ITALIAN DELI COMING TO CHARLES VILLAGE
The Schnapp Shop was a longtime staple in Charles Village. I remember stopping there many times years and years ago on the way to dinners at my friends’ home in the neighborhood. In the Baltimore Business Journal article here, it was described as “trusty” and trusty it was!
Daniele Catalani and Jessica Liang are planning to open an Italian eatery and shop — Village Cafe and Market — in the space. Chef Catalani just opened Toscana Market in DC this past November. Excited to see what they bring to Baltimore!
LUNAR NEW YEAR MENU AT NIHAO
Maybe you’ve ordered from Nihao (in the former Fork & Wrench space) and thought it was like nothing you’ve had in Bmore. Yes, that is true. If you haven’t gotten takeout (they also have limited indoor dining, lunch specials and more) then their special menu for Lunar New Year on Friday, February 12 might be a good chance to try it out. And yes based on the date, you could do dinner from Nihao and also cover Valentine’s Day, too! The Lunar New Year menu is inspired by a traditional Lunar New Year feast and is designed to feed 2 – 3 people. The menu includes: Whole Fish with Sticky Rice, Pork Dumplings, Gold Sesame Balls, Longevity Noodles, Bok Choy & Shiitake and Mandarin Trifle.
Nihao was mentioned recently in the Washington Post’s “Tom Sietsema’s 8 favorite places to eat right now” and Esquire ranked it #4 new restaurant in America. Executive chef Pichet Ong is immensely talented and has fans all over the globe.
It also needs to be mentioned that Nihao lead bartender Ashley Mac (formerly of R. Bar and True Chesapeake and also happens to be sober) makes some what are likely the best booze-free drinks you can find in the city. No afterthoughts here. And if you do happen to drink, you will for sure love the cocktails. Like, A-Mac’s take on a dirty martini, The Right Time: Civic vodka, Szechuan bitters, kummel (a liquor flavored with caraway seeds, cumin, fennel and other herbs), bell pepper-steeped vermouth and saline. Holy wow, gimme.
Read more about Nihao.
Lexington Market construction is well underway. Over the last few months, Seawall Development and Baltimore Public Markets (a former consulting client of mine) have been sharing plans, holding public meetings and putting requests out for new market vendors. According to their Instagram, Lexington Market currently has 40 current vendors open during construction, including some vendors from the smaller West Market across the street who are now in the main market. Faidley’s (home of my favorite crab cake in the city) is open! Follow Seawall on Instagram to stay in the loop.
BALTIMORE SALT BOXES
I am loving this Salt Box project started by local artist Juliet Ames of The Broken Plate! I’m sure you will be seeing more decorated salt boxes around the City. Read more about it here.
DESSERTS TO GO
Last week, I asked folks on Instagram for takeout recommendations. I asked for specific dishes, too! I got some really great suggestions (see below.)
This week, I asked for restaurant dessert suggestions and specifically asked for things that people ordered along with their dinner that traveled particularly well. Here are some:
Daniela’s — tiramisu
The Food Market — Heath Bar bread pudding
Cookhouse — Nutella doughnuts
El Trovador — tres leches cake
La Scala — tiramisu
Orto — chocolate hazelnut pave, pistachio cake
Dutch Courage — banana bread pudding
Sotto Sopra —crème brûlée
Clavel — flan, tres leches cake
Dylan’s — Basque cheesecake
Nihao — cookie boxes
1157 Bar + Kitchen — chocolate peanut butter tart
La Cuchara — chocolate mousse, vanilla pear tart, butterscotch pot de crème
Souvlaki — baklava
Silver Queen Cafe — peanut butter pie (multiple mentions!)
Cocina Luchadoras — flan
Thai Arroy — mango sticky rice
Petit Louis — pot de crème, crème brûlée
Also, I got some suggestions from bakeries and places that already often sell sweet things to go: Harmony Bakery, Codetta Bake Shop, Bramble Bakes, Harmony, Corner Pantry, And 4 Dessert, Hoehn’s.
Here are the takeout suggestions from last week! And, today, I added links. (Real talk: last week, I was honestly too tired to do that.)
ps. I ate the oysters pictured above standing over my stove, so happy that I didn’t have to cook that night. Thank you for the always pristinely shucked beauties, Dylan’s.
Chiyo — “All the rolls.”
Heritage Kitchen — Arroz Caldo, Chicken and Short Rib Adobo, Shrimp & Pork Belly Laing, Coconut + Crab soup (or really, ANY soup Chef Rey makes.)
Cindy Lou’s Fish House — Biscuits, fried green tomatoes, rockfish bites, shrimp and grits, fried chicken. COCKTAILS. (Okay, so, that was everything I have personally had there, it is so good and the patio view is unbelievable.)
The Food Market — “Amish soft pretzels always, always”, Fast Food Market (weekend special), spaghetti and crab meatballs, lamb chops and crispy lobster fingers. “I love ordering from The Food Market because we all can use some comfort right now.”
