Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse defies the economy with a progressive agenda and a new free school.
On a late summer evening, a dozen students in their 20s and 30s take seats around an oversized picnic table and on rows of bleachers inside the Baltimore Museum of Art's geodesic dome. John Duda, one of the founders of Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse collective, prepares to lead tonight's class, "Urban Development as Counterinsurgency," but he can't start. The students keep arriving.
"The problem with starting everything 15 minutes late," jokes Kate Khatib, another Red Emma's collective founder, "is that people start showing up 15 minutes late for everything."
Small potato nuggets become a menu staple at local restaurants.
A lot of people attribute the recent popularity of tater tots on restaurant menus to Napoleon Dynamite, the 2004 cult favorite with a great classroom scene featuring the mini potato bites. But Alan Morstein, owner of Regi's American Bistro in Federal Hill, was way ahead of the movie. He introduced A.J.'s tater tots to diners eight years ago. "I'm the man who put tater tots on the map," he proclaims.
This Vietnamese sandwich adds its flavors to our local fare.
Sub, hoagie, cheesesteak, and grinder, meet the new sandwich in town: bánh mì. Its tender grilled meat, pickled daikon, and fresh cilantro remember the flavors of its native Vietnam. Its crispy baguette and cool mayonnaise capture the nation's French colonial past. Its simple, paper-wrapped presentation borrows from its origins as street fare. "It's very cheap, it's very quick, it's very good," says Trang Nguyen of Saigon Remembered (5857 York Rd., 410-435-1300). The restaurant's menu offers 13 variations, ranging from tofu ($5.50) to ham ($6.95).
Free tastings lure in wine lovers.
At Swirl Wine (2320 York Rd., Timonium, 410-252-7787), the wine-tasting crowd starts showing up at 3 p.m. on Fridays for freebies. At The Wine Source (3601 Elm Ave., 410-467-7777), vino lovers look for complimentary sips on Fridays and Saturdays. At
Two seasoned home cooks known as "The CardaMoms" give birth to a new cookbook inspired by their spice business.
In 2005, when Katie Luber, left, and Sara Engram, right, were launching their Maryland-based spice business, they had a conversation with a friend about their concept.
"He said to us, 'Hmm . . . spices, and you're these girls. . . . You're the Spice Girls! That's so hot!'" recalls Luber, laughing at the memory.
Nancy Faidley-Devine, co-owner of Faidley Seafood in Lexington Market—well-known for its award-winning crab cake—gives us the scoop on cocktail vs. tartar, broiled vs. fried, and more.
These Maryland patties really take the cake.
Picking the best crab cakes in Baltimore is a lot like picking your favorite coffee place. The choices are overwhelming—and loyalties are fierce. So it seemed downright brazen to even attempt to name our top patties. But that's exactly what we did.
We toured white-tablecloth restaurants, bare-table taverns, and old-time watering holes in our search, and weren't disappointed. We think you'll find our list is filled with respected standbys and surprising discoveries.
Milk delivery comes back to Baltimore.
Readers of a certain age will remember when delicious, farm-fresh milk was delivered right to your door. But that convenience eventually went the way of the 15-cent stamp.
Forget the fancy fare, local chefs crave mom's comfort food.
While some of the area's top chefs are laboring over ambitious presentations like saffron-poached sea scallops and red-wine-braised veal cheeks, they often experience pangs for more familiar foods from their youth-basic dishes that mom cooked. And every now and then, they're happy to put aside the duck confit and black truffles and go home to mac and cheese or pot roast-and reconnect with mom all over again.
Michel Tersiguel, Tersiguel's
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 juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 garlic cloves, smashed and diced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (about 2 1/2 pounds total) center-cut salmon fillets with skin
4 tablespoons basil olive oil for garnish
Colcannon 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