COLLEGE EATS: Baltimore’s Farmers Markets

Tired of eating greasy dining hall meals?

How about overspending at grocery stores?

College can set you up with terrible eating and spending habits. Like many students, I chose cheap fast foods over cooking something in my apartment. It’s also not surprising that when I did cook, it involved Kraft’s Easy Mac, Ramen Noodles or Chef Boyardee.

Credit: Amy Davis, The Baltimore Sun

With the surging popularity of locally grown food, I knew it wasn’t too late to acquire a taste for healthy meals. Depending on your school’s location, there are nearby FARMERS MARKETS featuring great and affordable selections of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, pastries, Vegan items and more. All come from local growers! Some markets even offer handmade crafts and collectibles like jewelry, handbags, clothing, pottery and photographs.

So join me in exploring the Baltimore Collegetown Farmers Markets List and find one close to your campus!

Near Coppin State University:

3100 Swann Drive, Baltimore MD 21217

Wednesdays, 3:30pm – 7:30pm, now through September 26

Near Goucher College and Towson University:

2200 York Road Main Gate, Lutherville-Timonium MD 21093

Wednesdays, 2:30pm – 5:30pm, now through October 31

800 Kenilworth Drive, Towson MD 21204

Tuesdays, 3:30pm – 6:30pm, now through Novembr 20

17 Alleghany Avenue, Towson MD 21204

Thursdays, 11 am – 3pm, now through October 25

Thursdays, 11 am – 3pm, November 1, 8, & 15

Near CCBC Catonsville campus and UMBC:

730  Frederick Road, Catonsville MD 21228

Sundays, 10am – 1:30pm, now through November 4

Near CCBC Dundalk campus:

44 Shipping Place, Dundalk MD 21222

Saturdays, 7am – 12:30pm, now through November 17

Near Stevenson University:

1630 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville MD 21208

Tuesdays, 9:30am – 2:30pm, now through November 13

8604 Liberty Road, Randallstown MD 21133

Wednesday: 2pm – 5pm, now through September 26

Near Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland and Notre Dame of Maryland University:

400 block of E. 32nd Street , Baltimore MD 21210

Saturdays, 7am – noon, all year-round

Saratoga Street between Holliday and Gay Streets (under JFX Viaduct), Baltimore MD 21202

Sundays, 7am – noon, now through December 23

Near University of Baltimore, MICA, Peabody Institute and University of Maryland Baltimore:

1700 Charles Street, Baltimore MD

Friday, 3pm – 8pm, now through November 23

10 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore MD 21201

Fridays, 10am – 2pm, now through November 30

Plaza Park, Corner of Paca Street & Baltimore Street, Baltimore

Tuesdays, 10:00am – 2:30pm, now through November 22

201 West Preston Street, Baltimore MD 21201

Wednesdays, 10am – 2pm, now through October 24

Near McDaniel College:

797 E. Patrick Street, Frederick 21701, Frederick MD 21705

Saturdays, 8am – 2pm, all year-round

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture, 2012 Maryland Farmers’ Market Directory

While you’re at it, check out Urbanite 2012 Project: Healthy Food Challenge and Mother Nature Network’s Top 10 List of Impressive College Farmers Markets.

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Credit: Mother Nature Network

Get inspired and maybe start one on your campus.

If you’ve been to any of the farmers markets listed above or if you have one in mind, feel free to leave a comment below.

UP NEXT: Tune in next week to check out my adventures at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar!

Samantha Lozano, Intern

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Grab your mallets and bring on the crabs!

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Cracking bushels of steamed blue crabs has been a long-held Baltimore tradition. Every summer, Baltimoreans of all stripes endure the sting of Old Bay on their nicked fingers just to satisfy their crustacean fix! In Baltimore Magazine’s July edition, the editors share a list of their 20 favorite crabhouses.

Whether you’re in town for an orientation, open house, summer internship or class, make sure to check out these local crab spots!

  1. Nick’s Fish House & Grill
  2. Bo Brooks
  3. S&J Crab Ranch
  4. Costas Inn
  5. L.P. Steamers
  6. Captain James Crabhouse & Restaurant
  7. The Mallet
  8. Canton Dockside
  9. Riptide by the Bay
  10. Gunning’s Seafood Restaurant

For more on the list, visit Baltimore Magazine’s website.

In the meantime, watch the Youtube video below on “How to eat a Maryland Blue Crab” by jcguidera.

-Samantha Lozano

St. Patrick’s Day in Baltimore

Baltimoreans will put aside the purple for some green this weekend!

If you’re looking for St. Patrick’s Day plans Baltimore is filled with things to do. From a 5k to concerts, there will be something for everyone.Where else can you see the former mayor play traditional Irish music?  So, take advantage of the beautiful weather and start celebrating this weekend. But be sure to save some energy and green attire for the 17th!

