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.
A new take on white wines.
Spring’s gloriously warm weather has us in the mood for refreshing white wines—specifically, whites made from grape varieties that show off lighter fruit tones, have zingy acidity, cool mineral tones, and are unfettered by oak aging. We’re talking about the kind of wine you’d want to wash down a plate of flash-fried calamari or deliciously local asparagus from the farmers’ markets. We’ve tracked down three thirst quenchers to get you in the mood for patio sipping.
SoBo Cafe gets another chance.
Who doesn’t love a savior?
<p>Brio Tuscan Grille fills Inner Harbor gap.</p>
After languishing empty for several years, the prominent Inner Harbor space once occupied by Legal Sea Foods has a new tenant, Brio Tuscan Grille (100 E. Pratt St., 410-637-3440). The national chain, which also has a location in Annapolis, specializes in Italian food inspired by Tuscany. It’s debatable whether we need another trattoria in Baltimore, but Brio provides a fun atmosphere and well-prepared food that will appeal to downtown visitors. On a recent visit, I ordered grilled shrimp with orzo ($14.95, lunch).
A devotion to cereal treats leads to a cafe.
Nikki Lewis has fond memories of making Rice Krispies Treats when she was a child. As an adult, they became her go-to dessert for friends and families. Eventually, her love of the sticky, crunchy rice-cereal treat evolved into her own brand, Mallow Crunchies. Lewis puts her imprint on the sweet snacks by using ingredients like homemade marshmallow and caramel. She sells them through a website (themallowbar.com) and at local farmers’ markets, but always envisioned having her own place. “It’s been a long-term goal to own a cafe,” she says.
This pick-up service helps busy shoppers.
There aren’t many things more stressful than pushing your cart through a grocery store while your baby cries and your toddler pulls items off the shelves. But those days are over thanks to a service at the new Harris Teeter in South Baltimore called “Express Lane," through which you order your groceries online, a personal shopper selects the items at the store, you pick them up, and an associate loads them into your car.
Louisiana comes to Lauraville.
Tooloulou’s space is humble—a tiny storefront, open kitchen, and a few tables and counters. But the ambiance is warm and inviting, and chef/co-owner Shawn Lagergren is happy to talk about his menu, which ranges from artisan pizzas and po’ boys to sandwiches like the Coca-Cola baked ham and muffuletta, a New Orleans classic. His Louisiana food leanings make sense since he hails from there. Today, he and his wife, Megan, live in Lauraville, where the store (4311 Harford Rd., 443-627-8090, http://tooloulou.com) is located.
Celebrating warmer weather with wines from Loire Valley
The promise of warmer days ahead infuses the current season with a sense of anticipation. This month, we turn to the Loire Valley of France to find three wines that embody this time of year, and that will pair well with springtime bounty like lamb, asparagus, peas, and leafy greens.