Thursday, December 30, 2010

So Long, Farewell

(Image courtesy of Mochatini)
As we are all blissfully aware, the beginning of a new year is upon us. We usually don't view New Year's as anything other than an excuse to drink champagne whilst wearing sparkles, but this year is a bit different. 2010 has had it's pleasantries (we've got this awesomeness going for us), but it's also nice to move forward. 2011 (although marginally awkward to type) is going to be huge. We have plenty of tricks up our sleeves, and our mind grapes are exploding with ideas. And considering that the world is apparently going to end in 2012, 2011 is totally our year. Cheers to that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


We want to eat this fondue...

On this counter...

With a large glass of this wine...

Hold Me Closer

(Diane von Furstenberg dress courtesy of Net-A-Porter)
(Marc Jacobs ballet flat courtesy of Bloomingdales)

(Red Valentino dress courtesy of Net-A-Porter)

When asked to describe ourselves, the words graceful, and delicate would basically never be used. One sustained a knee injury following a really lame attempt at ''dancing'' this past weekend, while the other should have stock in ACE Bandages, and Ban-Aid. Despite our total lack of coordination, a recent screening of Black Swan has left us dreaming of starring in a community dinner theatre production of The Nutcracker (by 'starring' we mean a walk on as Rat #5).  While our dreams of ballet fame may never manifest, there's no harm in playing a little dress-up along the way.

I Only Date Fun Guys

Growing up, Campbell's condensed soups were my go to after school snack. Adding that can full of water to the congealed cylinder in the pot, truly made me feel like I was making magic happen. Of the dozens of gourmet ''flavors'' at my disposal , I always found myself going back to cream of mushroom. It wasn't until years later that I learned that real cream of mushroom soup actually contains mushrooms. If you're not into that sort of thing, by all means, stick with the stuff in the can. But if you, like me, are a die hard mushroom fanatic, I urge you to try the real deal.   

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Recipe after the jump

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday, Celebrate

As the Holiday season draws to a close, we present you with the final installment of the Charmed City Holiday Gift Guide. Fare thee well until next year.

Something Special for ...Yourself:

Santa did a pretty stellar job for the most part, but you still ended up with some weird crap. Going to the mall and exchanging the oddities for things that you'll actually use is half the fun.

...because you really can have too many Precious Moments figurines

...because Sponge Bob slippers aren't really your thing

...because you would probably lose a few digits if you
messed with that new Miter Saw

Inside Out and Backwards

(Image courtesy of Stars Masquerading)
With the disappointing weekend snowfall (so much for Snowpocalypse 2.0) we are left craving hot bourbon cider from our favorite mug, cozy slippers, and Lifetime Movie marathons. Give us all of those things in this yummy farmhouse, and let the hibernation begin.

A Ouik of Eating

(Thomas Keller's Garlic Confit)
While my partner in blog gallivants through Paris, I remain in our fine city of Baltimore with the ever noble task of entertaining our readers. I would like to forewarn you that the next week will most likely contain an influx of cooking posts. There are a few contributing factors to this change in scheduled programming; I am A) lonely/jealous and therefore eating my feelings, and B) the recipient of a shiny, new immersion blender that will undeniably get more face time than my new Ceiling Duster (tidy, I am not). In a failed attempt at creative visualization, I decided to whip up some French inspired goodies. They may not transport you to the land of frogs, but they do taste really good smeared on crusty bread.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday's Own... Things We Love

That the season of this crap is almost over.

That we can channel our inner Cher Horowitz (and stay warm) again.


(CharmedCity will be operating at half its capacity for the next ten days as one (ok, the prettier) writer is heading to the land of frogs, confusing verb conjugations and Amelie. Happy holidays from me and see you next year!!!)

