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Everything posted by monsterriffs

  1. Forgive me if this has been addressed in another thread, but when I read this, I was wondering if there was a connection between Jen Carroll's sudden departure and the allegations of a hostile work environment detailed in Ms. Caras' complaint.
  2. A Farms store south of Columbia??? Since when?! RoFo chicken is pretty tasty, but if we're talking fast food fried chicken, I'm still going to Popeye's. Either way, having Western fries available pretty much 24/7 across the street from me (RoFo corp. headquarters!) is dangerous. I'm fortunate not to have succumbed to such temptation, but it is nice to have a spot for that stuff plus easy access to Berger cookies.
  3. No, Wet City is not a strip joint. It is, rather, Baltimore's best beer bar. Don't @ me bro. Featuring a frequently rotating list of craft beer kegs on tap---as well a list of kegs that are on deck (!)---it is apparent that the owners of Wet City are beer nerds with deep knowledge and want to make sure you share in that passion. Though Wet City primarily features domestic craft brews, a variety of import craft beers make the list as well. The kitchen is no weak link here either. Often seasonal fare, the kitchen demonstrates thoughtfulness and care in its dishes, which run from the Nashville Hot Chicken to pork rinds to deviled eggs. The spare is bright and airy, which is appreciated given that a lot of beer bars revel in dankness (e.g., the late Brickskeller in DC). White cinderblock walls, wood floors, and light-colored wood table and seating choices set in a minimally decorated space, save for some plant life tastefully arranged throughout. The open space works well so the bar feels bigger than it actually is. Many times, I've been surprised that the place isn't more packed, but I'm happy that it isn't.
  4. Needed to start a thread on the very good neighborhood tavern in Highlandtown, Snake Hill. Highlandtown is, arguably, one of the current frontiers of Baltimore gentrification with fancy new condos next to bodegas. Notwithstanding this development, it still maintains the diversity of ethnicity and races that other neighborhoods (cough*Canton*cough) no longer have. Tucked just off the main artery of Highlandtown is Snake Hill, a seeming hole-in-the-wall that actually maintains an excellent beer list and, notably, a delicious array of handmade sausages. Not content to focus on the standards, i.e., bratwurst, Italian sausage, chorizo, etc., Snake Hill also incorporates exotic meats into its menu, such as alligator and rabbit + rattlesnake. I enjoyed the 'Pho-Q' sausage, a pork, fennel, and Sriracha sausage, which I opted to have served in the 'Pho' Real' sandwich format; it is what you would expect---the sausage served with pho accouterments such as Thai basil, sprouts, hoisin, and jalapeno. I certainly recommend a visit, and I will be certainly be aiming for a return visit to continue working my way through the menu.
  5. Indeed. The expectation is something a little dicey when you walk in, but the menu proves otherwise. It’s great; looking forward to returning.
  6. There should be a thread for Dylan's, which should be regarded as the best (or a top 3) restaurant in Hampden. Spotlight here is on oysters, naturally, but easy to say that the remainder of the menu often steals the show. Bar program is high-quality too, with an emphasis on whiskies (the main bartender is a serious whiskey nerd). Highlights over several visits have included: - Coddies - basically giant cod croquettes; these are must haves - Fish sandwich - rotating selection of delicious fried fish on sesame bun with added hots. - Ramp toast - a seriously loaded-up roasted ramp and ricotta (I think? this was in the spring) toast. They occasionally have a burger special, which is supposed to be fantastic, and there is a rumored off-menu item called a "Smasher," which is essentially a coddie with the fish sandwich bun and accouterments. Sidewalk eatin' is great here too with an fun view of the busy intersection of Chestnut Ave. and 36th St. (aka "the Avenue").
  7. Cocktails are very good and not all are whiskey-focused, and they usually have a daily special cocktail. The space is cozy because it occupies an old corner store. I’d peg it at about the size of Southern Efficiency on 7th St. in Shaw.
  8. Jackfruit

