As we were making our way around in city a cab, I remarked to my wife that you would probably be able to eat at a different restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire year straight, and still have plenty of untapped locations for the future. And so it goes in New York City. According to the all-knowing interwebs, Manhattan alone is home to around 24,000 different restaurants, with constant openings and closings. Factor in surrounding boroughs like the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, and that number skyrockets. Long story short: NYC is, without a doubt, the biggest eating hub in the country. There’s no shortage of options, regardless of what you’re craving.
New Orleans will always hold a very special place in my heart. My earliest recollections of New Orleans are not of the city itself; they are of the food. And those food memories are mostly of Emeril Lagasse, the larger-than-life chef on the Food Network, spouting all that Cajun and Creole cuisine had to offer. Watching Emeril – back when the Food Network produced shows where chefs actually cooked – was fundamental in developing my love of food. It got me interested in cooking which eventually turned into a love of researching, visiting, and now writing about, great restaurants. When I really sit down and think about it, much of this food love comes back to New Orleans.
So my one – and, thus far, only – trip to the Crescent City had to be perfect. There would be food, of course. But in an ironic twist, the food of New Orleans took a back seat to the real star of the trip. You see, the city where food is first, is also where Chew, Party of Two got its start, so to speak. New Orleans will always be, first and foremost, where I proposed to my wife.
1520 Clipper Road, Baltimore, MD 21211 (http://www.bmorebirroteca.com/home)
** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)
Growing up in the suburbs of the DMV, whenever we made the trek up to Baltimore, there were only two destinations: the Inner Harbor/Aquarium or Camden Yards. In recent years, however, Baltimore has seen a real resurgence within its dining scene: Mid-Atlantic-centric menus (Spike Gjerde), big name chefs (Michael Mina), and neighbors expanding into the city (Bryan Voltaggio). So during a recent outing with my family, when I decided to break them out of their comfort zone and head toward the Hampden/Clipper Mill area and Birroteca, I received more than one puzzled look. But, by the time the meal was over, everyone seemed to understand that there was a lot more to Charm City than the Inner Harbor.