Every so often Harbor East has some fun events. I was lucky enough to spend the evening with my friends at Sip, Savor and Stroll. This event sold out quickly – so if it sounds fun, get your tickets fast next time – we all signed up at for the same “group” and were scheduled all together with a few other folks in Group 8. This was a very well-organized event, the check in line moved quickly and all the restaurants were ready for us even as we moved through to the end of the night.
Everyone started at Gordon Biersch, where they gave us a generous first drink. I went with their fall beer – FestBier – a Marzen with a malty flavored and balanced hops.
Our first official stop was Bin 604 – part of the Cindy Wolfe and Tom Foreman empire. They were serving food from Pazo and their two new house wines. Don’t let the bottles full you – they will look different in the restaurant. The food was clearly light snacks – a couple of meat trays (without their delish Manchego), an eggplant dip, and a third dip of what seemed like roasted red peppers. The meat went quickly, and there wasn’t nearly enough bread for the dips. I liked the white and loved the red wine. If you have any questions about wine, talk to the folks in this place. They will recommend a wine that is similar or even order you the one you want.
Our next stop was Lebanese Taverna. Thank goodness they over fed us – we were definitely needed some sustenance. Look at this food spread – and this wasn’t for the group to share. This was one plate for everyone and a full glass of wine or cocktail. I went with the Tilia Malbec from Mendoza. I really liked this wine. I know, shocker… It was very medium bodied wine with a hint of berry tones. The tannins were present, but edgy enough to cut the acidity in the wine. Now on to the food – each of those sections were fantastic. In the upper left was a little spinach pie and lamb meatball. We also had that adorable fresh salad with beets and orange. The best part of that was the pomegranate seeds – adding sweetness and a little crunch for that spicy arugula. I am actually shocked that my favorite was the lemony, cilantro shrimp and Israeli couscous. Those are not my favorite things – but they could be if I spend more time here. And I ate every pits of that humus with their warm, soft pita dippers.
Our next stop was a little bit of a hike – all the way to Bond Street Social. I want to like these guys. I don’t. Their food is fine and they have decent drink choices. The atmosphere is kind of upscale and fun vibe; they have a gorgeous location and plenty of outdoor seating. In theory, I should really like them. But, I am always underwhelmed. The food is really overpriced and that upscale vibe turns very quickly into a frat party on the weekends. This stop was no different – we had the duck confit arepas. Our other small plate was the lobster rangoon. They were fine since they were “free”, but I certainly wouldn’t spend $12 or $13 respectively for them. I just can’t figure out who these guys want to be.
You would think we would be done by now – but nope… two more stops. One of my favorite Harbor East stops – Talara. At first, I was disappointed were weren’t getting my favorite small plates. We started with their asian tartar sushi roll with tuna and a little wasabi mayo. usually do get those for happy hour. Then I tasted the ribs – sesame glazed baby back pork ribs. These were fall of the bone tender and might be making an appearance on our regular order. They also went amazingly with my very strong red sangria. I do love these guys – from the service to the food. Outrageous!
Thank goodness our last stop was just across the street at James Joyce. I don’t go here very often. I am not sure why – they had a great crowd on a Wednesday at 10pm. Our adorable bartender was nice enough to make me an Irish coffee. This is the only place in Charm City that I think can make a quality Irish coffee – which includes that fresh whipped cream and top it with a little brown sugar… YUM. I don’t remember what they fed us. Sorry guys – It must have been good because it was gone before I knew it existed.