Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Baltimore Weekend

I am so incredibly sad that I had to list "travel" as a tag on this post about this past weekend spent in Baltimore.  Baltimore shouldn't be travel ... Baltimore is home!  But not anymore :(  Now Silver Spring is our home, so when we had friends visiting Baltimore from out of town last weekend, we spent Saturday night at Josh's parents' house so we could hang out both Saturday night and Sunday morning without killing ourselves with the drive. 
On the agenda for Saturday night: dinner at the Helmand.  Josh and I love this place, so we were really excited to share it with our friends.  Unfortunately, the restaurant seemed to be having a bit of an off night (smaller portions than normal, etc.), so I'm not sure they got to see the best side of it possible.  Hopefully they enjoyed it anyway!  In addition to the pumpkin appetizer (always a must-order item), I ordered the Mushroom Lawand - Whole mushrooms sauteed with spices, fresh tomatoes, corn and green pea sauce, (minus the yogurt dressing), and served with spinach and challow.  It was quite tasty, but for some reason I got quite ill from it later in the evening.  :/  Not good ... A particularly off night for the Helmand. 
Luckily I was all better by the next morning when we met up with our friends again to grab brunch at The Food Market in Hampden.  When I asked the waiter about vegan options and the possibility of creating something, he didn't make it sound like they were too open to making something off-menu for me, but did let me know that one item on the menu was indeed vegan, so that's what I ordered - the "Veggie Delight". 
It was strangely described as "appropriate veg, crispy rice, and spicy soy".  Also oddly, it was the most expensive thing that anyone ordered.  $16 for what you see at left.  That's right, $4 more than the shrimp and grits, and $5 more than Josh's French toast.  "Appropriate veg" is apparently edamame, red peppers, spinach, tomatoes, corn, and some other small green.  It really wasn't bad, but it definitely did wow.  It seemed like the most random, thrown-together dish, that was really just an attempt to make sure there was something vegan on the menu.  Though I suppose that's better than not making sure there's something vegan on the menu. 
After brunch we walked around Hampden with our friends for a bit, having a blast checking out all the cute shops in the area, before bidding them adieu as they head off to go climbing this week.  Hopefully we will see them again this weekend before they head home (to California). 
Later in the afternoon our stomachs started to rumble again, so while we were out doing errands we stopped into Potbelly for a sandwich to tide us over until dinner.  I was definitely excited to get the Mediterranean minus feta again after having it at Dulles Airport.  Since it was only a few hours until dinner, I got a "skinny" sandwich rather than a regular, but it was just as good! 
Even though our friends had left, we'd made plans to stay in Baltimore through the evening so we could watch the Breaking Bad finale at Josh's parents' house Sunday night (we don't have cable, and of course we couldn't wait to watch it until Monday night when it would be on Amazon - too many spoilers!).  Since we would be hanging around, Josh's parents took us out to dinner at Orchard Market and Cafe, a little Persian restaurant that is so tucked away off Joppa Road that I don't see how anyone would ever know it's there!  Indeed, when we went in only one other table was occupied. 
Apparently Josh's parents had been there about twenty years ago, so they must have regular customers (even if they are few and far between).  Though it's tiny, the restaurant is nicely decorated and the staff was extremely friendly, including being very understanding about my vegan requests.  The menu has only one vegan dish, but it is clearly marked as such.  There are also several appetizers that can be made vegan on request. 
The one dish was Yazdi Khoresh, described as "a medley of vegetables in the chef’s Persian curry, tomato & garlic sauce."  Sadly, it tasted really more like a mish-mash of boiled vegetables with Chef Boyardee sauce - and absolutely no seasoning.  I seriously never salt my food, and found myself dumping a ton of salt and pepper all over this just to make it edible.  The veggie mix was cauliflower, broccoli, celery, carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions - nothing interesting or unique at all.  It felt like the kind of thing I could easily make myself at home, except that I would expect mine to be a whole lot tastier.  I ate about half before passing it off to Josh, who said it was "not bad".  Differences of opinion ...

I won't go spoiling anything about the Breaking Bad finale, but obviously if you watch the show at all it's a must-see.  Then again, if you're reading this and haven't seen it already, I'm sure everyone else in the world has already managed to spoil it for you!

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