Baltimore, a trip down memory lane (with Yelp to jog my memory)

If my friends from Baltimore are watching - I love you guys and I'm sorry we haven't been back.  But a friend asked if I had food tips and I said I'd break out anything I had.  However, I needed an assist from Yelp, it's my favorite app when traveling.

My picks for @jarsloth et. al.

1. The Helmand
806 N Charles
Every city's got one, and Baltimore's on Charles is awesome (4/5 Yelp).  My favorite was the pumpkin appetizer (aushak?).  You could order only this and leave immensely satisfied.

2. The Brewer's Art
1106 N Charles
Dark, Belgian style ales on tap, bar food, awesome.

3. Mount Royal Tavern
1204 W Mount Royal Ave
4/5 on yelp, it should be 1/5
Dumpy and local, I lived around the corner from this and went frequently.  Look for this on flickr and see the images of the ceiling.

4. John Steven
1800 Thames St
Touristy but I loved it.  Eat shrimp w Old Bay and enjoy Fells Point

5. Trinacria Foods
406 N Paca
Italian market.  GO, but be careful.

6. DiPasquale's Italian Market
3700 Gogh St
Killer Italian market with lots of prepared food.  I'm drooling just thinking about it.

7. Cross St Market
1065 S Charles (Federal Hill)
Like North Market x10

8. Beer
Anywhere downtown has tons of bars w good beer

9. Go and Google Pit Beef in Baltimore and make sure you get some for breakfast.

10. Martick's
I'm so sorry, you missed it.  Martick died last year as did a little part of all the patrons who enjoyed a meal with him.  Go read some of the reviews on Yelp, suprisingly, some of the comments capture how special it was.  So, so sad it's closed.

11. Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop
222 Albemarle St, Little Italy (5/5 on Yelp)
One word, cannoli.

12. Charleston
1000 Lancaster St
Really pricey and really good, my wife and I went a few times and always got her fried chicken.

I'll keep adding as I think up the good spots.  So far: DiPasquale's, Pit Beef and Mount Royal Tavern are my best memories.


a nearly uneventful week of good food and drink

I found some killer pork belly at CAM in the Bethel / Olentangy complex and made it into bacon, I didn't brine it long enough (impatient), but it's still decent bacon.  I learned that brinng for 3 days and more is really necessary for a proper cure (prior to smoking).  I smoked with Hickory embedded Kingsford to 148F internal.

 Here is a sample cooking.  Frankie now wants a ham and bacon sandwich for school.

At the end of the last school year, I added a four bread delivery to the silent auction.  My last delivery of a "spent grain whole wheat boule" was so late, I tossed in an apple tart.  The recipients were tickled.

I tossed a basic wheat/white straight dough in the oven for some pita to accompany hummous for a quick dinner meal.

I always seem to forget how nice a Turkish coffee is, sweetened and brewed with a couple cardomom pods.  I got the ibrik last year while in the North End of Boston.  This is an easy coffee to make, try Lavash's sometime for a great example of what it should taste like.

I tried out a super duper thin crust pizza.  My usual 10" diameter pizza is made from a 200-225 g crust, in this case only 150 g.  I had to increase the fat content to keep it tender while in my Firedome.  Still might try playing with more dough preps, I really like California Pizza Kitchen's pies.  Trish likes it, but I still like a little thicker crust.

Also, Firedome development is done.  It's a reliable tool now I.  The final snag was simply an apprentice-length period to learn how to cook with a live fire.  The equipment design is nearly as simple as the first version and is solid.

I'm crazy about ribs lately; add briquettes, a water tray and don't peek for 5 hours, then sauce 'em and cook another 30 min and done.  Less looking, more cooking.  Pick the ribs carefully, we prefer a leaner back rib.

We inherited about 50 lbs of these not-good-enough-to-pick pears.  They are destined for processing into spirits.  The processing will be laborious and an experiment, but with great payoff.  While preparing one for a sugar assay (ca. 15 Brix) ...

I shredded my index finger tip.  Despite some intense pain, nearly passing out on the way to the ER shuttled by my worried and loving family, the surgeon said I got lucky.  I should heal with as much function as I had before. 


flour tortillas

I find corn tortillas challenging.  Too often, mine crack as I wrap the tortilla around fillings.  Striving for authenticity, I kept at it, but still haven't obtained a good flexible one.  Having just returned from San Diego and the pilates capital of the world, La Jolla, I realized there is no shame in a flour tortilla.  I enjoyed them immensely loaded with fish and veggies, especially from Tin Fish, wow!

After a few youtube vids, I heated a griddle on my grill, mixed up some dough and went at it.  The dough is simple: 500 grams unbleached white flour, 100 grams lard, 5 grams salt, 5 grams baking powder and 300 g water, knead and let rest 20 minutes.  I took hunks of about 60-70 grams of dough, rounded them and rolled with a rolling pin to about 8-10" diameter - that's pretty thin.  They are delicate, but not too difficult to handle, that is if you don't spill a PBR Tall on them.  If that happens, drink some beer, squish the soggy mass together, add some flour and repeat a few steps from above.

I chose a nice hot griddle on top of my briquette fire for cooking (ca. 500-600°F).  They take a little less than a minute per side.  Make these!

 Thin dough tossed on looks like this in about 30 seconds.

Flip remove and eat.