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Artifact Coffee, 1500 Union Avenue in Union Mill - From the Owners of Woodberry Kitchen

Union Mill Coffee Independent Coffee House Breakfast Small Plates Vegetarian $25 Prix-Fixe Wed-Sun Starting 5 PM First-Come First-Serve BYOB with no Corkage

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#1 1000yregg

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:07 PM

I went to Artifact Coffee, this morning, for breakfast on their official opening day. It's the new coffeeshop/cafe from Spike Gjerde, located in the Union Mill teachers' residences across from where Bloody Bucket karaoke used to be held.


The space is lovely- very similar to Woodberry Kitchen's restored warehouse feel. The menu looks to be light breakfast, pastries, and for later in the day, sandwiches, soups & salads.


I had a great Guatemalan pour over coffee on a soft opening day. This morning, I tried their iced coffee, and had a delicious scrapple, fried egg, & hot sauce sandwich on an English muffin.


It's exciting that Woodberry is offering less expensive, takeaway fare.

From what I hear is they are still looking to open a burger place up on Falls & 38th, and a charcuterie/butcher & cocktail place on the Avenue above the old pharmacy on Chestnut.


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#2 borderdog

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

I went . I will not elaborate ,but what's with the workers 'uniforms" style? Is it suppose to convey something that adds to the food's experience? Something in between a hip Amish and a commune ? There is already a burger place on Falls, McCabes .Is there need for another ? A cocktail place on the Avenue?

This seems to be the trend in Baltimore .We have the Wolf/Foreman empire and then the whoever owns most of the businesses on Cold Spring( sghetti ,the now a block long Ms.Shirleys and so on ) and now Woodberry.

#3 1000yregg

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:19 PM

I think having a restaurant empire is not unique to Baltimore. I'm ok with it- the more competition, the better the food will be.


I did notice when talking to friends in Hampden that, in this economy, there are a lot more restaurants and eateries opening while more retail places are closing down.


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#4 Choirgirl21

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 08:33 PM

I love it when people chime in with completely non-constructive posts. :rolleyes:

1000yregg, thanks for the reviews. I look forward to trying this place out. If they do coffee and breakfast as well as Woodberry does dinner, I will be pleased (and sad I don't live closer of course :P ).

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#5 1000yregg

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

I believe Artifact has now started serving 3 course prix fixe dinners Wed- Sat nights for 2 or 4-tops.

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#6 darkstar965

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:15 PM

I believe Artifact has now started serving 3 course prix fixe dinners Wed- Sat nights for 2 or 4-tops.


This is true. I went last week for the first time and will post on it soon. At high level, very cool and a fine addition for Baltimore. On the other hand, some definite disappointments. More to follow.

#7 borderdog

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

I still think unless they change formula Artifact will not do well

#8 1000yregg

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

Not sure who thought this was the space of the old bloody bucket, but it's not. Bloody bucket was across the street.

 

I went last night to try their prix fixe meal which was all vegetarian. It was a great price $20.

 

The first course was a wonderful smoked sunchoke soup with pecan granola and some creme fraiche. It was really fantastic. It was served with a vegetarian pate of portabella, with a spicy apple chutney.

 

Second course was diced carrot and barley with some pickled vegetables.

 

It was followed by a parsnip and ricotta agnoletti in butter topped with chili bread crumbs.

 

Dessert was three ice creams: carrot (w/ a caramel sauce), Parsnip (w/ jam), and beet (w/ dark chocolate and a meringue)

 

This dishes were some of the best things I've had from Spike's restaurants. (outside of the pig face dinner), and my girlfriend, who is not a huge Woodberry fan, was really impressed as well.

 

I'm hoping they are using this prix fixe format to experiment more with their menu and learning from it as well.


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#9 darkstar965

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:35 PM

Arrived up Union Mill way over the weekend with a bit of time to kill before our dinner reservation at Woodberry and stopped in at Artifact.  Just a quick macchiato but noticed for the first time that they offere macchiatos and lattes with "honey" and "maple syrup" options.  I've seen honey offered that way (including SPRO in Baltimore) in a few coffee spots in the US but rare.  I've never before seen a maple syrup option* and, being a big fan of authentic maple syrup, I had to try it.

 

Combined with the balanced and well-pulled espresso, it was really good!

 

* Caveat: despite my travels allowing me to have explored independent specialty coffee shops throughout our country and others, I haven't recently been to any in the northern tier maple syrup producing states. Guessing there may well be some shops in MN, WI, NY, VT, NH and Canada that offer this but not sure. Artifact was the first time I'd seen or tried it.