Shvitzin' with Blitzen

One of your friends at CharmedCity (Shalom! My name is Lauren) is of a tribe that doesn't technically celebrate Christmas. This is quite the conundrum for me, considering that good ol' Navidad is one of my favorite holidays. I love the lights, the cheesy movies, and even those horrible sweaters that have more components than an Ikea shelf. No offense to my people, but your nine headed sconce doesn't really hold a candle (horrible pun intended) to 30 days of commercialized anticipation and constant visual reminders that SANTA IS COMING! So, forgive me for my sins, but there is no way in Heat Miser Hell that I am going to sit this one out. Now, before the disapproving eye rolls come in, I am here to assure you that I have not completely turned my back on my fellow chosen ones. Any Jew worth their weight in gelt, knows that Christmas is a day of movie theatres, and Chinese food. As I will be celebrating in Virginia on the 25th (that's right Ya'll, I'm gettin' real gentile this year) I had my customary Pan-Asian cuisine a bit early. In an effort to gain back some brownie points, I opted for a homemade version rather than the corn starch laden goop that we've all grown accustomed to. This way, when you proclaim ''L'chaim'' after your first bite, there is little to no irony involved.

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry 
Recipe after the jump

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We want to share this bottle with friends... this kitchen...

...with some real entertainment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Takes Me Back

Although we have a tendency to bitch almost every Monday, it's usually not that big of a deal. But not this Monday. Nope. This time, today has been a legitimate nightmare chock full of boredom, and pre-holiday blues. When such a mood strikes, we find that the only cure is a full, eight hours of mindless internet exploring. As we approach the eighth (and final) hour of our day well spent, we proudly present you with.....

Awesome Childhood Memories That We Rediscovered Online

Skip-It!! We're shocked that we still have ankle bones after routinely tripping over this torture device in disguise.

Ahhh Fuzzy Stickers. These furry bits of adhesive were the main form of currency at any lunch table circa '93.

Do you remember Gak!?! Stinkier than Play-Doh and guaranteed to eff up Mom's new carpet. Pure bliss.
No, we never really quite learned how to play with Pogs. Yes, we forced our parents to spend an abnormal amount of money on these weird, cardboard discs.

Dream Job

We would like to work at confetti system, please.

Friday, December 17, 2010

You'll Put Your Eye Out

Here at charmedcity, we are both the eldest children in our families. One of us is the oldest of two, and one of us (me!) is the oldest of seven. Having six younger siblings is pretty much exactly what you would imagine it's like: chaotic, noisy, messy but mostly funny. I was emailed the Christmas wish list of my youngest brother (Charlie, age seven) and though it really has nothing to do with the normal stuff we go on about, it was too funny not to share.

As you can tell from the picture above, Charlie is the kind of bad ass little kid who could do tricks on his two-wheeler before he could spell his name, and who swims unassisted in the Atlantic with a broken arm. (Which he broke falling "about 12,000 feet" out of a tree.)

1. Cookies
2. Chocolate cake
3. a new lamp for my room
4. Snow!
5. A bag of tennis balls
6. A stuffed animal that looks like my mom
7. A cell phone
8. A Garfield pillow
9. A live, real elf.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let It Snow

After the ridiculous amount of snow we got last winter, we swore we would never cheer for a snow day again. It was lovely to have a week off- for the first few days. You can only be stuck on the same block for so long before cabin fever sets in. We tried to get creative to stave off the crazy--- we set up a badminton court on Monument street, walked to a few bravely open bars (thank you, Midtown Yacht Club) and watched a ton of movies. (A warning: Do not watch sad movies on your fifth day of being stuck inside/drunk.)

Despite our fervent belief that snow would ne'er again make us happy, we were wrong. Today's mini snow fall has us buzzing with winter excitement. It also has us nostalgic for our most impressive Snowpacolypse feat: a city igloo. 

We didn't build the igloo per se, but we were crucial in its construction as we kept a huge pot of bourbon cider going for the boys who were actively building. They spent hours making snow bricks out of pickle container jars (you know, the huge white containers) and artfully and carefully used them to create a perfect igloo. We posted a few shots of what we can only assume was Baltimore's only real igloo. 

