Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ahhh.....the Monks and their divine fudge!

The Brigittine Monks Gourmet Confections is giving a 10% discount to our special online customers from January 26 to February 28. Go to our website www.brigittine.org and enter the code VAL10 in the Discount Code field on the check out page and click on the Discount Code button next to it to get an automatic 10% off from your order of fudge and truffles.Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Give that someone special a Heavenly treat this Valentine's Day.We are now introducing our newest gourmet fudge Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge for the price of $9.95 per pound (no code required). It will normally sell for $12.95 per pound. This special will run until the end of March.We are now offering the flat rate postage of $4.95 for all single items sent by US Mail to addresses within the United States. Order of Two items or more going to one address will be shipped via UPS at their current rates.Please watch for our monthly specials.Please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORTGod bless you!The Brigittine MonksPlease note: if our website does not give you the advertised discounts, we will automatically give them to you, or if you wish to place your order by phone we will honor these offers. 503-835-8080 ext 1WE DO NOT SELL OR RENT OUR MAILING LIST .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cannella's - Nirvana on a Roll

Apparently, Cannella's has been around for some time. I have only just discovered this little gem about 9 or 10 months ago. Since then, I have made the trek from my office on the-always-fun-to-navigate Belair Rd to it's rather unassuming location (looks like a former 7-11) in Perry Hall.

The fact that whatever I buy has to be transported to my home that can take either 30 minutes or an hour depending on traffic..lol..has a lot to do with what I order.

So I started safe and ordered a cold sub for my first go-round - the "Baggio" and a medium size container of potato salad.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived home about 40 minutes later and unwrapped the sub - not only was it perfectly wrapped - but looked as if it had been prepared only minutes before. I actually could not believe how good and fresh it really was!

The potato salad was very creative - huge chucks of garlicky pickles intermingled with the cooked-just-right potatoes. Very seldom can I order deli potato salad with any hopes of not receiving half-raw potatoes. It was most appreciated.

So, to be sure that I did not have "beginner's luck", I have gone back again....and again.....and again....lol!

I have tried several other subs - The "Porketta" is one of my faves - lean pork roast cooked tender-perfect, with onions and provolone and their signature dressing...my goddess, it sent me into blissful nirvana!

I have also tried the meatball sub and their Italian - both very, very good.

If you are looking for a entree - try the homemade ravioli. Delicious. Tender pillows of cheese with an awesome sauce bursting with flavors....a real treat for anyone craving authentic Italian cooking.

You can also purchase their breads - OR, like me, you can buy a frozen loaf to take home and bake fresh from the oven.

There is a nice small dining area - and they recently installed a self-service soda fountain machine for those who like to drink from cups with ice.

This place is very out-of-my-way, yet I make the time to go-out-of-my-way whenever I can!

Location: 9611 Belair Road • Perry Hall, Maryland 21236 Phone: 410-248-3288

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chocolatea........is good for me!

I had an opportunity to visit Chocolatea (pronounced choco-latte) the other day during my lunch hour - I figured any place that offered coffee and chocolate was a must-visit for me!
I must admit it was an experience getting to this place, I still cannot understand how people who live in the city get anywhere and parking is frightening. But I sucked up my suburban fear and after driving around for a little while trying to find a place to park, I finally found a spot near University Parkway and enjoyed a small hike up to the cafe which is located inside Ambassador Apartments.

After wrestling with a broken door knob, I stepped inside and was struck by a peculiar smell that was at first, not identifiable. It was not at all what I expected - dark, but cosy and warm, with coffee and chocolate aromas permeating throughout.

It was dim, but hardly warm and cosy - instead it was cold and well....kinda dingy looking. There was a weird color on the walls that do not do well inside on such a gray afternoon and the paintings (for sale) that were hanging, while bright and colorful did not stand out and did little to bring any cheerfulness to the interior. Perhaps on a sunny day - with some light streaming through the windows would liven it up a little.

I was a little hesitant, but the few people there seemed happy and content, but very focused on their newspaper and/or books. Since Hopkins is right around the corner, I was not surprised, but I was still a little weirded out by the eerie silence and trying to adjust to my surroundings. I was still trying to figure out the smell, I know it was some kind of Asian thing going on, and when I picked up the menu, I realized why.

My “in-my-mind-cosy-shabby-chic-throwback-coffee-and-chocolate-shoppe” was a noodle house??? Who knew....lol. I was actually relieved when I was finally able to distinguish the smells and noticed several people eating with gusto from bowls and I saw a little girl with her Mom using chop sticks and seeming to really enjoy being there!

I was greeted very warmly by the girl behind the counter and I was instantly put at ease - she was very helpful in answering my questions about the many offerings of teas and coffees - they have a great variety and I would have enjoyed spending time sampling, but I had such a hard time parking, I barely had time to order anything more than one of their “Coco-Lattes” - from their winter offerings board - “Almond Joy” and I chose one of their luscious-looking muffins - pineapple and coconut. The server told me they did not make them on premises, they were brought in, but did not offer any bakery name.

While waiting, I browsed around - they have a case to the left of the counter that was filled with chocolates of all types - but after determining they, like the muffins, were also “brought in”, I declined to try any. I'm a finicky chocoholic and was not feeling adventuresome.

Instead, I sat at one of the little tables and observed the other patrons.

The gentleman directly across from me was eating heartily from a steaming bowl of Udon noodles and was eventually brought a wrap - a beautifully presented and very fresh looking wrap. He noticed me looking and told me it was the “Chicken Salad Wrap” and was ”fantastic”. Another diner overheard our conversation and smiled and said her fave was the ”Spicy Chicken Teriyaki Wrap” and the ”Maguro Wrap” - seared sushi grade tuna, avocado, pickle ginger, cucumber, romaine and white chocolate Wasabi sauce. Although I am not a fan of fish, it sounded intriguing.
Besides the wraps and a few sandwich choices (all come with a side salad), they have a wide array of noodle and rice bowls and also a nice selection of dumplings. I would have like to have tried those, so made a mental note to check them out next time.

They also have a small “Veggie” selection - one of those is their version of the “Powerhouse” wrap , which has always been a fave of mine when I am feeling....well....veggie-ish. They use Feta cheese, instead of Havarti and a soy mustard vinaigrette as a dressing. They also have an “Energizer” wrap - which included avocado and Fontina cheese on a sesame semolina bread.

I like the creativity and thoughtfulness of their menu - this seemed like a great place to stop in and grab a bite and/or just relax with a coffee.

The muffin, while obviously not freshly baked, was moist and flavorful. It was a perfect accompaniment to my Almond Joy Coco-latte.

Ahhh......the Coco-latte....I saved the best for last. It took a few minutes of me waiting for the drink to be prepared, but what a treat!

I am not too sure what I was expecting, but it was beyond compare - wow! They use 100% real chocolate and infuse it with milk. They then add fresh fruit and/or spices to give it a perfect flavor. The best hot chocolate drink I have had in a long, long time and the creamy whipped cream on top just made it all the more luscious. There was just a hint of almond and coconut - not at all overwhelming the chocolate. There was not any nasty sediment left in the bottom of the cup and it was all I could do to not try to lick the inside of cup...lol!

It was just under $6.00 for the coco-latte and muffin.

They also have breakfast selections and the hours seem convenient enough. Would I come back? While I would not make a special trip after work or on the weekends as parking would seem insurmountable, I would brave the noontime traffic to pick up one of the wraps or try the dumplings, absolutely! If I lived nearby, I would definitely stop in often.

If only for another one of those cups of blissfully rich chocolate!