Open Monday through Saturday 7:00 am to 9:00 pm • Sunday 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blue skys and blueberries

'Morning guys. Today we have two very special French Toast Casseroles. The Red, White & Blueberry which is made with a lovely sweet broche studded with cranberries and blueberries then I swirled in a sweet cream and fresh blueberry filling. We also have the original Cafe Grand Marnier French Toast. And especially for Max, I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Muffins this morning. You just couldn't imagine how good the place smells right now!

Today is Becca's big graduation party and we are putting on quite the spread for her. She will be attending Tulane this fall so there is a Cajun/Creole spin to the food. The red beans and rice simmered all night, the gumbo is slowing bubbling, the Texas Caviar is marinating and ......

Well it just doesn't seem fair to go on about all the great food I'm not making for you. Just keep in mind that we're available for your big occasion or just a special dinner party party. Every event starts with us sitting down for a drink and talking about what you want.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Local organic strawberries are coming in!

Gazpacho!

Spicy Jack Panini (turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onion and zebra sauce)

.... and eight additional seats on the terrace.

Just got a missive from our CSA partners at One Straw Farm that the strawberries are ripening early so this afternoon I'm making a special trip to pick up some berries. Maybe tomorrow at the cafe we'll have trifle - one of my favorite early summer desserts. It might be a good time to work out my small batch strawberry jam recipe or make homemade ice cream. Or a Strawberry Spinach Salad with a sweet poppy seed vinaigrette. Then again maybe just dishes of berries drizzled in cream.

Oh my, the possibilities are almost endless.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The shortest post ever

Pulled Pork Barbeque!
Potato Leek Soup (vegetarian) & Gazpacho (vegan).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Geminis are twice the fun!

Good morning and thanks for all the birthday wishes. I had a "drive by" shout out walking down the street this morning! Funny bit of trivia. Of my 65 facebook friends 14 share birthdays - that's 20%! In addition, my friend K and Granny Duff are both February 13th babies and my "friend-in-law" M and I were both born today - albiet 24 years apart. I'm sure there's some cosmic signifigance which remains a mystery to me.

Michael has been a busy fella today. He's made Potato Leek Soup (and put on the Pulled Pork Barbeque for tomorrow) and sabotaged my desk. We also have Gazpacho.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buckets and buckets of rain

I'm making a pot of French Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk (vegan). Such a dreary spring day needs a soup that is both satifying and exotic, don't you think? And just when I got additional chairs for the terrace the skies open up.

Too bad I didn't get my tomato plants in the ground over the weekend, but instead I read, crocheted and knitted a bit and saw the new Star Trek movie. Oh yes, and had another food/restaurant related existential crisis the details of which you will be spared. Let's just say it was provoked by yet another completely unsatisfactory dining experience. I won't be bach (or back).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Threeday Weekend!

In the pastry case this morning we have Cinnamon Swirl Muffins and Walnut Raspberry Scones.

Sandwich special is a Hot Meatloaf Sandwich - a whole mini meatloaf and ketchup in a subroll (cheese is optional). We also have the Cafe Mac & Cheese which is served with a side salad. The Mac & Cheese is also available as a side with any sandwich for an additional $2.50.

Hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend. This cake (which eats like a pie) is great for picnics or traveling because you can transport it in the pan. My father was definitely a pie man, but I made this for his birthday one year and he loved it. With or without ice cream, I hope you enjoy Bob's Birthday Piecake.

Blackberry Apple Piecake
3/4 cup butter, softened + more for greasing pan
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour *
2 apples, peeled cored and grated
2 cups (approx.) blackberries (frozen are fine)

* you can substitute a scant 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan (regular or spring form) with wax paper or parchment and grease the pan and paper with butter. Reserve 2 Tablespoons sugar. With a mixer, cream the butter and remaining sugar in a large bowl until almost white, then beat in eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the flour by hand.

Spoon about 2/3rds of the batter into prepared pan (it will barely cover the bottom). In a bowl, mix the apples, berries and reserved sugar. Spoon this over the cake batter then drop remaining batter over the top in a random pattern. Bake until risen, golden and just firm to the touch - about 1 hour. (If in doubt, bake an extra 5 minutes. All the fruit will help keep the cake moist). Let cool in the pan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Goodness gracious....

..it looks like a comfort food bonanza!

Sandwich specials are a Hot Meatloaf Sandwich - a whole mini meatloaf and ketchup in a subroll (cheese is optional) and the Pesto Caprese.

