were closed on Tuesdays, for example), we never managed to do so. Their Restaurant Week menu looked good enough to entice us to try harder this time, and an early reservation rewarded us with knowledge that there are parking spots to be found before 5pm during the week.

Hey, I work banker's hours and can practically walk to Federal Hill. It makes absolutely no sense for me to go home in the opposite direction and then drive back downtown.

Despite the attraction to the Restaurant Week menu, we ended up ordering off the regular menu and saved some $ by skipping dessert. After devouring a basket of Blue Agave's addictive, freshly-fried, and lightly salted corn tortilla chips served with a trio of salsas, there was no way we could have eaten three more courses. With the chips, Mr Minx had a Dos Equus Amber, and I tried the Spicy Guavarita. Guava can be pretty sweet, but tempered with lime and pineapple juices and a nice dose of chili-infused anejo tequila, it makes for a well-balanced and exotic variation on a margarita. Make sure to try it with a salted rim for maximum flavor impact.

For a first course, we tried the Entremes Surtido, an assortment of appetizer-y goodies. The plate was heaped high with a somewhat-dry corn cake topped with three small chipotle-flavored shrimp, two crispy chicken flautas, a simply delicious crisp-and-melty shrimp quesadilla, a queso-stuffed jalapeno, fresh guac and salsa, and a chile/cheese tamal with an unusually moist and cornbread-like texture.

At this point, I was already full, but I pressed on with my entrée, a platter of chicken enchiladas verde with red chile rice and black beans (which I subbed for refried beans). While the dish was simple fare, the typical stuff one might find in any Mexican restaurant, it was well-prepared. The chicken thigh meat was juicy and flavorful, the cheese was melty, the corn tortilla wrappers fork tender. And the portion was large enough to afford me a lunch for later in the week.

Mr Minx tried the carnitas, which came with corn tortillas, refried beans, pico de gallo, and a radish salad. I'm forever trying to find an equal to the carnitas I ate in San Diego 20+ years ago, and these weren't it. However, the slightly sweet meat was intensely porky, very soft, and perfectly tasty when rolled up in a soft corn tortilla with a squeeze of lime.

Service was a little slow, despite the restaurant being mostly empty, but I thought our server was otherwise lovely. The wait between courses allowed us to eavesdrop on the amusing conversation held by the loud people at the next table who insisted on pronounced "empanada" with a ñ so it sounded like "empiñata." Conjuring mental images of people using sticks to hit giant empanadas that rained picadillo upon them was an amusing way to pass the time.

Blue Agave Restaurante Y Tequileria
1032 Light St
Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 576-3938

Blue Agave Restaurante Y Tequileria on Urbanspoon

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rachel vs Guy Celebrity Cook-Off Episode 5 and Finale Recap

I'm imagining a conversation something like this went down at the Food Network last week.

Susie Fogelson: Hey, Tushie, do you think it's a good idea to run the finale of the        Celebrity Cook-Off opposite the Super Bowl?
Bob Tushman: Super Bowl? What's that?
Susie Fogelson: You know, that game where large men in tight shiny pants chase        each other around a big field?
Bob Tushman: Is that the game with penetration in the backfield? Oh yeah! I like        the Super Bowl! Hmmm...guess it's a bad idea to try to compete with men in        shiny pants, huh?

Thus, in the infinite wisdom of the Food Network brass, both the fifth and sixth episodes of Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off had to be aired back-to-back this weekend. Ack! That's two hours of note-taking and trying not to fall asleep in front of the television for me. It was difficult, but I managed to struggle through with the aid of a big bowl of ice cream and a couple of cookies. The three shots of Bailey's were a bit counter-productive, however.

So. Despite going through 60 minutes of hell for you, the reader, I'm going to spare you a long, drawn-out recap. Rather than being twice as long as usual, I'm making it only half-again as long as usual. Because I'm nice that way.

