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 in Baltimore who love food.
|The folks at The Bluebird bought the Belgian beer bar next door, De Kleine Duivel, last year and then...COVID hit. So, they quietly did renovations — including a small outdoor area off the side of the bar, which I plan to hit as soon as the weather gets a smidge warmer — and took a little time to get their ducks in a row. Or, well, their drinks and menu planned out. There's a theme of fermentation looped throughout, with things like housemade tempeh and kombucha, plus yakatori (skewered grilled meats), seasonal fish and more. There will be non-beer options, too. A small cocktail menu is planned and one drink in particular sounds up my alley: a fermented "Orange Crush that tastes like Orangina." Gimme.
De Kleine Duivel opens Wednesday, February 18.
BIRROTECA IS OPEN AGAIN!
|I now live next door to Birroteca, so I am very glad they have reopened. After the death of Birroteca's frontman, Robbin Haas, I was not really sure what would happen. I'm not sure if they are offering (or plan to offer) outdoor dining, but I hope they do.
Here is the most recent menu posted online. So happy to see many faves still on it!
Photo by Dave Cooper for The New York Times
|If you have ever met Irena Stein of Alma Cocina Latina (now located in Station North in the former Pen & Quill space) you know that she is a FORCE. She is not only a creative and hardworking restauranteur here in Baltimore, she is also works tirelessly for the people in her home country of Venezuela. And now she and her partners from Mera Kitchen Collective are providing free meals to people in Baltimore, thanks in big part to a kickstart from Chef Jose Andres and World Central Kitchen. This new venture is called Alkimiah Baltimore and they have provided over 100,000 meals now. Amazing.
From their website:
alkimiah (al-kee-mee-ah) is a partnership between Mera Kitchen Collective & Alma Cocina Latina to holistically address food apartheid by providing delicious and well balanced meals for all, create and sustain meaningful employment with paths to ownership, and reimagine our relationship to food systems and the hospitality industry, with a priority given to the health of each individual and our planet.
I went to a very early dinner collaboration between Mera Kitchen Collective and Hersh's in 2017. I remember being moved to tears as Chef Iman of Mera (formerly the executive chef at the Four Seasons in Damascus) came out to thank us for coming. If you are not aware, Mera is made up of chefs from all over the world, seeking refuge and opportunities in Baltimore. You can order beautiful chef-prepared meals from Mera, too.
Alkimiah is making a huge difference here. There is a link to give on their website and I hope you will make a gift to them, no matter how small. If you know someone who could use a healthy meal at no cost, here is how to request one.
This past week, Alkimiah was featured in an article in the New York Times.
Irena, as I have said to you before, my friend, I am continuously in awe of you.
GREENMOUNT SCHOOL NIGHT AT MOLINA PIZZA
Thursday, February 25
Order takeout from Molina Pizza at R House and The GreenMount School (my employer) gets 20% of your order! Brick oven pizza, sandwiches, salads and more. You can even buy pizza dough to make more pies at home.
Take the night off from kitchen duty and help GreenMount at the same time — Thank you!
And, thank you J.J. Reidy of Molina and STEM Farm + Kitchen for your generous support!
OUTDOOR DINING (with heat!)
Last week, I asked folks on Instagram and Facebook about places where they have dined outside with heaters. Here is the IG post — I plan to keep adding places to the list in the post.
Cindy Lou's Fish House
The Capital Grille
Rocket to Venus
Full Tilt Brewing
Marie Louise Bistro
I sent you all an email earlier this week with this thought:
This morning, I had a thought: winter will end. As I gathered names of restaurants with heated outdoor dining, I thought, "thank goodness they won't have to do this a whole lot longer." I felt hopeful. Dare I say happy? But then I thought, the other side of that coin is that five weeks is a very, very long time to a restaurant, especially in a pandemic. So, please keep ordering takeout as often as you can. Order from your favorites, maybe try a new place. Go old school and print out the list from my newsletter (see below), put it on your kitchen counter and make some plans. And nearly as important, PLEASE share your meals (and positive comments for restaurants) on social media. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors about your favorite meals. As I've said before, restaurants can use a little lift.
KN95 MASK FUNDRAISER FOR TEACHERS
oin restaurants in supporting Baltimore City School Teachers.
