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D.C./Inner Harbor-Five Days

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boyzmom11 Jul 24, 2010 06:28 PM

We will be traveling to DC for three days and Balt for two days with our two sons, 14 and 11.
We will be staying in downtown DC and at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Though we will have a car, would prefer places that are an easy cab ride away. This is a relaxed and casual vacation, so we are looking for good food that we don't have to dress up for. American, seafood, burgers, steaks, Italian, pizza top the list. Breakfast and brunch are also important. I know this presents a very wide selection, but if you have a favorite in any of those categories we'd love to hear about it. Thanks, in advance, for any direction you might offer.

  1. Dennis S Jul 25, 2010 06:25 AM

    DC:

    Try CF Folks for a lunch if it's during the week. Order from the specials menu.

    Breadline also for weekday lunch only if you're near the White House - but check Steve's postings about Breadline to select wisely (there are some bad misses).

    I'd say to try to hit Eastern Market at some point - there are whole threads for this for lunch and breakfast.

    Baltimore:
    I'm in DC, but have been up to B'More with decent regularity this year.

    You have to try some pit beef. One of the leading contenders for best, and my favorite, does require a drive - to Pioneer Pit Beef on the West side of the beltway - Security Blvd exit.

    The Lexington Market - something to see. There is some decent "stand" food inside - including fried chicken. The standout is Faidleys for a crabcake - so if you're looking to cross off a couple of highlights, go see the market and walk around, perhaps picking up a couple of other small items, then get the crabcakes.

    Both cities have some really good authentic Chinese options, and DC has Thai and Vietnamese. However, nearly all of these are in the suburbs for each city. Not sure where you're coming from and what you have available - but if interested, post back and I'm sure I or someone else can give guidance.

    Oh - and DC is also home to a large Ethiopian population. I'm not the best versed, but it is available in the city and there are many options.

    -----
    Lexington Market
    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S
      b
      boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 08:47 AM

      Thanks for you help! I am going to look up CF Folks and Breadline as well as Eastern Market. Any thoughts on Founding Farmers?

      As for the Pit Beef, the kids and my husband saw Chaps Pit Beef on Diners Drive Ins and Dives and added that place to the Balt. list. Is Pioneer better than Chap's? If so, I will switch out.

      We are from South Florida, so we have lots of ethnic variety here, but Ethiopian is not in the mix. That might be interesting. I will research. Thanks for the good tips!

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      Founding Farmers
      1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006

      Chaps Pit Beef
      5801 Pulaski Hwy Ste 1, Baltimore, MD 21205

      1. re: boyzmom11
        Dennis S Jul 25, 2010 12:26 PM

        I haven't been to Founding Farmers. I think the usual reports are lukewarm.

        I also haven't been to Chaps, so I can't make a direct comparison. On this board the sentiment generally goes to Pioneer. I *think* that Chaps has seating, where Pioneer really doesn't (except for a picnic table).

        -----
        Founding Farmers
        1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006

        1. re: Dennis S
          b
          boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 12:48 PM

          Thanks Dennis. I'll report back when we return

          1. re: Dennis S
            JonParker Jul 25, 2010 01:17 PM

            Pioneer definitely gets all the love around here.

          2. re: boyzmom11
            baltoellen Jul 25, 2010 01:17 PM

            While many on this board prefer Pioneer, fwiw, I much prefer the flavor of the beef at Chaps.

            1. re: baltoellen
              b
              boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 02:12 PM

              Okay you guys... seems like all of you mid-atlantic people are evenly divided on the Pioneer vs. Chaps vote. My husband and son now want to try both. There will be big diets coming after we get home!!! I'll let you know how our vote comes out. Thanks :0)

        2. r
          ronandaim Jul 25, 2010 05:36 AM

          There is much on this board about the Inner Harbor and little that most people would recommend actually at the Inner Harbor. For brunch, Miss Shirley's really is the best option. Also I would suggest doing a little research on the Charm City Circulator. It's a free and easy (and clean) bus service that will take you to several other sections of the city (Little Italy, Federal Hill, Hollins Market, Mount Vernon) with many more (and better) options to choose from.

          -----
          Miss Shirley's
          750 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

          13 Replies
          1. re: ronandaim
            baltoellen Jul 25, 2010 06:55 AM

            ronandaim, Yours is the very best response I've ever seen to the oft asked "where to eat in the Inner Harbor" query. I wish that the Powers That Be here on CH would make it a sticky!

            1. re: ronandaim
              b
              boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 08:35 AM

              Thank you so much. Had Miss Shirley's on my list with A ? mark, so now I'll make it a definite. Do you have any thoughts on Obrycki's? The Black Olive? Cinghaile? La Scala? La Tavola? I've seen Vaccaro's so much, that they have made the list along with Lexington Market/Faidley's. Any thoughts/warnings are appreciated!

              -----
              La Scala
              1012 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202

              Miss Shirley's
              750 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

              Black Olive
              814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

              1. re: boyzmom11
                JonParker Jul 25, 2010 01:15 PM

                I just reviewed Black Olive and loved it. Check the board for that.

                Vaccaro's is a poor second to Piedagrotta's for desserts -- seriously. They're both in the same neighborhood, and Vacarro's has long been the standard dessert answer for people who don't give it much thought, but if you want the really good stuff, Piedagrotta's is the place. There's a substantial argument to be made that the owner invented tiramisu -- seriously.

