a p3 giveaway!

I am pretty sure everyone needs a little pick me up after a day of shoveling, and if the rest of winter is anything like the past few weeks, then we'll all be feeling pretty pent up by April and itching for spring. On that note...

I am so pleased to announce the first Patterson Park Patter (P3) giveaway today! The lovely PR people of the Maryland Home & Garden Show are giving me four tickets to give away to you, my lovely readers. I'll be giving them away in two pairs -so if you don't win this round keep checking back for the next batch!

First some details about the show: First, the timing could NOT be better - May 6&7 and May 12-14. Notice that the dates surround our Home Tour? So perfect - you can really kick in to gear with ideas for your house and patio! With the show theme of "wine and dine alfreso" you're sure to see tons of ideas to make the most of your outdoor space. And don't worry that you won't see anything but rolling pastoral gardens - the 19 landscaped gardens feature rowhouses as well! But don't think that the show is limited by the theme, since you can see 400 home improvement exhibits, attend various seminars and purchase plants and garden accessories.

Long story short(er), this is a great chance to meet the pros, get new ideas and pick up some unique items along the way. Oh yeah, and you can go for free!

To win the tickets, post your comment to this post about what you are hoping to update, improve, or otherwise work on in your house or garden! I'll randomly pick a number tomorrow afternoon and post the winner!

love k

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reasons to love your snow-cation

I know that a lot of you are getting stir-crazy, cabin-fevered, and downright cooped up. Your car is stuck behind a four-foot wall of snow that is currently growing by about an inch an hour. Your job is making you take vacation days because you can't get there. Your street hasn't been plowed, so digging out your car was a huge waste of time. Your dog still has to be taken out, even though you'd rather nest up in a blanket.

You're sick of it.

I hear you. I really do. There are a lot of things about 3 feet of snow that put a damper on your daily rituals, that interrupt your life and throw you off kilter. But just pause and re-frame this situation - your car is stuck, so you've been walking places instead; your job is making you take vacation days, so you've been mandated to make the most of it and go have fun; you dug out your car and worked some different muscles than your regular workout; your dog frolicking in the snow is a total hoot.

I'm not saying you can't gripe and moan a little, but make the most of your lil' snow-cation! Here are a few things I've been doing that have made my snow days a blast:
* spontaneous girls' breakfast at my house, complete with fried eggs, hash browns, and sauteed peppers
* sledding in the little park by Ellwood
* trying to build an igloo, failing, and making it a snow fort with twig flag with my lovely ladies
* lots of long dog walks around the park
* group dinners

* watching The Corner

* neighborhood superbowl get together
* wine and good company
* snow cookies (white chocolate chips instead of regular!)

* walking to work and running in to friends and neighbors

* working together, laughing a lot, making a load of amazing memories.

What are your favorite, positive things about all this snow snow snow?

love k

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snow daze

Batten down the hatches - a blizzard is coming our way! If you haven't gotten your weekend necessities yet, I strongly advise you to do so before 5 o'clock since our local stores are going nutty already. But once you've stashed away your supplies and that snow starts accumulating you might want a few ideas for how to stay busy when driving isn't an option. I know some people are snow loves and some are truly snow averse, so I've included in door and out door options to keep you all happy:

If you just LOVE the snow like me, you'll be itching to get outside and play!

- Sledding
: If sledding brings on a second childhood in you, then head to either Pagoda Hill (bit of a hike from our corner of the Park) or to the little park by Ellwood (much closer and I might argue a bit better sledding...of course not as scenic). You'll see everything from trash can lids to old-school fliers making the runs. Last month I saw an EIGHT person sled train head down together!

Snowmen: I always get a laugh out of snowmen, so why not grab your friends and make some snow-avatars together? Bring out a few mugs of hot chocolate and you'll find yourself making some great memories and new friends from all your admirers.

-Snowball Fight!: I would like to take this moment to propose a full out snow war on Saturday afternoon...any one else in?