We all know the pandemic is taking a toll on our teachers and kids. Now that many more teachers are returning to in-person school, a group of restaurants wants to help ensure they go back safely. Participating restaurants will be donating 20% of all sales from 4pm-9pm on February 18 to purchase KN95 Masks from The Baltimore Restaurant Relief Fund. The Fund has been selling masks to help support furloughed industry workers, providing assistance with unemployment, buying meals and arranging food drops to communities throughout Baltimore. All funds raised will go to these endeavors as well as providing FREE, Certified KN95 masks for Teachers!
Restaurants participating are:
Golden West Cafe
The Local Fry
If you prefer to donate directly to the fund, please designate your donation for "Teachers" in the space provided at www.bmorerestaurantrelief.org.
Hope you will order takeout on this night. Big thanks to Sam at Golden West. She is truly a rock star in my eyes, working tirelessly to do all she can to help folks in the hospitality industry!
For the last few weeks, I've been asking friends and folks on IG for takeout recommendations. I asked for specific dishes, too!
DESSERTS TO GO
Last week, I asked for restaurant dessert suggestions and specifically asked for things that people ordered along with their dinner that traveled particularly well. Here are some:
Daniela's — tiramisu
The Food Market — Heath Bar bread pudding
Cookhouse — Nutella doughnutsEl Trovador — tres leches cakeLa Scala — tiramisu (pictured above)Orto — chocolate hazelnut pave, pistachio cakeDutch Courage — banana bread puddingSotto Sopra —crème brûlée
Clavel — flan, tres leches cake
Dylan's — Basque cheesecake
Nihao — cookie boxes
1157 Bar + Kitchen — chocolate peanut butter tart
La Cuchara — chocolate mousse, vanilla pear tart, butterscotch pot de crème
Souvlaki — baklava
Silver Queen Cafe — peanut butter pie (multiple mentions!)
Cocina Luchadoras — flan
Thai Arroy — mango sticky rice
Petit Louis — pot de crème, crème brûlée
Tapas Teatro, photo by Josh Sisk
Here are some takeout suggestions (a few new ones have been added!) Please email me or message me via IG with more suggestions!
Hersh's — Ricotta crostini, Caesar salad, carbonara, wings, kale + pistachio pizzaTapas Teatro — seafood paella, grilled lamb chops, shrimp with garlic, littleneck clams and the best is the sangria pitcher (or quart to go) of sangria for $10 on Tuesdays29th Street Tavern — Great simple burger, chicken cheesesteak, wings
Chiyo — "All the rolls."
Heritage Kitchen — Arroz Caldo, Chicken and Short Rib Adobo, Shrimp & Pork Belly Laing, Coconut + Crab soup, Butternut Squash Soup (or really, ANY soup Chef Rey makes.)
Cindy Lou's Fish House — Biscuits, fried green tomatoes, rockfish bites, shrimp and grits, fried chicken. Very nice cocktails.
The Food Market — "Amish soft pretzels always, always", Fast Food Market (weekend special), spaghetti and crab meatballs, lamb chops and crispy lobster fingers. "I love ordering from The Food Market because we all can use some comfort right now."
Chuck's Trading Post — Wednesday burger special, "every burger is fantastic."
Nihao — Peking duck, Grand Marnier shrimp, fried rice, cocktails (non-alc, too!)La Cuchara — Soft pretzels, mussels, salmon niçoise, rockfish, cinnamon buns
Orto - Friday pasta club, chicken parm for two "and make sure you get an extra Caesar", "just order the whole menu." The Cacio e Pepe is my go to.
Dylan's — "The menu is so tight that everything on it is really, really good." Burger and fries, Caesar salad, kale salad, shucked raw oysters, fried oyster sandwich, killer drinks.
Ethel's Creole Kitchen — "Consistently my favorite."
Foraged — "We order everything." "I mean, just order anything on the menu, it's that good."
Mizu Sushi — "The 3-roll lunch special is such a good deal."
The Helmand — Kaddo Borwani (pumpkin), Banjan Borwani (eggplant), chicken kabobs, Dwopiaza lamb
The Prime Rib — "The best takeout, what a treat. Get prime rib (obviously), potato skins, mashed potatoes and you have to get martinis.They come in pouches like Capri Suns!" Also, I have to add that their cheeseburger is one of the best I've ever had and it's on the takeout menu.
