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stellabay's Profile

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One Night in Baltimore

No, different places. And considering all of the great pizza and Italian you have in DC, I think Woodberry is surely your best choice. I dine in DC a good bit and Woodberry actually does offer something different enough than what DC has to offer to make it worth the trip.

One Night in Baltimore

Interesting take... Birroteca is IMO some of the absolute worst service I've had in the city (or any city for that matter) and the food was not even remotely good enough to make up for it. I had three consecutive disastrous meals there. Also, if we're recommending dining in Baltimore for "one night only" I think something a little bit more interesting than pizza is in order.

I don't find the quality at Corner or Food Market to be in the same league as Woodberry, personally. I've never had anything but great service at Woodberry in recent years- I will admit the first year or two they were open was often a little uneven but from what I can tell that's been worked out. It's a shame you've had different experiences but then again my experiences at Birroteca are clearly very different from the ones you've had.

One Night in Baltimore

I agree with lawhound on both points-- go to Woodberry, remove Maggie's Farm from the list. It's not a standout in Baltimore.

Bottega is a truly great meal and among the very best in the city, but it's byob and I find that to be a pain when traveling in an unfamiliar city. It's also very small and just not as much of an "experience" as Woodberry.

Special Occasion Cake/Cupcakes in Baltimore?

Graul's bakery is leaps and bounds better than Eddie's. I've found that Eddie's baked goods are only marginally better than what you'd find at a national chain grocery store-- far too sugary and not much flavor. Graul's cakes are great though. I've gotten several birthday cakes from them when time hasn't allowed me to bake something myself. Sugarbaker's cakes are also good but that's a bit of a drive from the city unless they offer delivery.

Charm City Cakes are interesting to look at but incredibly dense and dry if you actually intend to eat them.

I think Graul's gets my vote overall!

Help us choose a restaurant for our anniversary (Baltimore)

Of all that's been mentioned, and considering you've dined at most of the better places in town, I would recommend Fleet Street. While their plating is sometimes over the top, bordering on precious, the food has been consistently good, often amazing, on my visits. And, the exec chef of the restaurant group is a Wine Market alum so there are still ties to your first date locale. Many of the staff, including the GM, are formerly of Wine Market, too. Though Chef Becker is not in the kitchen at Fleet Street these days, the new(ish) chef running the kitchen is turning out the same caliber of cuisine. It's pricey but definitely suitable for a special occasion.

Wit & Wisdom is great for outdoor drinks after dinner or even dessert (their pastry chef is incredible) but my recent dinner experiences have been very, very uneven. It feels like they're going more the route of hotel restaurant than dining destination.

Cocktail bars in Baltimore?

Don't bother with Birroteca or The Food Market for cocktails. Check out their menus online and you'll see why. Nothing interesting and I've actually sent cocktails back at both places for being far too sweet to consume.

For cocktail bars:

Rye
WC Harlan
Bad Decisions

Restaurants with good cocktails:

Hersh's Pizza & Drinks - highly recommend for dining and a fairly short walk from Idle Hour. Bluegrass is also in that neighborhood and while the food is inconsistent, the cocktails are normally good.

Woodberry Kitchen - only beverage program in town nominated for a Beard Award. 13.5% Wine Bar is nearby and their cocktails are normally pretty decent.

B & O (though would not recommend for dining)

Wit & Wisdom

Fleet Street Kitchen

Balt: Good lunch near Inner Harbor? (sigh)

Is Harbor East in consideration? Wit & Wisdom? Lamill for lunch is always good, too.

Complete agreement on B&O. Our last visit included obviously microwaved dinner rolls, a side of veggies that were undoubtedly frozen and two desserts that were so stale we had to send them back. I've ruled it out entirely aside from the great cocktail program.

Where would you go in Baltimore for *your* birthday??

Pabu is really, really good-- the only serious sushi in Baltimore and the rest of the izakaya menu has some standout dishes as well, but it's definitely not a dressy affair. I'd suggest Wit & Wisdom over Pabu if you're looking to dress up. Clayton Miller was putting out some really beautiful cuisine that I thoroughly enjoyed when he was at the helm at Trummer's (he's also logged time at the French Laundry) and I don't doubt that he's doing the same at Wit & Wisdom.

Otherwise, is DC totally out of the question?

First time staying in Baltimore

i don't recall falling... let's play nice, please. we're all here for the same reason.

yes, imo, the best IN baltimore. the op isn't dining in philly, so that's really a moot point in regard to choosing a restaurant in baltimore. i, like you, have dined fairly extensively in most of the larger metro areas throughout the country and i stand behind my woodberry rec within the context of baltimore.

First time staying in Baltimore

I agree that Woodberry Kitchen should probably be dinner rather than brunch. Their brunch is great, but you're missing out on the best dinner option in Baltimore-- that is, if you can get a reservation for dinner at this point.

First time staying in Baltimore

Tapas Teatro doesn't take reservations and stays pretty busy with moviegoers. Be prepared for a wait. Their food is decent, but not a standout in Baltimore.

First time staying in Baltimore

Woodberry Kitchen is always busy and often is booked for several weeks at a time during prime dining hours which is why I mentioned them specifically regarding reserving a table. I would advise calling for that reso ASAP and there is normally more availability if you make the reso by phone rather than Open Table.

I have definitely had dessert and cocktails in the lounge at W&W. Shouldn't be a problem aside from the fact that it can get really packed on weekend nights. I think you might be able to reserve lounge seating in advance if your group isn't the sort that will be happy standing for a bit until seating opens up.

