February, 14th 2014

Musings from the Internet

Baltimore magazine

Mother Nature can’t cancel Valentine’s Day in Baltimore. Here are some of the offerings going on around town.

From Twitter:

From Facebook:

February, 12th 2014

A Food Fest in Fells Point

Baltimore magazine

Forget the snow for just a moment. It’s time to plan for an exciting food event that will happening April 26 and 27 at the Thames Street Wharf in Fells Point.

Chefs like Bryan Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick and Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground in D.C. will be participating at Emporiyum as well as vendors from our area and around the country.

You’ll be able to check out locals like Charm City Cook Salted Brownies, Kinderhook Snacks, Mouth Party Caramels, and Taharka Brothers Ice Cream and visitors, including Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, Luke’s Lobster, and Gordy’s Pickles.

Breweries like Flying Dog and Heavy Seas will also be there.

For a list of participants to date, visit Emporiyum’s website. Tickets ($15 in advance) are available now through MissionTix.com.

It’s going to be yummy. By then, the snow will be a distant memory. Hopefully!

February, 11th 2014

A Pop-Up Dinner at Fork & Wrench

Baltimore magazine

While Fork & Wrench's chef Cyrus Keefer heads to New York to cook dinner at the prestigious James Beard House on February 24, chef Chad Gauss of The Food Market will take over the Canton restaurant in Keefer's absence.

For that Monday only, Fork & Wrench will be transformed into a Mexican cantina with an a la carte menu to match. Diners can choose dishes like smoked-trout taquitos and corn-chip soup to start, shrimp a la plancha and rib-eye veija for main courses, and caramel flan and fried ice cream for dessert.

Seating starts at 6 p.m.

Contact Fork & Wrench to make reservations. 

February, 4th 2014

Unusual French Fries Come to Towson

Baltimore magazine

A kiosk devoted entirely to french fries is now open on the first floor of the Towson Town Center—and it isn't just ketchup and mustard on top of them.

French Fry Heaven, which started in Florida, has arrived in the Baltimore area, and the franchise owners have plans to open more locations across the state. For now, though, french-fry lovers will have to visit the Towson location to get a taste of French Fry Heaven's unusual flavors.

These include fries loaded with toppings like blueberry sauce, marshmallow, dill pickle, and caramel. Names like the "St. Smooth" and the "Baked Tater" add to the whimsy.

Not feeling so adventurous? Familiar staples like BBQ sauce and cheese are also available. Specialty salts and peppers top the fries off exactly to your liking.

Despite the decadence of the twice-fried treats, French Fry Heaven's goods aren't as guilty of a pleasure as they may seem. They have zero trans fat and are cooked in gluten-free oil in order to cut down on grease. And vegetarians, rejoice! Almost everything on the indulgent menu is meat-free.

—Eva N. Niessner 

February, 3rd 2014

New at Fleet Street Kitchen

Baltimore magazine

If you’ve noticed that the tablecloths are missing in the front dining room at Fleet Street Kitchen, there’s a reason. The Harbor East restaurant will be introducing The Tavern Room, starting March 1, with a more casual dining option.

The restaurant’s current menu with a-la-carte items and prix-fix meals will still be available in the upstairs area, now referred to as The Dining Room.

The Tavern Room’s food won’t be typical pub grub, though.

Chefs Chris Becker and Chris Amendola will be offering intriguing dishes like merguez pretzel bites, ocean-trout belly crudo, confit duck leg, and vegetarian items including glazed sunchokes as well as some previous favorites: a “pig face and pickles” offal dish and a charcuterie and cheese board.

To complement the food, Tim Riley, the restaurant’s beverage director, will be showcasing various punches in large punch bowls for groups. They’ll change seasonally.

The dining scene in Harbor East gets more interesting all the time.

January, 31st 2014

Valentine’s Day to be Celebrated All Weekend

Baltimore magazine

If the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through his stomach, Baltimoreans are in luck. Many restaurants are capitalizing on this year’s Friday, February 14, Valentine’s Day by offering prix-fixe meals on Saturday and Sunday, too.

B&O American Brasserie is even starting their Valentine’s promotion on Thursday, February 13.