Anyhoo...there are four celebrities left, two on Guy's Team (Coolio and FatOne) and two on Rachael's Team (LDP and Taylor). For the first challenge of the evening, the team-mates are competing against each other because only one person from each team can compete in the finale "next week." The task at hand: to make a three item menu for a dinner party for ten people, comprising "dear friends" of Rachael and Guy. In other words, people whom they've begged to come in off the street. Each celebrity must create a meaty main course, a starchy dish, and a vegetable, all in two hours.

Guy's team goes first and each of his team members meet with him to do menu planning. FatOne wants guidance but Coolio comes up with his own menu of ghetto-fabulous dishes.

During the cooking, it looks like FatOne has really bitten off more than he can chew, since he's not all that familiar with any of the three dishes he's making. He's really sweating it.

Coolio is his usual hyper self, for some reason shouting "Shaka Zulu!" every ten minutes. It gets quite annoying after the first time a while.

When time is up, the guests arrive to dine. Besides his mother, Penny Ferry, Guy has arranged for three random guys to partake in the meal. Coolio serves first: "Fork steak;" arugula salad; and "Gitalian" bread. The "g" is for "ghetto," natch. Then FatOne serves his dinner: cauliflower puree with roasted veg; roasted chicken; and linguini with clam sauce. The diners all seem to enjoy the meals, praising both veg and starch courses. Coolio's steak was tender but otherwise not impressive, and FatOne's chicken was dry in spots.

Then it's Team Rach's turn to cook. She tells her team to do family-style Italian, so LDP takes on lasagna with ground lamb rather than his usual turkey, chicken saltimbocca, and roasted kale. Like FatOne's menu, this one sounds a bit too ambitious for the time period. Taylor is doing polenta with a sausage ragu, veal marsala, and broccoli rabe, none of which she's ever cooked before. Ut-oh!

Cooking ensues and for a minute there it looks like LDP is going to lose it over a bottle of wine that doesn't meet his flavor expectations, but he gets it together and finishes all of his dishes in time.

Rach's special guests include Grub Street writer Josh Ozersky and a handful of her sycophants. Taylor serves her meal first; while the polenta is good, her veal is salty and tough. She couldn't make the broccoli rabe work, so she threw together a caprese salad at the last minute; Ozersky seemed to think it was a fine idea. LDP then serves the meal of his life, with everything praised, except for slightly salty kale. Ozersky likes the lasagna so much he wants to eat it out of a trough.

The verdict: while nobody "ran away with it," LDP and Coolio are declared the winners. Taylor and FatOne don't get to go home though...they have one more battle to see who can take home $5,000 for his or her charity. This Blind Tasting challenge will be super-sized at 20 minutes, with the celebs able to cook anything they want. FatOne figures he can cook rice in 20 minutes so does a fried rice, while Taylor goes to her Jewish roots and makes matzo ball soup. While both are delicious, FatOne's is more creative and he gets the cash for the FatOne Family charity.

Ok, now let's pretend it's "next week." The Finale episode opens up with sexay scenes of Coolio and LDP getting ready for their big day.

After a few more minutes of drinking coffee and doing situps, the two get dressed and head out to the venue at 583 Park Avenue. Rachael and Guy are there to give them their final challenge, which is, essentially, Restaurant Wars! That's right, Food Network is once again ripping off Top Chef! The two celebs have to prepare three courses with two choices each for 40 diners, and decorate a dining room. They do get help in the form of former teammates Taylor Dayne and Joey FatOne, who will be in charge of the front of the house for them. Additionally, they get three professional chefs in the kitchen, plus a wait staff.

Their restaurants will be judged by the diners who will write Zagat-style reviews, and the winner will be announced by none other than the Zagats themselves.

