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Baltimore – Where to eat


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#61 therese

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Posted 16 April 2004 - 11:10 AM

Just short of 24 hours on the ground in Baltimore, and all sorts of dining thrills to recount.

Stayed at the new-ish Marriott on the waterfront: fancy lobby, rooms not as well-tended by housekeeping as they should be, hellishly loud noise accompanies use of showers (in both of two rooms surveyed), hot water for tea with my room service breakfast served in a coffee-flavored carafe.

Ate lunch in a small restaurant that made quite nice crab cakes but served iced tea made with syrup (which means it tastes like potassium benzoate). So in case anybody asks, Baltimore is officially not the south.

Dinner was at Charleston. Fancy sort of dining room with fancy prices to match. The a la carte menu offers three savoury courses, with mains all in excess of $30. I got the tasting menu with wine pairings, relatively good value at $115. Without wine the tasting menu is $79.

Bread arrives early in the meal, before food. Three sorts, one a cornbread stick/dodger/whatever that's sweet. Cake, in other words. The words to "Yankee Doodle Dandy" play in my head.

The tasting menu starts with two amuses, served separately. Crispy Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with Lemon-Cayenne Mayonnaise very good. Sullivan Harbor Smoked Salmon was accompanied by somewhat undercooked diced Yukon Gold Potatoes.

Roasted Tomato Bisque with Chevre was very good---nice smokiness.

Pan-Roasted Wild Rockfish with Shrimp, Saffron, and Lemon Risotto was excellent---both the fish and the risotto nicely done.

Pan-Seared Foie Gras with Mango-Rhubarb Compote excellent. The foie gras salty enough to stand up to the compote, which was in turn acidic enough to balance the foie and turn up the saltiness. Very nice.

Grilled Lamb Tenderloin with Tomato Risotto. Why am I eating risotto for the second time in the space of an evening? Not as successful as the evening's first version, so I didn't actually eat much of it in any case: nice flavor but texture not quite there. Lamb very good.

Cheese course: no, I didn't really get any cheese (because I would have had to admit myself to the hospital that night with a chief complaint "pretty sure she's going to pop"), but it looked great. Nice cart, wonderful cheeses.

Chocolate Cake Layered with Pecan Meringue and Chocolate Mousse sounded more "layered" than it turned out to be. Pecan Meringue and Chocolate Mousse may well have figured in the prep, but I couldn't really distinguish them from the general chocolate ingot quality of the item. Huge serving. Had mignardises been offered I'd have skipped the dessert entirely.

Service excellent: efficient, relaxed, very well-informed re menu items, etc.
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#62 Al_Dente

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 08:48 AM

I might be up in Bawlmore Friday night. I know Federal Hill and Fells Point, but my Little Italy knowledge is rusty. Is there anywhere worth going? I'm not looking for fine dining-- if it's a spaghetti and meatballs kinda place with a good atmosphere and decent service, I'd be happy.

Alternatively, is there anywhere worthwhile to go to in Greektown?
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#63 cjsadler

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 10:35 AM

I might be up in Bawlmore Friday night. I know Federal Hill and Fells Point, but my Little Italy knowledge is rusty. Is there anywhere worth going? I'm not looking for fine dining-- if it's a spaghetti and meatballs kinda place with a good atmosphere and decent service, I'd be happy.

Alternatively, is there anywhere worthwhile to go to in Greektown?

Personally, I would avoid Little Italy on a Friday night, as it tends to be a zoo. The non-fine dining places there aren't much good anyway. Maybe go there after dinner for dessert at Vacarro's (get ready to wait, though) or the small gelateria whose location and name I can't remember.

Go to Samos if you're heading to Greektown. Ever been to Attman's for corned beef? Fantastic-- it's near Little Italy (on the strip known as 'corned beef row', though there aren't many other corned beef places left). Not sure what time they close, though. Don't know how much you've checked out in Federal Hill, but what about Sobo (down Cross street) or just hitting the Cross Street Market (for a fat fried fish sandwich and a big beer).
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#64 misscindy

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 01:21 PM

Samos is a good suggestion and it is BYOB. If you are in the mood for casual Italian, though, consider Vespa in Federal Hill. Nice atmosphere and good wine service.