We also have the Cafe Mac & Cheese in the oven which will be served with a side salad.

And since it would be such a compliment to the Meatloaf Sandwich, I'm going to offer the Mac & Cheese as a side with any sandwich for an additional $2.50.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saying goodbye and hello

SPECIALS
Pesto Caprese Panino
- fresh pesto, mozzarella & provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.
Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, a very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onion and zebra sauce.

Gazpacho! is the soup today.

So today is the big day! The first generation of Hopkins students since the Cafe opened are being graduated today. Others are leaving for the summer.

Every year this is a bitter sweet time. As much as we have become attached and hate to see them go, we also celebrate the great opportunities and adventures that await these great young people. In just s few short weeks the incoming freshmen will be wandering in, looking a little dazed and confused. We will make new friends and hopefully Carma's will become part of their routine and add to their college experience.

In the mean time, remember we are never truly parted. Keep up with the happening at our blog carmascafe.com or on facebook.

MWAH!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's playing hooky weather!

African Peanut Soup (vegan) and Gazpacho (vegan).

The sandwich specials are a Pesto Turkey - turkey, provolone, tomato and basil dressing and the Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce, both grilled on a ciabatta sub roll.

Enjoy the lovely weather!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ce que nous avons fait pour vous....

African Peanut Soup (vegan) and Broccoli Cheddar Chowder (vegetarian).

The sandwich special is Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce.

We also have a salad special - Belgian Endive Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Tamari Almonds, and Sourdough Crostini.

Sunday we had a birthday party at the Cafe for Mlle. Julia, the 7-year old daughter of my friend Tracy. A couple of years after Tracy and I met, she moved to Besançon and while there met and married her husband. They now live in Northern Virginia and have two lovely daughters - Mlles. Sophia and Julia. Naturally their family has a tendre for France and Julia requested a french theme for her seventh birthday party.

Convenient her mother's friend own a very European-like cafe, mais non? The Ooh la la Birthday Party was quit the production. There were pate choux with chicken salad, nutella crepes, little pink finger sandwiches, Eiffel tower cookies, decoupage, a fashion show and a scavenger hunt at the BMA. It was a huge success and the cafe was left covered in glitter. As for the birthday cake.....well, we all know what a passion the French have for art. And although they are not all frenchmen, they are all great artists whose works hang in the Louvre.

With apologies to van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso.


















Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Specials

Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Senate Bean Soup.

For a sandwich special the Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce - is also available.

I can't wait to tell you about the party we threw at the Cafe on Sunday! But I'm going to restrain myself until there are pictures to accompany the post. In the mean time, if you are on facebook check out the Carma's Cafe page (and make sure to become a fan!).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oops! Forgot to hit "post"

Aaron made Broccoli Cheddar Soup and we also have Creamy Tomato Basil Soup.

For sandwich specials there is a traditional Tuna Salad which is served on a bed of greens stuffed in a ciabatta sub roll. The Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce - is also available.

We also still have a few Cranberry Scones (with just a hint of orange) and Cinnamon Swirl Muffins.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Specials

Tomato soups both hot & cold! We have our Creamy Tomato Basil Soup and Gazpacho today.

I am about to make a very traditional Tuna Salad which will be served on a bed of greens stuffed in a ciabatta sub roll. The Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce - is also available.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Come for an iced coffee - it's Thirstday

Badump bump.

It's my day off, but the staff is being optimistic and has made Gazpacho today. If you haven't tried the gazpacho yet you really should. Before Michael came up with this recipe (influenced by a recipe from the Andalusian region of Spain) I imagined gazpacho to be not much more than V-8® juice served in a bowl. Carma's Cafe gazpacho is akin to a very wet chopped salad and is crunchy and refreshing.

When I checked-in Aaron was cooking up the last of the Falafel. So while it lasts we still have the Falafel Platter and Falafel Sandwich. The Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onions and zebra sauce - is also available.

Today is my planning day for a tres chic birthday party for a special soon-to-be-seven year year old - Mlle. Julia.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The original fast food

What a beautiful morning! There's a lovely breeze down 32nd Street. You should come by for a Falafel Platter on the terrace. The Falafel Platter includes homemade falafel and fresh tabbouleh filled with parsley, mint, tomatoes & cucumbers served on a bed of Romaine, a very tangy tahini dressing and pita.

