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  1. John - I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the Chameleon Cafe on Harford Road. I'm fond of the house made charcuterie. Have you been to the fairly new Salt in Butcher's Hill? I like it a lot...with the notable exception of the desserts which I've not been impressed with. I did, however, really enjoy the braised lamb stroganoff in a porcini broth. Very nice. I love the space and the vibe. Both are great neighborhood restaurants, imho. And, as much as it pains me to say it, I didn't love my visit to Saffron since the return of the much missed Edward Kim. I loved Soigne but his magic just isn't working for me at Saffron. First, I hate the space. When they renovated the old Ruby Lounge they managed to suck every last bit of energy from what was a very happening place. Second, I have questions about the source ingredients at Saffron and have had them long before the return of Sir Edward. Either I'm badly mistaken or they are serving previously frozen fish. And, I'm not talking flash freezing, I'm talking fish that has the texture of something that's been sitting in the Trader Joe's freezer section for the last six months. If not, then maybe someone can explain why fish there (with the exception of tuna) tends to be tough and watery. Ugh.
  2. I've been to Louisiana but only once and it was more than a few years ago so the details have long escaped me. I do recall that it was good but apparently not good enough to make us go back. Not that I'm not open to eating there again, mind you. A second visit is long overdue. It is on Aliceanna in Fells Point.
  3. In that case, Charleston is Baltimore's best restaurant, imho. Not far away, in Harbor East. Charleston Also, many are fond of Hampton's in the Harbor Court Hotel. I don't think it is as good as Charleston but I do like the Explorer's Lounge for cocktails. Hampton's
  4. Are you looking for fine dining, casual, ethnic? Generally speaking, you'll pretty much have to leave the immediate Inner Harbor area for good food. And, Baltimore isn't big on the outdoor dining thing. The previous poster mentioned the Ambassador Dining Room and it is an excellent suggestion. A gorgeous outdoor space but it is in North Baltimore, near the JHU campus. Federal Hill is a good bit closer to the Inner Harbor, walkable, imo. Vespa is a cute, casual Italian restaurant there with fantastic wine service and a few outdoor tables. Some other suggestions in the downtown area: don't miss Werner's for breakfast or lunch (weekdays only) on Redwood Street, Cypriana for falafel (weekdays, lunch only) on Baltimore Street with some outdoor seating. Afghan Kabob at Charles & Lombard is good for a no frills lunch or dinner. In good weather, the Mt. Vernon area is a short walk up Charles Street and opens up your dining choices considerably. Happy hour at the Brewer's Art, Thai at Thai Landing, Indian at Mughal Garden or Akbar, Afghan at the Helmand, Abacrombie for reasonably priced fine dining, Ethiopian at Dukem II, which has a few outdoor tables on a corner that isn't particularily scenic. On the other hand, Donna's, a local chain coffee shop (I'm grateful to them because they have saved Baltimore from the Starbucks invasion) has outdoor seating at their Charles & Madison location which is a truly lovely spot to enjoy a coffee and a sandwich or salad.
  5. MissCindy - Please report back and let me know how it went! ← I forgot to report back on my Jay's Shave Ice experience...it was great. I got an espresso with a little frothed milk and just a touch of coconut milk. It was very, very nice and I've been meaning to get back there ever since. I also stopped in at Murky the last time I was in DC. Liked my coffee--I no longer recall exactly what drink I had--but I do know that I really enjoyed it. It was on a very crowded Saturday and the noise in the place was cranked to 11.
