Mac + Cheese = Baltimore Love

As the day comes to an end, I think it is never too late to say happy National Mac n Cheese Day to all my cheese loving friends! I have always been enamored with this cheesy dish. Growing up, my father’s baked Mac n Cheese was always my favorite meal… actually it still is. My coworkers and I were discussing this delicious holiday at work and started listing all of the great places to get the tasty dish around town. I thought it would be best to share some of the best places to grab Mac n Cheese around Baltimore:

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Photo taken by @brian_weiner on Instagram

Alexander’s Tavern in Fells Point has two amazing Mac n Cheese dishes. If you are there for brunch, try out the Breakfast Mac n Cheese with scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage.

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Or you could order the Mac n Cheese pizza, complete with bacon and jalapeños. This was the very first meal I ate in Baltimore after signing my first Baltimore City lease 8 years ago. This picture is literally from that day (for real, check out the Mr’s sliding phone in the background). Still a favorite dish of mine to date!

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Photo taken by @linggdongg on Instagram

You could also head across the street to Stuggy’s for a Crab Mac dog topped with Old Bay. It’s like America’s favorite past time had a baby with the state of Maryland and topped it with Mac n Cheese. Not nearly the best way to describe it, so let the photo do the talking.

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Photo taken by @cardinaltav on Instagram

Over in Canton, many of my neighbors’ favorite corner bar boasts a very creamy Mac n Cheese. Don’t miss out on the rest of the true southern food at Cardinal Tavern.

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Photo taken by @roliepolieolgie on Instagram

Head up to Highlandtown to taste Snake Hill‘s flavorful Mac n Cheese. Best when paired with one of their sausages.

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Photo taken by liketheteaeats.com

Across the harbor, you can carry on to Wayward Southern Bar & Grill for their Brisket Mac n Cheese. Hello 14 hour brisket, smoked gouda, and I don’t care if mason jars are over used because that is simply adorable. I just want to eat it right up…oh wait, yeah, that is the point.

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Photo taken by @fbjackson on Instagram

While I have never had it myself, this photo of the Mac n Cheese at Brewer’s Art is making my mouth water. Must. Go. ASAP.

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Photo taken by George T. on Yelp

I am not going to lie, while looking for photos of the Mac + Cheese + Chocolate from Jack’s Bistro, it was hard to find one that looked appetizing. Most photos do not do it justice and it is a must try. That is coming from a girl who severely dislikes mixing her sweets and savories.

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Photo on TheFoodNetwork.com

Something would be amiss if I did not include the Gypsy Queen’s Mac n Cheese Cone with Bacon Bling. Yes, you heard me, Mac n Cheese in a CONE with BACON. It was even featured on Food Network with a recipe, but I would recommend going right to the source.

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Photo taken by @dmcgphotography, posted on @thefoodmarket Instagram

Last, but you know the saying, not least, head on up to Hampden to sample The Food Market‘s Lobster Mac n Cheese.

Now I am off to have noodly dreams with all of my favorite cheeses. Goodnight, Bmore!

With Love & Cheese,

BS

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What is This Light City Thing Anyway?

You’ve probably seen your Instagram and Facebook feeds blowing up with Light City images all week. This festival is bringing literal light and brightness to a city that is on the edge of something great. I can’t even begin to describe what this festival means to me or for this city, but I’ll quote Thomas Dolby from the Light City U Creative Conference, “what is going on in Baltimore today sets the stage for a beautiful resurgence.” 

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, here are a few photos from what I’ve enjoyed so far this week. But please, come out tonight or tomorrow to see the festival and the community with your own eyes.

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The Big Wheel: Ride high above Light City on a LED Ferris wheel (Special thanks to Sherwood Amusements).

Lumen presented by Kaiser Permanente: created by Kristin McWharter and Steven Lymana, it is a visual art installation, performance, and interactive community space that allows users to draw with light across the Baltimore city landscape. Each night of the festival, Lumen invites local muralists and festival attendees to contribute to an illuminated 100’ fluorescent mural wall.

The Creative Alliance Light City Lantern Parade kicked off the Light City festival on Monday. The parade f music performances by 901 Arts Drumline, Tongue N Cheek, Twilighters Marching Band, N Full Motion Marching Band and Mariachi Rey Azteca.

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(Left) Michael Owen, Tony Byrd and Jay Herzog put on a live 30-minute performance every night, featuring light, dance, sound, and paint in a life-size diorama.

(Right) Diamonds Light Baltimore presented by Legg Mason: created by Cheon and Kroiz, Artist and Architect Collaborative, complete with 15 LED Diamond sculptures.

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Dear Baltimore: Thick Air Studios from Detroit created letters that float above bicycles. As they join together, they spell out various phrases composed of the letters from “Dear Baltimore.”

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Dunson, a Baltimore hip hop artist, played at the Harbor East stage on Friday night. 
Like I said earlier, it’s not too late to see it with your own eyes. Get out there tonight or tomorrow!

 

Hello, March. Looking for something to do around Baltimore?

