I am not really a gourmet. I enjoy foods and I really enjoy eating something when I am hungry, but I am not one of those people who plan vacations around restaurants or buy food magazines or spend years perfecting a particular recipe. I do, however, care about what I put into my body. I am no health freak but I know that I shouldn’t have fries every day, although I really really want to. (My favorite texture is crispy and my favorite flavor is salty – I am constantly craving potato chips, egg rolls, grilled beef with lemongrass…)
This gives you the backdrop to my little survey of food in Baltimore. My preliminary conclusion is that it is greasy and not very varied. I know, I know, there are lots of places I haven’t been, and I can probably find lots of different foods if I try, but so far, I guess I am not too impressed. It seems like my choices for lunch all involve fries and of course the omnipresent crab cake. (Anything you order, whether it is meat, chicken, or fish, can be topped with crab…)
Here are the places I have been so far, and what I think of them:
Della Rose’s: My first beef is with the name. As an Italian speaker I am constantly getting annoyed by Italian names that are misspelled or butchered in other ways. Della Rose’s just sounds wrong. It should at least be Della Rosa’s, but preferably just Della Rosa… Anyway, they are very friendly, and the food is good, but it is definitely a fries/sandwiches/burgers/salads that have more fat than a hamburger kind of place. Plus, because it is so close to work it ends up being a default lunch place.
Canton Dockside: Similar to Della Rose’s. Huge portions and lots of fries.
Claddagh’s: Innovative and very good. At first it looks like a typical Irish pub but the food is excellent. I guess in Britain they would call it a gastro pub.
Mama’s on the Half Shell: Another typical Baltimore place. Anything can be topped by crab imperial, lobster imperial, other underwater creatures imperial… Excellent cod fish cakes, another Baltimore specialty I have learned about. Good calamari. The fish and chips: Well, it was extremely greasy and it came with potato chips, not fries. Hm… Desserts were not that great.
PY: Pizza that Rocks: Great pizza on Canton Square. I have been there multiple times over the last few weeks and really enjoy their pizza. They use real mozzarella.
Five Guys: Some people really love their burgers and fries, but I am not that big of a fan.
Brick Oven Pizza (POB): Good pizza, fast service. Too much cornmeal on the crust!
Johnny’s Restaurant: Fun, dinner-style place with good breakfast food. Very popular on weekend mornings!
Vaccaro’s: A Baltimore institution, but come on! Everything is absolutely enormous! It is a pasticceria on steroids!
I have probably been to a couple of other places as well so I might add those later.