                Lexington Market however is a must try.

                -----
                Lexington Market
                400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                Black Olive
                814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

                1. re: JonParker
                  b
                  boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 02:10 PM

                  Will definitely try the Tiramisu at Pedagrotta's - always like to compare recipes. What is the dress code for Black Olive? We have already booked Lexington Market in on the schedule, altlough I looked at some older posts that said it was a little rough around the edges. True?
                  thanks for the directions. I will send in a full report when we return.

                  1. re: boyzmom11
                    JonParker Jul 25, 2010 03:16 PM

                    Lexington Market is not an upper class area. That said, it's not unsafe, and has a lot of Baltimore's best food. Get coddies and crab cakes at Faidleys. Get a dog with the works from Johnnie's. Get fried chicken from Park's. It's a delicious journey.

                    I mentioned Black Olive's dress code in the other thread. I was dressed up, but there were other people there in jeans and even shorts (although I think that's carrying it a bit far). The decor is rustic but the service is professional.

                    -----
                    Lexington Market
                    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                    Black Olive
                    814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

                    1. re: JonParker
                      b
                      boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 08:26 PM

                      Sounds like Lexington Market is going to be a big hit with my guys. We might have to make two trip over there! Black Olives looks and sounds delicious, but depending on the weather, we might have to pass. We need to go before the ballgame and if it is really hot (and I think it might be...) they are going to want to wear shorts. I'd rather not take them there if they are not properly dressed. Appreciate all of your info., will let you know how it turns out!

                      -----
                      Lexington Market
                      400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                      Black Olive
                      814 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

                    2. re: boyzmom11
                      baltoellen Jul 25, 2010 04:31 PM

                      Please do not miss Lexington Market. It will be a treat.

                      -----
                      Lexington Market
                      400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                      1. re: baltoellen
                        b
                        boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 08:33 PM

                        I am sure that my crew will hit as many booths as possible. Will let you know what we find. Thanks!

                    3. re: JonParker
                      l
                      lawhound Jul 25, 2010 03:04 PM

                      Second the rec for Piedigrotta, but note that they also have excellent breakfast and lunch there as well, which ranges from paninis and pastries to hot entrees. And frankly, I have found that it is all very good.

                      1. re: lawhound
                        b
                        boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 08:32 PM

                        Was planning an evening visit there for dessert, but now maybe we need to think about stopping there on the way to the airport and get a panini for the plane... Thanks for the tip!

                      2. re: JonParker
                        bucksguy14 Aug 8, 2010 06:35 PM

                        Spent the weekend at the Inner Harbor with daughter and family. The place really is a culinary wasteland! However, we ventured over to Piedagrotta's and what a pleasant experience. I walked in myself after checking out the entire Little Italy area. I wanted a gelato and as I approached that spot, Antonio handed me a sample of the Tiramisu gelato. The response to that was I bought the $3.50 size and enjoyed every last spoonful! Walked out with a dozen cookies for the grandkids! Went back with everyone and got some breads, cookies and Tiramisu to take home. Have tried everything but the breads. I might think about going back just to spend some money at Piedagrotta! What a find! Thanks, JonParker!

                        -----
                        Little Italy Restaurant
                        6920 Bradlick Shopping Ctr, Annandale, VA 22003

                      3. re: boyzmom11
                        i
                        indcgirl Jul 25, 2010 02:41 PM

                        I love Cinghiale and would recommend it, but with a family, I'd opt for sitting on the Enoteca side, which has a more relaxed atmosphere. If you are going to be here in Baltimore on Sunday, they do a nice supper special with the antipasti laid out.

                        Two DC recommendations:
                        1) If you are going to be on The Mall, the place to eat is Mitsitam in the Native American Museum. They serve a selection of Native American foods from across the Americas, all fresh and outstanding. They make their own tamales, and you can choose from everything from a bison burger to plank salmon (representative of the NW US or even frogs legs. Make sure you take a good tour of all the items and look carefully at the sides, which are often unusual and not listed on the boards. The line can be long, but don't be deterred--it's worth it.
                        2) If you are going to be in Cleveland Park, e.g., post-Zoo (it's actually slightly closer to the zoo than the Woodley Park-Zoo Metro exit), try Dino. It's a casual Tuscan-inspired Italian restaurant. My favorites are the boar bolognese over fetuccini and the vanilla ice cream with aged balsamic vinegar. The owners love food and are fastidious about their sourcing. A 15-minute cab ride from downtown (without traffic).

                        -----
                        Cinghiale
                        822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

                        1. re: indcgirl
                          b
                          boyzmom11 Jul 25, 2010 08:30 PM

                          Thanks so much for telling me about the Entoeca side of Cinghiale. When I looked at their website I did not notice it for some reason. This is a perfect for the boys and has a menu that my husband and I are sure to enjoy!
                          Also, the Mitsitam sounds like a good fit. A good bison burger is always popular with my crew. I am going to try and check out the menu now.
                          Dino has gotten a lot of recs from everyone. Boar bolognese sounds fabulous! They are getting a look-up as well. Thanks so much for your help!

                          -----
                          Cinghiale
                          822 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

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