If you eat out in Baltimore, you probably are familiar with Grano in Hampden….it started out as a miniscule corner place on 36th Street, with great pastas and sauces(and that tiny Grano is still there, dishing the pasta), but Grano also expanded into a new larger space on Chestnut, right off 36th. My daughter met us for dinner there Friday night at the new space…and wow, has it changed. They now have a tiny wine bar in the back….so wine is now available..you won’t have to bring in your own. Lots more seating, but still warm and cozy feeling, and while the menu is more expensive…you can still get the pastas and not spend a bundle.
We had the most amazing plate of Italian meats and cheeses to start…almost a meal, really, especially with the plate of artisanal bread and roasted garlic olive oil dipping sauce…. some really interesting, unusual cheeses too…that I’d never had. Loved one with little flecks of red pepper. And the expanded menu there-see here-is different from baby Grano….much expanded with seafood and meat, and of course, you can still have pasta. Great place, and a great dinner…
Time with girlfriends was so good(and amazing weather). We see each other at other times, but there’s never really a good chance to catch up…and and that’s just what we did. Talked and talked and talked…and laughed a lot.
And ate some pretty fantastic food…everyone brought a little something…and we made the most lovely apple crisp I’ve ever eaten. My job? Blending a cold stick of butter into flour, oatmeal, and sugar until the butter was the size of peas…but I did it the slow painstaking way with two knives, not a pastry blender. I told our hostess Crissie I was gonna give her one, because it’s too darn hard using two knives…to which she replied, “That’s the way my Mother always did it, and I don’t want one more implement in my kitchen.” That I get…I too am trying to pare down all the little tiny “thingies” in my kitchen drawers that I never use…but the pastry blender I’m keeping.
Back home Sunday night, we all trooped off to a dinner for the Baltimore Humane Society …at the Dogwood Restaurant in Hampden. Hands down, the star of the evening was Asta, one of the Dogwood’s owners’ rescue dogs. This cute pooch’s story is pretty amazing, like all rescue pets I guess…he was found in a sleazy motel tied to a bed post, but now lives with plenty of food and plenty of love. He trotted around like he owned the place and knew it was his night, and accepted everyone’s petting graciously.
There was even a selection of wines with his portrait on it(by artist Mark Adams), compliments of Mutt Lynch Winery, I love their motto…Bark Less, Wag More . They provided the wines for the evening, and while all their labels have dogs on them(which I love)…I like Asta’s private label too….so chi-chi! They do have some of the wines leftover for sale(though Asta’s label is sold out)….they were were $11 a bottle. If you’re interested…email@example.com.