Now that last night’s kick-off party is over, featuring free tastings and live music at the Baltimore Visitor Center, it’s time to begin the Black Restaurant Challenge itself.
We know you love the Charm City Cook Amy Langrehr. We do too, and so we’ve asked her to post restaurant and food news everyday for all of us in the Baltimore Fishbowl! Look for her posts in the afternoon…just when you start thinking about what to do for dinner.
This week, the successful pop-up dinner concept, Dinner Lab, announced that it was expanding into nine new cities – and BALTIMORE is on the list!
Dinner Lab is a social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventuresome diners who are looking for something different from the conventional restaurant experience.
Welcome to our new occasional series “15 Under $15” by wine enthusiast and restaurateur Tony Foreman (who knows a thing or two about wine). Tony owns wine shop Bin 604 in Harbor East and is a partner in Foreman Wolf, which owns and operates restaurants Charleston, Cinghiale, Pazo, Petit Louis and Johnny’s.
The priorities in assembling the below list were first and foremost flavor (as in a lot of it for the price) and secondly, versatility with food and typicity of place. –Tony Foreman
Nuances of tree fruits and soft toasty brioche, perfect for soft bloomy rind cheeses.
Continuing the focus on fall restaurant news has come naturally this week. I mean, who isn’t feeling autumnal? The brisk weather and the football on the tube (Faith Hill’s sparkly minidress was a vast improvement over last year’s bizarre capri/blazer combo, I’m sure the men are with me on this one) has us all in the mood. So let’s get our cozy on and figure out where we are going for our butternut squash bisque this season. It’s game time folks!
We’ve been watching the progress for months now, and finally it’s official: Townhouse restaurant will open its doors on May 24.
The Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that the new Harbor East restaurant will feature an Asian and Mediterranean menu and will have 40 local beers on tap. It will also have draft beer at individual tables so you can serve yourself.
High-end Japanese restaurant PABU opened last week in the Four Seasons hotel. Its menu features modern Japanese cuisine “with global influences” including “jet-fresh” fish from around the world.
The restaurant will carry more than 100 sakes and will employ Master Sake Sommelier Tiffany Dawn Soto. The restaurant serves dinner only. The best news: The lounge at PABU serves dinner, Tuesday – Saturday until 2 a.m.
Baltimore’s food trucks will sell you peaches and cream cupcakes, lobster mac and cheese, crab cake tacos and/or South Carolina barbecue; the problem is, you usually have to drive all over town to find them. This Friday, however, you’re in luck — six of Baltimore’s most beloved food trucks will be rallying in Hampden, allowing you an easy stroll from Kooper’s Chowhound Burger Wagon to Souper Freak to Iced Gems Creation. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.
Last year’s food truck rallies were a resounding success, and this year they’re continuing the tradition of rallying for a good cause. The trucks will circle up at the Maryland SPCA‘s Hampden location from 5 – 8 p.m., and volunteers will show off some of the shelter’s adoptable pets. Some proceeds from the event will go to the SPCA as well.
We recommend getting there early, and on an empty stomach.
And, while my Irish mom is a big part of who I am (and my dad, too…I named my dog Henry in his honor), my love of food and cooking and feeding people seems to come from my maternal grandmother, Mary Fitzpatrick. She and my grandfather Clark lived on a working farm in Harford County and I’ve written a little about them before. They were extremely hard working people – raising lambs, pigs, chickens and steer, churning their own butter, smoking and curing meats and so much more. Mary was a fabulous cook and if you stopped by their house, you ate. Like, really, ate. One of my mom’s most vivid food memories was her mother frying chicken in bacon fat – she said the skin was perfectly crispy. I’ve gotta try that.
Guilford resident Beth Smith is one of those people who I constantly pester for restaurant recommendations. She is not easily beguiled by flashy decor or trendy menus, it’s always about the the food. I have never had a bad meal following her advice. Beth’s foodiness is evident in her kitchen too. As a mother to three girls she is always cooking something that is simple, well-executed and delicious. (And she’s my sister-in-law.)
Home cook assessment: Do you consider Durkee Onions and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup legitimate ingredients or cheating?
Totally cheating . . . never, never, never.
Saturday night with the husband: Where do you book? What do you order?
Petite Louis. I get a salad and make my husband order the frites. I eat most of them but it doesn’t count because I didn’t order them .
Where would you take fun friends down from New York?
Demi (basement level of Crush, in Belvedere Square). I like the idea of a lot of small plates because the appetizers are usually my favorite part of any meal.
How about for a celebratory dinner?
Wherever the new place is that I am dying to try.
Where is your go-to place with the kids?
Any drive-ins, diners and dives that you hit?
My husband used to take the girls to breakfast at Paper Moon but there was always a very long wait, so they have switched to the New Wyman Park Restaurant (on 25th Street in Charles Village). Oh, and Joe Squared. Unbelievable pizza!
What new restaurant are you dying to try?
I am DYING to try Volt in Fredrick. It is the guy from “Top Chef” Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant. Unfortunately, it’s an impossible reservation.
Where do you grocery shop and why?
Whole Foods for quality and Eddie’s for convenience.
Is there a food item that you regularly go out of your way to buy?
Is it bad to say wine?
What Baltimore restaurant has the best vibe?
Woodberry Kitchen. I love that wood stack.
OK, we gotta do it: best crab cake?
Friendly Farms carry out in Upperco, no filler, great for dinner parties.
Anything on your wish list for the Baltimore food scene?
There is a restaurant in the Palisades area of D.C. called “Black Salt.” I would love to see it replicated in Baltimore. The front of the house is a scrupulously clean fish market and amazing restaurant in the back. For a town that is all about seafood we are lacking a great fish market.
Don’t get me wrong, I like foodie things. I shop at my local farmer’s market every Saturday. I’ve participated in a weekly CSA for years. If I had the chance to go to one of these amazing Outstanding in the Field dinners, I would go. I would run, actually.
One of my strongest food memories was made when I visited Dan Barber’s fabulous NYC restaurant Blue Hill several years ago — possibly the best meal I’ve ever had. Tons of courses, interesting and unique ingredients, amazing wine, the freshest of everthing. The folks from Blue Hill also run the Stone Barns Center, a wonderful farm in West Chester County where they raise everything from vegetables to livestock. It’s all about sustainability (ah, there’s that word…) and having the very freshest food possible. Love that.
And…my taste in food varies — doesn’t yours? People who say they only eat this or would never eat that…that is so not me! One night, I might have a meal of local and organic stuff like roast chicken, bibb salad or maybe some homemade soup. Then, another time, I want something super simple (and greasy) like a grilled cheese sammie. And I must add, that to me, grilled cheese means just “normal” cheese, no fancy bread, with butter in the pan. Yum.
Life’s short. Dig in. And don’t take yourself too seriously.