March is here and Spring is just around the corner. Until then, we will alternate between snow and 65 degree days, in typical Maryland fashion. It also means it is the month of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, like it or hate it, it happens. Beyond the bar crawls (the Canton Irish Stroll, the Fed Hill Irish Stroll, Canton Square’s Meet in the Street, or St. Natty’s Day Pub Crawl), there is still a lot to check out in Baltimore:

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Photo Credit: Birroteca’s Facebook Page

Thursday, March 10th

Grab some Flights & Bites with Burley Oak at Birroteca. They will have multiple beers and food pairings that you can sample. Get yourself a beer flight for $14 or the beer & food pairing for $24.

Thursday, March 17th

Looking to do something a little different on St. Patrick’s Day? Join CorePower Yoga for a special St. Patrick’s Day class at Little Havana. The class is FREE and Little Havana is offering drink and food specials after the class. Namaste and slainte. 

 

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Photo Credit: Creative Mornings

Friday, March 18th

Start your day off with Creative Mornings Baltimore. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community across the world. Their free events feature a short talk and breakfast at a new venue every month. This month’s theme: Change.

 

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Photo Credit: Baltimore Museum of Art Facebook Page

Friday March 18th

End your day with Art After Hours at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The event provides after hours access to their new exhibit, signature Van Gogh cocktails, food from Clementine, and some Friday night dancing. The first one in January sold out in a matter of days, so don’t wait to buy your tickets.

Thursday March 24th

Check out the new Pulse concert series at the Meyerhoff. This month they are bringing together the classical sounds of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra paired with the indie rock tunes of Dr. Dog. Get there early for happy hour and lobby activities with great local restaurants and vendors.

 

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Photo Credit: Light City Facebook Page

March 28th- April 3rd

The inaugural Light City Baltimore is almost here, featuring a 1.5 mile Light Art Walk with illuminated visual artworks, street theater, musical performances, and concerts. This includes (but not nearly limited to) a ferris wheel, a 20′ tall by 40′ wide animatronic peacock, a labyrinth, 300 “paper boats” in the harbor, the sounds of Bosley, the beats of Dunson, and Dan Deacon (who is known for his interactive shows), all of these with LIGHTS. Did we mention it is FREE?

During the day, you can also get tickets to Light City U, which has daily innovation conferences dedicated to powering social change. You can see engaging speakers from all over, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, MICA, UMBC, Center Stage, OrderUp, Mindgrub, the National Aquarium, BGE, Betamore, Revolution, Johns Hopkins, Girls Who Code, and don’t forget, Ray Lewis.  

I’m incredibly excited for this celebration of ideas and creativity through art, music, and innovation. Hope you can join!

Welcome Baby Charlotte! | Virginia Family Photos

I was so excited to meet my new niece, Charlotte, and visit with my brother’s family a couple weeks ago. Capturing baby photos is always a fascinating experience, but even more so when you are their Aunt!

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While Charlotte was overcoming her hiccups, Sami was running around showing off her buddies (stuffed animals) and telling me about her new baby sister. 

Their house has so much light and looks absolutely stunning with all of Kris & Christy’s hard work. It has been amazing to see the life they have literally built themselves.

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Sami was so perfectly gentle with Charlotte. It has been lovely watching Sami grow into who she is over the years and I cannot wait to see the same for Charlotte.

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Meat Baltimore’s New Favorite Sausage Joint

The owner and bartender of Johnny Rads, Rich and Randy, have teamed up to open a new restaurant in the Baltimore neighborhood of Highlandtown. I recently reached out to Rich to hear more about what inspired Snake Hill Tavern and all the delicious details.

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Over the past few years, Rich and Randy have often visited friends in other cities, always looking to taste the best local eats. The restaurants that stood out were the ones that had no equivalent in Baltimore and they noticed that there were no sausage-centric restaurants here at home. Many of the places they visited had common thread of great beer, sausages grilled to order, and simple side dishes. Rich and Randy thought “Baltimore doesn’t have anything like this… let’s change that.” With that, they set forward and opened Snake Hill Tavern this past November.

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Yes, Snake Hill. Why the name, you ask? Apparently, the area now known as Highlandtown was once farmland (weird to think) and was called Snake Hill (how lovely). As business grew around the harbor, there became a need for more housing, and a community was developed in the area around 1866. Rich informed me that “the residents decided that Snake Hill wasn’t the most inviting name for a neighborhood, so around 1870 it was changed to Highland Town because of the expansive views it offered of growing Baltimore City.”

Rich and Randy were attracted to Highlandtown for this project because to them it is home. They foresee Highlandtown becoming more desirable, and not just for it’s close proximity to Canton and lower real estate prices.

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“Highlandtown is one of three dedicated Arts Districts in the city … It is FULL of progressive thinking, ambitious, and creative residents. We see Highlandtown quickly becoming one of the hipper, more in-touch neighborhoods in Baltimore … Why not give something back to the community we decided to live in?”

