|HELPING FOOD INSECURE PEOPLE IN BALTIMORE|
Baltimore Community Fridge (pictured above)
Next time you go shopping (or order groceries) consider grabbing a few extra things to donate to this community effort. They really need snacks like whole fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges…), protein and granola bars, snack sizes of pretzels, bottled water, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, etc. You can also make easy to grab meals like sandwiches, wraps, etc — you just have to mark them clearly with all the ingredients. Canned goods are also welcome. But really, think about anything that someone without a kitchen could take. This weekend, I donated bagels, nuts, crackers, tangerines and protein bars. Travel size toiletries are also welcome.
If you live in the north part of the city, I’d be happy to come by and pick it up and deliver to the fridge if you cannot.
Every little bit helps!
Check them out and follow on IG: @bmorecommunityfridge
MY FAVORITE TAKEOUT
Here’s a list of places I have ordered from and loved. I’d love to hear where you’ve ordered from that really impressed you. Don’t forget to tip as much as you possibly can on takeout!
The Heritage Kitchen – Baltimore’s first Filipino restaurant! Chef Rey Eugenio cooks very comforting food that makes people really happy. The menu changes every so often…make sure to get there for Rey’s incredible chicken adobo and crab & coconut soup. Check out their menu on Facebook, plus updates and easy ordering on Instagram. Heritage is open inside Whitehall Market Thurs-Sun. (ps. Whitehall Mill is on break Jan 4-8.)
Ekiben – Not only is the Neighborhood Bird Bowl two meals in one, they’re continuing to add new menu items all the time. Now they even do a burger one day a week! (Weds at the Fell’s Point location.) And now they’re offering to buy a meal at Ekiben to any food/bev/hospitality industry folks who are currently out of work. Just email them for info. They have been offering their “Buy a Hero a Bun” thing for a while now, where people can pay it forward with delicious food for Baltimore area healthcare workers. Good people!
La Cuchara – I love shopping online at their Marketplace for everything from flour and lemons to prepared dishes. I often buy basic vegetables here so that I don’t have to go to the grocery store. I love the Lefenfelds (owners), they are the best people.
Chesapeake Farm to Table – I’ve ordered from them multiple times, vegetables and meat via local farms, honey, eggs, herbs and tons more. Easy delivery. It feels really good to keep on supporting local farmers all year. They are the ones who feed us!
The Food Market – The Food Market has been doing takeout for a while now, I’ve ordered twice — drinks, too! Now they are running a weekends-only “Fast Food Market” menu featuring burgers, cheesesteaks, fried chicken sandwiches, those crinkle fries with my favorite thing: fountain soda! I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the cheesesteak.
Le Comptoir du Vin – Sandwiches, wine, sake, cider, cheeses (Camembert + Quince combo is my favorite), get the French lentils and chicken liver pâté. The glazed ham caught my eye (pretty hard) on their most recent email update. You may remember that Comptoir was a Bon Appetit Hot 10 last year — one of the ten best new restaurants in the country — and it was very well-deserved.
Ovenbird Bakery – If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a major crush on this place. I don’t usually love baked goods, but really bagels and croissants are a whole different thing. GO. Everything here is good, I mean it. Magnolia and I go down on weekends and she always makes friends with the staff, the customers and of course, the doggos walking around Little Italy. God, I love this neighborhood.
The Prime Rib – I never thought I’d ever, ever order takeout from The Prime Rib, it is a place to be experienced in person. However, they are doing takeout and I highly recommend every single thing I already love from there…potato skins, martinis, prime rib, Caesar, mushrooms, etc… All packed perfectly. I think this will need to happen again for me. BIG treat! (Getting martinis served in pouches is worth the whole meal.)
18-8 Sushi – I have ordered from here a lot. A lot. It’s in Hampden (The Rotunda), always very fresh and delicious. Even the basic rolls satisfy my sushi cravings. Food is presented and packed very nicely. Order online, easy.
Dylan’s – The kale salad is my favorite thing ever, plus the burger, soups, classic Baltimore coddies (fried cod fish cakes on saltines with mustard) and tons more. I love that they are also selling shucked oysters to go! I stood by my stove last week and ate oysters and drank Chenin Blanc. It felt downright decadent. And, the best cocktails. Follow on IG for updates on daily specials.
Cinghiale – They’ve started a new venture, an Italian market inside Johnny’s in Roland Park. With the success of the Sunday market outside this fall, they thought they’d continue and just move it inside with distanced (you may have to wait a few minutes) shopping. From the look of things when I was there last weekend, it’s already a great success. I got fresh pasta and sauce, canned tomatoes, cheese and more. Open Tues-Sun 11-6pm.
