Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Feisty Goat Pub

I'm just going to come out and say it. The Feisty Goat Pub was a huge letdown for me. They have the word Feisty AND Goat in their name. How can it not be good? Well, let me count the ways.

Once again, Groupon was the reason we ended up visiting this place as neither of us had ever heard of it before. We weren't worried though. With Groupon you either find a diamond in the rough or you're only paying half price for something you're not totally enamored with.

When you walk in you'll notice right away that it's very small and dimly lit. There isn't a whole lot going on by way of decoration. Most disappointingly, they really under deliver on the whole "Feisty Goat" theme. The only thing goat related is a head hanging up behind the bar. Other than that there's nothing goat related and I think they really missed a fun and easy way to market the place within the actual restaurant. Probably my favorite part of the restaurant is the copper bar top they have. It's not something you see every where and is without a doubt the distinguishing mark of The Feisty Goat Pub

But whatever. I like a cool ambiance and all that, but if the food is good that kind of overwrites nearly all other shortcomings when it comes to a restaurant experience. The menu was very small. It was mostly sandwiches and typical pub grub. As much as I wanted to venture off the typical wings as an appetizer path I really didn't have a choice and ended up ordering them anyway.

They weren't bad. The wings came out hot and were nice and meaty, but the sauce tasted very "out of the bottle" and that's never a good thing. In my opinion, if you're going to offer a limited menu you really need to hit a home run with the menu items you do offer. Something as simple as a wing sauce should be executed with a little more pizazz to make it stand out a little more.

For dinner, I decided to go with the burger they referred to as "The Big Goat". Being that this was The Feisty Goat this seemed like it had to be the signature dish of the place. Deana, begrudgingly went with a buffalo chicken sandwich.

The burger wasn't bad at all. You get an 8 ounce Angus burger served on brioche with roasted red pepper, garlic aioli,  melted goat cheese, lettuce and tomato. The only thing I would change about the burger is reducing the size of the red pepper. I love red pepper, but too much totally over powers whatever it is you're eating it with. The goat cheese, though, that was a nice change up to the typical burger.

Deana's buffalo chicken sandwich, on the other hand, was very bland and dry. Again, it was very disappointing to end up with mediocre food when we were almost pigeonholed into choosing the items we chose due to the lack of options.

The worst part of the entire dinner was when I took the first bite of my burger. Just as I bit into it a wave of garbage juice smell shot right up my noise. At first I was a little concerned about what I was eating. As I turned my head to tell Deana about how bad my burger smelled I saw someone from the kitchen dragging a garbage can through the middle of the bar and realized then it wasn't my food that was the issue. Rather, it was the lack of sense by the staff. I don't know the logistics of their building setup, but why they would think its acceptable to drag stinky ass garbage through the bar/restaurant while people are trying to eat is beyond me.

At that point, I had my mind made up that I wouldn't be visiting again anytime soon. The food wasn't all that good, was actually kind of expensive for what they were offering, and call my crazy but I don't want to smell garbage juice while I'm eating.

Price: Expensive for what they offer
Recommendation: I would pass on this place
What to order: The Big Goat

The Feisty Goat Pub on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bellagio Pizzeria

For the past year, one of my go to joints (can't believe I just used that word) for a good sub has been Bellagio Pizzeria. The service is always quick and the food always delicious. You place an order, grab a City Paper, sit back and wait to sink your teeth into a great sub.

I always opt for the Cheese Steak sub that comes with fries and a drink for around $9. If I'm trying to keep it quasi-healthy, I might opt for the Chicken Cheese Steak which is equally delicious. It starts off with the great rolls they serve the subs in. It's soft but not soft enough that the meat is leaking through soggy bread after 3 minutes. If you're one who enjoys their condiments you'll be happy to know that they get the condiments right every time. The subs are never over or under cheesed. The mayo keeps everything nice and moist. And if you get "hots" added to the sandwich they always hook you up with the perfect amount. You know it's there but you won't be looking for water after every bite either.

