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Baltimore surprise

February 1, 2010

Let’s face it: Baltimore gets a bad rap. Having grown up less than 40 minutes down I-95, it’s pathetic how few times I go there. Why go to Baltimore when there’s so much to see and do right here in Washington? My outings to Maryland’s biggest city consisted of visiting the amazing aquarium (the best in the world, I’m convinced!) and going to the theatre.

C’est tout.

For my birthday last week, Dad got tickets to see “Young Frankenstein” at the Hippodrome. In short: the movie is incredible and pee-your-pants funny. The musical? Not so much. At least not if you’ve seen the movie, as it repeats the same jokes, line for line, and has completely boring, unoriginal songs. And that’s coming from a girl who LOVES musical theatre.

Anyway anyway anyway… we were looking for a cool pre-theatre dinner spot and I turned to my resident Baltimore expert, who suggested 13.5%, a new wine bar in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood.

As soon as we pulled onto the street, we were impressed. For a two-block span, the neighborhood has adorable boutiques, cute cafes and some great-looking secondhand stores.

With a long wine list and creative menu, 13.5% was a fantastic dinner choice. There were even some local Maryland wines — I knew Virginia had a big wine region, but didn’t realize Maryland did, too! I stuck with Chardonnay, a personal fave, while my dad enjoyed a couple glasses of Argentinian Malbec.

For my entree, I ordered the Tonna Diavolo, salad topped with tuna and pepper cheese. It was delicious and full of strong flavors but — the only complaint — much too small. I expected a full-size dinner salad and instead it was more like a starter. Ah, well…

My dad ordered a meat and vegetable pie — I tried a bite of the veggies and they were incredibly flavorful. It made me want to go back and order the veggie version!

If you’re in Baltimore, definitely stop by 13.5% Wine Bar. It’s Baltimore’s hidden gem and somewhere I can’t wait to return.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2010 3:27 pm

    Isn’t Baltimore more interesting than DC? I always thought DC is pretty boring.
    the last time I was at Baltimore, we tried to go to the aquarium but the power shut down.

    • February 1, 2010 5:22 pm

      Hey, I have to stay loyal my hometown. 😉 But there is some great stuff in Baltimore! Still, DC is fun if you know where to go and get off the tourist path.

  2. February 1, 2010 4:09 pm

    Oh what a great looking dinner 🙂 Glad to hear that you had a good night!

  3. February 1, 2010 4:52 pm

    This post made me smile. And I agree with Sophia. I think Baltimore (City)is way more interesting than D.C. Sure, D.C. has tons of renowned attractions, clubs, shops, the White House, etc. But Baltimore definitely has its own flavor, because most people never end up leaving it. It’s a town within a city.

    While I’m thankful I’ve relocated to D.C., I’ll always have a place in my heart for Baltimore. I think anyone from there will tell you the same thing, too…

    • February 1, 2010 5:22 pm

      Baltimore definitely has its own flavor… hon. 😉

  4. February 1, 2010 6:32 pm

    You KNOW I’m taking mental/bookmarked notes about your posts, now that I might be rejoining the mid atlantic states 😉

    We went to Ballmer’ a few times when I lived in Delaware and I have such fun memories of the bars/restaurants we went to. Plus, I’m currently watching The Wire, which is so not the image Baltimore wants to project, but it is.so.good. Obsessed!

  5. February 1, 2010 6:43 pm

    Happy belated birthday Erin! I love Maryland…used to live there when my dad worked for the World Bank. I don’t remember too much of it but I remember how beautiful it is!

  6. February 1, 2010 9:36 pm

    We’re only three hours from Balitmore, and I’ve never been! I want to visit– it seems like a fun city!

    Especially compared to Altoona, PA 🙂

  7. Danielle permalink
    February 1, 2010 10:15 pm

    Are you from DC?? I’m from Columbia (MD)! I haven’t been to Baltimore nearly as much as I want to

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