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how to create a chowhound, Baltimore version

I recently had a conversation with a friend in which they revealed that dinner just isn't that importnt to them and they often resort to mac n'cheese. Shocked and appalled, I started to think. . . where could I take this person to convince them to become a foodie. So the question for the panel is: If you had to take a friend who just doesn't quite get the whole food thing to one place in Baltimore to show them the light, where would it be?

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  1. Definitely Lexington Market since you may as well start them out with local delicacies. I'd start with some fried chicken at Park's, or a shrimp salad sandwich at Mary Mervis deli. Of course, a lump crab cake and Faidley's, and a Berger cookie for dessert.

    (I've had loads of guests this summer, and this has been my standard 'food tour!')

    I'm interested to see what others come up with too!

    1. Folks, pardon the interruption, but please limit your responses to helping pagoda girl identify places in Baltimore. We've removed some posts about how to convert someone to a chowhound generally.


      1. Sunday farmers market!

        It will hopefully become a relatively regular ritual with my SO and me, and the people, produce, stands, etc are fabulous.

        But if I had to feed them...I'd force them to eat the bacon apple pancakes at blue moon. They're too good and very dangerous. I heart them. I like their coffee there, too (and I know it gets mixed reviews here).

        1. If a pit beef sandwich with raw onion and horseradish mayo has no effect on them, your friend may already be too far gone.


          4 Replies
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            unless they don't like beef :)

            It does, however, seem that large parts of the Baltimore area smell like meat.

            1. re: Jeserf

              Indeed. But you have inspired me to try a vegan-friendly raw onion and horseradish sandwich.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                laugh all you want....an old (old old) family friend used to eat vidalia onion sandwiches frequently.

                1. re: Jeserf

                  I ain't laffin. Since I read Ulysses, I loves me some gorgonzola on pumpernickle with raw onion sammitches, washed down with a glass of burgundy.

          2. Perhaps it would help if you found out what sorts of food besides mac and cheese the person already has some appreciation for, and then ask for recs based on what you find out. As an analogy, if I wanted to "covert" somebody to a film buff, I wouldn't just take them to a film festival, I'd find out which movies they'd already enjoyed, and build on that.

            A hypothetical starting point in this caase might be to find places that take mac and cheese to a different level, and that also have other items to demostrate the range of other possibilities. Ten-O-Six might be a good candidate. I'm told that they do a nice "gourmet" mac and cheese, and the variety of other options on the noodle theme might be a starting point for further conversation.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Warthog

              You could try Jack's for their (in)famous mac and cheese with chocolate ...

              Otherwise, I think the Sunday Farmers Market is a superb idea.

              1. re: charmedgirl

                mac'n'cheese with chocolate?
                go on - tell me more

            2. What about trying an ethnic tactic? Most non-foodies are afraid to venture out of hot dogs and hamburgers, and can't justify spending money on gourmet. So I recommend cheap ethnic food! When I first met my bf, I made him try the dolmades at Samos in Greektown, and now he can't get enough of them. From there, we went to Indian (lunch buffet at Akbar to be exact), etc. etc. Thai wasn't a huge hit, but you get the point! It's so much fun trying out any new place with him now, because we always get the most exciting things on the menu.

              1. While it's a little cliche, I'd suggest a few of the small-plates places around town. That way the fun starts right at the ordering stage and there's always another dish coming if one doesn't work out. I haven't found a huge range of styles among the small plates restaurants in Baltimore, but Pazo, Mezze, and Lebanese Taverna are all pretty good. I personally like the atmosphere at Red Maple, though the food is a step below the other, but depending on your friend's preferences that could be an option.

                The alternative is to hit some of the different pubs: Jack's Bistro (mentioned earlier), Peter's Inn, Brewer's Art, and Henninger's all serve good food in a relaxed bar setting (and you could dress it up a bit by visiting Salt, which other people seem to like, though I've been consistently disappointed in it).

                If I had to pick one of these to get someone started, I'd probably go with Mezze, just because it's the most reliable in my experience.

                P.S. The chocolate mac n' cheese at Jack's is interesting, but nothing to write home about in terms of taste - if you plan a trip around it, you may be a little underwhelmed. Their deep-fried s'mores on the other hand are exactly what they sound like and the one thing you won't be is underwhelmed.

                1. For someone who likes mac and cheese, Sobo Cafe might be another place to start. Along with their mac and cheese, which is very good, they have pretty basic staples that won't intimidate anyone, but taste great. My personal fav is the brined pork (loin or chop).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Chowtimore

                    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I was plotting along the one meal to really knock the socks off, but it seems like the stealthy slow approach might work better . . .

                    1. re: pagoda girl

                      A lot depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you are wealthy you might try Michael Richard Citronelle, The Inn at Little Washington, Charleston, The Prime Rib or Antrim 1844 (actually the last 2 aren't as expensive as the first 3). Some places I have tried and loved are Tersiguel's $$$$, The Chameleon Cafe $$$, Amiccis $ and Samos $. Good luck!

                      1. re: Whitemarshjohn

                        Snd for small plates dont forget Tapas teatro, with best lamb meatballs anywhere