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Grace Garden - family gathering what should be the MUST HAVES ?

Still BYOB.

Triple Treasure -- the tripe, tendon, & tongue is a must have everytime I've gone there.

Whatever their fresh vegetable is that day (especially the chives).

Jun 30, 2014
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

French Kitchen in Baltimore

You can find the menu here:

http://www.opentable.com/restaurant/p...

Jun 26, 2014
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Baltimore restaurant for both vegetarians and omnivores

Cazbar is another good choice for both veg and meat eaters.

Bottega, if you can get in -- it's very small. Food is excellent. Their menu changes all the time (they post a picture of their chalkboard menu on their website). It's BYOB.

Jun 26, 2014
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Baltimore - dinner for a group of 12 that includes vegetarian's

Hmm, Cazbar would certainly make your vegetarians happy while having plenty of meat options. It's about 6 blocks from the convention center. Their website notes they prefer to do a pre-set menu for large groups.

Note that on weekends they will probably have belly dancing (whether that's a plus or minus is your call!).

Jun 26, 2014
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

TOWSON

The rumors are true. He's got a liquor license application in the window.

Jul 15, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Is Baltimore Boring restaurantwise?

Okay, I'll throw in my 2 cents. As a lurker (mostly), in general I just find too much repeition of the same places over and over in the posts here -- there's too much focus (and complaint) on "dining" as opposed to places to just go and get some good food. After a while I just give up because it seems like it's always the same 5 recommendations/complaints. What I want to know about are all the good hole-in-the-wall places where you can get a good meal.

So, not to be a complete whiner, here's a few offerings I'll throw out (because I should speak up if I want to be listened to):

Cinco de Mayo grocery for cripsy, porky chicharones

El Taquito Mexicano on Eastern for barbacoa (when they have it) and generally great (and real) Mexican food.

Neopol Smokery and Grand Cru in Belvedere Market because smoked things and good wine just seems right

Haute Dog at the upper end of Falls Road

Artifact Coffee (though I haven't been there since they switched to a regular dinner menu -- their weekly fixed menu had some regularly adventurous offerings thatwere fun to try)

Herb and Soul

Tooloulou -- recommened by a Louisana friend as having proper po'boys.

When you start thinking about it, it seems like there's a lot of interesting and new things happening. It just seems like no one's talking about them.

Jun 21, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

HaHa Foods Baltimore

So a group of about 10 of us stopped at Ha Ha last Saturday morning as part of our Baltimore Deli Crawl. None of us had been there before, but I wanted to check it out. We were all instantly drawn to the dining area and the dim sum. With a lot of us, we managed to order quite a few things on the menu. Didn't get a chance to taste everything ordered but valiantly tried my best.

Steamed BBQ pork buns -- Big and fluffy, came out hot in steamer tins. Served with a bowl of hoisin sauce. Generally agreed to be quite tasty.

Baked pork buns -- these were served cold, generally "ok, not great" by those that had them.

Fried Radish Cake -- Three big squares, crispy on one side with bits of roast pork. Overall chewy and good.

Sesame balls -- crispy on the outside with nice thick layer of chewy rice flour dough, filled with yellow bean(?) paste. These were very popular with those that got them and were as good as I've had since I've been in Baltimore.

Soy Sauce Chicken (not a dim sum item, ordered from regular menu) -- considered excellent. Didn't get a chance to taste it myself but was told it satisfied the person who'd been longing for such ever since they left the West Coast.

Shrimp dumplings (Shu mai?) -- so-so

Won ton & noodle soup -- big bowl with noodles and won tons. The broth was deemed excellent, some thought the won tons would have been better if they had sat in the broth longer before they got eaten. That just might have been us eating too quickly.

Sticky rice with meat fillings wrapped in lotus leaf (Lo mai gai) These were substantial -- sticky rice with chicken, black mushroom and salted egg(?). They were delicious and were declared by one Asian in our group to be "as good as grandma's." They reminded me of the ones I sometimes got when I worked as a kid washing dishes at a chinese restaurant. I'll order them again next time I go.

Minced meat balls -- didn't get a chance to try these but was told they were quite good.

Roast Pork -- again ordered off the main menu and got devoured.

The main menu had a number of dishes I definitely want to try, including congee (various), noodle soups, and "salt and jalapeno pepper bullfrog". The roast duck, soy sauce chicken, bbq pork and roast pig hanging in the kitchen window were another reason to come back. Got a half in duck in the fridge right now waiting to be used.

