July 28, 2009

BilVil – A Beaches Cafe

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 2:52 am by Jenn

This weekend I had the pleasure of dining at BilVil in North Beach, Maryland. I had the pleasure of working for Bil while I was in college.  First at Neptune’s and then at Vic’s Italia by the Bay.  He’s an awesome chef and a pretty good guy too.

BilVil opened when I was living in Belarus, but I watched the progress via pictures online.  I couldn’t wait to get home to pay him a visit.

I had taken a peak at BilVil’s menu online about a month ago and had been thinking about the Eggplant Parmigiana ever since.  I couldn’t wait to try it.  Local produce (some from his own edible garden) +  local ingredients + Bil Shockley cooking = far out flavor!

BilVil has a great atmosphere for lunch or dinner and you can dine inside or out.  We chose to dine in and were seated in what I’m going to call the sunroom.  A great room on the front of the restaurant with windows all around.

Our waitress was very polite and presented us with the menus, beer and wine lists and specials.  I decided on a glass of the house Pinot Grigio and an ice water to start, then I picked up the menu.

I’m going to have to go back at least 5 times to try everything that I want to try, but I just couldn’t get the Eggplant Parm out of my mind.  I had also decided on the Spinach with Onions, Mushrooms & Warm Bacon Dressing, but at the last minute changed my mind to the Tuna Carpaccio app.  I was not disappointed at all, in fact I was pleasantly surprised.  This was served on a bed of greens so I had my veggie after all.  The portion size was generous and definitely way more than I could eat on my own.  Michelle and I should have shared.

The entree came and all I could do was smile….it looked wonderful.  Eggplant Parmigiana with a side of pasta.  YUM.  From bite one til the last bite I was in heaven.  I absolutely LOVE Eggplant Parmigiana and NO ONE makes it quite like Bil.

We had already decided on ice cream for dessert at the Dairy Freeze up the street- however next time around I’m trying the Warm Fudge Cake at Bil’s….or the Carrot Cake….or BOTH!

So, that being said, if you are in North Beach and want a great meal cooked by a great guy (his wife Sandi ain’t bad either) stop by BilVil .  Tell him Jenn sent you.  You won’t be disappointed.

Oh, Basignani Winery’s Reisling – yeah, get a bottle!

And, just in case you don’t want to take my word for it, you can read a real newspaper review here, here, or here.

Congratulations Bil and Sandi on your success at BilVil!  I’ll be back.


May 28, 2009

Only in America

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 1:11 am by Jenn


I had to do a double take when I saw these on the shelf.  I really and truly thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Sadly. they. weren’t.

March 30, 2009

Farida’s Mushroom Appetizer with Twisted Chicken to follow

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:53 pm by Jenn

A few months ago while surfing the net for a recipe for borsch, I came across a website called Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook.  I was immediately curious and found several dishes that I wanted to try.  I emailed the blog’s author, Farida asking if she had a recipe for borsch.  Low and behold she did and she emailed it to me a few days ago.  I’ll be making it tomorrow.

Tonight however, I treated my tastebuds to another of Farida’s recipes – Mushrooms Stuffed with Eggplant, Walnuts and Fresh Herbs.  In one word – FABULOUS!  If you want a super quick, tasty appetizer, do yourself a favor and give these a try.  I made the following modifications – I used 1/2 the recipe since it was only me and Scott, I added one clove of minced garlic to the mixture in the frying pan and I added about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese prior to stuffing.  Another word – YUMMO!  Scott wolfed down 8 of them in no time and I managed to polish off 4 with no problem and could have eaten more.  Thankfully I wanted Andy to try them so I didn’t eat the 5th one….yet!  Andy better get over here in the next hour though otherwise I can’t be responsible for my actions.


