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Hey, hi, hello!

It felt really good to take a little break on this newsletter. I only skipped what was essentially one week but it was nice to have last weekend to just do "me" stuff. And it was easier to have a whole bunch of things to tell you about in one newsletter. This one it very full!

I hope you are doing okay. COVID is not leaving us as quickly as we'd all like. I wrote what's in the next section on my Instagram last week and I got a lot of messages and comments from people saying they feel similarly. And they thanked me for being honest. I'm trying to be more real on IG because it's such a strange and artificial place. Everything is certainly not as it seems in our Instagram feeds, that is so important to remember as you're scrolling. Please remember to unfollow accounts that make you feel "less than." It feels really good. 

Thanks for subscribing, reading and sharing my newsletter!

Here is a photo of dahlias that made me feel happy.
Last week, one of the teachers at school emailed everyone alerting us to the fact that our work qualifies us as "high risk" and that we can now get our booster shots. As I confirmed my appointment online the next day, there was definitely thankfulness and relief, but not for long. Soon came a general feeling of heaviness. I'm not even a teacher, I mean...I'm with the students a lot these days, covering carpool, lunch and recess, but it's not the same as being a teacher. I can see that some of the kids -- big and little -- are worried just like me. Like, how much longer? It feels as though the cumulative effects of COVID are piling up on us. So, I am trying to be a little kinder, a few more "how are you doings" and pausing for their response. 

For me personally, I'm always tired. I worry a lot (I'm generally not a worrier) and I am fearful. Fearful that someone I love will get sick. So, I'm pretty much always masked. I avoid crowds. I eat outside as much as possible. 

My Mom lives in a senior living place and they've been very, very careful and cautious, so much so, I could not go inside for a pretty long time. So, Mom would meet me out front so I could drop off groceries, food I had prepared, etc. Always masked. Even when we'd go on weekend drives, we'd be masked in the car. After a while, that felt normal. Now everyone's normal is shifting around. Comfort levels are still all over the place.

I guess I just wanted to say, be extra thoughtful with those around you and with yourself.

Bramble Baking Company -- known for delicious, creative baked goods sold at the Waverly Market -- has opened their first brick and mortar shop. It's located in Hamilton at 5414 Harford Road. Bramble's founder, Allie Smith started her baking business in 2017 and pretty much changed the pastry game in Baltimore. Check them out HERE.

Congratulations, Allie and team!
I first met Alex when he was a bartender at True Chesapeake Oyster Co. I always loved seeing him behind the bar. He's very talented and also just a really good person (I like supporting good people). Recently, Alex moved from manager to owner of Fire & Rice, which serves Japanese cuisine, along with sake, cocktails and more in Hamilton. They are gearing up to reopen and have a GoFundMe campaign to help them get there. If you like nice people and sushi, I hope you'll consider making even a small donation. There are some really great incentives to give a little more like sake tastings, prix fixe dinners and more.

Follow them on Instagram HERE. Their food is very, very good!
A while back, I wrote about Groundwork Kitchen, which includes both a new restaurant and a culinary training program. It was recently created by the great people at Paul's Place in South Baltimore. In the 'before times' for many years, the students at The GreenMount School did service work there. I went once to chaperone and was amazed to see how warmly and professionally Paul's Place is run, from the used clothing store where visitors can "shop" for clothing and other items to the lunch prepared fresh daily and served with kindness.

The Groundwork Kitchen restaurant opens for service this week (HERE is the menu) and I can't wait to check it out. As I mentioned, they run a free culinary training program, too. Students learn "core competencies" including attendance, customer service, time management, responsibility, being coachable and teamwork. Learn more HERE.
You probably know of Carlos Raba. He co-owns Clavel with Lane Harlan. And, he recently built and opened Guardian Baltimore, a place for adults and kids alike to practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He and Lane also just expanded Clavel's operation to include a nixtamaleria, an additional kitchen to produce their own taco shells. (It's an incredibly labor-intensive process.) Now, Carlos has another project coming up, a new restaurant in Anneslie, opening in 2022.

From the Towson Flyer: "He's modeling the restaurant after the taquerias he frequented while growing up in Sinaloa, Mexico. In honor of his great-grandmother, it will be called Nana." Read more about it. HERE.

Yay, Carlos!
Ah, Henninger's. Beloved to say the very least. When it was time for longtime owners Kenny and Jane to retire, they wanted to sell, but it had to be someone who'd take good care of the place and its very loyal regulars. Enter, Robbie Tutlewski and Kaleigh Schwalbe who'd been wishing to open a place of their own when they finally found Henninger's. The Baltimore Business Journal's Amanda Yeager spoke with the new owners and you can read that conversation HERE. They plan to reopen as Little Donna's and are hoping to keep a lot of the charm of Henninger's. Last time I was there for dinner I stood and stared at all of the photos on the walls. It's wild. And so unique. Love it. 
After a long and particularly exhausting day, instead of going home and curling up on the sofa, my car steered me to Roland Park. Petit Louis is my favorite restaurant and I needed a little comfort. Table for one sounded like a plan.

My server was so nice. She made my day (and week) a lot better — as did the martini, perfect steak frites, sorbet and my actual favorite dessert, a glass of dry rosé. Thank you, Petit Louis, for helping me shake off pandemic life for an hour.

I am very, very thankful for the hardworking folks in the restaurant industry. Your job is to make people comfortable, happy, relaxed. Please know that you are absolutely valued and appreciated. Thank you!

