Sights and Good Eats in Baltimore

This past weekend (long weekend for me – the benefit of working at a bank!), I went to Baltimore, Maryland to visit James.  He’s been working at the trauma center as part of his rotation, and since he’ll be there only for a month, we took every opportunity we had to do some exploring and eating while I was in town.

Saturday morning, we had coffee at TriBeCa Coffee Roaster.  James ordered a mocha, which was made with coffee beans roasted on premise and ground to order, and I had a regular coffee.  We both thought our drinks were rich and smooth, and if we had more time, we would definitely try the coffee brewed using the pour-over method.

Next up, we stopped by The Bun Shop to try out their pastries.  There was a huge selection and we decided (more like me decided for us…) on Rotiboy and apple gruyere pastry.  Both were fresh, still warm from the oven, and so delicious.  I gobbled them up in a few bites!

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The Walters Art Museum is a place you must visit if you happen to be in Baltimore.  It’s reasonably-sized, with a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts (we enjoyed seeing the cat mummy and Medieval armors).  We were able to see everything at a comfortable pace, without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by crowds.  There’s also an annex building dedicated to Asian Art worth visiting, but be sure to pick up a museum floor plan at the entrance to help you navigate between the annex and the main building.

Collage 1We also visited Fort McHenry, the site where the battle that took place inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, Star Spangled Banner.  The exhibits and film at the visitor’s center were informative, and we especially liked the exhibit which allowed us to listen to different versions of the anthem (including Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl XXV version!)  You can also walk around the Fort and the grounds – as well as go inside the Fort buildings – and on a clear day, you can see the bay and the shorelines.  The visit definitely gave us a new understanding and appreciation of how our anthem came to be.

Collage 2Fell’s Point is a quaint neighborhood with boutique shops selling art, jewelry, and home goods.  We walked around a bit before we headed over to Thames Street Oyster House.  We weren’t able to get a table reservation, so arrived early before dinner service, ordered our drinks, and got started on the raw bar orders without any time to waste.  There is an extensive variety of oysters and clams to choose from.  I generally prefer the West coast oysters because they are not as briny, but this time, my favorite one was a mild and sweet variety from Virginia.  On the list were red clams, a type of clam with a bloody appearance because of the excess hemoglobin.  We had to try them out!  James didn’t mind it, but I thought it was too briny and metallic for my taste.

Collage 4After two rounds of oysters and clams, we chose a few hot dishes from the menu (not pictured; sorry, I forgot to bring the DSLR camera!) We tried the grilled octopus (the charred lemon was a special touch), lobster macaroni and cheese (big chunks of lobster), and the Maryland crabcake (also big chunks of crab). I love seafood so I really enjoyed the meal, and if you do too, this restaurant is a must-try!

Collage 5Finally, the highlight of my visit was our dinner at Cindy Wolf’s restaurant Charleston near the Harbor.  The restaurant’s cuisine is a mix of contemporary French and low country Southern cooking.

To start, we each had a cup of creamy mushroom bisque and lobster salad on toasts. I especially liked the soup and could probably eat a whole bowl of it! After that, we ordered a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to sip on and decided on what to order.  Everything on the menu sounded incredible, and we ended up choosing the following: lobster soup with curry oil, white asparagus with goat cheese and mustard-chive beurre blanc, shrimp and grits, beef tenderloin, buffalo tenderloin, and pan-roasted duck breast.  Everything from the meat to the sides and bread (cornbread and mini French boule) they served were delicious and cooked perfectly! Collage 3After our savory courses, we were served our desserts: hazelnut dacquoise and toasted coconut macaron.  I have a slight obsession with macarons, trendy or no longer, and I was a bit disappointed that the coconut flavor wasn’t as pronounced.  Aside from that, the raspberry buttercream macarons served at the end of the meal were much better.

It was such a lovely meal.  James said that the way to my heart is through my stomach – that might very well be true ;)

That’s it for Baltimore…until next time!  Want more?  Check out my reviews from the last time I visited Maryland.