Sushi Outside the City: A New Place for your Raw Bar

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Rainbow Roll & Spicy Tuna Roll: Sushi Staples

I’m just going to come clean: I’m addicted to sushi.

Hopelessly, shamelessly, happily addicted to the rice buffered, seaweed wrapped, pastel colored circles of taste explosion. There is never a time when I don’t crave the intricate flavor dance that is a sushi roll. Luckily for me, there are no shortages of places to go to feed this joyful addiction.

There is a new kid behind the sushi bar: Ooki Sushi in Owings Mills. (I know, it’s outside of Bmore, but food is an adventure right?) All I can say is that if you find yourself wandering around the area you must give this place a try.

Located in a strip mall by a Giant and a gym, you wouldn’t think it’s much from the outside – but trust me – this is a place to surprise a date on a Friday night.

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Ooki Sushi, complete with mounted fish

The inside gives a super modern vibe with textured walls, changing light displays, and a color palette that’s easy on the eyes. Whether you want an intimate booth for a date, a high top table for a causal girls’ night out, or the sushi bar to cut it up with the chef, the waitstaff will have you comfortable and covered.

This isn’t one of those places that’s dimly lit so you can’t read the menu or see your food. It’s bright, inviting and with a six page menu of traditional favorites and chef specialties, there’s no worry about running out of rolls to order.

Ordering might actually be the most difficult thing you do once you arrive! (Although pricing may help – while it’s not extreme in expense, it’s not your cheap eats either.)

 

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Philly, Green Dragon and Yellow Tail and Scallion Rolls

Staying with tried and true favorites for my first trip, I have to say they did not disappoint. The rolls were the perfect size, steering away from the gargantuan monstrosities that you sometimes encounter or the tiny morsels that leave you wondering if you ate anything. Where sauce was used, like in the Spicy Tuna Roll, it never overwhelmed the fish. Each roll allowed you to taste the flavor notes of each ingredient and blended together to give you the perfect sushi eating experience. I highly recommend the Yellowtail Scallion roll, the perfect pairing of light fish flavor and tangy onion family goodness.

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Pork Dumplings

Not in the mood for raw fish? There are other plates for your discerning taste. The pork dumplings were a favorite of mine. Light, sweet, with a great accompanying sauce. It’s the perfect plate to share… or order seconds and thirds!

I’ll definitely be back for a new round of rolls – and maybe desserts (there are bear shaped chocolates that I’m keen on trying). When you check this place out, let me know what you think! And leave me your sushi suggestions – I’m always looking for a new place to roll up and try.

What could B more fresh?

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9944 Reisterstown Road, Owing Mills MD

 

 

10 Questions Posed by a Blogger

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Getting my writing on

This post will be incredibly different from my usual ones. You see, a good friend of mine Nicole (whom you can find at thoughtsstainedwithink.wordpress.com) has “nominated” me for a get-to-know-your-blogger type posting. The rules are simple: You become nominated by an awesome blogger who poses 10 questions which you answer. You then you pose your own to 10 new bloggers.

Nicole is an awesome writer, who will one day be a published author, and I highly recommend that you check out her blog, especially if you are into the fantasy genre. I also find it a great honor that out of all the fantastic bloggers and people she knows she asked me, a local Bmore blogger to throw my two cents in to the ring. And I’m hoping you will enjoy getting to know a little bit about me. So here goes:

1.Why do you write?

I feel my answer will be completely predictable here. I write because I feel I have to do so. While I have just started truly trying to “put my writing” out into the larger world, I have always written. Short stories, bad poetry, and journal upon journal of personal essays about my experiences. The personal essay writing has been my favorite and it was in the past few years I seriously considered trying my hand at “publishing” it. And slowly it became this blog!

2. What would be the hardest part about surviving the apocalypse?

Knowing that it is actually happening, because I feel that I would miss that memo big time. Especially if it happened during a snowfall when everyone acts like the world is ending anyway and I ignore these things and promptly run out of food.

3. What author has inspired your writing the most?

Hands down it would be Bill Bryson. I am completely at awe with how he can turn anything into an incredible tale and still sneak in educational tidbits. His In A Sunburned Country was my bible when in Australia.

