I love to travel. Yet, I understand that traveling is a word that can mean something different to people. For me, it often means eating and a lot of it. Food is one of the easiest (and best!) ways to cut to the heart of a culture. It’s a simple, yet profound way to understand an area better. Our time when traveling is just a glimpse of a place and I find that food often breaks through barriers and connects the traveler with the native. I have yet to find a region that did not have a dish or two that was a source of pride to them.
While I suppose I am not a traveler in Baltimore, but an actually resident; I often feel that I am exploring the area as a traveler would. Which of course means I am always on the look out for new food to try. I have been thankful to discover that just like Portland, Baltimore is a Foodie town. Also like Portland, Baltimore has its quirks. Like accents that involve calling this town Bawler. Love it.
As for the food I have discovered so far, I’m not always sure if it is just a Bmore thing or has a larger regional context. There is still much for me still to discover, let me know if you have any good leads for me! Oh, and I skipped meat talk because as I’m sure you know at this point, that’s not my thing.
Let’s just jump into the drinking first. This is the Orange Cream Crush from Baltimore’s most famous brunch place, Miss Shirley’s. An Orange Cream Crush is definitely a fancier Crush than typical with it’s whipped cream vodka, triple sec, orange juice and a bit of half & half. The most popular Crushes are an orange and grapefruit. It’s like a Groundhound drink, but better because involves more ice and a splash of triple sec. Hmmm, I’m not explaining this well. It’s a thing, come try it.
National Bohemian Beer. What can I say about it? Sure it’s technically just cheap beer. But Natty Boh as everyone here calls it, is more than that. What city has its very own beer that everyone can afford to drink all night? I thought perhaps me and my Portland microbrew ways would stick my nose up at it. Yet with its distinct flavor, wide availability and love for Baltimore, Boh just wins.
Of course if you are talking about food anywhere around the Chesapeake Bay, blue crab will come up. Perhaps a little less known is this city’s love of Old Bay spice on not just seafood, but everything! I am amazed at how often I see a container of Old Bay hanging with the salt and pepper at restaurants. It pops up in dishes all the time; add it to your hash browns or use it as a salt rim for your Bloody Mary, only in this town.
I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of this, but when I was at the Flower Mart they were selling lemons cut in half with a hollowed peppermint stick in them that people were drinking. Crazy! People were just sucking on the stick to get the lemon juice. It was a bit fascinating to me. My friends mentioned it was a popular thing in the area and I did a bit of research and I learned it was a tradition started at the Flower Mart.
If you are interested in trying more classics, Lexington Market is the place to go. It’s not the, um, classiest joint, but you are in Baltimore for adventure, right?!
The Burger Cookie! I think the picture shows it all. A famous cookie for its fudge topping and shortbread like bottom. Check out all that chocolate!
This ladies and gentlemen is NOT a snow cone. Oh no, this is a Snoball. The ice, the flavoring (custard!), it’s ALL different! Or at least that is what I was told. All I know is it is tasty, cooling, two blocks from campus and only a $1. You know where to find me this summer.