We hope you brought your appetite, because it's time for our annual "Best Restaurants" effort, a feature that has evolved and expanded.
This year, we have 67 winners in eight categories—with eight restaurants placing first in their respective divisions. You'll see that senior editor Suzanne Loudermilk has grouped similar restaurants together for a better comparison and to make it easier for readers to make their restaurant choices.
After a painful 2009 for just about everyone (except maybe bankruptcy attorneys), the list reflects a good year for the fine-dining folks. A number of new places opened, giving us hope that the economy is rebounding. And several of these new establishments made our list, including Langermann's, Tapas Adela, Bluegrass Tavern, and Vino Rosina.
While our restaurant reviewers and other writers try to tell their stories colorfully in words, it is Baltimore's talented team of designers that whet our appetites visually. So I was pleased when the industry recognized their talents in the recent Eddie & Ozzie Awards, a prestigious national editorial and design competion run by Folio magazine. We took first place for Best Feature Design for our striking "Rise and Dine" cover story in October 2009. So, kudos to art director Amanda White-Iseli, production manager Jon Timian, and photographer Stacey Zarin for helping Suzanne Loudermilk's feature meet its full visual potential.
There's news on the website front, too: For the next two months, Baltimore will be collaborating with NewsTrust, a nonprofit media experiment designed to help people find good local journalism. And we're pleased that Charm City can boast NewsTrust's first-ever local site at baltimore.newstrust.net. Several local news organizations, including Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun, and WYPR, have agreed to partner with NewsTrust to promote the experiment, which is supported by the Baltimore-based Open Society Institute.
On our own site at baltimoremagazine.net, look for the NewsTrust button at the bottom of any story you call up, and make a comment.
We were saddened at press time to learn of the death of an Orioles legend, longtime Orioles' umpires' attendant Ernie Tyler, at age 86. Tyler was known for the 3,819 consecutive home games he worked from 1960 to 2007. He only broke his streak when he accepted an invitation from Cal Ripken Jr. to attend Ripken's Hall of Fame induction. Our condolences to his wife, Juliane, and their 11 children.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to congratulate my daughter Danielle Geppi Patras, who gave birth to a beautiful eight-pound baby girl by the name of Kinsley Cooper Patras. (For me, that's grandchild number seven!) And Kinsley made her debut on the same day as her father Nick's birthday. February 8 is going to be a big day in the Patras household!