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May 12, 2009

National Geographic Traveler does Baltimore



Did you ever wonder how National Geographic would view the natives if the magazine planned a trek to...Baltimore?

No, I didn't think so.

However, the May/June edition of National Geographic Traveler has laid out a two-mile walking tour of downtown that features a few eating places. ...

They are wiser than many national selections, mostly because they were suggested by Baltimore Foodies' Lars Rusins and not just something they lifted from the travel section of the New York Times or whatever. (Am I being a little cynical here?)

One thing that amused me was that the author called Pazo a tapas bar. Tapas, yes. Bar? I don't think so. I mean, it has one, but...

The magazine must have even earlier deadlines than I thought. I know its research department is meticulous with its fact-checking, so this must have been written before bluehouse moved from downtown to Kenilworth.

(Photo of Pazo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:53 PM | | Comments (42)


It all depends on what time you go to Pazo. Last few times I was there, it was late, I suppose, and they'd moved the downstairs tables to make room for DJs and dance floor. Definitely felt more bar/club than restaurant.

Spanish Town? WTF? Not horrible, though. Piedigrotta has amazing cream puffs, although their bread isn't all that.

I'm guessing Spanish Town is more politcally correct than "Little El Salvador?"

I've always heard it called "Upper Fells."

Spanish Town? That's idiotic. Nobody from Spain lives there. Just plain stupid

I stopped by Piedigrotta a few months ago and picked up some tiramisu since the proprieter claims to have invented it. The tiramisu was frozen, and tasted like it - very sad. That said, the couple that runs the place is super super nice, and the space is quaint. I imagine that if the tiramisu was fresh it would have been a different story.

And as for the Spanish Town reference, it appears to be accurate in addition to all of the things previously said in the above commetns. This is the generically accepted name for this neighborhood. Thou shalt consult The Google for proof, if you are a nonbeliever.

I hang out in that neighbourhood all the time, and I've never heard it called "Spanish Town." Why would google know better than someone who actually walks those streets and buys from the taco truck?

Unless, of course, it is folks from the county calling Upper Fells "Spanish Town." That, I wouldn't know about.

I live even closer to Upper Fells Point than Lissa, and I've never heard it called Spanish town either. It wouldn't be a terribly inappropriate name, what with all the Spanish language stuff there (there are places where you feel like an outsider if you only speak English), but I've never heard it called that.

I'm under the impression that using "Spanish" to refer to Latinos is mildly offensive. I'm not sure where I got that, though.

It would definitely be offensive in this case and quite moronic.

Well, Spanish Harlem isn't Spanish; it is Puerto Rican. I don't know if anyone finds that offensive.

Spanish Harlem was nicknamed back when non-WASPs didn't have feelings.

Spanish Harlem has been called that for probably 50-70 years. Creating a new name like Spanish Town now seems inappropriate. I prefer Fells Punto. ¡Olé!

While we're at it, let's start renaming other neighborhoods. [Insert amusing here]

Spanish Harlem was nicknamed back when non-WASPs didn't have feelings.

Ah, the good old days. Plus back then they solved their differences with dance fights.

Fells for me.

Don't know about renaming other neighbourhoods. A lot of them (I'm looking at you, Baltimore-Linwood, erm...Patterson Park, except when there are stabbings, then it is Baltimore-Linwood according to City Paper) have renamed themselves. Then we'd have to argue about boundaries again.

I think Canton should be Cantonivore, since it is now about 5 times larger than it was 20 years ago.

It is interesting how some neighborhoods with ethnic names can be offensive while others are not perceived that way.

No one thinks twice about using the name Little Italy or Greektown, but the same wouldn't be true for the neighborhood where Attman's is, which used to be called Jewtown.

Maybe it would be ok to say Jewishtown, I don't know.

For whatever reason, Jewtown sounds a Warsaw ghetto, while Greektown sounds like a festival.

This from someone who lives in Cathetertown.


If you had Googled it, you would see that the Hispanic residents and businesses call it Spanish Town themselves. There is even a business association by that name I believe.

I guess it's better to be hypersensitive than insensitive.

Google is not god. When I hear it from a resident, I'll believe it. It is not proper to cite google, one cites the actual web pages.

Just because it is written on three web pages does not make it true.

Sources must be evaluated. Including electronic sources.

Hey Bob are those two letters after your name or erotic art?

Oh Lissa. Acting as Devil's Advocate, it appears that the name is accepted and was not the brainchild of someone at National Geographic or the local guy that they interviewed for the article. That was my point. You could say it is as offensive as China Town to the non-Chinese that live work and play there, or Little Italy to the folks at India Rasoi.
Urbanite's Neighborhood Guide
Spanish Town Community Development Corp (run by a guy from Seville of all places)
another reference
another reference
and another reference

I lol@u, new sneakers! I only recently noticed it could be seen that way myself. Whoops! I swear it's not meant to be ASCII art.

Lissa, have you met my friend John McIntyre?

