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Changes, fresh starts, do overs. Even small tweaks can be very helpful. Over the last few years, I’ve been looking at my life and slowly addressed things that were not working for me. Everything from what I eat, how I dress, where and how I live are all things that I have the ability to change. What I realized recently, too, is that these last 3-4 years have been a quiet and gradual life transformation for me. Without really intending to do so, I have created a simpler and calmer life.

I wrote a blog post about some very helpful changes I've made in my life and you can read more HERE.

And as long as we are talking about change.. 

Can't believe today is my last day at The GreenMount School. I will miss the kids and parents so much.  As I have told many friends, working in a school during COVID has been the hardest thing I have ever done professionally. By far. Constant worry about the kids, watching the teachers work tirelessly and also realizing that anxiety presents itself in a myriad of ways.  

The good parts? Helping kindergarten students open their lunches, watching the lower school kids playing tag or the upper schoolers having an impromptu ukulele jam session, putting kids in their parents' cars and saying have a great weekend, helping them all navigate ginormous backpacks, walking littles down the sidewalk into school because sometimes you need a buddy.

Being in a school environment these last two years (glad I had one year prior to COVID!) was rough and challenging, but as I do in my personal life, I always looked for the bright spots. And they were there. 

I'm joining the development team at WYPR — and I can't wait to get started! I will be in a newly created role as Donor Relations Manager, working with the station's major donors. A nice thing is that I will work from home primarily for the first little while, which will definitely be a welcome change.

I'm ready.

ps. The daffodils are letting you know that spring is not far away.
I wanted to share my outdoor dining list with you again.

I am continuing to update it. If you see any incorrect info on the list, please let me know. If you've had a good outdoor experience, please drop me a line and tell me about it. Keep in mind — VERY IMPORTANT — that even if a place has heaters, they might not keep you as warm as you'd like. This is especially true with the temperatures we are currently experiencing in Baltimore. 

Below you will find last the last newsletter included just as an FYI. Make sure you click on the outdoor dining list and save it!
I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago that I'd been thinking about for a while. I was trying to figure out a way to say what I needed to say without coming off as harsh. But well, the world is harsh right now, so I just ended up writing what I felt and what I know about the restaurant industry. The things that restaurant owners are often too polite to say to their guests. I hope you took a few moments to read it and took it to heart. Restaurants really need us, now more than ever.

We need to be kind, patient and as generous as possible.

HERE is my latest list of restaurants that are offering outdoor dining. The ones in bold have heated seating areas. I am continuing to update it as I hear from owners.

Keep in mind that some places on the list only have only a few tables outside, while others have tents, parklets and more. Some have covered seating, some do not. Before you book, please be sure to call the restaurant (yes, use your phone to make a call) to ask what their current outdoor setup is...and also check in the day of your reservation, especially if there is rain in the forecast. 
Grand Cru at Belvedere Square has a new name and new setup!
Grand Cru has just opened an expanded space (in the former Ceriello space) at Belvedere Square. Their original space is now a dedicated bottle shop.

I think I will be spending a lot of time sitting outside there this winter. There are several tables outside, some with umbrellas and heaters. There are lots of great places in the market to grab food, too. Newest food vendors include Thai Landing and Hilo Poke and Sushi.

Grand Cru has been one of my very favorite places for a very, very long time. The original owner, the late great Nelson Carey, was a good friend. A friend to many, really. I miss him very much. Grand Cru's current owner, Jayce Flickinger, is the best. He's funny, kind and knows his craft. He's taken such good care of Cru these last several years — and, this expansion is impressive. Go check it out. 

Please give the new bar a follow on IG at @marketbarbaltimore.

(for me, anyway)
Over the last year or so, I've had to avoid dairy and eggs. A bummer at first, but I've got it down now. It's usually not that hard but then there's pizza. 

Then, last weekend happened. I hadn't been to Johnny Rad's in years, and after remembering that they have a ton of vegan options, decided I needed to go back. My friend Jess and I went for lunch last Sunday and sat outside at one of their picnic tables. We decided to split a salad and a pizza, specifically Pepe Martinez. It is a classic pepperoni pizza with fresh plum tomato sauce, sliced pork pepperoni, fresh mozzarella & black pepper and it's garnished with chopped fresh basil. We simply changed the cheese to their vegan mozzarella and it was amazing. Very melty. I mean it. I could finally eat pizza and truly enjoy it! The crust had the soft texture I crave, and the fact that I ate every bit of that crust is big. I almost never eat the entire crust. Stellar. 
The popular DC restaurant Lucky Buns is expanding into Bmore and it opens in a week, on Monday, 12/17. It is on Wolfe Street in the former home of the Dead End Saloon. Follow them on Instagram!

Lucky Buns is owned by Alex McCoy and he also owns Duke's Grocery in DC. HERE is a little more about Alex and Lucky Buns from The Washington Post. He is quite the world traveler! Side note: I was planning a DC trip in December (but had to cancel due to COVID) and Duke's was on my list. So, perfect timing that Lucky Buns is opening...
A new grocery store is a thing of beauty to someone like me. Hi, I'm a nerd. I shop at the Harbor East Whole Foods location (it's wonderfully un-busy on Sunday mornings!) but it'll be nice to have another option for shopping, especially for people who live in North Baltimore. Whole Foods Towson opens this Friday, 12/14 at the corner of Towsontown Boulevard and Susquehanna Avenue. 
A new brewery is coming soon in Pigtown, Pickett Brewing. Follow them on Instagram to stay in the loop on their upcoming opening.
My friend Melissa and I had a fantastic dinner outside at Thames Street Oyster House last night. For all of you people who skip restaurants with the word "oyster" in their name because you don't like oysters...you are really, really missing out. Go. Thames Street's outdoor setup is nice. A dedicated tent (one side open) with heat pumped in at one end and tables spread out nicely. We each had a martini to start, shared some oysters from Massachusetts, Maine and Virginia, scallops, a lobster roll (duh) and we shared a really nice bottle of Willamette Pinot Gris. Everything was lovely, especially our server Annalisa. She was a total pro. A great night out, indeed.
I always ask that you FORWARD this onto your friends. Now more than ever, that is so important. There is always a link to my latest newsletter in my Instagram bio. Copy it and text it to your people! Help me get the word out!

Thank you so much,

xo - 


Amy Langrehr
Charm City Cook
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