Helmed by chef Jim Benson, Eleven Courses’ multifaceted team of chefs, artists, and organizers embraces the art of the party with elegant catering and event services ranging from in-home tastings to multicourse wedding feasts. Top-notch chefs curate nuanced tasting menus as well as wine and artisan-beer tastings that tease out the complementary tastes of bacon and beer or wine and truffles.
In addition to keeping kitchens alive and cooking, Jim’s team also handles the whys and wherefores of event planning. Resident visual artists contribute to cake and floral designs, and professional planners orchestrate happenings ranging from weddings and business meetings to black-tie fantasy-baseball drafts. Eleven Courses' staff members hone their skills at a range of regional events such as the Capital Bacon and Beer Bash, the Baltimore Bridal Show, the National Harbor Wine and Food Festival, and the 3rd Anniversary Hippodrome Foodie Experience with Andrew Zimmerman of Travel Channel fame. Eleven Courses has been featured on WTTG FOX 5 and WBAL 11.
Each day, the Timonium and Frederick branches brew eight different types of coffee (Annapolis brews six per day), mining from the Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company's coffee reserve, a treasure trove of around 120 different varieties of beans (full pounds start at $11.90). Types of coffee ($1.60 for 12 oz.) are offered on a rotating basis, with flavors such as coconut cream and pumpkin spice introducing new aromas to bored taste buds, as well as Swiss Water–decaffeinated varieties for those that love the taste of coffee but find themselves inadvertently building a shrine to Grease after two cups of regular joe. Introduce yourself to the well-crafted wares of Mother Earth with a cup of tea ($1.95 for 20 oz.)—the shop features more than 1,000 kinds of leaves for consumption—or go full throttle with a ribbon of 20 Eastern Shore tea bags (starting at $4.75) in more than 100 flavors. Try the fresh baked muffins ($2.25–$2.75 each), Italian gelato ($3.25, small; $4.50, large), bagels ($1.50; $0.75 extra for regular cream cheese), and other delicious pastries. Prices may vary by location.
The owners of Pasta Blitz employ recipes and cooking techniques inherited from their Neapolitan mother to create a menu of homemade pastas, grilled seafood, and veal-based entrees. Mirroring the aesthetic of an Italian trattoria, the restaurant’s relaxed, convivial atmosphere puts diners at ease as they indulge in authentic delicacies such as baked ziti, mushroom risotto, and calamari with caper-and-lemon sauce. Once the sun sets, the restaurant transforms from a casual eatery into an intimate spot for first dates or an awkward location for traffic-court proceedings.
Inside the savory-scented digs of Honey Baked Ham & Cafe, spools of hardwood-smoked, spiral-sliced ham entice carnivorous palates. Here, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
Customization is the word at Dominick's Pizza, where guests can tailor hand-tossed pizzas and overstuffed subs to their liking. Thick, Sicilian-style crusts form serving platters for a choice of 20 toppings, including italian sausage, capicola ham, and sweet peppers. Jumbo wings come in more than a dozen flavors, including Cajun and barbecue. Bolstered by nearly 50 years of history, the pizzeria also specializes in pastas as traditional as an Italian matron’s weekly spaghetti-weaving parties.
At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to find dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as pork tenderloin, pulled pork with mashed potatoes, and rosemary and mustard grilled flank steak. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color.
Head chef Christopher Ellis sautés up a selection of mouth-watering meals, which ranked Christopher Daniel among Baltimore magazine's 50 Best Restaurants of 2010. In an elegant yet casual interior of calm, yellow walls and white table linens, diners can attack savory starters, such as the freshly shucked oyster stew with melted leeks, spinach, and Pernod ($7), or the fried goat cheese with portobello mushroom carpaccio and truffle vinaigrette ($10).