4. Your top five animated films?

Bambi (because I still like to walk around my parents’ house yelling “Mother”), The Lion King (whose list is this not on?), Tangled (Lanterns, incredible hair, catchy songs), The Lego Movie (Again, who doesn’t love this?), Cars (because it’s fits nicely next to my Fast & Furious Collection)

(And Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Sometimes you need a sixth.)

5. Have you ever read any books on craft? If so, which was your favorite and why?

Honestly, for writing books and blogs I have not. I have read bits and pieces on various other blogs but no tried and true books. I have read two books on how to write a screenplay and many advertising textbooks in college years gone by, but those aren’t the same thing.

6. Which fictional land would you have to visit and why?

Honestly, I want to visit the 1980’s My Little Pony Land because I still love those ponies! Again, there is nothing to hate about miniature unicorns and pegasus.

7. What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten about writing?

Not sure who to credit to: just write. It doesn’t matter how much, how often, to who, just put the pen/pencil to paper (or digits to the keyboard) and write. It’s the best advice and the advice I’m still struggling with on a daily basis.

8. Which element do you wish you could control?

Fire. Done.

9. What is your current writing project about and what about it excites you?

Currently this blog is my biggest project. I started it because I LOVE my hometown and I love to write. And I’ve encountered a lot of people who want to tear it down, and I won’t let them! I want to spread the Bmore Love. I felt like there’s a lot of sites where you can find things to do but so few of them tell you what it’s like to do these things or go these places.

That’s why this is a present day memoir. I enjoy trying to describe a place or event and transport you there. I don’t know how effective it is, to write about things that may be finished for the year, but it’s what I like to do. It’s also making me search out and try new things in this town which is always fun!

10. Most importantly: favorite type of cheese?

I am a fan of the cream cheese variety. You can put it on anything and it’s magically wonderful. And it’s the basis of every good dip there is, therefore becoming my food staple during football season.

There you have it, a little about me, courtesy of Nicole.

Here are my 10 questions for 10 new bloggers.

  1. Who is your pop star spirit animal?
  2. What are three things you love most about your current city of residence?
  3. When will you know you “made it” as a writer/blogger?
  4. Where do you hope your current writing project is in 3 months?
  5. Why did you pick the topic you did for your blog/project?
  6. How close are you to reaching the writing goal you set at the start?
  7. In the music realm, who is an unknown you think we need to know?
  8. What’s the most unhelpful advice, about anything, you’ve ever been given? (No one asks this ever.)
  9. Social media: best creation ever or end of society? Go.
  10. And lastly, because I always have to know: If you could only travel to one more place, where would that be and why? (Yes, it can be a repeat trip!)

And the 10 bloggers I extend an invite to answer are actually 7 because I don’t really follow that many bloggers. But trust me, these are people you want to read and follow. They are fantastic writers:

Tippy Rex: when you stop digging

Becky Stavely: BS in Bmore

Alysha: Discover Charm City

Ellen: Travelling the World Solo

Ashley: Neverbeenso

Meghan Faulkner: Oatgasm

So there you have it! A little about me and some new friends to meet.

What could B more friendly?

Me n lights

Lit up at Light City

For the Return of Books: Upcoming Fundraiser for The Book Thing

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Just a few (and I mean few) of the free books I’ve collected from The Book Thing

If you haven’t heard our beautiful and glorious The Book Thing is in need of help and support. March 5 was the last day it was able to open it’s doors because of a fire that destroyed much of the building and the free books.

Yes, for those of you not in the know, The Book Thing was a wonderful place where you could go and take a book or a million books all for free. Basically, if the Disney’s Beast had known about this place he’d have bought it for Belle instead of giving her a silly small library.

Baltimore is rallying around our beloved book exchange and events have been taking place to help raise funds for the not-for-profit. The newest one will be held at Clavel on April 11, 2016. Below you’ll find the link for the event as well as the description from the Facebook page.

What could ‘B’more giving?

Book Thing Benefit at Clavel

On the morning of March 2nd, Baltimore’s Book Thing suffered a catastrophic fire which destroyed portions of their roof, garage door, and large collection of free books for the public.