Now is a really good time to make reservations to ensure that you don’t end up sharing a Big Mac with your loved one. Check out the delicious offerings below:

February 13-16

B&O American Brasserie


The sweet deal: Five-course, aphrodisiac-inspired menu for two, $120 a couple, with complimentary glasses of Prosecco. Dinner includes Châteaubriand and chocolate ménage et trois for dessert. The regular dinner menu is also available. See the Facebook page for more info.

February 14

By Degrees Cafe

Harbor East

The sweet deal: Five-course meal, $33 a person; entrees include seared scallops, pan-roasted chicken, and red-wine-braised brisket. See full menu.

Chef’s Expessions at Gramercy Mansion


The sweet deal: Butler-passed hors d’oeuvres, seated supper, $99.95 a person, includes wine pairings. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Susan G. Komen Maryland. Entrees include pan-roasted squab and smoked duck with black-cherry demi-glace. See full menu.

Mr. Rain’s Fun House

Federal Hill

The sweet deal: “Four-Base Valentine’s Menu,” $55, optional wine pairing, $30. Entrees include poached monkfish, braised rabbit, and grilled rib-eye steak. A “Lonely Hearts Club” a-la-carte menu with drink specials will be available in the bar and lounge. See the Facebook page for more info.

Waterfront Kitchen

Fells Point

The sweet deal: Three-course dinner, $69 or $99 paired with wines. Entrees include pan-roasted rockfish and braised-beef short rib “osso buco.” See the website for more info.

February 14-15



The sweet deal: Three courses, $59, optional wine paring $29. Entrees include a six-ounce filet mignon and lamb loin and belly. Regular menu also offered. See full menu.

Fleet Street Kitchen

Harbor East

The sweet deal: Early seating, 5-7 p.m., three courses, $69, optional wine pairing $29. Entrees include pan-seared ocean trout and strip steak. A vegetarian option is $49. Late seating, 7:30-10:30 p.m., four courses, $89, optional wine pairing $39. Entrees include farm chicken and duck breast. A vegetarian option is $59. No regular menu on Friday except for the a-la-carte options at the bar and bar tables. The regular menu will be offered on Saturday. See full menus.

Ten Ten

Harbor East

The sweet deal: Three courses, $49, optional wine pairing $25. Entrees include pork shank, seafood chowder, and wild-mushroom lasagna. The regular menu will not be offered. A-la-carte options will be available at the bar. See full menu.

Wine Market Bistro

Locust Point

The sweet deal: Four-course dinner, $55 a person, optional wine pairings, $28, gratuity and tax not included. Entrees include duck breast and mahi mahi. See full menu.

February 14-16

RA Sushi

Harbor East

The sweet deal: Three courses, $30 a couple. Choices include the “ultimate shrimp tempura roll” and spicy chicken teriyaki udon. The regular dinner menu is also available. See the website for more info.

February 16


Harbor East

The sweet deal: The restaurant will be open, starting at 5:30 p.m., for a seasonal, prix-fixe tasting menu with wine pairings if desired. Prices vary. See full menu.

January, 31st 2014

Another pop-up dinner at Artifact Coffee

Baltimore magazine

Chef Jonah Kim, executive chef at Pabu in Harbor East, is teaming up with Artifact Coffee for a pop-up dinner next week. Jonah will be preparing a Korean-inspired meal in a team effort being called “Jonah-fact.”

The dinners will be held on February 6, 7, and 8. There will be two seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. And, good news, reservations will be taken.

At an earlier Artifact collaboration with D.C.’s Toki Underground, diners lined up to get a seat at the first-come, first-serve dinners.

The upcoming “takeover,” as Artifact tweeted today, comes at a good time for Jonah. This week, Pabu had to close temporarily due to damage caused by a water leak, according to its Facebook page. It may take seven-10 days to re-open for dinner.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had Jonah’s great food, now is the time at Artifact Coffee.

January, 25th 2014

The Valley Inn in Brooklandville Opens

Baltimore magazine

UPDATED: This Friday, The Valley Inn in Brooklandville will be open daily, starting at 4:30 p.m. Diners can sit in the bar area and enjoy a scaled-down menu until the restaurant's dining room opens in about two weeks.

Dinner will be served at first, but eventually, the restaurant will be open for lunch, too.

