Exciting times for Argentine wines.
The flight from Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza, Argentina, is short but breathtaking. Lasting not quite an hour, it takes passengers over a vast swath of the Andes Mountains and affords a view of the majestic peak of Aconagua if you’re seated on the port side of the plane.
Bakery owner Warren Brown whips up a new cookbook.
As if being an attorney, baker, and Food Network personality aren't enough, the ever-resourceful Warren Brown is adding a new job title to his resume—published author— when his cookbook, CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch, hits the stores this month. "I liked the idea of sharing what I learned," says Brown, 37, who recently opened a CakeLove in Canton (2500 Boston Street, 410-522-1825).
The 55 best places to eat right around the corner from your home.
What makes a good neighborhood restaurant? It's a question we discussed at length while working on this story. And it turned out that a lot of different elements went into making a place not just good, but locally good. A good neighborhood restaurant, we decided, shouldn't require dressing up. But it shouldn't be just a bar or diner, either—it should be a place you could take a friend for his or her birthday and not feel like a cheapskate. It should be open for dinner.
Night of the Cookers
When I called to make a reservation, the chef surprisingly answered the phone and asked how I had heard about the restaurant. I told him truthfully that I'd read about it, and I had—in snippets on various blogs, with words like Southern and barbecue attached to the posts. When I visited, I was expecting casual, earnest fare, and I found that—and so much more. This isn't your typical BBQ joint.
As one of my dining companions marveled after many inspired dishes, "This is haute cuisine meets down-home." Or as the chef, Joshau Hill, explained, "It's new Southern cuisine."
Not-so-Desperate Dave’s stakes out Broadway Market.
Desperate Dave's Spice Company and Emporium (1641 Aliceanna Street, 410-878-2024) might seem like a high-falutin name for a small enterprise at the Broadway Market in Fells Point. But once you push through the doors, you see what it's all about. The space is packed with more than 300 jars of hot sauces, salsas, mustards, and spices.
Ra Sushi expands its West Coast vibe.
Looking for a soupçon of hip with your sushi? Then head to Ra Sushi (1390 Lancaster Street, Harbor East, 410-522-3200), Baltimore's newest chopsticks palace. Push open the massive doors, go up a few steps, and you'll find yourself in the land of Ra. A techno beat pulses, red lamps cast a sexy glow, and ultra-cheerful servers await your order. There's no turning back, but why would you want to? Creative nigiri, teriyakis, and cocktails are ahead.
Our 41 favorite places to eat this year.
Everyone has a favorite restaurant. Just ask. Diners are usually quite passionate about their choices. Response to our readers poll, included in this section, showed us that. But the criteria for a good dining experience varies from person to person. And it doesn’t necessarily mean fine dining, although white-cloth places like The Prime Rib and Linwoods continue to wow. There are just as many devotees of such eclectic spots as The Chameleon Cafe and Peter’s Inn, where chefs are dedicated to innovative food without the frippery.
Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day—or any day—with Guinness stew.
Supposedly, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, so we figured a little Celtic comfort food would get the party going for the March 17 festivities. We turned to Anne Rowley, chef/owner of Patrick’s of Pratt Street (934 W. Pratt Street, 410-244-5000, patspubs.com) for a recipe, in this case, her steak and Guinness stew. We figured she would know a good one. Patrick’s, which dates to 1847, calls itself “America’s oldest Irish pub.” Rowley and her husband, Patrick, have been carrying on the family tradition since 1999.
Tsunami ’tinis share space with superior Asian fusion.
Whoa—when did all this happen? That was our reaction one frigid winter night when a friend of ours told us to meet him for drinks at Lemongrass/Tsunami on Central and Bank. Yes, that Lemongrass/Tsunami—the cool Asian/Thai emporium in Annapolis beloved by bar-hopping 20- and 30-somethings. But how’s the food? Housed in the former Holland Manufacturing Company, Lemongrass/Tsunami features two restaurants connected by a courtyard. We decided to try Tsunami [1300 Bank Street, 410-327-1370], the Asian-fusion side. We were delightfully surprised.
Ciao! Pizza Bistro Italiano
We get lots of mail from readers about their favorite restaurants, and that's a good thing. We want feedback, and with all the food activity going on, we might not be aware of a new venture in town right away.
So, we were happy to get an e-mail from an enthusiastic patron of Ciao! Pizza Bistro Italiano in the glitzy Quarry Lake development off Greenspring Avenue. At first glance, we thought it was just another pizza joint adding its pies to our palates.
Go for the drinks, stay for the food at new Canton tavern.
The newest corner bar to join the resto-pub trend is Annabel Lee Tavern [601 S. Clinton Street, Canton, 410-522-2929]. You know, the kind of watering hole that also has amazing food. Certainly, go for drinks but stay for the food. The cozy spot, whose name is an homage to Edgar Allan Poe's poem Annabel Lee, has a nice selection of bottled beers and brews on tap and wines by the bottle or glass. There's a TV at the bar, but it's usually turned off unless patrons request otherwise, creating a relaxed, homey atmosphere.
Chefs pair cocktails and food with intoxicating results.
Order the confit of pork shank with a pomegranate glaze at The Wine Market, and you might be surprised by the server's drink recommendation. Not a lovely pinot noir with cherry nuances or a smooth merlot with blackberry aromas. No, instead, he suggests a—wait for it—pomegranate martini.
A cocktail with dinner? Absolutely.
Cocktails are more popular then ever—and not just in the bar. Fruity elixirs and fine spirits have entered a new phase as chefs begin pairing them very deliberately with food.
Wine wish list.
Baltimore's wine lists need a shake up. While working on this issue's best restaurants list, I had a chance to do an informal survey of various offerings around town. Here's what I found: a gaggle of independent restaurateurs with diverse wine lists and a host of lax lists brimming with big-volume mediocrity.
But the blame for such a state of affairs may lie with you, dear reader. As my predecessor at Baltimore magazine once opined, "People drink what they deserve."
Hot cross buns add sweet tradition to Lenten season.
One a penny. Two a penny. Hot cross buns. The childhood rhyme resonates today, even though the sweet rolls cost about 70 cents each now. The Lenten bread, which dates to Pagan times before being adopted by Christian missionaries, is especially popular the week before Easter [March 23 this year]. "I like tradition," says George Simon, 75, a third-generation baker who turns out the candied-fruit-studded buns with the icing cross at Simon's Bakery in Cockeysville. It's a once-a-year ritual, peaking on Good Friday. The icing cross signifies the crucifixion.
The kielbasa king of Fells Point gears up
It’s oddly comforting, in our low-fat, low-salt era, to see beefy people lined up to buy pork sausage.
Before any major food holiday—but especially Easter, which falls on March 23 this year—devotees of Ostrowski’s kielbasa politely form queues that start in the tiny store and wend their way up South Washington Street in Fells Point. Mostly male, blue collar, and middle-aged, these are folks who grew up in East Baltimore and were weaned on the stuff.