The Hearty Lentil Soup is filled with veggies and is very tasty. Frankly I've never been a big fan of the lentil until recently. First I discovered the French Green Lentil which is smaller and firmer than other lentils. They hold their shape after cooking instead of falling to mush. Then I realized I had been eating lentils for years and loving them when I went out for Indian. So the problem wasn't with the lentil, it was with the hippie groovy, pop cuisine vegetarian recipes. Which reminds me of an unfortunate Carrot Soup and Broccoli Strudel dinner party, but that's a story for another day.

Don't forget to check our Tweet. Things may change during the day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's that sound? We're Tweeting!

Today's soup is Hearty Lentil - vegan (and there is some Chili Con Carne and Potato Leek but not much!)

And the Spicy Jack Panino -turkey, a very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onion and zebra sauce is available.

We're tweeting! Check out the upper right corner of the blog and you will find a Twitter feed. A week or so ago I signed up for a Twitter account not really sure how (or if) I'd use it. It's not like I spend any time actually sitting in front of a computer and I don't have mobile internet access. Then, as is often the case, the universe intervened.

We ran out of Gypsy Soup.

Okay, not a real news flash, right? But I had posted it as one of our soup offerings and a very special customer was disappointed. So what to do? It is a sad but true fact that "running out" is the nature of real food. We don't open cans or defrost condensed soup, someone at Carma's peeled those sweet potatoes! Some days everyone seems to be in the mood for soup, on another day every other order is a Marinated Portobello Panino. It is very hard to gauge how long something will last.

Then I discovered the Twitter to blog feed. Problem solved! I will try very hard to tweet the changes in availability so that when we add something late in the day or a special has run its course you will know. You can follow us on Twitter - carmascafe.

I'm pretty sure I just stepped on the slippery slope to iPhone.........

Monday, May 11, 2009

Small blue things.....

SPECIALS
Pesto Caprese Panino
- fresh pesto, mozzarella & provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.
Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, a very spicy pepper cheese, grilled red onion and zebra sauce.

Gypsy Soup - sweet potato and tomato-based vegetable soup with some exotic spicing. A cafe favorite. Vegan
Potato Leek Soup - vegetarian
Chili Con Carne - a beef and bean chili

Yesterday morning Michael and I went out for what has become our annual "Oh Crap, it's Mother's Day" Brunch. Now mind you we both did right by our mothers - phone calls, cards - the usual. And as restaurateurs we are very aware it is one of the single busiest days of the year. Our produce company has been warning for two weeks there would be delays on delivery starting Thursday or Friday. Still it seems Michael in particular has some biological clock that triggers a need to brunch twice, maybe three times a year and one of them always falls on Mothers Day. Without reservations most "good" restaurants are out of the question.

Armed with the name of a waffle house in Essex we headed out Edmondson Avenue. One thing and another, a missed turn off, distracted by sunny skies and conversation, we spotted a local diner/cafe and decided to stop there rather than finding the original destination.

It looked so promising. The cutest little place with a big U-shaped counter, we could see into the kitchen and it appeared Mom and Dad were in the kitchen and daughter was working the counter and small dining room. I was castigating myself for having not brought a camera. I was sure we had found a gem.

And then we got our food. It looked okay but was tepid. My omelette was unremarkable. Michael's eggs and sausage had clearly been sitting for quite some time before being served and his blueberry pancakes had blue spots.

Blue spots, people! Not blueberries (fresh or frozen), not dried or dehydrated berries; blue spots. We tried to figure out what caused the blotches, but dissecting the pancake only uncovered blue stained pancake. It seems Michael was the victim of blueberry flavored crystals.

Our lovely "Oh Crap it's Mother's Day" Brunch went down in flames. Oh the humanity.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH SPECIALS
Peaches & Cream French Toast Casserole
Cinnamon Sugar
French Toast Casserole
Asparagus Almondine Strata
Super Cinnamuffins


SPECIALS

Pesto Caprese Panino
- fresh pesto, mozzarella & provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.

Gypsy Soup - sweet potato and tomato-based vegetable soup with some exotic spicing. A cafe favorite. Vegan

Small Plate Specials
Endive Salad & Asparagus Salad

Friday, May 8, 2009

Today's Specials

SPECIALS
Pesto Caprese Panino
- fresh pesto, mozzarella & provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.
Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, a very spicy pepper cheese, grilled onion and zebra sauce.