I caught up this afternoon with owner Ted Bauer, who also operates The Oregon Grill in Hunt Valley. "We wanted to start out very slow until we got to know the building a bit," he said. "People have been very excited about it."

For the past three weeks, the historic restaurant, which has undergone renovations, has been open on Fridays and Saturdays to faithful fans, who were curious to check out the updates. The restaurant closed in late 2010 when Ted acquired the property from Bud Hatfield and his family, who had run the popular establishment since the 1920s. At one time, it was a popular gathering place for the horse-country crowd.

Currently, the restaurant's new kitchen, under chef Tom Hawkins, an Oregon Grille sous chef, is serving appetizers like oysters and steamed shrimp, a selection of soups and salads, sandwiches including a 10-ounce burger and shrimp salad, and a few larger plates featuring mahi mahi and steak.

Before the restaurant closed, the building, pictured, near the upscale Green Spring Station mall, was showing its age. The food was old-fashioned (lobster Newburg, hot turkey sandwiches with gravy), but the mint juleps were great.

After Ted was granted a liquor license in 2010, the old restaurant, officially in Lutherville, remained vacant as the restaurateur sought various approvals for updating the premises.

Under his management—he started the Mt. Washington Tavern in 1979 before opening The Oregon Grille—the Valley Inn should be ready to take on this century.

January, 23rd 2014

New Petit Louis Opens with Charity Events

Baltimore magazine

If you want to get an early look at Petit Louis Bistro in Columbia, owners Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf are introducing their newest restaurant with a series of dining events to benefit various charities, starting next week.

The French bistro, located on Lake Kittamaqundi, will open to the public in early February. It will feature traditional dishes like Louis’s “famous onion soup” (pictured), duck-leg confit, mussels provençale, cassoulet, and steak frites among other offerings.

To celebrate their sixth restaurant, Tony and Cindy—who also own Charleston, the original Petit Louis in Roland Park, and other places—will donate proceeds from several lunches and dinners to four Howard County charities: Bridges to Housing Stability, Columbia Festival of the Arts, Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, and The Howard County Conservancy.

Diners can choose which charity they’d like to receive the funds.

The charity luncheon dates ($30 a person) are January 29 and 31; dinners ($50 a person) are January 28, 29, 30, and 31.

The meals include an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Each guest will receive a complimentary glass of red or white wine.

To make reservations, call 410-964-9999. Petit Louis in Columbia is located at 10215 Wincopin Circle.


January, 20th 2014

The old Dogwood will be Le Garage

Baltimore magazine

The vacated Dogwood on The Avenue in Hampden will soon be Le Garage Beer Bar & Frites with chef Sarah Acconcia in the kitchen. Wine Market Bistro owner Chris Spann is involved, too, as a consultant.

The restaurant, which will offer "approachable French cuisine," is set to open in early April. The menu will include savory frites with a variety of dipping sauces—including Old Bay ketchup, bacon horseradish, and rosemary garlic—as well as entrees in the $16-21 price range and other dishes.

Most recently, Sarah was a sous chef at Maggie's Farm in Lauraville. Previously, she created an assortment of impressive small plates at 13.5% Wine Bar, up the street from the new restaurant.

Le Garage, in the lower level of the space, will have an 18-seat bar with high-top tables, along with a 60-seat dining area. The upper room, fronting 36th Street, will house a small Belgian-style frites shop.

The restaurant's menu will also include 14 hand-selected drafts focusing on Belgian, French, and local craft breweries, as well as wine offerings. The beverage program will be handled by Brendan Kirlin, a partner on the project who will also run the front of the house. He's a former beer buyer at the Wine Market.

The restaurant will be located at 911 W. 36th Street. 

Hampden is certainly becoming a restaurant hub!

January, 17th 2014

Pop-Up Dinners to Continue at Artifact Coffee

Baltimore magazine

Chef/co-owner Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen and other restaurants plans to partner with various restaurant colleagues in joint dinners about once a month, it was announced today. The kickoff is “Tokifact” at Artifact Coffee with chef/owner Erik Bruner-Yang of the popular Toki Underground in D.C. (pictured left with Spike).