If nice surroundings and ambience matter, this might not be the place for you. It's pretty much a warehouse. The staff was very helpful and friendly and the place was busy, but not packed.

May 28, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Any feedback for the JFX Farmer's Market (Baltimore)?

At the Waverly Mkt today -- many of the same vendors as JFX -- and picked up asparagus $6 for 2 lbs. from the pea man.

May 11, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Recs for four day foodie trip: Wash and Balt requests

Did a Baltimore deli crawl with friends a few weeks back whiich wrapped at Belvedere Square as a good place to socialize, drink and eat in a foodie atmosphere.Cierello's (Italian deli), Neopol, Atwater's, candy and nut shop, sushi and Grand Cru wine bar which will let you bring in food from all the other places or eat theirs (which is pretty good too). Away from the downtown, so not particularly touristy.

Apr 05, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Northern Chinese Layered Bread

Regardless of what Murphen is looking for, I miss Uigher bread. Used to get it at an Islamic Chinese place in SoCal. Anyone know where to find it between DC and Baltimore?

Mar 28, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

What to do with pea shoots?

Add them to a soup as a garnish.

Mar 19, 2013
zebcook in General Topics

Pit Beef near Timonium/Lutherville?

Yep. Just had lunch there today. As he says, "7 days a week" . Had a fine turkey sandwich.

Jan 14, 2013
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Homemade pasta, sausage, food shops in Little Italy, Baltimore

Casa di Pasta in Little Italy makes fresh pastas and raviolis, along with sauces. Trinacria, as already mentioned, is good Italian deli/grocery. It's generally stronger on groceries and wines while Di Pasquale's in Highlandtown has a bigger array of deli items and cheeses. Neither is in Little Italy though.

Aug 09, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

New to Baltimore: where to get organic produce, etc

Let's see, from another cooks a lot, ex-Texan, here's some more.

There's a farmer's market at Whole Foods on Wednesdays, another at Cross Keys nearby (can't remember day), the Waverly Market on Saturday (our preferred fave) and the the JFX market on Sundays. Fell's Point also has one on Saturdays, which is nice to sometimes combine with morning coffee on the harbor. There's also a produce pickup from a local farm on Ruxton Road and 83 most weekends. Wegman's is probably closest to Central Market though you'll be disappointed by the comparison (as an ex-Austinite I was). They have been pushing their organics lately. Belvedere Square has one expensive produce place, but the Italian deli (Ceriello') has the best meat you'll find around, and the Waverly and JFX markets have a couple of pricey meat vendors. MOM's is okay, but the selection is small. I have yet to find a good hispanic market like Fiesta (I miss them), but Tortilleria Sinola will feed your fresh tortilla cravings and the Markets at Highlandtown will do in a pinch for other supplies. Good Greek imports at Prima Foods, and there are several good Italian delis in town -- Di Pasquale's and Trinacria in particular. Oh, and there's another decent sized farm stand at Falls and Shawan Rd. In fact if you go out and explore north and west you'll find several farms that sell direct.

I could go on, but most of these have been mentioned elsewhere on the board already.

Aug 08, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Baltimore Restaurant Week

The Food Market in Hampden was offering a good menu. Felt like they were trying to impress on their first time at it.

Aug 01, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Hanger steak or flat iron steak in Baltimore grocery stores

Cereillo's often has them. Late in posting but may help for next time.

Jul 18, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Beef brisket in Baltimore

Alas, Andy Nelson's brisket is not up to good Texas standards. The times I've been there it's been dry and on the tough side.

Jun 21, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

New Restaurant Report: The Food Market in Hampden

Okay, for about as long as I've been here (which ain't that long) there's been a dingy storefront down in Hampden, a convenience store in the middle of the block between Parasio and whatever was east of there. I'll admit, I never had the inclination to go in - the faded beer posters and gloomy interior were enough to put me off. The prospect of limp vegetables and sad canned and bagged goods had no appeal. Then, not surprisingly, it closed and the whole place sat dark. Eventually the windows were papered over. Like a butterfly cocoon it sat for six months, brown-paper windows featureless and mysterious.

Then in the last few months there was activity. Work was happening inside. New signage went up. Paint and, god forbid, marketing. A new place was coming, even if it did have the uninspired name The Market. And then, in what must have been a trial by fire, the Market opened for brunch, just in time for HonFest. Therefore against all better judgement about trying brand new places we had to go.

Four of us went last Friday night at 8:00. We'd made reservations, which was a good thing. The place was jammed. Who knew everyone in Hampden was waiting for a place called the Food Market to open? First observations -- the service was friendly and efficient and the place was LOUD. This was not the have a quiet dinner conversation with friends place. It was a lean across the table to hear your dinner companions night.

