Tuesday, April 15, 2014

second day in baltimore

we woke up to rain today.  it was the kinda rain to make noah worry.  so instead of scouring the streets for art, we decided to stay inside today.  we headed to the national aquarium to check out the fishies.  it was absurdly crowded in the fish jail and it was not the best experience.  in fact, i would say that the aquarium in both singapore and in bangkok make the US National Aquarium look like a shitty public pool.

after that shit experience, we made our way to lunch at jack and zach food off of charles st.  now we're talkin'.  they have a simple breakfast and lunch menu supported by only the finest local ingredients and all in-house made items from the sausages to the pickles to the jar of hand-ground mustard on the old-school diner counter.  it was really delicious and really cheap.  about $20 for the 2 of us......including a milkshake for desert.

after lunch we hit up a local bookstore and then wandered around a bit more.  for dinner we splurged.  after searching around for good restaurants that source local foods, we were led to woodberry kitchen.  the chef was nominated for a james beard award last year, and the restaurant features a huge wood-fired oven.  the building is an old foundry that has been repurposed into something amazing.  there are artist studios (where we picked up a few new hand-blown glasses for our kitchen) and just lots and lots of interesting textures.

everything at woodberry is made in house.  all the meat is butchered and cured in-house.  there is row after row of pickled veggies lining the stair case and piles of oak logs for the oven.  what a great dining experience.  despite the fact that our waiter was a bit rushed and messed with our pacing a bit, the food was top-notch outstanding.  the nuanced flavors were in everything they brought out.  the pickled wax beans were a salty tangy and crunchy fried little bits of deliciousness.  the charcuterie plate was incredible in the different flavors that they brought out.  mindy ordered a blackberry teetotaler that had so many layers of flavors that it was nearly impossible to stop drinking it just because it was so interesting.  our entrees (steak and stew) were both good, but i was much more interested in the small plates they offered.  we had mac and cheese from the wood oven that carried this subtle smokey overtone.  oysters are always a favorite, and they came with 4 different sauces, including their 1 year aged snake oil hot sauce.  the usual franks red hot sauce is what?  who cares.  AGED SNAKE OIL HOT SAUCE.  damn damn good.  damn good.  at the end of the night i thought we'd racked up a pretty pricey tab, but it turned out to be quite reasonable for one of the best places in the city, and lets face, the atlantic region.  eat there.  it's worth your time and money.

Monday, April 14, 2014

hello from baltimore

i'm writing from baltimore this evening.  this has been my first chance to sit down and think about the past few days.  yesterday we hopped in the van and hit the road for a 10 hour drive to baltimore.  we came with the intention of picking up a cooler load of crabs to bring back to the landlocked midwest.  this morning we hit the tourist district along the harbor.  blech.  we ate at some shitty place called miss shirley's.  it had great reviews, so we waited, but also watched what was being delivered to tables.  food products.  puke.  not only that, but there was a hair on my napkin and silverware.  and when i complained the manager said she would let her supplier know that she is disappointed.  my response was, maybe having a 'supplier' is your problem.  you can't launder and fold your own napkins and silverware?  ugh.  bad start.  then we walked over to the MARC train at camden yards hoping to catch a train to DC to see the cherry blossoms.  again, no dice.  the train we were trying to hop didn't leave until 3.  so that was out.  we could have made our way to penn station and got to DC, but it was way much time to spend getting there and back and not enough time there.  so we nixed the idea of DC.  oh well.

we were both disappointed and annoyed with baltimore.  so we got the hell out of tourist town and headed the neighborhoods where Open Walls Baltimore is.  we parked.  walked around aimlessly for a bit, and then ran into a guy doing a chalk drawing on the window of his corner shop.  he told us where to go find some of the murals, and that there was a free wall and a place called the graffiti warehouse.  

ok.  i'm interested now.  we wandered some more and found some more murals, and then in the 80° heat we needed something to drink, so we stopped in a cool little shop.  the owner was there.  it was a new place, only open for the past few months, but he chatted us up for a while about graf and street art. he gave us such a good vibe that it made us forget about our earlier shit experience in tourist town.  then we stopped in an art shop, picked up a few cans, and headed to the free wall/alley.  

i started by pasting my new crow print, then painted the cell phone guy.  some guy and his daughters came down to paint (and for the girls to practice their skills [they were probably around 10 +/-]).  that was one of the coolest things to see:  a place where you can freely interact and teach kids to paint, and give them access to space to actually paint.  i then went on to add a cat to the wall.  and when i was about finished and totally disappointed with what i had created, one of the managers of the space came up with some guy in a neck tie.  i chatted them up a bit, then added a neck tie to my cat.  that seemed to get break some walls down, and we chatted and laughed a bit.  everyone we met in the station north neighborhood was awesome.  down to earth.  good people.  for real.  

after that i was so excited about baltimore.  fuck all that tourist shit that people want to see.  we went to where the people live, and they invited us into their neighborhood and treated us like they wanted us there.  magic.

we headed back downtown to go to the orioles game.  o's v. tampa bay rays.  the ballpark at camden yards was so cool.  it is quite a small park, and we wandered all through it before the game.  we found our seats, i grabbed a beer, and we settled in.  the game was a blowout, as tampa pitcher chris archer, seemed to be serving up meatballs from the get go.  mindy was so happy to get to see former reds catcher ryan hanigan on the lineup card for the rays.  and i was too.  hanigan has been a favorite player of mindy's (and mine) since he came up with the reds a long while back.  but now he's with the rays, and we were lucky that he was starting today.  the o's won the game.  and we had such a great experience at camden yards.  now, i need some sleep.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Slow Cooker Black Beans and Chorizo Soup

It's April and we're still doing well with keeping our fish-and-beans-once-a-week "diet" resolution. We were super busy this week and the temptation to eat out was definitely there, but we pushed through and managed to make dinner every night. Yay for us! Our favorite dish this week? Slow cooker black beans and chorizo soup. I did most of the prep work the night before, which saved me some time the next morning.

This black bean soup is easy to make, does not taste like chili, and does not feature mushy beans. You can top if off with either some creme fraiche, or some lime juice. It's versatile. You can even leave out the chorizo and use a vegetable broth to make it vegetarian.

1.5 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight
1 lb chorizo, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups stewed tomatoes
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
fresh cilantro, chopped finely
1 4-inch piece of kombu (optional)
salt, to taste

In a saute pan, brown onions over medium heat until translucent. Add in garlic and peppers, cook for an additional 5 minutes, then remove.
In the same pan, saute chorizo until nicely browned, then drain the fat.
Put all the ingredients into slow cooker, except for the cilantro. Stir well.
Cook on high for 5 hours. Test your beans. You might need a longer cooking time depending on how fresh or old your beans are.
Serve, topped with cilantro and either sour cream, lime juice, or a dollop of creme fraiche.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

from the studio: 4.12.14

new print ...

Friday, April 11, 2014

{Five for Friday} Happy Birthday Kitty!

Our cat turns 14 this April. He's been with me since he was 6 months old. I sorted through some really old files on my computer and found 5 pictures of him as a little kitty.


These were all shot on film. Remember film? Haha.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tom Shafer is a great art critic.

You can read the article online here.

Zach is on Instagram!

As far as social media goes, I've always been a fan of Instagram

I recently convinced Zach to join, so now he has an account too! If you like, you can find him here!

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