In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
While studying flute performance and classical dance at the University of Wyoming, Michelle Shaw's endeavors were hampered by constant back pain. She sought relief through massage therapy and yoga, and this holistic care soon developed into a passion, inspiring her to attend the Baltimore School of Massage. She now helps others revel in muscle relief at Mount Vernon Wellness. Within a private treatment room overseen by a serene painting of Buddha, she eases sports- and work-related injuries, which are often caused by repetitive motion, poor posture, and pole-vaulting over cubicles. To treat these ailments, she draws on an array of modalities such as Swedish, deep-tissue, and reflexology massage. She also employs traditional Thai-massage techniques, which incorporate pressure-point therapy, energy work, and yoga-like stretching to regain bodily balance.
Not everyone who loves wine is fortunate enough to transform that love into a viable career, much less a successful business. But Christopher Spann did just that with Wine Market Bistro, whose numerous accolades stand as testament to his achievement. More than 25 wines can be savored by the glass in the loft-like dining room, while the adjoining wine shop stocks more than 800 bottles ranging in varietal and region. These bottles can be enjoyed in the bistro for a small corkage fee. The wine-friendly menu fills the rustic-chic dining room with the aroma of cornmeal fried oysters, artisanal cheese plates, diver scallops, and dry-aged ribeye. And in warmer months, diners can take their meals on the courtyard patio and cool off by piling ice block after ice block onto their laps.
Maryland Wineries Association curates the abundant spread of wineries and vineyards that dot the state’s landscape, keeping tabs on the more than 400 wines they produce. Holders of the Maryland Wine Passport wind their way through the state’s six wine trails, tracking their progress as they taste vintages and take photos with their favorite vines. The site also keeps track of local wine news and upcoming winery events.
Quarry's approachable, contemporary shop caters to sippers of all skill sets. With more than 800 wines and selections divided according to price (under $15 and under $25), taste (light, medium, full), color, and common-sense descriptions (food pairings, flavor notes, astrology-sign compatibility), Quarry makes it easy for wine explorers to discover their grape grail. For truly monumental decisions, Quarry's expert, friendly staff is always on hand to toss out suggestions on the perfect pour and how to raise goats to have human emotions. Come summer, pack an elegant liquid-based picnic, one-up neighbors at the annual block party, or just wipe a sweaty brow with a chilled bottle of Riesling.
A newcomer to the city's pub scene, Alewife offers an extensive beer list and a meat-heavy lineup ideal for gorging before catching a show. Sip a sweet, hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ($5.50) or a bourbon-cider cocktail ($10), while memorizing the menu, which features classic favorites with a twist. Entrees include the 11 oz. Smoke burger, a brioche bun stuffed with house-ground rib-eye, brisket, skirt and filet of beef, topped with fancy accoutrements such as chipotle aioli and served with a side of herbed duck-fat fries ($15). Or, hang a fang on the Kobe-beef hot dog, an upscale version of the American staple, slumbering on a soft pretzel roll and smothered in wild boar black-bean chili, smoked gouda, pickled red onions, mustard, and accompanied by herbed duck-fat fries ($12). Before slipping into a meat-induced coma, be sure to admire Alewife’s stained-glass windows, exposed pressed-tin ceiling, and wall of commemorative souvenir spoons, which represents every failed suitor the dish ever had.