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baltimorejim's Profile

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Where are the Balto chowhounds?

Sorry to hear of your loss. I must say that your thread seems to have jump started local interest. I notice that five of the last 9 posts are related to Baltimore restaurants.

I think one of the spinoffs of chowhound might be more interest in home cooking, farmer's markets... and the realization that in a matter of minutes we can have good fresh food at home.

I am among those that believe for example that the best crabcake is your crabcake made in your own home.

I still venture out and have my favorite places that are part of my routine (Mekong Delta, Grace's Garden, Zorba's, Tio Pepe's, Prime Rib bar on Friday night when Brad Collins et al are playing, Samos, Mathew's, The Dizz... did I miss a few?)

I treasure the experiences that fellow chowhounders impart here. Thanks for the encouraging words.

I have recently enjoyed the Monday specials at Corner BYOB (first more than the second). Loved the new Belgian Beer place in the old Red Man's Hall (160 Beers) When the Arthouse Pizza place said they were slammed on a recent Saturday night was able to get a pretty good substitute by walking over to nearby Bella Roma to carry in to the Belgian beer joint. I asked the owner if he got his art nouveau style back bar from Belgium. He said "no, he made it himself".

By the way- perhaps Warthog knows- how many pizza places can survive in a few block radius?

May 29, 2014
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

Jimmy Wu Baltimore

It was interesting to read your post. In the mid 80's I bought a house and the contents both owned by a former customer and friend of Jimmy Wu's. You mentioned Wu was a student at City College where my house's former owner (Norman Burnett a resident of Roland Park)) was head of the art department. Apparently Burnett stayed in touch with Wu and exchanged Christmas cards through the years. Through your link I learned the original connection between Burnett and Wu. I recall eating at Wu's but ate many more times at Mee Jun Low's, a notorious cheap eats place across from Martick's.

Sounds like Wu was a master at what we now think of as social media.

May 29, 2014
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

The best Italian restaurant in Baltimore is a bakery: Piedigrotta

Thanks for the review. I have enjoyed the pignoli cookies and sfogliatelle and been told about the food. I look forward to trying the eggplant parmesan and gnocchi from your descriptions.

Apr 15, 2014
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

New Fries Size At Five Guys!

Some time ago I decided to forgo the small burger and fries at Five Guys for a small order of fries only which I think is ample for two people with a small ice tea. I enjoy the peanuts and also immediately dump the fries into the brown paper bag to degrease and maintain crispness.

Don't you love brown paper bags for their effectiveness in absorbing grease?

Geezing along I learned to do this thirty years ago at the Take and Bite (not to be confused with the Sip and Byte. The Take and Byte was at the site of the old Admiral's Cup on Thames Street. Eddie made a great fresh cut steak sub with fresh green peppers which I enjoyed almost daily while checking out the Moran tugs at the foot of Broadway near the police boat pier.

Nov 05, 2013
baltimorejim in Chains

Source for fresh rabbit in Baltimore County?

Faidley's? That wasn't marsh rabbit was it?

Oct 03, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Il Basilico Timonium

Some restaurants are delightful for particular dishes and some restaurants are delightful for the staff.

I look forward to rolling by and reading from my car window the daily specials posted in the window of Il Basilico. Based on what I read I decide whether to go that night as I continue on rounds of suburban errands.

Two nights ago one special was Chilean sea bass with a side of spaghetti in garlic and oil. That was enough to bring me back and I asked our waiter which of the specials he recommended that night. He said that the sea bass had arrived that afternoon and recommended it. My wife earlier had expressed the desire to not get two entrees since we thought that might be too filling and we prefer not to age leftovers in our refrigerator. While searching for a second dish the waiter suggested a dish not on the menu but one that we had seen on the menu previously.

He said the paccheri Gragnano pasta with zucchinni and shrimp is very good and he would ask the chef if he would make it. The waiter, Lucca, had previously served us dishes featuring paccheri Gragnano pasta which is a specialty of Naples. Lucca says the paccheri Gragnano served at Il Basilico is made with a special flour which makes it more expensive than regular pasta. The flour gives paccheri special qualities including absorbing sauces (especially seafood sauces).