First the celebs name their restaurants and plan menus with their team leader. LDP has chosen to call his place "Blessings," (gag) and he's doing fine dining food. Coolio's joint will be called "Chez Cooly's" featuring his usual ghetto-inflected comfort food. They then have to select decorative items for their restaurants from a limited selection of tablecloths, napkins, and tchotchkes. Coolio has a brown and beige color scheme in mind, but Taylor grabs the items with those colors before he does. Coolio pouts, declares that he's quitting, then stomps out. I'm thinking, yay! the episode ends right here and LDP wins by default! But no, Coolio comes back, settles for an all-orange theme, and the celebs get to work.

Taylor takes her job seriously. It's almost as if she's run a restaurant before. FatOne seems a bit befuddled, especially with the orange tablecloths and stuff.

In the kitchen, LDP is all professional; Coolio gets distracted and stares into space a lot. While yelling "Shaka Zulu" every five minutes.

Soon the very brief 4 hours of prep and cooking time is up and guests start to arrive. Coolio and LDP act all intimidated by the fact that the Zagats are around. They're just two fat-asses who like to eat. That's like being intimidated by...me.

The judges eat at Chez Cooly's first, where they hate the decor. Coolio's menu includes the "east El Segundo oyster" (oyster po' boy bruschetta), "King Cool-ocado" (fried avocado stuffed with crab), cherry bbq short ribs with asparagus and polenta, "finger-lickin' chicken" in creamy sauce with potatoes, lemon pudding cake, and a sweet potato cheesecake. Service is a bit slow because the short ribs are undercooked and require some time in the deep fryer to achieve tenderness. The guests don't seem to mind that much because: 1) they're eating for free; 2) FatOne is keeping them happy with lots and lots of wine. Overall, the food is pretty good, and the judges like both apps and entrees, but aren't entirely thrilled with the cheesecake.

Then they head to Blessings, where they love absolutely everything. LDP's menu includes an "off-white" salad with butter-and-prosecco-poached pears, "Two Crabby" (crab claw bloody Mary and a crab-filled arancino), Cio-Filipino with prosciutto-wrapped cod, and "LDP's Asian Surf and Turf" (skirt steak with lobster mash). Desserts are a version of his lemon-curd-filled puff pastries, only using cream puffs this time, and "German Wedding," an amalgamation of German Chocolate Cake and Black Forest Cake.

A bit later, after service, the Zagats read Zagat Guide-style reviews for the two restaurants. The celeb with the highest Zagat rating gets the $50,000 for his charity. If LDP wins, the money goes to Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry, and if Coolio wins, the money goes to Music Saves Lives.

And the winner is....

LDP, with a Zagat rating of 28 out of 30! Coolio ends up with 23 out of 30, which is still pretty good, but second place. Luckily the Food Network is generous and awards his charity $10,000 just for putting up with him.

Next week: The Super Bowl! Patriots vs Giants! Who cares?! Shaka Zulu!

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ten Ten

We love Restaurant Week because it allows us to try new-to-us restaurants at an affordable price. This time around, one of the tastiest-looking menus belonged to the restaurant Ten Ten. Located in a handsome brick-walled space in the Bagby Building, Ten Ten offers what has become known as "modern American" cuisine: familiar foods prepared with locally-sourced ingredients and strong international influences.

Ten Ten's Restaurant Week menu, which leans toward Italy, allowed us to try three courses for $30.12. We started off with the flatbread and gnocchi appetizers. My flatbread had a nice combination of meat and cheese, but I did find the jam to be just a little bit too sweet for my taste. Fresh figs would be dynamite, however, in season.

Fig-orange jam, duck confit, goat cheese, Asiago and arugula on grilled Naan bread
Ricotta gnocchi, wilted leeks, Boursin cream, toasted hazelnut
Mr Minx's gnocchi was just about perfect. The tender dumplings had that indescribable flavor that the Chinese call "wok hai," which means they must have been heated in an incredibly hot pan. The cheese sauce was surprisingly light, and the hazelnuts added a perfect contrasting crunch.

