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When I’m looking for a great place to grab something quick and healthy near my house, I go to Baba’s Kitchen on Fort Avenue in South Baltimore. I’m partial to the chicken kabob platter that comes with rice and orzo, a wonderful green salad, pita bread and hummus. I like to take Baba’s to Flicks on the Hill at the American Visionary Art Museum and the Fells Point Film Festival. Riverside Park also has concerts during the summer where lots of neighbors picnic. Of course, for a summertime dessert— and with no offense to Baba’s outstanding baklava— I just wait for Miss Twist to take a turn through the neighborhood!
— Luke Clippinger, member of the House of Delegates, District 46
After a long walk in the woods with friends at Lake Roland, I want delicious food that is way off the diet. A cheese steak and french fries from Pepe’s Pizza are great.
— Chickie Grayson, president, Enterprise Homes
When time is tight and I’m heading to a neighbor’s house for supper, my takeout go-to is often Hampden’s Rocket to Venus. Their Brussels sprouts (roasted in olive oil, balsamic, and, I swear, magic) are a hearty side dish for a summer get-together. If you’re dining solo and want to keep the kitchen cool, their banh mi is about the best I’ve ever had. The pickled daikon, jalapeño, cucumber and mint aioli are the perfect summer blends of spicy and cool. And another great thing about Rocket? They serve Brewer’s Art Resurrection Ale— you can have a cold brew while you wait!
— Carmen Brock, owner, Trohv Home and Gift
Atwater’s chilled gazpacho is almost as good as mine!! Plus, in season their BALT sammich (Bacon-Avocado-Lettuce-Tomato) is to die for.
— Anne Boone-Simanski, social columnist and blogger
I serve crabcakes from Eddie’s of Roland Park as part of a “Maryland” dinner with Eastern Shore tomatoes and corn. For a quick side dish, I buy red bliss potato salad from Costco and doctor it up with lots of chopped fresh herbs. And when it’s really hot and I am not into making something for a party, I get several orders of cold sesame noodles delivered from King Wok on York Road (or any Chinese restaurant) and put them into a pretty bowl.
— Eleanor Landauer, Director of Major and Planned Gifts, Friends School
Two of my favorite summer go-tos are DiPasquale’s and Samos in Highlandtown. I get the same thing every time I go to DiPasquale’s: pasta fagioli and the Santino, which is imported prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil and tomato on crusty Italian bread. At Samos, it’s the Samos Salad: a Greek salad with a skewer of grilled lamb (they also have chicken, shrimp or beef) and grilled pita. For a treat, I get the grilled octopus. The lentil soup is good and spinach pie is also yum.
— Margaret Footner, executive director, Creative Alliance at the Patterson
When it’s too hot to even think about making dinner, I pick up chilled beet with Greek yogurt soup at Banksy’s Cafe on Falls Road. It’s insanely delicious, refreshing and filling. An added benefit? My kids don’t eat beets, which means I don’t have to share. Then, I stop around the corner at Taharka Brothers for a quart of key lime pie ice cream. Every time, I marvel at the fact that $7.25 (plus tax) can make me that happy.
— Abby Lattes, director of Marketing and Communications, JHU Whiting School of Engineering
A favorite picnic dish for summer concerts at Wolf Trap is homemade pasta salad with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, spiced with cilantro and drizzled in light olive oil and balsamic vinegar, foccacia bread from Panera and a glass of Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc. For dessert, it’s chocolate vanilla cupcakes from Reisterstown’s Iced Gems Creations. The light buttercream vanilla icing atop a chocolate cupcake with semisweet chocolate chips reminds me of the cakes my mom used to bake when I was growing up. And finding that awesome combination in a portable package is the best finish to any meal!
— Gynene Sullivan, associate director, design and production, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Cafe Einstein in Fells Point is such a find! The first time I went there was when I was planning a New Year’s open house and thinking of making some kind of a potato dish. When I saw they had German potato salad, I asked to try a taste and my plans came to a crashing halt. I asked if I could bring a bowl over and have them fill it at whatever they wanted to charge me. Chef Claudia’s German potato salad is not made with bacon, but with a vinegar base, and it’s bright and fresh and absolutely delightful. While I was at it, I ordered a couple of her desserts: the Black Forest cake and the strawberry caramel torte. All three items were huge hits, and I’ve been going back ever since.
— Kathy Alexander, publicity manager, Johns Hopkins University Press
My favorite take-out not just for summer is Poulet at Green Spring Station. They have great rotisserie turkey and chicken with really good sides, including healthy and not-so-healthy options, which works well for us.
I also really like Gourmet Again in Pikes- ville. It’s the closest I have found to a kitchen away from my kitchen. My family like the chicken, salmon and shrimp dishes. They also have a good selection of veggies, salads and fruits and produce. You can tell everyone you cooked it yourself!
— Marilyn Waranch, director of public relations, France-Merrick Performing Arts Center
With the farmers market and our own garden in full swing, we try to eat at home whenever we’re not committed elsewhere. But when either the schedule gods or the god of fatigue conspire against us, we sneak over to Eddie’s of Roland Park and get a large dollop of their broccoli salad and a serving of pasta, peas and bacon. Lynn Wolf, a singer in the Choral Arts Society, makes the world’s finest broccoli salad, but when a close second is called for, Eddie’s is our go-to place. And pasta, peas and bacon are as elemental as water, wind and fire.
— Tom Hall and Linell Smith, Choral Arts music Director and writer/editor