#65 Suzanne F

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 07:00 AM

Just back last night from Baltimore (longer time at the same event AB was speaking at). Yesterday JAZ and I had lunch at the branch of Wharf Rat across from the Convention Center -- also right by our hotel; convenience was the reason. Well, convenience, and the beer. Wow, GREAT beer: we both had the two cask-conditioned beers, which were really, really good. As was the "shrimp salad" sandwich. Yeah, the place could have been Anywhere, USA, but the beer is worth it.

And I will admit to having had lunch at the Rusty Scupper -- not by choice, but as part of a conference event. :hangs head in shame: Well, at least after lunch, we went out on a skipjack in the harbor and learned a lot about oysters. THAT almost made up for lunch.

#66 Roger Troutman

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 07:26 AM

MODERN/FUSION: Soigne/Ixia/Red Maple/Joy America

Red Maple is good, but be prepared to spend $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ if you have an appetite and weigh more than 90 pounds. The decor is so gorgeous that you will want to lick the walls for dessert :wub:
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#67 Suzanne F

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 07:55 AM

Also check out this thread, started with a request by none other than Tony Bourdain -- and you know nobody wants to steer HIM wrong!

#68 misscindy

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 10:50 AM

I'll try to help out by telling you about some of my fav places.

Golden West Cafe on W.36th Street in Hampden. Belly busting New Mexican fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes on Friday nights, Thomas makes specials. A cool place, just don't try to talk on a cellphone or ask for substitutions.

Nam Kang at Maryland and 21st for Korean.

Happy hour at the Brewer's Art on N. Charles Street. It is a true happy hour--drafts are $2. God bless them. Give me an ozzy and some rosemary garlic frites and I am a very happy girl.

Slightly north and across the street from Brewer's Art is Thai Landing. Super friendly staff--ask Charlie how hot the chiles are and Sam about the latest film he's seen. And, the food is good, too.

I like Tapas Teatro on Charles next door to the Charles Theatre but not everyone does. Screw 'em.

That brings me to your request for best bars...hmm, this is VERY subjective. But, Tapas Teatro just happens to be across the street from the Club Charles one of my all time favorite bars. A late night, drink way too much, eyes burning from thick smoke kind of bar.

As I mentioned, the Brewer's Art is a great bar. Beautiful room upstairs in front. Cool, dungeon like space in the basement that seems to be enormously popular with bicycle messengers.

Go to Eastern Avenue and Broadway in Fells Point for Mexican. If the taco truck is there, don't skip it. If you'd like to sit down, I like El Tacquito, a block up on Eastern. It is BYOB, always a bonus in my world. There is also a tortilleria on Eastern.

If you are out that way, go further down Eastern and stop at Dangerously Delicious Pies. Somtimes he turns the pie place into a bit of a bar and has bands and belly dancing. Pie, music and belly dancing. An excellent combo.

Peter's Inn is also a good bar that serves food. Eastern and Aliceanna.

Chinatown Cafe on Park Avenue for Chinese. Good dim sum but no carts.

Baltimore can never seem to support more than one or two Ethiopian places at a time--why, I don't know. Right now there is a place in Federal Hill, the name escapes me. It is on Cross Street and I'm pretty sure it is BYOB. And, there was a place on Charles, again, the name escapes me, that I believe has moved to Guilford Avenue. Check the City Paper. My favorite, Ghion, is being remodeled.

And, Baltimore is not real vegetarian friendly. There is a place in Charles Village called the Yabba Pot, I haven't eaten there but it is cheap and vegetarian. And, One World Cafe on University Parkway caters to vegetarians.

I could keep going but I'm going to stop now. Let us know how you are handling eating here in Mobtown.

#69 Malawry

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 03:52 PM

I don't know Bawlmor at all. I'm hitting the O's game on Wednesday night, though, and wondered if any of these places are near the stadium. I'd most like to go to Faidley's, but we were planning to eat around 5:30ish and they'll be closed by then. Advice?

#70 Varmint

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 04:27 PM

Rochelle, do go to the Helmand. It's not really close to Camden Yards, but it's worth it, different from most other places, and inexpensive.
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#71 KatieM

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 08:43 AM

You know, there really isn't a whole lot of discussion in this forum on Baltimore. Are there just not many of us who actually live there? Am I the only one who actually lives in the city?

