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Food & Drink

Bits & Bites: Lexington Market gets artsy for fall opening, bean pies at Avenue and The Dizz former owner manages new gig

Some people base their vacations around art museums and natural wonders. Many readers of this column plan vacations around where and what to eat. I’ve enjoyed hearing about readers’ upcoming travel and eating plans after discussing my own recent trip to Austria.

Ryan Dobbins of Owings Mills is planning a trip to Spain with his wife, Emily, where “Obviously a lot of red wine and tapas will be consumed,” Dobbins writes. One major stop will be a Michelin-starred Basque restaurant called Alameda, not to be confused with the street in Baltimore.

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Jim Cumbie of Baltimore is heading to Toulouse, France. Favorite spots include Restaurant du Lauragais, which Cumbie says has the best cassoulet in the world, and Le Bistrot de l’Etoile, a “classic French bistro” where the maître d’ made headlines during the pandemic by running a marathon on his balcony. Oh, and a visit to McDonald’s to appease the grandson.

I have to wonder, with inflation rising fast in the U.S. lately, will visits to Europe and places less affected by those price surges seem comparatively economical? (If nothing else, that argument could make a great excuse to travel.)

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Send me your eating plans and tales of food adventures at ctkacik@baltsun.com.

Lexington Market now set to open in fall

Baltimore’s revitalized Lexington Market is now set to open this fall — a date that has slid backwards a few times during the pandemic. But city residents can get a sneak peek of the place this July while artist Ernest Shaw, Jr. paints four, 16-foot murals in the outdoor plaza, over the course of three weeks, according to Seawall developers.

Shaw’s artwork won’t be the only one on-site: In addition, mother-and-son team Oletha DeVane and Chris Kojzar will install “Robert and Rosetta,” a tribute to enslaved people.

Reed Bmore — the artist behind those fun wire sculptures hanging from city stop lights — has collaborated with Nick Ireys and Eric Smith on a larger-than life installation called “Food Play.”

Collage artist Shan Wallace will install a piece titled “Our Ties to the Market” inside the market right as you come in, based on her time spent documenting the old market’s vendors and customers.

Bean pies pop up at the Avenue Market

With so much emphasis on Lexington Market, it can be easy to forget that there are actually five other city-owned markets in Baltimore: Cross Street, Broadway, Northeast, Hollins and Avenue markets. While some, like Cross Street and Broadway, have recently undergone splashy renovations, others, particularly Avenue Market, feel virtually forgotten, with few customers during the day and many vacant spaces.

But the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation, which manages the markets for the city, has been working to attract new vendors through a Pop Up Shop program. I recently stopped by Pennsylvania Avenue Market to check out a new arrival: Grandma Louise’s Pies.

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The shop’s specialty is bean pies – which hold an important place among many Black Muslims in Baltimore and beyond, who consider it to be a healthier alternative to sweet potatoes.

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According to a profile this year in The Baltimore Times, founder Mosiah Fit was unhoused just a few years ago, living in a car and selling pies from a hand-pulled wagon. The shop is named in honor of his grandmother, Mary Louise Glanding.

From The Dizz to Alonso’s

Remington’s The Dizz has been closed for three years now. But my colleague Fred “The Razz” Rasmussen has informed me that the restaurant’s former owner, Elaine Stevens, is now the manager at Alonso’s on West Cold Spring Lane.

Rasmussen writes: “She roasted her own turkeys for her fabled Turkey Club and Hot Turkey Platter with french fries or mashed potatoes served with pan gravy.”

Stevens started two and a half years ago “but I just put the turkey on [the menu] last week,” she said, reached by phone.

As for The Dizz, restaurateur Elan Kotz had purchased the building with much-hyped plans to reopen it into a new restaurant, Lily’s. But Kotz, who shut down his Station North restaurant Orto, last year, has put the building up for sale yet again.

It’s listed on LoopNet for a cool $1.2 million. According to online property records, the property previously sold in 2020 for around a third of that price: $375,000. Reached by phone, Kotz declined to comment.


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