Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#HoCoLife Ep 11: Leftover Pumpkins and Living the Dream

Welcome to another episode of HoCoLife!

So you may be wondering what to do with your pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns once Halloween is over...

...have you ever thought of launching them high up into the air and into a distant field? Well now you can, because Elioak Farm is hosting their annual Pumpkin Chucking event this weekend!

There's also a charity event benefitting HopeWorks, Howard County, Maryland's sexual assault and domestic violence center. Hint: Bring your two-toned shoes...

Also on today's episode, we're talking about a couple of opportunities HoCo residents have to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and what a local organization is doing to mark the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Tune in for all the details!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#HoCoLife Ep 10: Wine, Zombies, and Candy

We've got quite an eclectic offering for you this week on the HoCoLife podcast!

First, we talk about how awesome it is that THREE Howard County, Maryland restaurants made the cut for OpenTable's Top 100 Wine Lists in the Country - that's pretty impressive!

Next, we discuss a benefit gala for the Howard County Center of African American Culture.

After that, we talk about zombies...because that's a natural segue from talking about a fancy ball...

Finally, we talk about some trick-or-treating options at Robinson Nature Center.

Tune in to hear all about it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Howard County is lovers?

In my early twenties, I was a sweet white girl.

Nowadays, I'm a bold, spicy, slap-you-in-the-face red.

I'm talking about wine, of course. (Or am I?)

On an otherwise run-of-the-mill evening in my late twenties, I happened upon a truly Good Wine. It was a red - a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, to be specific. It was spicy and peppery and viscous and the flavors didn't stop after the wine made its way down my esophagus  - they kept going and growing, dancing on my tongue. In an instant, my eyes were opened to the wonders and possibilities inherent in fermented grape juice. Right then and there, I made a decision to slowly but surely educate myself about wine.

Luckily, I didn't have to look very far to find a good place to start. OpenTable recently named three Howard County restaurants in its 2014 Top 100 Best Wine List Restaurants in America. Phew - that's a mouthful (just like a nice old vine Zinfandel...).

The list was compiled based on five million OpenTable reviews of over 20,000 restaurants around the country. I now have a new found respect for the people who leave reviews on OpenTable.

AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar, Bistro Blanc, and Iron Bridge Wine Company beat out thousands of other restaurants, and if you've ever been to any of them (or - ahem - all three of them - on multiple occasions - as often as the Sous Chef and your budget will allow), you already know why.

You already know how much I rave about AIDA's menu, but did you know that Sous Chef and I also love going over to AIDA to enjoy a wine flight? On one particularly joyous Halloween a year or so ago, we enjoyed four wine flights, so by the end of the evening we had tasted twelve different wines, each one unique and exceptional in its own way. Much like the food, it's hard to find a wine you don't like on their list. Go do a flight or four and prove me right.

We've gone to Bistro Blanc a few times; its location in Western Howard County makes it more of a "destination" spot (we're very much homebodies who experience occasional bursts of jonesing for travel). Every time we've been, we've loved it. We've done the "fancy Blanc" for special occasions -  with its beautifully plated fine dining - and we've done the "jeans and a t-shirt Blanc", kicking back with a half-priced burger and a pint of craft beer on an ordinary Wednesday.

Iron Bridge is another great taste experience - the seasonal menu consists of smaller portions of impeccably prepared food. I once had a pot roast there that practically melted in my mouth; I'm salivating at the very thought of it. The ambiance there is intimate and cozy; it's a great place to gather on a cold winter evening.

I can't say I'm surprised that any of these restaurants are on the Top 100 list, but I will say that I'm impressed.

Drink well.

Sunday, October 19, 2014