The main course is still in the oven and due to come out in about 15 minutes.  This is a newbie for me….I’m calling it Twisted Chicken.  It’s a variation of Andy’s Greek Chicken from 2 weekends ago.  Basically, it’s a baked chicken and oven roasted vegetables.  I stuffed the chicken with a few cloves of garlic, some fresh dill and a boiled lemon….yep, that’s right, boiled lemon.  I learned that from Andy, and it gives the chicken just a hint of lemon flavor.  I par boiled the potatoes and the lemon and garlic cloves then stuffed the chicken and added the potatoes and some fresh carrots around the chicken in the roasting pan.  End result is a great tasting bird and veggies.  Thanks Andy for the lemon idea, this will be a frequent meal in the Smart household….Twisted Chicken.

And I’ll leave you with this cute picture of Max sleeping.  It’s hard to believe he’s comfortable, and he LOVES to sleep on top of his kennel because that’s where the sunshine is!  The dog moves from spot to spot throughout the day, following the sun.


December 14, 2008

On the House

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 11:00 pm by Jenn

Tonight we resumed our Sunday night dinner ritual with our friends.  For the most part still the same players except that I was the only female.  Tonight we tried the new Spanish tapas restaurant, El Mirasol.  My review follows.

The food was excellent, and the sangria was very good.  The wait staff was attentive and English was well spoken and understood.  The restrooms were clean with FLUSHABLE toilets, ample paper products, soap and hot water.  The restaurant wasn’t overly busy, our table and two other tables of two during our dinner.  That’s it.  You people just don’t know what you are missing.

Each of the four of us ordered a few tapas a piece and were prepared to share between us.  As the tapas arrived and we were pleasantly surprised we increased our orders… There were four of us drinking and eating and our bill came to around 170 manat.  Just before we asked for the check, our waiter came to our table with a pitcher of sangria and announced that it was “on the house”, now this is pretty much unheard of in Baku, at least in my experience.  Good food, good drink, customer service and customer appreciation!  Way to go El Mirasol.  I’ll be telling all my friends about you and I will be returning for dinner….probably next week.

As we were leaving we all thanked our waiter and said, “Please don’t close”.  Hopefully they’ll be there next week, I still want to try the paella.

April 27, 2008

Food Porn (not really)

Posted in Journal tagged , at 9:07 pm by Jenn

I was tagged bytransplantingme for the  so here are my responses. 

1. What food do you consider the best “date” food? In other words, what meal or food item do you think is sexiest to eat in the company of someone you would like to look sexy around?   I have had some of my best dates over a steak, or sushi.  I don’t know if those count as sexy foods but they are meals that last a while and you are able to have good conversation.  One food I would definitely not recommend eating on a sexy date night….asparagus!  Thanks to Glenn Bass for the tip that saved Valentine’s Day – 1999!

2. What well-known person would you like to share a meal with?  I have a few that I would like to share a meal with: 1) Barack Obama  2) Howard Stern  3) Reba McIntyre  4) Alan Rickman

3. What does your perfect breakfast-in-bed look like? (Food AND the details, please. Candles? Music? Flowers? Hot tub? Dancing girls?  I would love to have breakfast in bed….this would be a FIRST for me…pathetic I know!  The ideal breakfast tray would consist of a bouquet of daisies, french toast with white cheddar cheese and maple syrup, turkey bacon, fresh squeezed orange juice blended with ice to make a froth, and a BIG bowl of tropical fruit topped with shredded coconut.  The music…wooden flutes or the sound machine set to ocean!   

4. What do you consider the best application of whipped cream to be?  On my hot fudge sundae or hot chocolate/white chocolate mocha of course.

5. Oh-God-No, Biff, the yacht is sinking! You are sent to the galley to retrieve the food. What luxury food items do you snatch first? The champagne? The caviar? Smoked Salmon? Truffles? Chocolate? Or something else?  I would grab the Malibu, red orange juice, banana juice, raspberries, smoked salmon, triscuits and Easy Cheese!

The Rules…
“Answer each of the five questions. Tag five bloggers you would like to pass the meme to. Have them link back to you and to this post as the source meme. You and they can take the graphic from here if they like.”

Hmmm, my five?  Here goes….

1.  Heather, Laura, Kariola, Clare, and last but not least Nadine

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