Thursday, August 22, 2013

G & M Restaurant and Lounge, Linthicum Heights, MD

Just a few miles south of BWI airport, sits G & M Restaurant and Lounge that's been in business for over 30 years and is known for its legendary crab cakes. In our pursuit to find Maryland's best crab cake, we headed down to G & M for a week day lunch.

Me, my grandfather, and Charles

I ordered the crab cake sandwich that came with a choice of two sides. I chose french fries and mixed vegetables. This oversized jumbo lump broiled crab cake was prodigious! The seasoning was tasty, but didn't overpower the sweet crab meat. Grip this sandwich tightly with two hands, or you might struggle to keep this bad boy contained.

My grandfather selected the two Maryland crab cakes entree with a side of coleslaw. He was infatuated too. 

Charles ate the broiled flounder stuffed with crab meat. This fish entree was yet another ginormous plate of seafood goodness. Even Charles couldn't finish the whole dish!

My mom found out the restaurant was also known for its Greek dishes, so she ordered a chicken souvlaki sandwich with Greek salad and a side of green vegetables. She loved it.  I ate some of the souvlaki and I agree, everything was very fresh and well prepared. The pita bread was righteous - slightly crispy, warm, and seasoned.

While we were all happily stuffed, we couldn't resist ordering dessert. We weren't crazy about the coconut custard pie. There was too much stringy coconut for our liking. However, the caramel cheesecake and apple pie were a slam dunk.
Caramel Cheesecake 

Coconut Custard 

Apple Pie

Although G & M is known for its crab cakes (which I would rate as one of the best crab cakes I've ever had), it seems that there are quite a number of other dishes that are equally as good. We would definitely go back.  


G&M Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrating our blog's 2nd anniversary at Cubano's- Silver Spring, MD

Indoor seating - The atmosphere of warm red
colored walls,  brightly colored paintings, and Cuban
music played over the loud speakers gave it an
authentic feel.  
Summer outdoor seating

We decided to celebrate our blog's 2nd anniversary at Cubano's Cuban restaurant.

Conveniently located only a few blocks from the Sliver Spring metro station.

Charles recently got his learner's permit and drove to the restaurant. He was happy to find free parking in a public parking lot on the same street - relieved he didn't have to parallel park.

Masitas de Puerco Cuba Libre with saffron rice and sweet plantains

Charles and I both ordered the Masitas de Puerco Cuba Libre - crispy fried marinated morsels of pork, properly dressed with sutle hints of garlic, lime, parsley topped with sautéed onions. All meals come with a choice of saffron or white rice, black beans and sweet or fried plantains.

The pork morsels were lightly crispy on the outside but were fork tender on the inside. The plantains were sent from heaven, I couldn't believe what I had eaten! They were thick, flavorful, and filled with mouth-watery, sugary goodness.

The tasty black beans came in a coffee type cup with saucer. It was a cool presentation and allowed me to put as much or as little black beans on my plate as I wanted.

Camarones al Ajillo

My dad and mom selected the Camarones al Ajillo -  shrimp was sautéed in a garlic infused wine sauce. The saffron rice tasted superb when mixed in with the light sauce. My dad liked the sauce and said it had a little kick to it. However, he wouldn't say it was spicy, just right.

Everything coming out of the kitchen looked extraordinary - including the desserts. We're excited to return soon and try other dishes.  

Cubano's was a great way to celebrate our two year anniversary.  

Thank you to everyone who reads our blog and posts comments. We hope you will continue to follow us on our third year of food adventures. 

- Thomas 

Cubano's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We are Howard County Fair Iron Chef Challenge Judges

The first Howard County Fair was held in1946. Now decades later, the Fair is still the highlight of summertime in Howard County.  The Fair showcases the county's amazing farms and their bounties - fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products and livestock.

This annual event offers a wide array of fun attractions and entertainment including carnival rides, pie eating contests, band performances, bull riding, cow milking contests and one of our favorite, the Iron Chef Challenge - a fun and friendly event that showcases local farm products and local talent.

This year, Thomas and I were invited to be judges for the Iron Chef Challenge on Thursday, August 8 from 6-8pm. Three teams, using HoCo locally grown produce and meat, will compete for the title of Iron Chef Champion. 

