It’s the ultimate comfort food, and we’ll tell you where to find the best.
For a town not known for its pizza, we sure have a lot of pizzerias. The pies show up on a number of restaurant and bar menus, too. And while we don't have a signature pizza style a la New York or Chicago, we have so much variety that you can just let your taste buds lead the way. Want classic? Go for a straightforward Margherita. Traditional? There's pepperoni and sausage everywhere. Gourmet? Choices abound—from crab and roasted duck to mac and cheese.
A new winery sprouts in Baltimore County
DeJon Vineyard in Long Green Valley is the little winery that could. The former cattle farm may not be as well known as its neighbor Boordy Vineyards, but Baltimore County's first winery to open in 23 years is already making a name for itself. Its wines have taken medals in the 2010 and 2011 Maryland Winemasters' Choice Awards. Owners John Wilkerson, a retired software exec, and his wife Denise McCloskey, a full-time ER nurse, started growing grapes in 2008. "We thought, 'Why don't we make wine if we have all these grapes,'" Wilkerson says. And so they did in a refurbished hay barn.
Pâtisserie Poupon marks 25 years
When Joseph Poupon opened his bakery 25 years ago, he had no idea he would become synonymous with French pastries and masterpiece cakes in Baltimore. Today, Pâtisserie Poupon (820 E. Baltimore St., 410-332-0390; also, in Georgetown, D.C.) goes through about 300 dozen eggs, 150 quarts of cream, and more than 800 pounds of butter each week to produce its croissants, macaroons, pains au chocolat, and other delectable confections. Poupon has been baking in the U.S. since his arrival from France in 1974, first in New York, then in D.C.
Simply Marie's serves early breakfast
After last call in Canton, the drinking masses need not wait until dawn to begin their recovery. Simply Marie's (3023 Elliott St., 410-342-0822)—a new carryout specializing in breakfast that feeds the soul—is quickly becoming an end-of-the-night staple. Open from midnight to 1 p.m. weekends (and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays), its various combinations of eggs and swine hit the spot at any time. Omelets ($7.50-9.50), pictured, are made with three eggs and ample portions of meats, cheese, and vegetables.
Late-summer Grenache hits the spot
There's plenty of summertime heat left in September before autumn arrives in earnest. Satisfy your red-wine cravings with Grenache, a grape that thrives in hot places and pairs well with warm-weather fare.
The Reserve, a refurbished bar on the outer edge of Federal Hill, opened a few years ago with a menu that seemed to define the whole gastro-pub movement. As early fans of the place, we were surprised on a recent visit to find more conventional options: burgers, crab cakes, salmon, pasta, along with a trendy lobster mac and cheese and fish tacos.
The change is purposeful, according to owner Tom Brown, and the menu is more befitting of his youngish Federal Hill clientele: "I'm looking for someone who's going to buy a meal and stay around for a few hours and drink."
Yak, python, bear: Chef Bernard Dehaene at Corner BYOB gives Baltimoreans a taste of the wild.
When chef Bernard Dehaene held a "Flintstone Dinner" at his restaurant Zot in Philadelphia, he served guests such rarities as lion and Thai waterbugs, all the while dressed as the cartoon character Fred Flintstone. For his first Exotic Meat Club meal at Corner BYOB in Hampden, he may just don a loincloth, he says—or something in a leopard print. He hasn't decided.
A seafood menu suits the location
When celebrity chef Mario Batali visited Baltimore in April, he ate lunch at The Seasoned Mariner (601 Wise Ave., Dundalk, 443-242-7190) after hitting the links at Sparrows Point Country Club. I was curious about the restaurant's allure. Now, I understand. The Mariner is perched on Bear Creek with a prime view of the waterway and the pleasure boats cruising by or docking at the restaurant.
Pacific Coast reinvents jinxed spot
Pacific Coast (413 S. High St., 410-244-1185) is the latest restaurant to step into the Little Italy space once occupied by Tapabar and the short-lived Diner. Pacific Coast—with its fusion cuisine, including several crazily-named burgers like Paris Hilton, Led Zepplin, and Charlie Sheen—seems a match for this corner bistro setting.
How To Be Sweet on Rieslings
Riesling is the world's most versatile and food-friendly grape variety, but it is woefully misunderstood and often ignored by wine consumers. It can be a stylistic chameleon—from very dry to tooth-meltingly sweet, making it difficult for the novice consumer to decide whether he or she likes it.
Rarely is the sweetness level of the wine evident on the label, so ask your local wine shop for guidance. Here are three Rieslings that represent various stages of sweetness.
Kimko Seafood Restaurant is set up to evoke a place one might find in a typical Korean fishing town. It's brightly lit and tidy but feels a bit like a fish market at first blush, which is actually a good sign. After all, fish can't get much fresher than having been swimming around mere moments before serving, as evidenced by the bank of aquariums lining the entrance.
The tanks hold an array of marine invertebrates like sea squirt, abalone, snail, and, remarkably, lobster, an unusual sashimi option by anyone's estimation.
Fire up the grill and get cookin’.
Chris Becker—recently named an executive chef for the Bagby Restaurant Group in Harbor East and a former executive chef at The Wine Market in Locust Point—shares a favorite barbecue recipe that you can make at home.
Grilled Skirt Steak Bulgogi
The number of mobile eateries offering gourmet fare is growing.
On a rainy Tuesday, with only 30 minutes to spare, Kathy Patterson dashes out of her office into the streets near the University of Maryland Medical Center looking for lunch. Walking at a brisk clip, she bypasses any number of sandwich and fast-food joints before she reaches her destination: The Gypsy Queen Cafe.
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined1/2 cup olive oil mixed with garlic powder for shrimp plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil for gazpacho2 cloves garlic (optimally softened by grilling in an aluminum foil packet while you grill the shrimp, see below, then coarsely chopped)1 slice white bread, crust removed3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar15 tomatoes, pureed and strained through a China cap strainer, plus 6 tomatoes, seeded and diced, for gazpacho9 Kirby cucumbers, stripe-peeled, seeded, and diced4 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
1 head napa cabbage, shredded1 carrot, julienned1 onion, sliced1/2 cup scallions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces3/4 cup sweet chili sauce4 tablespoons chopped garlic3 tablespoons chopped ginger2 tablespoons sriracha1/4 cup light soy sauce1 teaspoon dried shrimp powder (available at H Mart)
Incorporate all ingredients and let marinate for at least an hour (the longer the better).