I have had a lot of great experiences eating out these last few years, and it's difficult to winnow this list down as well. What were my favorite eating out experiences during The Baltimore Snacker? Well, I could not list all of them, but I tried to list about 20-to-30-ish in the Baltimore area (plus a handful of others elsewhere). They're in alphabetical order by type of cuisine, and I try to do one of each type of eating establishment for variety. Also note: yes, I am missing a lot of places, in a lot of neighborhoods. This reflects my favorites. That doesn't mean yours isn't any good. Believe you me, I may not have even gotten to eat at your favorite in all the years I've been writing this blog.
Favorite African: Dukem (Ethiopian - Mount Vernon, with another location in Washington, DC; featured in the post "Dukem #2", published December 17, 2006) - Always a good place for some filling beef wot and lamb fitfit. Get an Ethiopian lager or stout while you're at it.
- Honorable mention: The Yabba Pot (vegan/soul food - Station North/Charles Village - apparently it's now closed); Peju's Kitchen & Lounge (Nigerian / West African / Caribbean - Woodlawn); I'm still meaning to try Tam Tam (Senegalese - Rosebank) on York Road.
Favorite African-American/Southern/Barbecue: TIE: Reginald F. Lewis Museum Café (Little Italy/Downtown - first featured in the post "Not a Festival - Reginald F. Lewis Museum", published July 10, 2007) and Miss Shirley's (various locations and food truck - first featured in the post "Food Truck Fight!!!!!", published June 26, 2012) - The café at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History is one of the best museum cafés I've ever eaten at: some of the tastiest fried catfish and macaroni and cheese in the area. As for Miss Shirley's, they have lovely grits, especially with the unexpected addition of mascarpone. Fascinating.
- Honorable mention: City Café (Mount Vernon); Owl Bar (Mount Vernon); Mount Vernon Stable (Mount Vernon); Rocket 2 Venus (Hampden)
- Honorable mention: Oh What A Cake! (Columbia); Oooh So Sweet (Mount Vernon); SugarBaker's Cakes (Catonsville); Yia Yia's Bakery (Essex)
- Honorable mention: The Brewer's Art (Mount Vernon); DuClaw's (various locations, including Arundel Mills, Bel Air and Bowie); Pratt Street Ale House (Downtown); Dogfish Brewpub (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware)
- Honorable mention: So, sooooo many: City Café (Mount Vernon); Gino's (Towson); Marie Louise Bistro (Mount Vernon); Owl Bar (Mount Vernon); Shake Shack (various locations, including Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, and Downtown, Washington, DC); Sláinte (Fells Point)
- Honorable mention: Log Cabin Chocolates (Fallston)
- Honorable mention: The Kabob Hut (Towson), Orchard Market & Café (Parkville), Alladin Kabob (Mount Vernon)
- Honorable mention: Mandarin Taste (Towson); Benny Der's Golden Dragon Inn (Randallstown); Zhongshan Restaurant (Downtown)
- Honorable mention: Faidley's (Lexington Market); Lansdowne Inn (Lansdowne - No, it's not the best crab cake, but it holds a very special place for me since my father often walked there from the house to get himself and Mom crab cakes. Again, not the best crab cake in the area, but they are a sentimental favorite of mine. Plus we held Dad's wake there after his funeral. We had spaghetti that time though. Again, sentimental favorite.).
- Avoid: Royal Farms Crab Cake (seriously, Royal Farms?)
Towson Diner (Towson - first featured in the post "Exit 26A and B: MD-45 (York Road, to Lutherville and Towson)", published March 6, 2008) - Snappy, friendly service and good, filling pancakes, Reubens and the like. Still haven't ventured to try the mile-high cakes yet. So much cake.
- Honorable mention: Bel-Loc Diner (Parkville); Broadway Diner (Highlandtown); Boulevard Diner (Dundalk)
- Honorable mention: I-83 Farmers' Market (Downtown); Broom's Bloom Dairy (Bel Air); Gunpowder Bison (Monkton)
- Honorable mention: Ann's Dari-Creme (Glen Burnie); Weenie World (Dundalk - now closed)
Favorite Irish Pub: Sláinte Pub (pub/Irish - Fells Point; first featured in the post "Sláinte Pub and the Amazing Last Minute Goal", published June 23, 2010) - Yes I go there for the soccer. And I stay there for the food (Irish bibimbap and Friday $1 oysters, anyone? Plus their fish and chips are definitely worth a look or two) and the Guinness. They do have other beers, too.
Favorite Italian (non-pizza): TIE: Sotto Sopra (Italian/Sardinian - Downtown; first featured in the post "Sotto Sopra", published June 13, 2008) and Chiapparelli's (Little Italy - last featured in the post "Tidbits: Boys of Summer Edition", published August 29, 2010) - Have had very good service in both places. At Sotto Sopra the food is real Sardinian home cookin'. Can't afford Opera Night, but I try to eat cheap anyway. Chiapparelli's for Restaurant Week is also a beautiful thing.
- Honorable mention: SOOOO many! Amicci's (Little Italy); Vaccaro's (various locations); Saint Anthony Festival (Little Italy, held every August); Grano (Hampden); Birroteca (Hampden/Clipper Mill)
- Honorable mention: Chiyo Sushi (Mount Vernon); Chiu's Sushi (Harbor East); Sushi Hana (various locations); Kyodai Rotating Sushi Bar (Towson)
Favorite Korean: Jong Kak (Korean - Koreatown/Charles Village; first published in the post "Jong Kak", published April 20, 2008) - My friends and I don't even have to say where when one of us suggests "Korean". The barbecue is always filling and flavorful, the pajeon never too greasy, and the panchan goes well with a nice crisp bottle of Hite beer.