I do not know if the paccheri Gragnano is available locally although I see that Eataly advertizes other Gragnan pastas.

The chef said he could make the dish and after a slight delay, which Lucca explained was due to the chef's effort to make the paccheri al dente, we were served. The sea bass filet (six ounce?) was cooked perfectly and served on a large Romaine lettuce leaf with a wedge of lemon. A side of spaghetti was flavored with garlic and olive oil.

The paccheri dish consisted of a sauce of diced fresh tomato and onion with a little parsley. The onion bits were cooked perfectly translucent and not browned providing a pleasant sweetness without being overly sweet. The sauce combined with butter, olive oil, and bits of shelled deveined shrimp that had been grilled before the shrimp were added to the sauce. A single large shrimp with half the shell on topped the dish. The bits of shrimp and sauce partially filled the large tubes of pasta. Lucca pointed out that the paccheri Gragnano absorbs the sauce at different rates due to the quality of the flour used to make this pasta.

Previously I enjoyed Il Basilico's gnocchi Christina which is gnocchi served with a pesto/ pistaccio sauce and flavored with bacon.

It is fun to check out the menu in the window that changes daily for at least 3 entrees and 2 appetizers. I have also enjoyed their cream of asparagus soup in the spring.

Il Basilico has strong suits in staff and for particular dishes.

Sep 28, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Soft chocolate chip cookies in Baltimore

The choc chip I had yesterday was a regular size and not as short as the cherry jam centered one I described. I haven't had the pleasure of sampling the large ones you describe either.

Aug 13, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Soft chocolate chip cookies in Baltimore

The Roland Park deli on Chestnut in Hampden makes a variety of cookies. Yesterday my wife got choc chips, greek wedding cookies with walnuts, lemon cookies, ones with cherry centers, and macarroons with choc chips and at least 2 other varieties.

All were great and a plus for me is they are normal size. (Not family size like some cookies have gotten to be.) Plus they are a reasonable $7.99 a pound. One I ate today was so short it practically fell apart in my hand. Fortunately I was able to eat it before a crumb hit the floor.

Aug 13, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

some help please finding peking duck in the Baltimore area..

Szechuan House on York Road.

Jul 24, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Water Spinach

My wife's uncle Isaac was a cress harvester in Frederick County years ago. He used to supply many Chinese restaurants in Washington. I googled watercress maryland and discovered a 1941 account of the cress business here http://frederickcountymd.gov/index.as... Perhaps Isaac learned the business from this fellow. Cress is plentiful in streams in Frederick and Washington Counties.

A few years ago I was given a bushel or so leftover from someone who brought it in to a market where I sell antiques. The cress grows in streams and should be available May through Sept. I am surprised with the popularity of ramps that more people are not cashing in on cress.

Apr 30, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

How can people not recognize badly corked wine?

I am sensitive to TCA which I generally think of as a musty taste or smell and discover that I sense it sooner than others. By the way is the musty taste I sense in every miniature carrot I have tasted similar or unrelated to TCA?

Apr 19, 2013
baltimorejim in Wine

Where is your "piazza" in Baltimore?

My idea of the piazza would be something like our local coffee shop "Common Ground" in Hampden. A number of people pass through or congregate and exchange ideas and news. There are quite a few regulars and diversity of opinion abounds. Through these exchanges relationships form. I related my theory to our waiter and he said the piazza is where your real friends are- not casual friends but the real ones.

I enjoyed both responses (Belvedere Square and Broadway) and recall an experience many years ago on the Fells Point piazza.

It was an early summer Sunday morning and my wife "R" and I arranged to meet another friend at the foot of Broadway. We arrived and R settled down at an outdoor table near the south market shed with her Sunday paper and coffee to await the arrival of our friend. He drove up and we walked over to speak to him in his van leaving her paper and coffee at the table.

Meanwhile a young lady who appeared to have been winding up her Saturday night in Fells Point early on Sunday morning sat down at our table and proceeded to spill R's coffee on her Sunday paper. When we returned to the table R said to her "you have spilled my coffee on my paper" She protested so loudly that R turned to our friend who had come to join us and said "let's go Arthur, I don't want to deal with the low end". Upon hearing this the young lady's protestations grew louder and more animated.

