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New York Times raises a glass to Maryland wineries

It's not often that Maryland wineries get national attention. But a Sept. 2 New York Times article toasts the area's 39 wineries, including Boordy, Elk Run and Black Ankle Vineyards,

The article says Marylnad vintages are "worthy of national recognition, and a chance for some first-class vineyard-hopping."

Visiting one of these destinations is as "much about having a good time as as it is about having a good sip." The story sheds a spotlight on music and other festivities besides wine tasting that the vineyards offer.

Read the story here.

Local entrepreneurs hope intro of BNote currency will encourage shoppers to keep it local

You're at the checkout counter at a local retailer and instead of pulling out a pile of greenbacks -- U.S. government issued $1s, $5s, $10s or $20s -- you hand the cashier a bunch of BNotes. That's the scenario two local entrepreneurs hope to see play out soon across Baltimore.

Here's an excerpt:

"Baltimore may soon have its own local currency, or scrip, if Jeff Dicken of the Baltimore Green Currency Association has his way. Next spring Dicken, with partner Michael Tew, is planning to launch the BNote, a form of money that can only be spent locally. The object, Dicken said, is to have the money stay in the local community and help the community grow economically.

"A bunch of us realized that there is a real need for economic options in Baltimore City," Dicken told the AFRO. "A local currency provides a way for residents to support their own community and their own local merchants. And it makes them think twice about where they spend their money, whether they want to support their neighbors, the local merchants, or whether they want to support national chains that may be taking the money and booking it as profit in Delaware or Texas."

Read the entire article here.

Bmore artists raise awareness and loot with Stew dinners

If you haven't been able to cop a ticket to a Stew dinner, here's a peek at a recent dinner and the trend that is spreading across the country.

"A Stew meal is not elaborate. The main course is soup; tonight it's a choice between vegan spring onion and rabbit with dumplings. Tickets to the event are $10 each. But there's more to this meal than the composition of a plate of radishes, or of the next course: spears of roasted asparagus, pleasantly salted, arranged to form squares that overlap at the corners.

Stew is the brainchild of the Baltimore Development Cooperative (not to be confused with the Baltimore Development Corp.), which was started in 2007 by three recent MICA graduates, all artists now in their late 20s: Scott Berzofsky, Nicholas Wisniewski and Nester. They wanted to use food to foster community and stimulate activism."

Read the entire article here.

Area farmer's markets are nutritious, delicious and good for the environment

If you haven't made it to one of the many farmer's markets in the Greater Baltimore area, you don't know what you've been missing...

"Vendors at farmers' markets in Baltimore, Howard and Carroll counties can only sell what they produce or what they make from something they grow, such as soap or baked goods. Goods travel no further than 50 miles to get to market.

The only drawback of shopping at local farmers' markets is you will only find foods that are in season.

"When you go to the markets in May, you won't see corn because corn isn't seasonal in this area until summer," Zimmerman says..."

Read the entire article here.

Spring in Baltimore means asparagus, it's what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Ah spring! It's undoubtedly one of the most loved times of the year for those into local produce. What better way to celebrate the coming cornucopia of locally grown goodies than with a celebration of one of the season's first offerings -- asparagus.

Here's an excerpt:

"As the only crunchy vegetable locally harvested this early in the season, it's easy for asparagus to become the center around which meals are built. Perhaps too much for some people, but not for me. Of course, I'm not eating it alone for weeks, but still, I'm eating quite a bit.

My favourite preparation is the simplest: steamed and tossed in a Mediterranian dressing. I cut the asparagus into about 3" long pieces, adjusting for different widths so it doesn't cook to long. Then steam it for about 3-5 minutes, testing for doneness by inserting a fork easily into the skin. I think it tastes much better when it is crisp. The dressing is a little olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove minced, salt, pepper. Toss the aspagagus in, and voila, fabulous side dish."

Read the entire post here.

What's happening in Baltimore's culinary landscape? Read more about it here!

From the land down under to Baltimore's design hot spots

Wondering where to go for some of Bmore's best fabrics and other home decorating ideas? Join the tour local blogger Meg Fairfax Fielding recently gave two of her readers.

Here's an excerpt:

"I had the chance yesterday to spend the afternoon with one of my readers who is in Baltimore from Australia. Nancy and her friend, Robyn are here with their husbands who are attending a conference, so we took the opportunity to visit some of the places that Nancy had read about on here on Pigtown*Design.

First stop was DeBois Textiles, where the gals were overwhelmed by the selection of fabrics. While Nancy bought one yard of a number of fabrics to use as pillow covers, Robyn bought a five-yard length of a gorgeous silk to use as a tablecloth."

Read the entire post here.

Hopkins study helps Charm City corner stores go healthy

If you can't beat them, join them. That seems to be the philosophy behind a Johns Hopkins study seeking to find a solution to Baltimore's "food deserts." Many Baltimore neighborhoods do not have a local grocery store or supermarket that offer healthy eating alternatives to combat the glut of fast food that is available.