Of course, I know plenty of people are not as wild about the snow as I, and use words such as "annoying," "inconvenient," and "frustrating" to describe large snow falls. While I can't even begin to identify with these sentiments,* I recognize that they exist. So for you, snow-loathes, here are some indoor ideas:

Baking/Cooking: Now is the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen! Make that time consuming recipe you never get around to, or go the extra mile and pipe icing on cupcakes so they look like little snow men . Take time to enjoy the process of making something good. Oh, and then feed it to those of us who have worked up an appetite out there in the snow!

- Board Games: One of my gorgeous and amazing talented friends is planning to host a game night on Friday...Genius! What better way to pass the snowy hours than with friends, a glass of wine and some games? Ask a few neighbors over for a round or two of Pictionary and just see how upset you are about being stuck inside because of all that snow then! -Home Projects: Remember when I wrote about winter home projects? Perfect time to get cleaning, organizing and hammering!

These are just a few ideas - what do you like to do when the weather turns wild?

love k

Truth be told, when I read the snow warning yesterday at work I shrieked, leaped out of my chair and did some sort of tribal dance and chant around the office for at least 2 minutes - ask my coworkers. That happened.

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the grudge match

Have you heard we're having a face-off against Highlandtown? No, silly, we're not really mad at each other! We're having a PPNA v HT Basketball game! For anyone who attended the AWESOME inter-neighborhood softball bonanza double header last summer, you know it'll be a blast. For those of you who didn't, well get caught up!

The game will be on next Saturday, Feb 13th at 5 o'clock at Breath of God Lutheran Church (Pratt and Clinton).

Since it's been written up in the recent Baltimore Guide, why don't you just mosey over there to read the article then come back and let me know if you're going to be there...GO PATTERSON PARK!

love k

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my (restaurant) week in review

There are so many fantastic restaurants in this city - everywhere I look there is some adorable little establishment, and every day I hear about a great dinner someone just had. While we have our fair share of neighborhood bars and pokey restaurants, there are also a good number of higher end restaurants around town. As you probably have guessed by now, I really enjoy cooking so I don't end up going out that much to eat. But restaurant week is my favorite time to go try out all those pricey, time-to-dress-up, splurgey, what-does-that-ingredient-even-mean-? kinda places. And this time around, I've tried out a few, so I present...my restaurant week in review!

Cinghiale - Pronounced chin-gah-lay and meaning wild boar, I've wanted to try this place ever since coming back from Italy having enjoyed a pasta boasting it's namesake meat. With a friend back in town to visit from New York, I was proud to show off this gorgeous 1950's inspired new restaurant as one of our own here in Baltimore. First of all, it's stunning to behold - all mahogany and leather, with sweeping windows and perfect lighting. You feel important and cool and classy, but not in the least but intimidated. Then there's the wine list, which is a thousand miles long and ranges from a $6 glass to a $2200 bottle...surely you'll find something to please! From the restaurant week menu, I enjoyed the tomato-porcini soup, braised short ribs and a panna cotta and coffee for dessert. All of it was amazingly delicious, the service was fantastic, and the ambiance was just right for a leisurely dinner with friends. A+

Ullswater Restaurant and Bar - A big group of my favorite girls from my neighborhood and I decided to venture to a new place outside of our zip code (for a change) and slogged across town in the snow to Locust Point to Ullswater on Fort Avenue. Martinis and wine kept the atmosphere lively, and hearty portions of delicious food let us share each others' fare. I tried a scrumptuoussashimi tuna and avocado appetizer, which was perfectly complimented by the "vegetarian nirvana" entree (coconut-jasmine scented black rice, chili-miso tempeh, shiitakes, vegetables and curry sauce all wrapped in a banana leaf). To finish it off on a sweet note, I indulged in a lovely tiramisu. While service was a touch slow, we were in a group of 11, and our waitress even comped our after-dinner drinks to make up for it. B+

