Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baltimore's Best Wings?

An order of hot wings and fries.

Ever since I've known him, The Lerch has been exclaming how the best wings in Baltimore are at Kisling's Tavenr on Fleet Street in Canton. Heck, I hadn't heard of Kisling's until I met The Lerch, I was going to have to check it out.

After several years, I finally made it down to give them a try. On a Sunday evening.

Luckily, Sundays mean $5 wing night. Five bucks for a ten piece order that's normally about ten bucks. Fresh cut fries? Sure, that sounds good - and so does the $5 steamed shrimp special, but hold the cocktail sauce 'cause I'm trimming down on excess. Unluckily, they had run out of shrimp so I went with the steamed mussels.

Kisling's is a tavern. It looks like a tavern. Wood here, wood there, some neon beer lights and several big screen TVs spewn about so that patrons can catch "the game." It's your typical Baltimore watering hole, except with a waitress that's actually cute, not to mention friendly (but not that friendly, not that I'm interested).

Things moved swiftly enough from there. More water, more iced tea and within ten minutes the fries arrived, followed by the wings. Not too much longer and the mussels arrived and I started to become self-conscious about all these plates on my table.

The fries looked pretty dark and I think this means that the oil they were fried in has had it. Time for new oil, please. The flavor was pleasant and the fries enjoyable. Just give me some salt and some wings and everything will be alright. I'm used to the French style of preparing mussels with white wine, butter, onions and garlic, so the steamed route is something new for me. Steamed mussels, even though they're steamed with onions, are a bit on the bland side. There's not much in steam to spice things up, but the soft onion wedges were nice to have.

But really, we're here for the wings and it's time to discuss how they were, which was okay. I don't know who said these were "The Best" in Baltimore, but that's pretty optimistic. The wings were good. They were tasty. But they were also on the thin side. Fried nicely and with just the right amount of hot sauce. I could eat another ten. But would I drive all the way into the city just for Kisling's wings? I can't say that I would. It's good, but Hooter's is closer.

Kisling's Tavern
2100 Fleet Street
Baltimore, MD 21231

Ultimate Sandwich

In the DVD for the movie Spanglish, Thomas Keller shares the recipe for his "Ultimate Sandwich," the perfect thing for late-night eating with a beer. Something to whip up in the kitchen with what you have on hand.

I thought I'd give it a try using some of the stuff I liked best.

- Hand-sliced Country White bread, toasted
- Chihuahua cheese from Mexico, melted on the top slice
- Locally grown butter lettuce
- Two large eggs from Springfield Farms, fried over easy
- Free range bacon from Springfield Farms
- Locally grown, fresh tomato - three slices
- Hellman's Mayonnaise, spead generously on the bottom slice

By the way, that's also how I layered the ingredients. Served with heated Ketchup Potato Chips I imported from Canada and a bottle of Mexican Coke.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


The Clan milling about before the main course at Ceviche.

On Saturday night, the Clan gathered to celebrate Rod, Christian and Emma's birthdays at Ceviche in Silver Spring, Maryland. As always, it was good to see and hang with old friends. I just wish we would choose better restaurants.

This is not to say that my friends don't know how to choose a restaurant, it means to say that I wish more restaurants served better quality food. Overall, the food was okay. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't good either. Just average, uninspired fare. But I'll give Ceviche the benefit of a doubt since it was a Saturday night, it was extremely busy, we were a group of sixteen and the fifty seat dining room was being served by one waiter and one runner.

Beef Empanada with fried plantains - the stuffing was very similar to the Filipino Empanada.

Ceviche is a "Latin restaurant" - one of those catchwords that's similar to "pan-Asian" and anything trying to encompass everything is going to stumble. And Ceviche stumbles.

First off, where was the pork? If this is comida Latina where did it go? There was no pork on the menu. At all. No pork in a pan-Latin restaurant. Unbelievable. The Virgin of Guadalupe is furious.

Otherwise, it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some Peruvian, El Salvadorean, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Argentinian, Spanish - there was something for everyone and nothing that stood out as a powerhouse. Actually, the most flavorful thing was the fried stuffed corn masa. That was pretty tasty.

The Ceviche - sadly, just perfunctory.

I could go on, but I won't. It might not be nice. Suffice to say that Ceviche is designed to cater to the benign masses working at Discovery Channel across the street. Those denizens who want a Latin twist from the hoardes of national chain restaurants downstairs. It's great if your experience with Latin food is Chili's, but perhaps not so great if you regularly eat at the various Peruvian, Mexican or other ethnic joints.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but the highlights were the stuffing in the beef empanadas which, if they had peas, would have been almost exactly like the classic Filipino Empanada stuffing I grew up on. The tamal wrapped in banana leaf had a pleasant flavor that's reminisent of the Puerto Rican pasteles or the tamales from southern Mexico.

Fried Yucca - mas a meno.

The stuffed corn masa- pretty tasty.

The Tamal with chicken.

Black Beans and Rice.

Filet with chimichurri - nothing inspiring.

Chocolate Cupcake with Strawberry Icing - Hate to say it, but the best course of the meal was from CakeLove.

Ceviche Restaurant
921 Ellsworth Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910