Dining in Harbor East

I was looking at all of the pictures on my cell phone the other day and realized that if anyone were to ever steal my phone, they’d think I was crazy.  I have an insane amount of pictures of food.  Plates with food.  No people in the pictures.  Just pictures of food.

Once upon a time, I thought it would be a good idea to participate in a blog of restaurant reviews in the Baltimore Metropolitan area.  I go out to eat a lot so it seemed like a good idea.  But seeming like a good idea and actually following through with it are completely different things.  It started to feel like work and I’m terrible at describing food.  My descriptions usually consist of “It’s good”, “delish!” or “I hated it.”

Since this blog, however, is about my life in Baltimore and I do still eat out quite a bit – I feel like I should at least mention some places I’ve eaten at as a service to my readers.  Here goes.

2 weeks ago, on a whim, I went to Teavolve for dinner with Jeremy and Theresa.  I’ve always wanted to try this place because (1) it was shiny and new and (2) it’s located in the super hip Harbor East area of Baltimore.  They’re veg-friendly so I figured it couldn’t hurt. 

Surprisingly it was pretty empty on a Friday evening (although as we were finishing up our meal, it looked like they were setting up some sort of “dj” area so perhaps this place turns into a lounge-y type hang-out later in the night).  While I felt like a super dork walking in (because nowhere does it explicitly state how you should seat yourself), I was pleased with the menu selection. 

We started with the Black Bean Dip: black bean, jalapeno & green peppers, red onions, garlic, cilantro, garlic-herb crostini for $6.50.

And because their whole gimick is that they’re a tea place, most of the cocktails are “tea-infused”.  I had to try one.  I ordered the Spicy Mango Margari-Tea: Organic Himalayan Green Tea, Fresh Mango Puree, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Cointreau, Dash of Habenero-Lime Juice for $9 and Theresa ordered the Eden Mar-Tea-Ni: Fukuiju Green Tea, Fresh Green Apple Puree, Absolut Vodka, Dash of Fresh Lemon Juice for $9.  I think Jeremy thought he’d look less masculine with a martini drink and just got some sort of tea smoothie.

For dinner, I ordered the Asian Tofu Wrap: tofu, shredded carrots, edamame, organic mixed greens, house made tangy asian sauce for $5.75.  Jeremy got the “Thai Me Up” entree of thai chicken satay, sweet chili sauce, asian noodles for $14.25.  And I totally forgot what Theresa ordered but it was a wrap and she liked it.

I thought everything was great (especially the cocktails!).  My wrap was ridiculously good and I will definitely return to this locale.  Jeremy wasn’t as happy.  His meal was more than twice the price and was very small in portion size.  And he was starving.  You can see his dilemma.

They offer a brunch that looks really good and this place participates with Restaurant.com (that site where you can order gift certificates to restaurants at a reduced price).  Not too shabby.

I still don’t know squat about tea though.

The following week, I met up with Theresa and Meredith for happy hour at Ra Sushi.  This is another hipster locale in the Harbor East area and I think that I was one of the few residents of the neighboring yuppie areas that hadn’t been here.  Their happy hour special seemed like a great deal and I was able to confirm some veg-friendly options.

Their happy hour is 1/2 off selected sushi and appetizers as well as $4 selected cocktails and $3 selected imported beers (and some other special crap that I didn’t pay attention to).  Everything we ordered was a happy hour special so between 3 people, we spent around $40 (not including tip).

I ordered the Vegetarian roll and holy hell it was magnificent.  I have ordered a vegetarian roll at other sushi joints with dismal results but Ra’s roll was amazingly light and fresh.  Theresa ordered the Crispy Spicy Tuna.

We all split 2 orders of Edamame (normally priced at $3.25) because you can’t go to a sushi restaurant and not eat edamame.  If you do, you have no soul.

We also split the Pineapple Cheese Wontons- fried wontons filled with cream cheese, scallions and pineapple, served with roasted pineapple dipping sauce (normally priced at $7.50).  Theresa and Meredith ordered something with lobster in it… I don’t remember because I wasn’t paying attention.  I was too busy making love to my vegetarian roll.

I also ordered the Dengaku Tofu – tofu laced with tempura sauce and finished with a red miso ginger glaze (normally priced at $6.00).  Very good but an acquired taste.  If you don’t like tofu – you won’t like this app.

I also ordered a Pamatini (ketel citron, pama liqueur and fresh grapefruit juice).  I thought this was a great happy hour special since it normally costs $9.50 and I got it for $4.  Theresa and Mer both got a Sapporo Light.

I thought the food was great.  My only complaint is that it was so frickin’ loud.  It’s more like a clubby/loungey bar so music is turned up so loud that your heart begins to beat in rhythm with the bass of the music.  My voice went hoarse trying to yell a conversation to Theresa and Meredith.

At that moment, I realized I turned into an old lady.

Still – I’d go back just to eat that magical vegetarian roll.  I’ll just pack earplugs.



Filed under Charm City Kim Eats

3 responses to “Dining in Harbor East

  1. Meredith

    Gosh when you lay it all out, we sure did eat alot. I had the lobster spring rolls and they were yummy! I agree with the asessment of the noise level…perhaps we would have been okay had we been at a table. I think there was entra yelling involved in carrying on a conversation sitting 3-wide at the sushi bar. I def would go back as well…but I’ll take a pass on the petit-four looking tofu things!

    We ate a lot and didn’t spend a lot. I think some short-term hearing loss was worth it. 🙂

  2. dood, tea-infused cocktails and pineapple cheese wontons?! i must try these places out.

    p.s. i love your food posts 🙂 so descriptive, they make my mouth water.

    Ha! You might be the only person who appreciates my food posts. 🙂 Next time you’re in Bmore, let me know and we’ll go!

  3. Since you took the time to do the write up, why don’t you just post it on the eating out blog? (Cut and paste!)

    Good point although it wasn’t very descriptive for a food critic blog…

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