I created this newsletter as a way to keep people in Baltimore informed on ways we all can support our favorite local restaurants and food & beverage businesses.
No ads, no memberships, just info.
All I ask is this: forward it onto a few of your friends who love good food.
KIDS FAVORITE PLACES AND DISHES
what kids like to order around town
Shrimp Pita Wrap from Souvlaki
I asked parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, caregivers, etc for recommendations for restaurants and dishes in Baltimore City that kids love. So many great suggestions, even a few fancy ones! Read on . . .
THE LIST (so far)
The apple turkey wrap from Red Canoe, biscuits & gravy from Silver Queen Cafe, ham & egg bagel from Zeke's and beef & broccoli from Fire & Rice.
Margherita pizza from Verde, charcuterie and the pasta with tomato and basil at Cinghiale, avocado rolls from Nanami, pizza and pasta at Tutti Gusti, mac and cheese from Mission BBQ and ice cream from Pitango is his absolute favorite (and Mom's, too.)
Quesadillas and tacos and refried + black beans from Papi's in Fells/Hampden are always loved by my girls.
Mac and cheese from Rocket to Venus (our son calls it the Mac and Cheese store,) Common Ground is "the muffin store" and they do steamed milk as "kid coffee" to go with his muffin. Shrimp Pad See Ew from Bodhi Corner and shumai from Yama and 18-8 Sushi.
My daughter loves the kids fried chicken meal at Silver Queen. She thinks they have the best mashed potatoes in Baltimore. For lunches, the Hawaiian poke bowl at Hilo at R House and also John Brown Coffee for the best hot chocolate. For breakfast, the cured salmon from Corner Pantry. For a special meal, the cucumber salad and steak frites from Petit Louis. She is also a big fan of the crab cake at Koko’s.
When my 10-year old niece stays over, she always requests we order the Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries from The Local Fry.
My girls are fans of the zucchini balls platter at Souvlaki. They would eat the tzatziki sauce straight if I let them.
Both Captain Larry’s and Park Bench in Riverside are super kid-friendly spots that my kids love. We take them to Hersh’s as well when we want a nice meal. And, veggie fried rice from Thai Street and pierogi from Sophia’s Place. Plus crab cakes and mac and cheese from Faidley’s, the platters are big enough to share.
Prosciutto wrapped mozzarella, shrimp cocktail, lobster mac and the chicken sandwich at The Capital Grille. Spaghetti and crab meatballs, the Baltimore Club, mozzarella sticks, soft pretzels, burgers and anything from the brunch menu at The Food Market. Lobster Roll and fries from Thames Street Oyster House. Breakfast sandwiches, pancakes and waffles on the brunch menu at Rye Street Tavern. Meatballs from Joe Benny’s. Pizza from the Wanna Pizza This food truck and the Tortellini ala Crema from the Pasta La Vista Baby food truck.My niece and nephews beg for boneless wings from Delia Foley's every time they sleep over.
My kids love the mac & cheese with a side of apples or green beans at Johnny’s in Roland Park. And, the kids pizza meal at Birroteca in Hampden — great size, plus delicious fruits & veggies. Also the kids menu at Papi’s Tacos in Hampden (tacos & quesadillas) & Namaste in Roland Park (mango chicken dipped in naan is their favorite).
Belvedere Square / R House - both markets are favorites for my family. My oldest daughter especially loves Ejji Ramen (wavy noodles in miso corn broth) and grabbing a special chocolate milk treat from Atwater's. Nepenthe Brewing has the best French fries in the city! (We go early on Friday afternoons before it gets crowded.) We've also had great experiences with our kids in more refined dining settings, too. Woodberry Kitchen was awesome. They have a kids menu and edible play dough.
My son loves pizza from Well Crafted Kitchen and Paulie Gee's. My daughter loves Rey’s chicken adobo at Heritage at Whitehall Market.
