Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen opens an offshoot.
The über-cool, barn-chic — think rustic wood and stone — Artifact Coffee, 1500 Union Ave., 410-235-1881, capitalizes on the top-notch coffee service offered at big brother Woodberry Kitchen, and adds breakfast, lunch, and (soon) dinner to the mix. The baristas look like they’ve stepped out of a production of Oklahoma! with their farm dresses and Little-Boy-Blue shirts and trousers, but the service is professional and friendly. The pour-over coffee ($3.50) is a must.
Many restaurants are making their own potato chips.
Some local chefs are thinking outside the bag—at least, when it comes to potato chips. Goodbye, brand names. Hello, chips made in the restaurant kitchen. Places like The Dogwood Restaurant, Todd Conner’s, McFaul’s IronHorse Tavern at Sanders’ Corner, and Heavy Seas Alehouse are among those frying up their own crispy spud slices. Matt Seeber, executive chef at Heavy Seas Alehouse, says, “If I can do it myself in-house, then why not?”
<p>Start the evening at The Waterfront Deck</p>
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Pier 5 hit on a brilliant idea when it took over the outdoor deck once occupied by Pizzazz Tuscan Grille. The upscale restaurant is now able to provide treasured waterfront real estate to its diners. The setting at The Waterfront Deck (711 Eastern Ave., adjacent to the Pier 5 Hotel, 410-230-0033) is sophisticated with a sleek, black bar, comfy orange couches, silver-colored chairs and tables, and a canopy of umbrellas. Open daily in the evenings, you can enjoy a full dinner there.
A new brewery in Woodberry pumps out local craft beer.
Back in 2009, Jon Zerivitz needed a hobby, so he picked up a home-brew kit. “Pretty much after the first time I brewed, I knew I wanted to do something in the beer industry,” he says. Through mutual friends, Zerivitz, pictured, left, met Kevin Blodger, the medal-winning head brewer at Gordon Biersch in Chicago, a Baltimore native who wanted to come back home.
Your sip tip of the month. Malbecs: Big, Bold, and Beautiful.
It wasn’t so long ago that Merlot was the grape variety that reigned supreme in people’s minds and in their wine glasses. Then, the movie Sideways came along, and Pinot Noir soared to popularity. Now, another grape variety has stepped into the limelight—Malbec. Full-flavored, dark, and structured, Malbec wines may lack the versatility of lighter varieties like Pinot Noir, but they satisfy a hankering for a robust red. Here are three examples:
Punto Final Malbec Reserva 2008$19, Southern Wine & Spirits
A hobby becomes a bartender's bread-and-butter.
Johnny Rad’s bartender Evan Tanner never planned on becoming a pickle maker. But that’s exactly what happened. “I like pickles,” he says. “I couldn’t find the kind I like.” He began experimenting with home canning and came up with flavors like Old Bay and onion and lemongrass and dill. “It ties into being a bartender,” he says. “Flavors are one of my passions.” Tanner, 40, now has the required licensing and is selling his jars of Tanner’s Pickles at shops like Green Onion market and The Wine Source. He also plans to build a processing plant.
The affable chef/co-owner of Chazz and Aldo’s makes meatballs with a passion as he eyes the future.
Like its creator, the veal meatball at Chazz: A Bronx Original is Italian at its core, yet brilliantly unique in its construction. Its presence, similar to Sergio Vitale’s, looms large over the Harbor East restaurant from which this local chef appears poised to become the next big thing on the national food scene. Restaurateur and appetizer share other traits. Both are burly, sweet, and, in Baltimore, beloved. “We knew we wanted to do a meatball,” the 6-foot-3 Vitale says. “I also knew that I didn’t want to do it on top of pasta. It’s not the way it’s served in Italy.
Townhouse Kitchen + Bar (1350 Lancaster St., 443-268-0323) fits right into the glitzy Harbor East restaurant scene with its sophisticated, polished look and power-people vibe. The huge bar is a great place to check out the crowd, or you can nestle into the cozy, black-leather booths or grab a seat at one of the plush sofas in the well-lit lounge.
<p>More farm-fresh recipes from local restaurants.</p>
Cavatelli with Heirloom Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
2 cups heirloom tomatoes, cut in half if they are small or in bite-size pieces if they are larger1 small yellow onion, chopped1/4 cup thinly sliced elephant garlic3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped1 lemon, zest and juice1/4 cup dry white wineCrushed red pepper flakes to tasteSalt1/2 cup FireFly Farms fresh goat cheese, crumbled into pieces4 cups homemade cavatelli (see recipe)
How one local crabber followed his dream.
As a criminal-justice major at Towson University, Tony Conrad once dreamed of a career with the FBI. But after four years of working in telecommunications, the lifelong waterman could no longer ignore what seemed a clarion call to catch crabs. “My cousin Billy was a waterman,” explains Conrad, 37. “My great grandfather was a waterman, [and] my great, great grandmother had a seafood restaurant in the 1800s.”
Chill-out wines for alfresco dining.
Summer is in full swing, which means it’s picnic time. From Patterson Park to backyard hangouts, we love having a nosh with nature. But what to drink? A picnic wine must be able to pair with different foods, can’t be too expensive, and must be chill-able—because sometimes the humidity demands a cool thirst quencher. Here are three wines that meet our criteria.
<p>Local chocolatier finds a recipe for success.</p>
First, Oprah. Then, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Next, Diane Sawyer. The elegant chocolates made at The Velvet Chocolatier (10403 Stevenson Rd., Stevenson, 410-365-9883) have been creating quite a stir. Oprah Winfrey named them one of her favorite picks in 2011. (She’s partial to the caramel cups with dark chocolate and sea salt.) Louis-Dreyfus discovered these decadent morsels while filming Veep in Baltimore.
We Pick Our 20 Favorite Crab Houses
We have the scars to prove it. For weeks, we’ve been cracking our way through dozens—and dozens—of steamed crabs, nicking our fingers on the sharp-edged shells and enduring the salty sting of Old Bay. But the battle scars were well worth it. Along the way, we got to savor our Maryland delicacy—spice-covered, hot-from-the-steamer crabs—from some of the Baltimore area’s best spots.
A local gypsy brewer creates beer inspired by his favorite bands.
When Brian Strumke retired from producing electronic music, he turned to brewing as a creative outlet. After founding Stillwater Artisanal Ales in 2010, he looked for a chance to combine his two loves: beer and music. “My beers are always conceptual,” he says. “If it’s an interpretation of something, like a place, an individual, or a situation—why can’t it be a song?”
<p>Patrick Russell turns up the heat at home.</p>
Patrick Russell grew up enjoying the fried pork chops, meatballs, and meatloaf of his mother’s Pikesville kitchen, but it wasn’t until purchasing Thames Street Tavern (now Kooper’s Tavern) in 1997 that he really learned the joys of cooking.
“I hired my friend [former Cork’s chef] Jerry Pellegrino to help me cook,” recalls Russell, who got his restaurant start as a busboy at The Mt. Washington Tavern at age 15. “I knew nothing. He brought me the Joy of Cooking, and he gave it to me and said, ‘Read this.’ Before that, a good dinner was Oodles of Noodles with jarred Prego Sauce.”