Ordinarily, I don't order chicken or pasta when we go out to dinner, but I was glad I did this time. The portion of skin-on chicken breast in my rosemary chicken fusilli was perfectly cooked, the meat was fork-tender and the crisped skin was flavored with garlic. Rosemary flavored the baby spinach, cooked just long enough that the vegetables' natural astringency was tempered. The smoked mushrooms were an unusual addition, and the grated cheese added the right amount of sharpness.

Rosemary chicken fusilli, smoked mushrooms, caramelized onions, Grana Padano, baby spinach, pan sauce
Blackened Delmonico steak, smoked tomato butter, gorgonzola mashed potatoes
Mr Minx ordered the steak, which was extremely tender and flavorful. I would have preferred that the steak have more of a crust on the outside, to lend textural contrast. I didn't notice any gorgonzola in the potatoes, but they were exceedingly creamy and lovely nonetheless. What the dish really needed was a bit of green vegetable, perhaps something like the spinach with my pasta.

On to dessert. I'm a sucker for gingerbread, so I just had to taste Ten Ten's version, which was properly molasses-y and very moist. The butterscotch custard would make a lovely dessert on its own, but my favorite part was the buttery, nutty praline.

Gingerbread sponge cake, butterscotch custard, brandied tangerines, crunchy praline
Chocolate hazelnut torte, citrus gelee, hazelnut brittle, cocoa nib
Mr Minx's dessert also included a crunchy candy element in an absolutely delicious, non-sticky, hazelnut brittle. The torte echoed the flavor of the hazelnuts and added chocolate; the yellow cake layers kept the dish from being overly chocolaty (yes, there is such a thing).

Overall, the meal was quite good. Portions seemed small, particularly my pasta, but everything was so rich that by the time we were finished, we were completely satisfied and then some. I think our next visit might have to be during happy hour, when they offer duck fat fries, pork rillettes, and brioche beignets at the bar, along with a selection of interesting cocktails, at $5 a pop.

Ten Ten
1010 Fleet Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 244-6867

Ten Ten on Urbanspoon

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rachel vs Guy Celebrity Cook-Off Recipes!

Took Food Network a while to get these up; I know you've been champing at the bit to fry up some of Coolio's "Soul rolls," and to make Joey FatOne's Mighty Meatball Sliders and Shrimpin' Pimpin' Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp.

I know I haven't.

I'm kinda surprised (yet not) that they didn't include a recipe for Lou Diamond Phillips' barbecue sloppy Joe thingies, or Taylor Dayne's bruschetta with figs and proscuitto.

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Top Chef Texas Episode 12 Recap

This week's episode starts out with a scene of the cheftestants in the stew room after the verdict has been delivered. Nobody pretends to be sad that Beverly is gone, apart from Grayson, who is possibly too nice for her own good. And then Charlize Theron comes in to hide; Tom has apparently been chasing her all around the studio, asking her to autograph his head.

The next morning, upon entering the Top Chef GE Conveyor Belt Kitchen, the six remaining cheftestants find Padma standing with regular judge Emeril Lagasse and this episode's guest judge Cat Cora. Cat is there for one reason only: to plug her upcoming Bravo show, Around the World in 80 Plates. Her co-star will be creepy Aussie Curtis Stone, so it's a safe bet I will not be watching that hot mess. Anyhoo...once they get the plug in, the challenge begins.

Padma pairs up the chefs into three teams: Team Red is Sarah and Lindsay, Team Green is Grayson and Squinty, and Team White is Ed and Paul. Each team must peel and devein a gazillion shrimp, shuck and de-silk umpty-three ears of corn, and make 43.6 pounds of fresh fettuccine - all in forty minutes. But wait - there's more! They will then have to use the resulting mise en place to create a dish in whatever time they have left. All of this is told to us by Padma in a voice-over with such poor sound quality it seems to have been recorded in an airplane bathroom during turbulence.

And what's with Padma's...dress? She looks to be wearing one of Larry the Cable Guy's shirts.

