Live music streaming, virtual tip jars, home cooked meals to-go, and bar madness – how the restaurant industry in Baltimore is handling the recent crisis and what to do if you want to support local!

It’s been a mere 16 days since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the recent Coronavirus as a global pandemic. It’s shifted lives, businesses and general daily practices to a new level of ‘normal.’ As much as I like to joke and use more informal lingo on my page, it’s serious business when we consider that vast majority of our U.S. and global population awaits puzzled as news and updates are provided on an ad hoc basis.

Those that know me personally, know my hubby owns and operates a local bar & restaurant in the historic Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, MD. It’s been a tough learning experience for us, and equally as tough, if not even more impactful for our fellow hospitality friends. 

I encourage those reading to do what you can to support those striving to maintain an income – whether it be via moral support [ [ check in on those you love! ] ] , or financially if your situation allows.

In this entry, I’m providing a number of fun and creative ways you can support local!

  1. Live Music Streaming

Musicians alike, have been severely impacted by government mandates to suppressed gathering, closed bars and restaurants, postponed weddings, and the like. In response, and frankly not a surprise from these innovative folks, a number have launched live music streaming initiatives to not only engage with their fans, but also provide a positive and uplifting activity for those being responsible and bunkering down in their homes.

TONIGHT, I’m plugging my all-time favorite: Chris Diller. Catch his live stream on Facebook at 9PM sharp by clicking on his profile!

2. Virtual Tip Jars

Shout out to local cocktail enthusiast, bartender and DJ pioneer herself, Abby Hopper, who led the charge in setting up the Baltimore Tip Jar for enabling patrons to continue support of their favorite bartenders! You can access a full listing of Venmo handles for individuals employed by the hospitality industry that have been impacted by the recent economic change. Various campaign initiatives have been circulating – from dedicating (2) tips a day to (2) random bar staff on the list, to a variety of other ideas and cadences.

3. Home Cooked Meals & Drinks To-Go

If there’s anything learned through the transition of working from an office to home atmospheres, it’s that it’s been [ [  T O U G H  ] ] to keep up with the expectation of providing dinner and general meal prep with no breaks in what’s now non-stop home life. In response, a number of restaurants have stepped up to provide more creative means of their offerings to go for continued enjoyment at home:

Blue Agave Baltimore:

Is offering their famous house and spicy guavarita mixes! You can stop by their location at 1032 Light Street and pick up your favorite. The house sour mix is just $10 for a 28 oz size that makes about (7) margaritas. The spicy guavarita ( ( my favorite! ) ) also comes in the 28 oz size, and includes tequila for just $35! UMMM… YUM!! And, you’re welcome for this Friday celebration tidbit!

Don’t Know Tavern:

Let’s be honest – working from home, PLUS grocery shopping, PLUS meal prepping/planning, PLUS cleaning the house, PLUS dog walking, PLUS homeschooling kids that have been suspended for yet another month before returning to school… can be ROUGH. Don’t Know Tavern is offering a different pre-prepared platter daily on special that serves 2-4 for just $20! Just pop it in the oven for 15-20. While demand fluctuates, availability is driven by preorder/demand, so be sure to call to reserve yours in advance!

4. New Swag!

HUGE shout out to Matt Berry, who has helped SO many local businesses advertise NEW t-shirts via the Baltimore Neighbors page. You can find a slew of bars/restaurants to support including:

NOTE: For every t-shirt purchased, Matt is generously donating $10 BACK to that business throughout the shutdown!

5. Bar Madness

First off, let me give the biggest shout out of this entire post to @bmorebetches, who over the past few days, have quite nearly, [ [ shut. down. instagram. ] ] They’ve owned the social media game in the Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, and other surrounding neighborhood network – some comments reigning in from across the country! All orchestrated by their setting up a March Madness-like bracket of 16 local bars and basing round advancements off of tagged business comments!
Have you been following your favorite bar through the brackets?! If you’re looking for a little fun & local competition, tune into their page to see who ‘takes all/wins all’ in their ‘BAR MADNESS’ competition here. Next up: the final championship round!

P.S. Throw in a vote for Don’t Know Tavern if you can, haha 😉

Anddddddd, that’s a wrap! I’ll be sure to monitor and post new ideas and ways to support in the coming weeks.

Talk soon!
xoxo
Brittany

Foraging At Its Finest

I’ll be the first to admit …

I’m not the most ‘adventurous’ eater in town. So, I was a little nervous (but also SUPER excited) to try out Foraged: A Hyper-Seasonal Eatery in Hampden to celebrate our friend’s birthday! And, boy did I have ZERO clue what I was in for…

For ONE, I learned what foraging is! Turns out, Foraging is the act of finding and harvesting wild foods. Some call it “gathering.” It most commonly refers to mushroom hunting – who ever knew there was such a thing? However, I also learned that “mushroom hunting” is something only people practiced in the fine and delicate art of mushroom identification should engage in.

