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HaHa Foods Baltimore

I had a long conversation about Ha Ha Foods this weekend. Since all lived on the east side of downtown, the consensus was that it was great to have the option on an Asian market on our side of the world.

I was in the area and stopped there for lunch today. I had the shrimp dumplings which, unfortunately, were pretty lackluster. I also tried the roast duck and noodles in soup and thought it great.

Like you, I also saw other diners happily digging into great looking food, I also definitely want to go back to try more.

Since the menu is extensive, I'd also like to hear what folks recommend. I look forward to many visits there.

best indian in Baltimore?

Pavan Foods is amazing. It's a grocery story with a small vegetarian restaurant in the back. South Indian with amazing thailis and dosas. On Harford RD just inside the beltway.

Tabor Ethiopian reopens (finally), Baltimore

Tabor has long been my favorite Ethiopian place in Baltimore (not that there's much of a choice) and has been closed for a move/renovation for seven long (Ethiopian food free) months. I've been driving by their new space on Park Ave near Mulberry periodically, hoping that they would be open, and on Tuesday they were (finally!).

While the menu was limited, the food was a good as I'd missed and the absolute cheap eats prices hadn't budged upwards even one little bit. The official grand opening is Saturday and Sunday. If you've not been, they're definitely worth checking out.

And, in related news: While chatting with some folks there, I leaned that another Ethiopian place is going to open across the street and an Ethiopian coffee house is slated to open a few doors down from Tabor. What once was Baltimore's teeny tiny Chinatown seems to be morphing into Baltimore's teeny tiny Little Ethiopia. But, I'll take a new ethnic enclave, no matter how small!

Anne Arundel Pit Beef Tour

There's no doubt in my mind that Beefalo Bob's is the best. However, I understand that the Ft Smallwood Rd location uses a different smoker, so I assume the pit beef is a bit less spectacular. If you go, I'd be curious to hear how they compare.

Crab cake of my youth!

It was this thread that reminded me that I should post about Lakis. Despite many, many meals at Samos, I've never had crabcakes there and also wonder how they compare.

Serendipity not always about food- Boston Street F&W

Great story.

And, how appropriate that with a new house you ended up at a place with a tool in the name. (Happy for you that it wasn't called something like Spoon & Scalpel!) ;)

Lakis in Highlandtown (Baltimore)--a simple place on my rotation

Good question. According to their website, they don't

Lakis in Highlandtown (Baltimore)--a simple place on my rotation

This little place has been on my rotation for a good while now. Located on Eastern Ave, right by the Walgreen's, Lakis is basically a small, Greek-run diner (although it doesn't serve breakfast all day).

They tout their crabcakes (which are a bit too creamy for my tastes, though the mister loved them) and have a great MD crab soup that I crave. Their gyros seem to get better each time I have them.

The owner is affable, and the other night I showed him a photo of a Greek salad that I had and Greece and he tried to recreate it for me. I can't imagine that he wouldn't be open to other requests.

This is definitely a no-frills type of place with burgers and specials like liver and onions. It's really the perfect place for a good, inexpensive comfort food if you find yourself on the Southeast side.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Thanks for that. (I felt silly when I got back and learned that there was one maybe a 40 minutes drive from my house!) It's definitely not cheap and it seemed so important to local culture that people save up their quetzales just to have a family meal there.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Ha! No bug, but just the obvious analogy. And, I think our job here is the cut though all the "cult-like following" crap, anyway. (And I say that as someone who adores, ok loves, In-n-Out Burgers.)

And, thinking about this further, it occurred to me that I have gone out of my way to eat at local/regional chains when traveling. Made my friends laugh when I wanted a Burgerville burger in Oregon, and spent a meal in New Mexico (a place with particularly good food) on Blake's Lottaburger (and loved it!). If imagine that a case could be made for sending someone to Gino's, although I think the current locations are probably more about nostalgia than they are about burgers, shakes, and fries. I remember making a point of eating at Pollo Campero in Guatemala just because I knew how beloved it was. (And, little did I know that they had locations in Maryland!)

If I had only one meal to spend in a place would I pick a chain? Probably not. But I definitely do not discount it as a way to gain insight into a place and perhaps have a good meal.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Absolutely! Making sure people have non-tourist trap options is what we're all about. But I'm wondering:

Is it right for people who live in the vicinity of the In-n-Out Burger chain to recommend it to visitors to the area? (If you think the answer is yes--I do and have no idea if you also agree--isn't it the same as sending someone to Royal Farms for a chicken box?)

