20 great places to eat and watch the world go by!
The warmer weather is like a siren song to Baltimoreans to head outdoors—of course, the result is much more rewarding than what the mythological Greek femme fatales had in mind. Our fresh air promises relaxation and fun. Restaurants heed thelure, too, scattering tables and chairs on any space with access to breezes to accommodate diners seeking alfresco options. We’ve found 20 places where we think the ambiance and views make the food taste better than ever.
There’s no place like home for a crab cake.
Food Inc.’s Carole Morison got fed up with raising chickens and put her eggs in another basket.
Although she played a pivotal role in one of the most acclaimed movies of the past few years, Carole Morison never set out to be famous. An Eastern Shore farmer, she appeared in Food Inc., the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary that took a critical look at the American food industry. In it, Morison gave the filmmakers a tour of the chicken houses on her farm, a big no-no in the agribusiness world. It proved to be a powerful segment. “It is nasty in here,” said Morison, walking through a sea of chickens. “There’s dust flying everywhere. There’s feces everywhere.”
A new barbecue sauce scores a win.
The Mechali family are big sports fans. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they went into overdrive to quickly produce Championship Salsa 2013 at their Randallstown business Mama Vida. “It was such a hit, such a success,” says Nila Mechali, who is director of marketing for the food manufacturing company owned by her parents, Toto and Miki Mechali. “We decided to make a barbecue sauce for the Orioles.” Bases Loaded BBQ Sauce was introduced a couple of weeks before Opening Day.
It’s time to fire up the grill. Grab the barbecue sauce—and the wine. We found three reds that have what it takes to dance with all but the spiciest sauces out there.
Le Petit Pont Réserve Rouge Pays D’OC 2012
$10, The Voila! Collection Hailing from the south of France and made up of Grenache, Cinsault, and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a classic bistro red with a contemporary flair. It’s a juicy, fleshy wine that bursts with plums and cherries. It’s not oaky or heavy, just smooth and easy. Think chicken for this one or pork ribs.
Have Fun at the Beach on the Cheap!
Sandcastles and flip-flops. Orange Crushes and Dewey Devils. The Hurricane and the Tidal Wave. Soon, summer’s abiding pleasures will be yours. As the countdown begins, we’ve found more than 50 ways to stretch your beach bucks a little further this summer.
Museum director Rebecca Hoffberger follows her intuition when pulling a meal together.
With a spoon so unique that it looks as though it belongs in a museum, Rebecca Hoffberger stirs a colorful concoction of carrots and cabbage in the cheerful kitchen of her Owings Mills home. “This wood spoon came from Grace David, one of my artists,” says Hoffberger, founder and director of the American Visionary Art Museum [AVAM]. “It’s from Africa, and it’s just so beautifully made. I love having a few special things to cook with that aren’t just from Williams-Sonoma or Macy’s.”
Tips to improve your nutrition during the summer.
With local farmers’ markets in full swing, there’s no time like the present to add fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet. But what to buy can be daunting: What’s the difference between rhubarb and rutabaga? Is kale even edible? To help us figure out what to put in our (reusable, natch) shopping tote, we turned to holistic health coach Elise Rubenstein. “I call myself the food lady,” says Rubenstein. “I teach people how to eat, and create awareness. I don’t believe in diets.” This is a plan we can live with.
Your sip tip of the month for May 2013.
Lamberti Rosé Sparkling Wine NV$13, Southern Wine and Spirits
Juicy and off-dry like a Prosecco, redolent of cherry blossom and strawberry patch, this lovely Italian sparkling wine practically bursts with springtime character. At its best when served well chilled, this bubbly is the perfect pick for a picnic trip to Sherwood Gardens.
New restaurants, upstart chefs, and visiting actors are drawing attention to our dining scene.
It didn’t take long for noted chef Michael Mina to assess Baltimoreans’ taste buds. Soon after Wit & Wisdom: A Tavern by Michael Mina opened a year and a half ago at the Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East, diners were downing plates of bison-heart tartare among other adventurous fare. That’s all Mina—a San Francisco resident who operates almost two-dozen restaurants around the country—needed to know. “In Baltimore, people are very much into dining,” he says.
The black-eyed Susan will be in demand on race day. We asked Tim Riley (Bagby Restaurant Group) for his take on the cocktail.
The Kentucky Derby has the mint julep as its signature cocktail. The Belmont Stakes has several, including a white carnation libation. So it’s no surprise that the Preakness celebrates the second leg of the Triple Crown with a drink called the black-eyed Susan, named after the flowers used to create a blanket for the winning horse. We asked Tim Riley, the beverage director for the Bagby Restaurant Group, including Fleet Street Kitchen and Ten Ten, to share a recipe with us. Here’s Riley’s adaptation.
Mother’s Day is May 12, and plenty of restaurants around town are planning special brunches in honor of Mom. Here are some of the places we like best for celebrating the day.
1. B&O American Brasserie: The restaurant will be hosting a bountiful brunch that includes citrus-and-coriander-cured gravlax, pepper-and-thyme roasted prime rib, buttermilk biscuits and chorizo gravy, and a dessert display with house-made pastries, cakes, and pies. Price: $30 per person; $12 for children 12 and under. Bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys are available for an additional $10 per person. Mom gets complimentary mimosas.
Your sip tip of the month for April 2013.
April is here, and with it comes the cool side of spring—enough warmth to coax you outdoors, though Old Man Winter’s breath can still chill the back of your neck. The snappy textures, fresh aromas, and prim flavors of France’s Loire Valley wines epitomize the season, and we’ve found three lip-smacking examples to complement the weather.
Restaurant owner starts with his own downtown eatery.
Derrick Vaughan, owner of The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar in Ridgely’s Delight, has a grand idea. He wants to rename the stretch from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Harbor East the “Wine’Tastic Mile”—inspired by Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. He’s produced bumper stickers and has convinced the city to install a Wine’Tastic Mile street sign at the corner of MLK and Pratt Street to promote the bars and restaurants along the route (even turning at President Street to include the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore and Cinghiale).
Weekend warriors can relish the city’s beloved cheese steaks—and so much more.
The taste lingered long after the car turned onto Interstate 95 and the twin towers of Liberty Place grew smaller in the rearview mirror. It was quite possibly the best pork sandwich ever—tender herb-braised meat, pulled apart and tucked into the firm yet yielding roll that only a Philadelphia bakery can make. The crowning touch: garlicky broccoli rabe and sharp provolone.