As for the restaurant itself, a majority the “gourmet” sausages are sourced from local distributors, like the Rabbit & Rattlesnake and the Lamb Merguez. Other sausages like the Chicken Apple are from local makers like Logan’s Sausage. Snake Hill also has an in-house butcher who makes the “FatCityMeats” sausages such as the Pho-Q and the Pig Newton.

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I asked Rich which has been the most popular sausage so far. It has been a dead even tie between the ‘Pho-Real’ signature sandwich (the Pho-Q sausage topped with fresh chopped basil, sprouts, sliced jalapeño, and hoisin sauce like a traditional Pho soup) and the ‘Rico Suave’ signature sandwich (pictured above – the ‘Rico’ Peruvian chicken sausage topped with the popular “green” and “yellow” sauce found at popular Peruvian chicken restaurants around town). The Rico Suave has been my favorite so far, until I met their DiPasquale (pictured below) that was a special on the day I visited, but hopefully soon to be served every day. 

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For the adventurous eater, Rich would recommend the Rabbit & Rattlesnack or the Alligator Andouille, paired with spicy peppers and one of their house made whole grain mustards like the Old Bay Mustard or Duckpin IPA mustard.  “Most people get scared of the Rabbit & Rattlesnake simply because they have never even had the option to taste it.” 

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Rich & Randy have plans to open future locations around the Baltimore area and possibly expand out into surrounding local cities like Annapolis, Frederick, Ellicott City, and Ocean City. Before that though, they plan to fine tune the Highlandtown location and make it part of the conversation. Rich and Randy’s goal is to create a place that when friends visit Baltimore, locals say “Oh man, you gotta come to Snake Hill while you’re in town!”

9 Baltimore New Year’s Eve Parties You Don’t Want To Miss

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Before we start thinking about resolutions and 2016, let’s talk how you are going to see 2015 out. While many may argue that New Year’s Eve is a very overrated night, I am never one to pass up an opportunity to dress up and drink champagne. I’ve gathered up a few ideas for how to ring in the New Year in Baltimore:

  1. Rock in the New Year at the Wonderland Ball, hosted by Union Brewery and Baltimore Soundstage. You can enjoy 2 sets of Cris Jacobs Band, Bawdy Shop Burlesque, a Pixelated Photobooth and a food truck court. You even have options on whether to buy the $25 GA ticket or $50 open bar ticket for those concerned about ticket prices.
  2. Cheers to 2016 at the new City Garage in Port Covington. It is hosted by Baltimore Social, which means there will be a free arcade and skeeball tournament in addition to a brass band, DJs, an open bar, buffet and more. 
  3. If you haven’t been to the Mobtown Ballroom before, I have a feeling this will be the party of the year for them (which says a lot). They are hosting their first-ever New Year’s Eve party featuring the soul & R&B sounds of Bosley. 
  4. Head over to the Yellow Sign Theater’s Third Annual Gong Show for a night of music, comedy, monkeys, burlesque and quote “general weirdness”. Yes. Not only is it FREE, but the show will end just before midnight, giving you enough time to duck next door to Club Chuck to make a toast to 2016.  
  5. If you consider yourself a karaoke connoisseur, the Metro Gallery New Year’s Eve Karaoke event is where you need to be. Each hour will have a different karaoke theme with prizes to the top singer.  
  6. If food is more your thing, snag yourself one of 12 exclusive tickets to dine in the Food Market’s private kitchen. We’re talking oysters on the half shell and gingerbread tres leches.
  7. Then head over to 34th street as everyone gathers to countdown to midnight. One of the neighbors creates a homemade ball drop on a lamp post and another runs around in a diaper. Only in Hampden. BYOC[hampagne].
  8. For one of the best views of the fireworks downtown, head over to Little Havana. Enjoy an open bar, appetizers, dinner buffet, and wait for it… a continental breakfast after midnight. Forget the champagne, pass me the bacon.  
  9. If all you really want is to get your groove on, one of the best dance parties in Baltimore, Save Your Soul, is taking on the New Year at the Wind Up Space. 

Stay safe, stay weird. Happy New Year, Bmore!

The Floyd Family | Kinder Farm Park Family Photos

Last week, I had the pleasure of photographing Jackie & Jeremy’s adorable family. Jackie & I have had intertwining friendships for years now. It all started when Jackie and my best friend were randomly assigned as suite mates at Salisbury. We then discovered that her sister was good friends with my college roommates. As to not stop the random coincidences there, we found out that our husbands (boyfriends at the time) worked together at a Pac Sun in Westminster years prior to meeting us. After all this time, Jackie never ceases to make me laugh and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her family grow.

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Jackie’s sister gifted her a family photo session when the newest addition to their family, Emmitt, arrived. At only 6 months old, he sure is a charmer.

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We discovered though, while he is full of giggles during most of the day, he is very intrigued by the camera and takes his modeling sessions very serious.

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Although a few tickles quickly moved his Blue Steel to smiles.

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Camden was a serious sport for me as I kept asking him to go into the shade on a chilly morning. Not pictured: red nose at the end of the session.

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Thanks to the Floyds for spending their Saturday morning with me and thanks to Steph for the idea!