To explain my long hiatus from the blogging world, I should begin by mentioning that I had a chance to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy with my mom and sister in early July. That had me occupied for the week leading up to the 1st, and then out of the country from July 1st through July 9th. When I got back, we promptly started packing to move into our new apartment the next weekend. After spending our weekdays moving and organizing yet more of our accumulated junk, we celebrated our new place and my husband Ben’s golden birthday the weekend of July 24th. Which brings us to this weekend…the very last weekend in the month of July. It’s been so long that it’s awkward, but I want to catch you up on a few things because we really have packed a lot of Baltimore into the last month.
Dangerously Delicious Pies-Canton
Scrumptious savory pies and decadent sweet ones, this shop knows how to make a pie. While they can be pricey ($28 bucks for a whole sweet pie), we got lucky and used a Groupon to buy the “Baltimore Bomb” for Ben’s birthday. Made with crushed up Berger cookies (another Baltimore institution that really deserves its own post) it was so rich that even I, an acknowledged chocoholic, had trouble eating a modest slice. The shop’s open til 3 a.m. and they have space for live music acts to play so I’d be interested to go back sometime at night and see what type of scene it was. The interior of the shop is nothing special, fairly grungy even, but they are serious about their pies.
This annual celebration of the arts was going on the weekend we moved. Pro tip: Not the smartest weekend to be moving in or out of Bolton Hill haha. It was also incredibly hot that weekend which just made the slushy and daiquiri stands lining Mt. Royal look all the more inviting. From overpriced carnival food to locally crafted works of art, this weekend long festival celebrates art in every form with clothing, paintings, parades, free music concerts, and dance events. If you don’t live in the neighborhood, plan on a hike for parking (best bet may be down at the state center parking lots near MLK/Eutaw). The festival ended this year with a Matisyahu concert that was pretty amazing. The hill leading down to the Mt. Royal train station functioned as a natural amphitheater for the reggae/hip-hop artist and by the end, I was really glad we’d gotten seats on the hill rather than pressing any closer-the moshpit area turned into a chaotic mess with people crowdsurfing every two seconds and I saw at least one man retreating back up the hill with a bloody gash on his head. Aside from the wild area, the rest of the concertgoers were pretty chill and more interested in Matisyahu’s heartfelt lyrics about peace and working to change our cities.
Waterstone Grill & Lounge-Downtown Baltimore
We returned for the second time to this relatively new restaurant near Maryland General Hospital (on Madison). We’d come for the first time last fall and been impressed with the artfully prepared, Mediterranean-inspired dishes and the excellent service by a knowledgeable waiter. The atmosphere of the place is really unique as well with an indoor waterfall, marble tabletops, some couch lounge seating tables and brick columns and sheer curtains helping to make the space more intimate. While still impressed with the food this time, especially the dessert!, we were not as impressed with the service. I’m going to chalk that one up to being there on a slow Sunday night and give this one another chance sometime on a Friday or Saturday. They also have acoustic acts there on some of the weekend nights. It’s the perfect place for a date night :)
The Charleston is the flagship restaurant of Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman, a chef/sommelier team that also owns several other properties. The Charleston is also, as far as I am concerned, the flagship restaurant of Baltimore. We were treated to wine and appetizers there and took the opportunity to also order one of the dinner items from the bar staff. Every person on the staff went above and beyond expectations to make our whole experience at The Charleston unforgettable. Every item that came out of the kitchen was superb and even items I suspect I would not like under other conditions (oysters or mayonnaise) were made into mouth-watering and unforgettable combinations. It will be a long time before I forget the way the Norwegian Salmon literally melted in my mouth with its tomato sauce. While we passed on paying for dessert, our bartender thought we shouldn’t leave without a little sweet and sent us an adorable tray of eight little sweet mouthfuls including a macaroon and a chocolate espresso truffle. Ben and I decided the instant we can afford to go back to the Charleston we will, and we are already planning on celebrating his law school graduation there.
And a new apartment!
There’s a few other things worth mentioning but as this post grows long already, let me end with the part I’m most excited about. We are completely moved into our new place and absolutely love it. We look forward to meeting our new neighbors and growing some roots in the community here. We have started running around the neighborhood in the mornings and hopefully will be able to keep that good habit up. We’ve now been here almost a year and what a long way we’ve come. While I’ve tried to chronicle some of our adventures, there are dozens of untold stories which are still begging to be written. I’m excited to see what the second year holds!