Petit Louis — Cucumber salad, friseé salad, whole roasted chicken, eggplant napoleon, steak frites, steak au poivre, extra fries always. The whole menu.
Papermoon Diner — "I love the Spring Egg: potato cake, prosciutto and spinach tossed in olive oil served with 2 over-medium eggs and hollandaise." (omg, that sounds good!)
Thai Street — Soups, noodles, Khai Soi, spring rolls, crab fried rice
Annabel Lee Tavern — Grilled tuna panini
Mt. Everest — Saag Paneer, Chana Masala with naan
Snake Hill — Three mentions of their wings!
Bullseye — Scallion pancakes, Szechuan pork, "OMG, any dumplings they make"
The Local Fry — "Tofu Bahn Mi, Asada fries. So good." I also LOVE their dry rubbed wings in a many flavors and I love that you can order all flats! (team flats over here.)
Isabella's — "Best Italian Cold Cut in the City!"
Souvlaki — Pantzarokeftedes (beet wrap), Bifteki with Greek fries
Hersh's — Crispy chicken sandwich, Caesar salad, Americano pie, crostini, wings, carbonara — "Literally everything is good here."
Sobo Cafe — Ranch garden salad, short rib, salmon, mussels, spicy feta, mac 'n cheese
Well Crafted Kitchen — "We love all of their pizzas and the family style salads. Best people, too."
Clavel — Margaritas, all the tacos, burritos. "For real, everything is good here."
Sushi Sizka — Pingpong roll, spicy salmon roll, Caribbean roll
Fuisine — "Get the short rib toast!"
Koko's — Crab cakes and wings
Alma Cocina Latina — "The arepas are the best."
Jasa Kabob — Curry and vegetable samosas
Paulie Gee's — "Their Wednesday wood-fired special is great. It's 2 pizzas for $22 or 4 pizzas for $44."
The Tilted Row — "Pasta dishes and Andy's Mac 'n cheese, a carryover from his days at Donna's in Charles Village"
Wet City — "The Bahn Mi Dog, Ribeye Cheesesteak, Hot Chicken Sandwich — plus amazing beers in crowlers."
Kitsch Cafe — "Incredible breakfast sandwiches. Plus, when you order a 'Givewich, it goes to someone who needs a meal."
Ekiben — Neighborhood Bird, tempura broccoli (now GF), tofu brah, shrimp snacks, tons of creative and delicious collaborations. And you can also "Buy a Hero a Bun" for a healthcare worker if you'd like to help folks on the front lines.
Ramen Utsuke — "Consistently excellent ramen."
BRD — "Such a good lunch!"
Le Comptoir Du Vin — "We love their sandwiches and the lentils." I have to add that I could absolutely eat their chicken liver pâté on sourdough once a week.
This week's recipe is one that I love but I did not create. I have made this soup three times since last fall, when Joan Normal of One Straw Farm (my Saturday morning giver of the best advice) told me to make it. Well, not this one...but A curried butternut squash soup. This one is super simple, comes together quickly and is inexpensive to make. This is for those people in your life who say "I don't like curry." This soup is creamy without being heavy, full of flavor and I just never seem to get tired of it. Minimalist Baker's Curried Butternut Squash Soup
RESTAURANTS NEED US.
I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO SAY IT AGAIN.
- order takeout for yourself (or even as thank yous for your friends who are healthcare workers and in other key frontline services, or for friends who move or welcome babies, etc)
- give positive reviews on dining sites and social media
- share your favorite takeout meals you've had during COVID on your social media channels (it really helps!)
- order your meals via the restaurant directly, please avoid apps that charge the restaurant up to 40%. And, picking up your food in person gives you a chance to say hello and thank the owner and staff in person. We all can use a lift, huh?
- tip as much as you can on your takeout
- buy merch, gift cards, etc
- Venmo your favorite servers
|Will you please forward this to three people? THE MORE PEOPLE ORDERING TAKEOUT, THE BETTER!
ps. If you are receiving this newsletter via a forward from a friend, here is how to signup.
Beet cured gravlax made by the wonderful folks at Neopol