Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Baltimore – Where to eat


  • Please log in to reply
329 replies to this topic

#31 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 08 April 2004 - 03:24 PM

Hell, almost all crab in Maryland, whatever the time of year, is flown in. The crab harvesting around the Chesapeake has been devastated since at least the early 80's. Freakin' national and historic tragedy, in my view. Given how much crab in all its' form is consumed in Maryland in a given year, I'd be surprised if even 5% of what's eaten is from there. Louisiana has the same thing going on with crayfish.

Edited by jbraynolds, 08 April 2004 - 03:24 PM.


#32 misscindy

misscindy
  • participating member
  • 101 posts
  • Location:Baltimore

Posted 08 April 2004 - 03:38 PM

There's one Little Tavern left...out in Dundalk. Old-timers will (fondly?) recall this DelMarVa take on White Castle that helped to close out many a night of drinking. There's also one down in Laurel, for what it's worth. Those are the last two of the former empire. Sigh.

Actually, there is a Little Tavern on Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown.

#33 Mayhaw Man

Mayhaw Man
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,856 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC

Posted 08 April 2004 - 03:50 PM

Hell, almost all crab in Maryland, whatever the time of year, is flown in. The crab harvesting around the Chesapeake has been devastated since at least the early 80's. Freakin' national and historic tragedy, in my view. Given how much crab in all its' form is consumed in Maryland in a given year, I'd be surprised if even 5% of what's eaten is from there. Louisiana has the same thing going on with crayfish.

It's not exactly the same thing, considering that much of the blue crab that you eat in Maryland as "Maryland Crab" and many of the oysters that you eat as "Blue Point" are from Louisiana and Texas (ask to see the tag on the sack or the box (box more likely in this case as that is how the "selects" are usually packed.

We have no shortage of anything seafood wise to speak of. The issue here, particularly with crawfish, is price as it relates to labor. Crawfish just happen. They are every damn where. Ditches, lakes, drainage canals, rice fields, river basin, the ornamental ponds in my backyard. We have lots of water (65% of the entire watershed for the entire United States passes within 25 miles of my house). The problem with crawfish here (and what I believe you are referring to) is that the labor market in China is such that they are able to grow and PICK the boiled or steamed bugs and pack them into pound bags (although Chinese Crawfish almost are never packed by the pound, but in 12 ounce bags as they are banking on most consumers expecting to be getting a pound and not taking the time to read the fine print (and it is FINE) much less expensively than we can do it in packing houses on the Gulf Coast, even at minimum wage. This problem of inexpensive imports is what is hurting our crawfish industry here, not a shortage of the raw product as has happened in Maryland.

Crabs are a little different for two reasons-the Gulf Of Mexico and it's brackish bays and bayous continue to produce crabs in very healthy numbers. #1 males go for about a buck, cooked, at any local grocery here and are and have remained inexpensive and delicious. They are easy to catch in a trap and most people I know here in this tidal parish catch their own off of their own or some friends dock. I do.

The second reason that crabs are different than crawfish is that they only occur here, the blue crab is not something that can be grown economically or well elsewhere. The cost of labor in picking crab meat is very high. It is very skilled labor and takes a meticulous and delicate touch to do it at high speed in a commercial packing house. Along the Gulf Coast it was primarily natives who took care of this job, and primarily women as they have more skill and a more delicate touch at this onerous task, but right after the VIet Nam War there was a huge influx of Vietnamese Immigrants to SOuth Louisiana (three reasons-we're primarily Catholic, we still have some French speaking culture left down on the bayous in the central Gulf part of the state, and there was a huge contingent of ex Vietnamese army helicopter pilots who found work in the then booming oil fields giving rides to rig workers and moving around equipment) and their wives and daughters started filling the spots in the picking houses. The cost of crabmeat (particularl the highly prized lump portion of it) is all in the labor-the raw product is comparitively cheap. You can make a decent living if you can pick the things fast enough. The picking houses are much like the old cigar factories. Someone reads or there is some other audible entertainment to keep your mind off of the paring knfe in your right hand and the crab in the other. The houses are fascinating places to visit. They don't exactly offer tours, but most of them are happy enough to let you have a look if you ask nicely.

