"This is the old Spike & Charlie's, right?" That's the No. 1 question I've been getting about Ryleigh's Oyster Mount Vernon, a new restaurant from Brian McComas, who owns and operates the original Ryleigh's in Federal Hill and a second, Ryleigh's Hunt Valley, on Padonia Road.
In Howard County, excellent ethnic restaurants pop up in so many unlikely spots that finding a good meal in a nondescript strip mall is no longer surprising. But that doesn't take away from the appreciation of the good food we enjoyed after dinner at Viet Pearl, which opened in Ellicott City in December. The restaurant's decor is strange at best, and the staff was still learning the ropes during our meal, but the food was excellent.
Keep the long johns, space heaters and any other way to stay warm in the winter. For our money, a finely made cocktail from a Baltimore-area bar is the most effective -- or at least the most fun way to thaw our minds and bodies.
The world of flavor seems fickle sometimes. One minute, everyone's talking about chipotle. The next, they've moved on to Sriracha. This year, according to Hunt Valley-based McCormick & Company, it'll be Japanese and Middle Eastern spices setting everyone's tongues ablaze.
Prem Raja Mahat, the owner of the new Nepal House restaurant in Mount Vernon, is a well-known folk singer in his native Nepal. Just how highly regarded is Mahat? A National Public Radio profile in 2003 told listeners, "In America, Prem Raja Mahat manages an Indian restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. But in his home country of Nepal, Prem Raja is one of the most popular singers. Think of him as the Bob Dylan of Katmandu ... or Elvis of the Himalayas."
Nearly two dozen restaurants are participating in this winter's Howard County Restaurant Weeks, which starts Jan. 19 and runs through Feb. 2. According to the event's website, www.howardcountyrestaurantweek.com, 23 local dining spots from Elkridge to Sykesville have signed on so far.
The best days for the watering hole, ironically, appear to have been during Prohibition, when serving drinks was illegal, at least technically. As legend has it, savvy visitors to the bar at the back of the Belvedere Hotel would know to look at the two large amber-eyed plaster owls stationed at the bar's cash register- blinking eyes meant the liquor was flowing; static-eyed owls meant cool your heels.
The Historic District Farmers Market may be closed for the season, but you can still take advantage of the Winter Baking Market, in the parking lot behind the Little French Market Café in Tonge Row on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
When Pabu closed last summer after a short but successful stint in the Four Seasons Baltimore, there was much consternation among the city's biggest food lovers. Just a month after the opening of the new restaurant, Azumi, it's clear that the big shoes left by Pabu have been filled.
Some suggested the modest Fells Point space on Aliceanna Street was cursed, but what it really needed was a sound concept. The proof arrived on the 1700 block in March 2013 as Papi's Taco Joint, which has been consistently packed every time we've visited the bar.
You might be further lulled into thinking that Bookmakers is solely a cocktail lounge when you have a look at the drinks menu, which features in addition to a vast selection of bourbon, rye and American whiskeys an array of Japanese and Taiwanese whiskeys, eight varieties of absinthe, three kinds of chartreuse and 10 brands of amaro. All that, and a full-page cocktail list courtesy of Bookmakers' beverage director, Ryan Sparks, an alumnus of Brewer's Art, Jack's Bistro and Of
As Baltimore Ravens players and coaches prepare for their Saturday night wild card playoff matchup with their rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers, operators of bars and other businesses in Harford County are getting ready for a game day crush of Ravens fans.