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The Avenue gets a very well done wine list, along with a very well-turned-out menu of gourmet nibbles, pizzas, and entrees.
"Innovative American, neighborhood gourmet, naturally elegant venue with a friendly, welcoming staff and an award-winning, five-star chef who tries to use as much local and organic product as possible. Basement atmosphere in wonderful Hampden, brightened by large photos of local produce in historic Hampden Theater. Try the crab soup at lunch with the turkey Rachel sandwich. At dinner, menus change regularly. Ask your server for the freshest recommendations."
It's tough to nail down a place as eclectic as Golden West Café. The place where New Mexico meets the Far East has a whole lot of thrift-store paintings on the walls and menus that arrive in old record album covers, with food that ranges from Frito pie to warm Vietnamese noodle salad (aka the Mental Oriental). Weekend breakfast-time waits can be long, but are worth it--the kitchen churns out righteous huevos rancheros and hot cakes (three crucial words: real maple syrup), though our perennial favorite is the blueberry Bismarck. (“If butter offends you, do not order this,” the menu intones.) Lunch and dinner bring burgers, green chile soup, and other Southwestern treats, plus amazing homemade layer cake for dessert. Best of all, the Golden West's addition of a bar means, at long last, margaritas with that quesadilla.
"The pasta bar is a little bit Hampden, a little Napoli, and a whole lotta frantic. Mix and match from among seven pastas and eight sauces (as well as soups, salads, and desserts)."
Holy Frijoles' simple but substantial Mexican fare is addictive. We don't know what it does to those refried beans, but if we don't have them on a regular basis we get the shakes. Grab one of its huge burritos or chimichangas, offered with a variety of meat and veggie fillings, and you'll see what we mean--once you've gotten over that so-full-you-can-barely-breathe feeling. Frijoles is also known for its inventive alcoholic beverages. Try the Cucumber Margarita, the Tilted Windmill, or the Frijolejito. You won't be sorry.
"A neighborhood favorite returns and picks up more or less where it left off, serving exemplary pub grub faves (e.g. juicy hamburger made from local beef on a brioche-style bun) in a bustling causal environment."
"Retro but not annoyingly so, cool but not overbearingly so, Rocket is a hangout with a smart menu - steak frites, veggie wimpies, and out-of-this-world roasted brussel sprouts. All this, and a contender for world's greatest jukebox."
Convenience store with grand ambitions. Buy a sandwich and watch the street theater.
Baltimore City Paper, 501 N. Calvert Street, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore, MD 21278
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