Shamrock 5k
March 11
Charles & Franklin Street, 1 pm

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 11
Mt. Vernon Place 2 pm

Donegal’s Xpress
Mick O’Sheas, performing after parade

Shamrock Shindig
Phillips Seafood’s Dock
March 11, 12-2pm

O’Malley’s March
March 17
Creative Alliance, 7 and 9 pm

Getting ready for Artscape

This Friday kicks off Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival right here in Baltimore. The streets will be filled with sculptures, vendors, crafts, music, and so much more to keep you coming back for more.

July 15-17
Mt. Royal Ave | North Charles Street

Who’s taking the stage at Artscape, take a listen.

Cuban food with familiar faces

Havana Road had been on my list of places to eat in Towson for months. I’d pass by, peek inside and make a mental note that I need to go in there. But it never seemed the perfect time, until this weekend.

After weeks of trying to get together, me and two of my LeaderShape friends finally settled on a day and time.

We got the hard part out of the way, now we just needed a place for our pow-wow. We brainstormed places to go and when my friend mentioned she had been craving Cuban food, I knew exactly where to eat.

It was Friday night in Towson and we were all excited it was the weekend and that we were all together. It had been a few weeks since we all saw each other and couldn’t wait to dive into conversation…and the food.

We made our way into the café which was decorated with a lot of colorful artwork. Each table was surrounded by mismatched chairs which gave it an eclectic, but cozy feel.

Our waiter greeted us with menus and the night’s specials. We couldn’t focus on the food right away. We had to catch each other up with what’s being going on in our lives before we could even look at the menu.

It was great hearing about what my friends had been up to, especially since it was right after spring break and there were a lot of stories to tell.

In the meantime we all sneaked some looks at the menu so by the time our waiter came we were ready to order.

Two of us decided on the mojo pollo asado which is Cuban garlic chick sautéed in the café’s mojo sauce and one order of the Guantanamo pargo red snapper served over s trip of sweet plantains.

We talked about our plans for the spring and summer. Number one on our list was for all of us to make it to the Towson Farmer’s Market each week. Last spring I was never able to go because of class, but this year I have a few free hours and plan to make it often.

We lost track of time until our waiter served us our food which snapped us back to reality. We all couldn’t believe the amount of food in front of us. We looked at each other and knew there wasn’t going to be much time for talking and we all dug in.

The food was delicious and to our surprise each entrée was served with sweet plantain, which I love. When we finally slowed down we realized there was no way we could finish and everything had to be boxed up. Leftovers are my favorite so I was looking forward to round two tomorrow.

The café was winding down but we didn’t want the night to end. We thought of places to go for a quick desert and my friend mentioned getting gelatos in Fells Point. Everyone agreed it was a great idea.

We left the café and headed to the car for our quick trip to Pitango Gelatos. The line was out the door but I’ve heard great things about the place and assured myself it’d be worth it…and it was.

Our night was coming to an end. We were stuff and hobbled back to the car for Towson. It’s always good seeing friends and it’s even better when there’s food and gelatos involved.

A Sushi Delight!

Hello Everyone! I am Kristen the new Student Outreach Assistant here at Baltimore Collegetown! I am recent (May 2009) graduate from Towson University. This past summer after graduation I became an official Baltimore City resident in my extremely small two bedroom apartment in Federal Hill. It seems that since moving downtown exploring Charm City has become a hobby of mine. I started poking around my own neighborhood first and realized I did not have to travel far to find awesome shops, amazing food and great convenience.

I would like to share with you today a hidden secret that sits in the heart of Federal Hill. Well, I guess it’s not THAT little considering it is a block long! Ladies and Gentlemen I welcome you to the Cross Street Market. Now, maybe it’s because I am new to the city and not familiar with the different markets but finding this place was like opening a present on Christmas morning! Not only does this market have fresh produce, scrumptious baked goods and a raw oyster stand but it has one of the best kept secret sushi restaurants in Baltimore.

Nick’s Seafood is located at the end (or begging depending on which way you came in) of the market on the Charles street side. It is one of those places where you almost feel intimidated if you haven’t eaten there before but don’t panic! If entering from the Charles street side slowly make your way over to the front left hand stand and sit on a stool or a picnic table to start your sushi adventure. You will need to pick up an order slip and pen on your way to sit down but don’t worry you will see lots of them sitting on the bar or on your table! Once you make your selection on the sushi you want to order kindly walk up to the counter and hand your slip in. The workers are all very kind and will help you if you have any questions. The one recommendation I would make is the Spicy Tuna Roll. If you like a little kick to your sushi this will surely do it for you!

WARNING: Sushi is never a cheap dinner! That’s why I advise to make a trip to Nick’s Seafood on Monday. Why, you ask? It’s HALF PRICE SUSHI DAY! You could definitely order dinner for two for under $20 here (on a Monday of course).

SECOND WARNING: The market closes at 6:00 PM on most days! So make sure you get down there before they close up shop for the day!