My kids are definitely eating off regular menus these days, but favorites include: The Food Market's "fast food" menu, WellCrafted Pizza, Clark Burger, magical lemonade at Wight Tea, burritos at Clavel (and the beans which my son just devours with chips), whatever sandwich John Brown Butchery is serving up, the Hilo poke bowls at R. House, the wings from The Local Fry. And skewers, rice & pita from Souvlaki in Hampden.
My youngest loves the garlic fries from Silver Queen. And the other begs for the queso from Zen West.
My daughter absolutely loves the chicken buns from Fire & Rice.
My son loves the crab bisque and pretzels with beer cheese from Food Market, fish and chips from Johnny's and Thames Street Oyster House.
My kids tried the Colossal Crab Cake Egg Rolls at Papi Cuisine in Fell's Point this weekend and they were a huge hit.
Tempura broccoli at Ekiben is my seven-year old's very favorite thing.
Clavel l has always been a favorite. Mixtas, beans, chips.
The Food Market, pretzels and beer cheese! My daughter loves the salty top of the pretzels with the perfectly melty cheese. We always get 2 orders just for her.
We’ve been doing weekly takeout night since the pandemic started and my daughter’s most common request is for Golden West Cafe. She‘s all about pancakes for dinner.
The kids meals from Namaste. They have some lightly seasoned chicken skewers that are more than just basic chicken yet not too different/spicy. Plus naan with a variety of sauces to dip is always a hit.
Quesadillas at Zen West!
Some of my son's faves are BRD fried chicken sandwiches, Souvlaki’s Bifteki (meat patties) and any Caribbean pocket from the Curry Shack at the 32nd Street Farmers Market.
My 6-year old loves the Italian sub from DiPasquale’s.
At Chiyo we get avocado rolls and instead of wrapping in seaweed they wrap in soy paper for kiddos, which is easier to bite through! they also do plain udon noodles for us, and my kids love edamame.
Cheese quesadilla, chips and carne asada tacos and tres leche cake from Clavel, steamed clams from Dylan's, Petit Louis steak frites.MOD pizza (my son’s favorite is s ham and pineapple), Paulie Gee's, Ekiben bao buns and tempura broccoli, egg rolls and Pad Thai at Thai Street, also Mona's Super Noodle's egg rolls and Pad Thai, the chicken empanadas and quiche from Cookhouse in Bolton Hill and Food Market's pretzels and cheese.My kids love to split scrambled eggs and fresh fruit at brunch at Petit Louis.
Mine love cream of crab soup from Frazier’s (I know, not an expected choice - but it’s comparatively affordable and really pretty good) and ground beef tacos or carne asada quesadillas from Holy Frijoles.
My kiddo loves the Shrimp Pita Wrap at Souvlaki and the staff there are so nice.
My kids always love Chiyo. Veggie tempura and yakatori for apps and then they try everything we get — it's fostered their love of sushi for sure.
We’ve done a lot of pizza and a lot of Chinese (China House.) We’ve had great success with the fried edamame and cheesesteak from Johnny Rad’s (along with pared down pizza toppings.) Recently, we’ve introduced them to sushi from Katana and that’s the only thing they want to order now. We order tempura shrimp for the 7-year old and simpler rolls (we’ve built up to salmon/avocado from California rolls) for the 10-year old. But, inevitably, they eat some of whatever sashimi or nigiri we’ve ordered for ourselves under the guise of trying the different fish, since it changes every time. We think we’re going to introduce Ethiopian next.
Clark burger cheeseburger and chocolate shakes are our daughter’s favorite!
Pita and Greek salad from Samos!
Everything Roll at Fire & Rice
Amish soft pretzels and beer cheese fondue at The Food Market
reopens April 1
Go sit outside at Fadensonnen! Well, not yet. But they're getting ready to reopen on Thursday, April 1. And, I think Clavel might not be far behind. Also, you may have heard about Clavel's new project, a Nixtamaleria, which they are in the process of building next door. It will be a dedicated space where they will now be grinding corn into masa to make tortillas. Plus, the Nixtamaleria will be open during the day and will also be serving housemade soft serve ice cream, food, Mexican goods like pottery and more. As for the soft serve (one of my most favorite things ever), Lane Harlan is creating all the flavors from scratch and will also serve some non-dairy flavors, too. The flavors she was describing to me sound amazing — can't wait! Follow Clavel to stay up on the latest.
