Here are some promising restaurants that made their debuts in 2012.
Clementine at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., 410-276-1651. Highlandtown.An offspring of the locavore Hamilton restaurant sets up shop in the performance/art space.
Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant, 555 Russell St., Suite B, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 410-843-7901. Downtown. Former O’s catcher Rick Dempsey is a partner at this ballpark restaurant with an American menu and beers brewed on-site.
Any way you slice it, we never tire of pizza. Here are our go-to’s for this month:
1. Earth, Wood & Fire, 1407 Clarkview Rd., 410-825-3473. The pizzeria opened to great fanfare last spring, immediately drawing followers in the Mt. Washington and Ruxton areas. And no wonder. The coal-fired pies come with terrific toppings, from the traditional to the exotic. Look for pizzas of the week like honey-mustard chicken.
Wine expert at thewinecoach.com
How did you get into wine/How did you become The Wine Coach?It really goes back to a job I had in software sales. I was living in Federal Hill at the time. I was selling to Fortune 100 food and beverage companies. I came to find out quickly that lots of deals were made over dinner. And, really, at the time, I was definitely more of a beer drinker than a wine drinker. But I ended up at these business meetings where we’d be ordering wine and every now and then I’d be handed the wine list, and I just had really no clue where to start.
Anthony Bourdain spills his guts at the Hippodrome.
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has been known to push the envelope in his best-selling books and popular Travel Channel shows. So expect a no-holds-barred approach when the rebellious foodie comes to the Hippodrome Theatre on November 17 as a part of his nationwide Guts and Glory tour. “Bourdain brings a real, honest, raw look at food, travel, and the city of Baltimore,” says Hippodrome president Jeff Daniel.
The most recent member of the Bagby Restaurant Group, Fleet Street Kitchen (1012 Fleet St., 410-244-5830) opened quietly in mid-September, surrounded by its siblings Bagby Pizza Company and Ten Ten. We sat at the romantic, white-marble, back-lit bar on our initial visit, nibbling on an excellent charcuterie plate ($17), loaded with offerings like rabbit pâté, chicken-liver parfait, prosciutto, pickled veggies, mustard, and jam. Chef Chris Becker will use local products whenever possible, we were told. Entrees run $22-36. We’re excited to try the desserts next time.
Seasonal fruits live on in locally made preserves.
As we checked out area farmers’ markets this summer, we noticed an increasing number of jellies and jams on purveyors’ tables. At the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar, we discovered delicious InFused Spreads, pictured, in a variety of flavors. Co-owner Emem Oduok also makes 1.75-ounce jams that can be ordered as cute party favors. At Kenilworth Farmers’ Market, we were smitten with jams like strawberry-lemon made by Ruth Thompson of Rare Opportunity Farm in Westminster.
25 Places to Get Meals for Two for Under $40.
We’re not cheapskates. Really. But we like a good deal as much as the next person, especially in an economy that seems to constantly drain our pocketbooks. When we’re eating out, we know how fast the dollars add up. We felt confident that there were places around town offering a decent meal without us having to succumb to a quarter-pounder and fries. (Not that we don’t enjoy that, too.) We had a budget——$40 for two people. We also wanted to go to restaurants where we could share a meal at a table. We’re happy with what we found: a range of great food at affordable prices.
Fall weather calls for fireplace restaurants.
1. The Ambassador Dining Room, 3811 Canterbury Rd., 410-366-1484. Considered one of the most romantic restaurants in Baltimore, The Ambassador scores high with its stately fireplaces, tuxedoed waiters, and its lush Indian cuisine.
2. Bond Street Social, 901 S. Bond St., 443-449-6234. Several glass fireplaces and an indoor fire pit provide a toasty atmosphere for sharing “social” plates with friends and lovers at this contemporary space that’s as cozy as a ski chalet.
Cookies benefit from the extras.
I’m not the only one who raids the kitchen cabinets to add extras to my cookie dough. Several local shops have discovered the joys of combining dried fruits, assorted chocolate chips, and even pretzels in their recipes. The Fresh Market’s Kitchen Sink Cookies are a crunchy combo of chips, raisins, nuts, and more. Evergreen Cafe’s Everything cookie and Whole Food’s Jumble cookie are also studded with a satisfying mix of yummy additives. But the winner may be another Everything cookie, pictured, found at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s Lamill Coffee.
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.