Artifact Coffee Pop Up

Artifact Coffe is part of the Woodberry Kitchen group.  They host regular dinners where chef’s take over the kitchen and give us a taste of their style.  This month they called it a Farmed, Foraged, and Fished dinner where Jeremiah Langhorne, the former chef de cuisine of McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina collaborated with Woodberry’s Spike Gjerde.

We started with a bottle of Petit Verdot from Jefferson Vineyards.  I am not sure why I was the one who was picking the wine, but I have been to that beautiful winery and knew it pair nicely, even with the fish.   Although the winery considers it to have strong tannins, I didn’t find them overwhelming and I found it to have wonderful fruit notes and a very smooth finish.   It certainly went wonderful with the chef’s complementary app with raw beets, mushrooms and honey drizzled beet chips (although, my table did give me some strange looks when I ate the entire beet with the attached greens)…

There were five choices for small plates – Tofu, Scallops, Soft Shell Crab, Rockfish and Pheasant. Each perfectly cooked – with a simple presentation that packed big flavor. I am not a fan of the soft shell crab, but my friend thought it was “scrumdiddlyumptious”. IMG_2084
My first dish was the scallops. It was one or two scallops sliced expertly served with a mixed green salad topped with radishes, carrot strips and crispy wheat berries.  I loved the little crunch of the toasted wheat berries – perfect texture companion with seared scallops. I am such a fan of scallops – especially when the chef knows how to give them an expert caramelized sear but keeps them from getting rubbery and overcooked. I never doubted Spike for a second. I think my friend actually opted for a second order…

For our next course, I think we all had rockfish. IMG_2085 The impeccably cooked fish was meaty and just the right amount of flaky and chef’s idea to wrap it in a cabbage leaf and then grill to perfection was genius. I assume because it was locally sourced it was of the striped bass variety; fantastically mild, yet still flavorful. My favorite part was the small slices of a spicy light green pepper, which brought out the mildly sweet flavor of the fish.  The purple cabbage added a nice crispy texture element to pair with the bright herb puree.

As if a third course was even necessary – the pheasant. IMG_2087 I am going to give you a second to take a look at the plating for this dish (to be fair – I had already snagged a few bites).  The breast of the pheasant was tender and juicy, but the skin remained perfectly crispy.  This dish was amazingly balanced – shitake mushrooms have an earthiness that matched the slightly gamey meat. It was mixed in with large green onion bulbs and barley. IMG_2088
I would have had 17 more if I hadn’t been stuffed.
I barely had room for dessert.  Luckily, it was light and right up my alley.  Fruity, yet subtly sweet berry sorbet served with fresh berries and topped with a granola style cookie crumble. I did sneak a few sips of my friends counter culture coffee. The perfect end to a locally sourced dinner. Keep your eye on their calendar and I will try to keep you up to date on their next events.


I mentioned I love them as a coffee shop here, but so do my fellow bloggers.Artifact Coffee on Urbanspoon

Baltimore’s Best Coffee

Baltimore is home to a fair number of local small batch roasters. Locally, I tend to go with Zeke’s as they are in the city unlike Baltimore Coffee and Tea, and closer to me than High Grounds Coffee in Patterson Park. Spoons in Fed Hill is also supposed to be a great local roaster, but I haven’t been for food or coffee.  And you can also see me carrying around a reusable Starbucks cup – you can’t beat the ease of that phone app.

Plus, there are a ton of other shops using almost local roasters. Tribecca uses Elixr Coffee beans from Philly.  Artifact, Belvedere Market, and Charmington’s uses NC Counter Culture beans. Johnny’s uses Ceremony Coffee beans from Annapolis. In many of these spots you can get your own Chemex or French Press – so fun and helps with the bitter part that no body likes.

I love coffee and I have already mentioned all of my favorite spots to drink coffee in the City. You can’t go wrong stopping by at any of these spots – or even Carma’s Cafe, On the Hill, Dooby’s, or Donna’s.  New coffee shops are popping up all over Charm City and I haven’t been to some of the local favorites – like Patterson Perk , Spro, or the aforementioned Spoons, for example.  Nevertheless, I sure do miss Lamill.

Let me go into a few more details on my top 3 spots for a cup of Joe:

Charmingtons: A cafe with a very clever name that is revitalizing the Remington neighborhood.  I am a fan of Counter Culture coffee and they have surprisingly great food. A seasonal salad, which lately has been covered with herbaceous, fresh roasted beets. I am a huge fan of their kale smoothie – kale, peanut butter, banana and almond milk. So much of fan I often make try to copy it myself at home. The BLT has local bacon – maybe even local from across the street at Parts and Labor.

Tribecca Coffee Roasters: I am new to this place. It’s on Charles Street in Mount Vernon, tucked in between apartment buildings and liquor stores. I have only been since the temperature has started rising. I am in love with their ice coffee. Thank goodness the barista suggested I try the cold brew before adding cream and sure.  It was so smooth and definitely had the perfect awakening aroma. They do have a limited menu, which I have yet to try.

Zeke’s Coffee: What’s not to love about these guys. You can find their coffee everywhere – Eddie’s Markets, Famer’s Markets and at their coffee shop on Harford Road, just south of ColdSpring/Moravia Road. They do all of their own roasting just down the street and have an ever-changing selection of beans from across the world. As for food, they have a ton of sammie options and locally made pastries, muffins and bagels. These guys are a little cheaper than Charmington’s with the PB&J coming in at $2.50 instead of $4.50.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in Baltimore? I can’t wait to hear where you have been so I can add it to my list.

August 2014 Events

I figure I should be sharing some foodie-like events… Lots happening here in Charm City.

August 1 – 10, 2014: Baltimore Restaurant Week – there are a ton of great choices, many of which I have reviewed or gave a snippet to here.  I definitely recommend open tabling if the restaurant accepts rezzi’s.  I think I am going for The Prime Rib.

August 3, 2014: Nickel Taphouse‘s 5 course BEER DINNER with YARDS BREWING COMPANY on AUGUST 3rd for $50.  Call for reservations.

August 11 & 12, 2014: Mason Dixon Master Chef SemiFinals, showcasing some of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan and surrounding area’s finest executive chefs and restaurants.  Guests attending this exciting event will be more than just spectators, as they enjoy the unique experience of witnessing two spectacular area chefs battle it out in the prep kitchen right on the main floor.

August 18 & 19, 2014:  Lebanese Taverna is turning 35 and “Rolling Back the Prices” in celebration– enjoy specially priced menu items.

August 24, 2014:  Mason Dixon Master Chef Finals, find out who is THE Mason Dixon Master Chef, the only one of the 16 competing chefs.