In 1634, two ships full of British settlers landed at St. Clement’s Island and colonized the Province of Maryland. Among those settlers was the Calvert family, credited with both founding Maryland and inspiring our iconic state flag with its family crests.
Every year on March 25, we celebrate that founding with an official state holiday and by waving Maryland’s bold and unique flag in all its red, white, black and gold glory. Nearly four centuries later, thanks in large part to a motivated graduate from UMD, we can wear that flag too.
Remington is becoming the home of all things artisinal, handmade, and delicious. Case in point: The Baltimore Whiskey Company, a new distillery set to open very soon–basically, as soon as their permits get the ok from the city.
What do you get for the person who has everything (including a taste for the unusual)? How about 100 year old rectal cones (no please, keep reading), Hamlin’s Wizard Oil, a Jell-O mold shaped like a brain, or an actual taxidermy piranha (with or without a little plastic baby in its mouth)? Sure, you say, those things all sound great, but where-oh-where can you find such a thing? Let alone all of those things (and more!) under one roof? Well, we’re here to spread the good news: Bazaar (a curiosities and oddities shop) has thrown open its bright green doors in Hampden. And seriously, if you thought you weren’t the kind of person who needed a ferret head preserved in formaldehyde, maybe it’s time to rethink your self-image.
I love grocery shopping. Absolutely love it. I’m proud to say that I think part of my grocery shopping success — what makes it feel more like a pleasant outing than a chore — is that I don’t subject myself to the giant chains. It’s not hard, since Baltimore is a town with a spectrum of options when it comes to stocking the kitchen, and among the crowd one store stands out: Eddie’s of Roland Park. How, exactly? Well, for generations it has offered the finest meats and produce, fancy foods and one-of-a-kind customer service that families in North Baltimore have come to rely on and cherish.
This Saturday, the Baltimore culinary landmark celebrates 20 years (and three generations) at the Charles Street store with a “Shop Local” anniversary event. The event is meant as a way to say “thank you” to customers old and new, while offering tastings from some of Maryland’s finest food purveyors. This doesn’t just mean tasty samples (though of course, there’ll be plenty). It also means a meet-and-greet with local vendors. As Nancy Cohen, President of Eddie’s (and the daughter of its founder, Victor Cohen) tells us, “We have always prided ourselves on our relationships with local vendors. We like to say that we promoted local products before it was fashionable to do so.” And in terms of selecting local products for its shelves, Eddie’s certainly knows how to pick ‘em. The store has been a dedicated carrier of Zeke’s Coffee (the treasured local roaster currently has Orioles themed coffees available in the stores) as well as of Albert Kirchmayr—a noted local purveyor of top-quality, hand-crafted chocolates. They also carry Vanns Spices—locally bottled herbs, spices and seasoning blends favored by chefs and home cooks across the country. “What makes these vendors special,” says Cohen, “is the care they take in making their products. They use the best ingredients in products that make Baltimore proud. We know our customers like to support local businesses and small businesses, as do we. These vendors are not big corporations, they are small, closely held businesses, just like Eddie’s of Roland Park.”
How did I miss this sweet morsel before now? Haribo of America — you’ll know them best as the brilliant inventors of gummi bears, but they also make licorice and marshmallows — is based just down the road in Woodlawn, and has been since 1989! A Gen-Xer who grew up eating tons of gummis, I find this late discovery, which I just came across reading Sunday’s Baltimore Sun, kind of delicious.
Nice to know Baltimoreans can claim ties to the cool German company (named for founder Hans Riegel and the city where he launched his brand in 1922, Bonn); reassuring to read of their super steady financial growth. Haribo of America’s sales increased by more than 20 percent last year, Christian Jegen the U.S. division president told Lorraine Mirabella of The Sun. Their top seller: g. bears, which are distributed to the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean by 14 Woodlawn worker bees.
Intriguing factoid: Did you know that 65 percent of candy consumers are adults not kids? Mirabella’s report suggests further that 30-somethings, especially, often opt for the gummi treat they grew up gobbling–and yanking out of their teeth. No massive surprise for this cavity-and-root-canal veteran.
For a while there, it seemed like Netflix was poised to doom all those brick-and-mortar video stores. It was cheap, it was speedy, it had a huge selection… but that bubble seems to have burst, and the newest news is the million customers Netflix has lost since raising its prices this year. And its plummeting stock price. And lots and lots of customer ire: “Dramatically increasing prices in the 2011 economy not only shows incredible arrogance and insensitivity, it demonstrates that Hastings and Netflix is completely investor focused,” Paul Kiser wrote for Technorati. You know things are bad when SNL is parodying your ham-fisted attempt to apologize to your customers.
So if you’re one of those annoyed by longer DVD turnarounds, 40 percent price increases, or just looking for some human-to-human interaction (and personalized recommendations), now might be the perfect time to cancel your Netflix subscription. Today, in fact: because if you do, and you bring some sort of proof (screen shot, print out) to Video Americain, the local independent video store much beloved around town, they will give you five free rentals. “Down with big red greed!” they proclaim. Offer valid October 7 only.