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Earlier this year — perhaps when I was missing my favorite restaurant experiences the most — I asked via Instagram for folks to tell me their favorite restaurants and what they like to order there. I realized last week that I had added the info to a past newsletter, but I never created a blog post dedicated to this AMAZING list. Here it is. I highly recommend saving it. Also, if you can, please add your recommendations in the comments on the blog post on Charm City Cook. 

ps. There's also a post about kids' favorite dishes arounds the city on my site. 
I've never loved gazpacho. Maybe it's a texture thing or maybe the fact that I really don't love tomato soup or I'm just a weirdo. Man, people really love gazpacho! 

A few years ago, though, I tasted watermelon gazpacho made by my friend
Chef John Shields and was instantly smitten. It was light and bright, a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet. Yes, this was my kind of gazpacho. Today, I decided to make some and I found a recipe from Gimme Some Oven. I usually like her recipes and it had a five star rating, so I took a shot. And yes...it's good! I didn't have Roma tomatoes, so I used one of the heirloom tomatoes from this week's CSA. I played around with the flavor and heat (poblano vs bell pepper) and I'm still fiddling with the consistency, but I will make this one again for sure. 
Thank you, Joan and Drew Norman of One Straw Farm for the excellent watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and garlic!

HERE is the recipe. 
I shared a recipe for a summer version of bolognese in this newsletter a few weeks ago and several folks said they made it and loved it — and that makes me very, very happy. It's been a favorite of mine for a few years. I made it again today and when I took my first bite, I said out lout (to NO ONE) "man, this is good". If you haven't tried this summer bolognese yet, I highly recommend. Make it while cherry tomatoes are everywhere. It's easy!

ps. I used Beyond Meat and it was really good.

Find the recipe from Farideh Sadeghin for Saveur HERE

This is a bummer for Hampden: Spro has closed. A pandemic casualty. I loved Spro, mainly because of owner Jay Caragay. On the off chance he was behind the counter, we'd catch up and talk Baltimore food. He knows the best places. The baristas at Spro were meticulous, knowledgeable, but not snobby. Jay always made me feel okay about how I enjoyed my coffee...no judgement for my fake sugar addiction. And there was never wi-fi inside the shop because he wanted people to talk. Also, if you have a favorite barista at local Baltimore coffee shop, it's highly probably that Jay trained them. Many, many baristas I've met over the years are Spro alums. So many. 

Not all hope is lost, though. Jay opened the Japanese-inspired 
Cafe du Spro out in Cockeysville in late 2019 and closed it down during the pandemic. He is planning to open it back up later this year. If you really, really love coffee, please go. Here's
a little more from the Sun about Spro's legacy and a visual of the Cockeysville shop below.

Ah, Jay. Thank you.
Here are some highlights from dinner this week at Clavel -- my first time dining indoors there in over two years. It was outstanding, as usual!
The freaking best.
Atun con Piña
Save the date for one of the most delicious parties of the year, Bourbon & Bowties. This benefit event sells out very, very quickly, so if you want tickets, be sure to follow them on social media

The event is usually in May, but this year, it will be September 23 on the lawn outside Sagamore Spirit in Port Covington. In addition to lots of bourbon, there will be beer, wine, booze-free options and food from about 15 of the best restaurants in the city. Visit them online to learn more about this year's charity partners. 

This bears repeating over and over. I will never stop saying it. Keep supporting your favorite places — think about the ones you'd be heartbroken to lose. They need you. And remember to be patient with service staff (many are new, ALL are stretched thin) and tip well.

Mask mandates are back (indoors) in the City beginning this week and if distancing rules come back, too, it'll be even harder. I have a section of my Restaurant Guide called "Please Never Ever Close ﹣ and, I am happy to say that they are all still open. What are your "Please Never Ever Close" places? Go and visit them, eat, drink, tip big, order takeout (order directly from the restaurant and absolutely tip 20% min on takeout). 

And, as always...I ask that you send this email on to a friend or two — and follow me on Instagram: amylangrehr.

Please be sure to check out my website. All of the past newsletters are there, too.

xo -


Amy Langrehr
Charm City Cook
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