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Archive for June, 2011

Being an avid fan of Tapas Teatro, it is hard for me to ever go elsewhere for tapas. However, Baltimore magazine’s annual best restaurants issue recently listed the Fells Point establishment as one of the city’s top tapas places, immediately piquing my interest. Although I don’t alway rely on the magazine’s reviews, I’ve found that they’re usually pretty accurate. So, why not give Tapas Adela a try?

The Fells Point restaurant, located on the corner of Broadway and Thames, is appealing from the outside, fitting into the surrounding colonial-esque architecture of the neighborhood. It was a nice night, so all of the outside tables were full. Inside the restaurant, the low-lighting and red-painted walls make for a dramatic setting.

Tapas Adela is smaller and a bit quieter than Tapas Teatro, but just as tasty. I was drawn to the sangria, which has always been one of my favorite Spanish drinks. Tapas Adela offers red, white and champagne sangria, available by the glass or pitcher.

The menu is divided into Verduras (vegetables), Mariscos (fish) and Carnes (meats). We started off with the Plato de Comenzar, a charcuterie and cheese plate. At the same time, we enjoyed a basket of the restaurant’s thin, crispy bread covered with melted Manchego cheese and a light tomato sauce.

Next, we ordered the Albondigas, lamb and beef meatballs. To accompany, we ordered the Croquettes de Queso, filled with Manchego cheese (you can never have too much Manchego) The savory combination of the meatballs with the croquettes was incredible.

Another tapas plate that stuck out was the Calamari Fritos, with lemon saffron aioli. Watch out for the jalapenos, they’re spicy! Next time, I will try the Fabada Asturiana, a stew of Chorizo, blood sausage, Pancetta and white beans.

Tapas Adela is a solid restaurant that stands alongside Tapas Teatro, Pazo and Mezze in Baltimore. However, the hardest part about eating tapas is that I never know quite how to order. For me, it takes several visits to find the best flavors and combinations on the menu, which is fine with me. All the more reason to come back!

Tapas Adela on Urbanspoon

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Over the past two weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time in D.C. searching for an apartment for next year (I’m moving there for culinary school at l’Academie de Cuisine in the Fall). I’ve been focusing on the Woodley Park, upper Connecticut Avenue areas to give me a shorter commute in the morning to the school in Gaithersburg.

Walking around the city, one of the first thing I’ve noticed is the abundancy of food trucks. All over city squares, parks and busy streets – D.C. food trucks are hot right now. D.C. not only offers trucks similar to Baltimore’s, such as Curbside Cupcake, but also many that are quite unique.

While walking past the McPherson Square metro stop, I spotted a conspicuous yellow and blue truck parked along K street at Franklin Park. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that Sang on Wheels, specializes in cuisine from Laos, from Southeast Asia. I’m not familiar with Laotian cuisine, so I was interested to see what this food truck had to offer.

Sang on Wheels boasts BBQ lamb, a skewer of lamb meatballs, Drunken Noodles, a Thai dish made with noodles, chilis and basil, and many other options. A combo meal comes with fried rice and a drink as well. I regret not giving the truck a try while I was in D.C. for the day.

A great resource I have found for D.C. food trucks is a website called The StrEATS, which uses a Google map to show the whereabouts of the trucks. In addition to Sang on Wheels, also around Franklin Park is Basil Thyme, a homemade pasta truck, Dangerously Delicious Pies (which is based in Baltimore), Sauca, a truck featuring cuisines from all over the world and The Rolling Ficelle, a baguette sandwich truck.

The selection blows my mind. I can’t wait to sample every truck when I am living in the city next year!

(Image borrowed from sangonwheels.com)

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Melt Bar and Grilled

My travels to Cleveland, Ohio bring me to Melt Bar and Grilled, a well-known gourmet grilled cheese restaurant. Open since 2006, owner and chef Matt Fish aims to bring “comfort food dressed up” to his customers – much like Grilled Cheese and Co. aims to do in Baltimore.

What’s better, one of my favorite foodies Adam Richman visited the restaurant on his show, “Man Versus Food.” He took on (and emerged victorious) the Melt Challenge – a massive grilled cheese featuring 13 different cheeses, three slices of bread, french fries and slaw. That’s over five pounds of food. Doesn’t sound that difficult.

Like Grilled Cheese and Co., Melt offers a menu of gourmet grilled cheeses, such as the Summer Chicken, featuring grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, Havarti cheese and roasted garlic herb dressing and the Lake Erie Monster, with fresh Walleye, American cheese and jalapeno tartar sauce. I kept things simple by ordering the Porky Cheese, featuring honey ham, bacon and Swiss cheese.

Immediately, I noticed that Melt’s sandwiches are not just about the cheese – they emphasize the flavors of the other ingredients as well. The bread on my sandwich was crusty and quite thick, and combined with a large stack of bacon and sliced ham, this was an enormous portion. Even so, the salty, savory flavors of the sandwich coerced me to finish nearly all of it. The peppery fries on the side were a perfect complement. Very tasty.

I get the impression that Grilled Cheese and Co. sticks to a more traditional method than Melt does. For example, in addition to grilled cheeses, Melt also offers an extensive beer and wine menu. There is even a full service bar inside the restaurant. I think this is great – what could be better than grilled cheese and beer? While both restaurants are different, both stick to a similar concept – putting a gourmet twist on a classic American sandwich.

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