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(tomorrow night!)

Chefs Kiah Gibian and Cat Smith came together to create and build Our Time Kitchen, a shared kitchen space they plan to use to support BIPOC women and LGBTIQ+ chefs who are just starting out. Last week, they were robbed. Over $10,000 of donated equipment for their new business was gone. Ugh. It's just so terrible.

And in true Baltimore fashion, many local businesses stepped up to help Kiah and Cat raise money for their mission. Like...tomorrow night February 21, Lane Harlan's wine bar
Fadensonnen in Old Goucher is hosting a gathering for Our Time Kitchen and 50% of the night's proceeds will go to Cat and Kiah to help them recoup their losses and purchase equipment, etc. 

Please follow Our Time Kitchen on Instagram to stay up-to-date on their progress and show them some love. 

Maillard Pastries is the real deal.

I'm a big croissant fan and I loved theirs! And the morning bun was all kinds of soft inside with the best (just barely crisp) texture outside. And the flavor combo of the cheddar and rosemary scone made this savory fan very happy. (I may have split the scone and put warm bacon in it. Maybe.)

Follow them on Instagram to see all the delicious treats they make. Maillard is located on Chestnut Avenue in the former home of three doughnut shops.

On Friday night, I had another perfect dinner at The Helmand.

I always like to start with the Kaddo Borwani – pan-fried and baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce. It's iconic for a reason. My friend Christine introduced me to a new favorite last night, Shornakhod – a salad with potatoes, chickpeas and spring onion served with cilantro vinaigrette dressing. So bright and full of flavor and great textures! Definitely getting that again. 

This very special place is in the Please Never Ever Close category on my dining guide because it's classic, consistent and the owners are very kind people. If you've never been or haven't been to The Helmand in a while, please go. It's a Baltimore classic. It's always busy, but not a scene. (I love that so much.)

(well, also, the internet...eek)
This past week, I was a guest on the WYPR show, On The Record With Sheilah Kast and it was actually fun! I am someone who prefers to be behind the scenes, but when I have a chance to talk about food in Baltimore, I figure I should say yes, right? The episode is in two parts, one with me and the other with the incredible food historian (and Baltimore resident) and now, editor of Cook's Country, Toni Tipton-Martin. Listen HERE.
(and it feels good!)
Late bloomer, that's me for sure. But I see it in a good light. Now that I'm older, I have more patience and a more open mind. Plus, I feel like finding your "thing" later in life makes it more exciting. Or at least it has been that way for me. Everything I learn is so exciting. 

I started getting into cooking when I was in my early thirties. It was the early 2000s and food television was big and new. The first cookbook I completely dove into was Ina Garten's first book (and the one I always recommend to cooks just starting out), Barefoot Contessa. It's full of recipes that are crowd favorites and she makes cooking seem like something you can do. So many cookbooks intimidated and overwhelmed me up till then. Then (
something I've written about before) my lifelong best friend, Lia, who is an architect in Paris, told me she was designing Ina and Jeffrey's new apartment in Paris. For my 40th birthday, my friend Kathleen and I went to London and Paris and Lia surprised me by setting up a lunch with Ina. It was so fun and it felt so good to tell her in person how much she taught me early on. That trip in 2007, was definitely the one that jumpstarted my cooking. I had been to visit Lia in Paris two times before, but I was cooking a lot heading into this trip — this time, I saw Paris through a cook's eyes. It felt very different. 

Then came
the blog, the brownies, the influencing, the consulting and now we are here. A few years ago, I felt like simplifying my life was a really good idea. Sold the house, downsized my stuff, moved into a small apartment (it's all I need) and now, a new job. It's taken me a while to dig myself a little happy place in life. That place is close friends and family, adopting two amazing senior pets, ditching my old Instagram, getting into new kinds of cooking.

As I sit here typing my 50th issue of this newsletter, I feel so thankful. I am so much happier than I was, say, four years ago. Of course, not every day is wonderful, but most are pretty darn good and that is something to be thankful for, for sure. Feeling comfortable in your own skin is a gradual process. I'm getting there. Thank you for following along on this thing...I can't call it a journey. I need a different word. 
(please check this out!)
My wonderful graphic design pro, Jess Wilson of Moondog Development, helped me fix something on my site this week that had been bothering me. Since I started this newsletter, issues were shared chronologically on my website as blog posts. So, if you were new to the newsletter, there was not a really quick and easy way to just find past newsletters. I asked Jess to create one page with simple links and I'm so happy I did!

HERE is a link. Check it out and share it!
I always ask this: PLEASE FORWARD this onto your friends. If you received this via a friend, please consider signing up. I make no money from this newsletter. I just want to help people find great food and drinks and good people to support. So important.

Thank you so much,

xo - 


Amy Langrehr
Charm City Cook
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