Baltimore for Beginner’s

To say I have a list of places to try to Baltimore is an understatement. I haven’t lived this close to a city since I lived in Spain and this is a true treat. Luckily, I also have a wide array of recommendations from friends and colleagues. So don’t worry, I will not go hungry here … (as if).

Here’s the lowdown on Baltimore area eats thus far.

* Golden West Cafe, 1105 W 36th Street, Hampden. Spicy pumpkin curry soup and a classy BLT with avocado. This is “Hon” country .. as evidenced by the giant pink flamingo on the building across the street. Apparently someone in the area tried to trademark the pet name “hon” and the result is somehow flamingos, ladies with beehive hairdos and an excuse for uber kitsch.

* Stang of Siam, 1301 N. Calvert Street, Mt Vernon / Midtown. Lemongrass and awesome soup in a sizable, super affordable portion for lunch. Seeing apartments in the city and I walked a few blocks down to see this corner restaurant, which made me think of the equally delicious Star of  Siam in Chicago. I had to detour to wikipedia and figure out the “Siam” connection and here’s the scoop: Siam is an exonym that was used as the name of Thailand before 24 June 1939, and again from 8 September 1945 to 20 July 1949 (source). Maybe a political statement?

* Zia’s Cafe, 13 Allegheny Avenue, Towson. Starry eyed from the 2-story Barnes & Noble across the street, I stepped through the traffic circle to well-reviewed Zia’s. As always, the Internet is never wrong: a PB & Joe smoothie, Pilgrim sammie (turkey, swiss, cranberry on rye) and a laundry list of vegan, veggie, gluten-free, super healthy delights. Next time: fresh juice.

* Orchard Market & Cafe, 8815 Orchard Tree Lane, Towson. Unbelievable Persian food – Haleem Bademjune appetizer (warm pureed eggplant & spices) and a beef kebab. No time for foodie pics, as I spent a good portion of my meal talking to owner Jason and son Brandon about travels, heritage and food. This gem is tucked into a business park, and absolutely worth getting lost for.

And a nearby, delicious side trip:
* Boordy Vineyards, 12820 Long Green Pike, Hydes, MD. Tastings range between $5 and $10 depending on your choice of wines. I went upscale with the $10 Landmark tasting, recommended to me because I enjoy dry wines. Everyone is kind, knowledgeable and more than willing to accommodate when I was the only person there for a tour. I tagged along with a suited group of financiers and really enjoyed my afternoon at Boordy. Repeat visit is a must.


4 thoughts on “Baltimore for Beginner’s

  1. Glad to see someone writing about Baltimore! I’m an MSPH student up at Hopkins and currently living in Bangladesh for a research practicum. It took me awhile to dive into the food scene in Baltimore last year, but I was not disappointed when I finally took the plunge. Here are a few places you should ABSOLUTELY try:

    Fells Point: Kali’s Mezze Restaurant on Thames Street, Pitango Gelateria on the square, and Fleet Street Market (amazing goat cheese sandwich) at Washington and Fleet.

    Mount Vernon: The Brewer’s Art on Charles Street for great brews and pricey (but excellent) food, and Kumari for Nepalese/Indian food, also on Charles Street.

    Another worth while adventure is to Matthew’s Pizza near Patterson Park (3131 Eastern Avenue) – it’s a big of a rough neighborhood at some points in the evening, but the pizza is insanely great.

    Also – if you haven’t checked out the Farmer’s Market (Sundays, under the Jones Falls Expressway) – it’s a must. Great produce, dairy, and meat – and some really good food stalls and crafts to boot!

    Looking forward to reading more about your adventures in Baltimore!


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