Category Archives: Maryland

For Baltimore

Join the conversation at (cool) Progeny, support Baltimore and show that we can #BeMORE
Join the conversation at (cool) Progeny, support Baltimore and show that we can #BeMORE

Like millions of others I was glued to the TV yesterday watching events unfold in Baltimore. I was also waiting for my husband to get home from his office in the heart of Baltimore I found myself fielding questions from family and friends across the globe, and talking through the surreality of it all with friends in the city.

Then the phone rang. Schools were canceling all bus service into the city, including Emily’s field trip to the symphony tomorrow.

For the first time since we moved to the suburbs of Baltimore 12 years ago, I feared the city I’d come to love.

Today I woke up in a turmoil of mixed emotions ; heartbreak, anger, bewilderment, fear, and some I don’t even have words to describe. In fact, I find myself at a total loss to understand this, to find a way to move forward with anything that feels remotely effective. 

Again I join millions watching Baltimore, searching for answers, wiping away tears. Wisdom can often found in the oddest places, and sometimes when you need it most. Today it was delivered by George Takei.

“My heart aches for the City of Baltimore, which saw riots following the funeral of 25-year old Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody due to severe spinal cord injuries.

As a Buddhist and a follower of the teachings of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I both understand, but cannot condone, the violence that has erupted. I have no easy answers for either those enraged by the continued racial injustice, or those appalled by the violent rioting and looting the whole world is seeing.

Many say there can be no peace without justice, but so, too, can there be no true justice without peace. The riots must end before any progress can be made; progress must be made so that riots have their end.

What none of us should do is remain silent or indifferent. Tonight and in the coming days, hold your children, your families, your loved ones. Talk to them, and your friends and co-workers, about your feelings and theirs, and understand the passions that underlay them. All of us in our own way care deeply about both the symptoms and the manifestations of this disease that plagues our nation and indeed the world. To recognize this shared desire for both justice and peace is the first step towards both.”  ~George Takei

If you’re in Baltimore and looking for resources, just looking to help, or in search of someplace to talk things out, please visit (cool) Progeny. This digital magazine serves as a resource for Baltimore families in good times — and hard. I am proud to be a contributor and grateful for this place to gather, share, and begin to heal.

Foodie Nirvana Found: Iron Rooster, Annapolis

Crispy Pork Belly Fried Green Tomato Lettuce and a Poached Egg the BLT & E at Iron Rooster, Annapolis, MarylandHave you ever stood in a gallery staring at an amazing piece of art, all the while wondering where the artist’s brain was? What was the thought process behind that bold stroke of crimson that feathers into a wisp of grey so soft it breaks your heart? I get that way about a poached egg.

Okay, so maybe there was a dash of hyperbole in the whole egg thing there. Truth be told though, I often wonder what inspires an amazing dish. What was it that compelled that first cook to wrap a jewel of honeydew in a salty ribbon of prosciutto? Brilliance often defies logic, but boy can it taste good.

Behind the brick facade of a historical storefront in the charming market place of downtown Annapolis, Maryland brilliance is in the baking, on the flat-top and in the fryer. Here Foodie Nirvana can be found on a brioche bun, slathered in garlic aoili, and topped with a poached egg.

After an afternoon of blissful indulgence in the form of crispy pork belly and fried green tomatoes, chicken fried to perfection then seated upon a pedestal of golden waffles and enrobed in velvety gravy that would earn my own granny a smack in the mouth, I had to know more about the artist (chef) behind this study in indulgence.

Iron Rooster Annapolis Elevating Comfort FoodKyle Algaze, is the genius behind Iron Rooster. The former General Manager of The Breakfast Shoppe, where he won many awards in the area including “best breakfast in the state of Maryland” as voted by Rachael Ray Magazine – Kyle balances life as the father of two with running a restaurant that elevates comfort food to an art form.

Kyle took a quick break from the handmade pop-tarts (no concrete masquerading as frosting here) to dish with me.

What is Scrapple anyway?! (Wait, do we want to know?)

Some things are better left unsaid, but we serve it crispy and let the guest do the rest. It is a VERY popular menu item. We call it Pennsylvania Caviar.

Note to self: Don’t ask for caviar in Philly.

How do you top your waffles?

With fried chicken and black pepper gravy, of course (Chicken and Waffles).

Cheeky Monkey, he knows I meant… how do you “out do” those pillows of perfection.

What food do you refuse to eat?

