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Wow, I really took a break! Last newsletter was a little over month ago. And since then, I've been adding things for this issue into a list in my calendar and now, the list is pretty long. So, here goes...
But first, some of the best things I ate (and drank) this year...

Row 1: Scallops at Petit Louis, skins at Dylan's, sushi at Nanami
Row 2: Queso at Clavel, Carpaccio at Dutch Courage, Tartare at Milton Inn
Row 3: Burger at John Brown, Negroni at Cosima, Ian's Tomatoes at The Food Market

Every so often, I pick my mom up at her place in Timonium and we drive. Sometimes country roads, sometimes a drive through the city, sometimes lunch, sometimes not, just depends on the day. 

A few weeks ago, I sent her a text saying "How about a drive and maybe lunch on Saturday? Pick you up at 11:00am?" When the weekend arrived, I finally started thinking about what to do with Mom. I thought about places we could have lunch, casual places that she'd like. Good food, outside tables, maybe sandwiches or something simple. Then I had a different thought, crabs. LP Steamers, yes...she'd like that. So there we go, down 83 and zipped over to Locust Point. 

LP Steamers is my favorite place for crabs. It's a real city-ish kind of place. A little rowhouse with nice people. I love the rooftop deck, but that'd be a lot of stairs. Maybe another time. 

We got there right around opening time (11:30ish), grabbed a table outside and ordered four steamed crabs, hush puppies and steamed shrimp. And a couple of beers. She likes a good old domestic beer ("this is a real beer") and really only ever one. That's plenty. Ps. I prefer crabs in the fall. They're fatter and eating them outside with a breeze is pretty sweet. 

As we sat there picking crabs and peeling shrimp, we caught up, watched people, met the cutest kids and pups and the busyness of the world went away. I really needed that.

That was the best lunch I've had in a long time. 
The historic, iconic and very, very Baltimore (and some say haunted) Wharf Rat in Fell's Point has been sold and it's in good hands. The new owner is Chef Jesse Sandlin, owner of Sally O's (a fantastic spot in Highlandtown) and I am so happy for her! Jesse is incredibly hardworking, kind and her cooking just makes people happy. Read more HERE.

She is not closing Sally O's...and I haven't talked with her yet about the new spot, but I'm guessing it'll be a place where everyone feels welcome. That is her way.

Congrats, Jesse!!
Our very sweet airbnb on a farm about 20 minutes outside downtown.
My bedroom.
The sign made me feel as though I'd like this place.
The most perfect scallops. 
Old old school bill at C&O
The bar downstairs at C&O. I want to go back! (photo cred: C&O)
Bodo's Bagels
Thank goodness for no healthy substitutions at Bodo's, needed this. 
The gorgeous tasting room at Gabriele Rausse. Wines and people were lovely, too. 
Yes, please. (and doggos around us, too...)
This is Gabriele Rausse's winery dog, Trady.
Cocktails at schwanky new Jean Georges restaurant, Marigold. 
Of course, I had to check out the patio. Wowser.
Loved this place. Our server was a trip and the oysters and drinks were fab. 
I will never ever say no to dinner at an oyster bar. Ever.
Loved all of these!
After the rain, absolutely gorgeous.

My first girls weekend road trip. First airbnb stay. Since I tend to travel solo, I usually go for hotels, they feel safer when you're on your own. Plus...I love hotels. But a relaxing little getaway with my friend Kerry seemed like just what I needed. A change of scenery is always good. 

We stayed in a cottage situated next to a farm with cattle...if you know me, I am fascinated with cows. Our host had horses, chickens and dogs. I woke up with the sound of chickens ranging...gotta say it was nice to hear that again. (I used to keep hens in the backyard of my Hampden house.)

The drive into town was about 20 minutes, so our place felt remote (in a good way) and it was really quiet. Lots of stars. We drove to wineries, dinners (and lots naps in between, which I loved, duh) and the pace was nice. I liked Jefferson Vineyards and Gabrielle Rausse Winery a lot. Both were on the smaller side, more my speed. All the food and drinks were great but I have to say C&O Restaurant was my favorite. It was like an old tavern that served beautiful French-inspired food. Not fancy. Just everything done right. 

​Our waiter at C&O was the kind of waiter that you immediately knew was a total pro. He was also quietly funny. There was a table of very overserved guests nearby our table and we exchanged observations (and laughs) with the table next to us. After the loud, messy party exited, our server said "Sometimes you get famous people and sometimes you get people acting famous." 

I'm so glad we took this trip, Kerry! 

HERE is the airbnb listing. Our host was wonderful.

Pauls' Place's new Groundwork Kitchen in Pigtown is in need of cookbook donations for their culinary training program. Think about any you have that would be helpful to a culinary student just starting out. 

You can drop cookbooks off at Paul's Place (1118 Ward Street). Paul's Place does great work to help people in need. So, take a look through your closets and dresser drawers and pull out some things you don't need. Winter will be here very soon and your stuff would definitely help someone who has very little. 

While you're down that way, check out Hollins Market's improvements and also the Neopol Savory Smokery's Sowebo location at 873 Hollins Street.
Yes, that's right. Ekiben is hitting the streets of Baltimore in their very own food truck. Co-owner Steve Chu says once it's ready, they plan to have the truck out as often as possible. They're working on a few repairs and permits. Follow Ekiben's Instagram to stay in the loop. 

