Charm City

Baltimore first cast its spell on me 12 years ago. Prompted by an incredibly intriguing profile posted on a dating app, I parallel parked Felicia the Fit outside the steps of a Bolton Hill townhouse, turned apartment building.

Moments later, Matt emerged from behind a hundred year old door. Seeing him standing 6’2”, in dark jeans and a well-fitting, black t-shirt sculpted around his muscular arms, backlit by the landing light, I froze. Then, he turned back to the door. I had this horrible feeling that I had just scared him back inside.

Instead, he pulled the door closed and turned around to greet me with a smile that made me feel radiantly warm from the inside out, like I was the sun. And that was the moment I knew…

I’d be spending a lot of time in Baltimore.

Charm City

After that, Baltimore became like a second home (and Matt became my first home).

Though we left the DC/Baltimore area for rural North Carolina 9 years ago, the fun experiences and fond memories we shared in our early dating days have continued to influence our conversation, cocktail preparations, and meal plate-ups at home ever since.

This week, Matt and I went back to Baltimore for work. And the appropriately nick-named “Charm City” didn’t let us down. Despite being a little less occupied than pre-pandemic, the people, places, and experiences were still as charmingly quirky as ever.

We also learned a few new tricks likely to influence our future fun at home. For example, the infused oils floating as garnish and singed, smoking herbs sitting on top of yellow Chartreuse cocktails will be joining our line up. Also, the large lettered ice cubes are absolutely going to make an appearance in our Saturday night Black Manhattans here in Lowgap,

A few of our favorite places were gone or so transformed we didn’t recognize them. Mostly though, it was like stepping back to a less crowded version of the past.

Baltimore is a big city with the surprising intimacy of a small town. In some ways, the food scene is very much like a Parisian Bistro from 25 years ago, back before the plate-up became overly precious. However, there is also an attention to detail — like the perfect char on a Meyer lemon or a well-placed spring onion — that elevate the entire experience.

There are also some interesting innovations and interpretations that make classic favorites seem modern and fun.

Food Scene/Seen Nearby

As taken in as we were, by both the new and classic offerings of Charm City, our two best meals were home cooked with love by our nearby family.

This was a whirlwind trip with most of it spent working. So, I didn’t get to see most of my wonderful friends from the area.

Thankfully though, now that my work will take me back to the DC area a few times a year, I am looking forward to future visits with friends and more fond memory-making to come.

In the meantime, I am extremely content to be back at home with Matt enjoying our rural, paradise.

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