Bake it like Beckham
When Kelly Beckham was known as the Pizza Blogger, he learned of a guy who churned out amazing Neapolitan-style pizzas in his Brooklyn backyard. After he scored a coveted invitation to one of the soirees, Beckham and the host, Paul Giannone, bonded. “We started talking about pizza online almost every day,” Beckham says. Once Giannone opened his shop, Paulie Gee’s, in the Greenpoint neighborhood, Beckham wanted in. Though he was the first to sign a contract to open a spin-off of
Giannone’s popular joint, the delays piled on (one of the ovens was damaged in transit from Naples), and a Columbus, Ohio, location beat Beckham to the punch, with Chicago lapping his heels. For lovers of thin crust pies, spotted with char from the 900-degree deck of a wood-fired oven, and topped with fresh mozzarella, imported meats and a range of local produce, as well as spicy honey, dried bing cherries and vegan sausage, the three-year wait was worth it. The former Republican Club on Chestnut seats 96 in the dining room and 50 in the back bar. 3535 Chestnut Ave. 410-889-3535, pauliegee.com —Martha Thomas
Play the Market
These days, farm-to-table is more mandate than movement on the foodie scene. But at Canton/Fells Point’s Myth & Moonshine, local ingredients aren’t just comprising dishes—they’re inspiring them.
“When we go to the farmers market for the week and make our menu, we’re trying to highlight a lot of local specialty products and talent,” says chef Kevin Cauthorne. “We want to give people something to talk about the next day.”
Though this emphasis on locally sourced ingredients began with brunch, Cauthorne now incorporates his finds into lunch and dinner, too. And more often than not, the kitchen is working with a product, like sauce, rather than a simple ingredient.
“Even if I find someone who’s just making great pickles, I can build a four-item menu around them,” he says. Some of his other local favorites? Peruvian guacamole from Juan of a Kind (based on the eponymous Juan’s grandmother’s recipe) and sauces featuring the rare comapeño pepper from Chile Comapeño.
“The kitchen gets to be really creative with these great products, and we’re bringing attention to a local company that might not be well-known,” Cauthorne says. “It’s a really nice symbiotic relationship.” 2300 Boston Street, bmoreshine.com —Kimberly Uslin
The newly opened Nailah’s Kitchen on York Road—named for owner Mohammed Agbodjogbe’s daughter—offers classic Senegalese dishes, like the Thiebou Djeun, the national dish of Senegal: white fish, served with red rice, braised cabbage and yams. The tender lamb maffe is simmered in peanut sauce, deep red from tomatoes and chilis. The place is alcohol-free, instead serving juices made from mango, ginger, sorrel, pineapple and baobab. Speaking of, polished baobab branches form a screen behind the juice bar. A map in the entry details Senegal’s history, and shows its location in Francophone West Africa (which accounts, says the owner, for the French influence in his native cuisine). Agbodjogbe‘s passion is cooking the recipes he learned in his own mother’s kitchen. Agbodjogbe, 45, loves his new home. “This is a great country,” says the chef, who immigrated here in 1999. “If I can come 8,000 miles across the water and succeed, anyone should be able to do it.” Nailah’s Kitchen, 5722 York Road, 443-461-5600, nailahskitchen.com —M.T.
As a security architect at Northop Grumman, Ravi Kuriseti would participate in weekly potlucks with his colleagues, many also of South Asian descent. His co-workers loved the tofu biryani and palau that Kuriseti’s wife, Devi, made. “Everyone would get their own fork, and dig in,” Kuriseti says. The experience prompted the native of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to open his own restaurant—with his wife’s help, of course. In addition to Devi, he hired chefs Pan Singh and Zamin Mohammed, who’d both worked at D.C.’s popular Indian fusion Rasika and the more traditional Bombay Club. Sneha Indian Cuisine, tucked in a strip mall on Route 40 in Catonsville, is bright and no-frills, and it’s BYOB. The menu has dozens of kinds of dosas (a South Indian-style stuffed pancake), curries and kebabs, korma and masala, as well as biryani with yummy add-ons. 6600-H Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville, snehaindiancuisine.com —M.T.
Some spirits are for cocktails, and some are for sipping. Nomad Outland whiskey is ideal for both. Nomad is distilled, blended and aged for several years in Scotland before making its way to Spain. Once a whiskey batch has arrived in Jerez, Spain, it spends one year being finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. The variations in production climates and innovative casking processes help to develop a rich, unique whiskey body.
The soft notes of vanilla, raisin and toffee along with the beautiful honey hue make this spirit perfect for exploring neat, on the rocks, with a touch of water or in a classic High Ball. — Ginny Lawhorn, award-winning bartender at Landmark Theatres, Harbor East, and founder of Baltimore Cocktail Week.