2010 “Golden Dozen”

Most Impressive Chicken!     Bahama Breeze (Towson)
(Ahem… This award is not about Marty’s favorite waiter!) With thin layers of fried chicken breast sandwiching multiple layers of garlic mashed potoatoes, spinach, tomatoes and melted cheese, the “Buttermilk Fried Chicken” ($12) left us envious and drooling.

Best Mt. Vernon Presto-Chango!     Waterstone Grille (Mt. Vernon)
The conversion of the former woman’s bar, Coconuts, into a wonderfully attractive café with tasty Mediterranean inspired food and a welcoming attitude had our companion exclaim “This is a gem!” Runner up? Feast@4 East was a former doctor’s office!

Nicest Owner We Interviewed!      Chazz (Harbor East)
Chazz Palminteri, co-owner and star of stage, film and TV was gracious and charming during an hour interview he gave us. His insights about playing a character on “Modern Family” mistaken for being gay impressed us to no end.

Best Burger Bargain!     Glory Days (Towson)
The “Monday Night only” $5 burger special includes fries or our favorite whole red skin potoatoes and is a true bargain. Runner up? Tuesday Night $7 “burger & beer” at “Mother’s” on Federal Hill

Best Dessert!     Freshii (Charles Village)
The frozen Greek yoghurt is wonderfullly unlike any we’ve ever had and the $5 portion is big enough for two to share (Freshii’s soups and salads earned our “Thumbs Up!” too!)

Best “Home Style” Italian!     Emporio Grano (Hampden)
Emporio Grano (on Chesnut and not to be confused with its tiny namesake on “The Avenue”,) impressed us with its casual Italian ambience, delicious food and exceptionally friendly staff. (and… it’s a surprisingly affordable sibling of the very upscale Café Troia in Towson)

Most Dubious Menu Gimmick!     Duck Fat Fries
We’d bet that in a “blind” taste test, 99% of the customers would prefer fast food burger fries. We’re convinced they’re just a gimmick for restaurants to boost their profit margin.

Best Bruschetta Marty Never Tried!      Gianni’s (Arbutus)
John never found a Bruschetta that he could get excited about before his buddy Tom maneuvered into trying it Gianni’s. Three huge chunks of Italian bread heaped with diced tomatoes, celery, red onion, a bit of fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil made for a life changing moment!

Best Pizza!    Kyro (Mt. Vernon)
After trying a good amount of pizza in 2011, Marty’s hands-down favorite was the pizza at Kyro in Mt. Vernon.

Best View in Baltimore!     Grandview Penthouse (Hampden)
While we haven’t dined yet at the new “Grandview Penthouse” (which replaced “Dizz Grandview”), you can still enjoy the spectacular “for miles” view of Baltimore for the cost of a sandwich and a soft drink under $10!

Best Restaurant Name!     Mr. Rain’s Fun House (Federal Hill)
On top of the incredibly quirky and intriguing American Visionary Art Museum, the restaurant name is fittingly quirky and intriguing (if only the restaurant interior lived up to the expectations that the name conjures up…)

Best Lentil Soup!    Café Troia (Towson)
We’ve seen that Lentil Soup can vary widely from one restaurant to another. This unusual version which has lentils as part of a hearty vegetable soup (and was served piping hot) stood out from the rest.

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