pizza and pints by the park

So I know I said I was going to the concert last night, but I totally didn't. Instead I went to the soft opening of Johnny Rad's with Jess. This cute corner bar/restaurant is about a block West of the park, located in the same spot that the dive-ish bar Kelly's used to be. Whoah, what a change! Tiny windows have been replaced with large cafe-style ones that can be opened out with nice weather. A fresh coat of paint inside and out, along with a new bar and skateboard-inspired decor are all a welcome change, too.

Billing itself as a "Pizzeria Tavern," Johnny Rad's boasts a menu way beyond just pizza; with fun bar nibbles such as hush puppies, corn dogs, mac 'n cheese, and edamame on the menu, you'll surely find something perfect to go with your beverage. Not to say that the pizza isn't lovely and beautiful, with fresh mozzarella and fresh veggie (and vegan!) options galore:

Attempting to play it healthy (hey, I'm going ot the beach in a couple of weeks...girl's gotta try), I chose the "Silly Pink Bunny" salad which was phenomenal. The dressing was noteworthy in its deliciousness - the sharp horeseradish kick was a perfect compliment to my seared tuna - and would go with not only any salad, but also would work as a yummy, different dipper for their house-cut fries if you ask me... (I'll try that out post-beach)

While last night was their soft opening (we actually had their first menu ever printed!), the whole place was hopping by 7:30, with nary a free seat in the house! I loved that crowd was a true mix of old-school locals, visiting hipsters, and everyone in between. I'm pretty sure anyone could go in there and feel welcome.

On a nice evening, it would be a lovely walk across the park for a pint and a pizza pie, OR a fun dinner before heading across the street to the Patterson Bowling Lanes, so go check it out! Their grand opening is August 13th, but they seem to have hit the ground running already.

love k

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commendations and concerts

Congratulations, Patterson Park, you were voted the #1 Best Park in Baltimore by Baltimore Magazine! Yup, we beat out Federal Hill Park and Oriole Park at Camden Yards - awesome!

But how could anyone think we wouldn't win? Can any other Baltimore park brag that it has tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, playing fields, a boat lake stocked with fish, two playgrounds, a recreation center, a beautiful fountain, an ice skating rink, a pool, running paths, a community garden, and a pagoda?


I didn't think so.

The heat has (sort of) let up, so celebrate our victory but taking advantage of what we have! Here's an idea: Head to the Concert in the Park (whoah! check out the Friends of Patterson Park's new site! Looking good, Friends!), rescheduled for this Wednesday evening, at 6:30 on Pagoda Hill. Pack a picnic and wallow in our win.

love k

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in other news...

...have you tried the bloody marys at Koopers?!? I'm talking a perfect cocktail with a pretty lil' accent of old bay. Friends, next time you find yourself wanting a weekend a.m. pick-me-up, head straight there. Pronto.
That will be all for now.

love k

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dear bge...

Some of us (i.e. a solid posse of six blocks) in Patterson Park have been experiencing boughts of nightmarish heat and perpetual darkness. Ok, that is a slight exaggeration, but only slight. You see, in the past three weeks, I've lost power twelve times. Yup, a dozen. The power outages range from a couple of hours to over half a day. The darkness I can deal with - heck, a house full of candles is downright pretty, and tv is over-rated anyways. But the heat, ooooh the heat heat heat heat! Twelve hours of no power = a house temperature riiiight around that of the outdoors. Turns out my insulation isn't all that I thought it was.

So everyone is freaking out. The spoiled food. The sleepless nights (or nights spent elsewhere because truly, sleeping in a 95-degree room is actually impossible). The constant calls to BGE. Enervating auto-robot phone calls to tell us that BGE understands that we've experiencing power issues. The conviction that at any second its going to go out AGAIN. The preemptive horror of facing July's energy bill.

So imagine our surprise, our glee, when this showed up:
A "mobile command center" has officially rolled into town, folks - four pick up trucks, two trailors, heck they even have porta-potties. BGE noticed that we're on the verge of rioting. So I met with Mike and Ervin, the two lovely on-site disaster team (I'm sure they have more official titles than that, but I am hoping they are super-hero-esque in their abilities), and we talked about...