Gypsy Soup - sweet potato and tomato-based vegetable soup with some exotic spicing. A cafe favorite. Vegan
Sausage Corn Chowder - loaded with sausage, potatoes and corn. A real stick to your ribs chowder.

Small Plate Specials
Endive Salad & Asparagus Salad

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coffee crisis confronts cafe

SPECIALS
Pesto Caprese Panino
- fresh pesto, mozzarella & provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.
Spicy Jack Panino - turkey, a very spicy pepper cheese, grilled onion and zebra sauce.

Gypsy Soup - sweet potato and tomato-based vegetable soup with some exotic spicing. A cafe favorite. Vegan
Sausage Corn Chowder - loaded with sausage, potatoes and corn. A real stick to your ribs chowder.
Pumpkin Black Bean - our curried squash soup. Vegan.

The coffee we serve at Carma's is a custom blend that Michael and I developed over a six month period and is roasted locally for us at Baltimore Coffee and Tea. We are very proud of our coffee and go to some lengths to make sure it is always fresh, hot and prepared correctly.

That being said, it is an agricultural product and as such leaves us at the mercy of Mother Nature and international shipping. For the past several days we have been going back and forth with the roaster, breaking into our retail supply and finally, today I am sad to report we will run out of our Barista Blend No. 7 and BCTs Black Raven Blend will be served as a temporary substitute.

Barista Blend No. 7 is a delicate blend of seven beans, each roasted individually to bring our specific characteristics. One of the primary beans, an Ethiopian Harrar, hasn't been consistently available recently and supply has run low. Within a week this should all be put to right. In the mean time, we appreciate your understanding and continued support.

I'll give you a topic: Is it a coincidence that we are substituting with Black Raven and Counting Crows had a hit that included Joni Mitchell's lyrics "you don't know what you've got till it's gone"? Talk amongst yourselves....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dashing between the rain drops

Today's sandwich special is BBQ Chicken with Provolone and Grilled Veggies. We also have the Spicy Jack - turkey, very spicy pepper cheese and zebra sauce.

Pumpkin Black Bean (vegan) and Sausage Corn Chowder are in the soup kettle.

And I'm trying to get a pan of Granny Duff's Mac & Cheese in the oven.

ETA: Definitely getting Granny's Mac & Cheese in the oven before lunch! This is a different kind of macaroni and cheese from the one I normally serve at the Cafe. Our "regular" Mac & Cheese is based on the classic bechamel sauce and cheese is melted into the white sauce to create a smooth cheese sauce. The traditional southern macaroni and cheese is based on an egg custard. The cheese is mixed or layered with the pasta, then an egg custard is poured over the whole thing, a bit more cheese is added to the top and the casserole is baked. This dish was a staple at every family gathering when I was growing up (and still is as a matter of fact). I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Was it just a week ago that we were up to our elbows in Gazpacho? All this gray weather has me hankering for comfort food. So today I have a pot of Sausage Corn Chowder and a pot of Pumpkin Black Bean Soup on the burners.

For the sandwich special we have the Spicy Jack - turkey, grilled red onions, very spicy pepper colby and tiger sauce. The Pesto Caprese - pesto, mozzarella, provolone, marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers - is also still available for a limited time.

So Sunday the usual group of suspects convened for the annual Maryland Sheep & Wool tailgate. You remember Sunday? The pouring rain all day long? The cold breeze? It's amazing how many intrepid souls braved the elements to buy yarn! I'm going to spare you picture after picture of beautiful yarn and roving, but thought you might enjoy some of the real celebrities of MDS&W.

Oh yea, and a few whacky knitters who didn't come in from the rain (and choose to remain annonymous).















Saturday, May 2, 2009

Many, many breakfast specials!

...including a Savory Veggie Spoonbread, Berry & Cream French Toast and Pecan Caramel French Toast.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekend Festivities

Today we have Cauliflower Pistachio Soup (vegetarian) and Senate Bean Soup. Our special panino is the Pesto Caprese.

Lots of stuff going on this weekend! Maryland Sheep & Wool, the Kenetic Sculpture Race at the AVAM, The Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm (check out some photos from years past), the Downtown Farmers' Market opens for the season (info on farmers markets statewide), and finally the Maryland Beer and Foodfest.

I hope you enjoy some of the festivities this weekend. I'll be at MDS&W on Sunday. If you happen to see our tailgating party feel free to stop by and say hi.