So, the reason for the reasons for the crab shortage in Maryland (sad though that is) are not quite the same as the shortage of native crawfish tail meat in Louisiana.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#34 Holly Moore

Holly Moore
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,572 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia, PA

Posted 08 April 2004 - 04:23 PM

... Faidley's are it. They also make a mighty fine coddie, a very blue collar Baltimore food tradition.

Some details on coddie, please?
Holly Moore
"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com
Twitter

#35 clifford

clifford
  • participating member
  • 95 posts
  • Location:Fairfax, VA

Posted 08 April 2004 - 06:15 PM

I assume you'll be cabbing it or have access to a car, since the Chuck isn't near any hotels.

It has been a couple of years since I've lived in Baltimore, but the Cafe Hon and Holy Frijoles both have good grub in very Baltimore style setting.

You put NO in bold, so I assume you don't want anything attempting to mimic fine dining, and these both fit the bill.

John Steven's is a great place to suck back a few dozen pints with decent bar food, and there's a Mexican joint in Canton that serves good margherita's in hubcaps, but I am sure that it has been over run with trendy shitbags. I hope the same doesn't apply to Club Charles.

The Helmand has been the leading Afghani restaurant in Baltimore for at least a decade, and not because it's the only one either. Food is very good, but yeah, the wine list sucks.

Stop by the Red Maple on your way up the street to see Baltimore's version of a NY'esque tapas bar/dance club.

Definitely recommend the Brewer's Art! The beer selection is superb, and the basement bar is a more like a beer dungeon.

Have fun in Charm City, and please report back!

Oh yeah, sucking down raw oysters and huge beers in Cross Street Market is a great way to spend the day.

#36 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 08 April 2004 - 07:58 PM

That Little Tavern that misscindy mentions, in Highlandtown, on Eastern, is the one to which I refer. In my overly big picture way of looking at Baltimore I guess I consider that area "Dundalk North", with all due respect to the locals. The owner is the same as the one down in Laurel, I'm told. They supposedly get their buns from the same purveyor that supplied all of the Little Taverns back in the day.
There's some good stuff available on the web that tracks the rise, reign and fall of Little Tavern, btw.

#37 misscindy

misscindy
  • participating member
  • 101 posts
  • Location:Baltimore

Posted 09 April 2004 - 06:38 AM

Some details on coddie, please?

Coddies are crabcake shaped combos of salt cod and mashed potatoes. They used to be on counters of virtually every bar and convenience store in Baltimore and to a lesser extent, they still are. Of course, not everyone makes them "right" with real mashed pototoes, but Faidley's does. There's a little store in my neighborhood that has them on the counter and it never fails to crack me up when the guys behind the counter, with thick Baltimore accents, always ask "do you need a coddie with that, hon?" when I stop in to buy trash bags.

#38 ludja

ludja
  • participating member
  • 4,440 posts
  • Location:Burque

Posted 09 April 2004 - 07:59 AM

Oh yeah, sucking down raw oysters and huge beers in Cross Street Market is a great way to spend the day.

Yes, this was one of the best things I've done in Baltimore!

Open every day except Sunday from 7am-6pm over near Federal Hill.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#39 Basilgirl

Basilgirl
  • participating member
  • 885 posts

Posted 09 April 2004 - 08:01 AM

I saw this place on the Food Network:

Nacho Mama's:

Vintage signage, south-of-the-border souvenirs and Elvis memorabilia pack this tiny, festive Tex-Mex joint. It's located on Canton's popular square. Large numbers of upwardly mobile patrons squeeze their way inside for the chance to eat chips and salsa out of hubcaps and sip pints of knock your socks off margaritas. The above average food offerings include staples like tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and fajitas -- all of which can be had traditional (beef tacos) and creative (stir-fry quesadillas).

The restaurant can get quite rowdy because the margaritas pack a punch. It's a great place to cut loose, but not the best choice if you're looking for quiet respite. Be warned, there aren't many tables and reservations aren't taken. Count on waiting an hour or two at peak times. -- Melissa Nurczynski, AOL City Guide
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

#40 cjsadler

cjsadler
  • participating member
  • 345 posts
  • Location:Adams Morgan

Posted 09 April 2004 - 08:42 AM

I saw this place on the Food Network:

Nacho Mama's:

Vintage signage, south-of-the-border souvenirs and Elvis memorabilia pack this tiny, festive Tex-Mex joint. It's located on Canton's popular square. Large numbers of upwardly mobile patrons squeeze their way inside for the chance to eat chips and salsa out of hubcaps and sip pints of knock your socks off margaritas. The above average food offerings include staples like tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and fajitas -- all of which can be had traditional (beef tacos) and creative (stir-fry quesadillas).

