Category Archives: Chop on the Spot

Real Food Farm Market in Belair Edison Today

Apparently we’re very late to the party on this one, but what can you do? It’s better to find out about some amazing open secret like Real Food Farm a little late than never, don’t you agree?

It’s no secret at all that Baltimore is among the cities on the leading edge of urban agriculture in the US, and since its establishment last year Real Food Farm has been at the epicenter of Charm City’s urban ag movement. Their stated goal is to produce no less than 10% of all the food consumed in Baltimore City. It’s a lofty aspiration, to be sure, but who’s going to say they can’t? You? Certainly not us.

 

A lot more productive than playing Farmville on Facebook, don't you think?

 

There are a lot of buzzwords flying around the food scene’s lexicon lately, but of all of these catchy terms like organic, sustainable, and biodynamic, none of them will be more important in the coming years than this one: local.

And you literally can’t get any more local than RFF, which grows all of its produce on a plot right here in Clifton Park, along with a little help from the Civic Works and some Baltimore City school students.

In our humble opinion though, where RFF goes really right is in their market schedule. The Chop does not generally favor waking up weekend mornings at the crack of dawn to buy vegetables. And if you miss that damn Waverly Market on Saturday, you have to wait a whole week for it to come around again.

As you can see above, RFF markets are from 5-7 in the evening, which is much more convenient, and there are not less than three market days each week, all of which are convenient to residents of North Baltimore.

So we’re going to head over to Belair Edison today and sustain a little agriculture. Maybe even find some good ingredients for vegan chili, since it’s getting to be that time of year.

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Real Food Farm markets take place Mondays at Belair Rd. and Erdman, Wednesdays at Kirk Ave. and Abbotston, and Fridays at Montebello Elementary (next to the lake). See real-food-farm.org for more information.

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Chop on the Spot: iBar

We probably shouldn’t tell you about iBar. We should probably keep our big mouth shut for once and leave well enough alone. Or maybe we should use some reverse psychology. Don’t go to iBar. It’s not very cool.

There. That ought to insure that iBar remains one of the best kept open secrets in Baltimore. If you’re anything like us, you’ve driven by iBar 10,000 times and always meant to go in, but never quite did. When you say to your friend ‘Where do you want to go?’ they probably never told you iBar. We were guilty of this for quite a long time. It’s so close to Club Charles, Joe Squared, Ottobar, etc that it’s always just been easier to go with the familiar.

Photo from the iBar Website.

Of course, sometimes you just don’t feel like dealing with the Club Charles. Sometimes you just want to have a cheap beer and watch a few innings of baseball and chitchat with people who are cool, but yet don’t know or care about design aesthetics, electronic music, or bicycles. That’s when you go to iBar.

True to the name they offer free wi-fi, as well as a public internet connected PC at the end of the bar. That’s where the technology connection ends though. The rest of iBar is just a good old fashioned corner place (although it’s not on a corner) with cheap cold beer, pretty and nice bartenders, an awesome pub grub menu, and a decent jukebox well stocked with solid un-ironic 80’s pop. There’s also one nice sized flatscreen which has been tuned to baseball every time we’ve been in.

Next time you’re driving by and idly wondering about the place, do yourself a favor and stop in. You’ll be glad you did.

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iBar is at 2118 Maryland Ave in Old Goucher/Charles North/Charles Village South/Whatever the hell you want to call it.

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Chop on the Spot: George’s of Mount Vernon

You might be surprised to hear it, but the Chop fully approves of hotel bars.

Most often we find ourselves in one when we’re overseas. Many times hotel bars are the cream of the crop, and some countries’ bars are found to be so wanting that the hotel bar with the western visitors is the only place you can count on getting a decent drink poured and not have to put up with a lot of the unsavory things that are prone to happen overseas.

The clientele in a hotel bar is, obviously, mostly out-of-towners. They seem to be of a few certain types, which are easy to identify at the hotel, but are fairly rare away from it. There’s business travelers, who are pretty straight-laced, and then there are people who travel a lot for work, who aren’t what you’d call “businesspeople” and pretty much drink from the time the trade show closes until it opens again. There’s cougars and hospitality employees and tourists and even the Chop.

Geroge's is located inside the Peabody Court Hotel at the west end of Mount Vernon Square.

Sometimes the Chop needs a break. Sometimes we just get tired of Brewer’s Art and Dionysus. Sometimes we want to drink in a place that’s actually not a basement, and be served by someone in a tie and not a Dead Boys T-shirt. It’s times like this when we hie down to one of Midtown’s best kept secrets, George’s of Mount Vernon.

We’ve been to George’s a few times for dinner, and are never disappointed. The ambiance is hard to beat, the food is delicious and without pretense, and the service is much more personal and friendly than you’d expect in such a place. It also doesn’t hurt that the prices are set so that one can easily pick up the check on date night.

We didn’t get the full benefit of George’s though until we went there for happy hour. The bar in there feels more like home than any bar in the city. But not like your fixer-upper Hampden rowhouse… like a really, really nice home.

The 12′ ceilings, crown molding, 10 foot windows, chandeliers, and posh leather furniture all give the impression that you’re in the sort of place that Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein drank when they lived in Baltimore, and hell, maybe they did. There’s something nice about stepping back into the jazz age for an hour, and a stiff old-fashioned in this place will set you right. It’s just the thing to brace you up for the travails of modern life.

Best of all? George’s happy hour is Sunday- Friday, and all beer, glass wines and rail drinks are 2-for-1.

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George’s is in the Peabody Court Hotel, 101 W. Monument Street in Mount Vernon. (410) 727-1314.

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