Friday Five (Fave Local Meals of 2017)

Not to harp on the fact that we just had a baby, but we did. So 2017 was not a big year for leisurely dinners out with cocktails, wine and many courses. Typically convenience and quality time with babe trumped everything else. We did have a few memorable dinners though and I wanted to share them today….

Samos

Okay, nothing too glamorous to kick off this list, but Samos is delicious and was the last meal we had before becoming a family of three. Friday evening we went out to Samos at McHenry Row and devoured the amazing gyro, rice and Greek salad. By the wee hours of Saturday morning I was in labor and by 5 am we were heading to the hospital! After almost 24 hours of labor and nothing to eat or drink (thanks epidural!), that Samos felt like a way too distant memory. It was also our favorite carry out food to request when our friends generously offered to bring food by when Maya was an infant.

 

Rasika

Adam and I had a belated anniversary celebration with dinner in DC at Rasika. It had been on our list for years but we had somehow never ended up there so we were super excited to try it. We love Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post food critic and so were sure to check out his review before we went. Following Tom’s recommendation, we started with the malai palak – incredibly flavorful and delicious crispy spinach. For our entrees we had the chicken tikka masala and the black cod. The chicken is my go to Indian meal order and it was of course fabulous but the real star was the cod. It. was. so. so. so. good.

 

Peter’s Inn

Currently closed after a late December fire (but with plans to reopen!), Peter’s Inn has been a favorite of Adam’s family for years. We ventured in for a birthday dinner last November and started things off with a tasty ahi tuna and seaweed salad appetizer. For our entrees Adam had the filet with mashed potatoes and root vegetables and I had scallops with butternut squash risotto and applewood smoke bacon. This was such a wonderfully rich dish full of fall flavors. We love that the small menu at Peter’s is always changing but consistently full of creative and appealing options.

 

Jaleo

Another DC standout, I have been going to Jaleo since high school for the amazing Spanish tapas by Chef Jose Andres (my favorite outspoken liberal chef who is working tirelessly to feed the people of Puerto Rico after the hurricane). I shared about our amazing meal at his restaurant The Bazaar in Miami a few years ago. We headed to Jaleo for an early lunch which meant a mimosa and bloody mary were out drinks of choice. We had the patatas bravas because I can’t go to Jaleo and not get these perfectly cooked potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli. From there we tried several new-to-me dishes: a sandwich of ibérico ham and Manchego cheese, stewed vegetables topped with quail eggs and, per the recommendation of the table next to us, rabbit confit with apricot puree. Everything was fabulous and I might include the egg dish as part of my usual rotation going forward (along with the sauteed spinach and chicken with green sauce).

 

Brendali

My family has a long-lasting tradition of eating Italian food on Christmas Eve. This year we took a walk through the festive holiday market in the Inner Harbor before walking into Fed Hill for an early dinner at Brendali. We knew that this no frills spot would be perfect for dinner out with an eleven month old! We started by splitting a house salad and fried calamari and for my entree I had the fettucine bianco – a filling dish with old bay cream sauce, shrimp and scallops. There were A LOT of leftovers. Maya loved being out for dinner and ate her share of penne with marinara. After dinner we popped into Berries by Quicha for a sweet treat before heading home. It was a great Christmas Eve!

 

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2016 Year in Review

Happy New Year, Baltimore! Long time no blog, but in 2017 we will be back at it. To catch up real quick on what’s been going on, I’m here today with a year in review! See what happened in May that temporarily derailed blogging.

January – The first month of 2016 was bookended by travel – in early January, Adam and I spent a few days in Miami and at the end of the month I met my bff in Nashville for the NHL All-Star Game. Nashville is such a fun city and even though I was there for work, we managed to squeeze in some fun. Both the skills challenge and all-star game were a blast and Jessie and I snagged a pic with the Stanley Cup.

February – We celebrated Valentine’s Weekend with dinner at Brendali , made the trip to College Park to watch the Terps lose to Wisconsin and had a Galentine’s Day lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Work travel continued with a trip up to Buffalo for an event with the Sabres. Since it was my first time in Buffalo I had to see Niagara Falls and even though it was absolutely freezing, the falls were gorgeous and so impressive!

