In the kitchen of Cozy Cafe, cooks marinate chicken breasts in natural spices, craft spicy penne pasta to order, and pan sear southern-style turkey chops. After fully formed dishes pass through the kitchen doors, they travel to wooden tables or lounge-style seating in the restaurant’s dining area, which is brightened by a red accent wall and a flat-screen TV. Patrons can browse the Internet with their laptops or Atari 2600s, using complimentary WiFi while dining on Negril stew chicken and Caribbean-style tofu seasoned with island spices. On the first and third Sunday evening of every month, an open-mic night provides a showcase for musicians, comedians, and poets.
Inside the savory-scented digs of Honey Baked Ham & Cafe, spools of hardwood-smoked, spiral-sliced ham entice carnivorous palates. Here, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
The skilled confectioners at Mary Sue Candies have been quelling the cries of Maryland’s sweet teeth with handmade, preservative-free treats since 1948. For starters, feast on strips of almond bark ($15.50 for 16 oz.) harvested from the nation’s oldest bonbon forests, or let teeth saw through the nutty crust of a pecan nougat log ($2.49 for 3 oz.) to free the nougaty nature-spirits imprisoned inside. Alternately, the handmade salt water taffy ($4.99 for 16 oz.) whisks tongues away on a sugar-laced seaside sojourn, while a 16-ounce box of nuts and chews chocolates ($15.90) lets mouths practice athletic jawrobics on Mary Sue’s most popular caramels and clusters.
Baltimore City Paper named Santoni's the Best Grocery Store in the metropolitan area for good reason. A local staple since the 1930s, Santoni's is proud of its old-school roots and personal service. The friendly staff acts as one big family, either because they are blood related or because they are brothers and sisters in ritual kiwi juggling. Open 24 hours a day, Santoni's is the perfect place to catch the sunrise over a neatly kept stack of navel oranges.