Onto TWO – the restaurant. Everything from the advertised hyper-seasonal apps and entrées to the cozy setting, UBER awesome service, courtesy of Nico Bustos, and secret dinosaur decor search (can you find them all?! 🦖🦕) was absolutely incredible. I’m not the best at food photography, so most definitely not going to even attempt in that arena, but earmarking this as a place for all to check out for sure!!!

🍄

P.S. check out that handsome crew – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT !!!

What are your secret restaurant spot recos?!
Talk soon!

xoxo
Brittany

If You’re Struggling, You’re Progressing

If you’ve arrived here today, WELCOME!! Today, I’ll be promoting my NEWEST & BIGGEST challenges for January. Every New Year, I like to take on a fresh new challenge, hopefully healthy, and ideally something that will push me to be a better version of me. Plus, I need a way to keep myself distracted from my #1 of the 2 challenges I’ll be tackling:

  1. No drinking for the month of January
  2. A Keto Lifestyle

That’s right folks, I said NOOOO drinking. Are. You. Kidding Me. Relaxxxxx, it’s not as hard as it seems! For those that are close to me, know I LOVE my W.I.N.E., but after the hustle and bustle of the holidays it’s a great time to kick start getting back on the right fitness track. And, what better way than to keep myself distracted by learning an entirely new diet/eating régime!?

I’ve officially been doing Keto for (1) whole week. And to be honest, I’m SUPER impressed with myself! No cheating, just straight up Keto. It was super tough at first – I was one of the few to experience what they call “the Keto flu” known as the period when your body learns to transition over from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat for energy. It. Was. Rough. I could barely move from the couch.

BUT – don’t let that deter you! The way I feel now, there’s no turning back. I have even more energy than I ever have before (I barely even need coffee anymore in the AM) and I feel super focused, motivated and driven at work!

Outside of the traditional cheese, avocado, no-prep needed snacks, I’m going to take you along in my journey of cooking, baking, prepping and taste testing (and trust me – those who know me know I am NO COOK), in the world of Keto recipes.

Keep scrolling for a sneak peek into this week’s (easiest EVER) prepped snack menu:

Keto Cheese Crisps

Ingredients:

  • Cheddar Cheese Slices

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange Cheddar cheese in 24 small squares on the prepared baking sheets. (I folded each slice into quarters)
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from baking sheets.
  4. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:

Per Serving: 60 calories; 3.0 g fat; 6.0 g protein; 0.0 net carbs
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Pizza Keto Chips

(Pepperoni and cheese are great keto snacks. To turn them into a chip, is absolutely brilliant. A simple recipe that the kids are absolutely going to love without question. It is impossible to eat just one.)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Pepperoni
  • 5 ¼ Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Take out some cookie sheets. You may need 2-3.
  2. Arrange pepperoni’s – don’t worry, they’re not going to expand like cookies. They can be close together!
  3. Bake them for about 5 minutes until they are semi-crispy and the grease is coming out of them. If they move out of place just arrange them back together.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for another 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a little crisp.
  5. Lay the chips onto paper towels to soak up any excess grease.
  6. Let sit for 3-4 minutes to cool off and crisp up even more.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:

Per Serving: 61.3 calories; 5.3 g fat; 3.0 g protein; 0.2 net carbs
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No-Bake Keto Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 100% Bakers Chocolate Bar
    (For dark chocolate lovers, you can use a 100% bakers chocolate bar. It is extremely bitter, but when used in these peanut butter balls, they’re perfect, as they pair with the sweet and salty peanut butter filling)
  • 2 Cups Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ¾ Cup Coconut Flour
  • ½ Cup Sticky Sweetener of Choice
    (The sticky sweetener is necessary to not only add a tad of sweetness but also to help the dough have a soft and chewy texture. Unfortunately, using a granulated sweetener will not yield the same result. The article I found suggested using a monk fruit sweetened maple syrup, which is 100% sugar free, keto-approved and low carb. Since I couldn’t find this, I used the next closest, sugar-free, low carb syrup)

Directions:

  1. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients, except for chocolate bar, and mix until fully combined. If the batter is too thick and crumbly, add some liquid (water or milk) slowly until a thick, formable batter remains.
  3. Using your hands, form small balls and place on the lined plate or tray. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  4. While the peanut butter balls are firming up, melt your sugar-free chocolate bar. Remove the peanut butter protein balls from the freezer and dip each ball in the melted chocolate until completely covered. Repeat until all the balls are covered in chocolate.
  5. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until the chocolate coating has firmed up.

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I hope you all enjoyed my first Keto recipe spill!
Check back for more as I continue eating my way through Keto!

 

xoxo
Brittany

All That Jazz Bachelorette-ing in Chicago

Finally catching up after this past whirlwind of bachelorette activities for one of my lovely besties. And – when I say whirlwind… I mean WHIRLWIND. They weren’t kidding when they nicknamed Chicago “the windy city.” Let’s be honest – I immediately gave up hope of having anywhere near picture perfect hair for the weekend and quickly welcomed my female blowout – literally.

