We have a great lineup for the June issue, including, of course, our cover story, The Food Lovers Guide, which takes gastronomes on a grand tour of the very best places—some of them little known—to find the tastiest edibles in town, from organic vegetables to whole octopus.
Naturally, Italian cuisine is my favorite, and one of senior editor Suzanne Loudermilk's picks (that I totally agree with) was the 103-year-old Trinacria Foods, an Italian market and deli on North Paca Street. And I was amused when she told me that "Mike says, 'Hi.'" One of the men behind the counter, Mike Popoli, remembered me as a childhood pal growing up in Little Italy. In fact, he lived across the street from me, and we went to the same grade school—Smalltimore at its best!
We've got a different twist on our annual beach guide, too, focusing not on the beaches with the finest sand or the fewest number of screaming toddlers, but on what you can do after you've got a good sunburn. We're talking cocktails at sunset, bonfires by the ocean, and the best of the boardwalk in all its bright, kinetic glory. I'm at the beach just about every summer and probably enjoy the nightlife more than any other aspect of Ocean City or Rehoboth Beach. I confess that I did decline to reveal to Baltimore's nosy editors my favorite nightlife haunts at the beach (to avoid bias in the story, and, yes, for a little privacy, thank you). But, as a self-styled aficionado on such matters, I think you'll enjoy our guide to 30 fun and engaging ways to spend your evenings at the beaches this summer—and, yes, I checked, my favorite places are on the list.
Now, quick, name a household-name athlete turned philanthropist, recent author, and businessman, and you'll have the subject of our backpage Grill. If you said Cal Ripken Jr., you probably peeked.
It's been 10 years since The Iron Man retired after his incredible streak, but he hasn't really left baseball: It's through America's favorite pastime—and in honor of his father's memory—that he's helping underserved kids and writing books that promise to do very well. The philanthropic side of his post-streak calling is not surprising to me at all: I've known Cal for the many years I've been an investor in the O's, and, after bringing immeasurable honor to the team and to Baltimore during his peerless professional career, he's doing the same in his so-called retirement.