She said "Low end? Low end? I ain't no #$@@ low end." Whereupon R turned to her friend Arthur and said "I guess she proved her point!" ;)

Sorry for the detour. Any other ideas where Baltimore's piazza is?

Mar 25, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where is your "piazza" in Baltimore?

A few weeks ago I encountered a waiter in an Italian restaurant here in Baltimore. Curiously he was not only a waiter but a physician on leave from Naples for a six month stint helping a friend in her local restaurant. He pointed to a photo of a strand of beach near Naples and related meeting friends each morning at six AM for a croissant and espresso. He asked "where is the piazza in Baltimore"?

I have traveled a little in Italy and thought of the town and village centers where people gather for food and conversation. It is defined by some as the center of public life.

In Baltimore is it an area, a place, a particular restaurant, or a place with a unique or unusual ambiance.

If you have a suggestion let me know and I will tell you what his thoughts were tonight when I answered his question.

Mar 21, 2013
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Crab cake of my youth!

My routine order at Samos is Greek village salad, lamb souvlaki (cubes of lamb on a skewer) and Shrimp haloumi which is served with a roasted red pepper sauce. Thanks for the crabcake heads up, I will try it one day. I also enjoy the taramosalata (sp?) but only if I am with a group otherwise too much for us to eat.

It is interesting that both you and Ellen recently mentioned a crabcake being creamy. (Ellen's was about the crabcake at Lakis on Eastern Avenue.) I wonder if their crabcake is similar to Samos'?

How would you compare Samos grilled calamari to Zorba's? I love it at Zorba's but never have ordered it at Samos.

Jul 10, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Serendipity not always about food- Boston Street F&W

What a serendipitous day.

Settled on a house in Woodberry. It is not unusual for new houses to establish new routes and changes in my routine. No keys at settlement. When I called the owner provided me with the name of his former mother in law so that I could pick up the key locally rather than have it mailed. I instantly thought "uh oh what family dynamics am I getting myself into?"

Only to discover when I picked up the keys I was dealing with the matriarch and master gardener of the neighborhood. Her son had recently renovated her house and she proudly showed me the perfect things to do to the identical house I had just purchased.

I went into the basement of the house and upon reclimbing the basement stairs bumped my head at the low bridge coming up from the basement. I was careful to alert my taller electrician to note the low bridge and later descended to the basement once more myself.

Well then I forgot my own advice and upon reascending cracked my head with copious results on the beam I had warned my electrician about. I staggered from the house with blood flowing and of course nothing to stop it, although, since it was on top of my head I could not see it.

Another neighbor came to my rescue and invited me in for clean up and repairs. He said he knew exactly where I cracked my head since he lived in the same house thirty years ago and had the same experience many times over. I decided i did not require stitches and my wife and I applied a band aid and we proceeded to head downtown.

I carefully searched my iphone to discover if I should head for the ER or dinner. According to the sources I brought up it was a toss up. I knew that my RN friend Fran would tell me "Doc in the Box" but I decided to chance it and figure that if this is my last meal what will it be?

We prepared enough in advance to bring a bottle of wine in case we decided to go to Samos where I had recently heard (Chowhound) there was a presentable crabcake (uh oh- not homemade- how can that be?). Who knew? If we could not get into Samos we could always go to our favorite, Zorbas, for grilled fish.

As we proceeded along Aliceanna Street I mentioned that I had heard Fork and Wrench was good but that it was newly popular but I doubted we could get in. (Tuesday 7 PM)

Since Boston Street was on our route we pulled up in front of Fork and Wrench and went in to check the menu. It looked good with a moderately priced wine and cocktail list and they had a two top available.

Fickle us we abandoned our journey to Greektown and settled in at F&W. I noticed that the decor hit many hot buttons including industrial chic with a hint of steam punk and the creation of a look in two years that has taken 30 years for my wife and I to produce in our house ;) Oh and they also included Pikesville rye in one of the cocktails with ginger syrup--excellent.

