New owners take over at Sanders' Corner.
For the first time in 50 years, a Sanders isn't on the premises at Sanders' Corner (2260 Cromwell Bridge Road, 410-825-5187), although the restaurant name will live on. Ron Sanders recently retired, and new owner John Naudain is seeking to leave his own imprint on the well-known Baltimore County spot. A new chef, Cindy Lee, is also in the kitchen for the changeover.
Legendary liqueur packs a wallop.
The pepperminty sweetness of the cloudy greenish concoction was the first sensation to hit my palate. Next came the burn of the 124-proof liquid snaking its way down my throat. As the hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention, I shifted on my bar stool at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, where I'd come to sample absinthe—newly legalized in the United States—and waited for the hallucinations to kick in. But visions of little green fairies sauntering through the streets of Harbor East never did materialize.
Local tomatoes crop up in summer salads.
Just in time for a bumper crop of tomatoes (the good ones we grow in our gardens; not the bad ones from other places!), Barbara Collurafici of The Gourmet Girls in Owings Mills shares a knockout salad that makes great use of these summertime babies.
Restaurant chefs get creative in the kitchen with craft brews.
Wine with dessert? Of course. Beer with dessert? What?
Actually, as craft beers take the country by storm, the seemingly odd matchup works quite well. Gourmets are finding that exquisite boutique chocolates and rich, gooey desserts mate perfectly well with dark, malty porters and pale, crisp ales.
Such creative pairings reflect a growing awareness of beer as an incredibly versatile drink with flavor complexities that rival—and, some would argue, surpass—those of wine.
Bite-sized burgers are sliding their way onto our menus.
So, we admit, sliders (or mini-hamburgers) have been around for a while. White Castle has had their legendary "Slyders" on the menu since it opened in 1921. But now the petite fare has gotten so big that it even has its own Best of Baltimore category this year. Also, restaurants are rolling out more trendy versions of the tiny creations. Canton's Annabel Lee Tavern offers lamb sliders. Salt in Butchers Hill has upscale foie gras and Kobe beef sliders. Favorite breakfast spot Miss Shirley's features lobster salad sliders.
Fifteen best crabhouses. (We found lots of blues to make us happy!)
By John Farlow, Anne Haddad, Joan Jacobson, Suzanne Loudermilk, Mary Maushard, Bianca Sienra
What could be more classic than a corner bar in Fells Point? You know the kind—a long bar in the front and a small dining room in the rear with a side entrance that might once have been for "ladies."
Todd Conner's fits the bill and goes a step farther. It's part of the new dining trend that offers not only traditional bar food but also sophisticated meals with fresh ingredients and interesting twists on old favorites.
The Shape of Wine To Come
Summer is the season for getting personal with Mother Nature. Unfortunately, there are plenty of places we like to go that our wine can't. Because it's packaged in glass, wine is often banned from boats in the harbor, picnic baskets at outdoor concerts, and poolside cookouts. But relief is at hand as alternative packaging for wine continues to gain momentum. Producers are trying out everything from aluminum to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, mostly to cut down on shipping costs. (And as the price of fuel rises, more folks are getting out of glass.)
Beef, not sibling rivalry, stars at Burger Bros.
Brothers Tim and Mike Murphy want you to eat more burgers. They're not shy about it either, making their carnivorous demands everywhere from their menu to their website eatmoreburgers.com. Fortunately, the duo behind Towson's aptly named Burger Bros. (14 Allegheny Ave., 410-321-1880) is willing to step up and provide the meat in question.
Gourmet market complements bistro-style restaurant.
As you stroll along Frederick Road, you understand why there are banners proclaiming, "Rediscover Catonsville." New restaurants and shops are bringing a new energy to the place. One, in particular, caught our eye—Catonsville Gourmet Market & Fine Foods (829 Frederick Road, 410-788-0005). The restaurant is bistro style with white-cloth-covered tables, but we were drawn to the market area.
Local chefs harvest herbs from restaurant gardens
Consumers aren't the only ones seeking locally grown produce these days. Increasingly, chefs are, too. And while these kitchen maestros may not be able to toil in the fields, they can tend to leafy herbs at their restaurants. Joe Edwardsen, owner of Joe Squared on North Avenue, found the perfect spot for his aromatic plants, including oregano, cilantro, and basil—his roof. "I wanted to get the freshest herbs I could possibly get," Edwardsen says.
Baltimore's crush on snowballs heats up in summertime.
Sometimes, we take our Marylandness for granted. Steamed crabs, Natty Boh, Berger's Cookies, and duckpin bowling are just some examples of our unique heritage. And, oh, yes, snowballs, or sno-balls, depending on who's doing the spelling. You can't just drop into, say, Florida or Ohio and expect to see a snowball stand on every corner. But you can here, as surely as the O's play ball and fishing boats ply the Chesapeake in summertime. "That's the attraction," says Bob Ellrich, owner of three Friendly Snowball stands in Baltimore County with his wife, Tanga. "It's a short season.
Everything's Coming Up Roses
Beer seems to be the traditional beverage of summer, and I am certainly not going to argue with that. It's cold, refreshing, and goes well with all summer fare, from burgers to barbecue to spice-encrusted crabs. But there is another option that does all these things, a category of wine that mates with summer food and summer fun, and can also be enjoyed year-round.
Gourmet pizzas and creative entrees give an edge to Luca's in Locust Point.
Luca's Cafe (1230 E. Fort Ave., Locust Point, 443-708-5694) is the kind of place where you feel comfortable bringing a month-old baby or celebrating a big-number birthday. Or once the young-uns and oldsters vamoose, showing up with a special date or just yourself. You enter the bar area and can settle in there or head to a table in the downstairs or upstairs dining rooms. Handsome wood floors, paneling, and paintings by local artists add charm and cheer. Luca's pizzas are in a class by themselves—thin crusts, roasted toppings, clever interpretations.
Victoria Gastro Pub
In a pristine slice of Columbia sits a nondescript, brick structure near several similarly unobtrusive buildings in an office park. Even the nearby McDonald's is toned down per the planned community's bylaws. Outwardly, we had no clue what to expect when entering our destination: Victoria Gastro Pub.