Hee-Jung Song, Ph.D., a researcher in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, is studying whether Baltimore's ubiquitous corner stores, might just be the solution.

Here's an excerpt:

"In Baltimore, corner storeowners increased their stocking, promotion and sales of healthier foods and customers showed a tendency to buy and prepare more fruits and vegetables through one such program.

"Inner-city Baltimore is a 'food desert" with many fast food restaurants and corner stores, but few supermarkets," said lead author Hee-Jung Song, Ph.D., a researcher in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. "These food environments result in less availability of and accessibility to healthy food and impact on the kinds of food consumed by low-income residents."

The study appears online in the journal Health Promotion Practice.

The Baltimore Healthy Store program provided monetary incentives or free food to store owners, coordinated education about nutrition and developed guidelines for the owners to follow to help overcome language and cultural barriers. This is important, since most corner storeowners in Baltimore are Korean-American, while the customers largely are African-American."

Read the entire article here.

Get your pancakes ready, it's maple harvest time

Canada and Vermont may have tapped into the motherload of sappy harvests, but did you know that Western Maryland boasts its own sweet harvest?

Here's an excerpt:

"In a few days to weeks, the trees in Western Maryland will start blooming . . . buckets.

As maple syrup season nears, producers in Garrett County are readying their tapping equipment for harvesting time, which runs from the end of this month through April. The sap starts to flow during the spring thaw, when the combination of mineral-rich soil and temperate weather yields exceptionally rich and sweet syrup. (Quick dendrology lesson: Sap is the sugary water that circulates in a tree after it wakes up from a cold winter.)"

Read the full article here.

Looking for local taps? Find it them here.

As if we needed it, a list detailing Baltimore's awesomeness

Digital City contributor Jon Franklin praises Baltimore's art scene, stubborness, and the fact that D.C. hasn't "rubbed off" on it. He then lists 11 reasons why Baltimore is awesome. Of course, we can think of way more.

An excerpt from the article reads:

1. Cheap rent
For artists that tour and artists that stay home, the rent is relatively cheap. Like Philadelphia you can still find a one-bedroom for around $500. In general, it's more than it used to be and may go higher but still much less than New York rent.

2. Good arts and music scene
Look at the artists of a city and see who's done well for themselves. If they're also doing well in their own city then that's a good gauge that the city has a good scene. Dan Deacon, Animal Collective, Dru Hill, Mary Prankster, Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey are a few that are doing something different and have done well at it. There are well attended all-ages shows and burlesque shows as well as gatherings.

3. Atomic Books
One of the best places in the world, Atomic Books opened in 1992, closed in 2000 and reopened in 2001.
They not only support local bands but also artists as well. They will sell your zine, comic, book or cd on consignment. There are signings, parties, readings and a blog. They also accept fan mail for John Waters.

4. John Waters
Legend says that when John Waters was young his dad was driving him to school in Baltimore. There was a guy standing on the street corner doing nothing but being himself. Being himself really pissed off Waters' father so much that Waters' thought, I want to work with that guy someday. That guy was Harris Glenn Milstead, aka Divine. They went on to make great movies together including Cry Baby, Hairspray, Pink Flamingos and Polyester to name a few. The settings for most of Waters' movies is Baltimore.

Read the entire posting here.

Baltimore Safeway shoppers can drive to win

A Northern Virginian with a hawk's eye for sales alerts her readers that the Safeway at Burke Center in NoVA has the car decals
shoppers must display to win big bucks. One of her followers responds that the decals are available at the Boston Street location in Baltimore. Game's on until the 18th!

An excerpt from the blog posting reads:

If you live in the DC Metro area (including Northern Virginia and Maryland) or the Baltimore Metro area, you should pick up your car decal and stick it in your back window. Vans from Baltimore's Magic 95.9 and DC's Mix 107.3 will be driving around to one Safeway store each day between September 12-18 to choose a winner of a $1,000 Safeway gift card. Listen to each radio station for more details on how to get "spotted" at Safeway. Here are the official details.

Read the entire posting here.

Baltimore hostel snags good score in national review

Bookings at Baltimore hostels are up 58%, according to data from Hostelworld.com. The Associated Press sent interns to check out hostels in four cities: Baltimore, Chicago, New York, and Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The one in Baltimore definitely made the grade for young travelers, but was only recommended for parents who can do without air conditioning.

An excerpt from the article reads:

BALTIMORE HOSTEL: 17 W. Mulberry St., Baltimore, http://www.baltimorehostel.org or 410-576-8880. Rate: $25. Reviewed by Aaron Morrison, 24.

Best thing about the hostel: Free, do-it-yourself pancake breakfast.

Worst thing: The place was almost too quiet. Whether the subdued behavior was encouraged by staff or self-imposed by guests, common areas might as well have been funeral parlor chapels. Of course, low noise levels could be a plus for some travelers.

