The affable chef/co-owner of Chazz and Aldo’s makes meatballs with a passion as he eyes the future.
Like its creator, the veal meatball at Chazz: A Bronx Original is Italian at its core, yet brilliantly unique in its construction. Its presence, similar to Sergio Vitale’s, looms large over the Harbor East restaurant from which this local chef appears poised to become the next big thing on the national food scene. Restaurateur and appetizer share other traits. Both are burly, sweet, and, in Baltimore, beloved. “We knew we wanted to do a meatball,” the 6-foot-3 Vitale says. “I also knew that I didn’t want to do it on top of pasta. It’s not the way it’s served in Italy.
Townhouse Kitchen + Bar (1350 Lancaster St., 443-268-0323) fits right into the glitzy Harbor East restaurant scene with its sophisticated, polished look and power-people vibe. The huge bar is a great place to check out the crowd, or you can nestle into the cozy, black-leather booths or grab a seat at one of the plush sofas in the well-lit lounge.
<p>More farm-fresh recipes from local restaurants.</p>
Cavatelli with Heirloom Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
2 cups heirloom tomatoes, cut in half if they are small or in bite-size pieces if they are larger1 small yellow onion, chopped1/4 cup thinly sliced elephant garlic3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped1 lemon, zest and juice1/4 cup dry white wineCrushed red pepper flakes to tasteSalt1/2 cup FireFly Farms fresh goat cheese, crumbled into pieces4 cups homemade cavatelli (see recipe)
How one local crabber followed his dream.
As a criminal-justice major at Towson University, Tony Conrad once dreamed of a career with the FBI. But after four years of working in telecommunications, the lifelong waterman could no longer ignore what seemed a clarion call to catch crabs. “My cousin Billy was a waterman,” explains Conrad, 37. “My great grandfather was a waterman, [and] my great, great grandmother had a seafood restaurant in the 1800s.”
Chill-out wines for alfresco dining.
Summer is in full swing, which means it’s picnic time. From Patterson Park to backyard hangouts, we love having a nosh with nature. But what to drink? A picnic wine must be able to pair with different foods, can’t be too expensive, and must be chill-able—because sometimes the humidity demands a cool thirst quencher. Here are three wines that meet our criteria.
<p>Local chocolatier finds a recipe for success.</p>
First, Oprah. Then, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Next, Diane Sawyer. The elegant chocolates made at The Velvet Chocolatier (10403 Stevenson Rd., Stevenson, 410-365-9883) have been creating quite a stir. Oprah Winfrey named them one of her favorite picks in 2011. (She’s partial to the caramel cups with dark chocolate and sea salt.) Louis-Dreyfus discovered these decadent morsels while filming Veep in Baltimore.
We Pick Our 20 Favorite Crab Houses
We have the scars to prove it. For weeks, we’ve been cracking our way through dozens—and dozens—of steamed crabs, nicking our fingers on the sharp-edged shells and enduring the salty sting of Old Bay. But the battle scars were well worth it. Along the way, we got to savor our Maryland delicacy—spice-covered, hot-from-the-steamer crabs—from some of the Baltimore area’s best spots.
A local gypsy brewer creates beer inspired by his favorite bands.
When Brian Strumke retired from producing electronic music, he turned to brewing as a creative outlet. After founding Stillwater Artisanal Ales in 2010, he looked for a chance to combine his two loves: beer and music. “My beers are always conceptual,” he says. “If it’s an interpretation of something, like a place, an individual, or a situation—why can’t it be a song?”
<p>Patrick Russell turns up the heat at home.</p>
Patrick Russell grew up enjoying the fried pork chops, meatballs, and meatloaf of his mother’s Pikesville kitchen, but it wasn’t until purchasing Thames Street Tavern (now Kooper’s Tavern) in 1997 that he really learned the joys of cooking.
“I hired my friend [former Cork’s chef] Jerry Pellegrino to help me cook,” recalls Russell, who got his restaurant start as a busboy at The Mt. Washington Tavern at age 15. “I knew nothing. He brought me the Joy of Cooking, and he gave it to me and said, ‘Read this.’ Before that, a good dinner was Oodles of Noodles with jarred Prego Sauce.”
<p>Shower the happy couple with these sumptuous wines.</p>
April showers may bring May flowers, but, in June, most of the showers are bridal. Traditional registries are a great way to get the bride and groom set up for years of domestic bliss. But what good are those fancy wine glasses and that Australian-pine wine rack without some special bottles? We’ve picked three luxurious wines that newlyweds can savor on their anniversary or on any special occasion.
<p>Making a recipe is easy with combo tins.</p>
Just in time for summer, TSP Spices has introduced “the scoop” combo tin ($9.99), featuring the organic spices and recipes needed to make flavorful ice cream. This type of pairing is an effort on the part of the Baltimore company to expand uses for its individual teaspoon-sized spice packets, available at some area markets or online at tspspices.com. “We’re trying to do more,” says TSP’s new owner Chad Meyer.
<p>Artisan food blends with Shrewsbury antiques.</p>
Sometimes you find more than you bargained for while antiquing in Shrewsbury, PA, a quaint town less than an hour from Baltimore. In my case, I discovered a darling restaurant that’s not only a respite from the browsing but also a food find. Juliana’s in the Village (14 N. Main St., 717-759-8701), a new BYOB restaurant under the expert hands of chef/owner Joel Zaldivar, serves a constantly changing menu of seasonal, local fare in pretty dining rooms with wood floors and decorative glassware.
<p>Discover One-Eyed Mike’s alfresco dining.</p>
Yes, it’s best known as a “Grand Marnier bar.” And we’ll drink to that. But One-Eyed Mike’s (708 S. Bond St., 410-327-0445) is also a cheery place to nosh on delicious sandwiches, appetizers, and entrees, especially on the outdoor back patio. A privacy fence creates a feeling of seclusion, rare in Fells Point. Open wood beams stretch across the courtyard, allowing for romantic lights in nighttime, overhead heat lights for cooler days, and ceiling fans to ruffle up a breeze in sultry air. Seated at the sturdy tables with cloth napkins in hand, diners want to linger.
<p>A group of Catholics finds a local bar blasphemous.</p>
A priest walks into a bar. . . . No, it’s not the start of a joke, but closely mirrors a dispute between some Catholics and a Fells Point watering hole.
Recently, a group of religious devotees claimed that bar and restaurant Ale Mary’s was blasphemous because of its name and church-themed décor. The bar owners, in turn, said there was nothing irreverent about it, and that most of the objects were gifts.
<p>Hersh's Pizza & Drinks</p>
Hersh’s Pizza & Drinks is no ordinary pizza joint. And it’s not as plain as its simple name suggests either. It’s actually a sweetheart of a neighborhood restaurant and shows the love of its owner/sibling team Josh and Stephanie Hershkovitz.
The Owings Mills natives collaborated to revamp the space once occupied by Rub, a Texas barbecue place. They’ve transformed the South Baltimore corner restaurant, located in a pocket of industrial warehouses and urban homesteading, into a sleek, citified bar and dining room.