Di Pasquale’s Italian MarketPlace

I don’t even know where to begin.  I love it.  Every ounce from the cute older men having lunch to the fact that the family runs the entire operation.  IMG_2055This is old school Italian Baltimore market food hotspot, including the brownstone location.  Look at this place!  I wish I had the sense to take a few pics while inside, but alas…
I have to admit, I was a little confused when you walk in.  There is a counter with a cash register immediately to the right and there are dining tables straight ahead.  As you walk towards the table, the walls are lined with drinks – beers, soda, and wine.  Off to the right, you can see the deli counter.  Oh, my… the deli counter.  Olives, roasted and grilled veggies, octopus and calamari, and slices of their famous lasagna.

I went for lunch on a relatively hot day – so no lasagna for me. IMG_2056  I had a hard time choosing off the menu – prosciutto melt? their version of a cuban sammie? caprese? Finally, one of the folks there recommended the PLT from the specials board.  This is not your normal BLT with a pancetta substitute.  That is a glorious crunchy toasty baguette slathered with a zesty herbaceous aioli and with layers of crisp lettuce.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I can’t decide which I liked best: the flavorful red and sweet yellow heirloom tomatoes, or the perfectly cooked crumbly, flaky, salty pancetta.  Take your pick.  I want 97 more.  All of that for under $8 – what?! what?!

IMG_2057Now, my friend immensely enjoyed her Marcella Caprese sammie.  She often chooses anything with fresh mozzarella and basil.   It came on a little different bread – but similar crunchy and chewy and italian style, with fresh mozz, tomatoes, tons of basil and olive oil.  Very good – she didn’t even share… But, not as unique as my PLT.  My friend also took home some of their grilled eggplant and camponata – which both looked and smelled amazing.

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July 2014 Events

I figure I should be sharing some foodie-like events… Lots happening here in Charm City.

Friday, July 18 – Sunday July 20, 2014:

  • Artscape

Sunday, July 20, 2014:

  • Charmery Beach Bash - From noon-10 p.m., the Hampden parlor will morph into a ’50s style beach bash, replete with seaside flavors Cherry Cola, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Vegan Piña Colada.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014:

  • Yards Brewing Co. #Beer Dinner! Five courses paired with five beers for only $45 plus tax and gratuity! PLUS, purchase your tickets before Sunday, July 20th and receive a $20 gift card to your next dinner at Ten Ten.  Click for info and for tickets.
  • Taco Tuesday at Artifact.  House-made corn tortillas filled with Parts & Labor pork or local vegetables, and topped with fix ins. Plus … summer cocktails and beer on tap, by the can, or bottle.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

  • Join Artifact Kitchen for a multi-course dinner, featuring Spike, and paired with ciders made from apples grown and fermented in Jefferson, Maryland by Distillery Lane Ciderworks! Seating is at 7:30pm. $75 per person.


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Dooby’s Coffee

I really like this sorta hipster coffee shop upscale dinner scene.  For the sake of a fair review, you should know I went for a private (but free) Strangers with Style event.  This spot is very trendy, serving several styles of Counter Culture coffee – which is currently my favorite roaster out of North Carolina.  To my surprise they also have a decent wine and beer selection; I love that they have local selection like Public Works & Union Craft.  I wasn’t there for coffee, but I will be…

I chose the Conde Vilar Rosé.  I am a little addicted to rosé right now.  This is not your mama’s white zinfandel, which is very sugary wine-cooleresque; they are red grape wines that spend less time with the grape skins, usually only a few days.  And depending on the winery and the wine maker they range from sweet to dark and also light to dark pink.  This rosé is made in Portugal with Espadeiro grapes.  I really enjoyed it and might try to add it to my small collection (I wonder if the Wine Source sells it??).  It was a little darker than I expected, but not heavy at all, actually quite a smooth finish.  I found the fruity aromas to be a perfect complement for the acidity.

Now, onto Dooby’s.  I was rather impressed.  There were probably 100 or more people in this place, all arriving at the same time, and they managed to provide enough food for everyone to have a taste of everything.  We started with a tomato bisque served dip style with some crostini.  The flavor was completely unexpected; I found it rather sweet and went back and forth between loving and hating it.

Next, they served their kimchi fried rice with some cucumbers and carrots in a sushi roll.  I have no idea how they made the rolls into a tear drop shape, but they came on a tray in cute little daisy shaped flowers.  Not my favorite either, but great texture and presentation.  I am also not a huge fan of kimchi or even fried rice, so don’t skip it on my review.

We were able to try a version of their mushroom melt – we had a mix of marinated portobello, shiitake,‍ & button mushrooms served on a crostini and topped with a little Gruyère.  I liked these and apparently so did everyone else, because they flew off the app trays super super fast.

Dooby’s took turns putting out the next trays of food, and I am super glad because even though I missed the first round, I was still able to try their pork buns and the burger.  The pork belly was a little thick and chewy and served on a traditional soft Chinese pork bun with sriracha aioli, soy-caramel & kimchi.  The kimchi was rather mellow so I found the flavor spot on.   I had a few grisly pieces of pork, which made some bits a little difficult considering we were standing and also holding drinks. The sliders were also great – served on a pretzel bun. The juicy burger was topped with an aged, sharp cheddar and dressed greens.  I am a fan and can’t fault them too much for my crusty crumbly pretzel bun as they were making 60 slider-sized buns at one time.

I think we all agreed on our favorite nugget of the night – the Earl Grey frozen chocolate ganache covered in white chocolate crumbles.  My dairy free friend even decided it was worth the cheat and possible discomfort.  The tea flavor was appealing and absolutely not overpowering.  I believe I made a comment about the big bites reminding me that my teeth are a little sensitive.

The fact that Dooby’s could cater that size a party and provide incredibly tasteful morsels throughout the entire night means I will be heading back for a regular dinner or brunch type meal. I can’t wait.

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