    Blue Pit BBQ in Baltimore has jackfruit tacos as its token vegetarian item on the menu and, which, from what I understand, is the only good item on the menu.
  9. Rounding out the top 3 current cocktail spots in Baltimore is Sugarvale in Mt. Vernon, from the owners of Dooby's. Rather than focus on a particular spirit or theme, Sugarvale's cocktail menu takes a light-to-dark approach in terms of the strength and flavor profiles of its drinks. So there is a menu of classic cocktails, as well as menus devoted to lighter sipping drinks and spirit-heavy concoctions. Though it's been a minute since I've dropped in, memory recalls consistency over multiple visits. The space is seemingly built out of a basement apartment, and does a good job of maintaining the cozy vibe. Good menu of bar snacks, including some Korean-inspired ones due to the Dooby's connection. You could easily do the Charles St. sweep on one evening starting at Brewers Art, getting dinner at the Helmand, and wrapping up at Sugarvale.
  10. You should go to Dooby's next time. I'm usually really happy with their bibimbaps, but I admit I ought to branch out and explore more of their menu because it's quite extensive and I have no reason to believe it would be bad. Fun fact - a couple of years ago at Maryland Deathfest, the owner of Dooby's had set up a taco stand called Pork Lord Tacos and, in a desert of festival food garbage, they were an oasis. Back to the topic - go to Sugarvale; I may end up there tonight in order to update this thread with additional information.
  11. Hampden recently got a proper cocktail bar, the Bluebird Cocktail Room, which took over a former art gallery space that sits above the De Kleine Duivel Belgian beer hall. The space itself is extraordinary. To enter the establishment, you walk through the heated patio that has been outfitted with bench swings for those longer, summer days, up a flight of stairs and through a hallway at which the space opens up in front of you. Marble tables anchor the center of the room, while a long marble bar features to the left of the space and cushioned benches ring the remainder of the room. Cocktails here vary from poor to outstanding, but there are more misses than hits. The price point is, dare I say, far too tied to DC prices and should really come down a couple of bucks across the board. Nevertheless, the liquor selection is excellent, but lately, I have stuck to the Old Fashioned because it is potent and delicious, and is something the bartenders can consistently produce. Bar snacks are also not an afterthought here, and some of the more noteworthy items from the kitchen have been a merguez sausage and a salmon crostini. A batch of fries recently, however, was forgettable. I'm happy to have this space here, but I'd like to see less silliness and more consistency across the board with regard to the drinks.
  12. Ladies and gentlemen, your number 1 cocktail bar in Baltimore. The original establishment from Lane Harlan, who also owns Clavel Mezcaleria, this is a cocktail joint that really does do a far better job at the speakeasy vibe than most places that would actively market themselves as speakeasies. The focus here is on amari, with an extensive menu of familiar and rare bitter spirits, and stuff that I'm amazed they procured. I need to plan a visit so I can take advantage of the amaro-tasting options. Seats can be hard to come by during peak days and times (weekend evenings primarily) owing to the fact that a lot of people go here to grab drinks while they wait for the call from Clavel. Nearly all cocktails are great, with the occasional miss (fiancee recently got something that was effectively borscht in a glass). Harlan's is non-descript but arguably one of the earliest forces in the rapidly accelerating development of Remington.
  13. I love Hersh's so much. Every time I go, everything---especially the pizza---is great to excellent. This place should be italicized in the Dining Guide.
  14. Aromes closed about 6 months ago; Chef Monnier is working on a new space downtown. A new restaurant named Foraged, run by an alum of Blue Hill in NY and Fleet St. Kitchen, has since moved in to the space.
  15. McCabe's Restaurant

    McCabe's closed back in 2015. It has since been replaced by Wicked Sisters.
  16. There's no thread for R. House? Guys, c'mon --- it's the closest thing we have to Union Market! If I had to rank the stalls I've tried in there --- no comments on White Envelope (Arepas --- my fiancee was not impressed), ARBA (Mediterranean), Little Baby's Ice Cream, Hilo (poke and sushi) --- it would go as follows: 1) Ground & Griddled - the reincarnation of the beloved, and now shuttered, Cafe Cito in Hampden. Focus is solely on coffee (Stumptown Roasters) and breakfast sandwiches on their signature ciabatta. 2) BRD - had this once and it was an outstanding, ridiculously large fried chicken sandwich. 3) Be.bim - pretty good to occasionally middling bibimbap; usually my go-to option if I'm not feeling anything else. 4) Molina - a new addition; pretty decent brick-oven pizzas that I need to try again now that they've had time to work the kinks out. 4) Stall 11 - caveat: I pretty much get one thing from here, and one thing only, and that's the crispy cauliflower; this thing get me every. damn. time. Done in a Korean BBQ sauce, it's sweet, tangy, and crunchy with plentiful scallions. I wish I was eating some right now! 5) Amano Taco - fugouttahere with this crap; do you love overly stuffed tacos drenched in different variations of a mayo sauce? Really? This sounds like your joint, but I'll just go to Clavel. R. Bar deserves a separate paragraph independent of the numerical ranking because it serves the entire hall. They have a good selection of amari, whiskies, and other fine liquors, as well as good beers. Cocktails range from excellent to wtf-were-they-thinking.
  17. I don't know if I agree with this. Belvedere Square has more of a "market" feel in that there are actual shops from which to buy groceries and other goods (the wine place and Italian market), but the options feel much more limited than R. House or Mt. Vernon Marketplace. Depending on what time you get there, your choices may only be down to Ejji for ramen or Atwater's for sandwiches, etc. I do hope R. House mixes up the stalls because I always thought that place would be an incubator of sorts for new chefs, etc., and there's really only a couple of places that are consistently good.
  18. Bar Clavel

    Was just here a few weeks ago. Cochinita was indeed excellent, and they had some delicious house-made tepache on the drinks menu as well (a current obsession of mine; been making it successfully at home, but the habanero addition brings way too much heat to make it enjoyable on its own).
  19. 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).
  20. A Baci flavor on the menu last week brought the ruckus, especially when combined with the always outstanding 'Nanner Pudding flavor that was also back in the rotation.
  21. Dining in Hampden

    As the sole (?) Hampden resident on the board, I will be the first to boost the 'hood. Dylan's Oyster Cellar and the Bluebird Cocktail Room are excellent additions to the Avenue, Foraged is apparently promising, and the Charmery, Paulie Gee's, and Spro continue to produce excellent and consistent product in their respective realms (ice cream, pizza, coffee). Corner Restaurant and Avenue Bar & Grill also lend some good, casual options that produce good results from time to time as well (Avenue's sidewalk patio area is clutch in the warmer months). The main gripe I have with Hampden is, perhaps, an unfortunate remnant of its prior lack of diversity. That is, there are very few, if any, good-to-excellent ethnic food establishments in the area. We have 4 Italian restaurants (Grano main, Grano Pasta bar, Paulie Gee's, Daniela's), but not a single decent East or SE Asian restaurant? In general, Baltimore lacks in the ethnic foods department, save for a few exceptions. It is my hope that, if the city ever recovers from this devastating spiral, it attracts further diversity in population and cuisine.
  22. Another restaurant from my DR.com "heyday". . . . Sigh. I hadn't visited since the ownership changed but, during its time as a Ray's venue, I enjoyed many a fine meal here. Steaks were pristine, the sides ample and tasty, and cocktails were top-notch---especially the house-brandied cherries! Fare thee well.
  23. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, a dinner in the bistro room in 2007 (or 2008) was one of my first "fancy" meals (not much longer after joining this board) in the area dining scene. Because of that meal, I learned to appreciate gin again and had one of the best duck dishes of my life. But subsequent meals, both in the tasting room and the bistro room, were not particularly memorable save for one or two dishes. The service, however, was always exceptional. Nevertheless, I always got the sense they were due for a significant refresh, particularly considering how much food in DC (and Baltimore, for that matter) has evolved. While I would hope they manage to pull off a stunning revival, Eve shouldn't be ashamed to go out on a high note.
  24. As I was in a bit of a "treat yo'self" mood last night, I decided to check out Mike Isabella's new place Kapnos and apply some strict ethnic scrutiny to what he is offering to the DC-area bourgeoisie as Greek food. The focus Kapnos (meaning 'smoke') is grilled foods from Northern Greece, although many of the items of the menu are classic Greek dishes regardless of their local origin within the country. Not wanting to BS around with the shi-shi items on the menu, e.g., kohlrabi crudite (I'm fairly sure the average Greek does not know what kohlrabi is, and certainly not in this economy...) or duck pita (duck phyllo pie on the menu), I lined up some of my favorite foods and those that I thought would most representative of Kapnos' focus. Tyrokafteri "“ Too much tyri (cheese) and not enough kafteri (spiciness). Tyrokafteri should really bring some heat, and I thought the sparse and thin slices of hot pepper could not provide enough heat to balance what essentially was a large plate of whipped feta with olive oil. The fresh-baked pita was really nice though; I always liked that at Zaytinya. Patates tou Fourno (aka Fourno Patates on the menu) "“ My username on this site also happens to list two of the basic ingredients for patates tou fourno (oven-roasted potatoes): ladi (oil) and lemoni (not surprisingly, lemon), oven-roasted potatoes have always been one of my absolute favorite dishes since I was a kid. So, you can imagine they hold a special place in my food life. Isabella's version is good, and more importantly, the dish does not try to do anything clever; they are simple and rustic. The potatoes themselves had that nice golden appearance with some charring, and were neither too mealy nor undercooked. However, in Greek cuisine, you can rarely have oil without lemon, and unfortunately, that's what was lacking from these potatoes. A bit more lemon and this dish will be a standard plate for every table at Kapnos. Charred Octopus "“ This was the big winner, and I could tell from the moment I sunk my knife into the first tentacle. Octopus is tricky to cook (as I learned first-hand recently), so I commend any chef who nails this. This was tender, not chewy in the slightest, and had that great roast flavor. Plus, the green harissa was a really nice addition to the dish. Overall favorite and this should be a standard plate for anyone dining here. Roasted Goat "“ So close, but not there yet. The goat is quite tender and has all the characteristics of delicious spit-roasted meats. However, like the potatoes, it was lacking something to balance out all that meatiness. I would have liked another herb or perhaps a tad more salt on the goat itself, because the harissa + yogurt combo on the plate was not enough to balance. But, I can see this dish improving over time as the restaurant evolves. Overall, I'd say that Kapnos earns a solid B+ right now. Since the restaurant is so new, I imagine the recipes will be worked and re-worked until they hit their peak. However, it's a worthwhile entry and I'll be keeping an eye on its progress over time.
  25. Sad news - Vidalia will be shuttering. Even though it had been many years since I had gone, Vidalia was the site of some of my first "fancy" meals, which roughly coincided with my joining this community. Though I seem to recall getting shrimp n' grits, it was the petit fours we had one day during a bar lunch that jump to mind with particular force. I think I just felt them to be a wholly classy and elegant to cap a very enjoyable lunch. Adieu, Vidalia.