Despite the current boom in healthy eating, one thing remains on the menu: gorgeous, guilty pleasure, artisanal doughnuts. Check out three of Charm City’s new or recently expanded purveyors of sugary perfection.
Two shops are nestled within blocks of each other in Federal Hill. The first is Sundays, a new stall in Cross Street Market owned by Phil Han, the owner of Dooby’s and Sugarvale in Mount Vernon. On Instagram, Sundays tantalizes with Boston creams that have both mocha
and Mexican chocolate. Other doughnut flavors include banana rum and French toast. Also on the menu: fried chicken sandwiches. Nearby is Michael Roslan’s Diablo Doughnuts, which opened in Fells Point in 2015, and has moved to a larger space on Light Street in the former Felici Café. Look for the sweet-savory Old Bay caramel, the blackout or the unforgettably named unicorn fart. The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Full Circle Artisan Palace, has taken over the former Center Cut Donut space in Hampden. Friends who originally met at a local farmers’ market, Courtney Fix and Heather Cedeño tell us they have a deep love for “playing with dough babies” and for their community. Try their “duffin,” a doughnut baked in a muffin pan, or the decadent seasonal offering, The Berger Cookie doughnut, no explanation needed. The baking duo donates doughnuts monthly to Generosity Global’s “Selfless Saturdays” to help feed the homeless.
On Instagram @sundaysbmore, @diablo_doughnuts and @fullcircle_artisanpalace
We all know that chicken soup is good for the soul and when you are under the weather. Lucky for us, there is a brand new food stall, most appropriately called Prescription Chicken, in Federal Hill’s Cross Street Market. This is the first location for owners and cousins Taryn Pellicone and Valerie Zweig, who began their business in Washington, D.C. in 2016. Think there is only one way to make chicken soup? Try Grandma’s Chicken Noodle, a rich chicken soup with onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, celery, pulled chicken and egg noodles. The vegetables are crunchy and taste as they should: fresh. Then there is the Bi-Partisan Soup, which comes with both matzoh balls, made from Streit’s well-known matzoh, and egg noodles. Another variation is the Hangover, customized to help you sweat it out the day after, its broth full of ginger, horseradish, garlic, fresh turmeric and jalapenos. Adorable challah rolls are on the menu to help diners soak up all the goodness and the stall also offers special cream cheese stuffed bagel bites, called Poppy’s Bagel Holes. Soup comes in two sizes — 16 and 32 ounces — so there should be plenty to stave off those small and large emergencies. 1065 S. Charles St., prescriptionchicken.com —Patti Neumann
Staff at the The Oceanaire Seafood Room in Harbor East have been polishing more than silverware this year. After a $300,000 renovation, the swank, ocean liner-themed restaurant has a fresh new look that moves away from a 1930’s supper club feel to a more relaxed and cozier ambiance, explains general manager Phillip McGuckian. The remodel includes splashes of color, booth seating, other new furnishings and light fixtures to create a warmer, less stodgy ambiance. The wall for private dining was taken down, and in its place is a foldable door for privacy. The raw bar is still in the front and there are multiple seats, both at the raw bar and at high-top, bistro tables. In the semi-private room, TVs were added for guests sharing business presentations or favorite sports game. Not to worry, The Oceanaire, which is known for seafood flown in daily from around the world, is not changing its award-winning concept. Diners can still expect to find the grand shellfish tower, an elegant ensemble of items from the seafood raw bar, steaks and of course, jumbo lump crab cakes. 801 Aliceanna Street, theoceanaire.com —PATTI NEUMANN
Back to Basics
When it comes to his new downtown bistro, Chef Steve Monnier isn’t cutting any corners. The French native and former owner of Arômes, a small-plates venture in Hampden, was well aware of the challenge of his “up-and-coming” location when he decided to open Chez Hugo — but he was more than up for it. Though the menu doesn’t stray far from traditional French fare (steak frites, onion soup, escargot, et cetera, plus French-inspired cocktails), he says the offerings demand exquisite execution. “What we do is very classic, and it might seem simple, but there’s a lot of technique behind it,” he explains, noting that this is particularly true when it comes to the pastries. “We try and we fail, we try to understand why we’re failing. It’s a science.” Chemistry never had it so good. 206 E Redwood St., (443) 563-2050, reservations at exploretock.com/chezhugobistro —KIMBERLY USLIN