The restaurant can get quite rowdy because the margaritas pack a punch. It's a great place to cut loose, but not the best choice if you're looking for quiet respite. Be warned, there aren't many tables and reservations aren't taken. Count on waiting an hour or two at peak times. -- Melissa Nurczynski, AOL City Guide

They didn't mention all the Natty Boh* memorabilia, which is one of the greatest things about the place. It's mixed in with the Elvis stuff. And you drink the margaritas out of hubcabs (with a straw), not eat chips out of them! This place can be fun, but they did get the part about the long wait right (esp these days, with Canton being a popular area). The food is just ok, except for a really good crab dip.

*National Bohemian beer. No longer brewed in Baltimore, but still seen often there.
Chris Sadler

#41 hjshorter

hjshorter
  • participating member
  • 3,471 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD

Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:37 AM

*National Bohemian beer. No longer brewed in Baltimore, but still seen often there.

:sad: Is it brewed somewhere else, or just gone? Can't imagine it would have the same funky, yet oddly bland flavor brewed somewhere else.
Heather Johnson
In Good Thyme

#42 cjsadler

cjsadler
  • participating member
  • 345 posts
  • Location:Adams Morgan

Posted 09 April 2004 - 11:57 AM

*National Bohemian beer.  No longer brewed in Baltimore, but still seen often there.

:sad: Is it brewed somewhere else, or just gone? Can't imagine it would have the same funky, yet oddly bland flavor brewed somewhere else.

It's now brewed by Pabst, so "The Land of Pleasant Living" is now San Antonio, TX. The quality is up to the standards of other fine Pabst products such as Old Style, Colt 45 and St. Ides. They have an incredible graphics department as well:

Posted Image

Edited by cjsadler, 09 April 2004 - 11:59 AM.

Chris Sadler

#43 eunny jang

eunny jang
  • participating member
  • 849 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 09 April 2004 - 12:02 PM

*National Bohemian beer.  No longer brewed in Baltimore, but still seen often there.

:sad: Is it brewed somewhere else, or just gone? Can't imagine it would have the same funky, yet oddly bland flavor brewed somewhere else.

Ohhh, man, Natty Bo!

I didn't even know this existed until a month ago, when I was at a seedy little warehouse of a club near Lexington Market to hear an aquaintance's band play. They were selling cans of Natty Bo for a dollar a pop at the bar. Since then, I have learned what a ripoff this is, since you can buy a case of it for less than ten dollars in some liquor stores.

Yummm, Natty Bo. Like drinking sugary water. Dig the little one-eyed Baltimore man on the can.

#44 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 09 April 2004 - 12:18 PM

A six-pack of Natty Boh and a sack of Little Tavern burgers. Now THAT's Baltimore dining. Don't forget the Berger's fudge cookies for dessert.
Berger Cookies

Edited by jbraynolds, 09 April 2004 - 12:21 PM.


#45 DonRocks

DonRocks
  • participating member
  • 1,118 posts

Posted 09 April 2004 - 12:26 PM

This little LuvFest is charming, but we're all waxing poetic about dung.

Last night I went to a Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall in Eden Center, and for the first time in my life, I was wishing I had gone to Four Sisters. This place was authentic and homey, but it was also nasty: everyone was smoking, the beer glasses smelled strongly of metal (from being stored upside-down on the metal shelf above the bar), the fish tank was way too small for the army of large docile fish floating around doing nothing, and it was so dirty and cloudy that it was completely opaque. The basil tasted like soap, which quite frankly amazed me because that means they washed it, the shrimp was frozen and limpid, bivalves were sitting around on a tray in the middle of the restaurant at room temperature, and a thermos full of live frogs was even more disgusting. It was a top-to-bottom bad meal: at least Four Sisters isn't filthy.

Little Tavern, anyone?

