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The Best Way to Keep Cannoli Fresh and Other Baltimore Stories

My mom and step-dad were up visiting for Thanksgiving and after gorging ourselves on turkey and the sites of D.C., I took them on a day-trip to Baltimore.

After a visit to my mom's favorite museum (she's a mosaic artist), we aimed for lunch at Rocket to Venus in Hampden. It was closed for lunch, but our trip up Charles St. wasn't for naught - we stumbled onto residents of 34th St. setting up their Christmas displays! This street is Christmas at its best, or worst, depending on your tolerance/interest in all things Christmas. Erin teases me for being a scrooge, but I have to admit, lights and what-not are nice at this cold and dark time of year.

After a brief walk through Hampden, we aimed for lunch at Kooper's Tavern in Fells Point. The tavern was most certainly open, with rowdy sports fans packing the bar and even spilling onto the sidewalk for fresh-shucked oysters. (My friend Gideon would have camped out right there for their Chincoteagues!) After some deliberations, I promised my parents a walk (long to them, but short to me, given that I walk 2 miles round-trip daily from Camden Station to work) to Baltimore's Little Italy for lunch and dessert.

After several blocks, we arrived at Amicci's, a nice casual place, where I had a chicken dish that had a sweet-ish sauce. I didn't care so much for the sauce, but my side of fettuccine marinara was wonderfully simple, yet tasty. Everybody else at the table had variations on shrimp, which were BIG (Domestic or imported? - that is the question) Oh, and their bread is nice big Italian loaf, although warming it would make it even better, especially on the cold, windy day we came into the restaurant.

When asked if we cared for dessert or coffee, we politely declined, citing "fullness." The truth was that we had a direct line-of-sight to Vaccaro's, the almighty for Italian desserts and coffee in Little Italy. Actually, it's the only bakery/coffee place I've been to so far in Little Italy, so I should reserve reverence for it until I check out other places.

Nonetheless, we walked out with two cannolis (one plain, one chocolate covered - both stuffed with mascarpone cheese and chocolate chips), a chocolate-topped cream puff, a coffee, a cappuccino and an espresso. We split the cannolis between the four of us, but still had pieces of both leftover.

That was Saturday, so forward to Monday when I wanted something sweet after dinner. The plain cannoli's shell went soft sitting the fridge. The chocolate-dipped one, however, remained crisp, as the chocolate insulated the shell from fridge moisture, etc. It was a delicious and pleasant discovery to find that chocolate does indeed make everything better.


  1. Wow! Never realized it was that much of a walk from eastside downtown to Camden Yds. That's a good thing.


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