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It being somewhat of an occasion for us this past weekend, Amanda and I decided to have a little getaway up in Baltimore.
We got a room up near where our wedding took place last year, and spent the weekend puttering about the neighborhood and just taking it easy. Saturday night we went out to a pretty nice Italian place, but the highlight of the whole weekend was our brunch on Sunday morning at Woodberry Kitchen.
It was one of the sort of places you can just tell is going to be awesome heading into it. It’s located near Hampden, nestled back in the old Clipper Mill flour mills and warehouses, and the atmosphere is just really cool. There’s a nice outdoor area, with a giant firepit for outdoor dining, but it was far too hot to even consider eating outside on this particular day.
The inside is very farmhouse but at the same time very modern and chic. Lots of exposed girders, old wood, and brick everywhere. The staff was really friendly – despite us being 30 minutes late for our reservation – and seated us moments after arriving even though the place was quite full.
To add to the already great atmosphere, they even had some live music in the corner. An unobtrusive Jazz duo on guitar and stand-up bass provided the backdrop for the brunch crowd.
I had chosen Woodberry Kitchen because they make a point of stressing the value they place on local and sustainable meats and produce. Though their website is a little odd to navigate, it’s all there. So I knew at least the ingredients would be good.
One of the first things that struck me was that they actually print the farms they source their products from right there on the menu. This is great, because I am always curious to know where the food is coming from but I’m not always entirely comfortable asking about it specifically. Especially since most of the times I have in the past, the server staff doesn’t know and needs to bring a chef or management. We did have a great server too though, who was very knowledgeable about both the menu and the ingredients.
We both started off with the “Full Monty” Bloody Mary – easily one of the best I’ve ever had. Amanda insisted it was *the* best. Yes, that is a piece of bacon in it. Candied bacon. A great touch that I never would have thought of. The drink itself was perfectly spiced as well, strong enough to have a serious kick but not so overwhelming with just one spice that you can’t taste anything else.
As an entree, I went with the Hangar Fry – fresh local oysters with eggs and bacon, skillet potatoes, and served with a side of sprouts and blueberries. It was delicious but not very photogenic, unfortunately.
Amanda got the better dish though. She ordered the crab benedict. Two crab cakes on English muffins with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. This one was really phenomenal. And of course the crab came straight from the Chesapeake.
This actually was the best Hollandaise I’ve ever had. SO good. Perfect consistency. I need to learn how to make Hollandaise like that.
By the time we had made it through these two dishes we were completely satiated and *very* happy. And then, this happened.
The server came out with a dish of strawberry and basil sorbet, and vanilla ice cream. I had mentioned in the comments section when booking the table on OpenTable that it was our anniversary, but then thought nothing of it. It’s always nice to see a place take advantage of opportunities like that to go that extra step. We made as much room as we could for the dessert (admittedly not much), and grudgingly made our way out to the car.
Really though – neither of us even wanted to leave. We wished for a place just like the Woodberry Kitchen in our own neighborhood, and we vowed to return again sometime for dinner before too long. It’s certainly nowhere near where we live – being all the way up in Baltimore – but I’m sure we’ll manage to find another occasion to get there soon. At least, I certainly hope we do.
What’s your favorite place for brunch in your neighborhood?