Ketchup….I don’t like to even touch it. Ironically, my son puts ketchup on everything…literally everything.

Your favorite cookbook, is?

Heritage by Sean Brock (Husk Restaurant in Charleston). It’s low country comfort food, and very thought provoking.

I failed to mention that I’m a cookbook hoarder and he’s just become an enabler with this one.

Best cocktail you’ve ever had? Go!

Angels & Demons at Level in Annapolis: (Herradura Silver tequila, St. Germain, micro cilantro, habanero pepper, lime, agave). The name says it all.

Iron Rooster Resturant Annapolis Maryland Ephemera

There are great vintage “family” photos on the wall in the women’s restroom, people you know?

No, we do not know any of the women pictured in the restrooms (the men’s room has pictures as well). But the building is haunted (it was built in 1906)…so you never know if they come out at night.

Thanks Kyle… now back in the kitchen!

Here is my take. Is it worth it to make a trek into Annapolis if you live in DC? Yes. Does traffic and parking in the area suck? Also, yes. If you’re visiting Annapolis from out of town should you go anywhere else for brunch? NO!

You’ll find Iron Rooster at, 12 Market Space, Annapolis, Maryland. The price-point runs from about $9-$15. They have an amazing mixology menu as well as great options for kids – I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive. I like a cocktail with my PBJ. Wait, that may not have been my point.

Though the place is often busy, it never seems cramped and the staff is always welcoming. I suggest making a reservation though. See if you can get seated upstairs, the view is almost as incredible as the Red Velvet Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich. 

 

 

Baltimore Comic-Con: Where Real Nerds Keep Artists in the Spotlight

Baltimore Comic Con

Sure,  you know who Stan Lee is. You watch the Big Bang Theory (almost as religiously as I do) and can spot Stan’s cameo in every incarnation of a Marvel hero movie to hit the silver screen. Maybe you even know who Matt Murdock is.

If you also happen to know who Bill Everett was, then you’d have felt right at home at Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con honors the heart of the comic book culture in a way that seems to be fading under the glare of the lights and mainstream media coverage at the larger “cons.” Which made it the perfect first con for our kids. 

Watching my nine year old in the ballroom of the Baltimore Convention Center as he sat mesmerized, listening to Joel Hodgson recount the materials he used to build Tom Servo (a Leggs egg and a gumball machine, by the way) was priceless. The kid loves MST3K. Um, who doesn’t?

 Upon walking into the lobby and seeing a group of cosplayers dressed in awesome Attack on Titan garb, my fifteen year old daughter squealed, “Yes! My people!Dr. Who Comic illustrator Kelly Yates Baltimore Comic ConTotal win.

For this parent of daughters, the prodigious amount of Girl Power on display at this convention was reason enough to go back next year. From a fierce female Thor and her pal Miss America, to Marguerite Bennett, author of several story-lines in the DC Universe including: Batgirl, Lobo and Lois Lane, to the budding talent of Kate Allen who creates, writes and illustrates her own comics and graphic novels, the level of estrogen-laden awesome was immense and powerful.

Of course there were the typical conference staples: baubles, gadgets, gear, merch, on-site appraisals, and a phenomenal cosplay costume contest. Truly something for everyone – even things you never knew you wanted, but suddenly had to have!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an event where I can cozy up to Patrick Stewart (make it so – yes, please) or Benedict CumberDragon, but the community that begot huge conventions of Nerdom – like International Comic-Con San Diego (which was still relatively easy to get tickets to when I went back in back in ’94) – began at the roots.  With the art, the artists, the storytellers.

The expo hall was packed with artists from nearly every fandom you can name. Daughters one and two are major Whovians. You think you know Dr. Who…?  Not like they do! Getting to meet and enjoy a photo op with Kelley Yates was an epic moment.  Taking home one of his Dr. Who illustrations –signed– was their own personal nirvana. Maryland’s own Frank Cho (Mighty Avengers, Hulk – Marvel Comics) did an unbelievable demo in which he created a veritable masterpiece for the live audience.  Seeing the passion in the artists and getting a glimpse of how they bring a world to life illuminated my children with the reality of possibility…and that was the meat of the experience.  The rest was great, but garnish.

Meeting illustrators and creators of original graphic novels, artists who’ve expanded universes that began decades ago…to me, THIS is the living, breathing heart of any Comic-Con. Keep the marquee names on the red carpet, let Bruckheimer promote his next movie on the talk-show circuit. Keep the “cons” about the artists, the creative cosplay of die hard fans, the amazing and world-changing creativity of the true nerds. 

