One of my goals this year is to eat at 15 new restaurants in Baltimore City before my birthday in June. I realized that as often as I am in the city, I tend to go back to the same places I like and one of the great gifts of Baltimore is our delicious food. I want to make sure I get to experience a wide variety of cuisines and environments, so I set a quantifiable goal to it. If it goes well by my birthday, I might extend the goal to 30 by the end of 2015! We’ll see. Anyway, today I’m going to share the second set of new places I tried. Clarification: these aren’t restaurants that were just opened, they are new to me. You can also check out numbers one through five.
#1: Tio Pepe
I went to Tio Pepe from a third hand recommendation for a new “Mexican place”. Turns out that person didn’t really know what they were talking about, because I walked in and immediately said, “Oh god. The napkins are made out of cloth and I’m not even wearing a bra”. It was fine Spanish cuisine, and the waiters wore three different elaborate costumes depending on what their duties were. I’ve never been brought so much butter (or delicious free bread) in my life. The food was super expensive, but thank glitter it was Restaurant Week, so I got some fancy courses for just $30. Everything was good, including the service, but I’m not going to go back. I’m much more of a tacos-out-of-a-truck kinda girl.
Ordered: Pollo a la Riojana + Chocolate Mousse Cake
#2: Little Havana
I’ve always wanted to go to Little Havana because the outside is lit with twinkle lights, and I obviously like Mexican food. This place was much more up my alley. Their guacamole was pretty good, but they didn’t give us nearly enough chips, and then wanted to charge us for extra (lame). My tacos were good, and I usually only ever get chicken, but they steak was really nice. The ambiance is quaint and fun, and there’s a lot of space.
Ordered: Guacamole + Carne Tacos
#3: Le Garage
I didn’t even know this place existed in Hampden. I went there after a day-long art install and was famished in a delirious fashion. Usually, cardboard tastes delicious to me at that state, but unfortunately I wasn’t really impressed by anything there. The burger was only okay, and they don’t have ketchup in the restaurant. They have homemade marinara sauce, but that’s the closest thing and I have a fundamental issue with that. If you like duck and beer, though, you might want to try this place. I will say that the setting was cute and interestingly-lit.
Ordered: Bon Burger + Frites
#4: G & A Restaurant
This place is cheap. Like, the most reasonably priced place of all time. The service was incredible, all the way out the door — when the owner saw us taking photos outside he jumped in on the fun! I just ordered their famous hot dog and burger, and the burger wasn’t really that good, but the hot dog was. My friend got a burger with an egg on it, and it was amazing. And so were their disco fries. Really, I can’t wait to go back here. It’s my kind of place.
Ordered: Coney Island Dog + Burger, & Gravy Fries
#5: Of Love And Regret
I went to Of Love And Regret during brunch hours, so the menu was limited. I liked what I got and how it was presented, and everyone else liked their dishes, too. I think this would be a fun place to come get a drink at some day when I’m out and about in Canton. Warning for anyone who is scared of mannequins like me: they are on the ceiling of the bathrooms. Look out!
Ordered: Skillet Frittata + Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
I love Baltimore food posts! And it’s interesting to hear your take on places we’ve been to. We had the same experience at Tio Pepe. Everything seemed overpriced for food that just wasn’t mind blowing. I’m not a huge fan of the food at Little Havana– it seems average. However, I love going there for mojitos when the weather is nice because they have that awesome outdoor patio that looks out at the harbor. Same underwhelming feeling about Le Garage, too. It had been hyped up by so many people, but we were bummed that the fries tasted like uncrisp steak fries. My mom is from Belgium, the origin of frites, so I was expecting super crisp frites like I’d get at a frites stand in Brussels. And the marinara sauce was a total disappointment for me too– why that and not even mayo, which is what would typically be served with frites. It seemed like a total fail.
My favorite find recently for cocktails and Mexican is Barcocina. While it was super out of the ordinary, they guacamoles are flavorful and interesting and they give you a shit load of chips. Plus they have a spicy mojito that is amazing. If you haven’t been, check it out if you like food of the Mexican variety. And for true Mexican, you need to get tacos around the corner from my house. Tijuana Tacos at E. Baltimore and Potomac. AMAZING.
Oh wow, I definitely have to try Barcocina and Tijuana Tacos! I love tacos more than Kanye loves Kanye. 🙂
Thanks for your super thought-out comment. I’m glad I’m not alone on my feeling on Le Garage, and yeah Little Havana isn’t necessarily the best quality I’ve ever had, but I much preferred it to Tio Pepe! Thanks again for your recommendations.