Chuck’s Trading Post — Wednesday burger special, “every burger is fantastic.”
Nihao — Peking duck, Grand Marnier shrimp, fried rice, cocktails (non-alc, too!)
Orto – Friday pasta club, chicken parm for two “and make sure you get an extra Caesar”, “just order the whole menu.” The Cacio e Pepe is my go to.
Dylan’s — “The menu is so tight that everything on it is really, really good.” Burger and fries, Caesar salad, kale salad, shucked raw oysters, fried oyster sandwich, killer drinks.
Ethel’s Creole Kitchen — “Consistently my favorite.”
Foraged — “We order everything.” “I mean, just order anything on the menu, it’s that good.”
Mizu Sushi — “The 3-roll lunch special is such a good deal.”
The Helmand — Kaddo Borwani (pumpkin), Banjan Borwani (eggplant), chicken kabobs, Dwopiaza lamb
The Prime Rib — “The best takeout, what a treat. Get prime rib (obviously), potato skins, mashed potatoes and you have to get martinis.They come in pouches like Capri Suns!” Also, I have to add that their cheeseburger is one of the best I’ve ever had and it’s on the takeout menu.
Petit Louis — Cucumber salad, friseé salad, whole roasted chicken, eggplant napoleon, steak frites, steak au poivre, extra fries always. The whole menu.
Papermoon Diner — “I love the Spring Egg: potato cake, prosciutto and spinach tossed in olive oil served with 2 over-medium eggs and hollandaise.” (omg, that sounds good!)
Thai Street — Soups, noodles, Khai Soi, spring rolls, crab fried rice
Annabel Lee Tavern — Grilled tuna panini
Mt. Everest — Saag Paneer, Chana Masala with naan
Snake Hill — Three mentions of their wings!
Bullseye — Scallion pancakes, Szechuan pork, “OMG, any dumplings they make”
The Local Fry — “Tofu Bahn Mi, Asada fries. So good.” I also LOVE their dry rubbed wings in a many flavors and I love that you can order all flats! (team flats over here.)
Isabella’s — “Best Italian Cold Cut in the City!”
Souvlaki — Pantzarokeftedes (beet wrap), Bifteki with Greek fries
Hersh’s — Crispy chicken sandwich, Caesar salad, Americano pie, crostini, wings, carbonara — “Literally everything is good here.”
Sobo Cafe — Ranch garden salad, short rib, salmon, mussels, spicy feta, mac ‘n cheese
Well Crafted Kitchen — “We love all of their pizzas and the family style salads. Best people, too.”
Clavel — Margaritas, all the tacos, burritos. “For real, everything is good here.”
Sushi Sizka — Pingpong roll, spicy salmon roll, Caribbean roll
Fuisine — “Get the short rib toast!”
Koko’s — Crab cakes and wings
Alma Cocina Latina — “The arepas are the best.”
Jasa Kabob — Curry and vegetable samosas
Paulie Gee’s — “Their Wednesday wood-fired special is great. It’s 2 pizzas for $22 or 4 pizzas for $44.”
The Tilted Row — “Pasta dishes and Andy’s Mac ‘n cheese, a carryover from his days at Donna’s in Charles Village”
Wet City — “The Bahn Mi Dog, Ribeye Cheesesteak, Hot Chicken Sandwich — plus amazing beers in crowlers.”
Kitsch Cafe — “Incredible breakfast sandwiches. Plus, when you order a ‘Givewich, it goes to someone who needs a meal.”
Ekiben — Neighborhood Bird, tempura broccoli (now GF), tofu brah, shrimp snacks, tons of creative and delicious collaborations. And you can also “Buy a Hero a Bun” for a healthcare worker if you’d like to help folks on the front lines.
Ramen Utsuke — “Consistently excellent ramen.”
BRD — “Such a good lunch!”
Le Comptoir Du Vin — “We love their sandwiches and the lentils.” I have to add that I could absolutely eat their chicken liver pâté on sourdough once a week
Instead of a recipe this week, I wanted to share this blog post I wrote last year about pantry dive cooking. The dishes described in this post are more like guides than recipes. I knew I had become a pretty good cook when I started making dinner based on what I had in the fridge, freezer and pantry. And, honestly, that takes time and practice — and I still have a long way to go. Time in the kitchen honing your skills and also free-styling is what gives you what you really need in the kitchen: CONFIDENCE.
Cooking on the Fly
I need help organizing my website (building pages, writing code…) and am looking for an absolute WordPress pro. Is that you? Or maybe you know of someone you have worked with on your own site. Tell me: Email
• 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, please avoid apps that charge the restaurant up to 40%. And, picking up your food in person gives you a chance to say hello and thank the owner and staff in person. We all can use a lift., huh?
• tip as much as you can on your takeout
• buy merch, gift cards, etc
• Venmo your favorite server
Will you please share this newsletter?
THE MORE PEOPLE ORDERING TAKEOUT, THE BETTER!
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I LOVE YOU, BALTIMORE.