Sushi is only one small delight the Cross Street Market has to offer. So if you are heading downtown for the evening, trying to find somewhere to eat before a Ravens game or you just had a terrible Monday head to Cross Street Market and discover one of Baltimore’s hidden treasures!

Until next time… CIAO!

Cross Street Market's entrance on the Light Street side.

Victoria Gastro Pub is a Best of Baltimore Bust

Recently, Baltimore Magazine put out its list of the 50 best restaurants in the Baltimore area. And Victoria Gastro Pub in Ellicott City, a fairly new restaurant to even be in contention for this prize, made the list at number 47. So when we needed a place to go for Mother’s Day Brunch, we figured what better way to celebrate Mom than at a restaurant deemed one of the best around. Well, we don’t know what Baltimore Magazine was thinking – but there is no way this restaurant deserved to be in the top 50! The meal was terrible and we were so disappointed we actually went out for pizza later to truly celebrate our Mom.

Sure, the newly remodeled Victoria’s (the space had been occupied by a Bennigan’s before) was a beautiful space. The dining room had been divided into separate rooms, each with their own decorative English flair. The dark wood finishes and chandeliers provided a nice dining atmosphere. And with both a separate bar area and the ability to dine outside on their terrace, the seating layout was a step up from your normal chain fare. And, we give them credit for showing off for Mother’s Day, as the manager came by and gave our Mom an envelope full of goodies. But, a restaurant experience is more than just ambience and decoration. The best part of a restaurant should be its food and service. You could be in the Taj Mahal, but if you have terrible service and an awful meal, you won’t enjoy it. The same is true for Victoria’s.

When we first walked in, the restaurant was pretty empty, but the hostesses still made us jump through hoops to get a table. They wanted to know if we had reservations, and that they couldn’t guarantee us a seat if we didn’t have them (again, there was hardly anybody in the restaurant so this was an interesting angle.) Then they made us put both our names down (just an annoyance here) and wait while they figured out where to seat us. So when they took us back, they put us right next to the door where all meal long, servers and busboys were walking back and forth and constantly intruding on our dining space, even though the room we were in had 4 other empty tables!

Looking down at the menus they gave us, nothing looked familiar. Yes, the upscale menu may have looked foreign to us as we are not gourmet connoisseurs, but no menu item was explained, and the prices were difficult to locate. Victoria’s is an English pub/restaurant, and they by no mean hold back infusing the entire menu with English selections. There was no plain “American” breakfast choice to get just eggs and bacon, or French options of crepes, or Mexican breakfast entrees. Every single selection was in an English style. (Even the most upscale restaurants we’ve been to have always tried to mix in a few non-themed menu options to give diners some options.)

While we tried to navigate the confusing menu, the waiter asked for our drink selections. One person asked for a small juice, and the result was a huge glass of OJ no one could finish in one sitting. Another asked for hot chocolate, and was told they didn’t have any. (How can you not have any?) The waiter came back later to happily reply that they did have hot chocolate and brought a small cup out. This was just the instant kind, (not the gourmet kind we were expecting from such an upscale establishment, and the kind we’ve seen at other chains) and then they charged a ridiculous amount for it! (We’re talking more than Starbucks here – for instant.)

When we finally ordered our food, we ordered off the “sides” menu. We asked for simply eggs, potatoes, bacon, and toast. (Again, we asked for rye toast, and were told they didn’t have any. So basically, anything that wasn’t directly listed on the menu wasn’t available to us.) After what seemed like a really long time, the waiter finally brought us our food. We were not given any condiments (including salt and pepper) for our meals, and when we did ask for one, we were brought such a small amount that there would have been no way to possibly share it between 3 diners. (We asked for butter for our toast, and received one spoonful.)

The food, besides being delivered slowly, was actually terrible. Our eggs were undercooked and cold. Our toast, if you can call it that, was really just a huge slice of what would normally serve as their French toast, which had been toasted on just one side. The “Gruyere Potato Cake” was a thin smattering of chopped potatoes with a slice of gruyere cheese “melted” on top. Really, the cheese was probably placed on top just moments before the potatoes were done, as it was hardly melted at all. Again, a part of the meal that went cold fast. Perhaps the only good part of the meal was the bacon. It was crispy, and had no icky fat pieces attached, and the seasoning made it actually taste good. However, it was probably a bit too spicy, but overall it was the best part of the meal.

When the bill came, we weren’t surprised that the meal was very overpriced at $50. For cold eggs, and toast that wasn’t even made right (and really, how can you mess up toast), we had to drop a good portion of our Mother’s Day budget. Plus, after we left, our brunch companions ended up sick all day (we’re guessing from the runny, undercooked eggs) which made the holiday not as enjoyable as it should have been as we had to leave them home from our pizza outing. Overall, our meal was a disaster at Victoria’s and the next time we want to go to brunch, we’ll take the extra time to wait in the line outside of Eggspectations for a meal we know we’ll enjoy. One thing we know for sure, we will never go back to Victoria’s, no matter what Baltimore magazine has to say about it.