March – Obviously I was feeling the travel bug in 2016 because in March I flew to Athens for five amazing days with a couple of my best girlfriends. We ate Greek yogurt and Greek salads with tons of fresh feta, souvlaki, spanakopita, moussaka, octopus and it was all fabulous. We rented an AirBnb downtown and walked all over the city from the Acropolis to Lycabettus Hill. We took a ferry to nearby Aegina and rented a car to spend the day exploring. The whole trip was super affordable and we felt so welcomed by all of the Greeks that we met. Every morning we made a pit stop at Coffee Island (a coffee chain that’s probably the Greek equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts) for frappes – an icy, sweet drink made with Nescafe instant coffee that I wish I could find in the US! Greece was clearly my March highlight, but I also did some fun things when I got back in town: Jeanette and I ran the Shamrock 5k and had a great time at Light City and Adam and I celebrated our first anniversary!

April – Since apparently I can’t stay in one place for too long, I flew to Chicago for a night in April for a Chicago Blackhawks game for work. The rest of the month was spent in Baltimore, celebrating Jeanette’s birthday and running my first 10k – the Sole of the City – completing one of my goals for 2016.

May – We packed a lot into May, we celebrated Mother’s Day, made a trip to the Maryland Zoo, saw Beauty and the Beast at the Hippodrome, and had friends over to watch the Preakness.  But, this particular May will go down in history as the month we found out we were expecting!

June – Most of the summer was a blur of morning sickness and exhaustion, but in June I celebrated the wedding of Adam’s cousin, ran walked the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5 and had a staycation at the Hyatt. June also marked the final blog post of the year because let me tell you, pregnancy is no joke and making it to work and home to bed was pretty much all I could manage.

July – Still not feeling so hot, but spent a week in Chicago for work including an afternoon of sightseeing in Millennium Park and dinner at Shaw’s Crab House. We also celebrated the wedding of friends at the Sheraton Baltimore. The ceremony was beautiful and we had a blast dancing and taking pics in the photo booth.

August – In August, we spent a week at the Outer Banks with my mom, soaking up the sun, drooling over Duck Donuts and playing miniature golf. We also spent a long weekend with Adam’s cousin and her boyf in Ocean City. People usually knock beach food, but we had a great dinner at Liquid Assets.

September – Back  to the beach, this time to Bethany with Adam’s family. We ate at Off the Hook (my fave kale caesar with a crab cake) and played more mini golf. Later in September, I celebrated my birthday with a few friends at Brendali followed by froyo at Afters. Brendali – with it’s no frills look and delicious food – was perfect for a festive group, especially since it is BYOB.

birthday

October – The month of falltivities: Renaissance Festival, Larriland Farm and my cousin’s gorgeous fall wedding at the Homestead. I also spent a week in Houston for work and was finally feeling completely over morning sickness!

November – Celebrated Adam’s birthday with an amazing dinner at Charleston and spent a weekend in DC for a little baby moon. We stayed at a Marriott downtown and enjoyed great dinners at Zaytinya and Le Diplomate. We also made our first trip to the Newseum and to the famed Daikaya for ramen. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Adam’s family and by the end of the month I had sort of almost recovered from the shock of the election.

December – Another busy month to close out the year! A weekend of showers with a bridal shower for one friend and a baby shower for another, two Terps games, a festive Christmas Eve dinner at Grano Emporio,  a visit to 34th Street in Hampden to see the lights and New Year’s dinner at Sobo Cafe.

And now here we are, January 2017 and baby due in three weeks! Hoping we won’t go silent for another six months and we’ll be able to update you all on our escapades in our favorite city.

Best wishes to everyone for an amazing year!

Weekend Recap (it doesn’t feel like spring…)

Another weekend in the books. I am so excited it’s finally spring….even if it doesn’t feel like it! At least we’re one weekend closer to consistently nice weather. We made the most of the weekend even if the weather was a bit of a downer (Jeanette was spending the weekend in Deep Creek which turned into a cozy cabin weekend when they got SNOW on Saturday!).

