Food & Drink

Charm City Cook: It’s 5:00 Somewhere – A Baltimore Cocktail Round-Up

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If you know me – or follow me on Instagram – you know I like a cocktail. A drink at the end of a long day is nice treat every once in a while. But last week, I was doing my, um, “research” and went out six nights. In a row. I was tired. But happy. Happy to discover so many great drinks in Charm City. Here are a few that really stood out…

Baltimore’s Best Crab Cake (Via Blind Taste Test!) Is…

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I hesitate to even bring up the question of the best crabcakes in Baltimore, since it’s a subject that has been known to end friendships and start fistfights. But in this case, I’m just the messenger! If you disagree with the result, blame the thirteen Baltimoreans who did a blind taste test of six restaurants’ crabcakes. The winner may surprise you….

Charm City Cook: Happy Snacking!

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Take two friends and add a love of food and exquisite taste and you get Kinderhook Snacks. Marie Stratton and Katie Horn take snacking seriously and Baltimore absolutely should be thanking these creative, hardworking women. Whether you like salty or sweet (or both mixed together, duh), they have a snack for you. Choose from the crowd pleasers like salted chocolate chip cookies and baked cheddar cheese stamps or maybe some triple ginger cookies, bacon popcorn and spicy smokey mixed nuts. Check out all of their snacks!
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Exciting times for Kinderhook – they’ve just signed a lease on their very own kitchen space! Now they need to raise $12,000 in order to equip the kitchen. Here is their beautiful Kickstarter video – give it a look and see their story. Good stuff.

Vino Veritas: The Wino’s Yearbook

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It was recently brought to my attention that I have a significant high school reunion coming up, and because I served as class president, it is my official duty to plan said reunion, negotiate the where and how our tiny, well-dispersed class can reconvene and judge each other’s successes over the past decade. Actually, I’m not so cynical about the whole thing, I’m really looking forward to seeing faces I haven’t seen in a very long time, opening those letters we wrote to ourselves as high school seniors, and digging up yearbooks…which I love. No, seriously. I love yearbooks. I love the earnestness of Sharpie’d messages scrawled across inside covers, upside down, in circles, around photos, I love that we always meant “keep in touch” and “stay sweet” and every other generic thing we wrote.

One thing about those yearbooks, though, we never got to have those elections, you know? The ones where somebody is the Class Clown, or Leader of the Pack, or Most Likely to be Caught Under the Bleachers with the Chemistry Teacher, things like that. Mostly I think that has to do with our class size, 28 women strong, a number most likely requiring the divvying out of some kind of “award” to each student rather than just a small set (perhaps a repeat of what I recall of my preschool graduation, my four-year-old self baffled by a classmate’s receiving of the “Yellowest Award” due to her fascination for coloring only with a yellow crayon). Still, I feel like I missed something back then, so I’m going to make up for it now combining past and current fascinations. I give you the Yearbook Elections for Wine.

Most Likely to Succeed: Young Bordeaux
What’s sleek, robust, tightly wound, and literally designed to rule the wine world? Why, Young Bordeaux, of course! Step aside, easy-drinkers: these wines really do have something to prove. Long considered a sparkling gem in the viticultural kingdom, Bordeaux, a region tucked into France’s west coast, produces certainly some of the most collectable, most sought after, and most prestigious (read: expensive) wines in the world. Sure, wines designated as “first growths” in the 1855 classification are now astronomically expensive (like set aside two months of rent for a bottle kind of costly), but there are plenty of little growers and negociants who find high quality stuff, and though you may not know their name off the bat, a little digging gives you a good picture of what you’ll be getting into. Sit down, California Cab. You may have the spotlight for the next few years, but this guy’s going to go far, and has already been doing it for centuries.

Event of the Day: Decanter – A Maryland Wine Tasting and Racing Event

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Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21
10:00am – 6:00pm | $30 and up

Decanter is a two-day wine tasting and horse racing event. There are a few options for enjoying your time there. The General Admission Pass ($30) provides a Grandstand (read: the best) vantage point of all turf and dirt races of the day, samples of fine Maryland wine from Free State wineries, access to local artisans, and specialty food (at an extra costnot included). For the dedicated Decanterer (yes, weve just decided thats a word), you can upgrade to the Decanter Pass ($50), which includes all of the above, but you also get to take home a full size Riedel wine glass, samples of an exclusive Decanter wine from each attending winery, and a six bottle carrying bag. Tickets for youth and designated drivers (yes!) are available at a discount as well.

Decanter takes place on April 20 and 21 at the historic Pimlico race track in Baltimore. For more information or to purchase tickets, you can visit www.marylandwine.com

Drink Local Wine: Maryland Wineries Impress National Wine Makers and Locals, too!

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As you may have heard by now, Baltimore was host to the annual Drink Local Wine Conference last weekend where food and wine enthusiasts from across the country gathered to learn about Maryland wines.  The Maryland Association of Wineries organized the tour and left a lasting impression of Maryland’s promising viticultural future.

Even if you’re not into the wine scene, the strides the industry has made creating new avenues for farmers of bygone crops (like tobacco) and for promoting land preservation are enough to puff out your chest: Maryland is on the cutting edge of locally produced, biologically diverse wines.

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Friday kicked off the conference with a bus tour, starting with Sugarloaf Winery in Montgomery County, where co-owner Jim McKenna  was among the owners greeting the media with an enthusiastic showing of Sugarloaf’s award winning wines.

Brewing in Baltimore: A Conversation With Patrick Beille of Peabody Heights Brewery

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Courtesy Citybizlist – Who would have imagined that co-working had arrived in the world of brewing beer? I had a chance to wander around one of the nation’s first cooperative breweries, sample beers made by what one would otherwise assume are competitors and yet were made collaboratively in adjoining tanks. It’s a fascinating story of following one’s passion, never wavering from making a product that you believe in, one of sharing expertise and equipment, all with the curious aftertaste of rapid growth. And as the news of what they were doing spread, other brewers are lining up to work together. Patrick Beille’s story, and this column, isn’t about beer, it’s about what happens when entrepreneurs in the same “competitive” market figure out how to collaborate and as a result success is unleashed.

“Drink Local Wine” Conference Attracts Wine Lovers From Near and Far

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Photo by Steve Ruark.
Photo by Steve Ruark.

Courtesy Bmore Media – The top trending hashtag on Twitter April 13 wasn’t related to Tiger Woods’ penalty at the Masters.

It was #dlw13, which represents the 2013 Drink Local Wine Conference held at the Tremont Grand Historic Venue in downtown Baltimore and at Camden Yards. About 425 wine enthusiasts, vintners and bloggers came to taste Maryland wines and learn more about the local industry. They came as far away as New York, Georgia, North Carolina and California to attend the event, sponsored by the Maryland Wineries Association.

The Concession Stand with a Mission at Oriole Park

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If you’re heading to Oriole Park today to watch the O’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays, consider stopping by the absurdly named Flying Fruit Fantasy between sections 29 and 32. Sure, fruitshakes don’t exactly scream “baseball” the way a Triple Crown Sandwich does,  but it’s good to mix things up, and the stand has a mission beyond filling your belly with fruit. Flying Fruit Fantasy is run by the Choice Program, and it’s designed to give job and life-skills training to disadvantaged and at-risk youth. 

Horse Racing and Wine Tasting at Pimlico

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Be sure to get your tickets to Decanter, a celebration of Maryland wine and racing at Pimlico!

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