  6. I can’t really define what DelMarVa cusine is, per se, and I don’t know about Delaware but I can tell you about a few local food traditions in Baltimore. Right now, it is sour beef and dumplings season. Go to a church dinner and give it a try. An old but fading tradition. There is Maryland fried chicken but, mostly, there is seafood. Blue crabs prepared in every conceivable way (but never, ever, boiled)—steamed crabs, crabcakes, crab fluffs, crab soup and soft shell crabs, which probably deserve a category all their own. Rockfish—baked, broiled, fried. Oysters—raw, baked, broiled, fried, frittered and in stew. Shrimp – steamed with onions and old bay. There are dishes that add crab to everything, like Chicken Chesapeake – a chicken breast with crab meat on top, “surf and turf”- steak and a crabcake - is still common in old fashioned restaurants here as is rockfish with crab on top. Coddies (salt cod and mashed potato cakes) are a very old Baltimore tradition. At one time there were sold on the counter of nearly every corner store in town. They still are but to a lesser extent. Faidley’s in Lexington Market makes a good one and for my money, they also make the best crabcake in town. Black walnuts are a Maryland tradition—they are in season right now and are all over the ground in many neighborhoods. I’ve seen overflowing baskets of them are at the farmer’s market for the past few weeks. Silver queen corn in the summer. And, we can’t forget Berger cookies—a Baltimore tradition since the 1830’s. They can be found at Lexington Market, as well as grocery stores and delis all over town. Last but not least, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, sauerkraut on the Thanksgiving table is a long standing Baltimore tradition. I know I’m leaving lots of things out but this is a start.
  7. Agree with the Pazo rec on a weeknight - it does get super crazy on weekends. I like Henninger's Tavern in Fells Point. Henninger's Also, Chameleon Cafe is off the beatin' path but nice. Chameleon
  8. Ceriello's in Belvedere Square has dry aged beef. As for the veal bones, the last time I was in search of them, I settled for beef bones. I like Regan's in Lexington Market and although they didn't have what we were looking for, they hooked us up with another vendor there who sold us a big bag of beef bones for cheap, cheap, cheap.
  9. from Baltimore City Paper web site Jay's web site appears to be down temporarily so I'll hold off on including that link. He takes his coffee and espresso very seriously and his baristas have served me a few outstanding drinks on the two occasions I stopped in to visit (I live a few hundred miles away - otherwise I'd be a regular both there and at Murky). ← Wow...who knew? Jay's Shave Ice? I work in the Timonium area and will check this place out pronto. When the previous post mentioned Timonium I assumed they were talking about Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company. Very interesting.
  10. Please pardon the crass question, but how much does an evening at minibar cost? Just looking for a ballpark figure.
  11. Joe - I was recently in Cincinnati and really enjoyed a black raspberry chip cone at Graeter's downtown. How do they keep the chips so soft? But, I have to say that my fav of all time is still Berthillion's armagnac prune.
  12. I think if you are expecting criticism from a city mag, you are barking up the wrong tree. Criticism just isn’t their purpose. As the website for Baltimore Magazine – the first of the genre, btw, says “celebrating Baltimore since 1907.” That pretty much sums it up. I subscribe to B-Mag, mostly because it is actually cheaper to subscribe than to buy two issues off the newsstand. And, occasionally, I actually enjoy it. Last year for instance, they ran a piece about something I’ve always wondered about – the story behind Bob Dylan’s song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (disclosure—a good friend of mine wrote it but it really was interesting, swear). And, I also found a recent issue that examined the age old question “Baltimore: Is it a northern or southern town?" mildly interesting. Don’t get me wrong, it will never take the place of Atlantic Monthly (not that it is trying to) and the restaurant reviews must be read in the proper context. Remember, it’s a celebration.
  13. Ok, so our little road trip to Richmond turned out to be a bit of a mess. It took us FIVE HOURS to drive there from Baltimore. Turns out we were sitting in Nascar traffic. Gotta love that. So, by the time we accomplished what we needed to, we didn't have much time. Walked around the Carytown neighborhood...saw CanCan and it looked good but a tad bit fancy for three grungy people who had just been sitting in a hot car with broken a.c. for five hours...so we ate at the Galaxy Diner. Tuna burger, fries and a yummy cucumber salad with lots of vinegar for me. And, a fried pickle on every plate. There were no complaints. Thanks for the suggestions.
  14. This thread is quite timely for me - I think I may find myself in Richmond on Saturday. Any ideas for a cheap, veg friendly place for an early dinner, late lunch (4pm-ish)?
  15. There is at least one other place in the Mid-Atlantic that makes green chili out of green chiles--my favorite hang out, the Golden West Cafe in Baltimore. I love the breakfast burrito covered with the stuff for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
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