Friday afternoon I left work a little early and raced home to watch the Terps in the first round of the NCAA tournament. What looked like it was going to be a comfortable win (up 18 points in the second half) got all too close and stressful in the last few minutes. Luckily, Maryland came away with a win and our whole weekend wasn’t ruined (this is no exaggeration, if we had lost I probably would have crawled into bed at 7pm on Friday and not emerged until at least Sunday). After the game, we walked into Fed for a quick bite of dinner and ended up at Matsuri. Neither of us felt like sushi, so we ended up with his and hers teriyaki (chicken and salmon) with seaweed salad and miso soup to start.

chicken teriyaki matsuri baltimore salmon teriyaki matsuri baltimore

Everything was delicious and the portion was huge so I ended up bringing one of those pieces of salmon home. We popped into Metropolitan for a drink  and to watch more basketball before calling it a night.

Our chilly Saturday morning began with a walk to Dunkin’ for coffee and a manicure at Light Street Nails before heading down 95 for a day in DC. Adam and I joined several of the girls I used to work with at the Kastles for lunch at Oyamel. You may remember from my Miami post, that I am a big fan of Jose Andres restaurants and Oyamel was no exception. We were those annoying people who had a big group (with a very well behaved baby!) and posted up for two hours eating, drinking and catching up. We started with the table side guac and a round of drinks (pomegranate margarita with sea salt foam for me) before tackling the rest of the menu. Like all Jose Andres restaurants, the menu is full of small plates, but we weren’t really in the mood to share so most of us girls got three tacos each and a side of rice and the guys each got a taco and one of the larger tapas. I thought the pork belly taco was good, but the mahi mahi taco was amaaazing. The brisket taco ended up being way too spicy for me so I gave it to Adam and since our table ended up with an extra fish taco, I stepped up and polished it off. I’d definitely like to go back and try more of their menu, especially since my friend raved about the steak and eggs dish she had. Jose Andres you seriously need to open a place in Baltimore – we have quite the burgeoning dining scene!!

oyamel dc pomegranate margarita

After lunch we walked up 7th Street to Redline for a happy hour with even more folks we used to work with at the Kastles. Redline is a great spot with a long bar and a ton of big TVs and when we walked in around 2pm during the first weekend of March Madness it was almost empty! Redline you need to step up your marketing game!! It had started to fill in by the time we rolled out at 5:30, but still if you need some marketing help, give me a call. 🙂

Exhausted from a day of drinking and traffic on our drive home, we grabbed take out ramen from Mi & Yu and spent the rest of the night watching basketball.

mi and yu ramen take out

Sunday was quiet – errands, grocery shopping, laundry, took a long walk with Jack and grabbed a caramel machiato at Afters before starting to get PUMPED for the Terps game and settling in for a night of watching basketball and cheering on my boys. I ❤ March Madness.

 

Friday Five (Fave Quick Eats in the City)

These are our go-to places for a quick, easy and inexpensive bite to eat. Check ’em out and let us know what you think! Did we miss any of your faves?

Baba’s 

Location: 745 E. Fort Avenue (Between Fed Hill and Locust Point)

Best For: Carry out. It gets super crowded on the weekends so carry out is your best bet. My faves are the rosemary beef and the Greek salad with chicken.

rosemary beef baba's Greek Salad Baba's

Matsuri

Location: 1105 S Charles St (Fed Hill)

Best For: Happy hour. Matsuri is our favorite sushi spot in Baltimore City and they have a fantastic happy hour with a variety of discounted rolls and apps. Full meal for two plus drinks usually runs us less than $40 with tip.

matsuri sushi

Kooper’s

Location: 1702 Thames St. (Fells Point)

Best For: Bar food, lunch or dinner. Kooper’s does standard bar fare really really well. Their burgers are delicious and they have great honey mustard sauce for fry-dipping. The very tequila-heavy watermelon margarita isn’t half-bad either.

Koopers margarita

Nalley Fresh

Location: Downtown, Inner Harbor and Canton.

Best For: Work lunch. Adam had been singing the praises of Nalley Fresh for months before the location near my office opened so I was incredulous if it would live up to the hype. Oh but it did. Nalley is like the most amazing salad bar of all time – and you can have as many toppings as you want for the same price. Think edamame, wheat berry, mandarin oranges, asparagus, sweet potato and marinated mushrooms.

