Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Scenes from a Weekend in Baltimore

I made a promise to myself that this year would be a really good one — full of new experiences, fun trips, more time with friends and family, and pushing my boundaries a bit more than normal. After making this same promise to myself year after year and never really following through, I’m doing my best to make it a reality in 2015. Having to undergo unexpected ACL and meniscus surgery has certainly thrown a wrench in those plans, but I am still determined to make the most of it!

One of the ways I’m making the most of it is by trying to incorporate more travel. Since the home buying process is in full swing and EXPENSIVE, that travel will probably be mostly domestic and local, but that’s better than nothing, right?! My most recent trip (after a quick jaunt up to Portland, ME) was a whirlwind weekend to visit my dear friend Julie in Baltimore. We first met on the equestrian team at BU, and didn’t become super close while in school, but have bonded since and found that we are basically the same person, and are epically compatible. My trip to see her was long overdue.

Julie is a pastry chef, and she loves food and cocktails as much as, if not more than, me. So I knew when I planned this trip that it’d be a couple days jam packed with eating, drinking, and more eating and drinking. I was not disappointed. I flew in late on a Saturday night (flying from Boston to Baltimore is dangerously cheap), and after dropping off my things and playing with her adorable puppies for a bit, we headed out to find food and libations.

Scenes from a Weekend in Baltimore - Sweetly Serendipity

Because I was starving and needed a food fix fast, we ended up at a new spot called The Local Fry. French fries are one of my favorite foods ever, so going to a place that serves French fries AS A MEAL was honestly one of the best things I could have ever imagined. The icing on the proverbial cake is that they were incredible. Like really amazingly good. We got the Greek Fries (homemade Greek seasoning, romaine lettuce, tomato, gyro meat, shallots, feta cheese, homemade tzatziki sauce) and the BBQ Pulled Pork Fries (BBQ pork, shredded cheddar cheese, coleslaw). There are no words. I would go back again and again for the rest of my life… if it wouldn’t cut my life short by a handful of days with each visit 🙂

 After that, we hopped two doors down to Julie’s favorite bar, Bookmakers, a beautiful, moody bar with elegant decor and an insanely amazing drink list. We spent the next couple hours there drinking the most incredible, artfully crafted cocktails. I had the Federale (espolon blanco tequila, becherovka, cinnamon, fresh lemon and grapefruit, mint) and The Grayson (bulleit rye, yuzu, housemade ginger beer, housemade velvet falernum, 1821 japanese chili-lime bitters, thai ginger sea salt, toasted cinnamon). Because I almost fell asleep on the bar, we ended up going home after two drinks apiece, but I would kill to go back and try their Chartreuse hot chocolate. Oh and did I mention they have a yellow and green Chartreuse blend ON TAP? Seriously mind blowing.

 

The next morning we went to Woodberry Kitchen, one of Baltimore’s more sought after (and pricey) establishments. The restaurant is housed in a renovated mill building, with the most exquisite decor. They’ve done a really incredible job making it beautiful and homey while still maintaining much of the original architecture, and the strong March sun streaming in through the big old windows that morning made it feel completely magical. We each ordered (ridiculously expensive) coffee cocktails — I had the Mocha Groove (Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, Pritchard’s cream, maple, chocolate) and Julie got the Snow Drop (DC amaro, dulce de leche, espresso, textured milk, absinthe). They were both quite tasty and sophisticated for a lazy brunch. For food we shared the Cast Iron Buttermilk Pancake (Next Step buckwheat, Cameo apples, pumpkin butter, maple syrup) and the Morning Flatbread (Breakfast sausage, bacon, buttered potatoes, sweet onions, Hawk’s Hill cheddar, farm eggs). The pancake was interesting — I loved the pancake itself, but the apples and pumpkin butter were just okay. We LOVED the flatbread though — it was flavorful, crisped to perfection, and had the perfect balance of toppings.

After our delicious (and filling) breakfast, we headed out to the countryside for some wine and cider tasting. First stop was Boordy Vineyards, a beautiful winery in Hydes, MD. Julie is a member there, so we were treated to the full tasting of their nicer wines, and then tasted the more mainstream stuff too. We took a quick tour of the grounds which boast some really impressive, innovative features. It was a lovely visit!

Not wanting to head home right away, we drove next to Millstone, a craft cider company — my absolute favorite! There they make some really funky ciders and meads, and trying them all was a blast. It was also fun to chat with the folks who worked there – they were clearly so passionate and enthusiastic. I’m not a big fan of mead, but theirs was far less sweet than I am accustomed to, and if I wasn’t flying home I would have absolutely bought a bottle. Their cider, too, was on the far dry side, and they had some really interesting types of cider. Probably the highlight of that visit for me was getting to try some maple mead directly from the barrel — the day we were there was it’s 3rd birthday, so we convinced the folks there to let us try some. So what if it hadn’t been tested first?!

The next morning, we went to this really cute cafe called Dooby’s. They serve breakfast until 11:30, and we walked in the door at 11:29 and they refused us breakfast. I was ready to throw a hissy fit, and almost walked out, but thankfully I minded my manners and we settled on a few savory options that ended up being quite good. The Roasted Chicken Rice Bowl (with mixed-grain brown rice, azuki red beans, butternut squash, curried cauliflower, sesame-soy chinese broccoli stir fry, roasted corn and nappa cabbage slaw, wasabi crema) was ridiculously delicious for something so seemingly simple, and really satisfying without being too heavy. We also split the Avocado Toast, which I would never have ordered on my own, but Julie insisted, and it was amazing. They served it on a wheat sourdough, which was really amazing. Made me think of my Grandpa! I got a cold brew coffee to wash it all down, which was surprisingly weak though had decent flavor. I got an apple muffin as a snack for later on, and that was also delicious. Verdict: drinks were weak, food was wonderful. I’d love to go back! (Also pictured: a Fruity Pebble Marshmallow Cookie, which was mediocre, and a Mocha Brownie, which tasted like it was made from boxed mix and quite yummy.)

We also cooked a dinner together one night (which was incredible – thanks Blue Apron!), and enjoyed lots of chatting, gossip, laughter, and puppy cuddles. I already can’t wait to go back!



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