· Anyone with concerns is free to stop by and talk to a BGE representative at the mobile command center (Ellwood and Pratt).

· They have made many attempts to locate the problem, but because it is internal to the wiring it is difficult to find. In order to find and fix it they will need additional outages to help narrow the search area. This means that the outages will not be solved overnight and that we should probably expect a few more (<---- sucks)

· We should continue to call BGE when the power goes out. Don’t assume that they know because they are on site. In addition, even though they are on site don’t expect that the power will return immediately. It takes time to turn back on and this is when they learn the most about the issue, so time will be spent examining the problem.

· While BGE will not be delivering dry ice, they will reimburse you for the cost if you save your receipt

· The need for better communication with the community, and the elimination of horrible robot phone calls

· Some type of credit on affected residents' bills to compensate for the increased energy usage required to cool houses that have been without power. (<---believe when I see it, but they did listen attentively when I urged them to do this...forcefully..)

Ok! So my fingers are crossed - so far they've kept in really good communication with me and will keep me (and you!) informed about progress and plans. In the meantime, stay cool, Patterson Park!

love k

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performance at the pool

Every year I declare that I'm going to "audition" for Fluid Movement's Annual Synchronized Swimming Extravaganza... and every year something stupid happens to keep me from doing so. But it isn't going to stop me from going to the performance! This year, the show is entitled, "Jason and the Aquanauts: 20,000 Legs Over The Sea." Check out the description:

"Join the adventure...Come sail away to ancient Greece with the Legendary Greek hero on his perilous quest to find the Golden Fleece as only Fluid Movement can tell it. Replete with battles again a skeleton army, a talking masthead and the glittery costumes and swimming you've come to expect."

SIGN ME UP AND SELL ME A TICKET! I mean, can you get anymore awesome than water ballet combined with glitter and Greek mythology? NO.

The Extravaganza will take place at the Patterson Park Pool on Saturday, July 31st at 5:30(Benefit Show and Party - $20), and Sunday August 1st (Show only - $10) at 5 p.m and 7 p.m. Purchase tickets at the door an hour before showtime or online.

Anyone want to go with me?

love k

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dairy: delivered!

I promised you all a blog about the dairy delivery that I get each week, and since I'm sticking close to home until Amelia has her kittens ...perfect timing, right? You may recall that months ago a group of us Patterson Parkers banded together to petition South Mountain Creamery to add our neighborhood to their delivery route. Guess what - they did! With some slight modifications to the delivery procedures (namely, instead of leaving a cooler on the stoop, delivery men have copies of our keys to put our goods right in the fridge), we were good to go. I cannot say enough amazing things about SMC and the delivery system, but I'm going to try:
  1. Their milk is out of this world. 2% tastes like full cream and chocolate is other-worldy
  2. My delivery man could not be any more lovely, courteous or trustworthy - knowing he has a copy of my key and lets himself in and out when I'm at work literally doesn't phase me
  3. The whole process is online - from automatic payment details, to setting repeating items, suspending delivery when you're away, to featured sale items, you just click click click
  4. By working in a consortium of local farmers, SMC is able to deliver dairy products, beef, pork, chicken/eggs, cheeses, breads, jams, granola, prepared foods...the list goes on
If you haven't browsed their list of products, or read about their farming procedures, check out their website, or ask me any questions! Having SMC delivery and the One Straw Farm CSA both in our neighborhood just made it a whole lot easier - and more delicious- to be locavore.

love k

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kittens having kittens

It turns out that if you call the fire department to get a cat out of a tree, they don't come screaming in with ladders to rescue her. They actually laugh at you.

Sooo, when I found a cat in a tree on Thursday right as N and I returned from his flying lesson, we had to take matters in to our own hands. I actually had to hold a short a bush...
vaguely supported by the tree while N stood on tip--toes to hoist the purring, mewing tiny cat from the tree across from my house in the park. I mean, look at that face! Could you have left her up a tree? Of course not.

