Given that Baltimore is only an $8, one hour train ride from DC, it’s a great weekend destination. I originally booked it to take advantage of two tickets for a free tour of the Heavy Seas brewery that my father won at an auction, but I realized after booking the trip that Heavy Seas has an alehouse, not a brewery, in downtown Baltimore. Alehouses typically serve beer while the breweries typically brew beer. I brew my own beer so I like to tour breweries and try their experimental beer.
Although the media may not portray Baltimore in the best light, the Harbor/ Fell’s Point areas are quite lovely. The food was good, the beer was good, and the people were friendly.
Family Meal – By Bryan Voltaggio
I had never heard of Bryan Voltaggio or this restaurant before my trip to Baltimore. Wow. The food was truly amazing. I had biscuits and gravy with over-hard eggs on top. The biscuits and gravy were made from scratch and contained good flavor/ spice. For an appetizer, I tried fried chicken pot pie bites. These bites are also made from scratch in the kitchen. They take the ingredients for chicken pot pie, grind it up, and freeze it. When the bites are partially frozen they are rolled into balls and dipped in crushed Ritz crackers and fried. The tomato soup featured cheese crisp crackers that were also delicious.
In addition to good food, the service was great. I forgot to order my eggs over-hard so I sent them back to the kitchen for additional cooking. A chef delivered the dish and asked if it was to my liking. They may be standard practice or the chef may wonder who orders their eggs over hard. In addition, I asked that they turn on the Michigan v. Michigan State basketball game. Within minutes, a manager was flipping through the channels.
The prices were reasonable but DC may have warped my perception of restaurant prices. The appetizers were under $10 and the entrees were under $15.
Heavy Seas Alehouse
While the alehouse was not the same as the brewery tour that I initially wanted to tour, I was still able to try a few exotic/ seasonal beers. The large glass contains a bourbon-barrel aged porter and the flight contains a hefeweizen, jalapeno IPA, double IPA, and one other. You can follow my beer ratings on Untappd which has apps for both the Android and iPhone. I thought the jalapeno IPA tasted like a liquefied jalapeno but my friend (who likes sour beers) like it. Props to Heavy Seas for experimenting, but I will certainly not try it again.
Duda’s Tavern and The House You Came in On
These are both small bars in the Fell’s Point area. Duda’s Tavern was noteworthy because they had bottles of Dogfishhead 120 Minute IPA. This IPA is very rare (I had never seen a bottle of it before) so we had to try a bottle. Delicious. I may try to clone it when I brew a future batch of beer.
The Horse You Came in On slowly turned into a dance floor so we didn’t stay very long. Maybe the name should have given that away? A few notable features include glasses that come in the shape of a can and the bar stools were horse riding sattels. Oh and the lighting looked cool.
Wandering Around Downtown
If you want to wander around downtown, you should check out Fell’s Point, the Harbor, and Mount Vernon. There is a peanut shop in Mount Vernon that makes delicious peanut products. I bought a half pound of turtles—a magical nut/caramel/ chocolate contraption—and ate all of them before I left Baltimore. You’ll also encounters cool statutes, buildings with amazing architecture, and evidence of an evolving city. Many old industrial buildings are renovated to serve as residential or commercial spaces.
I liked my experience in Baltimore and will definitely return. I’ll try to score cheap tickets to the National Aquarium next time so that I can visit probably the best known attraction in Baltimore.