Cheery & Charming Shop Small, Shop Local Stroll – 12/15/2020

You all know how passionate I am about this city, especially my small town neighborhood of Federal Hill ever since I moved here 7 years ago. And, given the latest restrictions imposed upon Baltimore City, I’ve been racking my brain as I work on ways I can give back and support in lieu of these turbulent times.

So, introducing the, “Cheery & Charming Federal Hill Shop Small, Shop Local Stroll,” happening Tuesday, December 15th from 4 – 7PM !!!


I am so, so, SOOOOO excited and grateful for the local businesses that eagerly jumped on board for this super fun and creative way to drive traffic to local businesses in our neighborhood right before the holidays. Help me to make their holiday season EVEN better!

(not to worry – all capacity guidelines, masks, and social distancing to be followed.) #MaskOnMaryland

Need last minute gifts for the holidays?

A bite to eat?

And excuse to get out of the house?

A special treat for yourself?

Support local THIS Tuesday and be entered to win an AWESOME prize for doing so!!

HOW IT WORKS:
1. Visit the participating business in the images below
2. Shop (or EAT) til you drop!
3. For every visit and/or purchase you make, receive a raffle ticket to the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
4. GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY includes a basket containing goodies from all of the participating businesses, valued at est. $250+.

Check out the gallery of images above to get the full scoop, as well as all the safety rules and regulations. PLUS – – what better way to make the holidays a little warmer this year than supporting your favorite Fed Hill spots?!

Here’s the list of currently participating businesses (subject to add more):
101 Baltimore
Banditos
Berries by Quicha
Brightside Boutique
Cans Filling Station
Cheese Galore & More
Don’t Know Tavern
Dulceology
Pandora’s Box Boutique
Phina’s Fine Linens
Pizza di Joey
Rowhouse Grille
Taco Love Grill at Cross Street
The Book Escape
Wayward Smokehouse

Questions?! Reach out to me!
And please, PLEASE share!!
Let’s make this event one for these incredible businesses to remember!!!

xoxox
Brittany

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

Cheery & Charming Traveler’s Guide: 8 NEW Places to Visit in New York City

As always, New York was a whirlwind! Up and back in 2-days, via the Vermonter & Acela Express made for a jam-packed, fun and exciting adventure for our Valentine’s Day this year. Aside from my first time at Madison Square Gardens + seeing Billy Joel live, we covered a TON of ground and visited a slew of new spots!

Whenever I find fun, new spots, I’m always pressed to share! So, I’m quickly jotting down my top 7 favorite places we visited for any of you who may be looking for a cool, trendy or cozy new spot to check out next time you’re in the area!