Two dinners remain in the series, which features spelt ramen. They are being held tonight and Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. and serving until the ramen is gone. It’s first come, first serve, and from what we are hearing, lines form early to get into the Clipper Mill restaurant.

Dumplings, desserts, and cocktails are also on the menu, all priced a la carte.

Future dinners will seek to put a local interpretation on different cuisines. We can't wait to see who Spike partners with next.

In the meantime, Artifact already has other events coming up: “Bowl & a Beer” on January 22 and One Pot Dinners with a Beer for $8 on January 29.



January, 9th 2014

Anastasia Is Open in Fells Point

Baltimore magazine

Fells Point's newest restaurant, Anastasia, is now open in the Thames Street building formerly occupied by Meli American Bistro. The menu is "approachable" Italian food, according to a press release.

It features charcuterie, pasta, and gourmet pizzas made with organic and seasonal ingredients, overseen by chef Gerardo Gonzalez. Currently, it's only serving dinner, but breakfast and lunch will be available eventually.

Anastasia is owned by Kali's Restaurant Group, which also operates Kali's Court, Mezze, Tapas Adela, and The Admiral's Cup, all in Fells. It's named after the daughter of owner Vasilis Keramidas.

The restaurant will also join the trend of whipping up specialty hand-crafted cocktails and will offer biodynamic, sustainable Italian wine and Italian beer flights. A restaurant bar is pictured.

After 10 p.m., Anastasia will focus on entertainment with a DJ and live music on Fridays and Saturdays as well as bottle service.

The bathrooms, I understand, are still the same. Former patrons will recall that the space has communal sinks, though the men's and women's facilities are separate.

"The unusual restroom, while it's been updated, is still quite unique," said Tracey Wise, Anastasia's general manager.

If you don't get to the restaurant earlier, an official grand opening will be held January 18. 

January, 9th 2014

Get Ready for Baltimore County Restaurant Week

Baltimore magazine

Just when the winter doldrums are about to set in, we have an excuse to go out and celebrate Baltimore County Restaurant Week and its special prices, starting Friday. More than 50 restaurants are participating this year.

They range from Ruth's Chris Steak House in Pikesville and Dimitri's International Grille in Catonsville to The Milton Inn in Sparks and River Watch Restaurant in Essex. Where ever you live, there's a restaurant near you. (See our map below.)

The restaurants are offering prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus (or both) with prices ranging from $10.14 to $35.14. For instance, the new Liquid Lib's, pictured, in Timonium has a tapas selection of four items for $20.14. And Pizza John's in Essex has a choice of pasta with meatballs or meat sauce, a cannoli, and a soda for $12.14 plus tax.

Check out the Restaurant Week website for more menus.

After the county's food frenzy ends on January 26, diners will have a couple of weeks to digest their food before the city's Winter Restaurant Week returns from February 16-23.

Bon appétit! 

January, 2nd 2014

Joe Squared Picked As One of the Best

Baltimore magazine

A "Best of Pizza" special episode of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives airs at 8 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 6). And Joe Squared is included with its bacon-and-clam pizza.

In the restaurant's signature square shape, the coal-fired, thin-crust pizza (pictured) includes clams, maple-smoked bacon, roasted garlic cream, onion, oregano, and mozzarella, Romano, and Asiago cheeses.

Diners TV host Guy Fieri picked Joe Squared, with locations in Station North and the Inner Harbor, as one of his favorite pizza places in the country.

The clam pizza also was cited by Zagat in December as the best pizza in all of Maryland.

Kudos to owner Joe Edwardsen. 

December, 18th 2013

Give ’Em the Bird

Baltimore magazine

Talk about a good cause. Ryleigh’s Oyster is raising money to help feed hundreds of South Baltimore families. And patrons benefit, too.

Here’s how it works. Ryleigh’s Oyster is encouraging patrons to donate $14 each by telling their bartender or server, “Give ’em the bird,” through Dec. 23. The money will be added to their restaurant checks. In return, guests will receive a $10 Ryleigh’s Oyster gift card redeemable throughout the month of January.

The money raised at the restaurant goes toward buying turkeys for a food drive run by the Baltimore Police Department’s Southern District to provide holiday meals to local residents in need.


12 issues for $18!