Shop & Eat

Washington Post Tries, Fails to Explain Pit Beef

Photo via Shiny Metal Tiger
Photo via Shiny Metal Tiger

Oh, Washington Post. At least you’re trying. After publishing a condescending article about Baltimore earlier this year, the WaPo is clearly trying to make it up to us with a fawning article about a beloved Baltimore delicacy:  pit beef. But once again, they kinda mess it up. (Fail #1:  They mention hons in the first paragraph.)

Charm City Cook: Skinny Dipping



Okay, no, I have never actually skinny dipped. Sadly, I’m a rule follower. Youngest of six…my parents were so tired by the time I came around, I really could have been bad. But I wasn’t. Must’ve been that Catholic guilt.

The skinny dipping I’m writing about has to do with delicious oysters. The “Skinny Dipper” is a locally sourced oyster farmed by True Chesapeake Oyster Company down in St. Mary’s County on the St. Jerome Creek. This spot is idyllic to say the very least.


They’ve been farming oysters there for about three years and finally, they are ready for the world…well, at least Baltimore for now. The farmer, Patrick Hudson, is a Baltimore native (#golocal), and as it turns out, a friend of a dear friend of mine (#smalltimore).

And they have a mascot. Honey, the retriever. She loves chewing on oyster shells.

honey the retriever

When they invited me down to Ryleigh’s Oyster for a tasting of True Chesapeake oysters, I jumped at the chance. Oysters are one of my most favorite, favorite things. We have some great oyster bars in town – Ryleigh’s and Thames Street Oyster House are two of the best. And many local restaurants serve oysters, of course. Earlier this spring I had some very good ones at PABU and Corner BYOB. And the Hon Bar serves them on Fridays at Happy Hour. I haven’t been to the Hon for oysters lately, but I used to love to see champion shucker George Hastings there serving them up when the Friday tradition first started. What a nice man!

Oh, and I asked about the whole thing about only eating oysters in months with the letter R in them. That goes back to the days before refrigeration and in the warmer months (May, June, July August) when it was a little sketch to eat oysters that had not been kept cold. So, rest assured, unless there is a widespread power outage, it’s perfectly okay to eat oysters every month of the year. Thanks, True Chesapeake guys, for teaching me something that allows me to eat oysters all the time.

At the tasting, the True Chesapeake guys suggested that I try their Skinny Dipper oyster sans sauce. Naked! I don’t think I’ve every eaten an oyster without cocktail sauce, hot sauce, mignonette sauce…or something. But I knew I was in good hands between Patrick and his True Chesapeake colleagues and Ryleigh’s chef Patrick Morrow all sitting around the table. And, for the first time, I totally slurped it. Slurped it! It was so, so good. A little sweet, a little salty and unbelievably fresh and bright. It didn’t need anything added. Not more salt, not a sauce, nothing. And we washed them down with a nice cold Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (deeelish.) After I tried them naked, I did add a little cocktail sauce just to see what the taste was like, and yes, it was good that way, too! And the day after the tasting, the Skinny Dipper oyster made its worldwide debut as the preferred oyster of the Preakness Stakes. Very exciting times for these guys!

Baltimore Culinary Stars Shine at James Beard House

Eastern shore buffet plate of whole shrimp, Maryland fried drummy, crispy-skin rockfish. Photo by Jonathan Mount.
Eastern shore buffet plate of whole shrimp, Maryland fried drummy, crispy-skin rockfish. Photo by Jonathan Mount.

Courtesy Bmore Media – I stepped into the former home of the late cookbook author James Beard, where a number of folks were gathered in the foyer as well as the front anteroom. I spied the open kitchen in the New York brownstone, pausing to take photographs and watch the chefs hard at work.

What the Emmys are to television, the Oscars to the movies is what the James Beard Foundation Awardsare to the culinary industry. Snagging a nomination for the highly coveted award is a badge of honor.Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike Gjerde and Charleston’sCindy Wolf were among the mid-Atlantic nominees this year while PABU, the Japanese restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, was nominated one of the best new restaurants.

Spike Gjerde to Open Restaurant in Crush Space in Belvedere Square

Spike Gjerde
Spike Gjerde

The owner of Woodberry Kitchen, Spike Gjerde, will open next month a “farmhouse diner” and canning operation at Belvedere Square in the space that used to house the restaurant Crush, Bmore Media reports.

Foreman Wolf to Open New Restaurant, This Time In Columbia



Officials of The Howard Hughes Corporation, the management company of Columbia’s Lakefront, announced today that it has signed a 10-year lease agreement with Foreman Wolf Restaurant Group for a new restaurant on the ground floor of the Exhibit Building. The restaurant will occupy 6,943 square feet of the space formerly occupied by the Red Pearl restaurant. The restaurant concept will be announced at a later date.

“This is a huge opportunity for downtown Columbia,” said John E. DeWolf, Senior Vice President of Development for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “The addition of another quality restaurant will just add to the vibrancy we are creating on the lakefront and in downtown.”

The Chesapeake Reopens



The long, loooooong dormant Chesapeake restaurant at Charles and Lanvale finally reopened for dinner last night. The revived eatery boasts new owners, a new menu, and — so they claim — lower prices (but the burger’s $15, so they must be adjusting for inflation pretty hard.)

New Martick’s Restaurant and Speakeasy to Open in August


It’s a good time to celebrate the Roaring 20s. Director Baz Luhrmann has remade “The Great Gatsby” movie. WC Harlan in Remington is one of Baltimore’s hottest bars. And now the former Martick’s Restaurant Francis is about to be remade into a modern-day speakeasy when it reopens in August.

Speakeasies were hidden bars where in-the-know customers could enjoy a cocktail during Prohibition. It will still be called Martick’s, in honor of the late Morris Martick, the restaurant’s long-time owner, but there won’t be a sign at the Mount Vernon restaurant — just like its predecessor. If the light is on, it’s open. If not, you’re out of luck, says co-owner Brooks Bennett. Another co-owner is Alex Martick, Morris Martick’s brother.

Swinging Swamies Tonight at Belvedere Square


Belvedere Square flyer_500x600

The Swinging Swamies play an eclectic mix of jazz and world rhythms. From 1930’s jazz to 1970’s funk and everything in between, it is the band’s goal to present to listeners a wide range of popular as well as lesser-known music.

The Green Spring Station Farmers Market is Back!


Take advantage of the fresh produce, local baked goods and specialty foods at The Green Spring Station Farmers Market.  The GSS farmer’s market continues every Saturday through November 23 and features some of the best locally grown products, baked goods, confections and other delectable items from around the region. Yum!

Participating vendors of the Green Spring Station Farmers Market:

Baked Goods

Quite A Stir – Pound cupcakes

Robin’s Nest – Cookies, pies, breads and more

Scotty’s Goody’s Cookies – Fudge, and container plants

The Breadery  – Breads and baked goods


Albrights Farm  – Chicken, beef, veggies and fruit

Galloway Farm  – Veggies and fruits grown organically

Grand View Farm  – Free range eggs, chicken, and pork

Charm City Cook: Ice Cream Shop to Open in Hampden



Local, local, local. I’m all about it…you probably are, too. And in Baltimore, we’re getting more and more great local restaurants, bakeries, breweries and more…and now a new ice cream spot! The Charmery ice cream shop is opening soon in Hampden, hon, and earlier this week, I got a sneak peek!