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December 17, 2008

Needed: Holiday Top 10s

parking.jpg

It's that time again, boys and girls. I need a Top 10 topic for Dec. 23 and one for Dec. 30.

The latter has to be so easy I can do it before I leave for Argentina in all my free time.

I'm tempted by Joyce W.'s suggestion of Top 10 Restaurants With Good Parking, but the catch would have to be Within the City Limits or the possibilities are too endless.

Does it have to be free parking?

I worry, though, that the list won't be sexy enough. I mean, parking. It's not like, say, french fries. So I'm open to other suggestions.

I checked past e-mails just now, and MD Canon suggested Top 10 Off Season Beach Restaurants. Barie wants a Top 10 Places for Great Cream of Crab Soup.

And Bucky is interested in a Top 10 Uses for Old Bay (Other Than Crab Cakes). The one advantage to that is I could knock it out fast, and it's totally subjective. The disadvantage is that I have no clue if anyone would read it or if it would get more page views than french fries did.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:46 AM | | Comments (38)
        

Comments

I was kind of half joking but 10 places with great parking in the city - would be great for me! It may have become clear from my other posts, but I really don't enjoy driving anyway, so after white knuckle driving from northern Baltimore County and navigating skinny little one way streets (Ok, I'm specifically thinking of trying to find parking for Cross St Market), a parking lot or a valet is like a little slice of heaven!

For Dec. 30th, how about a list of New Year's resolutions provided by your loyal readers? Restaurants they have always wanted to try (and why) and that they resolve they will finally visit in 2009? Later in the year, you might ask the same posters to report whether they kept their resolutions and if the restaurants lived up to expectations? And if they never got there, why not?

what about top 10 best places/restaurants for ringing in the new year besides the Inner Harbor? That place gets so packed, it's hard to enjoy yourself.
Or, Top Ten foods that are worth the 20lbs. of weight gain during the holidays? I like the Old Bay topic; my top three: ice cream, potatoes in any form(fried, mashed, chipped)

Top 10 holiday breads?

Wow. Are there 10? EL

old bay chicken wings are delicious. instead of buffalo sauce. i used to eat them all the time at PJ's pub up near hopkins....

Oooh noooo.... I just realized that Christmas and New Year's Day are both on funtastic Thursdays. Any suggestions for me will also be considered, but take care of Dear Leader first.

Possible top tens off the top of my head:
-- Best off-the beaten path places
Places that you could go to without bumping into anyone you know.
-- Best places to BE seen.
-- Most comfortable restaurants.
I refuse to go anywhere where the tables are too close, the lighting too bright or the chairs uncomfortable. This is an easy and subjective one.
-- Friendliest staff

I bet Old Bay would get a lot of discussion, even though I hate the stuff.

Top 10 places for hot chocolate?

Owlie - you don't have your 12/25 and 1/1 FT's done yet?

Maybe it's just me, but I disagree that free parking isn't as sexy as fries. HATE paying for parking. Fries, I can live without.

For places with easy parking in the city, Nick's Fish House is a default for us, especially if we've got people coming in their own cars (not carpooling). There's generally plenty of on-site parking and it's pretty easy to get to. That's its main appeal!

I was driving to work today and there was a beat up rusty old Dumpster on the back of truck and it said "Owl Metals" At first glance I thought it said Owl Meat. Your in my head, you pretentious bastard.

Snowball in Hell alert: If you do Old Bay (you should, it's like crack for people here) I actually have a complementary post that I can do on the Owl Meat Apocrypha. Yes, an ode to Old Bay. Jeez.

Top 10 holiday breads?

Wow. Are there 10? EL
------

Oh, now that I think of it, maybe I should have said dessert traditions. I was thinking about things like fruitcakes and my fam has this traditional holiday "can bread," or even latkes for Hanukkah.


As I was scanning for interesting food verse this morning I found something so ridiculous that I had to stop immediately and post it on the Owl Meat Apocrypha. It's a bit of paranoid writing called I Live In Fear of Food. Delicious.

I saw Hanukkah mentioned and it reminded me of Chinese food. See, my co-worker, who is Jewish, said that she fondly remembers going to the movies and eating Chinese takeaway on Christmas day when she was a kid. What about the top 10 places to eat Chinese food (restaurant/carry out)? Unless, you have already covered that in the past...

We did, last Christmas. Good idea to mention again, though. EL

Your in my head, you pretentious bastard.

Thank you. I eat your scorn like Red Bull Jello! It only makes me stronger.

I thought it went without saying that there is NO free parking in the city!

Duffster wrote: Top Ten Holiday Breads

Grandma Bucky’s Potica

Dough:
2 cakes yeast
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup warm water
3 eggs
6 cups flour
1 stick butter
1 cup milk
3/4 tsp. salt

Scald milk in saucepan, add butter and let melt. While this is cooling to warm, dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Beat eggs thoroughly and add milk & butter, salt & sugar to the yeast blend. Add remaining flour and knead until soft dough is formed. Brush top with melted butter and let rise in moderate temperature until doubled.