The waiter described an appetizer special of melon with breseola (beef prosciutto) mint and feta. We ordered it. It was about 8 or 9 large dice of cantelope with the breseola slivers and mint slivers sprinkled over the melon along with half pea size bits of feta. It was delicious with the mint providing a counterpoint to the sweet melon and the salty feta.

We shared the seared magret duck breast with mushroom faro "risotto", brown butter carrots, pea tendrils and duck jus. The pea tendrils were missing but the dish was quite flavorful.

We also shared the "scallops with chilled pea panna cotta, watermelon radish chip, and meyer lemon". Fresh fragrant dill garnished the dish. I must admit I admire those of you who can recall the menu description while enjoying a dish. I suspect that the watermelon radish chip may have been the silver dollar sized pancakes under the delicious perfectly cooked scallops but will welcome anyone who corrects me on this.

The two entrees we enjoyed were $19 and $17, the app was $7! Perhaps introductory prices? Many wines were in the $25 to $32 range . Last meal? Great food great value.

Jul 09, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Food Lover's Guide to Baltimore

Good point about portion control.

Since sampling those chocolates we have an instant solution when it comes to hostess gifts when we travel out of town (especially for chocolate lovers.) Recently I have enjoyed the chocolate covered hazelnuts and cherries--- and I have heard a rumor that there will be ice cream in the future.

I really should also mention on the sweets subject (Of which I partake sparingly) that IMHO some of the best cookies in town are at the Roland Park Deli on Chestnut. Great chocolate macaroon a few days ago and Greek wedding cookies dusted with powdered sugar.

Jun 19, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Food Lover's Guide to Baltimore

My favorite quote about the market was one I overheard on the light rail form two junkies conversing, one mentions to the other "all the junkies get off at the market".

On a lighter note even though this is not near the yogurt / gelato discussion--- I am a fan of Pitango and heard an amusing story from another fan who owns a quite successful chocolate shop. He happens to be German and took an out of town guest to Pitango to show off the local product. She was from Germany. When she saw the prices she refused to try the gelato even though my friend was paying. I suppose the reaction was over the price versus the small size issue compared to prices in Europe.

But, hey, I am not in Europe right now. I still love it even though I did take a picture on my cell phone last time with the first digit of my index finger totally concealed by the false bottom of the small size cup ;>)

Sorry I do not know how to transmit my photo to my documents so that I could post a photo. I guess that is what Pitango is relying on--- unsophisticated customers!

Jun 19, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help a poor Los Angeles hound visiting Baltimore and DC

you mean there is a place to read those comments 8)

I suspect Attman's still has coddies. (I searched and found a 2010 article that referenced them.) I love their corned beef sandwiches but have never been a big fan of coddies. It's not too far from Little Italy on Lombard Street and I think 99.9% of us are foolish enough to make it to Lombard Street. I go anywhere I please (with some exceptions) and like to think I am cautious.

Always grateful for the butcher who grabbed me in a bear hug in the Lexington Market to keep me from being dragged outside by two guys who had taken money from an old man many years ago. I'll try not to get into a situation like that again.

May 31, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help a poor Los Angeles hound visiting Baltimore and DC

well said kukubura

May 18, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help a poor Los Angeles hound visiting Baltimore and DC

How about oyster happy hour at Ryleigh's. Usually a few for a dollar each and a respectable selection from around the country for a $2 each. 3 to 7 PM near the Cross Street market.

The light rail may be a fun way to travel to Woodberry Kitchen. Catch it at the convention Center and get off at Woodberry. Better have reservations. I think it is a little over hyped. Do you really care that the ketchup is homemade?

I agree with Mr Bills for crabs. I think he has told me twice so far that they just ran out of crabs when I have gone in to give him my name;)

While you have ethnic covered I cannot help but mention Zorba's (cab ride to Greektown). Great Grilled fish - eat downstairs. Call for a reservation although when you get there you could be the only one in the dining room. You never know. (others will chime in with their preference for Black Olive- good as well in Fells Point.)

