The chefs at Garry's Grill use house-made breads and seasonal ingredients to create hearty American meals with international touches. At breakfast time, that translates to creamed chipped beef over buttermilk biscuits and, at lunch, seared tuna wraps, which are rubbed with Thai spices and supplemented with cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and wasabi cream sauce. Feel free to add a side of crab cakes to any dinner entrée, such as the penne with roasted red peppers and portabellos, or the Man Burger, which is topped with gorgonzola, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and jalapeños and wrapped in an 8x10 photo of Gregory Peck. Also on the menu: Red and white wines from California, Washington, and Italy.
The allure of Bill Bateman's Bistro increases exponentially with a glance at the wide-ranging menu. Locally lauded for its superlative wings, Bill Bateman's Bistro's offers glazed poultry in a variety of sizes and sauces. Combine cuisines with 10 ($8.49) of the Sweet Thai Chili Wings, or firmly uphold winged tradition with 30 original buffalo wings ($22.99). Fifty Wings from Hell ($36.99) will sate the fire-deprived tongues of fearless wing devourers and can be ordered via a Ouija board that until recently was just a game. The shrimp-melt wrap ($10.99), jalapeñoed Heat Wave Burger ($8.99), and grilled-chicken-topped California Salad ($10.99) are but a few of the numerous bites capable of complementing the various cold draft beers. For the full rundown of possible palate pleasers, see the complete menu for each participating location: Parkville, Severna Park, Glen Burnie, and Reisterstown.
At the Anne Arundel County fairgrounds, competing teams of pit masters keep their grills fueled through the night, tingeing the cool air with the smoky, sweet aroma of slow-cooked beef. The marathon cooking session is all for the sake of the Kansas City Barbeque Society judges, whose favor each chef will curry come lunchtime. The annual barbequing competition is just one facet of the festival’s mission to showcase the best barbecue chefs in the region. In addition to the competition, local food vendors sate visitors with hot ribs and empower budding chefs with gourmet sauces and cookware. All the while, 25 live bands keep heads bobbing while reminding diners to chew 30 times before swallowing.
Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.
Hot Potato serves up tantalizing tubers artfully festooned with an assemblage of imaginative toppings, such as pulled pork, chicken, avocado, and fresh pineapple. Creative diners may customize their baked potato with plain, garlic, or vegan butter, a variety of sour creams or sauces, veggies, and crunchy tortilla strips (add $0.35) or crispy onions ($0.65). Or they can opt for specialty spuds, such as the Wayne's World (pulled pork, collards, house-made coleslaw, and chives, $8.25) or the Madras Veggie Mix (mixed veggies in a mildly spicy, yogurt-based curry sauce, $7.15). Eaters can cut down on the starch with delectable wraps, sandwiches, and Greek or garden salads, and then impetuously add it back to either salad for $0.50.