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A delicious few days away
I had two lovely days in Lancaster last week. I needed a break from the city and it was fun to see cows, horses and Amish folks going about their business. I am completely fascinated by their lives. I had amazing baked goods (and, look at those chocolate caramels!), great drinks, food, coffee and met nice people. I will write more about it on my blog, but for now...I highly recommend this little getaway from Bmore. Make sure you take back roads.
A classic for a reason
My friend and I had an impromptu dinner at Tapas Teatro last week and it was as good as it's always been. I love this place so much. Spanish tapas and drinks (love the vermouth cocktails and gin & tonics), warm space and service and when it's nice out, seeing that sidewalk full of diners is a classic Baltimore scene. 

One thing I am always impressed with is a perfect house salad. I suppose "garden salad" is another way to describe it. Not a Caesar, not a kale salad, a super simple salad with greens, veggies, light dressing, maybe some cheese. When it's done well, a house salad is a treasure. Tapas Teatro's Ensalada del Teatro (arugula, red onions, cherry tomatoes, Manchego, sea salt, sherry vinegar reduction) is one of the best in town. 

Tapas is consistently good. That is very hard to do – go support these folks.
The cocktail bar's more casual spot downstair is back
I always loved the Bluebird's more casual space downstairs, The Bluebird Pub, so I am very happy that it finally reopened this past Friday.

The owners of the Bluebird Cocktail Room have made strategic changes to their various spaces along Hickory Avenue over the last few years. From Little Bird, their charming, yet short-lived coffee shop downstairs to De Kleine Duivel next door (which is now a private event space), they've been resilient and creative and I really like what they do. Nimble is the word that comes to mind when I think of Paul, Caroline and their team. During the height of COVID, their takeout menu was one of my favorites – I loved their curbside burgers and bottled cocktails. So, now that the Pub has reopened and I am a bit more comfortable eating indoors, I am excited to go. 

Check out the Bluebird Pub's menu HERE.

Casual Italian-inspired, wood-fired cuisine
More Bluebird-related news: Manina Urbana is now open. 

Bluebird owners Paul and Caroline Benkert had an opportunity to open a place in a new construction project connected to a friend of theirs out in Urbana (about 15 minutes south of Frederick) and despite the risk and already being quite busy with The Bluebird, they decided to go for it. 

I haven't been yet but I am definitely going soon. Described as American food with an Italian kick, everything is cooked over a wood fire, they're making ingredients in-house, sourcing from local farmers (as they have consistently done at Bluebird) and the space looks beautiful. Casual, with indoor and outdoor seating, I think this is going to be a welcome addition to the community. More
Oysters and cocktails make me happy
I hadn't been to Gunther in a while. Gotta admit it, living uptown in Hampden, I get a little lazy about getting to areas like Canton, but with Gunther, I should really go down there more often.

This brunch at Gunther was a real treat. While I am no longer able to eat eggs (RIP, my favorite) I was able to find several great options. I ended up getting a burger and my friend got Shakshuka and both were excellent. What else was excellent? Cocktails. I love when a restaurant does full-on cocktails at brunch, not just the usual suspects like mimosas and Bloody Marys. I ordered the Kevin Smash which is tequila, pamplemousse liqueur, grapefruit soda, lime with a chili-lime rim. YUM. 
Their cocktail menu is really creative, varied and delicious. One of my favorites since day one is the Rye'n Gosling– rye, rum, amaro, agave, lemon bitters, flaming lemon. Very, very good.

The other thing I like about brunch at Gunther is that they offer a changing selection of fresh, raw oysters every weekend. We got four kinds (I have since lost the little menu with the specifics...) and they were a real treat. 

What I say all the time is that I want to support nice people and that nice people matter. I want to go to restaurants run by people who are good to their staff and work really hard. That describes owners Jerry and Nancy Trice perfectly. And if you need another reason to go to Gunther . . . it is absolutely gorgeous. I kind of forgot how beautiful their living plant wall is and with the bar, dining room and patio, you have lots of choices about where to dine and drink. They also have a really cool small dining space. I especially love the kitchen counter seats so you can watch the action. 

Love this place.
Chachi's in Old Goucher
Something new coming to the former Larder space 
As much as I am so sad that Larder closed their brick and mortar (they are now doing very fun classes, farm dinners and events), I'm super excited for the folks coming to the space – adjacent to Fadensonnen – Chachi's. The chef/owner behind Chachi's is Karl Diehn, who was the opening chef at Dylan's. All I can tell you is that they're planning to do rotisserie chickens and seasonal food. Follow them on Instagram to stay in the loop.
Feeding my addiction and repping my city for Thrillist
I was so stoked when my friend Jess asked if I might be interested in updating Thrillist's Baltimore coffee shop list. Not only because it's a well-respected national website but also because I am a coffee NERD. I love it. I drink it everyday (iced, year-round, thank you very much) and we have so many great coffee shops here in Bmore. This list is by no means represents the entire coffee community here, it's a nice start. HERE it is and I hope you enjoy it! 
Doug Atwell's new cocktail bar in Fell's Point
My friend Doug Atwell's new neighborhood cocktail bar – Southpaw – in Fell's Point is OPEN. Think classic cocktails, O's on the tv, a friend on the barstool next to you. If you loved the old Rye (on Broadway) or if you enjoyed his cocktails at Dylan's, you will love it here. 

Follow on Instagram
I wasn't sure if I'd share this here, but I think it's good to share challenges and struggles, not just pretty pictures. 

A few weeks ago, I left my job which I started in January. You know that feeling when you know something is not working for you and you know you need to make a change? It was exactly that.

This has happened twice in my career. The last time, I stayed in a job for about two years because I didn't feel like I had a choice. Being single, it's harder to do something that'll affect you financially, but this time around I knew what I needed to do. Disappointing, yes. The end of the world, no. 

For me, the most important thing to feeling fulfilled as a fundraiser is being very interested in your mission – you have to care. And, since you spend so much time at work, you've gotta like your colleagues and feel kind of connected to them, as you're all working together to further a cause – you're in it together! 
Whether in-office or virtual, you have to get up and feel inspired to get to work.

I've realized lately that two missions that inspire me the most are food access (hunger, agriculture, etc) and animal welfare, so that is where I am focusing in my search. I'd like to consider remote options outside of Baltimore, as Baltimore is a small place and the fundraising world here is also small. It feels limiting and honestly like I've done all I really want to do here. Maybe I'll be surprised, who knows.

While I search, I am doing some copywriting for a friend's website and am also doing some freelance writing, pitching articles and just trying to slow down a bit. While I do absolutely need to become employed (hello, paycheck and insurance) I want to be smart, not rushed. I have a few irons in the fire...so hopefully, I will find something great very soon!

So, please send me all your good vibes and if you have any ideas or can connect me with people you know in my areas of interest, please drop me an email.

PLEASE FORWARD this onto your friends who love Baltimore and food.

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I make no profit from this newsletter or my website. I just want to help people find great food and drinks and good people to support. It's so important to help people whenever you can. I believe that firmly.
So, make some plans and GO OUT! Need ideas?
HERE is my (updated) Dining Guide. 

Thank you so much,

xo - 


Amy Langrehr
Charm City Cook
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