Anyway, just wanted to recommend one of my favorite places. It's not exactly right next to the stadium, but not all that far, either. If you're ever down by "the Point" (meaning Locust Point, which is right near Fort McHenry), you should seriously consider checking out J. Patrick's. It's a little Irish bar that is just a trip. It never looks like it's open, and right now there's construction going on, so you have to walk under scaffolding to get inside, but trust me, it's worth it! You can get a Coney Island Burger and chips for like $2.50 or something ridiculous like that. Plus, they have one of the best selections of beers in town. I actually think they were one of the first places in the United States to have Smithwicks (I'm not sure if that's the right spelling, but it's pronounced smitticks). At least that's what Joe (owner) says. It's made by the Guinness people, and was only available in Ireland for the longest time. It's awesome. Plus, they have live Irish music every night. Wednesday night you can learn how to do Irish dancing. And Tuesday night, there's a group of people from my church playing pinochole. It's kind of a random crowd, but my roommate and I love that place. Of course, we live less than a block away, so that helps, but the food is good and cheap, and the beer is excellent, so we keep on going back. And Joe is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I think he's like 80 or something, but he's there almost every night.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to what this menu item is?

"Boneless Young Chicken - $0.29"

It took us a good 6 months to build up the nerve to ask what it was.


Sorry that was so long, but if anyone needs any advice on where to eat on "The Point", let me know! There are other great places, like Pazza Luna and Hull Street Blues, if you're looking for something a little more upscale.
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#72 Varmint

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 09:18 AM

Anyone want to venture a guess as to what this menu item is?

"Boneless Young Chicken - $0.29"

It took us a good 6 months to build up the nerve to ask what it was.

An egg, of course.
Dean McCord
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#73 Al_Dente

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 09:20 AM

I don't know Bawlmor at all. I'm hitting the O's game on Wednesday night, though, and wondered if any of these places are near the stadium. I'd most like to go to Faidley's, but we were planning to eat around 5:30ish and they'll be closed by then. Advice?

Hey, I'm going Wednesday night too!

I'm hoping to get outta work early enough to just make it under the wire to Faidley's for a crabcake. Otherwise, it'll be badly cooked sausage and peanuts bought in the parking lot just before the game :sad:

I wish there was something decent at the Inner Harbor-- freakin Hooters and Cap City... ugh :angry:
peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...
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#74 cjsadler

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 10:13 AM

Al, Rochelle,

You might want to try Caroline's Cafe. It's Jamaican (curries, jerks) and can be quite good. The Rastafarian owners (Caroline and her husband) are really nice-- you'll feel like you're eating at their house. It's totally hidden at 413 Penn St in the Ridgley's Delight neighborhood right next to the stadium (less than a 10 minute walk).
Chris Sadler

#75 EllenH

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 11:22 AM

One of my Baltimore favorites hasn't been mentioned yet.....the Blue Moon Cafe in Fells Point for breakfast. Had some amazing biscuits, hash browns, and eggs benedict w/ crab there a month ago. YUMMM! :wub:
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#76 Varmint

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 11:23 AM

The Blue Moon is very good indeed, but if you're not into the "earthy, crunchy" scene, it may not be for you.
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#77 Malawry

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:19 PM

Is Blue Moon just a breakfast type of place? Varm, the breakfast described doesn't exactly sound earthy-crunchy to me...

#78 Varmint

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:27 PM

The menu has lots of smoothies and organic items. Again, it's very good, but the ambience is one of a ultra-cool coffeehouse. No one was smoking a clove cigarette when I was there, however!

I really don't think they serve dinner, though!
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#79 Al_Dente

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:32 PM

Al, Rochelle,

You might want to try Caroline's Cafe. It's Jamaican (curries, jerks) and can be quite good. The Rastafarian owners (Caroline and her husband) are really nice-- you'll feel like you're eating at their house. It's totally hidden at 413 Penn St in the Ridgley's Delight neighborhood right next to the stadium (less than a 10 minute walk).

I might have to try this. Do they serve pre-game beers? :biggrin:
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#80 Malawry

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:50 PM

Sounds like Caroline's and J. Patrick's may be my best bets near the stadium. I don't think we'll need much more than wings or jerk chicken and beers to satisfy before the game anyway.

Al, perhaps we will see you there.