A few weeks ago, I had my first dinner experience at Alma Cocina Latina's new location and man, it's an experience as lovely as ever. Irena and Mark put their everything into this place. They are such warm, kind, talented people. I am so thankful to have gotten to know them over the years. 

I loved Pen & Quill, Naomi and Helmand are good friends, as well as former clients of mine. So, it still feels odd to walk into this space and not see them. But Alma has made the space their own, truly. Similar to the original location in the Can Company, there are lots of plants in the new space. As someone who lives among many, many plants, I am love that vibe so much. It is so relaxing. 

The food is always fantastic, plated beautifully. I started with my favorite Alma cocktail, the Papa Hemingway. It's rum-based, not too sweet, completely refreshing. I'd say one of my top three cocktails in the entire city. I've actually always said for years that the cocktails at Alma are very underrated.The cassava bread with avocado purée and black bean butter is also something I have always loved at Alma. (I vividly remember the first time I tasted the black bean butter, omg.) And it's vegan and gluten-free so I can always get that and not worry. (Irena very kindly gave me a gem salad without Parmesan...even though I would have been okay kinda "eating around it.")

And, one of the best servers in the city, Gilles, took care of us. What a treat. As we sat there along Lanvale Street, I was imagining the changes coming to
Penn Station itself and the area around it. It's fantastic to see it finally happening. So good for Tapas Teatro, The Charles Theatre and the rest of Station North.

I cannot say enough nice things about Alma Cocina Latina. Now that they are in Station North, I can get there more often. I like supporting nice people. And these nice people are so good at what they do. 

You may have heard that the Wharf Rat was for sale? Well, it sold a few days ago "to a successful local restaurateur" for nearly a million dollars. Hoping for the best . . .

Did you hear that the historic downtown restaurant, Werner's, where many television shows and movies (Diner, The Wire, House of Cards and more) were filmed is re-opening? Yep, read about it HERE. The new Werner's will be run by the owners of local Govans favorite, Pete's Grille. The new Werner's menu will be similar to the one at Pete's (my favorite pancakes ever). Hopefully the downtown business crowd will support this! I think it's crazy if they don't. Their food is simple, delicious and affordable. They are hoping for a November opening. It's located at 225 E. Redwood.                                                    
Another fave of mine (and so many people, including John Waters) was the New Wyman Park at Howard & 25th. The owners sold it and it has just reopened as Kay's Place. Thanks to my friend Richard Gorelick for the heads up and great photo. (They also have great pancakes!)

Kay's Place is owned and operated by very talented local chef, Cia Carter. She also runs the very successful Miss Carter's Kitchen. Read more about her HERE. She sounds like an incredible person!
                                                                                                                                   Photo cred: NYT Cooking
I read THIS article recently and thought it was worth sharing. It gives lists of pantry items that many chefs like to have on hand.
Cook's Country shared a recipe on Instagram recently for 30-Minute Green Chicken Chili. And since Cook's Illustrated's (same group as America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country) original White Chicken Chili is my all-time favorite chili, I thought I should give the quicker version a try. And it's good! It uses time savers like jarred salsa verde and rotisserie chicken. And while, yes, it is good -- it doesn't have nearly the depth of flavor as the OG recipe. So, you choose: the fast one that your family will like very much or the more complicated (three kinds of chili peppers, many more steps...) version that will totally wow your dinner guests. Or both!

I've said it before, the Cook's Illustrated digital membership is worth every cent!
(and they're vegan)
Wow, these cookies are so good. And I'm told by my friend Kate who baked them, they are very easy to make. Kate bakes for us a few times each month as part of her parent CO-OP hours and we are so thankful. So, when she sends me a text saying "If I made vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for the faculty meeting would you eat them?" THE ANSWER IS YES. So many parents drop off goodies for us -- we have some really wonderful families and these cookies are seriously incredible. Vegan or not.
(benefits the Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund)
The back of the house of a restaurant is my favorite part. It's the realest part. When I am lucky enough to get to see a restaurant kitchen, I love to look in the walk-in, peek into the nook the chef uses as an office or see the fresh fish that was just delivered. As both a restaurant patron and home cook, this is the most interesting part. 

A while back, my friend
Jess Mayhugh asked me to be a part of a very different kind of cookbook: Back of House. This one would feature recipes and stories from chefs, home cooks, community members and more and would be photographed by Joe Giordano. You may already know about his amazing work. And, it's shot in black and white to show the grit of kitchen life. Read more about it from Lauren Cohen of Baltimore Magazine HERE.

My recipe submission is my Mom's crab soup. It's pure comfort. Thank you Jess and Joe for letting me a part of this project.

​Order your copy today. All proceeds benefit Baltimore restaurants.

This place looks so good! And my friends who've been the Guilford Hall have raved. Give me a soft pretzel and a beer and I am a very happy person! And, even happier me? They have a lobster night. Sign me UP.

Follow them on Instagram
In the last year, I've polled people on social media, tried lots of new foods and dined outside a lot. I shared much of that info in my newsletter and also on my blog. But I have also saved much of that often-requested info in my Instagram highlights. If you are not familiar with highlights, they are simply a great way to save and store info you've shared in your IG stories. Go to my Instagram and you will see little circles above my photo feed. Everything from my favorite restaurants, how to reverse sear a steak, takeout recs, weekend getaways, tiny house dreams and more.
So, yeah, if you haven't switched over to my new Instagram account, please give it a follow:

And, remember to do this one favor for me: FORWARD THIS onto a friend or two. Or ten. I don't make any profit off of the newsletter -- I just want to help people find ways to support the Baltimore restaurant industry. 


Thank you!

xo - 


Amy Langrehr
Charm City Cook
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