Much like artfully arranged crepe paper, edible crêpes add elegant taste to the thoughtful gifts they conceal. The family-owned-and-operated Mt. Washington crêperie serves up fresh French fare for lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends. The backbone of the bistro's menu is the crêpes, and the lunch and brunch menus offer a variety of hot sandwiches to accompany the sweet and savory concoctions. Nosh on a midday smoked salmon panini ($9) with tomatoes and pesto sauce or a croque niçois ($8), a toasted ham and swiss sandwich with tomatoes and anchovies. The eatery's savory crêpes promise to satisfy even the most discerning connoisseur of the thin pancake delights with dishes such as crêpe Lorraine ($11) with fresh asparagus, brie, and prosciutto, or the seaward crêpe Normande ($16) stuffed with sautéed calamari and shrimp, veggies, garlic, and goat cheese. For a dinner delicacy, try an order of escargots ($9.99) cooked in a butter and white-wine sauce before moving on to the Carrée D'agneau grille ($25.99), grilled lamb chops served over a red-wine sauce with sautéed spinach and the starch of the day, or tilapia florentine ($18.99) with basmati rice, sautéed spinach, goat cheese, and capers in a vin blanc sauce.
Classic Mediterranean food abounds at Desert Cafe, from gardens of crunchy salads to shish kebabs of skewered meat, onions, and peppers. City Paper's review made note of the colorful fabric that decorates the ceiling, forming a vivid canopy above plates of flaky spanakopita or mango curry chicken salad studded with golden raisins. Warm flatbread wraps around gyros made from chicken, beef, or lamb and served with tzatziki sauce. Diners can also enjoy fresh air with their food on a colorful covered patio, sipping drinks amid strings of party lights and wood painted crimson. The caf? is also home to owner Blake Wollman's lauded Wild Pea hummus, which was voted best hummus of 2012 by Baltimore Magazine.
Of all of New York’s exports, perhaps one of the most ubiquitous is the New York–style bagel. In the early 20th century, a Polish immigrant named Isador Goldberg came to New York and brought his own recipe for this classic baked good with him, and it’s in his honor that the owners of Goldberg’s New York Bagels decided to name their shop. The Zagat-rated bakers still use Goldberg’s original recipe, assembling ingredients from scratch, boiling the halos of dough, and finally baking them to give each bagel the perfect crunch that pairs well with a schmear of cream cheese or a layer of lox. Though the bagels come in a range of sweet and savory flavors, all of them are kosher-certified and easily pair with other breakfast items such as omelets, four flavors of blintzes, and waffles. The shop opens at 7 a.m. to serve both breakfast and lunch all day, allowing clients to stock up on staples such as sandwiches, frozen yogurt, or salad-bar selections all day long.
Pastry chef Ruby blends up batches of vegan organic batter and swirls fluffy vegan buttercream frosting to create cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and cakes. Classic flavors enliven a menu of animal-friendly delights including carrot, apple, and chocolate cake paired with buttercream flavors such as cool mint, vanilla, and peanut butter. Ruby's also offers catering for any special occasion, from weddings to baby showers to July-o-ween, brightening up dessert tables with a colorful range of sugary peaks and icing-filled valleys.
Gathered around Shaquille O’Neal in front of the chalkboard scribbled with the day’s ice cream flavors, the staff of Taharka Bros. is positively beaming. While the visit from a basketball legend brings a crowd of admirers into their shop, Taharka’s ice cream wizards have no problem attracting throngs of fans sans the help of Shaq’s presence. Voted one of Baltimore's "Great Milkshakes" by The Baltimore Sun in 2011, and crowned "Best Ice Cream" by Baltimore Magazine in its Best of Baltimore 2010 edition, devotees are drawn in by the eatery's "irresistible ice-cream menu," which includes decadent flavors such as honey graham and salty caramel. Adding to the draw is its ability to "satisfy [your] ravenous social conscience" with its management training program that "offers the chance for urban youth to get a foothold in the workplace." Throughout the day, the entrepreneurial young staffers hone business skills as they hand-make batches of frozen confections using fresh ingredients such as fruits and magic beanstalk beans plucked from local farms. The sense of community and teamwork that goes into the creation of every scoop reflects Taharka Bros.' support of initiatives that uphold civic involvement, social justice, and cultural exchange through the arts.
The pastry chefs at Gone Cupcaking Across America share a wealth of gourmet cupcake experience with aspiring dessert artisans, in flavors that include whisked buttercream atop classic vanilla, chocolate, and red-velvet cake bases, and more exotic choices such as Grand Marnier or peaches 'n' cream. At lessons, students learn piping techniques, how to make frosting, and how to make iced flowers without the hassle of fertilizing regular flowers with milk and butter.