Although I am a big fan of raindrops on roses and don’t even try to keep me away from some whiskers on kittens, food is my favorite thing. USA Today recently published an article by by Julekha Dash called Made in Baltimore: Flavors only found in Charm City. I always like to read these articles because the chance of hearing about a new places to try excites me. I’m going to say there are 32 places on this list because to break down all the different stalls inside Lexington Market, Mt. Vernon Marketplace, and the Farmer’s Market would just be too much. I’ve been to 24 out of 32 and I love them all. Many are places that I feel like just recently opened that I used to just breeze in to and get a seat. Now I know how hipsters feel, all my places are cool and I can’t get in. I suppose, that’s why God gave us OpenTable, but if they don’t take reservations… God help you. I can’t be mad though, because I love all of these restaurants and I know in order for them to continue to stay open and supply me with deliciousness, other people are going to have to spend their money there as well.
So back to the list, I won’t name them all but a few places on it that if you have not been, set a date and go, because you are missing out:
- Clavel: Located in the Remington neighborhood. I was just there again last night. They don’t take reservations so go early or you will be told it’s a 2 hour wait when you show up at 7PM on a Saturday night. It’s worth the wait if you aren’t so hungry that your stomach is already eating itself. They serve authentic mexican food. I lived in Southern CA for 2 years so I’ve grown accustomed to having good mexican food. Clavel fills that void. They also have a niche in the Baltimore market because they are a mezcaleria. You have to order the Queso Fundido when you go and get it with the chorizo because it is just not the same without it. I have zero fears of trying new things so last night I went for the Huitlacoche tacos. Huitlacoche is a mixture of corn fungus, mushrooms, corn, epazote, and cotija cheese. Corn fungus you say? Well it was delicious. Don’t knock it til you try it. Bar Clavel
- Encantada: Located in Federal Hill inside the American Visionary Art Museum. Go for the food, stay for the museum (or just the Flatulence Post if you are me). I first visited Encantada during Winter Restaurant Week. I love the decor and the food. It’s an excellent place to go for vegetarian options as well. Hands down our favorite thing to order on their menu is the Crispy Brussels Sprouts. Just do it. Encantada
- La Cuchara: Located in Woodberry they serve Basque inspired cuisine. I like to go and get a ton of their Pintxos, which are only $2. They also bring you homemade bread and butter before you fill up on whatever delicious entree you order. So far, haven’t had a entree I didn’t like so I can’t tell you want to order. Pick one, it’ll all delicious. La Cuchara turns 1 year old this Monday and are throwing a themselves a birthday party. La Cuchara
- Bookmakers Cocktail Club: Located in Federal Hill. I guess I should have put them first on the list because Bookmakers is my favorite go to when I want good food and even better drinks. I went there the first day they opened and I’ve been so happy so see them experience success. I’m not a big beer drinker so in a sea of breweries, Bookmakers stands out as a cocktail drinker’s best friend in Baltimore. I love Moscow Mules and they like to put their own spin on drinks so I order whatever kind of Mule they have come up with at the time. Always satisfied. Now I know they have been through a few chefs since they opened but whatever they have going on right now is working. Three words: Cheeseburger Deviled Eggs. Oh and their Bookie’s Burger, they only make 15 a day. We like to go right when they open for Happy Hour and we always manage to get one of the burgers. They even put a number in it and if you get “1” you feel special. Another great draw of Bookmakers is their whiskey selection. My husband is a big whiskey drinker and I think we could go there every day and he still wouldn’t make it through their ever changing and growing whiskey selection.Bookmakers Cocktail Club
I could go on and on and on about the list but who has the time? I don’t want to drown you with too much information on my first post. You will just have to keep coming back.
Two of my favorite things are happening this weekend in Baltimore:
- The EmporiYUM food market is today and tomorrow in the Inner Harbor. It’s too late for you to get VIP and Early admission tickets but you should still check it out. Their website describes it best, “one-of-a-kind food marketplace featuring the tastiest treats from around the country. Discover delicious foods and purchase thoughtful gifts and top-quality products from a lineup of artisans you won’t find anywhere else. There’ll be tunes from a DJ, plus sips and samples.” Last year was my first time going. The VIP tickets are the best way to go. You get in before everyone else, less crowds, shorter lines. I plan employee events as part of my job and I love going to things like this to expand my vendor and caterer list. Your events are only as good as your caterers and vendors. Nothing makes me happier than going from stall to stall getting food samples and business cards.
- Baltimore Farmer’s Market & Bazaar opens tomorrow, Sunday April 17. It was a long cold winter without my market. Up until 7 months ago I lived right across the street from where it is held. I miss the convenience but I still drive there every Sunday morning to get my biscuits from Blacksauce Kitchen and my coffee beans from Cafe Latte’da. I feel like the Farmer’s Market deserves their own post so I’ll stop here, regroup, and come back another day.
Until next time!