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Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Mt. Washington Tavern

      Temperatures take a dip, I see everything through pumpkin-colored glasses, and my steps crunch on the ground covered in red and amber leaves. All this heralds the best time of the year. If you have to visit Baltimore, now is the time, the window between the humid end of the summer and the wet beginning of winter. Add a little wedding dress shopping, and you have yourself an exciting weekend getaway.
     Yes, my 26-year-old daughter, Laura, is getting married next year to a true Prince Charming. I couldn't have wished for a better son-in-law. That makes me grateful. He's also a native Baltimorean who knows all the trendy eateries in the city. That makes me giddy with anticipation.
     The Tavern, a neighborhood staple, was established in 1979, went through a major overhaul after a massive fire that pretty much flattened it in 2011. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it reemerged in 2012 to reclaim its place as an area favorite. Its Chesapeake Bay-inspired coastal decor is bright and welcoming yet casually elegant in a way that makes you want to dress up a little when you visit.
     The menu offered too many enticing options, a problem I don't mind having. Our table was adorned by Stone Ground Cheddar Grits, Prime Rib Cheesesteak, Cuban Panini, Truffle Fries, Jumbo Lump Crab Dip, and Three-Beef Chili. The grits were lumpy and satisfying, although I wished for a stronger cheddar punch. The cheesesteak-filled hoagie provided soft, juicy bites with the subtle sweetness of the grilled onions as a bonus. The Cuban garnered respect, although I must admit I had my doubts about whether it would be executed to the same level as they are in Miami.
     The creamy crab dip screams 'comfort' as soon as you see it in the deep bowl covered in a sheet of steaming melted cheese escorted by thick baguette slices. The chili carried a promise in its name, but didn't quite deliver. We expected a hearty beef flavor, understandably, but it just wasn't there. Dare I say, it was even bland. That was probably the most disappointing dish. On the other hand, the fries made it all better. Fried to crusty perfection, a mountain of thin potatoes, with its Asiago-covered peak, arrived to put a smile on my face.
     It was our last day in Baltimore, and we made it an early night in expectation of a busy travel day. The dessert menu was left unexplored. Also, to be honest, I didn't want to tackle that with the sadness of having to go back to the real world. Dessert must be addressed with proper focus and attitude. The probability that I will return to this cheerful place and play some more with their menu is 100%!

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  1. Sounds like a little piece of heaven there. It's always nice to find good places to eat with plenty of tasty and enticing selections!