I like bustle and atmosphere and I think Ryleigh's (I only eat oysters there someone else may know about other menu items) and Zorba's can each give you a dose
of Baltimore flavor.

B & O American Brasserie has received favorable mention. I have yet to try it. Short walk from the Conv Ctr.

May 17, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Costco food finds - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

Capt Neill's crab meat was packed in a plastic 16 ounce container as you would expect from North Carolina. (Not in a can)

Feb 14, 2012
baltimorejim in Chains

Costco food finds - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

Well maybe I spoke too soon. According to Charley in Tara Foreman's office at Capt Neill's the crab was "caught right here in North Carolina". I notice the container has a sell by date of 2/13/12 and also says "perishable" .

I must say that it is the most unusual east coast jumbo lump I have ever encountered. Big hard lumps top to bottom of the container. Has anyone else tried this crab?

My apologies to Capt Neill and AmyInNC.

Feb 14, 2012
baltimorejim in Chains

Costco food finds - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

I realize this is a waste of your time and mine. The battle is long over and we have won an abundant supply of an inferior product thanks to Phillips entrepreneurship in Asia. An interesting history of this can be found at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/co...

I am sure Tara will readily admit the crab is Asian and after all it is $19.95 not $26 to $29 as I am happy to pay for east coast of the US jumbo lump.

I encourage all to experience the difference for themselves.

Feb 13, 2012
baltimorejim in Chains

Costco food finds - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

I was busy today so did not get a chance to question "Capt Neill" or Costco. (I am not a member) Did you get a response? If they are processing Asian crab it appears to be a deliberate effort on the part of Costco or Capt Neill to deceive customers. But probably not illegal.

Feb 13, 2012
baltimorejim in Chains

Costco food finds - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

Well let me tell you something those backfin lumps were the largest lumps I've ever seen in a plastic east coast looking 1 pound tub of crabmeat. It does not say product of anywhere on the container.

I agree with monovano. It made the strangest crab cakes from the recipe we usually use and made me understand why crab cakes made with Asian crab are made the way they are made in restaurants nowadays. There was no hope of pan frying them.

I also stick to crab which I expect to be at least blue crab. I will buy Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana... when Chesapeake crab is not available.

I would love to hear other comments from purchasers of this product. I met a fellow who supplies crab meat to local Whole Paycheck stores. It would be interesting to hear his take on this package and its contents.

Feb 12, 2012
baltimorejim in Chains

Costco food finds - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

Arundel Mills MD Costco

My brother just bought "Capt Neill's Seafood Inc" jumbo lump crab meat "wild caught" "processed in USA". My wife insists on buying Blue Crab. This crab looks Asian to me. She is making crab cakes. It will be interesting to see how they taste. I notice the lumps seem much larger than blue crab.

Capt Neill's is listed on the plastic container as Columbia N. C. 27925. Anyone see anything misleading about the packaging if it is in fact Asian crab?

Feb 12, 2012
baltimorejim in Chains

Morris Martick RIP

I am sorry to say I will miss that event. I will have to remember him while at M&T Bank Stadium. I am sure the stories will be priceless ;)

Jan 13, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Not restaurant crabcakes

My cousin always asks if the fried oysters have been frozen after they were padded. I notice some restaurants have taken to lightly dusting the oysters with cornmeal so that they can be fried immediately without freezing. It is quite common for padded oysters to be frozen nowadays in order to have a supply on hand.

I should have asked at the Peppermill the other night but did not. The oysters there seemed a little watery and I suspected they had been frozen after paddinf.

Jan 11, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

lookin' for fried crab claws in DC/VA/MD

Number 3 and 4 are my primary complaints about restaurant crab cakes. It will be interesting to see if a restaurateur manages to address these problems. Meanwhile many people are perfectly happy to have any type of crabcake as long as it is big with big lumps of crab.

Jan 11, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore

Need Current Info re: Best Crabcake

The Diz has a decent one. An owner mentioned to me that they use a "mini sizzler" pan that gives the crabcake a pan fried homestyle finish. Also if seats are available on the first floor the fireplace is a nice feature.

Jan 10, 2012
baltimorejim in Washington DC & Baltimore