To celebrate the transition from winter to spring, downtown modern soul food spot Ida B’s Table is switching up the drinks and cuisine on its bar menu, and throwing a party tonight to kick it all off.
The submissions are in and the finalists have been chosen. Now it’s all up to you to determine the Tavern’s signature summer cocktail.
Join us along with The Fan’s Ed Norris on Thursday, June 19 in our SkyBar, 5:30-8pm to watch the five finalists “shake it out” and vote on your favorite summer drink.
Mt. Washington Tavern Burgers
Creekstone Farms Aged Black Angus Burger
Kansas raised, exceptionally tender, grass fed aged beef, side of tavern fries.
Fresh Ground Turkey Burger
Extra lean turkey ground with red and green bell peppers, grilled roll, cranberry mustard, lettuce, tomato. Side of sweet potato fries.
(Served on Grilled Brioche Bun, with Lettuce, Tomato, Fries* and Pickle Spear, Topped with Choice of Vermont Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Melted Bleu (add $2), Apple Wood Smoked Bacon $2, Sauteed Mushrooms $1.50, Caramelized Onions $1 * Veggie Burger Served with a Side of Tri-Color Tortilla Chips and Salsa.
A few weeks ago, I heard that restaurateur Teddy Bauer had invited over the weekend a few friends to stop by his old-restaurant-made-new, The Valley Inn, on Falls Road in Brooklandville. I immediately drove by and called the restaurant; both actions bore no fruit. The following Thursday, a friend and I met there for a drink and to see if it was open. (I had heard from a friend of Teddy’s that he was going to open the bar first.) When we arrived at about 8:00 at night, the place was dead.
Looks like Richard Gorelick at The Baltimore Sun heard the same rumors I did and went by last Saturday to check things out for himself, and it looks like it is open (but mostly for FOTs – Friends of Teddy’s). He reports that the pub is open for business on Fridays and Saturdays, serving burgers, crab cakes, salads and more. Read his story here.
Now that over fifty percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce, there are more single people in their thirties, forties and fifties than ever before. What does this mean? Where will it lead? Is this a problem to be solved, or a phase in the development of a new social order? I have no answer to these questions but I do know this — there are only two single men in Baltimore and they both have girlfriends.
Let me explain. In 2009, when I arrived in town newly separated, helpful friends pointed out two fellows I’ll call Monty and Elliot. Monty was a dashing silver-haired photographer known for his elegant cocktail parties, Elliot a clever bartender in horn-rimmed glasses who was also a sportswriter. I cast my gaze in both directions but didn’t end up dating either one of them.
Five years went by. Many more marriages ended. Numbered among the most recent crop of emerging singles is my fetching friend Strawberry Shortcake, a wide-eyed Girl Scout type fifteen years younger than I, hence not as scarred by the dissolution and depravity of the 1970s and 80s. This past Saturday I had the honor of taking Strawberry on her first night on the town as a single woman.
I am sad to report that it started with Monty and ended with Elliot and both Strawberry and I were home in bed by 11.
Plans for the evening were conceived when I received an invitation to one of Monty’s famous soirees, an event I assumed would be teeming with romantic possibility. When I asked Strawberry to come along, she readily accepted. In fact, another friend had already suggested she go. Five and half years later, Monty remains one of Baltimore’s leading men-about-town.
I suited myself up in black leather pants and boots; Strawberry appeared in one of her usual Little House on the Prairie ensembles, many of which feature gingham and shawls, yet have a weirdly sexy effect. The party was congenial enough, but Monty had a girlfriend in the kitchen. There was at least one other eligible man there, though even from a distance he appeared gloomy and tormented; it turned out he was the “Hot Neighbor” of Lauraville whose very recent marital breakup had already gone out over the wires. I realized this early in our conversation and exclaimed, “Oh, I know who you are! You’re the Hot Neighbor!”
He looked confused. When I explained, he brightened for a moment before sinking back into his bitter malaise. “Well, maybe I will be soon,” he said.
With the possibilities chez Monty so quickly disposed of, I suggested to Strawberry that we hit the bars and see what might be available. Having recently attempted a similar reconnaissance mission with another cute young divorcee, Rainbow Bright, I decided to skip Hampden and Station North.
Just a few weeks prior, Rainbow Bright and I had hoofed it through 13.5 Wine Bar, the Hon, Fraser’s, Holy Frijoles, Joe Squared, Metro Gallery, The Depot, Club Charles, and several no-name spots on Howard Street. We turned up dozens of hipsters barely over their acne, two drag queens named Ellen Degenerate and Miss Construed, a bunch of my students from the University of Baltimore, and, briefly, John Waters, but even the open-minded and dauntless Rainbow Bright could find nothing of concupiscent consequence. At 1:20 a.m. we finished the last of our vodka-sodas and called it a night.
The Chesapeake. You went there a million years ago. Or maybe it was your dad (like mine). Or maybe your grandparents used to talk about it. Or you just walked or drove by it for the last 20-plus years wondering what it used to be. Well, back in the day, it was quite the place to go. Think business lunches and anniversary dinners – which included things like steaks, seafood and old school cocktails. It opened in 1933 and sadly, closed in 1986.
Baltimore is a city that values its history, but also embraces new ideas, too: we’re of a mixed bag. The juxtaposition of old and new is quite evident at the Chesapeake. First, they kept the name. Some may say that’s the easy way out…or boring. I disagree. It’s so smart. When I visited for the opening this week, people were all around me saying to the managers, servers and bartenders, “My parents used to come here.” “My boss said he used to take clients here back in the day.” And on and on. And on. So, retaining the name, retains the nostalgia. And, boy, Baltimoreans are nostalgic. They’re even having Throwback Thursdays for those who want to experience the food and cocktails of the original menu. Smart, I’m telling you.
So, the vibe. Vibe is important, no? This place is relaxed, not trying too hard, but definitely putting a little effort in. Yes, they have industrial-esque hanging lights and Edison light bulbs mixed with a gorgeous, modern marble bar and simple bar stools…it all works. And as for that minimal chic decor, it’s not quite ‘done’ yet. Stay tuned for some finishing touches. From the Woodberry-esque uniforms (hello, checked shirts and dark, somewhat skinny jeans…) to the cocktail menu to the minimal chic decor, this place says now. But not in a “we are SO COOL” kind of way. The servers are friendly, helpful and present when needed. As a former waitress, I always struggled with the balance of checking in vs. leaving alone. You have to sort of size up your guests and figure out what they want. That’s not always easy. Our bartender got it just right. I also will point out that the bar stools are padded and pretty comfy. Again, smart. If you keep sitting, you keep eating and drinking! And, I do love having dinner at the bar. Big fan. AND, gals…they have hooks under the bar for your bag. SCORE! One more thing that would be smart (a’la The Food Market in Hampden) would be free valet parking. I had no trouble finding parking, but not everyone is interested in street parking and some won’t want to pay for the lot in the back. But providing valet is a whole other biz and I don’t really blame them for not going there.
The cocktail menu is tight. I like that…too many choices overwhelm me. On my first visit, I tried two cocktails – the Silent in the Morning (Panamanian white rum, lemon, local honey, orange, egg white) and the Mikey’s Rule (Maryland rye, Peychaud’s bitters, maple syrup, absinthe). I liked the latter much more. I thought the egg white of the former would have been more frothy, but maybe they are still working on their game. It’s early. My friend had the Tom Selleck – bitter orange liquor, sweet vermouth, Philadelphia gin and ginger – and it was excellent. I’d definitely recommend that one. One side note: My water glass was continuously filled as I sat and enjoyed our snacks. Little things like that…things that should (but often do not) happen, I notice and appreciate. Thank you, Del.
Silent in the Morning
Every spring, the Homewood Museum at Johns Hopkins University hosts An Evening of Traditional Beverages on the lawn of the museum’s grounds. Each year there is drink theme — everything from whiskey to champagne to last year’s theme of punch (boy, that was a FUN parTAY!) This year’s theme is Fruitful Brews.
Just to give you a little background…Homewood is the 1801 country house of Charles and Harriet Carroll and one of few surviving examples of Baltimore’s Federal Period architecture. This was a time when the City of Baltimore was a major boom town. The creation of a retreat for summer’s use was really the very beginning of the concept of “the suburbs”, which would be followed 100 years later by nearby developments such as Roland Park, Homeland and Guilford. At the time Homewood was built, the area around the house was quite rural and the site included a 130 acre working farm with two vegetable gardens, as well as an orchard of apples, peaches and pears. The farm and original orchards were the inspiration for this year’s Evening of Traditional Beverages: Fruitful Brews and also for the reestablishment of a small orchard that would have provided fruit for the table, for livestock and for delicious fermented beverages!
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…
We try to keep it classy here at Catch of Day, but of course, we wouldn’t be Baltimoreans without a taste for kitsch. And as block parties and barbecues start to get underway this season, you’re sure to see a variety of beer cozies on parade at any outdoor affair worth its salt. Beer cozies don’t always project an image of good taste, but maybe that’s because you’re starting from a baseline of drinking canned beer. Upgrade to bottles and you’re ready for the amazing line of bottle insulators by Freaker, that have just arrived at South Moon Under.
Courtesy Bmore Media – A landmark Fells Point bar will undergo a $1 million expansion with the goal to open next spring or summer, the owner says.
The Horse You Came in On Saloon plans to take over a 1,700-square-foot space next to their current location on Thames Street to create a new dining and music area, says owner Eric Mathias.