#81 cjsadler

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 01:51 PM

I might have to try this. Do they serve pre-game beers? :biggrin:

Nope-- just a potent homemade ginger drink. But you'll walk past Pickles and Sliders on your way back to the park and can stop there for pre-game beers. Or better yet, cut over to the Wharf Rat or Max's on Pratt St. for better beer
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#82 bobby29

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 02:55 PM

Sounds like Caroline's and J. Patrick's may be my best bets near the stadium. I don't think we'll need much more than wings or jerk chicken and beers to satisfy before the game anyway.

Al, perhaps we will see you there.

If your coming in only for the game and just want wings and beers, you have plenty of options. Pickles Pub is right across from the stadium, as is DSX, Max's and The Wharf Rat. Over in Federal Hill (5 minute cab), hit Magerks (real Philly cheesesteaks), Mothers or Ropewalk Tavern.

#83 KatieM

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 04:00 PM

Anyone want to venture a guess as to what this menu item is?

"Boneless Young Chicken - $0.29"

It took us a good 6 months to build up the nerve to ask what it was.




An egg, of course.



Well, a deviled egg, but you're right. And I know, I'm an idiot. I thought it might be some weird Irish dish I had never heard of. :laugh: Joe's got a great sense of humor.

Over in Federal Hill (5 minute cab), hit Magerks (real Philly cheesesteaks), Mothers or Ropewalk Tavern.


Well, I agree that the food is fine at all these places, but for a woman, I wouldn't recommend Magerk's or Mothers after 9pm. As long as you are going for just before the game, they're fine. If you go anywhere afterwards, though, I don't know that I would recommend Magerk's unless you have suitable male companionship. Or if you enjoy being groped by random strangers. Of course, it's a Wednesday, so it might not be so bad. Sorry, I'm just not a big fan. Mothers might be fine on a Wednesday. They do have Blue Moon on tap, which is nice. And I do enjoy the Ropewalk.


Rochelle, my earlier post may have been a bit misleading, sorry! J. Patricks isn't really that close to the stadium, more like a 5 min cab ride. But it is worth checking out at some point, IMHO.
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#84 Malawry

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 05:07 PM

Well, I will be with my esteemed spouse and another male friend, so I think we will be okay.

We're planning to make a day of it...hit the aquarium, wander around the harbor, and then grab a bite before the game. The idea was to drive in and park the car only once, and then do everything else on foot. We're all reasonably young and spry, not afraid of a little walking, but we'll be tired after being on our feet and will probably want to stick close to the stadium.

So maybe we should just hit the Wharf Rat.

I think I'm overintellectualizing this search for cheap pre-game food. :rolleyes:

#85 Al_Dente

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Posted 28 July 2004 - 07:08 AM

I think I'm overintellectualizing this search for cheap pre-game food. :rolleyes:

Me too.

You could use the water taxi by the way. It'll take you to Fort McHenry and, more importantly, Fells Point. :biggrin:
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#86 Malawry

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Posted 28 July 2004 - 08:25 PM

Update: While wandering around downtown I managed to herd my party towards Faidley's. I immediately purchased a single crab cake which the three of us shared. My spouse remarked, "this is what I'm always hoping to get when I order a crab cake" after one bite. It's a beautiful baseball lump of sweet, crabby goodness with a wispy batter holding it together on the outside. Yes.

That was our snack. Later we stopped in the Wharf Rat for wings and beers and salad as our dinner. Not bad, and the price was right, but it's not really worth a special detour unless you're a beer fan.

#87 tjaehnigen

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 08:11 PM

Did anyone mention a small local trifecta of food in Parkville section of Baltimore?

Angelina's (funky seafood (yes, crabs, too see this link and Italian restaurant/pub-joint)

Mastellone's Italian Deli (a block up the street and on the other side)

Fenwick Bakery

#88 misscindy

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:30 AM

Quite true about the Harford Road trifecta. Love the subs and sammies at Mastellone's. Good stuff. And, the fresh mozzerella.

A co-worker once brought me a marshmallow donut from Fenwick. Totally insane.

#89 Baltfoodie

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 07:34 PM

Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone was aware of any tasting menus and/or chef's tables offered in the Baltimore area? The only one I am familiar with is the tasting menu being offered at Charleston.

Thanks,

~LARS~

#90 Joe H

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 08:00 PM

Charleston is superb and only a short rung on the ladder below Citronelle, Maestro or Laboratorio. For some dishes as good as there is in America. (i.e. crab cake, anything fried)