#46 misscindy

misscindy
  • participating member
  • 101 posts
  • Location:Baltimore

Posted 09 April 2004 - 12:42 PM

This little LuvFest is charming, but we're all waxing poetic about dung.

Funny how people come out of the woodwork to toss around tired cliches about Baltimore when there is an opportunity to kiss a celeb's rear end, isn't it?

#47 eunny jang

eunny jang
  • participating member
  • 849 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 09 April 2004 - 12:54 PM

This little LuvFest is charming, but we're all waxing poetic about dung.

Funny how people come out of the woodwork to toss around tired cliches about Baltimore when there is an opportunity to kiss a celeb's rear end, isn't it?

Bah. No one said it was good. In fact, I think we've mostly talked about it in a "yep, that's classic Baltimore <roll of the eyes>" kind of way.

I think there have been few threads started on or questions asked about Baltimore. I'm still pretty new, so if indeed the replies on this thread exist only because our provincial panties are in a bunch over a Big Time Celebrity Type deigning to discuss our region with us, please correct me.

#48 hannnah

hannnah
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 658 posts
  • Location:DC 'burbs

Posted 09 April 2004 - 01:31 PM

I assume the question was asked to start with because there just ain't that much in the forum about Baltimore.

There's one other thread about the IACP conference which has more on the fine dining end, there's one about breakfast, and there are a couple other "visiting Baltimore, where should I eat?" threads, plus there's one waaaay back about crab cakes. The answers are pretty much the same every time - Faidley's, Brewer's Art, Wharf Rat, Little Italy yes, Little Italy no, Inner Harbor tourist trap.

We now return you to your previously scheduled discussion about Natty Bo. Personally, I prefer Red White and Blue, but since it was a Pabst product as well it could well be that they're identical.
"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard

#49 Al_Dente

Al_Dente
  • participating member
  • 1,875 posts
  • Location:Washington DC

Posted 09 April 2004 - 01:35 PM

Went to the O's game last night. One of the beer vendors on Eutaw St sells a Brewer's Art ale-- worth all $6!
peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...
-- A.B.

#50 pleiades

pleiades
  • participating member
  • 63 posts

Posted 09 April 2004 - 01:45 PM

I didn't fully take in the emphasis on NO fine dining... with that I think my suggestions of Ixia and Corks and probably even Vespa don't apply. There is also Golden West Cafe in Hampden, near Cafe Hon. Bohemian in a smart Austin TX kind of way. The chef/owner loves spice, and his culinary heart clearly lies in the New Southwest. The menu reflects that, with a sprinkle of Thai and Vietnamese. The food is tasty, honestly prepared, generously portioned, and inexpensive. Tom Rudis is the chef/owner, he's an interesting personality, and his place is worth a visit.

And sometimes, on an early Spring evening, a cool Natty Boh hits the spot. Diss it all you want, but just like its G. Heilman brethren (Pabst and Lone Star) it at least tastes like beer, which is more than I can say for the "premium" brands like Bud and Miller. If there's no Anchor and no Sierra Nevada in the house (or a competent local draught), I'll take the Boh.

#51 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:05 PM

Oh, and if you think that there's anything down there aside from what you call "cliches" that an out-of-towner can't miss, please enumerate. Wasn't it you who broght up the coddies? Hmm, I believe it was. Point is, when someone from out of town says "I want to see Baltimore", I sure as Hell wouldn't send them to a pizza place, a tex-mex place or an Asian place. No, I'd send them to a Baltimore, MD place, a place where they can get something that they can't duplicate elsewhere. Ever had a crabcake in NYC? If that's all you've had, Baltimore is a revelation. So sorry if it's a cliche in your More Baltimore Than Thou book.

#52 hjshorter

hjshorter
  • participating member
  • 3,471 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:05 PM

And sometimes, on an early Spring evening, a cool Natty Boh hits the spot. Diss it all you want, but just like its G. Heilman brethren (Pabst and Lone Star) it at least tastes like beer, which is more than I can say for the "premium" brands like Bud and Miller. If there's no Anchor and no Sierra Nevada in the house (or a competent local draught), I'll take the Boh.

I wasn't dissing it. It's part of Baltimore for me - cold Natty Boh, Orioles at Memorial Stadium, Esskay hotdog with mustard. I wish I was there right now, in fact.