This is by far the coolest thing we've EVER been invited to do.

Visit the HoCo Fair to celebrate our county's rich agricultural history - and look for us "2 Dudes" at the Iron Chef Challenge on Thursday from 6 - 8 pm.

- Charles 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Umberto's Pizza and Restaurant in New Hyde Park, NY (Long Island)

Me and my grandpa with our "Grandma" style pizza - half cheese and half sausage broccoli rabe

Disclaimer: I am a fourth generation lover of Umberto's.

My great Aunt Millie introduced her parents and her brother (my grandfather) to Umberto's pizzeria in the late 1970's and our family has been in love ever since.  Even after my grandfather moved his family to Maryland, Umberto's is still the first place we visit when we go to New York.

Since 1965 when Umberto's opened its doors, the secret to its success has been to use fresh, homemade ingredients with NO shortcuts - just like the owner's family, Umberto Corteo, made food in his Italian hometown near Naples.
 Umberto's founder Umberto Corteo with me in the kitchen
of his flagship pizzeria and restaurant in New Hyde Park


That means mozzarella made by hand, daily baked artisan breads, home made sausage and tomato sauce cooked with the sweetest, ripe Italian tomatoes and basil. Nicknamed the "Pope of pizza" Corteo invented the now famous "grandma pizza" - a thin curst pizza cooked in a Sicilian square pan - that can now be found in many New York pizzerias. In addition, the restaurant serves traditional New York style pizza and Sicilian style pizza with a variety of topping combinations.

This attention to detail extends to the entire Umberto's menu.  Whether you're eating a pasta dish or a Italian dessert, its all made with love from the staff, many who have been with Corteo for decades.

Over the years, the New Hyde Park restaurant has grown from a small pizzeria to a full service cafe, exquisite dinning room and banquet facilities. You can even eat at an Umberto's restaurant in Florida now. Corteo's brother opened several Umberto's there.

The flagship restaurant in New Hyde Park is so famous that Food Network star and chef  Rocco DiSpirito filmed an episode of the show there citing Umberto's as the place he would go for his last meal. Watch the video here. 

"Grandma" style pizza - half cheese and half sausage & broccoli rabe
On a recent visit with my Aunt Mille and family, we ordered a whole grandma pizza pie - half cheese and half sausage with broccoli rabe. The luscious melted cheese, thin crust, made this grandma pizza fit for a king.

We also ordered N.Y. style pizza with chicken cutlet, roasted red peppers and cheese toppings. The tender chicken cutlets and succulent red peppers complimented the thick fresh-made mozzarella cheese. This was ridiculously AWESOME!  Like a slice of heaven. 
Can you tell how happy I am? 
Baked Clams

My Uncle Dominic recommended we try the Baked Clams.  They were stuffed with seasoned  bread crumb, olive oil and fresh herbs- these clams were stupendous. 
The hanging prosciutto 

After we ate, Umberto came to our table to talk. He offered to take me and my mom on a kitchen tour!!! Of course we said yes! Who in their right mind wouldn't say yes to a behind the scenes tour of Umberto's!

Here's what I saw: All of Umberto's bread is freshly baked inside gargantuan bakery ovens. I felt like the bakery itself was one underground city!

In the kitchen, I spotted the largest pot of tomatoes I've ever seen. The fragrance of the fresh basil, sweet Italian plum tomatoes, olive oil and garlic all blending together was overwhelmingly amazing.

We visited three different levels of cooking and baking space on the tour.  Each held an area for something homemade - mozzarella, sausage, breads, desserts etc..  Each area was nicely decorated and extremely neat and clean. The staff, whom Umberto knew by name, were  so welcoming and happy to show us what they do. The restaurant's kitchen and prep areas are so nice I wouldn't mind having my dinner there just to watch all the action.  It was INCREDIBLE.

Before we left, Umberto gave us a giflt - several loafs of bread to take home. They were literally hot out of the ovens. For the next week, we ate sandwiches. 

Here's some of the sandwiches we made at home with Umberto's bread.

If you are anywhere near Umberto's you should stop by for a taste.  It's even worth a looooong trip to eat there.

BRAVO Umberto!

- Charles

Umberto's on Urbanspoon