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

If you go to Beefalo Bob's, make sure you go to their Mountain Road location which is carry-out only and NOT their Ft Smallwood Road one. (And, yes, Mountain Road is a haul from almost anywhere in Baltimore.)

And, while I'd prefer to buy from a small outfit and from the owner (like Jake's) and have no real interest in promoting Royal Farms, it's a fairly small regional chain and not some international monster like 7-11. Royal Farms is no Wawa, but good for what it is.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

BTW, on your (repeated) recommendation, I went to Jake's on Tuesday since I was more or less in the area. Like you, I found it quirky and likeable. Their pit beef was good. I would rank it as better than Pioneer's but not nearly as good as Beefalo Bob's. Their take on mac & cheese was interesting, but too smokey to eat more than a bite or two. (Actually, they threw in a side since I it was my first time there. Nice touch.)

That said, I think it's a great stop if you're in the area. However, it's not some place I'd go far out of my way for or bother to recommend to someone visiting Baltimore City.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Hear! Hear!

And, their Western fries are hard to beat!

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

I'm not really sure what "middle America pizza" is, despite having lived and traveled in quite a few places in various parts of the Midwest.

I always thought Matthew's was some sort of Baltimore invention, that is, until I read this:

In any event, glad you loved it.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Thanks for reporting back and happy you liked it here. (I, too, think it's a great city and a good food town.) I'm actually jealous that you made it to Eastern Carryout since I pass it often, think I want to eat there, and it's closed. I'm delighted that you made it to three of our municipal markets. You'll have to stop by Northeast Market (near Hopkins hospital) the next time, and if you're up for a bus ride, to Schultz's, an old school, knotty pine, nautically decorated seafood place.

And, my burning question: Where was the laundromat pit beef?!

Ebenezer Ethiopian Restaurant, Baltimore

I assume this restaurant is in the old Elfgen (spelling?!) space in West Baltimore.

Any reports?

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Interesting that the second link touts the machine as being bulletproof! The Koldkiss site is fascinating in its way.

Now that it's summer (sort of) I think we need a thread dedicated to the Baltimore snowball. (And, I'm impressed by your expertise!)

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

Ok. I thought of something else for you. Oddly snoballs reminded me of.

You should go to Attman's not because there aren't enough delis in NYC (although I'd put their corned beef up against anyone's) but because you can try two only in Baltimore (AFAIK) foods. The first is the coddie, or codfish cake. Second is the kosher hot dog wrapped in grilled bologna and IIRC on a very yellow challah bun.

Also very much a local institution. You'll see all kinds of people there at lunch, and the counter staff is colorful, to say the least.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

The Baltimore thing about the snowball/snoball, as opposed to, say, Italian ice and sno-cones, is both the flavors of the syrup and the texture of the ice. The Baltimore form is generally served in an environmentally unfriendly styrofoam cup as opposed to a paper cone as is a sno-cone or a tiny little cup like Italian ice. I prefer (as I've said earlier) the crunchy/chunky ice that was the snoball of my youth, but people have different tastes. (I also have a harder time finding crunchy/chunky ice so its rarity makes it extra special. ;-)) I've only had one NOLA snoball in my life, in fact just a few weeks ago. I found the ice to be even finer than the shaved ice here. I also think that in NOLA people use some form of condensed milk as topping, and we use marshmallow. (And, they call skylite blue raspberry, so we score points merely on being poetic!) /jk

If you're not a fan of ice desserts it's easy enough to skip, but in Baltimore's hazy, hot, and humid summers, it's a wonderful, very local treat. And, if you are a fan, the rec for the place at the Walther Blvd nursery is a very good one. I'm pretty sure they make their own flavors and have crunchy ice. It might be the best ever, in fact.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

What is the Greek place in a gas station? Are you talking about the Uruguayan place in a gas station in DC?

(For the record, I hope you aren't since I'd really love to find a gas station Greek place!)

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

I think there needs to be a Fenwick versus Hoehn's peach cake & marshmallow doughnut taste off. I actually have no doubt who would win, but the ensuing sugar coma should be big fun!

And, while we're on sugar, I also don't think that Jeffsayyes should miss snowballs. (I forgot to mention when I posted earlier.) While not my favorite (I'm a fan of the crunchy ice over the shaved ice and this place has shaved ice) Icy Delights on Fleet St in Highlandtown is easy enough to get to via public transit. The skylight flavor is beautiful and delicious. And, yes, I agree with the poster above on the upgrading with marshmallow.

