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Found 11 results

  1. From a post on Serious Eats, news that Paulie Gee's, a Neapolitan pizza joint from Greenpoint in Brooklyn will be opening a franchise next year in Hampden in Baltimore at the former Republican club. Wow- with Hersh's and Birroteca opening this year in town, it's a good time for pizza lovers.
  2. I am stunned not to find a thread for my favorite ice cream place in the world. This is --- hands down --- the best ice cream I have ever had. I appreciate that they're willing to go out on a limb with flavors, even if sometimes, they are a huge miss. But, they do reliably good to great work with the berry flavors (strawberry and raspberry, in particular), and the banana flavors are stunningly good when they are on the menu. The liqueur flavors are generally excellent too; a Fernet flavor was noteworthy, despite being runny (they admit it is due to the alcohol content).
  3. Birroteca, a new restaurant that focuses on pizza, small plates, craft beer, and wine officially opens tonight. A little bit about how the restaurant came to be here and a link to their Facebook page here (they do not appear to have a website up yet). I had the opportunity to go for their soft opening last night with 3 friends. The full menu was available and we were able to choose what we wanted. The menu is split into the following sections: appetizers, salads, pastas (entrees), pizzas, and vegetables, with if I'm remembering correctly about 6-8 choices in each section, plus they have a nightly special. We opted to get a mix of the small plates/apps, pizza, and entrees and share everything. We started with three appetizers, the meatball, calamari, and fried polenta as well as a duck confit salad, all of which were excellent. My favorites were probably the meatball, which was 8 oz (not sure what type of meat is used) and served on top of housemade ricotta with tomato sauce and a little shaved cheese and the calamari, which was cooked a la plancha, resulting in incredibly tender pieces of calamari topped with capers and grilled lemon. The fried polenta was a pleasant surprise, 3 "sticks" of very creamy polenta that was fried to crisp perfection (I really have no idea how they accomplished this) served on top of eggplant ragu. The duck confit salad with a bed of greens with figs and some type of citrus fruit, topped with an entire duck confit leg. The fat was scored and rendered really well and the skin was incredibly crispy - I could eat that leg every day. The salad itself was less appealing to me, everything went nicely together, but there was a bit too much sweetness overall for me to have eaten the entire salad on my own. Next up we shared the duck duck goose pizza, two entries: the papperadelle with wild boar bolognese and the penne with fennel sausage, the mussel appetizer, and the cauliflower from the vegetable section. The pizza came topped with duck confit and a duck egg. It was really rich and tasty, but again there was that sweetness and sadly our duck egg was overcooked so we weren't able to get the benefit of the yolk spreading out over the pizza as you cut into it. However, the crust was perfect for me - the right balance of slight chewiness to overall crispness. The pasta for the bolognese appeared to be housemade and was very tender and the sauce was very good, if not wowing. The fennel sausage was a surprising standout however. Not sure where the sausage is sourced from, but it's incredible and balanced nicely with the tomatoes and the bitterness of the greens in the dish although I don't think the penne is homemade . The (1/2 lb of) mussels would have been underwhelming I think were it not for the croutons in the dish. I will fail miserably at describing these - they were flavorful and incredibly well seasoned and seemed to be soaked with liquid, but they were still crunchy so they added a nice texture and flavor to the dish. By the time I got to the cauliflower, the last item to reach our table, I was getting quite full so I'm not sure I can evaluate it fairly. It was roasted and again had a sweetness to it (fig, balsamic, both?) that for me after having experienced that with both of the duck dishes was too much, but it was tasty otherwise. Desserts were a pumpkin pannacotta that was well liked across the board, as well as a chocolate fig tart (good, but not something I would rush to order again) and the olive oil & sea salt and ricotta ice creams (both tasty - I enjoyed having the sea salt ice cream with the chocolate tart and the ricotta ice cream with the pannacotta). We stuck mostly to by the glass wines, and a couple of people sampled some of the craft beers on tap. They have a really nice selection of (mostly local) beers on tap, I would say about 15 of them (?) from places like Brewer's Art, Stillwater, Flying Dog (was so happy to get to enjoy The Fear on tap), etc. along with a decent cocktail list. I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the wines that we had and I sampled 4 of the reds, but for the price (most tend to run $7/glass) they're fine. They didn't have a dessert wine list yet and were still working on that so hopefully the wine list will evolve as well. For the sake of full disclosure, we were asked to pay for our drinks, but not our food. However, we were presented with the food bill separately (presumably so we could tip accordingly) and for everything that we ate, plus an average of 2-3 drinks/person with tax and tip the meal would have cost us just over $60 per person, which to me is an excellent value as we left stuffed. Across the board I felt the food was very good to excellent, the set up of the menu is really great - a large enough selection with a lot of enticing choices, but not overwhelming (and nice for sharing), the service especially for a soft opening was quite good (there were a few hiccups, but surprisingly few), and I really liked the interior - I think this restaurant will be a promising addition to the Hampden restaurant scene. ETA: You'll have to forgive me if I've forgotten some of the details or gotten things wrong as I'm working completely from memory here.
  4. Last Saturday, I attended a Vietnamese Street Food Class at Baltimore Chef Shop in the heart of Hampden (passersby were frequently looking in the open windows). The list of classes available is quite large, considering the building is a small converted rowhome with room for about 12 on the first floor and maybe 6-10 in the basement. I can't pretend to know what the market is for this type of thing, but for $65 a head we got to learn how to cook something we wouldn't normally (without grovery shopping or cleaning!), meet other people, and eat a delicious large meal we created with strangers. The instructor and assistance was there to help when we asked questions, but not too overbearing, and encouraged any creative edits we wanted. This may not be something I'd do every week/month, but it was a fun change of pace and let me expand my cooking knowledge. I have a couple other classes I'm eyeing, so we'll see if I can get back.
  5. Matt and I went to Blue Pit BBQ on Saturday night after a few beers at Union with some friends who recommended it. I thought the BBQ was definitely up there, better than anything I have had in the DC area for ribs and pulled pork. I thought the smoke level was good, I liked the rib rub, it was so good you didn't really even need sauce. I wouldn't have minded a spicier bbq sauce for the pork, but I ended up really liking their mustard sauce with the pork actually. Our friends didn't care for the bratwurst, of course they are from Minnesota and their parents make bratwurst so... I liked the sides, the collards tasted like collards, but were cooked down nicely. I wasn't crazy about the potato salad, I thought the potatoes were a bit under cooked, however the flavor was there. I really liked one of the coleslaws, I think it was the MD seasoning one. The cornbread was really good. They also had a great bar selection of whiskeys and bourbons, I had a Frisky Kitty cocktail that was good. A nice can beer list too, Matt had something from San Francisco he really likes, but can't find often. All in all a very good stop, especially after drinking some beer.
