May 25, 2008

Catonsville Gourmet : Busy and Rightly So

By Elizabeth Large Sun restaurant critic
May 25, 2008

Every once in a while, a new restaurant hits the jackpot. It's the right kind of food in the right kind of location with the right kind of atmosphere. There is hardly any competition. And people are knocking down the doors to get in. No matter how much research you do as a prospective restaurant owner, it must come as a surprise when your place is an overnight success.That's the kind of response Woodberry Kitchen in Woodberry/Hampden had from the moment it opened, and that's what seems to be happening with Catonsville Gourmet Market & Fine Foods in Catonsville. It's not as innovative as Woodberry, but then few restaurants are. It's simply a very nice place to have a good meal -- as if that's ever simple.I hear Catonsville Gourmet is always very busy. It certainly was when I was there, and I was impressed by how well the staff handles the crowds. Expect a wait. (No reservations are taken.) But once you're seated, the service is smooth and the kitchen seems able to stay on track. It's high energy in a good way: Not because there's lots of loud music and crowds of people screaming to be heard over it, but because there are lots of people having a good time.The white clapboard storefront that was once Muir Hardware has been transformed into several smaller dining rooms with a beach cottage feel to them. They are done in soft green and white, with big windows and bare hardwood floors. It's a white tablecloth restaurant; but the tablecloths are covered with white bistro paper, a metaphor for the engaging combination of fine dining and comfortable food that Catonsville Gourmet offers. In back is the market; but it must be such a minuscule part of the business at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the seafood cases get taken out to make room for more tables.

Information 829 Frederick Road, Catonsville410-788-0005,

One of the partners, Sean Dunsworth, has been in the wholesale seafood business for a decade. (The other is a restaurateur, Robert Rehmert.) With Dunsworth's background, it's no surprise that there are six or so fish du jours every day, as well as a variety of raw bar items and seafood dishes. These might be a fat, very fresh fillet of sea bass, pan seared with a mango and avocado salsa, or a soft, sweetly flavored pecan-crusted trout with hazelnut butter, or the obligatory crab cakes.If you don't specify, the crab cakes come pan-seared. Too bad it's not acceptable these days to have them fried instead. These cakes have plenty of meat and good seasonings, but they also have binder. They would benefit from a crisp golden crust; without it, they seem mushy.One of the reasons for Catonsville Gourmet's instant success is, I'm sure, the range of the menu. You can spend quite a bit here on elaborate entrees, but there are also light fare items like an eggy seafood quiche in a wicked pastry that comes with fruit and a salad for $10.99. Some of the appetizers would serve the same purpose. An appetizer for two of rare, sushi-grade tuna with an Asian drizzle; steamed shrimp; and scallops wrapped in prosciutto with a bit of parmesan in the mix would be a fine supper with nothing more than a salad. Or you could start with the crisp little crab wontons and follow them with a bowl of soup.Oysters are given pride of place on the menu, both raw, fried and, as an appetizer, baked with prosciutto, fontina and pine nuts. That last is a lot to do to an oyster, but it's an interesting variation on the usual Rockefeller. I'd probably get them raw next time, though.While Catonsville didn't have much in the way of fine dining before Catonsville Gourmet opened, desserts were covered by SugarBakers Cakes. The restaurant wisely steps out of the way and lets this superb bakery supply the best example of Smith Island cake I've ever tasted (as well as a cheesecake).The kitchen provides its own warm apple pastry, but the only way I could get it this soft, almost mushy, would be to over-microwave it. Your fine dining dessert choice? Creme brulee, of course. Your comfort food choice? A hot fudge sundae with bittersweet chocolate sauce.The restaurant doesn't have a liquor license, but folks are welcome to bring their own, with a $5 corkage fee per table.With all the restaurants that come and go, it's interesting that three places have opened up recently that I'm betting will be not only surviving but thriving in five years. A month ago, I would have said two: Tark's Grill in Green Spring Station and Woodberry Kitchen. Add Catonsville Gourmet to that

May 23, 2008

Frederick Road Friday's - (at Egges Lane) Starting June 13th

Fun Filled Evenings for the Entire Family!

The Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce Will be Hosting a Series of Outdoor Events this Summer. We will be promoting the businesses in Downtown Catonsville.
These Free events are Called Frederick Road Fridays and will kick off Friday June 13, 2008 from 5:30pm- 7:30pm at Egges Lane and Frederick Rd. (Next door to the Santa House).
Catonsville is going to be treated to some Good Old Fashioned Fun!
Family Nights.
Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods are encouraged to take this as an opportunity, to walk over and enjoy these festivities. There will be Live Musical Entertainment and Fun for the entire Family.
The Retail Shops along Frederick Rd have been asked stay open later on these Evenings and have promotions, such as sidewalk sales. Some of the local restaurants will be offering specials on these evenings, so plan on staying around after the Music Stops!

These Free Events Could not be Possible without the help of our Sponsors:
Record & Tape Traders
George Brookhart – Long & Foster Real Estate
Appalachian Bluegrass Shop
Molher and Gary Realtors
Edible Arrangements
Catonsville Optical
Peace of Sunshine
The Collectors Edge
Jenning's Cafe
The Columbia Bank

Frederick Rd. Fridays Committee members
Craig Witzke
George Brookhart
Cathy Schneider
Teal Cary
Emory Knode
Jeff Utzinger
Eric Ebersole
Jeff Mohler
Lisa Akchin

Frederick Road Fridays - 2008 Schedule

Friday June 13, 2008 5:30 -7:30 pm

"The Al Reisinger Band” (featuring Lynn Alonso)
Band members: (Dr.) Al Reisinger (mandolin and lead guitar); Jeff Pecore (guitar); (Dr.) Lynn Alonso (vocals and guitar)

All of these band members have interesting Catonsville connections – Al and Jeff both attended Mount St. Joe (Class of ’74); Jeff grew up nearby in Edmondson Heights; Lynn and Jeff (They are married) met for the first time out in front of Bill’s Music House – Al introduced them. The three of them also play with the band “The Notations”, which played its first gig at the Caton Tavern and often appeared at private gigs in Catonsville.
Three of the band members have been playing music together since 1979 when they played their first gig at a University of Maryland Medical school coffee house called “The Synapse” – Lynn and Al were in the same medical school class. Al and Jeff have been playing music together (including playing Italian music as strolling minstrels in Italian restaurants in Baltimore) since 1971.
These 3 Musicians are part of the 6-person acoustic group “The Notations”, which features 3-part harmony – that group is on hiatus and Al, Jeff & Lynn wanted to get back to theirr 1979 roots as a trio during the time off.
Their song list includes tunes by: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt, Smokey Robinson and other Motown, Carly Simon, Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Mamas & Papas, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro -- all featuring Lynn’s vocals, Al’s mandolin, and Jeff's rhythm guitar.
June 27 -Automatic Slim
July 11 –Blue Streak
July 25 –TBA
August 8 –
August 22 –
Reality Jones
September 12 -

May 16, 2008

Chesapeake Bay Guitar Project

The Chesapeake Bay Guitar Project Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 17 from 12 – 4 p.m. at Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe located at 643 Frederick Road .
Stop by and meet the guitar builder, Dave MacCubbin, and just talk guitars. In addition, the folks from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be on hand to share updates about the health and recovery of the Chesapeake Bay .
The Chesapeake Bay Guitars are a unique, one-of-a-kind guitar project that is made to showcase the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and to raise the awareness of the importance of restoring the Bay to its original splendor. Each instrument has been hand crafted by Maryland luthier, Dave MacCubbin. Dave uses the finest woods available. The fingerboard has been inlayed by Craig Lavin.
A significant portion of the money raised from the sale of these guitars will be donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, so please bring your checkbooks. Call 410-744-1144 for more information

May 14, 2008

Catonsville Hair Company

In recent Month's there has been a lot of attention focused on the businesses in the 800 Block of Frederick Rd. While my Original Intention when creating this Blog was to seek input from the Community and keep the Neighborhood informed about the re-development of Muir's Hardware and the surrounding properties, most of the work, except for a few smaller projects, has now been completed. But, there is still a lot to share about Whats Going On In Catonsville.

Catonsville is more than just one block. And there are many other Great Businesses & People worth visiting. I just visited The Catonsville Hair Company, in the 600 Block of Frederick Rd. where I ran into several friends and met a few new people. The place is a beehive of activity, clients constantly coming and going. Sharing stories with the stylists and each other. If you have not been there, it is certainly a first class place and one that I would recommend.

After he cut my Hair, Glen Boller and I went next door to the Indian DeLight for lunch. Several readers of this Blog have written about how much they like this Restaurant. I must admit that this is not a Restaurant that I frequent. However, at Glen's Suggestion we walked over for the buffet lunch. It was the perfect way to try a little sampling of a variety of different foods. I will eat there again, soon for sure!

Catonsville. What a Great Place to Live.

May 12, 2008

One World Emporium is Now Open with Regular Hours

825 Frederick Road- Rear
Catonsville, Maryland, 21228
410 744-5575

In The Gardens of Strawberry Fields

ONE WORLD EMPORIUM opened May 3rd, 2008 and we are very excited about all the friendly and wonderful people we have met so far and eagerly look forward to all the new customers who have yet to visit.

One World Emporium, (O.W.E.) is a unique gift shop committed to the sale of: FAIR TRADE, GREEN-FRIENDLY and ORGANIC PRODUCTS.

Our shop is a Vendor for A Greater Gift/Serv. Corp. offering hand-made gifts from around the Globe, Our hope is our customers will treat themselves and help others at the same time. We like to refer to this as: GUILT-FREE SHOPPING or BUYING=HELPING.

As part of our commitment to feature works of artists from both FAR and NEAR- please visit our CATONSVILLE CONNECTIONS display, exhibiting:

Providing a tranquil and consumer friendly environment along with quality merchandise at affordable prices,we hope, will contribute to our goal of a positive and rewarding shopping experience for our valued customers.

Store Hours:
Mon.-Thurs.- 3:00- 7:00 p.m.
Fri.- 2:00- 7:00 p.m.
Sat.- 11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Sun.-12:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Look for the OPEN FLAG !

You may have to look to see our shop but remember- IT IS ONLY THE TRULY SPECIAL PLACES THAT ARE SOMETIMES HARD TO FIND!
We Look Forward To Meeting You, Larry & Alexey

May 11, 2008

Fundraising For Jeremy

Scott, Amy and the entire Morse Family are on Pins and Needles Every Day as They Pray for Jeremy to gain the Stregnth he needs to To Reach New Milestones Everyday.

Below I have Copied a Page From Heather Owens' Website which I think is worth Sharing. Craig

Published May 8, 2008 photography
From the Heather Owens' Website:

Well, God is good! Little Jeremy needed a quiet, restful week, and that is exactly what God gave him. Here is an excerpt from Amy’s post today:

God has heard our prayers, Jeremy is showing improvement. We couldn’t be more thankful to God !! We also thank all of the doctors, nurses, and RTs, your hard work and dedication is paying off. Last but not least, we are so proud of Jeremy. He is working so hard and proving again just how strong he is! We also appreciate our family and friends for EVERYTHING that they do to help us get on with the daily tasks of life.

Jeremy is currently on 65% oxygen, which is very close to our goal. He has come down on the mean airway pressures and some of the blood pressure medicines. We are hopeful that Jeremy will continue walking a bit more briskly in this direction.

He still has a long road, so keep those prayers coming!

Fundraising efforts have begun for the Morse family. We are currently selling 50/50 raffle tickets at $10 each. The initial order was for 1,000 tickets, but they seem to be selling very well, so we may be looking at getting more. The drawing will be held May 31st, so if you are interested in buying a ticket (or 10), please let me know. I will be selling them at Holy Nativity this Sunday after the late service. I also have blue bows for your trees and blue ribbons to wear. The blue bows are peppered throught Catonsville and surrounding areas…they can be seen most prominently down Frederick Road where many businesses have posted them along the street to show support for Jeremy and his family. Here is a collage of just a few bows I saw on some of those businesses this week:

Jessica Nelson wrote a great essay on the significance and importace of the bows:

Wrapping the Town in Blue

Yellow bows tied to homes, trees and porches are a sign of support, love and prayer for American soldiers in times of war. In a similar effort of support, love and prayer, blue bows have been tied to many area businesses and homes in support of Catonsville’s own brave little soldier, 5-month-old Jeremy Morse. Sweet little Baby Jeremy was taken to the hospital on April 1, 2008 to treat dehydration. While in the ER, he went into cardiac arrest and was placed on life support. So began the roller coaster ride for him and his family.

While they continue to deal with the ups and downs family members and friends are struggling to show their support in every way. Their utmost request has been for prayers. The millions of prayers said for Jeremy and his family have clearly helped the family stay afloat during these difficult times.

Thousands of visitors from all over the country have flocked to the website ( to view the nearly daily updates. There are several fundraising efforts and blood drives taking place and in the works to help with the mounting medical expenses for this miracle baby.

But the blue bows are something extra special. They started cropping up at local businesses along Frederick Road in Catonsville in the weeks after Jeremy was hospitalized. Passers-by wondered, “what are those bows for?” When they learned the story behind the blue bows, that meant more thoughts and prayers to buoy the spirits of the fighting Jeremy and his amazingly strong parents.

The blue bows also mean something special to Jeremy’s older sister and brothers who now notice every blue bow tied to honor their little brother.

Every time you see a blue bow, stop and say a prayer. As the blue bows continue to spread that will add up to a lot of prayers…..and that is what the Morse Family and Baby Jeremy really need right now.

Please consider buying a bow, raffle ticket, or just making a donation. The medical bills that are piling up are unimaginable. Some of his treatments and meds are ‘experimental’ and not covered at all by insurance. You can only imagine what 39 days and counting at Hopkins adds up to.

To See How You Can Make a Donation - Please Contact me at:

And above all else, keep those prayers coming!

May 9, 2008

One Step Forward Three Steps Back

The Momentum has been building we have been Realizing the Vision. Main Street Catonsville has been on the course of becoming a Destination Town. We have been Attracting New Restaurants and Retail Shops.

I guess it was inevitable, that not everyone would share the Vision. I am sure they have their reasons. Maybe they are driven by taking profits (the lure of a fast buck), over creating value ( long term improvement). Whatever, their Motivation, Some Property Owners are responsible for changes to Frederick Rd. that are heading our way soon. These Changes could affect the feel of our business district.

The Beautiful Stone Building at the Corner of Frederick Rd. & Newburg Ave, with it's great display windows, the one that used to house Ray Persinger's Photo Studio, has been leased to a construction Company. While I understand that this is a fine company and that they plan on putting a nice display in the Front Window, it is a shame to loose such a high profile retail site, one that could have been a Great Shop or Boutique, to a business that will be primarily used as offices and a Billboard - targeting drive by traffic. We were just starting to shake the image that - CATONSVILLE IS A DRIVE-BY TOWN.

Word is out that the Building which Houses- Record & Tape Traders, is under contract to be sold and that the new Owners are going to use the Entire Building as Offices for a Staffing Company. That they will Kick Record & Tape Traders Out! I think that it would be awful if Music City Maryland were to lose it's only Record Store.


It was just a few short Months ago, that Value Music, of Atlanta Georgia, bought the Records & Tape Traders Chain and we faced the possibility of losing this Anchor Store, from our business district. I had the good fortune to meet with the President of Value Music, just this past month. He shared his company's desire to stay here on Frederick Rd. and expand their offerings. He told me that they were very interested in purchasing the building that they had been leasing, but, apparently it was too late. There was already a contract in place to purchase the building.

The Mattress Store moved out after a very short stay(Yea!) and we got a Nice Dress Shop in it's place. Now, the Neighbors next door -Shockett's Fabric's and Printed Apparel -have both closed shop and left. Hopefully, Joe Loverde, who manages these properties will be able to Negotiate an Agreement between the Owner's of these properties and Value Music, an Agreement that will KEEP RECORD & TAPE TRADERS ON FREDERICK RD.

Bill's Music has expanded into the large building that he built behind the Building that Once Housed Wilson's Lumber. Now Bill's Music has all of their operations under one roof. Good for them, I hope this makes things a little easier for them. It is quite a Shame though to see that the Old Bill's Music has been leased to what can only be described as a Medical Supply Superstore. I am sure, with all of the Elder Care Facilities in the area that business is booming. And I am happy for them that they needed to move from their smaller store on Frederick to a larger location, but, do they really need to be on Frederick Rd? Wouldn't it have been great to see Bill's create another Landmark in Catonsville instead?. Maybe a Restaurant that featured LIVE MUSIC. Wow, imagine having a place, Like The Ram's Head, right here in Music City Maryland!, another great opportunity lost.

It is not that any of these businesses are bad businesses, or that any of these people are bad people. But, when Property is Leased or Sold and Prime Retail Space is utilized for Office's or a business like the Medical Supply Store, it drastically changes the Feel of our Business District. How many people are going to travel to Catonsville to buy a wheel chair and then stay to shop or dine in Catonsville? How many People will even visit the store to make their purchases? Isn't most of this type of business done over the Telephone and delivered? Or through Insurance? Office Buildings employee workers, that will park their cars all day, making it more difficult for Our Retail Businesses to succeed. Small Retail Shops depend on parking spaces turning over many times during the day, bringing in new customers. The fact is ...More Retail businesses bring more Retail Customers. Office Buildings bring Office worker's. Office worker's usually leave by 5:30 PM and go home, more often than not without supporting the local Restaurants for dinner. This is what causes the feeling that CATONSVILLE ROLLS UP IT'S STREETS AND CLOSES AT 6PM. Please support the Shops and Restaurants on Frederick Rd. and encourage your friend's that own Property on Frederick Rd. to bring more Stores - NOT OFFICES - to Frederick Rd.

May 8, 2008

Perfect for Mother's Day

One World Emporium is now open from 3pm - 8pm everyday.
They are located in the Carriage House on the Courtyard at Strawberry Fields.
Plenty of parking is available. Be sure to stop in and pick up that Special Gift for MOM!

May 6, 2008

Catonsville Farmer's Market

The Catonsville Farmer's Market begins tomorrow, May 7
It is held in the parking lot at the Bloomsbury Center.
The market will be open from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. every Wednesday until late November.

May 4, 2008

The Village's Hidden Furniture Store

Here is one of Catonsville's hiiden gems It is a shop on Mellor Ave. that has been there for three years. This shop would be a great addition to Frederick Rd., but, for now it will have to remain a secret, shared by only those "In the Know". They sell vintage mid-century modern furniture. Stop by if you get a chance they are open Sat 12-5 and Sun 12-5 or you can visit their website

Robert Degenhard
Nini Sarmiento
Home Anthology, Inc.
91 Mellor Ave.
Catonsville, MD 21228

May 3, 2008

The Catonsville Gourmet Makes Maryland's Best !

The Catonsville Gourmet Market & Fine Foods, is the First (and only) Establishment in Baltimore County to make the "Maryland's Best" Website. The Catonsville Gourmet Market & Fine Foods, carry's local seafood and other local products.

If you have not visited them yet, stop in the Market and pick up dinner tonight.

Or even better, bring a nice bottle of wine and enjoy some of Chef Rob's excellent cooking in their Casual yet elegant Restaurant.

Maryland's Best is a website maintained by the Maryland Department of Agriculture's Marketing and Agribusiness Development division. It is your source to find the best local products from Maryland farmers. From produce, seafood, and specialty foods to grains, nursery items, and ag-recreational activities.

On the Lighter Side!