Lane Harlan (WC Harlan, Clavel) and Doug Atwell (Rye) are joining forces to create a special evening-long happy hour to benefit our beloved community institution.

Doug and Lane will be joining the Clavel bar staff and offering 2 literary themed cocktails from a satellite bar on the patio.

Clavel will donate 50% of the drink sales both inside and outside to the Book Thing’s restoration fund. Join us Monday April 11th from 8pm – midnite to support the Book Thing in their efforts to rebuild.

Monday, April 11 at 8:00 pm – 12:00 am

Clavel

225 W, 23rd Street Baltimore 21211

When the Lights go on in the City

20160328_222647If you’re looking for a bright way to spend a spring evening head to Baltimore and check out Light City. Starting last night and continuing until Sunday, April 3 the festival showcases both local talent and the city skyline. This all ages event takes nothing from your wallet and adds inspiration to your imagination.

Each night promises bright and fun light installations, ranging in animatronic peacocks, 70’s inspired patterns, and projected short films. Run through a playground of light, take selfies with Vegas style signs or play with glowing shipping containers that react to your movements.
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While you may have missed last night’s parade (and the axolotl) there are are still plenty of events to surprise and delight you. You could catch a “ballet” of bubble balls by Single Carrot Theatre, paint the air with Illumnia! or catch a Planet Awkward performance.20160328_201107

The free Light City app,which is available for both Android and Apple, will help you plan your evening’s events. I found it extremely easy to use and as you star events you want to catch it puts them in a handy schedule for you. The maps let you know where everything is happening and where the street food is.
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Being in the heart of the Inner Harbor and spreading to Fells Point, there is no shortage of food options provide by all the excellent restaurants. However, if you’d rather chow down by the lights there are food vendors serving up drinks and delicious treats. I totally recommend The Nickel Taphouse Badass Burger sliders. They are amazing!20160328_193316.jpg

I spent all night at the festival with a friend and have every intention of heading back this weekend. Any pictures you see of the event don’t do it justice – it’s a must do this week. So gather your friends, family, dogs and head down to spend the night with the lights. You won’t be disappointed.

What could be more bright?

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(And after you check it out comment below and tell me what you thought!)

Treat Yo Self to Cider

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It may be cold outside, but you can warm up your insides easily at MillStone Cellars. It’s their Treat Yourself Weekend and they mean it!

Honestly, there’s no better way to start your Valentine’s Day or celebrate Galentine’s Day. Cancel your afternoon plans, pack some light snacks and your palette, and head to Monkton’s local cider mill. There you’ll be treated to tastings of their seasonal varieties as well as classic favorites, like the popular Farmgate.  After you’ve found your favorite beverage join a free tour, you just might be inspired to try your hand at the craft. Or you can see what’s available on draft while you admire art from local talent.

End the afternoon with some sweets from Charlottetown Farm. Chocolate truffles, fudge, and cheesecake – all made with goat milk. Don’t worry, if you want more savory flavors they have cheeses as well and either way you won’t be disappointed. (I have the cheesecake in my fridge to prove it! Well, the part I didn’t already eat that is.)

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The Treat Yourself Weekend fun continues today from 12 – 5 pm. I recommend going early as the place fills up quick and who wants to wait in line for cider? Happy tasting!

What could be more indulgent?

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Going, Going… Gone? A Trip to National Geographic Museum

 

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Photo Ark at the National Geographic Museum

One of the best things about Bmore is that in a matter of moments (albeit very long ones) you can be in a different and interesting place. Today’s place of choice: National Geographic Museum in DC.

Interesting because I didn’t even know such a place existed, but it does indeed, just a short 3-minute walk from the Farragut North metro stop and right across from the Defenders of Wildlife building, which seems only fitting.

The building itself is unremarkable in its architecture, although there are nifty side walls that are topped with small metal mountains that were holding water from the day’s rain to create the scene of them overlooking a riverbed. On the first floor of this many-storied building are changing exhibits highlighting the nature, science, history and wonder that is both the natural and human world. Think of it like a really extravagant lobby – one with paths and treasures hidden in plain sight. The cost to enter is nominal ($15 for nonmembers) and, true to National Geographic form, the exhibits are spectacular.

