Whole Foods tour uncovers bargains in the aisles.
Going to the grocery store these days often leads to sticker shock. Add organic, healthful, and local products to the mix, and the price tag might trigger a cardiac arrest. That's why we couldn't resist checking out the Whole Foods budget value tour, offered monthly at the Mt. Washington location (1330 Smith Ave., 410-532-6700) or by request. Somehow Whole Foods and cost saving don't seem to go together. "It's a perception," says Molly Kushner, the store's marketing specialist and tour cheerleader.
Longtime city stalls still serve up a smorgasbord of foods.
To stroll through any of Baltimore's municipal markets is to experience a sharp reminder of the passage of time. These places, as much a part of our city's eccentric history and sustenance as Arabbers—that waning breed of horse-drawn produce-hawkers—have changed considerably since they were built in the 18th and 19th centuries.In those days, the busy marketplaces served as microcosms of the communities around them. They were a Babel of German and kosher butchers, Polish sausage makers, Italian bakers, and fishmongers, who harvested their catch from the Chesapeake Bay.
Forget green. Think pink for St. Paddy's Day.
Irish Salmon with Minted Pea Purée Created by Sascha Wolhandler, Sascha's 527 Café and Sascha's Catering
2 tablespoons lemon juice2 tablespoons orange juice2 garlic cloves, smashed and diced2 tablespoons chopped scallions2 tablespoons grated lemon peel3 tablespoons olive oil4 (about 2 1/2 pounds total) center-cut salmon fillets with skin4 tablespoons basil olive oil for garnishColcannon pancake (optional; see below)
Our first-ever ranking of Baltimore's top places to eat.
Talk about a daunting task—first of all, deciding which restaurants would make our annual list, then, for the first time, evaluating them in order of greatness. Can we just say there were several hours of lost sleep as we mentally arranged and rearranged the list in the middle of dark, cold nights? But we're happy (and relieved) to report that, after conferring with our panel of reviewers, there is a consensus. We think you'll agree with our number-one pick. That doesn't mean the other 49 are necessarily lesser in food ambition. They're tops, too. They just offer different charms.
Does the friendly, "sexy Southern" eatery live up to the hype?
When Night of the Cookers opened early last year, the positive buzz had people flocking to the Howard Street restaurant for its upscale Southern cuisine. A few months later, when the chef left, the kitchen went into a tailspin, evidently unable to dazzle diners in the same manner. Then a new chef, Danielle Kposowa, came on board in July with talk of "sexy Southern cuisine," and we knew we had to go back.
Baltimore's five best bartenders give us the scoop.
With the growing excitement around cocktails—both classic and cutting-edge—we interviewed some of the area's most popular and experienced bartenders to find out what their customers are ordering and what trends they're seeing through the glass. Here's what they had to say.
Lance Baldwin, 39 Bartender, An Poitin Stil, Timonium
The Parkside Fine Food & Spirits
The ground floor of this building, just north of McDonald's in Lauraville, could have housed any number of businesses: a bowling alley, a roller-skating rink, a giant sports bar. But The Parkside Fine Food & Spirits restaurant has moved in, and, against all odds, made the vast space cozy, with its vintage church pews—used both for seating and reconstructed as shelves for liquor behind the bar—its outdated classroom maps, its comfort-leaning menu, and Tuesday night "sammich specials," including discounts for cops and firefighters in uniform.
Turn up the heat this Valentine's Day with chocolate and chili peppers
We like to believe that certain foods increase our libido—hence, all those boxes of chocolate tempting us on February 14. But what if you could better the romantic odds with two aphrodisiac foods—cocoa (boosting feel-good brain chemicals) and chili peppers (it's the fiery molecule capsaicin). The spicy-sweet combo is not as strange as it sounds. Spice giant McCormick came out with a gourmet cocoa-chili-pepper blend last year and called it one of its top flavor pairings, suggesting using it in chili as well as chocolate cake.
Hershey celebrates chocolate every day, but especially during the sweet month of February.
The Hotel Hershey spa booklet calls this treatment "Whipped Cocoa Bath." Seriously? Will I be immersed in a huge mug of milky hot chocolate, with a saucer to catch the overflow?
When the attendant here in Hershey, Pennsylvania, beckons me to my deep, one-person hot tub, it's awash in creamy bubbles. "That's from the milk powder," she says. She sprinkles fragrant cocoa powder over the bubbles, explains how all the buttons work, notes the chocolate Kisses at shoulder level, and turns out the light.
Ahhh. Heaven—for at least four senses.
A dessert cookbook by a local author adds comfort to the mix
Pikesville resident Konya Lindsey learned a love of baking from family in California. She migrated to Baltimore for grad school and worked in marketing before starting a dessert catering business, SugarPlum Confections, in 2007. But even before that, the 32-year-old was thinking about compiling her recipes. "I really wanted to write a cookbook that spoke to people who have trepidations about baking," she says. And she did just that. Delicious Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth walks anxious bakers through each step of a recipe.
El Torito Mexican Restaurant
Visiting a friend's new digs in Mt. Vernon, we found ourselves in an elevator-type awkwardness situation—standing next to strangers in the vestibule, waiting silently for our respective hosts to let us in already. Entryways in this neighborhood are known for rich deposits of takeout menus, and our unrestrained glee at the sight of one titled "El Torito Mexican Restaurant" sparked commiseration about what Mt. Vernon has long lacked—decent Mexican.
Trendy cooking technique finally comes to Baltimore
Leave it to Ted Stelzenmuller, the chef/owner who woos diners with mac-and-cheese-and-chocolate, foie-gras poutine, and fried s'mores at Jack's Bistro, to introduce a new twist to his menu—sous vide cuisine.
While five-star chefs in New York and Washington have been using this method (pronounced soo-VEED) for years, most Baltimore restaurants haven't embraced the cooking technique, which means "under vacuum" in French.
Two Hopkins freshmen uncover something fishy about their seafood.
Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss really love sushi. They like it so much that they conducted a major scientific experiment on their favorite food.
While still juniors at Trinity School in Manhattan, Stoeckle and Strauss collected 60 samples of sushi from New York restaurants and delis and sent them to be DNA-tested to see if the labels matched up with the actual fish.
Their findings? Twenty-five percent of the samples were mislabeled.
Bubble over with joy for the season.
Hopefully, you are the type of wine enthusiast who, knowing the joys of effervescence, sips sparkling wine throughout the year—without bothering to wait for a special occasion. But during the holiday season, just about everyone is popping corks, especially on New Year’s Eve.
There’s some serious sandwich-making going on at Grind-On.
We’re always so encouraged when a new independent coffee shop opens. It means there’s still hope for the little guy, despite the number of corporate coffee joints around town. And we’re not surprised that the latest café opened in the Hamilton-Lauraville area, where residents are discovering a penchant for all things gustatory.