We may come to regret writing this, but.... here's to winter!!!

The workers mid-construction
The bourbon suppliers, enjoying the spoils of the workers' labor.
Bourbon-induced slip.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Going Green

Please don't be alarmed. We have not prematurely entered the dreadful world of ''my New Year's resolution is to not be a lard ass''. Yes, this is a salad. A salad involving bacon and cheese. Sometimes we just like to eat salads, ok?

Steakhouse Spinach Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Recipe after the jump.

Wednesday's Own... Things We Love

Having everything you need in one place.

Miracles. (Especially of the Hampden variety)
Afternoon naps (with a friend).

Holiday, Celebrate

Something Special for ...Your Techie Brother:
You're thick as thieves, but he would totally cut a bitch if you ever messed with his iPad.
(Because he will forever be innately cooler than you)
(Because not even a negative wind chill could keep him from his touch-screen)
(Because standard alarm clocks are for PC users)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Man, it's cold outside. We spent most of the weekend indoors decorating, watching movies and layering on some winter weight. (That sounds really bleak for two people in their mid-twenties, but when the weather matches your age you get a free pass to veg.) 

Sunday we got ambitious and made sugar cookies, roasted a Natty Boh and garlic turkey, whipped up some edamame hummus and (finally) hung a million strands of lights while keeping one eye on Home Alone. 

We turned these beautiful beans into...

...this delicious mush.

Defrosted a turkey in the tub to create...

...a perfectly crispy meal.

And got all Martha Stewart on these cookies asses...

(...but not these really.)

Recipes after the jump.

She's a Maniac

(Image courtesy of East Atlanta)

As temperatures in Baltimore plummet into the realm of unbearable, we can't help but find inspiration in this cozy, layered look. Leg warmers and combat boots? Yes, please.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Overtly Easy

As the most important, yet conveniently ignored meal of the day, breakfast holds a special place in our hearts. Pancakes, frittatas, cereal, you name it, but never during what one would traditionally consider breakfast time. Hell to the no. Our mornings are typically fueled by a Colgate amuse bouche, and an  entree of ''Oh shit, we're late''. Thanks in part to our rejection to evolve into ''morning people'', Breakfast for Dinner is an oft revisited trend in our homes.
It's not always that interesting but last nights concoction was so incredibly tasty that it just begged us to share.

(Sauteed mushrooms with crumbled bacon and a ton of garlic)
(Two eggs cooked perfectly over easy)

Just toss your mushrooms in a big bowl, top with the fried eggs, and you're ready to go. No recipe, no fuss, just really good breakfast food.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hot to Trot

Cara over at landofbean invited us to write a post for blogtrotting- a virtual travel blog. We got really excited to share our quirky city and then realized we were faced with the challenge of boiling down the best of Baltimore into one blog post. We both immediately began calling out ideas -insisting that the other was crazy for her suggestions- and after a three-day fist fight created the list below.


Trinacria Macaroni Works, West Side

First timers to Trinacria are often alarmed by the bullet-proof glass, aging sign and desolate neighborhood locale. (It's Baltimore. We get it.) But once inside, Trinacria may as well be a portal to the old country. The place is always packed. Packed with food, packed with wine, packed with hungry masses yearning to break free. The store is chaotic, clustered and incredible. Trinacria sells homemade pastas, wildly inexpensive (like, $2 inexpensive) wine, perfectly seasoned meats and warm-from-the-oven bread. Their made-to-order sandwiches are cheap and over stuffed with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and drizzled in olive oil and cracked pepper.

Best of all, we found a way to eat and holiday shop. Waiting for your sandwich to assemble is the perfect time to put together an edible gift basket. We bought big baskets at Target and filled them with homemade sauces, pastas, bottles of wine and aged cheese. Bonus: If you get crumbs on your presents no one will notice

Woodberry Kitchen, Clipper Mill

(Image courtesy of City Paper)

Ahhh, Woodberry Kitchen. A Baltimore staple for those of us who love to eat fresh and don't mind smashing our piggy banks to do it. Using produce/meat/dairy from all organic, local farms, Woodberry is located in the super hip (and boy do they know it) Clipper Mill.

