It feels like yesterday Ashley Behrens, a fresh-scrubbed Towson University sophomore at the time, started babysitting for my daughter. Today, Ashley is all grown up and a busy teacher, living in Federal Hill and spending time with her boyfriend. Catching up with her reminded me of my own halcyon days: no kids, no mortgage, no problems. As she described her many nights out on the town, I wanted to know her young, urban perspective on the Baltimore food scene.
Now, if you see a breathless housewife, drink in hand, on the dance floor at Ryleigh’s, you’ll know why. Ah, to be 25 again!
Home cook assessment: Do you consider Durkee Onions and Campbell’s Mushroom Soup legitimate ingredients or cheating?
Yes, definitely cheating. When I cook, I stick to fresh ingredients.
Saturday night with the boyfriend: Where do you book? What do you order?
Vino Rosina in Harbor East. The scallops and escargot are beyond. Mezze in Fells Point. Can you ever go wrong ordering a ton of tapas?
Where would you take fun friends in from New York?
Thames Street Oyster House or Mamas on the Half Shell, both authentic seafood experiences for out-of-towners.
How about for a special dinner?
Charleston has amazing food and an ever-changing menu, fit for special occasions. I also love the farm-to-table philosophy and cozy atmosphere at Woodberry Kitchen.
Where is your go-to place for drinks? Why?
Ryleigh’s Oyster Bar in Federal Hill for the variety of freshly squeezed crushes and the dance floor. Ropewalk Tavern (also in Federal Hill) if it’s a beer drinking night. Oh, and Bond Street Social (in Fells Point) is the new spot for happy hour. I go there, too.
Any drive-ins, diners and dives?
Broadway Diner in Highlandtown and Jimmy’s in Fells Point are my diners. As far as dives, Cats Eye Pub in Fells has great live music or Walt’s Inn (in Canton) for a late night karaoke session.
What new restaurant are you dying to try?
Wit and Wisdom at the Four Seasons. Brunch and happy hour were great there so I assume dinner will be nothing less.
Where do you grocery shop and why?
Harris Teeter downtown or Wegmans (in Hunt Valley) on my way home from work.
Is there a food item that you regularly go out of your way to buy?
I am very thankful Towson Hot Bagel expanded downtown to save me from a long drive for fresh bagel sandwiches on the weekends. They’re that good.
What Baltimore restaurant has the best vibe?
I like Blue Hill Tavern in Canton or Pazo in Harbor East. Good food, cool atmosphere, and delicious cocktails.
OK, we gotta do it. Best crab cake?
Mamas On The Half Shell or Rusty Scupper.
Anything on your wish list for the Baltimore food scene?
An authentic pizzeria on the south side of town.
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