Kali's Court - This was the perfect place for a romantic dinner, especially with snow falling on Fells Point's cobble stone streets and the gas lights blazing outside. Inside, Kali's was all deep reds and rich wood tones, given a feeling of a true respite for luxury in a deep mid-winter storm. N and I were a few minutes early, so we sat at the beautiful bar for a pre-dinner drink - a pear martini for me and a beer for him. Once seated, we were attentively served by a lovely waiter who was always there when you needed him but never hovering. Between us we loved a tuna tartar and crab and artichoke philo appetizer, delicious bouillabaisse and mahi mahi as entrees and a dessert sampler (especially loved the kataifi!). Walking out of the restaurant full and happy and into the snowy courtyard felt like the end to a perfect movie. A+

Black Olive - To mix it up, Jess and I decided to check out a restaurant week lunch together. Since her office is in Harbor East and mine in Canton, we picked The Black Olive right in the middle in Fells Point. What a cute restaurant with lovely fresh food! In fact, Black Olive uses fresh fish from around the world as well as local organic ingredients from farms such as One Straw Farm (check out past CSA posts I've written). Delicious fresh bread with seasoned olive oil helped us settle in to our table by the window. While Jess had the greek village salad to start, I sampled the greek spreads platter. For our main course, I had a lovely grilled fish fillet with couscous and Jess had shrimp scorip (shrimp, feta, herbs and orzo). We finished up with a rich chocolate mousse for Jess and berries with greek yogurt and honey for me. All in all it was a nice, fresh and filling lunch that didn't leave us feeling stuffed. My only gripe was that it was a touch on the slow side for a lunch hour (we were there about an hour and a half), BUT our served recognized me from last year's Home Tour! Think I talked him in to coming again this year, too :) A-

So there you have my reviews - I hope they are helpful and at least offer food for though (or thought for food...) for some new places to try out when a special occassion or the next restaurant week comes along! Where did YOU go for restaurant week? What are you favorite places to go for a nice night out?

love k

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new auction date for CDC building

Soo... I am sorry I didn't post this when I found out that the auction was postponed last week, as I know it led to a few people showing up and many people asking what happened - oops! But here is the update for you, my dear friends, according to the auctioneer: The auction for the CDC building will take place outside at the corner of Baltimore St and Linwood Ave at 10 a.m. on February 26th -Be there!

I am hoping that the postponement was not due to lack of interest, but hey, now we have a few more weeks to attract a fantastic investor, developer, etc, right? Stay positive!

love k

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from cow to curb

What a crazy, snowy weekend! Who thought we'd get more than a flurry? I am just loving all the snow this winter and hope we have a few more good ones left, since otherwise I find the cold pointless and depressing ;-)

Anyhow, I wanted to give you a heads up about something people in our neighborhood have been chatting about as of late, that sounds really neat!

Take a trip back in time, when fences were white, appliances were lurid, and fresh milk appeared on your doorstep. Yup! Home delivery for local milk is making a come back! Here's the scoop:
South Mountain Creamery is offering up an affordable and fresh option to supporting local farmers with their home delivery service.

If you've been the
JFX or Waverly farmers markets, you've probably seen their truck; if you're lucky, you've tasted their milk. Outrageously delicious, the fresh milk and cheeses makes you realized what you've been missing at the grocery store. SMC does not use pesticides, growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics (if they are sick and do need meds, they are taken off the line until they are healthy!. Their cows have free choice feeding of pastures, hay, corn and soybean, all of which has been grown at the farm! Additionally, they are working closely with local soil conversation groups to preserve the soil and prevent soil erosion. If that isn't enough to make you feel good about their milk, they also are working on green energy projects, such as a methane digester (converting cow manure to electricity) and bio-diesel (converting soybeans to fuel)! If that isn't enough, milk is packaged in glass bottles which are reused, cutting down on waste. Wow! Talk about going green for 2010!

While their home delivery has been available in other areas, we areaking a push to bring it to the 21224! SMC has told us that to do so we need at least 60 interested households in the area. To show your interest, contact SMC at 1-877-COW-2-YOU (269-2968) or customerservice@southmountaincreamery.com.

love k