With four of us feeling celebratory (I don't know why), we decided to share a selection of appetizers. The menu was divided into Little, Small, Big, and In-Between. We had an order of spiced edamame, soft pretzels with a beer-cheese fondue, and potato skins with duck confit and mornay sauce. The edamame was a modest-sized bowl dusted with a chile-based spice mix, quite tasty and light. The "pretzels" were 4 stubby soft breadsticks and crock of fondue sauce. The breadsticks were okay but not enough, but the fondue sauce was hailed by everyone. Nicely beery, cheesy but not gloopy. In fact it was so good it we added it to the potato skins which were deemed good but otherwise a bit bland.

We tried an assortment of main dishes, all of which hit the mark quite well. There was much sharing of tastes all around. The "small" crab cake was quite large enough and came on a bed of lobster mac-n-cheese. The crab was large chunks with little filler and fresh tartar sauce. The buffalo steak was cooked perfectly rare on a potato pancake(?) with housemade steak sauce. The third dish was scallops in a bacon-y cream sauce with the smoked bacon pronounced but not overpowering the scallop. Last was blackened tuna -- four large pieces of tuna, with a spice crust crisped by not horribly charred on a bed of edamame succotash and a sauce of caramelized soy around it. The sweet actually went quite well with the blackening. Everybody cleaned their plates and thought their meals were fine.

Splurging we shared two desserts -- a fresh peach cobbler with cognac sauce and ice cream (can't remember the flavor, but it wasn't vanilla) and chocolate mousse on shortbread. The cobbler was excellent, though some thought it too sweet. The mousse was very light and chocolatish. Unfortunately, the shortbread was so dense you practically needed a knife and fork to break it up.

Judgement all around was that we would definitely come back. It's another good addition to the Hampden restaurant choices. The cunning plan is to opt for the smallish bar next time and concentrate on the Small and Little plates.

Price for 2 Littles, 1 Small, 4 Bigs, 2 desserts and assorted cocktails, beers, and wines was about $200, a bit much for the night's budget but we were splurging.

Jun 18, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Dang, wish I knew you were on a bike. Could have shown you some of the routes through the city.

Jun 17, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where to find great sea scallops? Preferably near White Marsh!

Wegman's in Hunt Valley usually has very good fresh scallops.

Jun 12, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Will a Gujarati thali place work in the Baltimore area?

Personally, I love chaats and would be happy to go to one, but Columbia/Ellicott is too far away for me. I'd need something more central/north.

May 10, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Friday Lunch near Flower Show?

First off, want to thank everyone for their helpful suggestions. There were a lot of options and it was a good thing because, like so many things, the day did not go quite as planned. Due to car issues, we didn't get there until post-lunch, so the idea of taking our time and having a leisurely lunch went right out the window. Instead, we decided to take our slightly-frustrated mood someplace where we could get a decent meal and a beer quickly. Fortunately, I remembered the Molly Malloy's discussion and since RTM was right there, it won.

To the poster who many had not discovered Molly's, I'd add that many have. It was packed after 1:00. We managed to squeeze a couple of bar seats, though. Being in a hurry we just split a steak sandwich and had beers. The sandwich was good, not astounding, but filled us up. The beer selection was good. The staff was really friendly and helpful (even suggesting we split an order instead of getting two dishes). I'd like to come back when it is less crowded and explore more.

After some time at the show, we decided to try for an late afternoon snack/early dinner. I remembered that 13th St was closest, so we went down there. After poking around, we decided to land at Zavino.That proved to be a real winner. We were pre-dinner, so things were pretty quiet. The wine selection was good, not too pretentious. We had a few small dishes -- grilled peppers with salt and oil and burrata with a bit of fig jam and bread. Again the staff was friendly -- my wife started trading recipes with the the pasta maker behind the bar.

From there we roamed to Di Bruno's for cheese. One the way back to the car we made one last stop at Jamonera just to check it out. We tried a small plate of the ham croquettes (so small I wonder if they shorted the order). They lacked the pronounced flavor I was hoping for so I'm not sure I'd order that again.

By the end, we had a enjoyable enough time to realize that we should come up to Philadelphia more often. Thanks again for everyone's help!

Mar 13, 2012
zebcook in Philadelphia

Friday Lunch near Flower Show?

Two of us are coming up from B'more to the Flower Show on Friday and were looking for a good place for lunch that's reasonably in the area. Particulars are:

- Yes, I've searched the board but not knowing the city layout it's hard for me to sort out best suggestions.