For Italian, Cinghiale (same restaurant group as Charleston) is very good and across from the marina. Not particularly seafood heavy, though there are many seafood options. If you're doing Black Olive you'll get your seafood fix though. Cinghiale is also a very short walk to W&W and the desserts at Cinghiale aren't anything special. You might also consider Heavy Seas Alehouse. Their food is very good. Surprisingly good for a casual beer-centric place, but I think their chef used to work for Tom Colicchio so maybe not so surprising, actually. Lots of raw bar options. Thames Street Oyster House is also excellent and as the name makes obvious, has tons of seafood.

An alternative to Black Olive would be Kali's Court. Full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of either, but recognize that they are solid options for someone looking for a more old school, white tablecloth, formal style of dining than I prefer.

Brunch in Baltimore on Memorial Day...possible?

I think Golden West in Hampden is a perfect option for you guys. You definitely won't feel out of place coming from Death Fest and they serve most of their breakfast options all day. I can't speak to whether or not they'll be open on Memorial Day, however.

First time staying in Baltimore

Definitely make a reservation at Woodberry Kitchen and note that they only serve lunch/brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. IMHO, it is not to be missed and would be the place I would send someone if they only had time for one meal in town.

I see no reason anyone should go out of their way to go to Tabrizi's, let alone someone coming from out of town that is looking to experience the (steadily improving) Baltimore dining scene. If it weren't for the fact that Tabrizi's is a wedding venue, I don't even think the restaurant would stay in business. The food is mediocre, service notoriously bad, and definitely better classified as Middle Eastern rather than Mediterranean. If you're looking for a view of the harbor-- the food is much, much better at Wit & Wisdom in the Four Seasons and they just opened their outdoor area that is directly on the water. Don't miss the desserts if you go to W&W. Their pastry chef is highly decorated and his accolades are well deserved. Also, Pabu in the Four Seasons has only been open for about two weeks but both of my visits were spectacular if you are interested in sushi/izakaya, at all. Black Olive is good, but I don't think you'll find the menu nearly as interesting as Kanella. Just kind of a different animal altogether. Black Olive is among the more "old school" restaurants in Baltimore so it all depends on what kind of experience you're looking for.

Fiola and Elisir - Lunch vs. Dinner - any experiences?

Birch & Barley and Palena are very different experiences, indeed. I didn't mean one could stand in for the other.

If I recall correctly, Woodberry will have their normal menu but because of the seasonal nature of the menu, there is normally a pretty large offering of specials that changes each night. On Mondays, those specials are vegetarian but all of the meat dishes on the regular menu will still be available as will the charcuterie.

I can't recall if you do spicy food or not, but Little Serow in DC (same owner/chef as Komi) is one of the best meals I've had in recent memory. It's northern Thai and incredibly spicy but completely delicious.

Fiola and Elisir - Lunch vs. Dinner - any experiences?

Can't wait to hear what you think about Rogue! We had a great time there and I recall how much you enjoyed your Vidalia 24 meal, so I think you're in for a treat. I find Rogue to be somewhat of a breath of fresh air in the DC scene-- so many of the restaurants can feel sterile, often corporate, because of their settings in hotels and office buildings. Rogue's back alley location and modern esthetic is a nice change of pace. Also really looking forward to hearing about your Woodberry Kitchen meal. It's one of few restaurants in Baltimore that is functioning on a level beyond the Baltimore dining scene. There aren't many places in Baltimore that I honestly believe would be relevant in larger markets with much better food culture, but based on my travels, Woodberry would definitely still make the cut. The small plates are normally more interesting than the entrees and the house made charcuterie is killer. I noticed that you are going on a Monday which is "Meatless Monday" and all specials for the night are vegetarian which you will probably really enjoy. If you miss 2 Amy's and have any extra time or appetite while in Baltimore, check out Hersh's Pizza & Drinks. Great neopolitan style pizza and small plates.

Proof is great, as is their tapas restaurant Estadio. I would recommend both. I agree about Old Ebbitt, don't bother.

I'd also like to suggest Birch & Barley for brunch. (bacon toffee donuts, anyone??) It's really quite good and the atmosphere is lively. Good choice for dining at the bar solo.

Fiola and Elisir - Lunch vs. Dinner - any experiences?

My husband and I dined at Fiola last Saturday night and while the food was definitely all very good, we weren't overly impressed. The service was pretty robotic and impersonal and the tables we SO close together. So close that they had to be moved if someone wanted out to use the restroom. We went with intentions of doing the tasting menu but once it was described to us (all were selections from the a la carte menu, none of which either of us would have ordered) we decided to do our own three course meal. First courses (tuna carpaccio and foie, both huge portions) and pastas (a ravioli special with asparagus and guanciale, the papardelle with ragu that is currently on the menu) very much outshone the entrees. You can get all of the pastas in half portions and we ultimately wished that we had ordered our third course as yet another pasta course rather than the entrees we had. If I had it to do again, I'd probably go for lunch instead of dinner. I read your blog pretty frequently and based on what I know of your dining experiences, I think the tasting menu at Elisir would probably be more up your alley than the Fiola experience. I'm very curious about what else you have on your DC list this time!

4 days at Inner Harbour

surely you can't mean that there is a shortage of new places to dine in baltimore? i don't think i can recall as many new restaurants opening in such a short period of time as there have been over the past several months so maybe i misunderstood you, but if not:

wit & wisdom
tenten
waterfront kitchen
fork and wrench
hersh's pizza & drinks
heavy seas ale house

that's not to say i personally recommend all of those places, but they, at least, warrant a visit to decide for yourself.