  6. Last night, before I went to see John Sayles read at Atomic Books, I dropped into The Corner on the Avenue in Hampden for dinner. It's the former site of the 36th st Diner, just south of The Wine Source. The chef, Bernard Dehaene used to be a Mannequin Pis in Olney. The menu looked pretty impressive- continental with a Belgian influence- mussels, steak frites, waffles for dessert, escargots. Their specials sounded intriguing as well- kangaroo tenderloin, dover sole. I ordered 2 starters- housemade boudin noir and soft shell crab on top of fiddleheads. The blood sausage was creamy & delicious. The softshell was beautifully pan fried, no batter. For my main course, I had the veal orloff- it was cooked with the bone and topped generously with beschamel and mushrooms. The meat was very well prepared. My only complaints- they are cash only (not that bad), and the corkage fee- I brought in a beer and was charged $4 for it. Also they charge you $1 for a takeaway box. 850 West 36th Street Baltimore, MD 21211 (443)869.5075 UPDATE- pics are here
  7. At 1000yregg's urging, we booked a dinner last weekend at Arí´mes, a new spot in Hampden that just opened a couple of weeks ago. Chef Monnier hails from Reims with a résumé that stands on classic haute cuisine spots in Paris and LA, but has chosen to open his small (24-ish seat) operation in a converted rowhouse, specializing in seasonal and local ingredients. Dinner is a prix fixe affair of six courses for $65, or three for $45. Four of the courses are smaller bites to precede the main course, and then you proceed to dessert. Because of the ever-changing menu, it's somewhat academic to repeat what we had, but each course's description sounded simple, unexpected, and maybe even opportunistic, and yet each time what arrived was remarkably integrated, and much more than the sum of its parts to the extent that each component became essential. Also evident was a high degree of technique and care in the preparation. I'm only going to describe a few of our courses, but there wasn't a dud in the bunch. "Beets, umeboshi, pear jam, and lucky plum" combined soft and crisp textures in a small composition of fleshy fruits and root vegetables, plated with a flourish of beet ash. It cleansed the palate for the next course, a little taste of "risotto and scallop chicharrones with Old Bay mayo". I don't know how they struck upon the idea of making chicharrones out of large thin curls of good scallops, but its compelling and concentrated umami was almost unreal, and a worthy match for a few bites of perfectly toothy risotto. The "oyster with green apple and sorrel" was a single oyster on a bed of rock salt, topped with a foam (the only appearance of modernist technique all evening) so you breathed its flavor as much as you tasted it. This course was a bit precious, but whatever oyster they used (it wasn't indicated) was beautifully clean and deeply cupped, almost like a kusshi, which makes me really curious where it's coming from in this region? The chalkboard near the front window held only thank-yous to a number of their suppliers: Vent Coffee Roasters (excellent, btw), Trickling Springs Creamery, Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop, Two Boots Farm, Baltimore Organic Farm, and Liberty Delight Farm. It's not a place for wildly crowd-pleasing dishes like Rose's, and to be honest I think a picky eater wouldn't have enjoyed all of these dishes, nor the menu format. But if our meal was any indication, Aromes is worth the serious diner's consideration, and worth the trip.
  8. The Food Market is a new restaurant opening on the Avenue in Hampden this Friday. Ched Chad Gauss used to cook at the trendy City Cafe. Here is a link from Baltimore magazine previewing it.
  9. Has anyone been to Alchemy in Hampden? Their Crab Bisque and Chorizo Burgers are quite popular.
  10. I did not realize that there is no topic on 13.5%, a wine bar located on the Avenue in Hampden. It's one of my go to places to eat when I'm in the mood for something a little more upscale in the neighborhood. Chef Sarah Acconcia comes from Woodberry Kitchen and Abacrombie, and she has some skills in pastry as well. The place is decorated in a modern style with some seats that are almost like lounge chairs with other tables right by couches. The food is very seasonal and features a lot of small plates as well. The wine selection is impressive- all reasonably priced wines with 40 available to order by the glass. The bartenders are also very generous in that they let you taste a wine before you order it. I was just there Friday, and they have a new spring menu. We started with a plate of hot roasted almonds with chile and sea salt. My friend had a red leaf salad with feta and honey vinaigrette. She ordered one of their pizzas, which are quite good and very thin. She had the radish and ricotta pizza. The radishes were sliced thin and looked like pepperoni. I ordered the special: steelhead with a coating of duck cracklings and new potatoes. In the past I've had foie gras dishes, fiddleheads, ramp pizza, roasted hazelnuts, and also great desserts. For some reason, the neighborhood locals and "hipsters" don't tend to eat here. It draws more folks from around the city than other dining places on the Avenue.
  11. Little Grano is probably the best place in the Hampden area.I am not sure of the raison d'etre of the big one.
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