All three teams are smart and head for the pasta first, since they know that will take the most time to make. Despite being in a hurry, none of the six manages to maim themselves with pickle forks or apple peeler/corer/slicers or whatnot during this challenge!

Red Team is the first to complete their meez, so they have more time to fiddle around with a pasta dish. Unfortunately they use tarragon, and Cat Cora doesn't like tarragon. Team White finishes second, but Paul forgets to cook the shrimp for the dish, so they are disqualified. Finally, Team Green, despite having the shortest amount of actual cooking time, pulls off a shrimp and bacon pasta that is good enough to get them the win. There's no immunity at this point, but the two chefs get to share $10,000.

On to the Elimination Challenge. Padma immediately breaks up the teams and tells them they will now be competing head-to-head. Or as they say in Spanish, cabeza a cabeza. Not to be confused with calabaza a calabaza, although, some cheftestants' heads are, at times, quite indistinguishable from pumpkins.

Each pair will choose a dish appropriate to serve to 200 people at a block party and each half of that pair will prepare his or her own version of that dish. The chefs pow-wow and Ed and Paul decide to make Korean short ribs, or kal bi. Lindsay and Sarah settle on meatballs. And Squints and Grayson go for chicken salad. And then Padma throws them a twist - they have to make diet versions of their chosen dish, because this challenge is sponsored by Flavorless Healthy Choice!

Groans all around, mostly from me.

The chefs get 2.5 hours to prep their dishes at the Culinary Institute of America kitchen. Squinty reveals that he's making a tofu-based sauce for his salad, and people will never believe it's not mayonnaise! And I'll never believe that statement! Paul is using ground turkey for his kal bi, which he will be serving ssam style with lettuce wraps. Ed, for some odd reason, despite this being a Healthy Choice challenge, is going with traditional beef short ribs. Now, we all know that the whole reason short ribs are so delicious is because they are fatty and full of cholesterol. Instead of the traditional rice accompaniment, full of empty calories, he's making...steamed buns. But hey! They're homemade steamed buns! And...steamed buns are so trendy! That's using your calabaza!

Ed, I'm thinking you know as much about healthy food as Paula Deen. Allow me to enlighten you. The packaged low-cal food industry would have us believe that "healthy" food involves boneless skinless chicken breast, Special K, no salt, and a lot of onion powder - guaranteed to stink up the microwave in your workplace kitchenette without adding any actual flavor to the dish.

A properly healthy diet also includes a generous dose of guilt for every time one merely looks at a tub of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Junky in My Trunky ice cream.

After packing up their shit, the cheftestants head to their outdoor venue, which is 105F in the shade and infested with bees. Squinty no like bees and says if a couple of them zap him, he'll swell up like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man. Part of me wants to see that. Part of me is also terrified of bees.

The hungry hoards rush in to eat, along with our intrepid panel of judges and Food & Wine's Dana Cowin. They are each carrying a bag of food for the San Antonio Food Bank. Do you think they are donating the typical expired cans of Dinty Moore stew and creamed corn, or something more exotic, like corn cobs and shrimp peelings from the most recent Quickfire?

Season 4's Ryan Scott is on hand as a "flavor ambassador" for Healthy Choice.

The judges do the rounds and declare Paul's lettuce-wrapped turkey to be simply delicious, and impressive in that he built layers of flavor without using fat. Ed's meat, on the other hand, was tough and chewy. [Insert joke here.] The chicken salad chefs were meh and more meh. Grayson's didn't have a lot of flavor, but she did make her sandwiches to order, while Squinty's bread had dried out from sitting in the heat and his tofu mayo didn't impress anyone. Plus, his sandwiches were covered in bee poop. Then the Meatball Girls came up to bat. Lucky for them, both Lindsay's and Sarah's balls o' ground protein were fine and dandy. Predictably, Cat Cora raved over Lindsay's Greek-ish balls.

