Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tasty Creations ... Quite the Understatement!

I have found the mother lode, and it is in Pigtown. 

For years, I have purchased "chocolate tops" at grocery stores and delis around the region, always considering them an extra special treat. Now, thanks to a recent visit to the Pigtown Main Street, I know the source of these perfect confections: Tasty Creations Bakery. After the visit, I had a spring in my step and a smile in my heart!

As you can see, the name "chocolate top" is very appropriate.

Tasty Creations supplies many of the region's best restaurants, delicatessens, and grocery stores, such as Eddie's of Roland Park, Attman's and Lenny's, with these and other cookies, pastries and cakes. Farther afield, you can find Tasty Creations' treats in places like Silver Spring's Parkway Deli & Restaurant and Rockville's Ize's Deli and Bagelry. Their Hamentashen (pictured above) is particularly popular.

The good people at Tasty Creations also just made it easier for companies to order platters, cakes, fruit and Zeke's Coffee - another Baltimore favorite - on-line by joining Foodify. Cannoli would certainly improve staff meetings.
Though Tasty Creations functions primarily a wholesale and catering operation, customers can also just pop in the shop to fulfill their craving. Danish anyone?
They also help Baltimoreans celebrate special occasions with cakes.
Though hard at work, the Tasty Creations employees graciously welcomed me into their business, and I could tell how much they like bringing joy to their customers through mouthwatering and affordable sweets. Perhaps that spring in my step and smile in my heart had a little to do with this, too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More than ever, we love Baltimore

From the title of my blog, 'Baltimore You Are Marvelous,' readers of my words and viewers of my pictures understand that I am fiercely loyal to my city - Baltimore. And I am not alone. The people I know, and thousands of others I do not have the pleasure of knowing, also are fiercely loyal to the city they love.  Whether the city is riding a wave of optimism because of the thriving arts scene in Station North, businesses sprouting from the creativity of its residents, the reuse of old mill buildings, or the successful bicentennial celebration of the end of the War of 1812, they love it and will continue to support it as we all struggle to figure out how to make things right when confronting the reality that many of Baltimore's residents have not shared in recent positive changes. (Photo shows the American Visionary Art Museum)
The people who build their lives either wholly or in part within its borders - the people who live, work, go to school, open businesses, create art, play sports, restore buildings, walk through parks, sit on stoops - are the lifeblood of this city. They have a shared history, a common present, and intertwined hopes for the future. The people I know want Baltimore to be a place where all residents can thrive. (Photo shows the Tuesday Market in Hamilton/Lauraville)
This city is filled with loving, determined and talented people from all walks of life, and as I write this, they are participating in peaceful marches, opening the doors to their shops, supporting local businesses, sweeping streets, hosting arts and crafts hours and providing meals for children while school is closed, providing meals for first responders, and planting flowers. People far more eloquent than I have expressed their love and hope for Baltimore in recent days. I just wanted to add my two cents. (Photo of Patterson Park, Courtesy of Diana Sugg)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tulips and Togetherness at Sherwood Gardens

Last year, I visited Guilford's Sherwood Gardens a week too early to capture the tulips in bloom, and I promised myself I'd time my visit better this year. Today's visit did not disappoint! The only thing I liked better than the tulips was seeing so many people enjoying the day with the simplest of pleasures ... spending time with friends and family. I did not see a single cell phone or mobile device.

Instead, I saw people park their bikes and have a picnic ...
... climb trees ...
... play a friendly game ...

... sit and watch the world go by ...

Walk their canine companions and, in the case of the woman here, literally stop to smell the flowers ...

... go for a stroll ... kick a ball ...

... or just spend some quality time together.
Goodnight from Sherwood Gardens!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ridgely's Delight: Filled with character, close to everything

Nestled between downtown Baltimore, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the University of Maryland's graduate and professional schools, and the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ridgely's Delight is a tiny gem of a neighborhood, characterized primarily by 19th century brick row homes on intimate, tree-lined streets. The two homes featured in this photo boast relatively rare front yards; the building on the right is an award-winning bed & breakfast, Rachael's Dowry.

Ridgely's Delight attracts many students and employees affiliated with the university and hospital. I know of more than a few nurses who have lived in this stretch of row homes, attracted both to the location and character of the neighborhood.

The warehouse conversion boom is alive and well in Ridgely's Delight. Local development company Zahlco is transforming this former warehouse into 32 apartments with generous natural light, heated bathroom floors and exposed brick.
I cannot think of a restaurant more perfectly suited to Ridgely's Delight than the Corner Bistro and Wine Bar. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, the Corner Bistro offers attentive service and an intimate, welcoming atmosphere. The menu is not overly fancy or complicated, and the food is prepared with great care - in my opinion, the perfect recipe for a neighborhood restaurant. Corner Bistro is more than a neighborhood restaurant, however; thanks to many positive reviews, Corner Bistro is ranked #4 out of 1,812 restaurants in Baltimore on Trip Advisor.
Of course, no neighborhood is complete without a coffee shop, and Ridgely's Delight has two. As its name implies, Peace and a Cup of Joe is ... peaceful. A zen-like vibe permeates this two-story coffee house and sandwich shop.
Also in Ridgely's Delight, Cafe Tesfa is a coffee and sandwich shop with a mission. The owners partner with community organizations to provide internships in event coordinating and food service to local youth aging out of the foster system.
Ridgely's Delight is a very walkable neighborhood, both for people and their pets! Here, on an early spring day, a resident walks her dog on one of the neighborhood's quiet streets.
If you look closely, you can see residents participating in the time-honored Baltimore tradition of "stoopin," catching up with neighbors while sitting on the front steps (glass of wine optional).