Deana ventured on to the road less traveled on our last visit and ended up trying their Italian Cold Cut. It was delicious. The creamy Italian dressing they serve it with is something my 12 year old self would have thought life was all about.

The only problem I have now is deciding on the Italian Cold Cut or Cheese Steak on my next visit. I guess I can take solace in the fact that I'll be a happy sub loving dude either way.

Price: Quite Affordable
Recommendation: Seek em out
What to order: Any of their Cheese Steaks

Bellagio Pizzeria Baltimore on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yogi Castle

Looking to open your own business? Buy a yogurt machine, cut up some fruit, pour cereal in a bowl, buy some cheap plastic furniture from Ikea, and rock the Glee soundtrack over the speakers. BOOM!You've got yourself the modern day yogurt shop. I kid, I kid (but not really).

Sarcasm aside, I really enjoy stopping off at Yogi Castle on my lunch breaks or when I'm in the mood for something sweet that's not going to kill me during bikini season.

The concept of Yogi Castle is simply to make your own desert. They usually have about a dozen varieties of yogurt and a wide selection of toppings ranging from nuts to fruit to candy to cereal. You put as much or as little as you'd like in your bowl and pay by weight.

The picture above is one of my favorite concoctions from Yogi Castle. I like to pick the strawberry kiwi yogurt, top it with strawberry and kiwis and then round it out with some crunchy almonds. The fruit is always very fresh and the desert as a whole is something that is very refreshing and tasty while at the same time being healthy for you. It's not always easy to find things like that so when the opportunity arises I like to take advantage.

My guess is that if you haven't started noticing them already it won't be long before you see yogurt shops everywhere. Give Yogi Castle a try if you're looking to experience one of these do it yourself yogurt shops for the first time. It's always a winner in my book.

Price: Varies by weight, but usually cheap
Recommendation: Give it a try
What to order: Strawberry Kiwi yogurt with the fruit on top and almonds.

Yogi Castle on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weekend Fun: Maryland Wine Week,Harford County Restaurant Week & Sailabration

It's a huge week in and around Baltimore. If you can't find something fun to do in the next few days I think it's safe to say there is no hope for you this summer.

First up is Maryland Wine Week which has been going on since the 8th and will continue through the 17th.  It's a great week to try some new Maryland wines at a discount or enjoy them paired up with a dinner at various places throughout the area. If you're interested all the details can be found at the Maryland Wine Week website.

Next up is the Harford County Restaurant Week. It's actually well into its second week, but if you're looking to try out a restaurant that's local and new you can do so up until the 16th. A variety of restaurants will be offering 3 course meals for $20.12 or less. That's not a bad way to get a feel for what a place has to offer. I'll definitely be checking it out before the week is over. All the details can be found here. If any of you out there are Harford County residents please offer a suggestion from the list in the comment section as I've never visited 99% of the participating restaurants.

And this last one might not be food or beer related, but I think it deserves a mention either way. Starting today and continuing through the 19th is the Star Spangled Sailabration. If you don't mind gigantic crowds it should be a pretty fun time all around. The Blue Angels will be flying and the Harbor is going be full of all kinds of ships.

So, what are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Haute Dog Carte

Looking to take your lady on a date this weekend? Fellas, I've got one hell of a recommendation for you. Not only will you be able to impress your lady with an atypical date, but you'll be able to give her a picnic type vibe without actually participating in an actual corny picnic where you're sitting on a blanket drinking wine you hate and eating some exotic cheese you've never heard of. No, you'll be walking trails, eating hot dogs, and if you want, possibly even catching some fish if you bring your pole along.

On your way over to Mount Washington make sure you lock your GPS on to The Haute Dog Carte. Once there, you'll find yourself greeted by some very friendly guys who are extremely knowledgeable about what they're selling. It's a very simple setup. Driving by, you might see a simple hot dog cart setup in the middle of a garage. But walk up and you automatically know you're in for something extra special. Forget eating a dog on your basic potato roll. These guys have some some special contraption to heat up the middle of your roll. And the roll.....my god that thing is good. Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish? How about tomato and onion jam, bacon and onion marmalade, and Dijon mustard? That's the kind of dog you get when you order the HD Signature. That's a hot dog I won't soon forget.

