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.
In the tiny town of Hurlock, three young entrepreneurs grow an unusual product--Maryland's first home-grown shrimp.
With great anticipation, Scott Fritze, the young co-owner of Marvesta Shrimp Farms, pulled up to Woodberry Kitchen in his black Pathfinder with his first delivery—a large cooler full of Maryland's first home-grown shrimp, still alive and squirming.
The grueling days and sleepless nights of building a shrimp farm from scratch would be worth it if Spike Gjerde, chef/owner of Woodberry Kitchen, liked the product. After all, this is a chef who prizes fresh ingredients like a sommelier treasures fine wine.
Our first Annapolis restaurant guide gives the highs (and some lows) of what the historic city has on its plate.
Summer is in the air, and Annapolis, our state capital, beckons with its adorable shops, fancy sailboats at the newly refurbished City Dock, and grand historic homes and buildings. There’s lots to see and do, but sometime during your visit, you’ll need to rest your weary feet and get a bite to eat. With this in mind, we thought it was time to find out exactly what is available for hungry visitors in the historic district and nearby Eastport. So our insatiable reviewers set out on a culinary expedition, sampling much of the city’s fare.
Twist and Shout about Screw-Cap Wines
"Any wine that comes like this," the restaurateur began, tapping the screw cap that adorned a delicious, charming bottle of pinot noir, "is vinegar. I won't even cook with it." It had been a while since I'd encountered such a damning opinion of screw caps, and it irked me.
Americans often attach an unpleasant stigma to screw caps, which is rooted in outdated notions of poor quality and low fashion. In fact, screw caps are the fastest growing method of closing a wine bottle, and for good reason.
Classic cocktail makes a comeback.
The mint julep has long been associated with the Kentucky Derby, so it's no surprise that Marylanders have been known to tipple a few during Preakness (May 17 this year), the second jewel in the horse-racing crown. But the cocktail seems to have fallen out of favor with the mojito-'tini crowd. Enter good ol' Southern boy Joshau Hill, chef and general manager of Night of the Cookers (885 N. Howard St., 410-383-2095), who is doing his best to introduce a new generation to the genteel drink he makes with Maker's Mark bourbon, simple syrup, and fresh mint.