New deli delivers the gourmet goods on N. Calvert St.

THE REAL DISH

December 26, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Take one ambitious daughter, one retired mother and a lifelong dream. What do you get?

Tre Con Pear Gourmet, a new deli and catering business at 600 N. Calvert St.

After nearly a year of construction headaches (the oven even had to be dismantled to get it through the door), the small restaurant opened last week with Trisha McMullen in the kitchen and her mother, Connie, behind the cash register.

The two-story space is modern and inviting -- with two fireplaces, high ceilings and marbleized light fixtures -- and a menu featuring sandwiches, salads, soups, pasta and gourmet-to-go entrees.

Among the mouth-watering alternatives: the European club with roasted turkey, melted brie and bacon on French bread; the Bookmakers salad with shrimp, chicken and honey-glazed ham on a bed of greens in a creamy garlic dressing; and the sandwich roulade, thinly sliced salmon, red onion and Boursin cheese on Armenian flat bread.

The catering menu has even more ambitious fare: roasted chicken with apricot-raisin bread stuffing, spinach fettuccine with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke lasagna. In the front of the deli is a small retail area with items like Nervous Nellie's jams, Urban Herb vinegars and Cloud Nine candy bars.

For the staff of 10, every day feels like a Baltimore International Culinary College reunion: Trisha, a '90 grad, has hired many of her classmates to help in the kitchen.

She has an impressive background in the food and retail businesses, having run a gourmet delivery business that catered to such Baltimore notables as John Gidwitz, executive director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Before that, Trisha, 27, worked at Macy's and the White House.

When her original partner backed out of the business, Trisha's mother, who had just retired from the Motor Vehicle Administration, came to the rescue. The two have no qualms about working together, although Connie, 64, loves to tell stories about her daughter's cooking mishaps. "I once called my mother to ask how much grease to put in the pan to cook bacon," says Trisha with a laugh.

The deli's name, incidentally, comes from their nicknames: Tre is short for Trisha, Con is short for Connie, and the two are now a pair -- although in the food business, they prefer to spell it "pear."

Hours are Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LIVING THE SWEET LIFE: A pastry chef's equivalent of heaven? A six-page spread in Chocolatier magazine.

That's life these days for Marshall Rosenthal, who makes the sweets at Windows restaurant in the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel.

There he is, smiling on Page 56 of this month's magazine, while the next page features something worth smiling about: his Grand Marnier chocolate cheese torte.

The article also gives away Mr. Rosenthal's trade secrets, including the recipe for his chocolate bourbon macadamia pecan tart with gingerbread ice cream.

But anything with 20 ingredients and 15 steps leaves us fleeing the kitchen fast, so we think we'll leave the dessert-making to the pros.

CHEFS ON SKIS: For those who think chefs never leave the kitchen, think again.

More than 300 chefs from the mid-Atlantic region will trade the stove for the ski slope Jan. 9 to help raise money for the hungry. Some, we hear, will be racing down the hill in full chef garb -- toque, white jacket and apron -- during the Grand Marnier Chefs Ski Race at Ski Windham in New York. Local entrants include Gregory Sharpe, chef of the Corinthian at Loews Annapolis Hotel; Ernest Nagy, owner-chef of the Tidewater Grille in Havre de Grace; and Rita Kolander, owner of Desserts by Rita in Ocean City.

NEW YEAR'S NO-SHOWS: Diners, it seems, forget their manners this time of year. Area restaurateurs report that on New Year's Eve --one of the busiest nights of the year -- they often face an unpleasant byproduct: an increase in no-shows.

Paul Oliver, owner of Dalesio's in Little Italy, says that New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are the worst.

"Some people don't care," he says. "They decide to go somewhere else and don't have the courtesy to call back and cancel. It's unfortunate, because we have people who want to come to the restaurant and we have to turn them away."

So, be a considerate diner this year. If you have to cancel a reservation, let the restaurant know.

Have news about local restaurants, chefs or clubs? Call (410) 332-6156 or write the Real Dish, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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