The 2009 version of Baltimore Magazine’s “Best Of” is on newsstands now and each year it includes a reader poll in which locals vote on their favorites around the city. Below are some of my answers to the annual poll:
Best Bagel: Goldberg’s; The fact that the readers chose Panera makes me sick, but I understand that it has a significantly larger group of patrons than Goldberg’s does. People need to get out to Pikesville, though, and try their bagels. Just the right size and density, these bagels are the best in the area hand down.
Best Burger: Abbey Burger Bistro; Living in the neighborhood of the Abbey I’ve walked down numerous times over the past year and never been disappointed (neither has anyone I’ve eaten with). The burgers are large and cooked just to order and they have a looooong list of toppings and options for your burger, including some oddities like peanut butter and a fried egg). They also have several meats to choose from, like bison or turkey, if beef isn’t your thing.
Best Chinese: Cafe Zen; Consistently good meals every time I eat at Cafe Zen. If you’re there you have to try the string bean roll where the beans are wrapped in a scallion pancake…amazing.
Best Crab Cake: 423 Rosebank Ave; You’ve never been there? Ok so my mom’s kitchen isn’t exactly a restaurant but I think a lot of people around Baltimore agree that the best crabcakes are the ones broiled in one’s own home. Just pick up some jumbo lump crab meat, add just enough mayo and/or mustard to hold it together and you’re good to go.
Best Wings: Glory Days; Living downtown one of the places I miss most from the North Baltimore/Towson area is Glory Days. They have two 15 foot projection screens and countless other tv’s that are always showing sports (except for the one tv that’s always on Cartoon Network). They also provide paper footballs on all the tables for your enjoyment, which is one of the coolest restaurant features around. They’re also a chain restaurant that carries Natty Boh, which is pretty rare. If these things weren’t enough to get you there, now on to the wings. Usually when I go get wings with a group we have a tough time deciding which flavors to get, but at Glory Days they’re always ready with a big plate of naked wings, just cooked by themselves. The wings are always large and hot and go perfectly with any of the dipping sauces they provide. The honey bbq at Glory Days is fantastic as well as the standard hot buffalo sauce.
Quick wings shout out to Stalking Horse in Federal Hill for being the one place I’ve found really good Old Bay wings. Most places make Old Bay wings with just the seasoning on a naked wing, but Stalking Horse incorporates OB into it’s own sauce that really is amazing.
Another shout out for one of my favorite web sites and an everyday must-read for me: Orioles Hangout. If you really want to be a dedicated O’s fan this website has to be bookmarked on your computer. In depth game summaries, detailed coverage of every minor league affiliate, and popular forums filled with people that bleed orange. O’s Hangout was selected by Baltimore Magazine as its Best Blog and definitely earned it.