Bathroom: Bathrooms and showers smelled and looked like they had just been cleaned.

Sleeping: Dorms are gender-specific. The rooms are spacious. Other than lockers in rooms and hallway, a little room is available to place luggage so it's not a nuisance to roommates. Signs advertise ear plugs as a way to shut out other sleepers snoring. Ask for the ear plugs pre-emptively and before the front desk closes. You'll be happier in the morning.

Staff: The staff is friendly and they run the hostel like clockwork.

Amenities: The kitchen is impressive. There are two gas stoves, plenty of cookware and utensils, refrigerators for food storage and ample counter and dining space. A door in the kitchen leads to a outdoor patio, decorated with lights and lined with flower pots. There is a TV room stocked with movies and board games. Speedy WiFi connections are free. Internet reception was good in common areas and dorm rooms. There is a laundry room in the basement.

Read the entire article here.

Urban blogger shares notes on Bmore's stained glass

The combination of a Catholic boyhood and college summers spent window washing have given this blogger a hawk's eye for beautiful stained glass. He's put together a few spots to hit for sacred and secular stained glass-o-philes alike.

An excerpt from the blog posting reads:

If you're interested in those decorative transoms that seem to be above so many rowhouse doorways these days, there are a few places you can find them around the city. We're partial to a few, namely Daniel Herman Stained Glass (1601 Guilford

Avenue # 2S), Terraza Stained Glass (1412 Woodall Street), and Vintage Stained Glass . These are craftsmen, they can help you design what you want, even if you're not too sure yourself.

Finally, for the DIYers and crafty types who want to try their hand at making their own windows, there's The Glass Key in Jessup (8610 Washington Boulevard). They carry a full line of stained glass materials and tools, and, thankfully, offer a full line of classes for beginners like us. We appreciate that, if only because it's virtually guaranteed that our first five (or more) tries are going to come out as lumpy, disfigured pieces of glass . And also because once we get good we're not going to waste our time on anything lame like flowers or clowns, but only design super-cool stuff like stained glass rocket ships full of werewolves. That's just how we roll.

Read the entire posting here.

Baltimore designer bids adieu to her inspiring city

A Baltimore-based graphic designer who came to Baltimore from Paris bids farewell to her Bmore, reflecting on what made her stay here so wonderful and how Charm City compares to the City of Lights.

An excerpt from the blog post reads:

Dear Baltimore,

Thank you for 5 amazing years! You've taught me more than you'll ever know and introduced me to friends I'll keep for a life-time. Sometimes you get a bad rap, but that's ok. I like it that you're my little secret sometimes. Ironically, it was moving here from Paris that helped me appreciate you most.

Baltimore, like Paris, is a small "big city" - it doesn't take you forever to get from one end to the other (ahem, however you could take a queue from Paris when it comes to public transportation - for 3 years I rode the bus, and now I must thank you for lowering my standards and making public transportation easy as pie anywhere else I may go).

I learned to love distinct neighborhoods with their own personality and flair while living in Europe, and you've got that too. Besides, there really should be more Hampdens in the world. Along those lines you have great farmer's markets which are full of color and support local businesses at the same time.

Read the entire blog post here.

Get the scoop on the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show

Labor Day will bring a feast for antique lovers in the Baltimore area as a major convention kicks off. Presentations will include lectures by local experts, such as: "Eureka! The Archimedes Palimpsest" with the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Walters Art Museum; "American Beauty: Treasuring and Collecting Folk Art in America;" "Dining in Style with Georg Jensen Silver;" "18th & 19th Century Decorative Arts Treasures: Telling the Whole Story;" and "Meissen: 300 Years of Exceptional Porcelain."

An excerpt from the blog posting reads:

Dealers attending The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show will be offering a huge variety of first-class antiques for sale ranging in prices from under $100 to upwards of $1 million.  And with over 200,000 individual pieces, ranging from antiquities to 20th century pieces, there's something for ever antique lover.

The show hosts 60 rare book dealers, 60 silver specialists, more than 30 Asian art dealers, ceramics on sale from over 70 exhibitors and hundreds of other dealers covering virtually every period and style of antiques. 

Read the entire posting here.

Attn. bacon and beer lovers: Festival combines hogs and hops

A bacon aficionado alerts Baltimoreans to a festival combining beer, bacon, and music. What could be better? And yes � there is a blog devoted to bacon.

An excerpt from the post reads:

If you 1.) love bacon and 2.) live in Baltimore - or within a reasonable driving distance, then here's an event you should check out.

On Saturday, September 19th from Noon to 4 pm, you can sample over a dozen types of bacon, drink a dozen kinds of beer, and enjoy some live music at the Heavy Seas Bacon and Beer Festival - Pyrates, Pigs and Pints.

Tickets are $40 and include all-you-can-taste beer and bacon.

Read the entire blog post here:

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