Mike’s Caribbean American Gourmet Soul Food Restaurant

The Caribbean American Gourmet Soul Food Restaurant is located at 519 West Lexington Street, Baltimore, just barely a block from the world famous Lexington Market.

It offers real American food with roots in the homelands of the first Old World immigrants-willing and otherwise. You won’t find any of those sissy make believe fusion concoctions some confused California food artist begot in a crowded kitchen closet in this place.

This fine takeout dining establishment has it all: Pig feet, hocks, hog maws, chitterlings, pigtails and catfish as well as the more pedestrian American fare like beef ribs, pork ribs, curry chicken, curry goat, ox tail and chicken fried steak.

Veggies, too-collards, fried cabbage, lima beans, red beans, string beans, black eyed peas, white rice, spicy rice, veggie rice, sweet potatoes and fries. Processed starches like “mac n cheese” round out the menu.

These delicacies are all prepared personally by the hands of the owner himself-the world famous all over Baltimore, Mike of “Mike’s Famous Caribbean Grilled, BBQ, Jerked or Fried Chicken.”

I had the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Mike salts, peppers, flours and fries the chicken to a golden crispiness on the outside and a hot juicy tenderness on the inside. This chicken is so tender and juicy; you can actually suck the meat off the bone.

Next, he makes the chicken gravy.

First, he browns the flour in the leftover chicken grease with the crispy flour coating that has fallen off the chicken. He must have some sort of secret spice because he produces the most flavorful fried chicken gravy that has ever tickled taste buds.

While this is going on, he is boiling the potatoes for his mashed potatoes.

When they are ready, he peels and mashes them himself with all of the pride that every father feels for his special love child and serves them drenched with fried chicken gravy.

While all of Mike’s food is tasty beyond imagination, his Caribbean Hot Sauce is the crown jewel of his empire. He makes it himself from Scotch Bonnet peppers, onion, carrots, and other secret ingredients. WARNING: This stuff is both DANGEROUS and flavorful.

I highly recommend it.

A word about the neighborhood is in order,

Those who are familiar with Baltimore know that the city is well seasoned and redolent with the delicate fragrance of decades and maybe centuries of urine that imbues the doorframes and the ancient red bricks of the buildings that line the downtown alleys. To be sure, this quaint neighborhood of delightfully eccentric, poverty stricken Americans is one of the more colorful in this magnificently colorful city.

In respect of this, Mike has spared no expense in developing the atmosphere of inner city ambience. You can’t find more authentic inner-city décor anywhere-except perhaps the sally port at the county jail. Heavy steel screens protect the doors and windows and inside there is room for only three or four customers (see the photos).

On one side, there is a heavy-duty unbreakable plastic window between the customers and the food. At the end, a rotating heavy-duty plastic carousel window in a heavy-duty steel door protects Mike and permits food to pass out and money and credit cards to pass in.

All this investment has paid off. When you step inside the Caribbean Gourmet Soul Food dining establishment, all you smell is freshly cooked chitterlings, hog maws, fried chicken and the mélange of other aromas from food cooked or cooking.

So, there it is.

If you want real American food, genuine American food of the sort that built the greatest nation on earth, tasty food, food that will broaden your butt; get your next meal at the Caribbean American Gourmet Soul Food Restaurant, just barely a block west of Lexington Market in quaint, exotic and exciting downtown Baltimore, Maryland.

Fine takeout dining just doesn’t get any better.


We Love Granite City Food & Brewery in Rockford, Illinois

Ok, call me a restaurant snob but I don’t usually like chain restaurants. They’re all so predictable. We tried Granite City Food and Brewery in Rockford, IL one busy day while we were out shopping and I have to say it was a real treat.

While Granite City is similar to many trendy restaurants we were impressed with the quality of the food, the service and the overall friendliness of the staff. I’ve got to believe that the wait staff is making good money because I have never seen so many happy waiters and waitresses.

In fact, the service at Granite City was much better than the service at one of Rockford’s well known fine dining restaurants. They have also implemented an interesting circular way of serving that seems to make them very efficient.

