Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Almost Stuffed

When Dave Bittner asked us if we would do a promotional video for Winter Restaurant Weeks, Paul and I jumped at the opportunity. As I understood it, we would basically visit three restaurants in one day eating free food and talking with the owners while Dave recorded the whole thing on video. I’m so in!

Our first stop around eleven this morning was Café de Paris in Columbia. Erik Rochard was preparing a complete sampling of the prixe fix menu he was planning. While we waited for the food to come out of the kitchen he uncorked a dry little Cote du Rhone. It was five o’clock somewhere.

Soon enough the table was covered with food; escargots in a puff pastry, black angus carpaccio, lamb rolled in sausage, a veal chop with mashed potatoes and vegetables, fresh pate with dill pickles and a basket of warm bread. A veritable feast lay before my eyes.

And then Dave started recording and reality came home to roost. The whole point of this exercise is to promote the upcoming restaurant weeks so we needed to be talking, not eating. No sooner had we finished recording, than Amanda Hof, was prodding us along to get to our next stop, Aida Bistro and Wine Bar across town.  Amanda is the Special Events & Project Manager for Howard County Tourism & Promotion, the main sponsor of HoCo restaurant weeks. We were already running behind. I was able to snarf some of the lamb sausage things and a little carpaccio but we left a table full of food and half filled wine glasses behind as we packed up and got on the road.

The lamb sausage thing was outstanding. I made a mental note to come back with Mama Wordbones for that.

We arrived at Aida in the thick of their lunch rush so we decided to set up in the bar this time. Joe Barbera told us that he hadn’t yet decided on his menu for the two week HoCo loco culinary event but he did tell us that it would be three “savory courses“ instead of the more traditional appetizer, entrée, desert prixe fix menu. To give us an example he bought out a flatbread with veal and a macadamia encrusted rockfish with risotto.

Once again we were recording and talking before eating. This was torture.

While we were yaking it up with Joe, Amanda received a call from our third planned stop, Venegas Prime Filet in Maple Lawn. Apparently they were having some sort of problem in their kitchen and they had to cancel.

It was really just as well as far I was concerned. This allowed us to actually eat more of the food and learn about Joe’s wine taps. Aida Bistro and Wine Bar is one of only a few places in the country that have this state of the art “wine on tap” system that offers a choice of twenty wines by the glass. As it says on their website, this system “eliminates the problem most restaurants face from serving old & tired wine by the glass. Wines are enjoyed just as if you were at the winery tasting it from the barrel.”

Joe poured us a nice Pinot Noir. It was yummy. It may still have been five o’clock somewhere but now I needed a coffee.

I expect it will be another week or so before Dave works his video voodoo and finishes the shoot. Coming soon!
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