So long story short, her name is now Amelia (because of the just-completed flight lesson..get it? Get it?), she is 8 pounds, only 9 months old, looks like a tiny jungle cat, is completely lovely, aaaaand utterly pregnant. Yup. Knocked Up. With Kitten. Bun in the Oven. A Baby Having Babies. In fact, she might give birth any day!

While it's been a chore to get her special food, set up birthing boxes, get her vaccinated and tested and checked out by the vet, and clean up her sudden bought of diarrhea (ugh), I feel really good about taking her in. It's cool to think that I'm helping this abandoned animal at her most needy. I don't know where she came from or if she ever belonged to someone. What I know is that I can help her have her kittens in a safe place, with plenty of food and clean water, and then place her kittens in loving homes after they're weened. In the meantime, we're on kitten watch around here - so stay posted! There will so many kitten photos you're going to just need to adopt one.

park projects and tiny tots

Because I have a small dog that is spoiled beyond any reason, I go home every day around lunch to walk him in the park - the darling doesn't like to wait, and I value my floors and carpet too much. Two things happened today that made this normal business-calls excursion exciting enough to make me break into a run in heels and a work dress:

First, the restoration project we've been hearing about for a while to spruce up the entrances to Patterson Park is underway! For weeks I've seen signs things were gearing up - first the hideous white poles serving no function whatsoever along Linwood were marked for removal. Then arrows mysteriously appeared on walk ways. Two days ago I was kicking a soccer ball around with N and I noticed that dilapidated (and also pointless) black metal fence around the pine tree was emblazoned with neon pink spray paint, signaling its upcoming demise... anticipation was growing! But today, dear friends, today I saw real live people at work! And a big city sign was erected, lest we attribute the funds to someone else.* See?

*I have you noticed that the city is extremely efficient at one thing - giving itself a lot of credit when it gets around to a project..

As I was taking this in I saw what I've been waiting to witness for a few weeks now, ever since my niece started at the Patterson Park Montessori School. You see, every day the wee ones walk down Lakewood, across Baltimore Street, and in to the park for recess. But safety first, kids! They don neon orange and green reflective vests and parade single file holding on to a rope. I broke into a run, thanked the photography gods that I had my camera with me, and utterly disrupted their tiny train. Of course, moments after I took this photo, I hollered at my niece, who then was sorely disappointed that I was not, in fact, taking her out of school early to play... getting her back on the rope was a true testament to the teachers' abilities.

Good things happen to those who roam the park with cameras! [Though not to those who realize they're standing in front of their of office without their camera when Michelle Obama and the girls walking by...darn]

love k

be local, buy local

Tonight I had the honor of participating in the Buy Local presentation at the South East Anchor Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library. With a last minute request to speak about the South Mountain Creamery Dairy delivery and One Straw Farm CSA sent my way, I couldn't have been happier to oblige! [Oh wait, you mean I haven't yet glowed and raved about the Dairy yet?! What is wrong with me?! Oh, right, my camera broke and I refused to buy a new one for 6 months. And, really, what is a blog without photos? I'll write you a nice long blog about it soon, I swear]

The seminar/event was put on by the library as part of their Garden Club series, but really was much broader than gardening. There was a smorgasbord of cheese! There were sugar plumbs galore! There were slivers of sausage and fresh mozzarella and bowls of salsa, and
Zeke's coffee! Oh, there was more than that, too! There were $5 tokens that can be used at any of the Highlandtown Farmers' Market vendors on Saturdays, and reusable totes.

But there wasn't just
stuff - there was sweet information! For example, a lovely list of "10 Reasons to Buy Local:"
  1. Keep money in the neighborhood
  2. Help out the environment
  3. Support community groups
  4. Embrace what makes us different
  5. Invest in the community
  6. Put your taxes to good use
  7. Get better service
  8. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy
  9. Create more jobs
  10. Show the country we believe in Baltimore
I also got a directory of Farmers Markets and Pick Your Own farms in Maryland, and an overview of the 3/50 Project. In short, it was a real treat for the palate and the mind. There are talks of doing a follow up event with more farmers and local business people, so stay posted! If there is another Buy Local event, I highly recommend you attend - and hope you let me know if you hear of one coming up so I can share the information and go with you!

love k