Another opening of note, the back patio at Nihao (fantastic Chinese food and cocktails in the former Fork & Wrench location) is now open.
LAST FOUR WEEKS OF CINGHIALE MARKET INSIDE JOHNNY'S
I hope you've had a chance to shop at the fantastic Cinghiale Market located inside the sunroom at Johnny's in Roland Park. It's been such a welcome addition to local shopping options this past (past! almost past!) winter. Sunday, April 18 will be the last day for the market...but don't worry, the following Sunday (April 24) the wonderful little farmers market starts back up outside Johnny's. Cinghiale will, again, be a part of the vendor lineup, so you will be able to buy fresh pasta, sauces, bread, etc, there, too.
From this week until April 18, the Cinghiale Market hours will be:
Thursday - Sunday 11:00am - 2:00pm
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
Ever since they opened last year, I have been making a few trips each month to Ovenbird in Little Italy. They have my favorite bagels...the textures are so complex...soft, light, crunchy, chewy. So good. I first had their baker's bagels over at Charmed Kitchen in Butcher's Hill...and when I heard he moved over to this new spot, I new I had to go. I make bagels sometimes and I feel like nothing beats homemade for freshness, but seriously Ovenbird's are way better. I get a few for the week and when they're gone, it's kind of sad. Just warning you on that. I also love their croissants (especially when they have ham + cheese), focaccia, English muffins, baguettes and one day, I want to try their cinnamon bun.
The staff there are so nice. Even when they are very busy, they are friendly and helpful. And if you go on Sundays, Jon will make you the best latte. (He used to work at Corner Pantry.) And, being down in Little Italy early on weekend morning is just good for the soul, very peaceful.
Anyway, just wanted to give Ovenbird a special shout out. They are the best.
I ALWAYS SAY IT'S ABOUT GOOD PEOPLE
(you will love this story)
From a Facebook user's post:
"This is a bit of a long story but a tremendous shoutout to Ekiben. My mother-in-law lives in Vermont and would visit my wife and her sister throughout the years. Whenever she was in town, Ekiben’s tempura broccoli was something that she always needed to have. She always joked that when she’s on her death bed that if there’s anything in the world, she wants tempura broccoli from Ekiben.
Unfortunately, this story took a turn for the worst as she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer late December. She has been undergoing treatment and it has greatly reduced her quality of life. We’re making a trip up this weekend to potentially say our goodbyes and enjoy some time with her. The drive to Vermont is six hours and tempura broccoli obviously would not be the same after the long ride. I reached out to Ekiben’s owners to see if there was a way for us to either get the recipe or some of the ingredients to bring up and cook it for her. The response I received is still overwhelming. Steve Chu replied, “Thanks for reaching out. Ephrem and I are more than willing to meet you guys in Vermont and make the food fresh so it will be just like what she remembered.”
I’m still in disbelief that they would go to such lengths. There’s still hope for humanity. If you haven’t tried Ekiben, do so. This gesture alone speaks volumes. We’re currently coordinating everything and hoping to make this a great surprise. Thanks for reading."Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe are friends of mine, wonderful people. This heartwarming story and their low-key reaction to how it's been received are classic. No PR, no media blitz, honestly no comment and that's exactly what I'd expect. Just making food for people. On Friday, I was inspired to order Ekiben for lunch and I ran into Ephrem in the parking lot, we talked for a few minutes and he said they were heading to Vermont the next day. Wow. By the way, have you had the new Shrimp Snacks? The fried shrimp at crispy and light and perfect...same herbs and onions that come with the tempura broccoli. YUM. Highly rec.