  1. Hanoi House
    We had dinner here Thursday night and let me tell you – it was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. Placed appropriately on the historical, adventure seeking, 119 St. Mark’s Place, you’ll arrive in a (not-so-surprisingly-small), delicately quaint, romantically dimmed, intimate spot in East Village. But – don’t let the size fool you. Hanoi House is known for “The Absolute Best Pho in New York,” “The Absolute Best Octopus in New York,” “The Absolute Best Vietnamese Restaurants in New York,” and more. I mean . . . WOW!!! Once you’ve had a moment to take in the eloquent details, brace yourself as you’re about to be spoiled with a breathtaking, unbelievable, well-cultured, imaginative display of Vietnamese cuisine! From the Crispy Crab & Pork Spring rolls (Nem Ran), to the Spicy Octopus (Bach Tuoc Ca Ri) – delightfully displayed over roasted sweet potatoes, coconut curry, charred scallion and shishito peppers, to the Hanoi Style Beef Pho Soup (Pho Bac), – a classic 16-hr broth with heritage Black Angus filet mignon, brisket & rice noodles AND an add-on option of bone marrow (must have!) on the side, our dinner was simply divine. The only thing that will leave you feeling disappointed after this visit, is the wish that you could fit everything on the menu in your belly!
    P.S. make sure you get there early!! They don’t take reservations and the place was nearly filled upon our arrival, 15-minutes post their opening at 5:30.
    P.S.S. our dear friends own this place, so go. check. it. out. !!!
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  2. Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria NYC
    I don’t know about you, but I know that when I visit New York City, I’m not leaving until I’ve had a proper slize of za 😉
    Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria is more formally known in the Staten Island area of New York. Wanting to break in and make their presence known in the Manhattan area, they opened their NEW location at 168 1st Avenue. Priding themselves on a secret Neapolitan recipe for a special thin crust pizza that has made their restaurant famous, I was so glad to have enjoyed this gem during our trip! We sat at the antiquely pounded copper counter top on the corner of the bar and enjoyed catching up with friends and admiring the original, characteristic stained glass windows before, quite literally, demolishing our pizza. Looking for the perfect NY fold? You found it!! Can’t decide which kind to try when you visit? Psst… if you order a large, they allow you to do half and half! But, they also have a smaller, personal 10” option as well. Not to mention – the bartender and staff were  amazingly warm and welcoming, making for a fun, social lunch break on Friday!
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  3. C&B – East Village, Thompson Square Park
    I’ll keep this one short and sweet, just like this shop! Seriously one of the cutest little coffee shops in East Village! We stopped in for a quick espresso (always needed!) and loved seeing the kitchen staff live, in action, flipping, kneading and pounding their homemade dough!! I mean, you just can’t get that just anywhere in Baltimore! Plus, you can take your coffee/espresso/latte and enjoy a casual stroll around Thompson Square Park after, which is right across the street!
  4. Tacombi
    SALT! SALT! SALT! LOVED this Mexican spot we found on 267 Elizabeth Street. And come on … a old school, authentic Volkswagen Bus as the taco-making station?! We only stopped in for a quick taco (or two…) and kept on our exploring, but the atmosphere was so traditional and genuine, it’s definitely worth a visit and some cliché photos! P.S. the tacos were awesome too!
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  5. L’AMICO
    This is probably one of my favorite spots in NYC – although a little more ‘commercial,’ in feel, the atmosphere is to die for and this is going to sound weird, but I love their bathrooms! Haha! While separate male and female, the hand-washing station connects the two via a shared wash-sink area with a reflective, stained glass like mirror for separation. It’s a great spot for a casual happy hour, quick bite at the bar (they have amazing selection of appetizers, wood-burning pizzas, fresh pastas, and selections of charcuterie), or in our circumstance, a late night cap for topping off Saturday evening after the concert. We stayed in the hotel above it – The EVENTI, which I would TOTALLY recommend if you’re ever seeing a show at Madison Square Gardens. It was about a 5 minute walk from the concert!
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  6. BUA Bar
    Cute and friendly spot to stop to get a snack or drink beforehand if you try our Hanoi House! It’s right across the street and felt so intimate. The space is decorated with countless lit candles that grace spaces in the walls where bricks have intentionally been removed. Candles also delicately and artfully line random fashion behind the bar liquor bottles, shelving, and pretty much anywhere you look!
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  7. Westside Market
    Talk about a local food market!! I WISH we had something like this in our small town, Federal Hill! Then again, I get we may not have the same volume to sustain this type of operation 🙂 It felt like I had walked into the Costco-version of a market! Never-ending, colorful supply and variety of fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, deli meats, cheeses, traditional grocery, flowers and more! Super cool spot to stop by, take in the colorful spreads and patronize a local business (with some salty and sweet snacks while you’re there!)
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  8. The Pennsy Food Hall
    Last, but not least – and definitely not a big secret as it’s right above Penn Station, but this is a great, vibrant and convenient spot to grab-and-go a snack before you catch the train ride home. It’s more of an incubator-type feel with a variety of small eateries, so there’s a little something for everyone. From sushi, to tacos, to bar food, to sweet treats, ice cream and more! Plus, they sometimes have a DJ that slings throwback songs and top beats to get you boppin’ and grovin’!

Do you have any favorite spots or gems to share? I’d love to hear! Ping me in the comments below!

Talk soon!

xoxox
Brittany