This is the first in a still-to-be-determined-number series about Baltimore. With just about 2 weeks left here and a lot to pack up, see and do, I’m getting a bit sentimental. So, bear with me. And hey, maybe I’ll give you some good things to check out! For this one, I’ll keep things non-triathlon related…..
-Best concert venue: Pier Six! I’ve seen everything from Earth, Wind, and Fire to the Counting Crows here. And without a doubt, the best thing about it is if you’re not sure you want to go, or you can’t make it for the whole show, you can always walk over with a cooler and a folding chair and sit on Pier 5 to listen in. Can’t beat that on a summer evening.
–Best pizza: Pasta Mista. Duh!! The sausage and ziti pizza is AMAZING. Plus, the people that work there have Italian accents and play legit pop music with italian words (note: their website plays it too. pretty cool). So, you’re getting pizza, but you feel cultured. It’s the best. (Honorable mention to HomeSlyce in Fed Hill. I rarely see Hillary get SO excited about places to eat, and she ate here for every meal I think when she visited because it had gluten free/vegan options AND was tasty).
-Best BYOB: This one was a tie! Thai Arroy and Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen are both great BYOB lunch or dinner options. The staff at each are equally friendly, and each place is equally small so getting a table is always a gamble but totally worth trying!
-Best Breakfast: Big Matty’s Diner! It’s SUPER Baltimore, you feel like you’re definitely stealing someone’s booth who is a “regular” if you go. So, you have to go enough that you become a regular! The kind of place where you’ll be called “hon” and can overhear all the juicy neighborhood gossip. Note: there’s not really healthy or picky-eater options on this menu.
-Best Brunch: Little Havana’s. And, not for the food – for the $15 all you can drink mimosa’s and shuffleboard. Enough said.
–Best FroYo: After’s! Partial to this one since it’s in my hood, the FroYo is still really good. AND they’re nice – the night I left my phone there they made sure to keep it safe!
-Best Dry Cleaner/Tailor: Young’s Dry Cleaners. They’ve never lost anything or ruined anything. And their tailoring is priced right and done quickly and properly! Plus, they’re always showing a funny soap opera on the TV when I go in. Win. Win. Win.
-Best SoftServe: Miss Twist. Although, you may not like her as much if your house isn’t a direct stop on her nightly route like mine is! My go-to is always the vanilla soft serve in a cake cone with rainbow sprinkles. You won’t regret it!
-Best place to work: AOL/Advertising.com. Seriously people — it’s a great place to work. Good people. Rewarding work. Lot’s of fun. I’ve never had so many coworkers as friends as I do now!
-Best route from Canton to Fed Hill during busy traffic and not taking the tunnel which now costs one billion dollars: Okay so, if you don’t live in Baltimore you’re probably like “why is Alyssa posting driving directions?” BUT if you live here, you know what I’m talking about! I consider myself a city driving ninja (although probably a ninja wearing neon pink or something noticeable given all the parking tickets and speed light camera tickets I’ve managed to accumulate). So, in case you haven’t found this alternate route, you’re welcome. (Note – this actually isn’t necessarily the best way to go the other direction, you’re on your own if you have to go that way).
-Best route to 83 from Federal Hill during rush hour: When I used to commute to Timonium from Fed Hill, I was always shocked by how many people who were trying to get to 83 would sit in the 5000 car backup to turn right on Pratt from Light Street. Stay in the left lane, zoom by everyone, and pick up Baltimore –> Gay St –> 83. Boom.
-Best evening activity: You’ll only find me out of the house on a weeknight not for the purpose of a swim, bike or run (or getting food) once in a blue moon these days. But if I do make it out, Trivia at No Idea is a sure bet. The space is crowded, people heckle you, the bartenders play favorites, and the trivia doesn’t require rocket science. It’s the best.
-Best Charity to get involved with: Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Whether you want to help out as a member of the BOYAA or race for a cause through Team Fight, these guys are great people and are doing amazing things every single day. My fingers are crossed their work expands to C-ville in the next few years!