One of the waiters was explaining that to us. In short you go in one end of the kitchen only and only come out the other. As with most other restaurants it’s a team effort in serving. The food can, and probably will, be brought out by someone other than the person who took the order.

We have actually visited Granite City six times in the last month so that we could try a wide variety of their offerings. We would highly recommend the Sunday brunch. The roast beef was rare, tender and absolutely melted in your mouth.

The garlic mashed potatoes with brown gravy, excellent. During the week they do not have gravy. If you get the mashed potatoes you top them with butter which is also very good. They have fresh caramel rolls on Sunday which you have to ask your server to bring to you, they are not put out on the buffet.

The caramel rolls are served fresh. As with so many things in restaurants these days they were way too big. One caramel roll would have been enough for the three of us. Oh, and I should mention that all of the breakfast items that we tried were stellar as well.

I give Granite City a gold star for their soups. Every one of the soups that we have tried have been above and beyond other restaurant fare. I’m torn between the potato soup and the turkey rice almandine as my favorite. I love that they offer a half of a sandwich and a cup of soup for lunch. That was a perfect amount for lunch for me.

For my birthday last month we went to Granite City. I had their Filet Mignon. It was superb, if a bit large for me. We also ordered at that outing the crab cake appetizer. My son and I both love crab and we thoroughly enjoyed this treat. For dessert we had chocolate cake which was ok. I wish I had tried the Berry Blast. Guess that gives me reason to go back!

Amazingly we haven’t tried the burgers or the pizzas yet. I have seen both of these served and they look wonderful. Oops! Another excuse to go back. One other fun thing to try at Granite City is the selection of beers. It’s fun to do the sampler. As I’m sure you’ve gathered by this, we would recommend Granite City Food and Brewery to everyone for a fun dining experience!


Dynamic Dish: A Place For Meat Lovers And Vegetable Admirers in Atlanta, Georgia

Dynamic Dish is located at 427 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312. Please call this number, (404) 688-4344, for reservations.
I confess that I am a real meat eater. I don’t care which part of the meat it came from, all parts are equally delicious to me.

But don’t dare to think that I hate vegetables, because I do like them. Vegetables and meat go hand in hand and I get the same craving for vegetables like I get for meat.

The first time I heard about Dynamic Dish, I was urged to come over and have a taste, especially when I heard they were offering a dish called tagine served with organic vegetables. It sounded very delicious so I went for lunch the next day. Day before that I ate a half cut of Korean fried chicken and I thought the tagine dish could bring some balancing on what I had eaten.

This eating venue was located at a mall strip. I parked my car at the front entrance, just a few steps taken before I could actually sit in the expected to be marvelous restaurant. As I entered, I was amazed by the interior decoration of this place. I didn’t expect it would turn out to be as beautiful as it appeared in front of my eyes.

The furnishings were arranged neatly and with style, I believe a touch from a very creative professional had done his jobs here. The sight of several persimmons arranged nicely in a wired container really made me smile as I found it peculiar and a bit funny, but I like the look of it and appreciate the idea.

There was no printed menu handed to me, but all the menu were written clearly on a piece of chalkboard. I looked at the chalkboard which was situated at the back of the counter, and even though the hand written menu was quite small but it was readable and they truly represented what they had in the kitchen. I ordered the tagine with pumpkin, tomatoes and squash.

A friend was with me, and he ordered arugula sandwiches with a type of cheese called the emmentaler. The cheese was spreaded on whole grain bread, sufficiently buttered. Then came the salad, which was the beet salad. For drinks, we ordered the sparkling water which served in small glasses with lemon garnishings.

While waiting for the food to arrive, I enjoyed the scenery and I kept thinking that I was in New York and even Europe. I was actually at Edgewood but I didn’t think I was there at all. Maybe the perfect interior decoration of the dining place made me feel as such. When the food arrived, it was full of color.

I was impressed by the fresh look of all the dishes, and after having my first bite on the tagine, I was completely blown away. The meat was so tender and juicy and I couldn’t compare it with any other restaurants in town. So far this place is the best.