|This is Magnolia, she says hiiiii.|
She had surgery last week.
She’s been a real (very sweet) trooper!
I created this newsletter as a way to keep people in Baltimore informed on ways we all can support our favorite local restaurants and food & beverage businesses.
No ads, no memberships, just info.
FUZZIES BURGERS AND FRIES
Brothers Josh and Brad Vecchiolla are making some VERY (I mean it) good smash burgers and fries with their new pop-up, Fuzzies Burgers. On the menu, they also have a chicken (thigh, duh) sandwich, a foot-long hot dog and a chickpea burger. The Shore-Style fries (malted vinegar powder and Old Bay) were darn good — very crispy on the outside, soft inside. Holy moly.
This was by far, the best lunch I’ve had in a very long time.
Follow them on Instagram to see where they are popping up next!
TOKI TAKO OPENING SOON
Kevin and Liz Irish, owners of The Local Fry — my favorite wings! — are opening a new venture, Toki Tako at the Rotunda. Picture the food as classic Korean flavors you know wrapped in tortillas or lettuce (ssam.)
Something very cool (and new to me) that they’ll be doing is Ban Chan, which is a selection of side dishes that usually come along side a Korean meal. For the last few months while they were getting ready to open, Liz has been making little sets of Ban Chan and I was able to try them and LOVED them. Thank you, again, Liz! What a smart way to introduce people to something new.
They’ll also offer DIY meal kits that allow diners to mix and match different proteins and vegetables. And, it’s not all kimchi and grilled meat and it’s going to be so delicious!
They’re opening on January 27 and the location is just a few doors down from The Local Fry.
photo by Justin Tsucalas
THE DIZZ TO REOPEN (SOON!) AS LILY’S
A lot of people loved The Dizz in Remington, me included. And…I work literally down the hill from the place. We often have our GreenMount School faculty + staff holiday lunch there. So, I was so happy when my friend Elan Kotz told me he was buying it, I knew it was in good hands. The new place is opening soon and it’s called Lily’s, after Elan’s operating partner Mary Zayaruzny’s grandmother.
They’re doing the last of renovations and final touches now and Elan says the food will be “approachable, comforting and value-driven.” I asked him about classic burgers and curly fries still being served (because I had to!) and Elan assured me, YES, all good there. And, I think there’s a smash burger, too! I can’t wait to check it out, along with the redos of the space. Elan has a great eye (he also owns Orto) and he’s a good friend, so I’m very excited about the whole project.
JAKE’S GRILL GETS FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE NOD
If you’ve ever had the BBQ at Jake’s Grill (on Falls Road, just north of Padonia Road) you know that Food & Wine magazine’s “Best Sandwich in Maryland” nod is on point. I mean, these national lists are kind of weird, and no one ever agrees on the winners but I’m really happy for Jake’s. Their pit beef sandwich is very, very good. And soon, I am hoping to have a Baltimore pit beef tour to refresh my memory AND EAT PIT BEEF. Who’s in?!
SOBO IN THE COUNTY
There was such overwhelming support for their first “Sobo in the County” last month that Sobo Cafe is doing it again! Call the restaurant (410-752-1518) by Wednesday, January 20 at 6:00pm to place your order — please be sure to mention “SoBo Cafe in the County”. Then pick up your food on Thursday, January 21 between 4:30 – 6:00pm at Ridgely Middle School – 121 E Ridgely Rd, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093.
This weekend, I picked up dinner at Sobo, including their wonderful Garden Ranch Salad (pictured), wings and spinach and cheese pies. I also love the spicy feta dip! But honestly, the whole menu is good and everything is made from scratch. Check out their website for more info.
There’s a new local food/grocery delivery service in Baltimore!
From their website: Tablefield Grocery
“We work with local farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, bakers and food entrepreneurs to curate our store with the freshest and finest goods ready to feed you and those you love.
We provide a safe, contact free grocery delivery service with drivers who adhere to CDC guidelines to protect everyone. We facilitate opportunities to connect virtually with a diverse community that shares a common passion through culinary experiences. Most of all, we are committed to supporting efforts to fight hunger, making a donation that feeds three with every delivery we make.”
I haven’t ordered yet but I will soon!
SOME OF 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.
Ekiben – Not only is the delicious Neighborhood Bird Bowl two meals in one, they’re continuing to add new menu items all the time. Now they even do a burger! (Tues, Weds, Thurs at the Fell’s Point location.) 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.
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.
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.
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 (with peanuts, benne seeds, apples, radishes, red onion, honey-miso dressing) is my favorite thing ever, plus the burger and fries, soups, classic Baltimore coddies (deep fried potato and salt cod croquettes 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, 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.
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 roughly 90,000 (!!) 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. ps. This week I had my first torta sandwich and I don’t understand why I never ordered one before. It was incredible!
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. On Christmas Eve, I cooked lamb chops that I bought from Peter’s. That was some happy cooking.
Orto – First, the best Caesar. They have a very popular weekly pasta club — I just did this a few 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…”) Chef Matt Harper has worked in some great kitchens around the country and I’m so happy he landed in Baltimore!
Each week, I will share a recipe with you. Below is a link to the recipe for a very simple and crowd-pleasing egg salad. If you are anti-mayo, this is not for you…but it doesn’t really use much mayo to be honest. I am not very particular on the mayonnaise brand — but I am serious about the celery needing to be crisp. If not, to me, it’s just gross. But then, I have significant issues with textures of food!
The Best Egg Salad
ps. I added a bunch of my favorite simple recipes to my blog. Finally. Thanks, Jess Mayhugh for helping me get my website more organized!
WEBSITE UPDATES COMING
I started Charm City Cook in 2010 and a lot has happened since then! It started with a new interest in cooking and the blog and its content has ebbed and flowed to say the least.
I am still 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.)
• 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
THIS IS IMPORTANT: 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.
Lastly, will you please share this newsletter? Here is the signup link — text it to your friends! The more people who order takeout and shop locally for food, etc…the better! I’m almost up to 500 subscribers already, I can’t believe it.
I LOVE YOU, BALTIMORE.