- Honorable mention: Honey Pig (Ellicott City); Nam Kang (Koreatown/Charles Village); Suzie's Soba (Hampden)
Favorite Mexican: TIE: El Nayar (Catonsville and Elkridge - first featured in the post "El Nayar", published June 16, 2009) and R&R Taquería (Jessup/Elkridge - first featured in the post "Random Bites: December Edition", published December 26, 2012) - It's tough to find authentic Mexican in this area, but thankfully it's becoming easier! El Nayar's taco plate is some of the more authentic I've had in the area, while R&R has the best cochinita pibil in Baltimore hands down.
- Honorable mention: Pit beef truck (Lansdowne - again, a sentimental favorite of mine); Bada Bing Bada Beef (Dundalk - first featured in the post ); Wild Wolf Beef Shack (Arbutus)
- Honorable mention: Tapas Teatro (Station North/Charles Village - this was, in fact, the very first restaurant I ever blogged about).
- Avoid: La Tasca (Inner Harbor- warmed-over frozen mixed veggies from a bag - yum. Easily the most bleh, half-assed tapas I have ever had. But that's what I get for eating at a chain restaurant in the most touristy part of the city)
- Honorable mention: Thai Café/Thai-Gour Café (Glen Burnie); Thai Landing (Mount Vernon); Thai Heaven/Thai Paradise (Catonsville)
- Honorable mention: One World Café (Homewood/Roland Park - try those vegan carrot cake muffins); The Yabba Pot (Charles Village)
- Honorable mention: Mekong Delta Café (Downtown - Seemed to be closed for a while but now it's back open); Pho #1 (Woodlawn); Phò Dat Thành (Towson); Saigon Remembered (Belvedere, er, Timonium)
Favorite Wine/Beer/Liquor Store: The Wine Source (Hampden; featured several times, including "Baltimore Beer Week Continues...", published October 14, 2009, "Get this wine - but I DARE you to close it back up!", published July 14, 2008), and "Sake, Sake Everywhere (Post #999)", April 17, 2009) - They have always been so knowledgeable about any wine that this non-wine person might ask about. Wondrous selection of beers, too. Also sample the cheese and charcuterie section while you're there.
Favorite Dearly Departed Restaurant: Zodiac Restaurant (American - Station North [now closed]; last featured in the post "Last Call at the Zodiac", published August 9, 2008) - For a quick bite before a show at the Charles Theatre or (now relocated) Everyman, I loved this place for its goofy decor, its line of vegan desserts and very non-vegan entrées (I so fondly remember their hamburger, and the mashed potatoes even more so), and its apparent hauntings which I had never experienced. Since they shut down operations in 2008, apparently the Club Charles next door carries some of their same menu offerings. The Zodiac still exists, though not as a restaurant: it's now a comedy club. Maybe that ghost is having fun pushing patrons down the stairs again?
Favorite Coddies: I hate coddies. Never liked 'em. I have no favorites. There, I said it.
And now, just a handful of favorite eats out in other parts of the country and the world...
Aroma (Chinese/Malaysian - Soho, London, England, UK; featured in post "Aroma", published January 6, 2007)
BCD Tofu House (Korean - various locations, including Los Angeles' Koreatown; featured in the post "From Bulgogi Tacos to Avocado Salsa: A Day of Eating in LA", published May 26, 2010)
Bojo (Indonesian - Leidesplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands; featured in post "Amsterdam Trip Part Drie: Little Bites Here and There", published March 25, 2008)
Bool BBQ (Korean/Mexican - food truck, Los Angeles; featured in the post "From Bulgogi Tacos to Avocado Salsa: A Day of Eating in LA", published May 26, 2010)
Casa Maya (Mexican/Yucatecan/Maya - Mentone, California; first featured in the post "Casa Maya", April 7, 2007)
The Castaway Restaurant (American/brunch - San Bernardino, California; first featured in the post "Easter Sunday Eatin' Part 1: Castaway of San Bernardino", published April 9, 2007)
Duplex Diner (American/gay and lesbian - Adams Morgan, Washington, DC; featured in the post "Adams Morgan for Capital Pride", June 17, 2011)
Moon River Brewing Company (brewpub/American/Southern - Savannah, Georgia; first featured in the post "Georgia on My GPS Part 3: Moon River Brewing Company / Savannah Candy Kitchen", published June 27, 2009)
Pig & Fish (pub/American - Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; first featured in the post "Tidbits: Rehoboth in August Edition", published August 6, 2011)
Rudy's Barbecue (barbecue - Austin, Texas; first featured in the post "Austin City, Unlimited Part I - Of Barbecue and Barbacoa", published June 5, 2012)
Shake Shack (hamburgers/shakes - most locations in New York, New York, with locations in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; first featured in the post "Weekend in New York: The Food", published July 17, 2009)
Wagamama (Japanese/ramen - various locations, mostly in the UK and continental Europe, with three stateside locations, all in Boston, Massachusetts; featured in several posts, including "Wedding in Provincetown Part II: Back to Boston", published September 23, 2011)