Just a few blocks from the Sheraton Hotel, Alewife serves up hip, trendy food to the college crowd while also featuring a great beer list including local and national microbrews. On my visits, I had their truffled mac and cheese, a crispy, cheesy small plate with some Earthy pieces of shaved truffle on top, and the oh-so-sinister kobe beef hot dog, with pickled red onions, a mustard trio, pieces of chopped, tender kobe beef and dog on a pretzel roll, served with a side of duck fat fries. Indulging much? For a decently priced, varied menu and good beer selection, downtowners will need not look any further.
A staple of Baltimore culture since 1782 (!), Lexington Market holds everything one's fast food heart could desire, and more. On the surface, it just looks like a lot of sausage and random food court shops, but a deeper walk into the trenches of the market reveals a great variety of both produce, meat, seafood and food vendors. Perhaps my favorite was a Japanese vendor in the heart of the market, making arguably the best Asian food in there. I had three giant rice meatballs along with a side of noodles for an incredible price, well worth a visit for their more unique dishes compared to the average Asian stop in the market. And it happens to be just across from the bakery there, where I got an equally amazing, heaping piece of apple strudel which made for a wonderful breakfast the next day. It's kind of hectic inside the market, but if you are feeling adventurous and are looking for a huge, but affordable meal, this is the place to be.
Easily my new favorite establishment in Baltimore, the Trinacria is oddly located a long distance from Little Italy, just a few blocks from Lexington Market. Featuring fresh Italian food including bread, olive, meats, and more, all either imported or made in house, the grocery features a deli and bakery of astonishing quality. This prosciutto sandwich for instance, with a giant cut of mozzarella and house made pesto was one of the best things I had all year, let alone in Baltimore. Also delicious was their stuffed peppers, a mildly fiery pepper stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, bathed in fresh olive oil. Simple, but bold and delicious. It's all about quality and tradition here, both of which Trinacria does well.