Spring is in the air and for many in Baltimore, that means lacrosse. So, it was only natural that as I sat in the bleachers, pondering my next Gestalt & Pepper interview, my friend Ricky Shultz came to mind. He is the quintessential Baltimore boy, lax and all.

As Ricky humorously puts it, “I grew up on the mean streets of Timonium, Md. It was a really rough neighborhood called Mayfair just off Jenifer Road.” He was a lacrosse phenom at Loyola Blakefield and went on to Princeton where he was an All-American and on the national championship-winning lacrosse team.

Ricky, 30, lives in Canton and works in medical sales. He is funny, single and well-liked. He certainly knows his way around the local restaurants and bars. Interviewing him left me wanting a beer and resolving to get my staid suburban self downtown this weekend.

Home cook assessment:  Do you consider Durkee onions and Campbell’s mushroom soup legitimate ingredients or cheating? 

I’m tempted to say cheating, but out of respect to my wonderful mother, I have to say legit. Her signature dish is a chicken casserole that includes cream of mushroom soup and canned green beans. It’s good.

Saturday night with a date: Where do you book? What do you order?

Depending on what vibe I’m going for I would either go with Salt (in East Baltimore) and order the tuna

or Chazz (Harbor East) and get pizza.

Where would you take fun friends in from New York?

For a true Baltimore feel you can’t beat Mama’s on the Half Shell (Fells Point) at one of the outdoor tables on a Sunday afternoon.


Little Havana (on Key Hwy.) would also be a great choice.

How about for a special dinner?

The Prime Rib (, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Where is your go-to place for drinking? Why?

Portside Tavern (in Canton) is my go-to.

The owner, Steve, has become a good friend. My buddies and I all play in a lacrosse league on the Portside team. My college helmet is up at the bar. It’s always slammed with great people. A guaranteed good time. I also love Mama’s on the Half Shell. Mike, Dylan and Lincoln are the best bartenders around, always calm and professional no matter how busy the place is. They know their customers and they make it a pleasure to hang out at their bar. I also go there for the food. I have never had a bad meal, it’s consistently delicious.

Any drive-ins, diners and dives?

I love Jimmy’s in Fells. The all-day breakfast is beyond good. I go there on weekend mornings, but I have also had business meetings there. You get the 75 year old ladies and their hair nets and the businessmen in suits, that’s why it’s cool.

The Blue Moon Cafe (Fells Point) also deserves honorable mention for their graham cracker french toast, just ridiculous.

My buddy Bernie would kill me if I didn’t mention the Dead End Saloon in Fells Point.

What new restaurant are you dying to try?

I recently wandered into the Fork and Wrench (in Canton) with some friends and it was a little too subdued for our rowdy mood but it looked great.

I’m looking forward to checking it out at a more appropriate time.

Where do you grocery shop and why?

I live in Canton so I really only have one choice, Safeway.

Is there a food item that you regularly go out of your way to buy?

A cannoli from Vaccaro’s (in Canton).

What Baltimore restaurant has the best vibe?

Woodberry Kitchen (in Woodberry, near Hampden). I like the industrial feel. It’s always crowded but you never feel uncomfortable.

OK, we gotta do it. Best crab cake?

Baltimore Country Club.

Anything on your wish list for the Baltimore food scene?

There was a really cool jazz club while I was at Princeton called Triumph’s. It’s a great place to relax with some red wine under dim lights while listening to good music. I would love to see it replicated here in Baltimore.