I would be remiss if I did not mention that Ridgely's Delight was home to one of baseball's all-time greats, Babe Ruth, and is now home to the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.
Good night from National Register Historic District and home of Babe Ruth, Ridgely's Delight, Baltimore, Maryland!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

No, Winter Didn't Stop Development in Baltimore!

While I hibernated throughout much of the cold, icy winter, developers broke ground on projects large and small throughout the city. Beatty Development is building Exelon's headquarters on Harbor Point, pictured here. The building will include 443,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of retail space and 103 apartments. Ultimately, Harbor Point will include 9.5 acres of public open space, including a waterfront park and promenade, a hotel, over 900 residences, 1.6 million square feet of class A office space, and 200,000 square feet of retail space. It's big.
Right around the corner from Harbor Point, the Four Seasons is adding 63 condominium residences - the Four Seasons Private Residences Baltimore - on top of the hotel, pictured here in front of the Legg Mason tower. The hotel debuted in 2011 and boasts one of the hottest happy hour spots in town, Wit & Wisdom. The gorgeous waterfront setting in bustling, sophisticated Harbor East is a perfect complement to the quality of service, attention to detail and superior amenities for which the Four Seasons is renowned.
Sagamore Development Company, LLC, is wasting no time preparing the 100-year old Recreation Pier in the heart of Fell's Point into a 128 room luxury hotel. Right now, they are reinforcing the pier structure so that it can bear the weight of the new construction. Guests of the hotel will find themselves in the midst of a charming, vibrant historic district, filled with one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants and bars, as well as easy access to the water taxi and other waterfront destinations.
Visit soon - you may fall in love!  P.S. This happy, hopeful statement is on the side of Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum at the foot of Federal Hill.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Commuting, Water Taxi-Style

Talk about a pleasant commute! As a complement to its free bus service, the Charm City Circulator connects both sides of Baltimore's harbor with three commuter routes, which it offers in partnership with the Baltimore Water Taxi. The Harbor Connector travels from Harbor East to Harbor View (Federal Hill), the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park (Fell's Point) to Tide Point (Locust Point), and the Canton Waterfront Park to Tide Point. Each route has just two stops, making the service as quick as it is convenient. The Harbor Connector operates Monday-Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Commuters, businesses and residents on both sides of the harbor appreciate this service, as it allows people to get to and from work easily without a car. While these patrons at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum stop are clearly heading to the office, people use the service for all kinds of trips, from grocery shopping at Whole Foods in Harbor East to a quick visit to Fell's Point for some ice cream.
For additional car-free convenience, the Harbor Connector offers free, weatherproof bicycle storage.
Of course, many people need or simply want to bring their wheels with them, as the person featured in this photo does. Fortunately, the Harbor Connector welcomes bikes.
As Monday morning approaches, I cannot help but think how lucky these people are to be able to walk, boat and bike to work. This looks like a fun, social and healthy way to travel to and from work.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ringing in the New Year with Captain Larry's and the Kids

Captain Larry's takes their role as a family-friendly pub seriously. On any given day, you can see youngsters playing together - typically creating works of art with sidewalk chalk - while their parents linger over crab cakes and fish tacos. "Larry's," as it is affectionately known, also hosts a New Year's Eve party for kids, complete with a ball drop, kid-friendly fare, party accoutrements and a start time guaranteed to get the kids home to bed at a reasonable hour. Here, one of the owners helps a young patron pick out just the right party hat and lei.
Festive gear rests temporarily on one of the pub's tables.
Two young revelers get ready for the ball drop! Captain Larry's made a little extra room on their floor for the kids to congregate. Unfortunately, my husband and I could not stay for the actual ball drop, but trust me, the excitement was building!
Adult beverages are, of course, still available during the family-friendly event. After all, Larry's IS a pub.
Of course, several weeks before the New Year's Eve bash, Captain Larry's also welcomed Santa Claus. With his hearty "Ho, ho, ho" and confirmation that every child in Captain Larry's was on the "nice" list - thereby assuring happiness all around - this Santa was a big hit with both the kids and their parents!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ice Skating at the Inner Harbor

A gorgeous late December day is the perfect opportunity to ice skate with family and friends at the Ice Rink at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Located in the heart of downtown, Baltimore's ice rink boasts the National Aquarium as a scenic backdrop and a slew of restaurants to choose from - from Federal Hill to downtown, and the Inner Harbor to Harbor East - after working up an appetite on the ice.
The ice rink attracts visitors and residents of all ages and skill levels.
The pink La Cakerie food truck also provides hungry skaters with fuel in the form of award-winning cupcakes and pastries.
The Waterfront Partnership and many corporate sponsors support the rink, which will remain open through January 19.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Barclay's Turn for Some Revitalization

While much of Baltimore's development boom centers undeniably on waterfront neighborhoods, downtown, and several other hot spots such as Hampden, many other parts of Baltimore are also experiencing a notable renaissance. Telesis is building and/or renovating approximately 320 homes in central Baltimore's Barclay neighborhood, shown above. I love the cornices and the deep red color of the brick.
Residents of Barclay have easy access to Penn Station, the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, downtown Baltimore via the #8 bus line, Mother Seton Academy, a tuition-free middle school, and the Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School.
Though this photograph isn't particularly good, I included it to illustrate how the new homes (on the right) seem right at home adjacent to existing homes (on the left).
With a mix of apartments and town homes, both for rent and for sale, this development will serve people with a range of incomes, consistent with the goals of the city and the community. All of the homes incorporate environmentally-friendly building elements, and many are ADA-accessible as well. 
While all of the homes are handsome, I am particularly intrigued by the end unit with the turret. Good night from Barclay!