Weekend Recap: Baseball, Beauty, and the Beast

Hallelujah! This past weekend kicked off with some sunshine! After 15 consecutive days of rain, I think the whole city was celebrating on Friday. The best way to take advantage of a beautiful Friday night? With a little baseball! (And speaking of streaks, we O’s had 7 wins in a row before a tough loss on Sunday.) We followed Jeanette’s advice on how to save money at Camden Yards and picked up subs from Jimmy Johns to eat at the game. Subs + two $1 bottles of water on the way in meant more cash money to spend on those expensive ballpark beers. We were sitting on the 3rd base side near the visitors’ dugout and were surrounded by Detroit fans who were all very friendly and having a good time. The O’s won (woohoo!) and they had a fireworks show after the game.

Saturday and Sunday were both jam packed and started with early wake ups. Saturday morning I walked into Fed for coffee and a manicure then went straight to the gym to get in a quick work out. Since it was another beautiful, warm, sunny day Jeanette and I decided to take advantage and walk across town to get lunch. After hearing a lot of buzz about Ekiben, we were dying to try it and it lived up to the hype. I’ll let Jeanette fill you in on the details in another post, but let’s just say I am PUMPED to eat my leftovers for lunch today. After lunch we walked back making a few stops along the way and spending some time sitting outside Starbucks enjoying the sunshine and some iced coffee. We got home right before rain came back with a vengeance and spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on Jane the Virgin.

Luckily, the rain cleared by evening since Adam and I had a date night planned. We had a reservation at Ale Wife for dinner before seeing Beauty and the Beast at the Hippodrome. Definitely, definitely make a reservation if you’re planning to grab a bite before a show. We heard them quote people a 2 hour wait and there aren’t a lot of good food options near the theater so if you can’t get in somewhere you are out of luck. The menu at Ale Wife had changed since the last time we were there and I tried a new option for my meal – the grilled ham and pimento cheese sandwich with collard greens while Adam has the roast chicken. I was really feeling a glass of wine, but unfortunately the only option was a sauvignon blanc…I know it’s a beer bar but I expect every place to have at least a few bottles of wine on hand! I opted for their margarita instead which was light and refreshing.

The show was good, but not one of my favorites. It was definitely more geared toward kids than other shows I’ve seen (I know, I knew what I was getting myself into with Beauty and the Beast, but I saw Cinderella on Broadway and didn’t feel the same way!). The actress playing Mrs. Potts was awesome and she rocked “A tale as old as time…” Another highlight was seeing all of the little girls in the audience in their princess dresses. So cute!

Beauty and the Beast Hippodrome

Sunday morning we were up early again thanks to the dog deciding he needed to go out at 7am. Since we were already up and at ‘em we decided to make the most of our morning with a trip to the Baltimore Farmer’s Market under the JFX. Since it was our first trip of the season, we took some time to just walk the loop checking out all of the options. We stood in the long line for Zeke’s Coffee – it moved pretty fast – and then got breakfast from the Humpty Dumpty omelet truck. I love that you can choose your omelet fillings and I had sautéed mushrooms, onion, green pepper, sage sausage and monterrey jack cheese.

From there, we headed to the Maryland Zoo to spend some time with my in-laws and baby nephew.  At $18 a person, the zoo is a little pricey. If we had kids, I’d definitely consider getting a family membership. Even though it was chilly, we had a great time walking through the zoo and seeing all the animals. Jackson seemed to especially enjoy the giraffes and flamingoes. My fave were the prairie dogs. J After a few hours at the zoo, we were hungry again and went to Johnny’s for a quick lunch. I had a veggie wrap that was delicious and we were all impressed with how kid-friendly the restaurant was.

maryland zoo prairie dogs

Sunday afternoon, we took the dog on a long walk to Federal Hill and picked up Mi & Yu ramen bowls for dinner on the way home. Can’t get enough of that ramen!!

Jack Dog Walk Federal Hill

How was your weekend? Did you take advantage of the sunshine?

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Friday Five (Mother’s Day Style)

Coming atcha today with an ever so relevant post for all you slackers out there with no plans for Mother’s Day! If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the mom in your life here are five ways to make her feel special this Sunday or any day.