Maybe your girlfriend isn't in the mood for a hot dog. No worries. The day we went Deana wasn't in the mood for a hot dog either and instead went with the Spicy Italian Sausage topped with red wine vinaigrette and Dijon. Needless to say, delicious.

Oddly enough, I used to live literally one block away from The Haute Dog Carte. Either they weren't in business yet or they fact that they are only open during lunch hours left me totally in the dark that they even existed. And while I was annoyed I've been missing out on this stuff for years it wasn't all bad because I knew the area. Instead of simply eating our hot dog in the car we were able to take a 2 minute drive to Robert E Lee Park and have lunch there. I highly recommend you do the same as this is one of my favorite places to hike in all of Baltimore. 

So what do you have going on this weekend?  If you're free, I promise you you're not going to find a better lunch or a more relaxing place to enjoy it.

Price: Cheap
Recommendation: Make it a date
What to order: You can't choose wrong.

The Haute Dog Carte on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Favorite Baltimore Bars: The Judge's Bench

A little over a month ago I wrote the first of what I dubbed "My Favorite Baltimore Bars". Today, I bring you the second edition to the least anticipated series in blogger history. This time we focus our attention on a bar that might have the coolest atmosphere in all the land. I'm talking about none other than The Judge's Bench.

No, technically it's not in Baltimore, but who cares? 78% of the posts I write are for businesses not technically in Baltimore so when I say My favorite Bars in Baltimore I guess I mean bars that you can drive to from Baltimore within a reasonable amount of time.

Before I get to the Judge's Bench, let me just focus on the fact that the street the bar is located on is probably my favorite street in Maryland. As a fan of Harry Potter I can't help but feel like I'm walking through Diagon Alley when I'm perusing up and down Main Street of Old Ellicott City. All of the shops are jammed up against one another and filled to the brim with whatever odds and ends the shop owners decided on. It's been awhile since I made it there during the day but there is a shop at the bottom of the hill owned by one of the coolest guys ever. Inside is a small beer/liquor store that is complete organized chaos. He opens the store when he wants and he closes it just the same. If you're lucky enough to walk by when he is outside on his stoop reading a book, be sure to stop in and buy something. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the shop, but if you know what I'm talking about and the guy still has his shop open please post some details in the comments so everyone can find this diamond in the rough.

But back to the bar at hand. I ended up in The Judges Bench on accident a few years ago. Main Street is a bit of a hill and by the time I made way up to the top I wasn't quite ready to venture back down. I saw a little bar across the way and decided it would be a good place to stop in and cool off for a bit. I was immediately in love with the place. The Judge's Bench is small, dimly lit by some vintage chandeliers, has a brick fire place and small brick bar. Typically, it's filled with a mixed crowd of anyone from their mid 20's all the way up to older couples in their 60's. It's always full but never wild and is a great place to get a beer in a live atmosphere but not one in which you're waiting for a fight to break out at any moment.

The beer selection is unexpectedly great for such a small place. They always have a rotating selection of 17 craft beers on tap and a bottle selection pushing 50 or 60 selections. For whatever reason, that's the place I seem to end up when I'm in the mood to drink a beer with a heavy alcohol content as the Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout I had last visit can attest to. In addition to beer, they are also the 3rd largest carrier of single malt whiskey in the state.

Quite possibly my favorite part of the bar is the always excellent live music they have. I'm not always in love with live music as it can get too loud to have a conversation, but even sitting right in front of the band I always find it easy to hear and be heard. One visit in particular they had a band performing that included a peddle steel guitar player. The fact that they get that type of musician in their doors probably sold me for life.

Really, this place is hitting on all cylinders. There isn't one thing I'd change about the bar and I implore anyone who comes across this post to make the trip to The Judge's Bench ASAP. You can thank me later.

  Judge's Bench on Urbanspoon