#10 goodeats

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:59 AM

^darkstar:  I think there is a continual push lately for natural, unprocessed sweetners, lately, for good reason. Some coffeeshops have set out agave as a natural sweetner option too, that I've seen lately. I don't think this is limited to maple syrup-producing regions--it may be a "trendy" thing, which, then, I may be concerned, due to possible over- or mass-production of these "natural" items than already are (yep, I'm finally reading Bitman's book, so forgive me on this line of thought right now).

 

I'm actually experimenting, switching to cooking with honey, agave, or maple syrup whenever a recipe calls for it, or even adding to my coffee, with good results. Just some food for thought...


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#11 Choirgirl21

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

^darkstar:  I think there is a continual push lately for natural, unprocessed sweetners, lately, for good reason. Some coffeeshops have set out agave as a natural sweetner option too, that I've seen lately. I don't think this is limited to maple syrup-producing regions--it may be a "trendy" thing, which, then, I may be concerned, due to possible over- or mass-production of these "natural" items than already are (yep, I'm finally reading Bitman's book, so forgive me on this line of thought right now).

 

I'm actually experimenting, switching to cooking with honey, agave, or maple syrup whenever a recipe calls for it, or even adding to my coffee, with good results. Just some food for thought...

 

This is a bit of a sidebar, but depending on what your criteria are for choosing a sweetener, agave nectar isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be. While it does have a lower glycemic index than regular sugar (better for avoiding insulin spikes), it consists primarily of fructose rather than glucose, which is processed through your liver and considered to be not so great for you:

 

However, this is because Agave nectar contains only 10% glucose – which means the other 90% is fructose, which comes with all sorts of health issues and is definitely to be avoided. Not only should Agave be avoided for its high fructose concentration, but it also contains saponins; toxins that have less than desirable effects on the body. Agave Nectar is produced in a not too dissimilar way to High Fructose Corn Syrup – yet at least HFCS is seldom marketed as a healthy sweetener.

 

I stick to raw sugar for my coffee because I don't want the taste of maple or honey in my coffee and I'm okay with the small amount that I consume in the cup or two of coffee I have a week, but I stick to honey, grade B maple syrup or natural sweeteners like no-sugar added applesauce if I need a bit of sweetener when I'm cooking. Just to add to the food for thought. :)

 

On point, I do think it's nice that they're offering maple syrup as an option.


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If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.


#12 darkstar965

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:42 PM

You guys (goodeats and choirgirl) took this in a different direction but it's a good one.

 

I'd just posted the maple syrup macchiato news at Artifact bit because I thought it (maple syrup specifically--agave and honey both more common in my own experience) unusual, interesting and, after tasting it, really good.

 

From the health perspective you both raise, totally agree.  Choirgirl beat me to the punch on agave.  It's not the same as the other ostensibly "good for you" and "natural" sweeteners.  And, of course, honey is itself something you really need to check labeling on.  Many coffee/tea shops that offer honey are either offering honey-flavored syrups (Monin which Quartermaine carries is one example of this) or highly processed honey usually from China. There are lots of websites, articles and books on processed honey, the problems associated with it and the misrepresentations that larger producers make.  All said, local honey is also readily available and the more people who request it at local shops, the more likely we'll see it supplant the bad stuff.  Raw, unfiltered, and less-processed honey is better for you, tastes better and supports local business.



#13 DonRocks

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 12:35 AM

I went last night to try their prix fixe meal which was all vegetarian. It was a great price $20.

 

The price has risen to $25 (and the menu is not always all-vegetarian), but BYOB with no corkage fee?

 

This results in the longest tag so far in the history of dr.com, but for the price they're charging? It's worth the extra typing.

 

I'm looking forward to trying this.


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#14 borderdog

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 09:19 AM

And dont forget to shell out 4.50 for a doughnut on weekends. Last I checked a doughnut wasn't made out of the other 'dough' . Not to mention the fact that it will give you the sugar shock of your life.No need to eat for the day. And did I mention it is 4.50 $ . Just like in the olden days ,inflation adjusted of course

#15 1000yregg

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

I don't get your beef with the Woodberry brand- "it's more expensive" seems to be your usual critique. Perhaps they actually pay employees a good living wage w/ benefits unlike say- Dunkin Donuts where you can find a cheaper doughnut, but where their employees often work minumum wage, not full time and without healthcare.

 

Then you make a comment about the calories in the doughnut. I'm sure most people would agree that when you select a doughnut as your dining option, you realize that it is not low-cal, Atkin's friendly, or low cholesterol. 


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