Charmed in Baltimore

I had a blast last weekend in Baltimore and the highlight was the Charm City Food Tour that a friend a mine had recommended.  Walking around learning about a neighborhood and eating good food?  Sign me up!  I had originally wanted to go on the Fells Point Tour, but it was sold out.  I signed up for the Federal Hills Tour which is one of Baltimore’s most historic neighborhoods. 


I ran late and missed the first stop which was Big Jim’s Deli in the Cross Street Market.  My tour guide was nice to have saved me half a tuna fish sandwich.  I had previously indicated I couldn’t eat beef so I was the only one that didn’t enjoy a pastrami sandwich.  I have to say the tuna fish was pretty good.  The market has a lot of different food stalls including seafood stalls which I wrote about last week and Utz Potato Chips which to me is the Lays Potato Chips of the area.  


Next stop on the tour was Nichiban, a local sushi restaurant.  The chef made us a few sushi rolls to try that included ones with fresh salmon and crab.  It was fun to sit at the sushi bar and enjoy a small snack.


To quench our thirst, our next stop was Metropolitan Coffeehouse & Wine Bar.  We each got a glass of a local brew called Flying Dog.  The owner also gave us a small sampling of their chili and a Scottish egg.  They apparently have some of the best chili, which I did not try.  I was able to eat the Scottish egg.  I knew what a Scottish egg was because I had one at the Eat Real Festival in Oakland earlier this year.  It is a hardboiled egg that is wrapped with pork sausage, breaded, and then deep fried.  It was tasty and filling and definitely good with beer.


We continued a few blocks and stopped at the Scarborough Fair, a bed and breakfast, for a sweet treat.  The owner had made us some chocolate cupcakes and some warm apple cider.  I really liked the cider which we were able to take with us as she trekked up to Federal Hill for the amazing views.   


Federal Hill was the site for thousands of people to celebrate Maryland’s ratification of the “federal” constitution in 1787 giving it its name.  I really enjoyed walking around the neighborhood filled with two and three story brick homes that have lots of charm. 


After this short trek, it was time again to stop for a snack.  We visited Trattoria Annamaria for a meatball loaded with sauce.  This was great and I wish I had some bread to dip into the remaining sauce. 


The most famous cookie in Baltimore is the Berger cookie.  This is a shortbread cookie topped with chocolate fudge.  Our final stop was Dangerously Delicious Pies for a slice of the Baltimore Bomb which brings the Berger cookie to a new level.  These cookies are smashed and melted down into a pie.  Tasty!

Charm City Food Tours are great and I highly recommend it if you are in the area and have a few hours to spare.  I want to answer a question that I had before I arrived into this City.  Why is Baltimore known as Charm City?  In the 70’s the mayor hired someone to come up with a campaign to increase tourism and came up with the name Charm City.  Visitors would receive a charm bracelet and be able to tour the various attractions collecting different charms.  Unfortunately, the city could no longer afford the charm bracelets, but the nickname stuck.