Well, I hadn't found them, that is. Or at least, I hadn't recognized that I'd found them, despite trip after trip up to Baltimore to visit my sister. But after spending a delightful day there this past weekend and having eaten some absolutely incredible meals there over the last few weeks, I'm changing my tune: Our sister city to the north is a phenomenal place to take an easy day trip from D.C.
It's a family-run spot that's reminiscent of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi: No substitutions, no alterations, get in line and get out. But, oh man -- you will be glad you did. My notoriously picky/constantly upset to her stomach sister swears by their pad thai. When she took me there, I ordered the chicken panang and had my MIND BLOWN. The sauce was thicker than I'm generally used to, but so amazingly flavorful. And the chicken -- the CHICKEN!!! -- the chicken was more succulent and juicy than any chicken I've had in recent memory. And I eat a lot of chicken.
For a more expensive/nice meal, the recently opened Of Love and Regret will not let you down. I'll admit, the gastropub is located on a somewhat seedy-looking street in Baltimore's Canton neighborhood, but anytime something is billed as a "gastropub," nothing can stop me from chowing down there.
Additionally, what's super cool about this place is how uniquely Baltimorean it is: Of Love and Regret takes its name from a Belgian Saison Ale brewed by Stillwater Artisanal Ales, a Baltimore microbrewery whose entire catalog of tasty beer is featured on the restaurant's many taps.
The beer was amazing, and the food was even better. My dining compatriot (dare I say it: new boyfriend?) and I shared the duck confit mac n' cheese, and it rocked my face off!
While Baltimore doesn't boast the same bevy of tourist activities that D.C. does, it does have a few things worth seeing.
For starters, check out the USS Constellation, a warship that was commissioned in 1855, drydocked in 1894, and revamped and opened to the public many years later. It's now permanently docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
The Constellation sailed during the Civil War, so for the amateur historians out there, it's definitely worth the $11 price of admission.
Also in the Inner Harbor is the National Aquarium, which is WAY BETTER than the D.C. aquarium, which is basically a glorified fish tank.
At nearly $30 a person, this is definitely a pricier thing to do in Baltimore, but certainly worth seeing.
Baltimore's only about an hour's drive from D.C. via 295 North, so it's a perfect place to go for a last-minute, unplanned trip. And if you don't have a car, you can still get there: Amtrak tickets from Union Station to Baltimore's Penn Station will run you about $30 round trip, and from there you can use the Charm City Circulator, which is FREE.
Happy Baltimoring, hon!