Atwater’s

Location: 3601 Boston St (Canton and several locations in the county)

Best For: Casual weekend lunch. Their ploughboy soups are outrageously good and you can pair a cup with a half sandwich if you really want a treat. Their menu changes often and the ingredients always sound tantalizingly good.

Atwater's Soup

Baltimore Sun’s Foodie List!

The Baltimore Sun recently published a list of 50 Things Every Foodie Should Do in Baltimore and former Sun food writer Elizabeth Large did a great job compiling an eclectic list of reader submissions. Jeanette and I love to eat and thought we would add our commentary!

1. Jumbo lump crab cake from Faidley’s.

A – Yessss! This is a MUST. Adam introduced me to these delicious crab cakes in Lexington Market and we stopped in for lunch on an epic Baltimore day with out of town guests last summer. 

2. Pick steamed hard shells at Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn in Essex.

A – Never been to Mr. Bill’s, but steamed crabs are a summer staple. I’ve also heard good thing about Nick’s Fish House which is recently under new management including Kevin Plank.

3. Drink a Natty Boh.

4. Snack on a Berger cookie.

J – Take it a step further and make a Berger Cookie Pie, inspired by Dangerously Delicious‘ Baltimore Bomb Pie. It is seriously the bomb (ha!) dot com. Super easy to make and great for parties.

5. Put marshmallow on your snowball.

A – Before moving to Baltimore I had no idea what a snowball was and assumed it was just like a snow cone. Was I ever wrong! The shaved ice in a snowball is delightfully light and the flavors they have – from egg custard to cinnamon to dragonberry – are amazing can be tasted in every last bite. And yes, marshmallow is a must. 

6. Lake trout. And for those of us who watched “The Wire,” have a grape soda with it.

A – I’m just now watching the Wire and I’m only on season 2. Maybe after I get to this scene, I’ll have to try some lake trout!

7. Breakfast at Blue Moon Cafe down in Fells Point.

J – I would LOVE to try this place out, but I am just NOT a morning person. I will say, I have told my boyfriend, K, that the only acceptable reason to wake me early on a Saturday is for a trip to Blue Moon. Excited for their Federal Hill location to open!

A – They don’t take reservations on can have a 2 hour plus wait on the weekends, so if you ARE a morning person I definitely suggest going early.

8. Corned beef on rye at Attman’s.

A – I may be the only Jew that doesn’t like rye bread, but I did go to Attman’s for a meeting of the Jewish MBA Association so that gets me some points, right? So. Good. Best deli in Baltimore. 

9. Have a Resurrection Ale at Brewer’s Art

A – Or a Beazly! And definitely get the rosemary garlic fries.

10. Take a Sunday morning stroll through the JFX Farmer’s Market.

A – Another summer favorite!

J- Make sure you stop at Blacksauce Kitchen‘s stand for a breakfast biscuit. YUM. They sell out, so make it your first stop, then hit up Zeke’s for an iced coffee. I promise, the coffee line moves faster than it looks.

11. Have a Black Eyed Susan at the Preakness.

A – I’ve done Preakness infield, but never classed it up with a Black Eyed Susan. It’s on my Baltimore bucket list! 

12. Shop for shoes and chocolate at Ma Petit Shoe in Hampden.

J – Shoes and chocolate. ‘Nuff said.

13. Eat a box of Rheb’s buttercreams.

Sangria and Paella at Tio's

Sangria and Paella at Tio’s

14. Order a Tio Pepe sangria (red).

A – Ohhh yes this is a favorite. I have had many memorable evenings at Tio Pepe with their red sangria. It’s where I found out Whitney Houston had died and where we celebrated my father-in-law’s 60th birthday! 

15. Polish sausage from Ostrowski’s

16. Fisher’s popcorn downy ocean, hon!

J – Fisher’s popcorn is my pringles. I. can’t. stop.

17. Sunday brunch on the terrace at Ambassador Dining Room

18. Eat the pumpkin appetizer at the Helmand.

19. Thin crust pizza at Joe Squared.

J – Meh. I was raised in Jersey. Joe Squared is good and all, but nothing can compare to the real deal.

