Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top Five Reasons to Visit Tangier's

by Xani

Recently Erin and I were invited to complimentary press dinner at Tangiers, a new French-Moroccan inspired restaurant in Canton. In our excitement to try this new spot, we BOTH forgot our cameras! So, please forgive the even-worse-than-usual photography, as we had to take pictures on Erin's Blackberry!

#5: Cuisine. Where else in Baltimore can you get Moroccan food? Not Mediterranean, not Greek, but Moroccan? NOWHERE, as far as I know. The chef was born in Casablanca and his grandmother, who provided many of the recipes, was born in Tangier.

#4:Great Atmosphere. This large, well-appointed space makes you feel welcome the moment you walk in. There is a large bar and a spacious dining room, with comfortable, cozy tables and flattering lighting (even better if you remembered to bring your real camera!). There are also a number of outdoor tables under big umbrellas, for those days when its UNDER 100 degrees.


When it's OVER 100 degrees, like this week, stay in the air-conditioned bar and enjoy a glass of Tangier's tasty red or white sangria. The white was sweet and refreshing, the red (Erin's fave) was more traditional but with a nice, fruity kick!

#2:Briouates Cigars.

By far our favorite savory dish of the evening, these crispy rolls stuffed with flavorful, spicy ground beef were unlike anything I've tasted in recent memory. They came out hot and fresh, and had perfect crunch and spice. Get two orders!

#1: Dessert and Tea.

Absolutely the high point of the meal, the gorgeous tea service and adorable plate of mini-desserts was the perfect end to the meal. We were blown away by the assortment of unusual pastries, candies, and fried treats that arrived after dinner. Even stuffed from our meal of chicken tagine, those tasty Cigars, a couscous special, and a number of other dishes, we couldn't help but dig into this pretty plate. In fact, we would highly recommend you drop into Tangier's for a little dessert and tea al fresco once this heat wave moves along. Hopefully sooner than later!

Keep cool folks,


Monday, July 5, 2010

NOLA Pt. 2: Evenings on Frenchmen Street

by Erin

Everyone knows about the French Quarter in New Orleans, but just around the corner from the Quarter is an area known as Frenchmen Street, a place where the locals hang and there's music everywhere. I had heard about Frenchmen Street on my first visit to the Big Easy with Xani in 2007, but had never had a chance to check it out until our most recent trip.

One evening we had a work gathering at an awesome bar called Molly's at the Market -- we liked it so much we went back every night thereafter! Molly's is a friendly bar with great drinks including a Pimm's Cup made with ginger beer, a Bloody Mary with a splash of Guinness and pickled green beans, and a frozen Irish Coffee with vanilla ice cream, baileys, and brandy. YUM! We enjoyed these beverages many, many times :)

One of the best things about Molly's is that since we went every night, we became friends with the bartender, who gave us great tips on where to eat and where to go to hear great music. The first time we went to Frenchmen Street we had a list of recommendations from Christie, our bartender at Molly's.

Friends Lydia, Max, and Cezar and I headed to Frenchmen and checked out the menus of a few places we were considering for dinner. Then we came to Adolfo's, a creole-Italian restaurant atop a music venue (a recommendation from Christie, who said it was "quirky and weird with terrible service - but in a good way"). We walked upstairs to check out the menu and were immediately hit with the intoxicating scent of garlic. Needless to say, our decision on where to eat dinner was made. We sat in the dimly lit, cozy space and our waiter explained the rules: no credit cards, and no oysters tonight. Got it.

The waiter brought a plate of garlicky bread while we perused the menu. My friends ordered eggplant parm (very good, cheesy, and spicy), escargots (very garlicky and buttery), and a fish dish topped with shrimp, crawfish, and crab in a creamy creole sauce -- a house specialty.

Eggplant parm - spicy and SO cheesy!

Blurry, buttery escargots

Shrimp with seafood topping, pasta on the side

I got linguine with a creamy, spicy sauce and shrimp and crawfish. Divine! It was just what I had been craving and it really hit the spot. I highly recommend Adolfo's for good, down-home Italian in a laid-back atmosphere.

Spicy, creamy pasta with fresh seafood -- irresistable!

After dinner, we wandered across the street to listen to some music at The Spotted Cat, where St. Louis Slim was playing his steel guitar along with a band that included a WASHBOARD and a tuba! We listened all night long and enjoyed the evening breeze and a beer. Great, great night.

So great, in fact, we tried to recreate it the next night! It was our last night in NOLA and we wanted to go out with a bang. We headed over to Frenchmen Street around 7 to catch some of the earlier acts. We ended up at d.b.a. and listened to two great artists/bands: first we listened to Luke Winslow-King, who reminded me of a young JFK (but hotter), who played some great blues/bluegrass with the same washboard-player/percussionist from the night before!

Next, a band called Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes played some great blues/funk and had the whole crowd on their feet. No shortage of cute musicians here either.

After a couple hours of music and yummy beers at d.b.a. (they have over 20 on tap, lots more from around the world in bottles), we were looking for some late-night eats. We walked about a block to 13, the sister restaurant to Molly's. And sister resto to Molly's = late-night frozen Irish Coffee!!

We got some great food at 13, including Tater Tachos (nachos made with tater tots instead of chips - GENIUS in concept and in name), pizza, a veggie po' boy, and a breakfast burrito. I got the best chicken salad sandwich I've ever had - it was an Asian chicken salad with sesame oil, sliced almonds, and fresh greens on toasted multi-grain bread. A-mazing.

Tater tachos!!

Veg po' boy

Asian chicken salad sandwich on toasted multigrain bread

Some of the best times of the trip were had on Frenchmen Street - great friends, great food, great booze, and great tunes. Can't wait to get back there! And I was so inspired by the great music, I recently signed up for swing dance classes!

More NOLA posts coming soon! Hope everyone had a fantastic 4th!

Happy tater tachos -

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