Heating Up: January and February The best new spots and sips in Charm City.

Barry Fleischmann, once the Innovative Gourmet, is behind Rachel in Federal Hill.

Here to Stay
For 32 years, Barry Fleischmann was the Innovative Gourmet behind the catering company of the same name. Now he’s shifted branding to stay in one place—namely, the Fort Avenue revolving door that has been everything from the short-lived Ullswater to Breadbangers sandwich shop, which went stale in a flash. Rachel New American Cuisine, named after Fleischmann’s daughter, is a low-key spot with a something-for-everyone menu of such standards as roasted rockfish, Cornish game hen and crab cakes. There are meatloaf and Cubano sandwiches and a handful of options for vegetarians. Most of the beer is from small breweries; a list of affordable wines “won’t include Mondavi,” Fleischmann promises, and the décor includes lots of reclaimed wood. If this package sounds familiar, there’s one element you won’t find at other restaurants: Fleischmann himself. “I’m the chef-proprietor and I’ll be here all the time,” he says. “It’s the difference between success and failure.” 554 East Fort Ave., 443-339-4999, rachelfedhill.com —MARTHA THOMAS

Grilled lampchop platter with roasted potatoes.
Grilled lampchop platter with roasted potatoes.

It’s Feta
It’s been nearly a year since we first learned that a second Samos Greek Island Grill location would be opening in McHenry Row, but—opa!—it’s finally open. The Grill, a spinoff of the original Samos Restaurant in Greektown, hopes its new locale in the Locust Point center will increase accessibility; now, those on the SoBo side can avoid the tunnel in pursuit of their feta fix. (The flagship location is in Canton Crossing.) The ambience may be nothing special at this fast-casual favorite (here, fast means fast—some Yelpers say three minutes), but Samos is long-loved for its gyros, spanakopita, tzatziki and, naturally, Greek salads. Sounds positively godly. 1703 Whetstone Way, 410-244-1714, samosgreekislandgrill.com—KIMBERLY USLIN

Sarah Acconcia blends superfood spices.

Health Food
They say you are what you eat—and while you’re not likely to become Cat’s Claw bark if you throw some into your morning smoothie, you are likely to experience improved digestive health (and, in some cases, arthritis relief). Such is the ethos behind Juniper Culinary Apothecary, a specialty food and spice store that recently opened in Mount Vernon Marketplace. “The idea of a culinary apothecary is inspired by the traditional medicinal apothecary,” says Sarah Acconcia, a former chef and the shop’s owner. “It’s a cooking shop with a holistic health focus—you can flavor your food while adding nutrition to your diet.” Tucked in a quaint pantry-like space, the walls of Juniper are lined with foods and spices the average consumer has never heard of (think: chlorella powder, superfood roots and barks, various elixirs and tinctures), each with a specific—and potent—benefit. Try the custom tea/botanical bar or the “superfood spices”—blends like curry or barbecue boasting a host of good-for-you ingredients. 520 Park Ave., 443-438-5284, juniperbaltimore.com —K.U.

Everything bagel salmon with shaved fennel salad.
Everything bagel salmon with shaved fennel salad.

Nasty Girls
Sisters Lori Gjerde and Carrie Podles, along with Gjerde’s husband, Charlie, took over the old McCabe’s spot on Falls Road not long after a fire gutted the place in December 2014. The convivial team behind Huck’s American Craft in Canton and Papi’s Tacos in Fells Point has truly transformed the once dark space. To create Wicked Sisters, they shifted the bar away from the entrance, painted the brick walls white and blew out some windows. They’ve added a second floor complete with bar and table shuffleboard. The bars are stainless steel, chairs a mix of black aluminum and Bertoia style. The menu is a combination of bar food (mussels, salads, “lunch lady” pizza on a baguette, and a burger that is a nod to the McCabe’s go-to) and more substantial fare, including meals for two—chicken dinner, cowboy steak, or spaghetti and meatballs—served family-style. Chef Jason Horwitz, who worked for Charlie and his brother, Spike, at Joy America, is in the kitchen “thanks to the magic of Facebook,” says Charlie. The wicked sisters themselves seem to have the chops for the long haul. 3845 Falls Road, 410-878-0884, wickedsisterstavern.com —M.T


_dsc9441Rosé Romance
While Champagne is often a go-to option for intimate celebrations, rosé brings something unexpected and enticing to your glass—and your night. Beaming with effervescence,

Cavicchioli rosé is flirtatious and bright. Add a bit of Grey Goose for depth and a touch of rose water for dimension, and this sparkling cocktail gets so sexy it may just make you blush …

4          ounces Cavicchioli 1928

Rosé Spumante Dolce

.75       ounces Grey Goose vodka

.25       ounces Fee Brothers Rose Water

In a chilled Champagne coupe, combine Grey Goose vodka and Fee Brothers Rose Water.

Top with chilled Cavicchioli rosé.

By Ginny Lawhorn, award-winning bartender at Landmark Theatres, Harbor East, and founder of Baltimore Cocktail Week.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here