Friday, April 27, 2012

From May 2012 Baltimore Magazine

Undiscovered Baltimore

154 Things To Do In The 10 Neighborhoods You Need To Know About


This hyphenated hamlet is really two neighborhoods tied together by the unifying thread of Harford Road’s business district, which starts in Lauraville just north of Argonne Drive and continues up through Hamilton to Northern Parkway. Quiet, tree-lined streets boasting a mix of bungalows, Foursquares, and farmhouses shoot off the main thoroughfare offering suburban ambiance within the city. Of course, these days, the area is probably best known for its many culinary hotspots (see sidebar). But the affordability of the neighborhood and its strong public and charter schools—–including Hamilton Elementary/Middle School, City Neighbors Hamilton, and City Neighbors High School—–also attracts many young families who can be found browsing the excellent selection of children’s books at Red Canoe Bookstore Café, playing in rec leagues at Herring Run Park, or biking around Lake Montebello. Parents can also enroll their budding thespians in classes at the Performance Workshop Theatre or drop off their tiny dancers at Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, a ballet and contemporary dance studio. Mommy and daddy can have fun, too, at Charmed Life, an art gallery and tattoo parlor or at The Chop Shop, a hair salon with a 20-seat movie theater, which owner Lisa Hawks rents out for events. Downstairs from The Chop Shop is Blue Spark Barbershop, home of Bill the Barber, whose in-demand cuts start at $16. And just down the street is Beth’s DIY Workshop, where founder Beth Dellow provides space, tools, and training for do-it-yourselfers.

Destination Dining

If someone had said 10 years ago that Harford Road would become one of Baltimore’s hottest dining destinations, you would have laughed. But, now, you can eat your way from one end to the other. In fact, we recommend you do.

Fine Dining - The strip’s two highest-profile restaurants are Hamilton’s Clementine, which serves upscale comfort food and The Chameleon, which opened in Lauraville in 2001, way before Harford Road was cool.

Casual Dining - Enjoy the hefty crab cake at Koco’s Pub. The recently opened Tooloulou is favored for its Cajun cusine. Hamilton Tavern keeps ’em coming back with a seasonal menu of pub favorites. Los Amigos turns out traditional Mexican food. Big Bad Wolf’s House of Barbecue has excellent meats and sides. And the two local diners—–Lost in the 50’s and Valentino’s—–crank out classic eats, the latter 24/7.

Markets/Groceries - The Tuesday Market in Lauraville sells from June through October. Clementine’s chef/owner, Winston Blick, is opening Green Onion, a grocery which will sell Clementine prepared foods (such as their beloved charcuterie) and other comestibles. Get your daily bread at Hamilton Bakery.
Cafes - Lauraville is home to Zeke’s Coffee, which brews nearly 50 different roasts at its plant and sells them a few blocks away in a coffee shop. Try a cup with an award-winning muffin from Red Canoe Bookstore Café.

The Blue Water Berry Festival in Herring Run Park is a taste of summer with barbecue, music, vendors, and a native-dessert contest. June 23, 12-4 p.m.
The 19th Annual Hamilton Street Festival & Classic Car Show goes down July 28 and features a soapbox derby. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
First Fridays offer visual and performing arts at galleries including Hamilton Arts Collective, Studio 55, and The Hamilton Gallery. Year-round