Congrats, Steve and Ephrem!
If you are into Baltimore history, I highly recommend Baltimore Heritage's "Five Minute Histories." The videos are short (not all are five minutes) and you definitely learn something from each one. Hosted by Johns Hopkins (the person, not the institution), the video topics range from cool buildings you always wondered about, Baltimore neighborhoods, people who you may never had heard of who changed the city and everything in between. Johns is a friend of mine and he runs Baltimore Heritage, which also does lots of walking tours, including one I really want to do at Greenmount Cemetery. Anyway, give them a follow. You can find all of their videos on Instagram and Facebook. (Click on the image above and it will take you to their IG account.
This is a really easy and flavorful garlic yogurt dip that I am subbing in for Caesar dressing. I love Whole Foods' Caesar dressing...but now I am not able to eat eggs so mayo is off limits. I found this recipe from a simple Google search and I am loving it. I use vegan mayo and yogurt and it is still delicious!
Now, this. This... is becoming my new favorite comfort soup. Ambitious Kitchen's Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder.  It's a lot like Ina Garten's (incredible) Cheddar Corn Chowder...but I can eat this and feel good and feel happy. And, I'm not vegan, I simply avoid dairy and eggs. So, I crisped up some bacon and tried that as a garnish and it was good...but it wasn't a huge game changer here. I liked it best as the writer suggested, garnished with cilantro, scallions and a little (DF) sour cream. I am still playing around with the heat, so far I've tried it with jalapeño and another time, with poblano. To me, the jalapeño overwhelmed things (with its flavor more so than heat). Both times, the peppers were seeded. I think I might roast them next time to deepen the flavor. I will keep tinkering...in the mean time, try this soup!
I don't follow a lot of food bloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers. They end up all looking the same, heavily styled and kinda too perfect for me. When I need cooking inspiration, I tend to Google things or use my Culinary Artistry book. So, a few weeks ago, I Googled "chicken thighs and potatoes" in hopes of something different but reliable. Up came, Smitten Kitchen and her Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka. Since I have been trying to cook new things (Indian, especially) I decided to try it. I mean, Deb Perelman is tried and true, been around the game for a while. I had her first cookbook for a while but it just never spoke to me for some reason. I guess that just happens sometimes. 

Anyway...I made this and liked it a lot. You can switch up the vegetables...even make it a little spicier. Definitely a versatile recipe. 

If you are interested in learning to cook more Indian dishes, I recommend Indian(-ish) by Priya Krishna. She explains things really well and I love the family stories, too. And of course the OG is Madhur Jaffrey, whose daughter Sakina is a friend of mine. Sakina recommended this one -- Quick and Easy Indian Cookery -- as a good starting point...and I found it online! I've made a few things from it and found it to be really approachable. 

ps. I have to add that one of the bigger IG cooking accounts I really do like is
The Wooden Skillet. Erin's recipes are approachable, as is she. I don't know her at all, but she gives off a really good vibe. And her recipes have been great!
Looking north on Paca Street.
New University of Maryland apartment building, looking south on Paca. 
Second (top) floor of the new market building. 
Front entrance off Eutaw Street
Looking east over the outdoor plaza construction.
This past week, my friend Jon Constable of Seawall Development took me on a tour of the Lexington Market construction project and WOW. Having worked as a consultant with Lexington Market (via the Baltimore Public Markets organization) for a few years, I have a strong affinity for this historic place. Since 1782, that is amazing -- two years older than my former employer, Friends School.

The "arcade" area at the most southern part of the Lexington Market footprint is now gone. It is being replaced with a huge outdoor plaza. Once the new building is completed in 2022, the larger main market (where you can still shop and eat at Faidley's, Parks, Krause's, Konstants...) will close and merchants will move into the new digs. Many new, many old merchants are in for the next phase. They are still looking for a few specific areas like a full-service butcher, a sushi vendor, pizza and more. HERE for more info on vendors, etc. 
If you have questions about the project or want to be informed about community meetings, etc, sign up for emails HERE.
You may have heard -- Chris Amendola is moving his Hampden restaurant, Foraged, to Station North. Congrats, Chris. I know you will love being neighbors with Alma Cocina Latina and Tapas Teatro!
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me to do something I had never done before: a breathwork and sound bath session. It was held outdoors at the Mt. Washington Arboretum and I loved it. Basically, you bring a yoga mat, a blanket and something to cover your eyes, and Liz from Baltimore Breathwork leads you through a series of breathing exercises (to music) and then at the end she does a sound bath (watch this video to get a better idea) and you leave feeling totally zen. I'm not exaggerating, it was so calming and refreshing. Surprisingly powerful. Follow Baltimore Breathwork on Facebook and Instagram to see what's happening for the winter. I do know that Zoom classes will begin soon, since it is getting colder. 

(FYI: the second photo above was from a class before COVID.)  
Say hello to my new friend, Emmy. I adopted her three weeks ago from the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County

My allergies always kept me from adopting a cat, but thanks to my friend Sarah and her homeopathic advice, we're doing just fine. Emmy is eight years old and is quite petite. And so friendly and chatty at supper time. 

So, so nice having company. 

Thanks, Jess for going with me for the meet + greet (+ adopt). I think I'm a senior adopter for life.
Over the last year and a half, I've polled people on social media, tried lots of new foods and dined outside a lot. I share much of that info in this newsletter, on my blog and also on my Instagram highlights.

If you are not familiar with highlights, they are simply a great way to save and store info you've shared in your IG stories. Go to my Instagram and you will see little circles above my photo feed. Everything from my favorite egg and dairy-free products, simple recipes and cooking tips, takeout recs, weekend getaways, tiny house dreams and more.
So, yeah, if you haven't switched over to my new Instagram account, please give it a follow:

Thank you for reading my newsletter and remember to do this one favor for me: FORWARD THIS onto a friend or two. Or ten. I mean it. I don't make any profit off of the newsletter -- I just want to help people find ways to support the Baltimore restaurant industry. 

And for more food news, make sure you sign up for a few of my favorites:

Kit Pollard
Family Meal 
Amanda Kludt 

Thank you!

xo - 


Amy Langrehr
Charm City Cook
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