Gestalt and Pepper: Hometown Girl Rebecca Murphy Gives Her Favorite Food Picks

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Baltimore, I think I have found your biggest fan. Her name is Rebecca Murphy and she describes her devotion to the city as “bordering on the weird.”

“I love every last bit of it, I mean, I am still a die hard Orioles fan.”  Enough said.

Rebecca’s passion for the city is not all lip service either, she works as director of special projects in the Mayors’s office (“it means I can be doing a different job every day”) and counts being engaged in improving the city as one of her greatest joys.

When you get to know Rebecca it is easy to see where all that passion for her hometown comes from. Her Baltimore roots run deep. The mother of two and Bryn Mawr and Western alum is a fourth-generation Baltimorean (her father is acclaimed attorney Billy Murphy) with a rich family tradition, a tradition where food took center stage. “My grandmother would ‘bring it’ for family dinners every Sunday,” she says. So it’s no surprise that when Rebecca talks about her restaurant picks, her focus is simple: good food and good people.

My head is not easily turned,” she says. “I don’t go for pretense.”  Sounds good. We’re ready.

Home cook assessment:  Do you consider Durkee onions and Campbell’s mushroom soup legitimate ingredients or cheating?
Totally legit! Without them, there would be no green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, or any other casserole for that matter!  My late grandmother, Madeline Murphy, used the occasional can of mushroom soup, and she was the best home cook I knew, so that’s good enough for me!


Saturday night with your boyfriend: Where do you go? What do you order?
We usually head down to Fells Point, to our home away from home, One-Eyed Mike’s. Not only is it a great bar, complete with Dale’s Pale Ale on draft (John’s favorite), a Grand Marnier club, and the best Cosmo in town, but it’s also a terrific restaurant, too! Mike Maraziti and his fabulous staff make you feel right at home every time you’re there!Typically for Saturday night dinner, one or both of us will order one of the specials, because they’re consistently amazing, and we always have deviled eggs topped with crabmeat as our starter…yummy!

Friends in from New York?Tapas Teatro in Station North is my go-to for out of town friends and family. It has a great atmosphere, amazing food, a great wine list, and you can’t beat the people-watching, especially in warm weather. It manages to be simultaneously hip and totally Baltimore at the same time, which isn’t easy. There’s also the Club Charles, a classic, right across the street for a cold Natty Boh and a great jukebox before or after dinner!
Charleston

A Celebratory Dinner?
This is a tough one because there are so many great choices….I would have to go with Waterfront Kitchen (in Fells Point), which is amazing, or Charleston, which you can’t beat for a wonderful grown-up night out.

Where do you take your kids?
My kids (11 and 14) love Maisy’s, on Charles Street, the food is excellent and the staff there is wonderful! Closer to home, we love Alonso’s (on Coldspring Lane) for burgers and S’ghetti Eddie’s (where they know my kids names!) for pizza. We also love Italian Gardens (in Kenilworth Mall in Towson), especially after sports.

Any diners, drive-ins or dives?
Jimmy’s Restaurant in Fells Point is great for Sunday morning breakfast, I love the Papermoon Diner in Remington, and we love Chap’s, on Pulaski Highway for pit beef…

Wit & Wisdom

New restaurant you’re dying to try?
Have been dying to try both Wit and Wisdom (in the Four Seasons) and Ten Ten Bistro (in Harbor East)!

Where do you grocery shop and why?
Although I have a regular multiple-store rotation (Trader Joes, Fresh Market, and Giant), I am an Eddie’s girl, through and through! Can’t beat the service, the convenience, the food, the tradition, the people, and the fact that you can buy beer and wine, too. And did I mention the cake?  Done and done.

Is there a food item that you go out of your way to buy?
Lately, it’s root vegetables and kale for salads, chips, and roasting.  I also go out of the way for the great Italian food at Trinacria on Paca Street. I spent many a Saturday morning there with my mom as a kid.

What restaurant in town has the best vibe?
It’s a toss-up between three great local spots: Pierpoint, in Fells Point, La Famiglia in Tuscany-Canterbury, and my beloved One-Eyed Mike’s, also in Fells Point. What all three have in common is terrific food, hands-on local ownership, a great staff, and the ability to make you feel like you’re the favorite guest at the best party in town!

Koco's Crab Cake

Crab cake?
Koco’s Pub in Lauraville for a casual evening out (it’s yummy and huge), Pierpoint for a fancier version, and you can’t beat Faidley’s for classic Baltimore.

Any wishes for the Baltimore food scene?
Other than more fast casual options, I can’t think of any…Having lived in lots of cities, I have to say that in the last 10 years, Baltimore has developed an amazing food scene. There’s something for everyone; great ethnic, great pubs, wine bars, dive bars, farm to table, high-end, sushi, seafood, great steak, bistros. There’s really something for everyone, it’s a lot of fun!



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