Filling:

1 lb. shredded walnuts rolled very fine
1 cup cream or canned milk
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 package dates
3 eggs well beaten
1 stick butter

Melt butter, add nuts and cinnamon and brown in heavy skillet so as not to burn. Mix cream/canned milk with honey, sugar and vanilla. Heat this mixture until sugar is dissolved and add to butter mixture. Cut dates, add water and mash. Add to above mixture. Add eggs last. This mixture should be thick enough to spread and not run.

When dough is ready, put on a table on a floured cloth. Use a large cloth and flour well. Roll the dough as thin as possible (1/8 inch). Sprinkle dough with cinnamon and sugar, spoon filling in spots and spread. Roll dough by picking up cloth. Twist into “S” shape and put in greased pan, or cut into loaves and put in loaf pans. Let rise one hour. Brush top with beaten egg for glaze. Bake in 350 degree oven 35-45 minutes. Do not over bake.

Note: When Granny B says, "table" she means the dining room table with all the leaves in it. A BIG table.

Latkes are potato pancakes, not bread.

Red Bull Jello. I like.

Lissa - there are 2 different "schools" of latke making in our house - one is the blenderized potatoes & onions, with flour and eggs. The other is shredded potatoes & onions with matzoh meal and eggs. Both are then fried in hot oil and de-greased on paper towels. I'm a fan of shredding although the shredder inevitably ends up with bandaids on all fingers. My son prefers the blender method. Which is your latke of choice?

BTW, there are also latkes made of zucchini which are outrageously good and latkes made of matzoh meal, eggs, salt and pepper which are outrageously bland and yuk.

A key thing I have discovered in all latke making is that they must be eaten immediately after frying. Reheating just doesn't do them justice.

At year's end it seems natural to reflect on things past. With this in mind, what about a Top 10 old timer Baltimore bars list?

I know this isn't strictly food, but bozz is consumable, no? And a lot of warm, friendly shot-and-a-beer type places are going the way of the $1.50 beer. (I'm talking to you Miss Irene's.)

My list would include Muir's on Fort Avenue and J. Patrick's in Locust Point.

Joyce, I suppose you could make "blenderized" latkes but it would take a very careful finger on the Pulse button. I would wind up with a gooey mess, so its the grater for me.

bozz is scaggs

I've actually never heard of the blender method, Joyce. I always did the shred thing (with blood donation) or, to my shame, used a mix.

I'm not so fond of zucchini latkes, although my partner loves them. I like the matzoh version, though.

Anything fried must be eaten immediately. Preferably while standing over the stove, frying more.

This occurred to me as one of the easiest Top 10s and a good year-ender. Top 10 Top 10s, the best/most controversial Top 10s of the year.

Unfortunately I've done it too recently to get away with it again. I say unfortunately because it generated an unbelievable number of page views because I linked to each list on the Top 10 so each visitor clicked on at least 11 pages. I think I got 70,000 hits that week. :-) EL

Owlie wrote: I just realized that Christmas and New Year's Day are both on Funtastic Thursdays.

Just to help with your planning, in 2009, New Year's Eve is on Thursday and that is also the date of the next blue moon.

RiE - a gluey mess it could be easily - you really have to watch the flour; but the potatoes and onions have no presence that way, thus my preference for shredding - texture!

Lissa - "Anything fried must be eaten immediately. Preferably while standing over the stove, frying more" - words to live by!

Top Ten non-crab uses of Old Bay? (I am actually more of a fan of Costas' and J.O. seasonings.)

There are only two I know of, off a teaspoon and sprinkled liberally on a bagel for breakfast. I'd love to know what else I'm missing!

Top 10 places for shrimp salad:

Kissling's, Ocean Pride, and Kibby's rank among the best IMO. Bay Cafe's SS is good, but I think a bit overrated and certainly overpriced.

MD Canon - corn on the cob, tomatoes, bloody Marys, tuna salad, chicken salad, potato salad, baked potatoes with butter and sour cream, broiled scallops,& fried chicken all come to my mind as better with Old Bay! I could probably think of more if I gave it more thought!

Thank you anonymous. No truer words were ever posted.

Perhaps I had too much bozz at lunch, hence the misspelling.

What about a Top Ten for best valet parking? And by best I mean free (of course we tip when the car returns to us undinged) and attitude-free. We had one good experience with the valet parking at Woodberry Kitchen. There must be others out there.

Egg salad is pretty good with Old Bay. My co-worker introduced me to it when she was pregnant and couldn't have seafood. It helped her scratch the itch - and certainly makes egg salad more interesting.

Dahlink, the valet parking at Cinghiale is free, and when we left during a heavy rain they had several people handy to escort us to the car with umbrellas.

How much does one tip a valet now (especially if the service is free?)

Oh, Hal, are you dropping the VoR honorific? Yes, we had a good experience with valet parking at Cinghiale as well, even though it wasn't even drizzling.

I have no idea, Joyce (I used to tip $5 in Detroit for mandatory valet parking at my favourite fish restaurant, but the lot was right there). If they grind my gears (I always drive a stick if I have a choice) it does go down.

It goes up if they hold the door open for the senior member of my party.

Oh, Hal, are you dropping the VoR honorific?

No, I just sometimes forget to put it back on after posting on other blogs.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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