Have you been watching HBO’s new series “We Own This City”? Based on a book by former Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton, the show offers a grim slice of local history, focusing on the exploits of the Gun Trace Task Force, a corrupt unit within the police department whose members were sent to prison for their misdeeds.
Baltimoreans depressed by what they’re seeing on screen can still appreciate the care its creators, including David Simon of “The Wire,” have taken to get the city’s food culture just right.
Characters pick up lake trout at Northeast Market, eat breakfast at David and Dad’s, and sip drinks at Topside. As the police detective Daniel Hersl, actor Josh Charles inhales a load of chicken wings while sitting at the bar of Frazier’s in Hampden. He brutishly licks his fingers before offering a handshake.
The devotion to Baltimore flavor isn’t limited to the show. Charles, who himself is a Baltimore native and also the son of longtime Sun columnist Laura Charles, repped his hometown over the weekend in an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in which he brought along his own personal snowball machine.
He told Fallon that “If I think about something that is uniquely Baltimore, it’s a snowball.” He even brought an array of Baltimore’s favorite flavors, including Skylite and Egg Custard, all from Charm City’s own Kavern Snow Syrups.
Charles’ snowball-making skills could use some help. To Fallon’s horror, he used his bare hands to scrape ice from the machine and form it into a ball shape. He added syrup only at the end, though any expert snowball maker knows to add syrup halfway through the ice making process so that the whole thing is saturated in flavor. Lastly, he didn’t bring marshmallow cream. Seriously, Josh?
Next time Charles is in town, I’d encourage him to swing by Walther Gardens, possibly the nation’s oldest snowball stand, to watch the pros at work. Don’t forget the marshmallow.
Big news for Columbia’s dining scene
People have been asking me what’s going on with the former Clyde’s and The Soundry in Columbia. I have some answers.
Clyde’s closed in July 2020 after 45 years in Columbia. The Soundry, which was owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group, shut down at the start of the pandemic and never reopened.
Now, the Lake Kittamaqundi spaces will become two concepts known together as The Collective Columbia, according to a post on social media shared by the Downtown Columbia Partnership. State business records list the owner as Anastacia L. Samaras of Ellicott City. Owners could not immediately reached for comment.
The two businesses include Offshore, a seasonal seafood restaurant, and Encore, an entertainment venue. Both are set to open late this summer.
Hopkins Deli closing, looking for a new location
Hopkins Deli is shutting its doors, according to a post on Facebook. Lucky Singh, who has owned the business for 17 years, wrote: “Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be closing our doors at the end of the month.” Singh says he is looking for a new location nearby.
The shop is located on the ground floor of the Hopkins House Apartments near the University’s lacrosse stadium. Stephen Walsh, a 2006 graduate of Johns Hopkins University who lives in the neighborhood, said “For people living on that side of campus it was definitely the go-to place for pizza for comfort food.” He added: “The staff were very friendly and they would talk to people and remember names and faces.”
Customers who get in before it closes can snag bottles of wine for 30% off and liquor for 20% off.
Iggie’s Pizza will get a rebrand
North Calvert Street’s Iggie’s Pizza has a new owner and will soon get a new name. Charles Uwaje took over the eatery a month ago and plans to rebrand as Love Zone Chicken & Waffles, though he says the eatery will continue to sell the pizza it’s long been known for. The restaurant will remain BYOB, says Uwaje, the chef and owner who previously owned an eatery in Prince George’s County, where he lives. But he was interested in switching to Baltimore, since, he said, “PG County’s saturated with restaurants.”