In warm months, juicy and perfectly ripe produce is the order of the day/night. The heirloom tomato flight, served with sea salt and a mini mason jar of red wine vinegar, is delicious, and we don't even like tomatoes.  When things start to cool down, the menu turns heartier, lending to the super cozy vibes of the restaurant (think soaring ceilings, exposed wood beams and a few cords of wood neatly stacked against the wall). Get your mitts on one of their signature drinks- we recommend the Manhampden- and take it outside to cozy up to the roaring fire pit. 

While it may be a bit expensive, we promise it is worth it. We would give specific recommendations, but it’s all so good that no matter what your order, you’ll be thrilled. Attempt to align your dining experience with Gutierrez Studios' First Fridays when they open their doors and play host to anyone who straggles in.


Charles Theater, Station North

(Image courtesy of this site)
There is really nothing better than a trip to the Charles. Some of our best nights of summer have been spent lazily walking up Charles Street, grabbing a glass of wine and sinking into this air conditioned cinematic mecca. 

Nestled between Tapas Teatro and Sofi's Crepes, The Charles generously allows movie-goers to bring their bounty into the theater. As if sipping wine and watching any of their impressive, off-the-beaten-path movie roster isn't fabulous enough, pop across the street to Club Charles for an apres-film cocktail and a (almost guaranteed) John Waters sighting.

Patterson Park Ice Rink, Patterson Park

(Image courtesy of this site)
While we do realize that ice skating is a historically outdoorsy endeavor, it's kind of nice to ditch the extra layers and glide around inside of a windless dome for a bit. If you're more of a toothless, full contact type, The Patterson Park Ice Rink is also home to several area ice hockey teams, and offers pick-up games on weeknights. 

Channeling your inner Johnny Weir on a Tonya Harding budget? Put down that tire iron! It only costs $6 dollars to rent skates and practice your triple sow cow. Bonus: after skating you can refuel at nearby Matthew's Pizza.


SideShow, Locust Point

 Located inside the American Visionary Arts Museum, Sideshow is, in one word, insane. Whether you are looking for an original painting by Baltimore artist Sogh, or pining over a hot pink whoopee cushion, there is something here for everyone. Over the years we've picked up incredible design books, a few neon NKOTB cups, lovely scarves and an angel made from a Natty Boh can. This is where we go to truly feel like a kid in a candy shop. And did we mention the prices? There are few places where you can walk in with a $20 bill, and leave with a shopping bag full of wonderful goodies.

Red Tree & Double Dutch, The Avenue, Hampden

(Image courtesy of this site.)
Anyone who has seen Mannequin (admit it- you've seen it) knows the importance of stellar window dressing. We like any business that uses fabulous design to entice us, and The Avenue in Hampden is all about drawing in shoppers with their kitschy, crazy and beautifully Baltimore store fronts. From splurge worthy boutiques to tasty dining experiences, the Avenue is anything but a one trick pony. One of our favorite spots is Red Tree; a home goods wonder filled to the brim with cheeky knick knacks, handmade jewelry, and one of a kind pieces of furniture. We can (and do) spend hours slowly wandering the floors, leaving nothing but ‘’ohh’’s and ‘’ahh’s in our path. We dare you to leave empty handed.
After you’ve gotten some bling for your digs, head over to Double Dutch for a wonderfully non pretentious boutique experience. This charming store may be small, but what they lack in square footage, they more than make up for in style. Double Dutch is the quintessential spot if you’re looking for a flashy New Years Eve dress or just something casual and cute for our sweltering Summer days. Bonus: Insiders (or anyone with an email address) get access to incredible sales whenever the store changes for the season.

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