  1. Paint Night – If your mom is artsy, sign the two of you up for a Paint Nite or Pub and Paint event! Enjoy some wine, quality time with your mom and the chance to let out your inner artiste. If you’re looking for Baltimore-themed paintings, check out Todd Conway Art’s
  2. Visit a Winery – If I were a mom I think this would be top on my list. There are family friendly wineries for mom’s with little ones, but if you really want to treat mom, find a sitter for the kids and give her a day of wine tasting sans children. My mom and I have plans to visit a winery later this summer when the weather is more consistently good. My fave is Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard.
  3. Brunch – the Mother’s Day standard! You might be hard-pressed getting a reservation at the last minute, but could try your luck at some of the local places that don’t take a res like, Spoons and Blue Moon.
  4. Something Active – play tennis or a round of golf. Take a walk. It’s all about spending time with your mom and doing something she enjoys. Our family tradition is to participate in Race for the Cure – we’ll be walking in our 8th race tomorrow.
  5. Spa Day – Get your mama some much deserved pampering! I can’t imagine a more relaxing Mother’s Day than a trip to the spa for a massage, mani/pedi or facial.

Do you have plans for Mother’s Day? What’s your favorite way to celebrate Mom?

It’s Friday so we’re linking up with Heather, Courtney, Cynthia and Mar

 

Friday Five (Bethany Beach)

This crazy busy week flew by and I haven’t yet had a chance to recap my recent vacation to Bethany Beach. The weather was mediocre, but the company was fabulous and we had a great time doing your typical beachy activities. Below are my five favorites:

Bethany Beach

  1. Beach time – playing paddle ball, building sand castles, venturing into the waves, playing with baby nephew. Whenever the sun was shining, we were posted up in the sand outside our condo.
  2. Ice Cream – my first trip to Dumser’s which is apparently an Ocean City institution. I had banana ice cream topped with peanut butter and was pretty much in heaven.
  3. Coffee – morning walks for coffee were necessary. Walked to Dunkin’ twice for my fave iced coffee and one morning walked into town and went to the Artful Bean where I got a delicious iced caramel machiato and a breakfast sammy with egg, provolone, zucchini, onion, red peppers and spinach on seven grain bread.
  4. Mini Golf – in my husband’s family a trip to the beach is not complete without some Old Pro miniature golf. We checked out the dinosaur course and placed some wagers (losers buy winners ice cream at the aforementioned Dumser’s). Two hole in ones led me to victory.
  5. Good food – our beach routine involved making sandwiches in the condo for lunch and post-beach wine and snacks cocktail hour before heading out to a nice dinner. We went to three great restaurants: Off the Hook, Nantucket and Blue Coast. I think Blue Coast was the clear winner of the three, but there was some debate. Stand out dishes: Scallops with cheesy grits and corn at OTH, quahog clam chowdah at Nantucket and cod with lobster creamed corn at Blue Coast (and the lobster mac and cheese and the tuna sashimi appetizer and the calamari and yes it was all good).

And with that trip, my summer officially comes to a close. What are your favorite beach activities? 

Linking up with Heather for Friday Faves.

Friday Five (things 5 years from now)

Linking up with Courtney, Mar and Cynthia for their Friday prompt: 5 things 5 years from now. The past five years have been full of a ton of life changes – I went back to grad school and got my MBA, moved to Baltimore with my boyfriend, got engaged, got married, got a dog and started a new job. I’m not envisioning quite as many big changes in the next five, in fact I’m sure that most things will stay the same. Here’s a little peak into my life in the year 2020…

1. Jack – they say dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, Jack is the bomb and I’m more than a little obsessed with him. Jack is two and acts like a perpetual puppy and Adam and I joke that he is a miracle dog who will live for 50 years. I like to think maybe he’ll have mellowed a bit, but he’ll still be snuggling with us on the couch every night.

Jack Dog

2. Jeanette – we met 10 years ago this fall as randomly assigned roommates our freshman year of college. We quickly became besties and nothing’s going to change that over the next five years. In my dream world we’re still living around the corner from each other, but I’d settle for living in the same city. 🙂

3. Adam – in March of 2020 we’ll be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary! Google tells me that the traditional five year wedding anniversary gift is wood so maybe he’ll get me this cool Maryland Flag art. Hint hint.

4. Baltimore – I really hope we’ll still be living in the city. We’re renting now, but ideally we will be able to buy a place in our neighborhood. We love Otterbein – it’s super dog friendly and feels neighborhood-y and we can still walk to tons of bars and restaurants, our offices and the stadiums.

Baltimore

5. Kid(s)?! – Absolutely crazy to think that five years from now we might have a kid (or two?!)! Only time will tell on this one…

I was tempted to make one of those baby face mash ups with pictures of me and Adam for a visual but thought it was better to leave this one up to the imagination.

Cheers to the next five years!! Can’t wait to see what’s in store!

 

Friday Five (best spots for Italian food in Baltimore)

pasta

Italian food is my absolute favorite. Is there anything more comforting and delicious than a bowl of fettuccine? Or arancini stuffed with gooey mozzarella and dipped in marinara? Or lasagna with a creamy béchamel? I think I am literally drooling right now just typing this. Luckily, Baltimore has a myriad of Italian restaurants (not just in Little Italy!) at varying levels of authenticity and price point. Today I’m going to share my five favorites:

1. Sotto Sopra 

Adam and I first went to Sotto Sopra during restaurant week where we each enjoyed three delectable courses. The grilled octopus salad and squid ink pasta were out of this world and on subsequent visits we confirmed that the duck and fish dishes are equally good. The crowd is a bit older, but the food is just so good and the service is formal without being stuffy. They also have opera night once a month with live performances in the restaurant!

Neighborhood: Mt. Vernon      Price: Entrees $25-$35

2. Birroteca 

A little bit off the beaten path in Hampden with it’s own parking lot (jackpot!), Birroteca is a fairly large, friendly restaurant with an appealing menu. I had the most fun sitting at the bar and ordering a few different appetizers/small plates before splitting a pizza, but they also have plenty of tables for larger groups. Tables are covered in butcher paper and pencils are provided for guests do doodle while they wait for their food. Framed table drawings cover the walls. The food feels a little less authentic Italian (read: pastas with duck liver, wild boar and rabbit), but most everything we’ve tried has been delicious. My faves are the Brussel sprouts, meatballs and the Duck Duck Goose pizza. They also have a decent variety of beers on tap.

Neighborhood: Hampden      Price: Entrees less than $20

3. Trinacria 

I have only been to the original market/deli, not the cafe that recently opened, but I’m hoping to check that out soon! Trinacria is THE place you want to hit up if you’re looking for cheap wine, huge/delicious/inexpensive sandwiches and olive oil, sauce, pasta and all of the makings for a homemade Italian feast. Adam first discovered this place when he was in law school and often walked over for one of their delicious sandwiches (my fave is the chicken parm, but they are quite literally all good – except be warned the tuna salad has olives) and now he frequently stops in to stock up on wine (think bottles for $5-7) and their frozen meals (thaw and pop in the oven for an easy week night dinner).

Neighborhood: Seton Hill       Price: $6 sandwiches!

4. Bottega 

botega

Bottega is a tiny little BYOB gem tucked into a fairly empty block near the Charles Theater. Reservations are required and hard to come by on the weekend so I suggest you make yours NOW. Their menu is frequently changing based on season and availability of fresh ingredients. If it’s available, definitely get the malfatti, spinach ricotta dumpling balls in sage butter sauce. Very rich and so good! It’s cozy and romantic and makes a great date night spot.

Neighborhood: Station North     Price: Entrees $25-30

5. Aldo’s

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a restaurant in Baltimore’s lively Little Italy neighborhood. To me, Aldo’s is the cream of the crop and a great place to go when your parents are footing the bill. I’m all about the pasta and they have a fantastic bolognese and a fettuccine with tomato cream sauce and lobster tail – delizioso! And do yourself a favor, start with the shrimp bisque.

Neighborhood: Little Italy      Price:  Entrees $30-40

Hooking up with Heather for Friday Favorites! 

What’s your favorite spot for Italian food in Baltimore or where you live? What’s your favorite Italian dish?