My advice?  Plan your trip.  Start designing your costume.  Save your pennies for must have merch, sure…but know who created the fantasy world you like to visit.  Follow the artists, and make a point to see them in action, in the flesh.  Next year – go to Baltimore Comic-Con!

Baltimore Comic Con Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom 

Authors: Lara DiPaola and Jamie Ratner

 

 

Horse POWER!

So by now you know I’m a full-fledged Baltimore Chevy Girl. It’s been a blast so far. I can now give you more that 10 reasons why it’s good to be a Chevy Girl. Among them is a love story and a “space” odyssey. The epic tale of my Traverse tryst to a turn in the backfield two weeks ago when my love of horsepower crossed paths with my love of horses.

Did you know that I used to ride rodeo? Yup I actually own belt buckles upon which one could serve a four course meal. My first horse, Pepsi (don’t judge I was 9), was my first love. I’d go on to barrel race, team pen and eventually find my way to the paddock. I never raced thoroughbreds but I thoroughly loved them. In fact my study is decorated with photos I’ve taken at various race tracks.

My local Baltimore Area Chevy Dealers made a dream come true for me when they sent yours truly and fellow Chevy girl, the LOVELY Miss. Madeline Homes of Peace, Love, Lipgloss, to the 2011 running of the Preakness Stakes!

Of course there was room enough in the Traverse for THE Hat

Speaking of the hat, it was a beautiful -if as big as a boat- commissioned design handmade by Maven of Millinery Sallye May of Sallye May Creates. Sallye took my inspiration, the Maryland State flag, and whipped it into a work of art! It was the hit of the Corporate Village where it was featured on WBAL TV.

The WBAL TV Team, Madeline, Me and THE Hat

And found itself among flowers…

and EVEN IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE!

Why is that the oldest trophy in racing just feet behind me… yes, yes it is!

So the photo might not be that great but the time I had was (The DH even won!). I can’t thank my Baltimore Area Chevy Dealers enough for a day that was a dream come true! 

Many Hats

Hey ya Nuggetiers it’s me in my many hats; exhausted mommy, adoring-patient-accommodating wife, CNIC (Chief Nugget in Charge) and as of last Friday “Your Baltimore Area Chevy Girl” let me tell you…it is good to be a Chevy Girl.

I discovered this upon becoming one myself… last Friday at WBAL TV studios, high atop TV hill in Baltimore…at my “Chevy Girl Immersion”, as it were.  Now, for many folks just being on television would have sealed the deal (and very nearly did for me, accept for the whole camera adding 20 pounds thing)…but wait!  There’s MORE!

When you’re a Chevy Girl…

**You can pretend like you don’t own a 2003 Hyundai for a month (I love me an excuse to be delusional).

**You have your very own On-Star fairy. Folks, trust me.  When you generally have trouble navigating out of your own neighborhood, having a disembodied voice on your side is a huge plus.  (And I’ve found that it freaks the kids out less if you name her…just sayin’.)

**You get to name your Traverse, too. Mine is Nevil. He’s terribly charming.

Meet Nevil. We’re currently in talks to get him a “drive on” in the new Bond movie.  He’s THAT charming…

 

 

Bond… Nevil Bond…

 


**You have insanely FUNCTIONAL cup holders!  Finally, engineers are paying attention to the IMPORTANT parts of design.  And with the Traverse, man, did they hit a homer.  (What? I tell you, sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference!)

**Speaking of little things…USB port always available.  That, Mr. Sheen, is WINNING. <—- did I just quote Charlie Sheen? Ugh that’s so two-and-a-half months ago

**Your husband finally thinks it’s cool that you’re a blogger.  Epic.

** Your Traverse is essentially a mobile Mom Cave. (more on that later)

But, the most important reason it’s “Good to be a Chevy Girl”…… (insert drum roll here)
All the other Chevy Girls! From Baltimore to Philly, Dallas to Salt Lake and all over our great nation..

CHEVY GIRLS ROCK! And I’m paired up with the rockin-est of them all the Keonte of Mom 2k and Madeline of Peace, Love, Lipgloss.. DOUBLE BONUS!

The Chevy Girls on the Go campaign is being sponsored by the Baltimore Area Chevy dealers. They are letting me test drive the Traverse for one month and providing me with gift cards for Girls on the Go missions as well as a camera to video tape my adventures. All opinions expressed are my own.