A – But the risotto! The risotto is really good! 

20. Try some of the special flavors from Taharka Bros. (formerly Sylvan Beach) ice cream and Pitango Gelato.

21. Make fun of the hipsters at Golden West and Rocket to Venus in Hampden.

J – Some of us like our beer samplers and half-priced burgers, thank you very much.

22. Change your mind about vegan/vegetarian food at Liquid Earth.

23. Try the charcuterie at Clementine.

A – It’s been on my list sense Guy stopped in on a Baltimore episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!

24. Macaroni and cheese with bittersweet chocolate from Jack’s Bistro.

A – Tried this at Jack’s during restaurant week and it was incredible. It doesn’t beat the baked mac and cheese at Mama’s on the Half Shell though. 

J – Or ANYTHING from Jack’s Bistro. Love that the menu is inspired by places the chef recently traveled.

25. Throw in a shrimp salad from Kibby’s and/or Mary Mervis.

A – Adam attests to the deliciousness of shrimp salad from Mary Mervis found at Lexington Market. 

26. Smith Island Cake, but only from Sugarbakers.

A – My old boss used to get one every Christmas and it was always incredible. The PERFECT cake to icing ratio. 

vaccaros

27. Gorge yourself at Vaccaro’s.

A – Got the most delicious, authentic cannoli from Vaccaro’s for Christmas Eve one year. They broke the bank but man were they good. 

J – Is this a thing?! K & I bring them home for my family every Christmas…

28. Bookmaker salad at Sabatino’s.

29. Order any sandwich at Trinacria

A – Adam loooves this Italian shop/deli and has definitely gotten me hooked! I’d amend to *almost* any sandwich – I avoid the tuna as it’s made with olives! 

30. Order the popcorn and deviled eggs at Woodberry Kitchen.

31. Bagel with lox and cream cheese or apricot spread from Greg’s.

32. Coddies on a cracker from a rowhouse bar.

A – Never tried it but this just sounds SO Baltimore

33. Prime rib at the Prime Rib.

A – Yes, yes, yes. And start with potato skins. 

34. Mozzarella Pie from Matthew’s Pizza.

A – Adam’s cousins introduced us to Matthew’s where we got drunk in their basement bar and enjoyed the most delicious deep dish pizza!

35. Late night dinner at the Bel-Loc Diner.

36. Order the Krispy Cream Bread Pudding at Ale Mary’s.

37. Buy a crepe at Sofi’s and enjoy it while watching a movie at the Charles.

38. Naron candy.

39. Wockenfuss Candies

40. Have a picnic at Fort McHenry.

A – I have still never been to Fort McHenry! I am adding this picnic idea to my summer funtivity list.

J to A – Is this one of those romantic date things, or could it be a bestie co-blogger activity…?

41. Oysters and beer at Cross Street Market!

J – YES. And it doesn’t count if you’re not drinking your beer out of a giant Chinese food takeout tub.

42. Coffee from Zeke’s.

J – I’m drinking some right now…

43. Smoked platter from Neopol at Belvedere.

44. Go to the Wine Market on a Monday night and enjoy a neighborhood discount

J – Love this place… great date spot!

45. Have Old Bay on things other than seafood.

A – Mmm Old Bay wings…

46. Take the Clipper City brewery tour.

A – I have hit most of the other brewery’s in the area (Heavy Seas, Flying Dog and Union Craft) so I definitely need to visit Clipper City! 

47. Get fruit and veggies from an arabber.

48. Sip a Bloody Mary with an Old Bay rimmer.

49. Enjoy a meal at Salt.

J – HINT, HINT.

50. Eat the Berger cookie pie at Dangerously Delicious Pies.

A – Adam and I had this on one of our first dates! It’s just as delicious as they say, especially when washed down with a cold glass of milk. 

51. Mary Sue Easter Eggs.

Which of these is your favorite? Is there anything missing that you would add?

A – I think pit beef from Boog’s BBQ at Camden Yards should be on the list and a hubcap marg/quesadilla at Nacho Mama’s!