// these blenders alumni queen shades are only $25 !!! //

Kicking off the festivities with a bright and shiny 8AM flight, we hit the town upon arrival. First stop – FOOD. Courtesy of our concierge, we were directed to a quaint little spot – Mercadito! Locals raved about their award winning tacos, signature guacamole, killer margaritas and cozy, ethnic atmosphere. Not to mention their expansive mezcal list!! The food was to DIE for and reasonably priced for the mega-Mexican portions you receive!

Psst – my entire outfit is from Amazon! Scroll down for deets & links!

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Afterwards, like any typical tourists, we raced to Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate, or as most may more popularly know it – The Bean. This 110-ton egg-shaped sculpture is forged of a continuous smooth surface of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above. After endless selfies and groups shots, we ventured home to clean up for dinner at 312 Chicago.

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// white scoopneck crop top // pin stripe highwaisted tie shorts // free people faded denim jacket //

312 Chicago was… incredible! Priding itself on its house made pastas and fresh seafood, they also had an extensive wine list with highlighted Rose options (my favorite!) and extraordinarily welcoming staff and atmosphere. I opted for their Ippoglosso, or Roasted Halibut, that came beautifully decorated with cauliflower puree, watercress, red onion, fava beans, roasted cauliflower, pancetta, and olive oil. YUM!! The portions were perfect and left each of us ladies with pleasantly filled tummies.

Fast forward  – I can’t even tell you the last time I went clubbing, but we had A BALL at ROOF atop The Wit hotel, where we stayed. Pop the bubbly, cause this beautiful lady is getting married in t-minus 36 days !!! There was dancing, cheersing, dancing and even more cheersing the night away. The staff made it a truly incredible and amazing night for all of us and our bride-to be!

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// navy blue embroidered dress //

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P.S. The theme of the night was navy dresses (as that’s our bride-to-be’s favorite color). I literally panicked because I own nothing navy!! BUT – found this adorbs little satiny number on Amazon – even came with Prime delivery!

Saturday morning! Rise and… shine?! I dressed in my Saturday pool party best, only to look out the window and see… rain. Rain, rain and more rain. But, that didn’t stop our positive outlook and high expectations for fun. This was a bachelorette party, after all! We ventured off to Shore Club Chicago for cabana brunch! While the rain hindered the cabana festivities slightly, this place made us feel like true celebs! Not to mention, there’s definitellyyyy something in the shrimp in Chicago – they. were. GIANORMOUS!!

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P.S. my best kept secret of awesome monogrammed items! I received this lovely little number in my monthly Monobox subscription with i love jewelry! It’s only $21.95/month and you get one personalized, monogrammed item + TWO fabulous surprise items! Check it out here!

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Saturday day was the first time we actually got to go out and explore – with NO jackets and NO umbrellas! It was a beautiful day exploring the Chicago Riverwalk, visiting City Winery, having dinner at The Hampton Social, and subsequent bar hopping all around The Chicago Loop to end the trip.

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Alright y’all… this post has been long enough (serious props to you if you made it this far !!) … thanks for checking it out 😉
Keep on keepin it real, Chicago. I know us girls had a blast !!!

Talk soon!
xoxo
Brittany

SHOP THE POST:
// white scoopneck crop top // pin stripe highwaisted tie shorts // free people faded denim jacket // navy blue embroidered dress //

Impromptu Date Night

Nothing makes my day more than a text for an impromptu date night! Nothing to stress about or plan ahead for, but something to perk me up, give me a little extra pep in my step and sometime to look forward to after work. But… I’m terrrrribbllleeeee at finding something quickly to wear. Call me the most indecisive lady on the planet. I mean… if someone asked me what I wanted my final meal to be, I’d be the one like… “lasagna… no, filet… no, lobster… no, spaghetti… no, tacos…. no, pizza…. no, ramen…” and on and on and on. Not to mention the weather here in Baltimore has been less than ideal – I think we’re on the 6th straight day of rain. Throw some hail in there too…

If you follow my instagram (@brittanyleighxo), you’ll notice one of my new favs I’ve been wearing a TON recently is this super cute (AND super soft) free peoplefaded denim jacket. Paired with a comfy, gray jersey knit dress and some cute, pink Steve Madden slip-ons, this was definitely one of my coziest and most favorite fast date night outfits!

What’s your favorite thing to throw on for a quick date night or social event? 🙂

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// free peoplefaded denim jacket // steve madden slip-ons // michael kors white ceramic watch // large open circle necklace //Minnow

oh… and here’s a few yummy pics from date night dinner at Minnow 😉 (my favorites – 🥃 old fashioned & 🦐 ceviché)

If you’re ever in Baltimore, this is an AWESOME gem! Always amazing, always fresh, always incredible & friendly service. They even have an indescribable bottomless tapas brunch on the weekends!! 🙌🏼🥂😎💯

Talk soon!
xoxox
Brittany