The winning chef from each head-to-head match-up was chosen by the 200 non-judge diners, who preferred Paul's, Grayson's, and Lindsay's dishes over those of their competitors. The overall winner was then selected by Tom, Emeril, and Cat Cora. While they really seemed to love Lindsay's veal and lamb concoction, they were blown away by Paul's dish and gave him yet another win, and a cool $15,000 for his wallet. That brings him up to, what, $50,000 so far?

Bet he'll have lots of date offers when he gets back home.

As the low scorers, Ed, Squinty, and Sarah are on the chopping block. Sarah is safe because her dish was really good, it just wasn't as good as Lindsay's. Boo. I was really hoping one of those harpies would go this week. Instead, it's starting to look like Ed has made the most egregious errors: he really didn't pay attention to the healthy portion of the challenge, and his meat was tough. Squinty did indeed try to make his dish light, but as always, he's all about the ideas and not so much about the execution. Tom is apparently tired of the whole magic Moto cuisine schtick and Squints is sent home.

Next week: Pee Wee Herman and bicycles!

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Post-Christmas Cookies

We had our annual cookie-fest at Casa Minx in the week before Christmas, making the usual chocolate chippers and snickerdoodles, plus a batch of white chocolate/dried cherry cookies from a recipe I had obtained from a friend. (You can find that recipe in the December Minxeats Newsletter. Don't get the newsletter? Then click here to subscribe!) After giving many of them to my brother and eating still more of them for Christmas dessert, by mid-January, we were in a sad state of affairs as far as our cookie inventory was concerned. Since I recently had a nice long weekend thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought it might be nice to put one of those days aside for baking.

A while back, I had bookmarked a recipe for Red Velvet cookies because: 1) Mr Minx likes Red Velvet cake; 2) they seemed so easy. Honestly, I should know better than to use boxed cake mix, especially cake mix that contains a quantity of red food dye. The cookies came out looking like a sunburnt version of Thing and tasted like, I dunno...propylene glycol, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, and monocalcium phosphate.


The bar cookies I'm going to call Reconstructed Florentines came out much better. I figured Florentines were a tasty way of using up candied orange peel left over from making fruitcakes, but I didn't want to deal with the potentially messy chocolate-coated classic version of the cookie. The bar cookie version was nearly perfect, except that I think they would be better with a crisper crust (mine was more like cake). I also varied the recipe by omitting the cherries and using almond flour in place of the chopped almonds (because that's what I had on hand).  

Finally, because Mr Minx is not a big fan of candied orange peel, we baked a third cookie, this time a variation of Milk Bar's Christina Tosi's cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies. We didn't have marshmallows, nor was I about to whip up a batch of "cornflake crunch," so we omitted the former and just used handfuls of plain cornflakes for the latter.

Despite chilling the dough for the required one hour before baking, we had some issues with the resulting cookie. They weren't quite the same flat puddles as the last time I tried a Milk Bar cookie recipe - they were super crispy, somewhat brittle this time - but they were still too flat. Tasted fine though, with a sort of brown-butter-ish note.

I think the problem is that the sugar/butter-to-flour ratios on these cookies are way off from proportions that usually work for me. Compare Tosi's recipe to the classic Nestlé Toll House recipe: both require one cup of butter, but Tosi's calls for a bit more sugar and 3/4 cup less flour. Next time, I need to remember to use more flour to get a crunchier, heartier cookie.

I see cookie experimentation in my future.

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Foodie Pet Peeve

It really drives me nuts to hear so many professional cooks calling variously flavored mayonnaises "aioli." Aioli is not just a fancy French word for mayonnaise (the fancy French word for mayonnaise is...wait for it...mayonnaise), but rather a sauce unto itself, made with garlic.

I'm not just being bitchy. The "ai" part of the word comes from the French word for garlic, ail. So if your sauce doesn't contain garlic, it's not an aioli. For instance, mayo with chipotle (please note the proper placement of the "l" and the "t" in that word) or blood orange or saffron is not chipotle aioli or blood orange aioli or Saffron aioli - it's a variously flavored mayonnaise.

