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July 16, 2010

More Artscape food: One take on the newest options


John-John Williams IV hit Artscape at his lunch hour and sampled some of the newer food options, including that fish-dog. Here's his take:

Funnel cake, pad Thai, kabobs, frozen tropical-themed drinks and lemonade.

Let’s face it. Food at festivals during the summer can be pretty predictable.

I set out this year to eat at some of the new vendors at Artscape, some of which just so happened to offer unusual twists on traditional treats.

First stop: "A Couple of Nuts," which is run by a husband and wife from Florida. The two Artscape newcomers have taken an old German family recipe for cinnamon-and-sugar roasted almonds and pecans. Their booth is on the Charles Street bridge just after Penn Station.

Five dollars will get a 4-ounce cone-shaped bag of your nut of choice. Their festival deal is a bag of each for $8 total. I preferred the pecans;  the meat of the nut was soft enough to contrast with the hard candy shell.

Josef’s Country Inn in Fallston served $6 flatbread pizza at its booth in the food court across the street from The Charles movie theater.

Their pizza was my favorite option by far. The whole-wheat crust meshed with the fresh basil, scallions, portabella mushrooms, vine-ripe tomatoes, and feta, mozzarella, and cheddar cheeses. It was definitely a worthy effort from the first time Artscape vendors.

The only complaint was that the bottom of the crust was slightly burned, but the rest of the ingredients made up for the hiccup.

I was also a fan of the healthy food concept of the stand. They offered Vitamin Water, iced green tea, and water. No sodas here. It was a refreshing change that worked -- especially in the scorching sun.

I decided to head next door and jump off the BMI (body mass index) deep end and eat a mac and cheese hotdog at Stuggy’s, a restaurant based in Fells Point.

I expected a foot-long kosher dog, on a potato roll, topped with macaroni and cheese. What I got was a foot-long kosher dog, on a potato roll, topped with macaroni and cheese, old bay and hot sauce. It didn’t wow me, but it did put me in a food coma.

After hoofing it down to the Target Family Art Park near the Meyerhoff, I was ready for my final tasting of the day -- the mythical-sounding fish dog from United Franks of America, a Fairfax, Va.-based vendor that was at Artscape for the first time.

The beer-battered cod-filet is shaped into a foot-long hot dog and served atop a fresh hoagie roll. Top it with a orange-hued, sweet and spicy tartar sauce called "Boom Boom Sauce," and I was ready to chow down. Unfortunately, the mound of bread dominated the sandwich. The fish was greasy and not very flavorful. The saving grace was the unusual sauce, which added a little kick to the glorified fish sandwich. It sells for $6. It’s a nice alternative if you don’t want meat. But be prepared to overdose on carbs if you try it.

(Photos by Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun) 

Posted by Sarah Kickler Kelber at 4:08 PM | | Comments (5)


Great review, John-John!! You probably won't be hungry for a good

JJ, you go! I'm sad that no one at the Sun will eat that crap, but I will help you finish it. I will mention your name tomorrow.

Cool to see new food this year. I had the nuts and enjoyed them too. Thanks for the reviews....Kevin

Cool to see new food this year. I had the nuts and enjoyed them too. Thanks for the reviews....Kevin

Sought out the pizza thanks to this review and really enjoyed it. Glad to have some healthier options at Artscape!

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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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