Tried and true
We're all for the polish and shine of the new enotecas and osterias in town, but sometimes Little Italy standbys, like La Scala (1012 Eastern Ave., 410-783-9209, lascaladining.com), are just what you need for a comforting Old World feast. There are no gimmicks, just big platefuls of tender shellfish, chicken, and veal, immersed in garlicky overtones and thick red sauces.
Food bank Director Deborah Flateman wants to end hunger in Maryland.
“My mother never threw away a leftover. Never, never,” recalls Deborah Flateman. “I learned from her that there’s a way to recycle food into other edible dishes. So, why would you ever throw it away?”
That philosophy should serve her well as the recently appointed CEO of the Maryland Food Bank (MFB). You see, Flateman hates the idea that someone somewhere in Maryland might be hungry. She takes it personally, the way grandmothers do when they fear someone might leave their house without having a fourth helping of mashed potatoes.
Oregon's Pinot Power.
Oregon's Route 99W may not be as famous to wine lovers as Napa Valley's Silverado Trail, but it deserves to be.
Flanked on the west by rolling vineyards and dominated to the east by Mount Hood, this meandering byway passes by some of the best vineyards this country has to offer. The demeanor of Oregon's wine country is more relaxed, less corporate, and keenly focused on being considered the premier source for America's finest Pinot Noir.
Rib 'N Reef is a cut above.
There's a place on Padonia Road that serves really great steaks, and this time, we don't mean Christopher Daniel. We're talking about Rib 'N Reef (22 W. Padonia Road, Timonium, 410-560-0906), which occupies the same space as the now-defunct Gibby's Seafood restaurant. That place was beloved by its regulars, and from what we see and hear, Rib 'N Reef is, gradually, earning its own legion of fans. It's easy to see (and taste) why—the menu takes good old American favorites and makes a few interesting adjustments.
Bar, atmosphere, TVs, bring 'em in.
Brewer’s Hill Pub and Grill (3734 Fleet St., 410-558-1620) is a watering hole with a bit of a split personality disorder.
A new twist on barbecue comes to Lauraville.
Any place calling itself "Alabama BBQ" is bound to offer a new take on a familiar cuisine, and Alabama BBQ Company (4311 Harford Road, 410-254-1440, alabamabbqcompany.com) doesn't disappoint. You'll find the usual assortment of pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket, and ribs, all smoked with a mixture of various fruitwoods and hickory.
This French dessert is a classic finale to a holiday meal.
The holiday season is all about succumbing to sweet traditions–candy canes, sugar cookies, and, yes, even fruitcake. But what could be more tempting than a buche de Noel? Translated "yule log," the classic French Christmas dessert usually features genoise (yellow sponge cake) rolled with jam or buttercream frosting, then covered with more frosting and garnished with delicate meringue mushrooms. Patisserie Poupon (820 E.
If you haven’t been to this Ecuadorian gem, you don’t know what you’re missing.
A sweet little Ecuadorian storefront restaurant has survived for more than three years on Fells Point's Latino restaurant row, where storefronts tend to come and go. That alone speaks to the quality of La Cazuela, (1718 Eastern Ave., 410-522-9485), which distinguishes itself from its competitors with its genuine restaurant feel (beige tablecloths and spotless, sunny surrounds), the attentive ministrations of owners Enrique and Marina Tapia, and its consistently fine food. Yet on a recent visit, we were troubled to see the place nearly empty.
We’ll Drink to That!
The storm clouds of holiday stress are gathering forebodingly on the horizon. Many of our most important religious and secular holidays manage to be crammed into a period of just five weeks. But lest we forget, 'tis the season of love, happiness, family, friends, and spiritual renewal. And it's that spirit of conviviality—and the joy that comes from sharing a great experience with the people closest to you—that is the essence of wine.
This is one Winter Storm Baltimoreans look forward to.
The cold, crisp weather that autumn sweeps in makes us long for fireplaces and warm, spicy seasonal foods. And with those fall dishes, we like to turn to heartier seasonal beers, like Clipper City's just-released Winter Storm ale. Richer and more complex than those watery light beers you drank all summer, this Imperial ESB also packs a mean punch with 7.5 percent alcohol. "Because of the hop availability, this year's is pretty much identical to last year's," says Clipper City honcho Hugh Sisson.
I consider myself a bit of a sushi snob. Mostly this manifests in an aversion to maki (or rolls). To me, maki is for sushi-eating amateurs, the people who want dressed up tempura or fake crab stick wrapped in rice. Give me my nigiri (sushi) and sashimi any time—the more esoteric (hello uni and live scallop!), the better. Yamato has made me rethink this point of view. To be sure, their nigiri and sashimi are delicious—fresh and thickly sliced and always lovingly assembled.
Another Thai spot on Charles? Hey, why not?
Now that Minato has moved from its basement digs to a bright first-floor location two blocks up on Charles, that spot below Donna's needed new tenants. Enter My Thai (800 N. Charles Street, 410-528-8737), yet another entrant into the Great Charles Street Thai Restaurant Sweepstakes. It's a strong contender; the brick-lined basement grotto feels cozy and urban, and we always enjoy the option of getting sushi, when we're not in the mood for pad Thai.
Dial. Wait. Busy signal. Dial. Wait. Busy signal. Dial . . . . That's the drill if you want to score reservations at minibar (405 8th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 202-393-0812), the restaurant tucked into a corner of José Andrés's Cafe Atlantico. With only six stools at its counter, and only two seatings per night, weekend slots are usually gone within 15 minutes of the reservation phone line opening. (Call at 9 a.m. a month to the day before you want your table.) But it's worth all that fuss to experience Andrés's little love project.
Bartenders has suds, pizza ... and old-vine Carignan wine.
On first glance, Bartenders (2218 Boston Street, 410-534-2337) looks like any other Canton or Fells Point bar into which you might stumble: tin ceiling, plenty of TVs tuned to sports, and plenty of baseball-capped patrons downing their suds. But here and there, you'll see a couple leaning in close to each other and delicately touching thin-stemmed wine glasses. Bartenders has a surprisingly ambitious wine program— especially fun on Wednesday nights, when they feature four more unusual wines that aren't on their normal list.
The Grapevine Cafe
"Huh," says my friend Ben as we gaze around the Grapevine Cafe. Translation: "I do believe that the only people at this restaurant younger than ourselves are the wait staff."
"Yep," I say back. Still, at 34, I have reached an age where I take a certain level of comfort in feeling young by comparison, so I happily settle into the bar with my friends to wait for our table. It will take about 20 minutes; we're hitting the place just a couple weeks after a mostly positive review in the Sun, and they're still dealing with a new rush of business.