Google doesn't "say" anything. It lists websites that may or may not give accurate information. Depends who's been editing....

Urbanite isn't necessarily any good on neighbourhoods. It was also crashed, so I couldn't check its date or content. Your second link dates from 2000, and is a marketing gimmick. I have no idea what the third website is, it looks like a bad tourist info site. At least the article is signed and recent - anyone have any idea who Vicki Hallet is? I don't. Not particularly knowledgeable about the area, judging by other errors in the article.

The Business Journal article dates from 2001. And your last link is just a smart ass link to google.

None of these are quality links. Not one. Not one is buy someone who lives or even works in the neighbourhood. Most look like they date to an attempted "branding" of the area that failed.

Using google without using critical thinking skills to evaluate the quality of sources just leads to repeating crap. I can put up 8 websites that say that Locust Point is called Unicorn Land by the residents, but it still won't be true..

Ack! Dyslexics Untie!

s/buy/by (Or, in non-geek, please read 'by' for 'buy' in my previous post.)

I call the area that I live in Funky Town. It's just one house near India Rasoi in Little Italy. I call that area Very Little India. I also call my fingertips Pleasure Town. Google it. Or Twitter me, oooooooooo..........

I love Lissa

The straw man is taking a beating. The community corp. by the same name is run by folks that live and work there, acording to their site, but then again no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. If you go back in time and talk to Mayor O'Malley's Hispanic Liason Officer about Spanish Town, he'd probably know what you were talking about. Neighborhood names by definition are often informal and unofficial. Is it Homewood, Charles Village, Roland Park, or Tuscany-Canterbury? Sometimes, all of the above. Should we no longer say that people are speaking Spanish for fear of offending them, ¿yesno? We might have gone too far.

Straw man? Ah, yes, the current trendy Internet thing to say when you've realized your position is weak.

You are trying to defend an 8 year old branding attempt as being authentic and what people who live there actually call it. I'm saying your sources are old, out of date and bad, and that I've never heard anyone call it that (and I am down there a lot).

This is a perfect example of how you can't replace librarians with google. Not that I'm a librarian any more. It has been 10 years since I worked Reference.

Nice to see Lissa throwing done hard blooding noses with her epistemology knuckle sandwiches.

In my experience not one person from Central or South American has ever called themselves "Spanish", particulry in English. Nunca ninguna nadie nada no. You know why? Spain is in Europe. Racial and cultural issues aside it just seems silly.

The next time you're in any restaurant downtown just ask anyone in the kitchen who speaks Spanish what the area is called. That should fix this.

Now back to our steel cage reference match.

Lissa - we were talking about Spanish Town being offensive and not accurate, then you drifted to Google, internet references, and reference librarians. Logical fallacies predate the internet. I do, however, apologize for duping an ex-reference librarian from Googling against her will. I know better now though.

The beauty of this is that it is all subjective, and what works for the city government, a respected periodical's neighborhood guide, a neighborhood association, and others works for me as qualifying for not being inaccurate. This was good enough for National Geographic as well. Just because it works for all of them doesn't mean it works for you and the entire universe and that is OK. The point being, NG didn't dream it up, but we're all entitled to have differing opinions about the validity of something that is by definition often informal and unofficial. No one had chimed in that they had heard it called that, so I scratched up some references to add to the conversation.

To the "it's offensive" note, they called it Spanish Town, not Spanish People Town. Assuming a connotation is done at your own risk. The term can apply to more than the heritage of those that live there (let's not even get into how Spain and Portugal divvied up the New World). I'm fairly certain that no one is speaking Mexican, El Salvadorian, or Peruvian there.

no one is speaking Mexican, El Salvadorian, or Peruvian there.

You would be wrong cholo

Anonymous- as the kids say, I know you are but what am I? You missed the point: they speak Spanish.

Would you call an Irish neighborhood in Madrid English Town?

Points to Bob UU for equanimity and endurance.

Good job Lexicon-y LL, now I have to look up equaminity

I figured the UU stood for "Unflappable University".

Owls, on the other hand, seem quite flappable.

Yes Bob UU should get a merit badge.

I'm a square bird, of course I'm unstable. Plus having to wear a graduation cap and glasses is annoying.

And I can't stop thinking about the Land O Lakes girl when I see his name.

Shout out to Heather at Amicci's who told people that a women was asking if my name was Dog Meat. Good one.

Hmm. Maybe I play the Devil's Advocate too well. Could I be... {{{SATAN}}}!? I miss the Church Lady, back when SNL was consistently funny.

LL - If you only got a nickle for every hit on that was spawned by that comment. I definitely contributed :D

OMG - Irish is the official language of the republic, so I'd say that would not be accurate. Now, if they called it William of Orange Town....
I LOLed about the LOL girl reference. It took me a second. I blame my caffeine-free state.

I have visited the website of pazorestaurant. Its awesome. I purchased a gift article from charleston.

The 9:05 comment is spam.

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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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