Monday, October 09, 2006

Comfort Foods Of A Baltimorean

What evil concoction could my son be devouring here but what is known as a "snowball", probably the ultimate in comfort foods here in Baltimore. Also known as shaved ice, snow cones, or flavored ice, this stuff is a necessity during the summer in humid Baltimore. Of the dozens of flavors to choose from, my son preferred "blood orange". Now YOU want one don't ya?!

There I was.......eating a, of all places......Tennessee.

I must take this opportunity to mention some good stuff to eat.

Whatever happened to all of the bakeries in Baltimore? National chain bakeries just do not cut the mustard for me. Bring back the corner bakeries that offered fresh sugar twisted donuts, and raisin bread made with those golden raisins and streusel topping. I can remember when we used to have baked goods delivered to our door by Rice's Bakery. Why can't this kind of service come back to Baltimore? .......oh, I know's because in today's society, in order to make ends meet, it requires that both the husband and wife have to work alot of hours therefore nobody would be home during the day to take delivery.

When you want some good comfort food, try eating some Polish golumpkis (stuffed cabbage). When I need some comfort food there is nothing like homemade macaroni and cheese. Its very easy to make and very filling too. A decent cheesesteak sub like we used to get from Harley's (does anybody remember Harley's?) would be nice to have. Not one of those overstuffed monstrosities that look and taste like they cleaned the grill with the meat. I want to chew my own food.......this chopped up mess only serves to make a mess. So far, only Casa Mia's seems to do things right in this regard. At least I can actually see the lettuce and tomato they put on it. Casa Mia's in White Marsh is alot like the old Hector's Pizza & Subs on Frankford Avenue. Hector's is gone now but they sure made some great food. Hector's must have made a good chunk of change back in the day.........I understand that the owner has since retired and owns racehorses, one of which was entered in last season's Triple Crown Stakes.

I haven't seen a decent codfish cake served on crackers with mustard since the recreation department football games were played at Radecke Field. Lately, its been hard to find a decent Polish hot dog at the grocery store. This garbage they make now doesn't even resemble the real deal. The only places I have managed to find real Polish hot dogs being served is at festivals or community fairs.

There were all sorts of decent places to eat in Baltimore at one time and they all served comfort foods. Remember White Coffee Pot? You could get a hot roast beef with gravy and french fries anytime and it actually tasted good. Downtown, there was the restaurant inside Brager & Gutman's Department Store. I always ate there for lunch and the food was always done right.

And just about every bar in Highlandtown or Upper Fells Point served something good to eat. Not any more. It used to be that you could get steamed crabs, crab cakes, hot dogs and a decent sandwich at any bar on just about every corner. In Highlandtown there is still a very small place that is still in business after all these years. Its called the G&A Restaurant. When I was a kid, my father would come home very late from a night of rather heavy drinking and wake everybody up to eat the food he brought home for us from the G&A Restaurant. He would bring home a dinner for each of us and it was always breaded veal cutlet with gravy and french fries. We didn't have microwaves back then so we ate it cold. It was sooooooo good that you didn't mind waking up. They still use the same recipe today that they used back then.

One of the problems with Baltimore is that alot of what made Baltimore appealing has faded away. Baltimore had alot of character....and good old fashioned blue collar foods.

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