Tapas Teatro – Sangria! And, you get a whole quart of it on Tuesdays for $10. I also love eating lots of different things for dinner, like, you know…tapas style. Not quite as much fun as sitting outside along Charles Street with friends, but still. I ordered takeout last week and got the shrimp with garlic, poached octopus and lump crab and spinach. Getting to see my friend Helmand Karzai when I picked up was an extra treat. He is one of my absolute favorite people in the world. (p.s. I up-cycled the garlic sauce from the shrimp dish in pasta the next night, and that felt like a win.)
The Bluebird Cocktail Room – I love, love, love their smashburger. Also recommend the bottled cocktails, yellow lentil burger, hand-cut fries, By far, my favorite Old Fashioned in Bmore. They were in the process of redoing the adjacent De Kleine Duivel beer bar space late this fall, too, so hopefully that’ll open up once we can be outside again.
Alma Cocina Latina – So, maybe you heard that Alma has moved from the Can Company in Canton to the former Pen & Quill in Station North? Well, they are ready to open whenever city dining does. Wait till you see what Irena and Mark have done with the space — all the plants! And you may also know that they have been working during COVID with the wonderful folks at Mera Kitchen Collective creating thousands and thousands of meals for those in need here in Baltimore.
Clavel – The best burritos, taco kits, ceviches, other essentials like ripe avocados, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, etc. Plus all the drinks you love! Did you see Lane and Carlos (and his tuna ceviche) featured in Saveur magazine?? Order food and drinks online or from their truck out front. Merch like t-shirts and tote bags, etc, too.
Peter’s Inn – This is the restaurant in Baltimore I have been going to for the longest time. It is in my top 3 (along with The Prime Rib and Petit Louis) and it is like no other place. I mean, you probably know to get the house salad and garlic bread. But did you know that these days, you can also get provisions like butter, sugar, flour, olive oil, ramp vinegar, coffee, bacon, etc? I love the online description of the bacon, “five whole pounds of this fine pig fruit.” OMG.
Orto – First, the best Caesar. They have a very popular weekly pasta club — I just did this two weeks ago and it was fantastic — you get fresh pasta, sauce, etc along with cooking instructions. Plus there’s a Sunday roast menu and their regular takeout has been stellar. I love that Orto has both excellent food and a casual vibe that still feels special. I can’t wait to go back and sit outside with friends. Preferably with their housemade Pompelmocello. (Me: “wait, no, I don’t do shots! Oh, wait…”)
Each week, I will share a recipe with you, too. This week’s is one I got from my friend Collin at Scratch Made — a wonderful Baltimore meal delivery service that uses ingredients from local farms and producers. They deliver in Baltimore and DC and I have to say, if I didn’t cook so much, I’d totally order from them more. Highly recommend. Anyway, as you will read in the blog post below, I reached out to Collin to ask about a bean puree I saw on their Instagram. I now have this recipe on an every-other-week cycle. I use them as a dip, add to tacos, nachos and burritos. Also really good with simple grilled chicken and rice. (ps. You can also not pureé the beans. Texture is totally up to you.)
Black Beans from Scratch Made
WEBSITE UPDATES COMING
I started Charm City Cook in 2010 and a lot has happened since then! This started with a new interest in cooking and the blog and its content has ebbed and flowed to say the least.
I am in the process of cleaning up the posts, pages, images, etc. Soon, you will be able to find recipes on one page, restaurant news on another and so on. For now, everything is categorized. On a computer, you will see a “Categories” dropdown on the right side of the home page and via mobile, it should appear at the bottom. As I began to look through all of the old blog posts, I was amazed at how many there were! (And, how much better they are now…see, time and experience helps.)
Black Beans from Scratch Made
• order takeout for yourself (or even as thank yous for your friends who are healthcare workers and in other key frontline services, or for friends who welcome babies, etc)
• give positive reviews on dining sites and social media
• share your favorite takeout meals you’ve had during COVID on your social media channels (it really helps!)
• order your meals via the restaurant directly, avoid apps that charge the restaurant
up to 40%
• tip as much as you can on your takeout
• buy merch, gift cards, etc
• Venmo your favorite server
AGAIN FOR THE NEW PEOPLE: For all of you who’ve not yet joined Instagram, now is the time. Most chefs and restaurants are much more active on Instagram than Facebook, so you will see more timely content on IG.
If you check out the story highlights on my Instagram, I’ve added a bunch of photos of menus from some of my favorite places, chef’s dinners, pop-ups, etc. It’s quite a walk down memory lane.
Lastly — this is important — will you please share this newsletter with your friends? The more people who order takeout and shop locally for food, etc…the better!
I love you, Baltimore.