What do I know about Baltimore? The Wire? Even when Anthony Bourdain went to Baltimore for his “Rust Belt” show he did it around The Wire. It seems that The Wire is more famous than the city and from the one episode I saw of The Wire I should be really careful when I go. Baltimore has always been a city that I pass by on my way to somewhere else. Springfield, DC, Annapolis…and etc. Visiting Baltimore has never crossed my mind before until my ex-boss asked me to be her wedding photographer. I was honored when she asked me and then I got excited because I get to be out of town for a weekend. Okay I may have exaggerated a bit about only knowing Baltimore from The Wire, there’s also Ace of Cakes!
It’s so weird traveling by yourself. What do you do? I had spent a lot of time in the hotel room with the free HBO. Didn’t really do a lot of sightseeing nor did I venture out too far from the hotel. It helped that the hotel was RIGHT AT the Inner Harbor, tons of museums and shops for mostly tourists. I arrived at Baltimore around 8pm on a drizzling Friday night. After checking into the hotel, half of me just wanted to crash into bed while my other half wanted to go out. Damit it was only 8:45pm. I was invited by my ex-boss to go have drinks with them and their friends. I’m actually kind of shy and am always afraid of being quiet in front of people, especially people I don’t know. Took me 15mins to debate about it but finally decided to go. It was 9pm on a Friday night and I was in another city. I can’t be a frakkin’ loner. I went out and got a cab.
Going through the streets of Baltimore reminded me a little of Boston. After a 15min cab ride, I had arrived at Brewer’s Art. I walked in and tried the find the bride and groom. Walked in and out downstairs and upstairs but couldn’t find them. Finally I had to ask the hostess and she told me that there was a wedding rehearsal dinner at the back. So I went back to the back and wooooo found the couple. Now I can relax get a beer and some food! Obviously I had checked out their website thoroughly before going there. They brew their own beer right there at the restaurant/bar. I got the Ozzy, which according to there website is their “answer to the Belgian beer.” For $4.50 I could’ve drank a whooole lot of these. As for the food menu there were a lot of things I wanted to eat. I was debating either the Berkshire pork dish or the duck dish. THEN I saw they served a pork banh mi. I know I know I shouldn’t even think about getting it but I was curious. I was curious for this blog.
After a bit of a wait and half way through my 2nd beer, this time I got the Resurrection recommended by the bartender, my banh mi finally came. The bartender was super nice enough to bring it to me. First impression, thats not a banh mi. It wasn’t served in a baguette! What makes a banh mi, banh mi? Guess I’ll have to save that for another post. I shouldn’t judge it just by looking at it. I took a bite. Hm…it was okay. The chunks of pork was pretty good. I can’t remember if they used pickled carrots or not but I just couldn’t get over that they didn’t use a baguette. The baguette for banh mi should be crispy on the outside and soft in the inside, this bread was not. Maybe if they just had said, on the menu, that its just a sandwich with pork I wouldn’t had been so critical. The sandwich was pretty good but nothing special, it made me crave for a real banh mi. Now now the rosemary garlic fries that came with the sandwich. That was hella good. Crispy salty goodness.
So pretty good food, pretty damn good beer (and cheap!) and awesome service but what about the place? It’s a really cool place. Everything in there were dark wood (tables, counter tops, chairs..etc) it reminded me of Union Hall in Park Slope. Had that certain old East Coast era sort of atmosphere. The spacing was a little awkward. 2/3 of the space was dedicated to dining while everyone else that wanted to just drink or get food at the bar had to squeeze in real tight at the front of the place. Oh but there’s more! There’s another bar area in the basement.
I went to the basement bar when I was trying to look for the couple. It was like I walked into a different bar. It was dark, crowded, loud…very loud. I hated the basement but I loved the upper floor. I can see myself going back there to eat and drink quite often if I lived in Baltimore.
*Note, their menu is seasonal so by the time you read this post the banh mi is no longer on the menu.
- The Brewer’s Art 1106 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD