Monday, April 21, 2008

Dara Does it Again

I refer to local food maven Dara Bunjon as "Dara Does It," which is actually the name of her business. Its role within the food industry includes consulting, food styling, public relations, writing, teaching, cooking, and prepping for shows. Part of the "Dara Does It" package is Dining Dish, the "Dara Does It" blog, which also mails out E-newsletters. Now there's more.

A couple weeks ago, Dara received an E-mail from the Denver headquarters of The Examiner asking her to blog for them, and she's subsequently taken on additional responsibilities as the Baltimore Dining Examiner. The relationship between Dining Dish and The Baltimore Dining Examiner in terms of content has yet to evolve. Both will run the gamut relating to food: restaurants, recipes, shows, food products, and people, much as "Dara Does It" covers so many bases within the food industry.

The fine quality of Dara's work speaks for itself at Dining Dish. At the Baltimore Dining Examiner, generating traffic becomes equally important as part of the equation. Dara's propensity for networking, both personally and on-line, promises to bid her well in this regard.

Dara was the first food blogger I met after starting Unique Culinary Adventures back in November, 2005. We had lunch at Martick's and have since seen each other at a lot of the same places. The most recent was Baltimore's Great Taste Extravaganza, for which Dara not only organized and emceed the panel of Baltimore bloggers, but supervised sourcing, styling and prep work for the participating celebrity chefs.

This afternoon, at my bidding, we met for lunch at Baltimore's Ze Mean Bean at 1737 Fleet Street in Fells Point. I arrived to find Dara openly snapping pictures with her camera, which suggested minimal concerns about her identity being "outed." We both loved Ze Mean Bean and our lunch. My crab cake over fresh asparagus was outstanding. Subtly seasoned and with plenty of lump, it tasted to me as if made using Atlantic crab meat at peak season in September. April is typically much too early for most of the Atlantic crab meat that finds its way here to be at its best. However, when I asked our nice waitress---who'd just returned to Baltimore after living in Paris---she informed that the crab meat was from Asia. I'd love to know Ze Mean Bean chef's secret for making it taste so Maryland.

Perhaps Dining Dish and/or the Baltimore Food Examiner will also be posting something nice about Ze Mean Bean. My many conversations with Dara and knowledge of her writing style lead me to believe she could prove receptive to picking up pointers from the blog of which she's a regular reader. Dara refers to its author, Baltimore Sun food critic Elizabeth Large, as "The Queen."

OK, my imagination runs all over the place, but of one difference in modus operandi between these two bloggers, I feel quite certain. Were Elizabeth Large to be my lunch partner at Ze Mean Bean or anywhere else in Baltimore, she wouldn't be running around with that camera and taking all those pictures.