Baltimore 3 nights
Am staying at the mariott 3 nights in baltimore, so it is pretty close to little italy area. I'd appreciate a few places I should hit. I will have a car. I'm not looking for fancy high end dining but more good chowhoundish places.
One thing I am absolutely looking for is a take out place for crabs.
Thanks in advance.
For carry-out crabs I have to recommend L.P. Steamers in Locust Point. You can eat them there and they have a rooftop deck with a wonderful view of the Inner Harbor. The crabs are always good and not overpriced. Tell Mr. Bud (the owner) that Kim and Diana sent you.
One of my favorite neighborhood places is Simons of Butchers Hill, the next neighborhood up from Fells Point. It is tucked away on a one way street, but worth the trouble of finding it. If you are a solo diner, there is a great view from the bar and you can order the full menu.
There is a fantastic Indian restauarant in Little Italy, I think it is called India Rasoi. Everything there is good, and they have delivery/to go.
And if you like Italian pastries, Vaccaro's is the place to go! I recommend the pignoli cookies, the cannoli (which isn't the best I've had but is very good), and the peanutto gelato.
How big a drinker are you? Always worth a crawl through Fells Point with eating and drinking in mind. I'd nosh at John Stevens, Wharf Rat, etc.
For the best cannoli you've got to go to La Scala restaurant. Ms. Pina (the owners mother) makes them. They're made with cream instead of mascarpone. Try the hazelnut...scrumptious.
Two places within walking distance that are musts:
Pazo: it is a trendy small plate place with great food. Might be on the "fancy high end" part of the spectrum. You can def. go alone and sit at the bar and have a great meal for around $30.
Pedigrotta: Italian bakery on Central Ave, behind Little Italy. This place is the real chowhoundish deal. It doesn't look like much from the outside (or the inside for that matter) but the pastry are top notch. Here's a hint, step behind the display case and ask Bruna about the things cooling on the rack.
Other places that are a short ride or long walk away:
Mama's on the Half Shell: Baltimore style fish/seafood house, not a crab house. Great bar downstairs with drinks and raw bar.
Lexington Market for lunch: Open from 7-5 mon thru sat. Try the lumbo lump crab cake at Faidley's, the polish with the works at Pollock Johnnies and the Berger Cookies.
Werner's: another lunch option downtown on Redwood street. It is an old school lunchenette. The pot roast special on Tuesday is my current addiction.
Sylvan Beach: Great homemade ice cream and coffee. The location downtown (7 w. preston) has free wireless internet. Sit there, do some work and add on 15 pounds. If you go, ask if Ramsey made any yogurt that day.
Have fun and make sure to post back with where you went.
I pretty much agree with KAZ on everything but Werner's. Cool 50s decor (it was featured in the movie Tin Men, the diner from Diner is a couple of blocks away at Holliday and Saratoga), uneven comfort food priced slightly higher than the competition. good friendly service, but overall nothing special. That said, I probably eat there 3x a month. Oh, and I love Piedegrotta (carry-out only, knowledge of Italian helps, daytime bakery hours).
Do you speak Spanish? For a real chowhound experience, try Cinco de Mayo for lunch. It's a tacqueria/grocery/butcher shop just two or three blocks down Eastern Avenue. The taco "al patron" (marinated pork) is spicy, juicy, and fresh, as are all the other varieties. It's served with a very hot and an even hotter sauce (I like the green one), lime wedges, and radish chunks for $2. Can you beat that? A real hole-in-the-wall, there is a seating aree in back, behind the labyrinth. Be prepared for a wait, as everything is made to order. If you don't speak Spanish, I suppose you can just point to what you want on the menu.
Head to Fells Point.
For really good south of the border (we have a diverse population and I can't say for sure which places are North American, Central American or South American) find the taco truck(s) north of Eastern on Broadway. Also, Tortilleria on Eastern (just east of Broadway). All are good to great and cheap.
Peters. Henningers. Duda's. All in or near Fells Point.
For crabs, the best way to go is Chris' between Canton and Fells Point.
Always good. But it is take out only.
So, I would offer the following Baltimore experience.
Get crabs from Chris'. Grab some beer or wine from the Loading Dock.
Head to Patterson Park Duck Pin lanes. You can bring your own food and drinks. Cheap and fun. They are all located very near each other and it is loads of fun.
You may have to bring some newspaper and your hammers, but it could just work.