Sunday, October 17, 2010

Woodberry Kitchen Brunch

This is a re-post from my Slow Food Baltimore Post a few months ago.

When we moved to Baltimore two and a half years ago my husband found Woodberry Kitchen and said it looked amazing on-line. He had me at farm-to-table. We went on our first official Baltimore date there the night we moved in. I had applied for their special events position but was hired at my current job before Spike and Amy, the owners, got back to me. I asked the waiter if I could meet Amy. She stopped by our window table and said Spike immediately wanted to hire me from my experience at Restaurant and Asia Nora and apologized for not calling sooner.
Luckily, in my current job I get to frequent this amazing restaurant for work dinners, private events and culinary promotional trips for Baltimore.

The Gjerde's have done an incredible job creating a relaxed, hip environment without it ever seeming pretentious or too cool. You won't find a white tablecloth
in the place or fresh flowers on the table. The paper menus are printed daily on letter press menu cards. When you enter the main room, the old warehouse building has taken on a church-like quality with hand blown glass lanterns and arched windows. The waitresses wear vintage 1950 style aprons and the check comes to you on a vintage painted tin tray. We often risk the reservation line and jump in at the bar.

Last weekend I went to my first brunch, and as the jazz duo's bass notes wafted through the room I ordered a latte. I appreciate the care that goes into every detail. I'm a bit of a geek for Counter Culture coffee and all things latte art. I mean, three little hearts! How do they do that? This roaster is just different and has a cult following. They know their coffee bean farmers and took Spike on a trip so he too could meet some of them. Atwater's sells their coffee at Belvedere Square and I believe has cuppings.

For brunch we started off with the espresso glazed donuts. The folks living in Hampden are much depressed since loosing our beloved New System Bakery that had been in business for 88 years before closing a few months back. Their donuts were so light and airy, and lacked the synthetic taste you get at fast food places. Biting into the fresh out of the frier donut from Woodberry Kitchen brought me back to a trip to Trenton, Kentucky I had as a child. My great aunt made handmade donuts, and Spike's had that same cakey, old fashioned quality with a fine crisp to the edges. The espresso glass was delicious and I only wish I had more to dip on the side.

I ordered the crab cakes Benedict. The eggs were nicely poached, the home fries
perfectly seasoned and the Hollandaise Sauce was thick and creamy. The flavor of the crab cake didn't over power the dish and tasted fresh from the sea. All the flavors together were just a party in your mouth. We are so lucky in Maryland to have the crab cake as our state staple dish, but this isn't your daddy's crab cake. It doesn't have any filler. They make all of their breads in-house and Isaiah, the pastry chef, told us that he had just perfected the English muffin recipe. It was so fluffy with nooks and crannies to boot.

My husband had the biscuits and gravy. Again, this is not the white, sausage gravy
from my past that tasted like paste mixed with aged sawdust. This gravy was packed with pork sausage from the cute guys at Truck Patch Farms and was so rich.

Woodberry Kitchen has become our second home in Baltimore and the entire staff
greets us like we were Norm from Cheers. We were tickled to receive their letter press Christmas card with the brick oven on the front. We have provided figs and fig leaves from our "Stone Hill Farm" and sent them fig preserves as a Christmas present. We only live two miles from the restaurant so we may be the most local "farm" they have yet.

You can spend a night here for a wedding anniversary, sit down at the bar after a long day and grab a flatbread and beer, or have candied bacon for breakfast on Sundays. I find that using Open Table works the best for reservations. And you can always shoot them a request using


Pigtown-Design said...

So sorry that you never got the chance to know Spike's bestie, John Gutierrez. He was the force behind the Mill and it's incredible style.

Nelle Somerville said...

Me too Meg. We only met him once at an open house with so many other people.

Bethany said...

Oh my goodness! Those donuts look delicious. You mentioning Hamden makes me think of the yellow cake with chocolate icing at Cafe Hon. Yummy!! For farm-to-table, you should join me next year at the Tomato Festival. It was so much fun and soooo delicious.

ADG said...

I remember going to Woodberry the first week they opened. It was crazy!