To make things more confusing...aioli is also a mayonnaise. A garlic mayonnaise. If you start out making a nice garlic mayonnaise (with real, fresh garlic, not garlic powder) and flavor it with chipotle or saffron, then - and only then - is it a chipotle aioli.

Here's a nice simple recipe for aioli. Notice that it has garlic in it. Because it is an aioli.

Posted on Minxeats.com.

Bill Bateman's Bistro

Before I talk about the restaurant itself, I have a funny story to tell you. Ok, maybe it's not so funny, but I'm going to tell you anyway.

Back in the late 90s, a friend was visiting from Texas. We ended up at the Reisterstown branch of Bill Bateman's Bistro, which happened to be a hang-out for Baltimore Ravens players. As we sat and chatted at the bar, we noticed a rather attractive guy sitting on the opposite side from us. We were both affianced, but thought there would be no harm in buying him a drink, so we called over the bartender and told him to pour Mr Cute whatever he wanted. A few moments later, the bartender returned with the message that Mr Cute had refused our drink. Looking back across the bar, we noticed that he was trying hard not to make eye contact with us, and eventually he got up and left. We felt slighted. It's not like we were ugly or unappealing or anything. Sheesh.

A woman standing near the bar addressed us: "Don't feel bad, girls. That was Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh, a good friend of mine. He's a very strict Christian and married, so he didn't feel right accepting a drink from strange women." And she went on some more about how good and Christian and righteous he was. That's just swell, but even as a novice football fan, I was pretty sure that Mr Cute was not Jim Harbaugh. Definitely younger, definitely better-looking.

Quite the resemblance. They both appear
to be human males.
Harbaugh looks like a Republican.
Eventually, my friend and I tired of the bar. On the way out, a mountain of a man--obviously a Raven--looked at us sympathetically and said, "Kyle can be a real jerk sometimes." Kyle? Kyle who? At home, a quick consultation of teh Innernets revealed that the only Raven of that name was punter Kyle Richardson. Who apparently was a jerk.

I still can't help but sneer every week when we watch him on Purple Passion, with his co-host, Keef Mills (aka Hatchethead).

Anyhoo...on to the food.

The Bateman's on York Road is usually packed with college students during the school year, but it was pretty quiet early on a Tuesday evening in January. We started off with a small 5-piece order of Bateman's original wings and were happy to find them as good as ever. The wings are well-cooked and still somewhat crispy even with a light coating of vinegary (but not hot) hot sauce.

After a ridiculously long wait - about 25 minutes - in a near-empty restaurant (our waitress must have been having a quickie in the walk-in) our entrées arrived.

Mr Minx wisely chose one of Bateman's several burger options: the Ultimate, with hickory chipotle BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, mushrooms, jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. The Angus beef patty was cooked a bit more than the requested medium, but it was still nice and juicy, with a pleasant grilled flavor. The accompanying fries were standard food-service shoestrings, neither here nor there.

I branched out and decided to try the crabcake. It's Maryland, and Bill Bateman is a local, so I figured it couldn't be bad. Well, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great, either. There was a lot of (not Maryland, not blue) crab, but there was also a goodly amount of breading, which tasted a bit stale. I also thought there was a bit too much seasoning, and overall the cake could have spent more time under the broiler. I don't understand why restaurants think light brown crabcakes look appealing, because they don't. My chosen sides - the boring fries and some slightly funky cole slaw - didn't lend any more excitement to my plate.

When dining at Bill Bateman's, stick to the wings.

Bill Bateman's Bistro
7800 York Rd
Baltimore, MD 21204
(410) 296-2737
Bill Bateman's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.

Monday, January 23, 2012


This scene from the promo for Paula Deen's son's new show scares the heck out of me.

Posted on Minxeats.com.