My reason for venturing on the DC Metro to spend the day in a building I didn’t know existed was the special exhibit, “Photo Ark.” Photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to take pictures of every creature currently living in zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries from around the world. To date, he has taken portraits of over 5,000 animals, from the tiniest frogs to enormous rhinos.

The exhibit is a must see for any animal enthusiast, photographer or parent who wants to show their children just what this planet has to offer and what we humans have to lose.

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Red Wolf as photographed by Joel Sartore

To say the photography is stunning is like saying the Grand Canyon is large. These are moments in time of the animal’s life. They demand your attention in a startling, intimate way.

The subjects sneak up on you –, as you walk through the draped passageways, you feel a quiet, calm insistence to acknowledge them. Animals from the smallest to the largest, familiar to unbelievable, glance, stare and peek back at you. Some are sadly already gone from this earth, memorialized in these portraits. Sartore said he wanted you to look into their eyes, to consider them and their existence. If you take just a few seconds to observe them, you find you do just that. Their eyes are emotive, alive, and haunting.

The exhibit runs through April 2016.

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Budgett’s Frog as photographed by Joel Sartore (frog from National Aquarium)

 

Resolve to Bmore in 2016

2016

Welcome to 2016 Baltimore!

As you wake up from your New Years partying and debate whether or not to make resolutions, allow me to offer one suggestion:

Make this the year you get out and really enjoy the charm of Charm City.

With all that Baltimore has going on throughout the year, it will be the easiest resolution you ever keep. And to get you started here are some recommendations of things to do in and around Baltimore in 2016.

What could ‘B’ more easy?

January: Start off the year right by trying a new restaurant during Baltimore’s Restaurant Week. From January 22-31, enjoy fantastic meals from the area’s best dining establishments. Sure, you could go to an old favorite – but stretch your tastebuds this month!

February: Get your craft on at the 2016 American Craft Council Show. Need a purse made out of old blazers? Giant balloon dog statues? Hand crafted wallets? All that and more is here for your perusal. Trust me, it’s entertainment for the eyes – and there’s beer and wine to whet your whistle (and loosen your wallet).

March: Tap into your Irish roots (whether real or adopted for the day) and enjoy the Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Looking for something a little more adult? Swing by one of the many Irish bars for authentic food, music, and instant friends. My picks? Ryan’s Daughter, The Poitin Still, or James Joyce.

April: April showers gives a great excuse to stay indoors I know. But instead of setting up camp on the couch with the Netflix, make a date to spend indoors in a different place. Find your muse at The Walters Art Museum. Surround yourself with water and finned friends at The National Aquarium. And if you must spend the gray days with a movie, head over to The Charles  and try a flick of a different genre.

May: Memorial Day weekend means the official opening of beach season. Before heading down the ocean, detour to The Book Thing to grab yourself a trunk load of free beach reads.

July: Fireworks, Bar-b-Q’s, and steamed crabs. Add a night under and with the stars at Bengies drive-in theatre. Get there early to grab a front row “seat” and watch up to three flicks for the price of one!

August:  See what it means to cowboy up at J Bar W Ranch. With bull riding, barrel racing, and surprise audience participation events like “Cowboy Poker,” you’ll feel like you took a trip to the wild west.

September: Couldn’t make it to the ranch? Well, country living will come to you at the 35th Annual Maryland State Fair. Where else can you watch a sheep show, ride a ferris wheel, and chow down on cakes of the crab and funnel varieties all in one night?

October:  The month of goodies for all ages: candy for the kids and beer the older trick-or-treaters. Celebrate Octoberfest at The Baltimore Craft Beer Festival. Or bring your pints and grab a turkey leg at the Maryland Rennfest.

November:  With the year winding down it may be time to enjoy some live music. See bands before they make their big break at Ottobar, take in a show at The Lyric, or hit up a local bar like The Horse You Came In On.

December: You say you’re going to do it every year, so make this the year you walk the lighted path that is The Miracle on 34th Street. There’s no better way to end the year!