When Brian Seel started his Baltimore Around the World blog, he figured tracking down 13 different cuisines within the Baltimore Beltway would be a reasonable goal.
“I think my list is up to 60 or so, now,” he said.
Seel, inspired by a friend’s trip to Epcot’s World Showcase, decided he’d discover Baltimore’s own multicultural treasures. A software engineer by trade, he’s not a “foodie,” he said, but a Baltimorean trying to break out of his bubble.
Seel has visited 13 Baltimore restaurants so far, and is averaging about one every three weeks. After a visit, he writes a post about the spot, describing not only the quality of the restaurant, but also its foods’ country of origin and the Baltimore neighborhood it resides in. The farthest was Uzbek restaurant Silk Road, one of his favorites thus far. He’s also hit Byblos, a Lebanese spot in Fells Point, and West Indian Flavor, a Caribbean restaurant in the city’s Middle East neighborhood serving up authentic Trinidadian dishes.
He chose restaurants that were inside the circle of I-695, and spread out across the city. They couldn’t be too, too pricey unless he and Maureen, his wife, felt like making it a special occasion. Hole-in-the-wall status is an added bonus, and, of course, it had to be authentic.
The resulting list of 61 different restaurants seldom repeats countries of origin (though Seel had a tough time choosing and ended up with two French eateries), and covers five continents (Antarctica doesn’t have much by way of cuisine and Seel tried to avoid chains, making Australia a tough find). The list also covers Halal and Lumbee Native American food, as well as Hawaiian and Southeastern U.S. soul food. The Seels have covered Uzbek, Lebanese, Mexican, Caribbean, Creole and Thai foods, among others. They most recently visited Gnocco, a Mediterranean restaurant in Highlandtown.
The point of Baltimore Around The World isn’t to add another food blog to the countless ones populating the internet, Seel said, but to break out of his comfort zone, experience different neighborhoods and encourage others to do the same. Seel grew up in Idaho before moving to the Maryland suburbs. He’s lived in Fells Point for the last two years and seldom explored beyond the same few restaurants and nightlife spots he and his wife always frequented.
“I hope that anyone that was like me, either when I lived in the suburbs or before I started doing this, where they were staying in their own bubble, that they would potentially use this as an idea of broadening out,” Seel said. “Hopefully, someone reading can open up and see how other people live.”
Seel has no endpoint in mind, and if he ever manages to eat at all 60 restaurants on his list, well, he’ll probably keep going, he said.