Wasn't this a thread about Baltimore? Isn't Eden Center in Northern Virginia? :hmmm:
Heather Johnson
In Good Thyme

#53 hjshorter

hjshorter
  • participating member
  • 3,471 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:08 PM

Ever had a crabcake in NYC? If that's all you've had, Baltimore is a revelation.

Right on. And it's More Baltimore Than Thou, Hon. :laugh:

Heather (has spent lots of quality time in Baltimore since 1985, and would move there if she could. :smile: )
Heather Johnson
In Good Thyme

#54 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:13 PM

Speaking of cliches, if it's open, I'd get a car and drive down to Cantler's. They have a gift shop now so the end might be near.

#55 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:31 PM

Okay, deep breath. The problem with visiting Baltimore is that it has become way too easy to get sucked into the vortex of chains or pseudo-chains. You could spend days there without seeing places and things that make the city unique (some would, proudly, say bizarre). Christmas in Hamden, the 4th of July parade in Dundalk, what's left of The Block, those last Little Taverns, Lexington Market, Marconi's (no more Hausner's), Swallow at The Hollow, Bar, the original Wharf Rat (I'm elated that it still exists), at least a walk by Memorial Stadium and so on. These are the places that I think of when I think of Baltimore, not some Rouse Company sleepwalk, some Six Flags Over Camden Yards (I think that they don't even serve Esskay franks anymore; I hear that it's Perdue chicken franks...yikes!), a freakin' Legal Seafoods on Pratt Street across from The Place That Shall Not Be Mentioned...you can do that crap anywhere.

#56 misscindy

misscindy
  • participating member
  • 101 posts
  • Location:Baltimore

Posted 09 April 2004 - 03:45 PM

Hey! We agree on something! You are right, the Inner Horrible is all most visitors to Baltimore ever see. Then, we have listen to how much it sucks which is like judging NYC based on a visit to Times Square. And, while this is veering into another subject entirely, I give Camden Yards a pass despite the fact that no one misses Memorial Stadium more than I do. There were legit reasons it had to be done and I am still somewhat surprised that Baltimore did something so well that the rest of the country is now copying it, for better or worse. Although tacos from a neighborhood place are my game chow of choice, I happen to know that Esskay hot dogs are served.

#57 jbraynolds

jbraynolds
  • legacy participant
  • 208 posts
  • Location:New York

Posted 09 April 2004 - 04:12 PM

You bet we agree. And I had to work across the street from It for almost four years. At least the old Bun Penny had cheap beer on tap and you could walk to a real hot dog or pastrami place back then.
I'd go further vis The Inner Horror Experience. If you're in New York, you can go to The South Street Seaport, which is another Rouse development. You don't even have to close your eyes to imagine that you're on Pratt Street. As a public service, here's a link to the "travel and marketing page" of this forward-thinking, soul-sapping developer. Here you can see those places that must be avoided at all costs. It's a real rogue's gallery of places utterly devoid of local color, personality and/or character
"Cheescake Factory, Hard Rock Cafe, California Pizza Kitchen..." Yeah!
Places Not to Go That Were Developed By The Rouse Company

Edited by jbraynolds, 09 April 2004 - 04:17 PM.


#58 DonRocks

DonRocks
  • participating member
  • 1,118 posts

Posted 09 April 2004 - 06:49 PM

Miss Indie,

I was only dissing Natty Boh, not indicting an entire city.

Once I walked into a Royal Farms 24-hour Mini-Mart at 4 AM, and ordered a 3-piece assortment of fried chicken and asked the cashier for 6 Nasty Blows.

He, "We have light version now too."

"What's it called?"

"Mousy Dung."

Reaping what I sowed for going off topic...

Cheers,
Rocks.

#59 therese

therese
  • participating member
  • 2,780 posts
  • Location:Atlanta

Posted 12 April 2004 - 11:13 AM

One dinner in Baltimore (business, but I don't mind my dining companions) and somebody else is paying. Where should we go?
Can you pee in the ocean?

#60 hannnah

hannnah
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 658 posts
  • Location:DC 'burbs

Posted 12 April 2004 - 11:53 AM

Latest recommendations for Baltimore fine dining.
"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard