Heavy Seas Alehouse Guest Chef Dinner

Mark your calendars! On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, The Heavy Seas Alehouse of Baltimore, Maryland plans to host a fundraising Guest Chef Dinner.

Starting at 6pm, the event boasts 4 chefs, 1 mixologist, 4 courses, and 12 beverages. Guests include visitors from the Birch & Barley, Chazz: A Bronx Original, Wit and Wisdom and the B & O American Brasserie.

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Sweet Inspiration: Spotlight on Destined Image in Baltimore

Chocolate-covered strawberries are a favorite treat from Destined Images.

What does it take to start your own catering business? Just doing it, apparently. Monique Brownson is an entrepreneur with big plans for her Baltimore-based catering business, Destined Image. Although, she is still in the midst of her humble beginnings, Brownson takes a positive attitude, even when met with the challenges of being short-staffed, short on cash, working as her own marketing consultant, and planning events dependent on “word of mouth” support. By and by, the young entrepreneur is increasing her contacts and getting her name out, which is one of her biggest goals for her company.

Brownson realized her love for cooking at the age of ten, under the watchful eyes of her grandmother. She credits her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother for her love of cooking, but according to Brownson her grandmother was the first one to light the flame of this passion. “She started me out on frying chicken wings.” One might wonder where you go from there, but Brownson quickly answers, “…then it moved on to biscuits and baking cakes…” and as any child would acknowledge, her favorite part was licking the bowl. In 2006, after a brief stint of unemployment, Brownson put her cooking to the test by having bake-sales. She now coooks dinners, caters church affairs, and plans events. One of the annual events for Destined Image is “Jazz Poetic Love Notes,” a Valentine’s Day banquet, where Brownson’s culinary skills are front and center in an elegant display.

Destined Image chocolate covered pretzels

The signature food for Destined Images is chocolate, which speaks to the owners self admitted status as a “Chocolate-aholic.” However, this is not the only reason chocolate is the signature food. At first, her focus was on arts and crafts, center pieces and gift baskets, and although she still provides those services, she  changed her focus after conducting a little independent research. Brownson recalls looking on the internet and seeing how much companies charged for chocolate-covered strawberries. It was an eye-opening experience for the young entrepreneur. Now Destined Image gives their chocolate-covered confections top-billing.  “I’m gearing more to chocolate-covered lollipops and strawberries,” Brownson says. However, she admits she will pretty much dip anything her customers ask her to dip.

Destined Image carrot cake

It’s that kind of desire to please her customers that leads her to excel. Brownson acknowledges her baby daughter as her inspiration to branch out, and she attributes the key factor to her success to her will to keep trying. “Keep trying. Keep going!” Brownson urges, “When it doesn’t work the first time…try it again the next year. Make changes….do your best and put everything out there.” She advises, “Find out the shakes and the quakes and correct them for the next time and keep going.” She will take her own advice as Destined Image takes on some new events next year  — a Mother’s Day brunch and Christmas party are in the works. She is also equipping herself with additional training so she can begin to include wedding cakes in her list of services.  Moreover, Brownson is now making strides to cater for groups of 500 and over.

In the meantime, Brownson will keep on doing what she’s doing — providing delicious quality food and moving Destined Image towards the destiny she sees just over the horizon.

To contact Destined Image for your catering needs, email Monique Brownson at destinedimage@yahoo.com.

Article by Monica Johnson

Pink Flamingo to Return to the Front of Cafe Hon

Some people may think the brew ha ha about the pink flamingo in front of Cafe Hon is much ado about nothing but this story about the the popular restaurant has been leading news in Baltimore for weeks.  Here is the update:

The large pink flamingo outside Cafe Hon in Hampden will return to its home.

City officials and the owner of the restaurant on The Avenue on Tuesday morning announced an agreement that allows the pink bird, made of bedsheets and wire, to return to its spot atop Cafe Hon’s fire escape, where it had been for the past seven years. Owner Denise Whiting said she will pay a reduced annual fee instead of the $800 officials had ordered her to pay for a “minor privilege” permit, most commonly used by businesses whose tables and benches encroach on sidewalks.

In exchange for Whiting agreeing to pay the fee and dropping her public protest, which culminated Tuesday morning with a rally outside City Hall, Mayor Sheila Dixon said the city will put a sign on Interstate 83 alerting travelers to Hampden in order to help the small businesses along 36th Street. The sign will be similar to ones advertising the Maryland Zoo, the Inner Harbor and the city’s sports stadiums.

pink flamingo at cafe hon



See more in the Baltimore Sun article: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bal-flamingo1027,0,7103502.story

Russia meets Baltimore for the 36th Annual Russian Festival

From the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow to the Winter Canal in St. Petersburg, there is so much to see and appreciate in Russia. This weekend the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church is providing a taste of the country’s flavor with the Russian Festival. Now in its 36th year, the festival located in the Fells Point area of Baltimore, not only celebrates the rich history and culture of its parish, but  festival-goers are also invited to sample and enjoy lots of food,  plus live entertainment and souvenirs imported from Russia.

Now about that food…the delicacies range from desserts like Vishnovaya Babka  and Shokoladnaya (cherry bread and chocolate bread) to traditional Russian dishes like salad iz kapusty and blinchky (cabbage salad and stuffed crepes). Sound hearty enough? For the more dainty crowd, there is also an authentic Russian Tea Room with an antique samovar (metal urn for making tea).

The three-day festival ends on Sunday, October 18th with a power-packed itinerary including the Lyman Ukrainian Dance Group, live music from Balkanto, and The Beltway Balalaikas Ensemble. For more information about the Russian Festival go to the following website: Russian Festival.

Festival takes place at 1723 East Fairmount Avenue in the Fells Point area of Baltimore

Festival takes place at 1723 East Fairmount Avenue in the Fells Point area of Baltimore

Hairspray-Visit Cafe Hon in Baltimore where Art Imitates Baltimore, Hon


by Crystal A. Johnson

Although, I am a native New Yorker I did live in Baltimore for a number of years.  There is a definite culture to Baltimore.  If you are transplant living in Baltimore you know this for sure.  The accent of many natives drops the T in the pronunciation of Baltimore emitting a sound more reminiscent to “Balmer.”   Filmmaker Jonathan Waters brings all the color and much of what is unique about his hometown to life in the story Hairspray, a wildly successful movie and broadway show.

(New Line Cinemas)




Fans of the film visiting B-more, there is a town called Hampden where a popular restaurant called Cafe Hon is located. The hair of your waitress is likely to be big and you wonder if you have been transported to the 5o’s.  Diners are still a popular cultural trend in Baltimore. The Barry Levinson film entitled, The Diner took place there.

purplehaired ladies

*Read the Review of Cafe Hon with a Bonus Review of a really cool spot called Darker than Blue(Unbelievable Catfish/Paella)