-- We don't mind walking especially if the weather is good and there's interesting things to see on the way.

-- A place with good food, beer, and wine. We're fond of brewpubs, quirky places, local, spicy, charcuterie, low key, bistros, and so forth. Maybe not Mexican (because I lived in the SW too long) or standard bar food unless, of course, it's above standard.

-- We'll be hiking the flower show, so someplace comfortable and friendly is good. Formal places probably not so good. If there's a good bar we may linger.

-- Price is not an decider, though I have nothing against saving money.

A friend recommended Dandelion. The menu looks promising. Is it a good choice and are there other suggestions?

Thanks,

Zeb

Mar 06, 2012
zebcook in Philadelphia

Saturday lunch spot needed - Baltimore area

I'd agree that Dogwood is a good choice. Gertrude's has the advantage of location if the weather is good.

Feb 02, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good Caribbean-style hot sauce?

Sounds like what you want is Lotties Hot Pepper Sauce. Made in Barbados -- mustard, scotch bonnets, tumeric, onions, vinegar, garlic. You can find it online or in a well-stocked hot sauce shop (usually).

Jan 12, 2012
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Top ten favorite things to eat (and where to get them) in Baltimore

The Rustic Gourmet is a storefront for the folks (same name) you find serving Indian dishes at the farmer's markets around town.

Sep 20, 2011
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Weekday breakfast in Baltimore

Parking's not a problem, lol.

Sep 20, 2011
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Baltimore next Friday (9/16) - Best food we can find?

Golden West = not a destination place. In Hampden, you might try The Corner instead, if you can survive their service. Plus Hampden is very Baltimore-y (to some folks).

If you want to do Woodberry and keep it more reasonable, see if you can get a seat at the bar. They've got a good selection of cocktails and small plates. We were just there with friends and had a really good beef tartare. They have inexpensive flatbreads (i.e. pizzas) with interesting toppings that change frequently. I think one was listed with cheeses and peaches (better than it sounds). Plus if you chat up the bartenders, they sometimes come up with unusual concoctions (got a sample of bacon bourbon they had made once).

You may be less impressed by Grace Garden than folks here. My experience living in Boston and NorCal was that good unique Chinese food wasn't that hard to find in either place. I've had outstanding Chinese feasts in Boston with Chowhounds (an all vegetarian banquet, a whole roast pork meal and more) . Here, our Chinese options are generally so bad Grace Garden, which is quite good, really stands out.

Brewer's Art does have great beer and I've had some very good meals there, and again you can get good choices on a budget. The front bar is a great place to sit and people watch.

Alewife has an immense beer selection and above the cut bar food. Never felt the area was particularly dicey, especially since you can usually find parking on Eutaw right in front of the place.

Can't speak to Wine Market since I was only there once and not overwhelmed.

I've had good reports on Clementine, but have only had some of their charcuterie that shows up in a few stores.

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Brewer's Art
1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201

Golden West Cafe
1105 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD

Grace Garden
1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

Wine Market
921 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

Sep 12, 2011
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Usinger's sausages in DC/NoVA/MD

As an ex-Wisconsinite, ordering online with them is actually a pretty good deal. They offer a much bigger selection of wurst than you could find of theirs locally. Plus they're very good about shipping -- generally reluctant to do so in the hot months, pack off fresh brats well, etc.

Sep 12, 2011
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dining near Johns Hopkins?

As a Hampdenite there are a bunch of reasonably cheap options:

King's Pizza -- Go for the middle eastern food, particularly the pita. Very hot and fresh. No alcohol served.

Holy Frijoles -- still open, still bad Tex Mex, but filling.

Golden West -- somewhat New Mex and filling.

Grano's (actually, go to "little" Grano's on the Ave) -- if he can cook pasta (as in equipment, not skill), getting their sauces to go is not a bad idea.

Angelo's -- "World's largest slice." If that's not a pitch to a starving student, I don't know what is.

Daniela's -- This is a new little place next to the BOA. Italian pastries, carry out foccacia, pastas and coffee. Daniela used to do meals at Sotto Sopra. Pastries are very good!

Baltimore Burger Bar (Puffs & Pastries) -- an expensive burger, but good with very interesting topping choices.

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Golden West Cafe
1105 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD

Sotto Sopra Restaurant
405 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Holy Frijoles
908 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD 21211

King's Pizza
215 W Potomac St, Brunswick, MD 21716

Aug 01, 2011
zebcook in Washington DC & Baltimore