Baltimore: Looking for the Grit and Soul of the City

No one has mentioned dessert!

Go to Hoehn's Bakery in Highlandtown for real old school bakery items, including great marshmallow doughnuts. It probably won't be in season, but they've amazing peach cake. The best, IMO, of all the old school Baltimore bakeries. (It's close to Cinco de Mayo which is good rec for tacos.)

In general, I think the "soul of the city" can be found in our public markets.

At Broadway Market (Fells Point, not terribly far from Hightlandtown) go to Sophia's for home cooked Polish food along the lines of a tongue sandwich on pumpernickel.

Go to the west side and get fried chicken from Chuckie's at Hollins Market. (Downsides: no place to sit & eat & somewhat of a rough neighborhood.)

The recs for the JFX Sunday Farmers Market are spot on. No way that you should miss it.

If you time it right at Cross Street Market you can slurp raw oysters with working class folks at the end of their day. Time it wrong & you'll be surrounded by frat boys & their ilk. Steve's Lunch, at the other end of the market, has great, inexpensive crab soup.

Of course, there are the Lexington Market recs. It is a place I think that no visitor to this city, foodie or not, should miss. (Although there are strong disagreements on this board.)

And, while people tell you to avoid pizza here, Matthew's Pizza is an institution, and well worth trying.

Crabs... with a dog

Yes, that's the place. I can't speak to the non-seafood options there, since I've only had crabs and sides. There are a lot of options in the area to pick up something for a non-seafood eater, including a nearby Safeway if you don't want to think too long & hard about it. (Others can give you better suggestions.)

You're not supposed to have beer in parks here, and you're not supposed to have dogs off leash, but people get creative......(BTW, if you don't know this, beer isn't sold in supermarkets here, but there's a little strip mall convenience store, maybe called Canton Convenience Store, diagonally across the street from Chris' that has a surprising decent selection of beer.)

Also, if you're coming in to town via 95 & getting off at the Eastern Ave exit, you might also want to consider getting carry out crabs from Gaffney's, which is actually a lot more straightforward than getting to Chris' & is generally very good & less expensive.

Whatever you do, make sure you call first for your crabs.

Crabs... with a dog

I believe the place in Fells Point is called Riptide by the Bay.

Dock of the Bay, in southeast Baltimore County, has outdoor space and may allow dogs. It's been years since I've had crabs there, but I don't remember them being great, and the service is horrible, but it's a nice place to spend the a pretty afternoon on the deck looking out at the water. I've no idea if they allow dogs.

I think your best bet is to get carry out crabs, Chris' Seafood in Canton is a good bet, and then take them nearby to a picnic table by the pagoda in Patterson Park. (People definitely do this, btw.) You could stop at numerous places along the way to get food for the non-seafood eater in your group. As a bonus, there should be loads of four legged friends for your dog.

JFX 2012

I actually think this neighbor will be grilling up pizza starting this Sunday. Regarding Red Zebra, I believe they are spending their Sundays at Eastern Market in DC.

In other news: Heard from someone who was satisfied with her newly sharpened knives and will bring in more. This person did ask for a loyalty card (or whatever they're called, you know, get six knives sharpened, get the seventh one free) & sharpener said he'd consider a discount if she brought in volume, like 300! In any event, it's probably worth asking about.

I'm sort of surprised that no one has mentioned that Blacksauce is there this year. They seem to be a favorite at other markets.

Kabab Hut off Route 40 in Catonsville

Thought it was worth resurrecting this ancient thread since I happened on Kabab Hut when running around today.

I ordered the Kabab Hut combo of chicken, beef, and lamb, and thought the chicken tikka was perhaps the best I've ever had, well spiced and juicy. The beef was ok: I liked the spices but it was dry, and the lamb was disappointing. However, the nan was out of this world. It was light with a great crust.

The time thing is an issue if you're in a rush. I think at minimum it's a 15 minute wait. I imagine longer if there are more than one person ordering at a time.

If I lived or worked in the area I would definitely put this place on the rotation. It's been three years since the last post, and I think Kabab Hut may have gotten their act together. It may be worth another (or first) shot.

Need Current Info re: Best Crabcake

My advice is don't bother with the Eastern Ave Michael's. (Oh, and thanks for the compliment, btw.)

Maryland Style Fried Chicken???

Seeing "chicken Maryland" at a small restaurant in a town around Inle Lake in Myanmar/Burma was so notable that I took a photo of the menu and the dish.

Charcuterie in Baltimore

If you do go to Krakus--which I second--don't miss their crazy good cold smoked pork loin.