Overrated Baltimore Food

Mike Cook

A city without food specialties is a shell of a municipality. Every big city has its marquee food, and all great cities have scores of local culinary quirks. From crabs to Berger Cookies, Baltimore is full of food originals. It's too bad not all of them are winners. Here is my list of Baltimore foods I wish were a little better.

National Bohemian Beer: I might as well get this out of the way first: Natty Boh is not very good. I am a big fan of the Natty Boh icon. I love that our city has claimed the icon, and I was excited to hear Natty Boh will now be available on draft. But whenever I buy Boh, I am reminded: it does not taste that good. Like most of the city, I buy Boh because it is cheap. My preferred local beer: Heavy Seas Gold Ale; a flavorful, smooth session beer.

Berger Cookies: OK, Berger Cookies are good. They're just not that good. Berger Cookies are not greater than the sum of their parts. Fudge = good. Cookie = good. Fudge on top of a cookie = well, about as good as fudge and cookie are separately, really. No benefit from the combination. Much better, in my opinion: black bottoms. Sadly I can't find any proof that they're local.

Coddies: The coddy isn't a uniquely Baltimore food. In some form it exists or existed anywhere people ate fish, particularly anywhere blue collar families lived close to the sea. A coddy is a fish cake made with cod and mashed potato and fried. It's a way of turning one serving of fish into three. Coddies can still be found at Lexington Market and other places around town. Like a salmon cake or tuna cake, it tastes like what it is: average quality fish with lots of filler. My preferred local food: A crab cake. A coddy is essentially a low-rent crab cake, so there's no question that if you can afford the crab cake, then it is the way to go.

Lake Trout: Lake trout tastes like fried. Take any mild food item and fry it and you get the same flavor, because what you taste is the delicious greasy and salty fried flour on the outside. I've had lake trout from the Roost, generally considered one of the best local spots. It came out crispy and hot and tasted like... fried. My preferred local food: Maryland fried chicken - king of the fried food world.

Marshmallow topping on snowballs: Man, snowballs are great. Why would you cover one with some goopy white sugar thing? Marshmallow isn't deliciously cold and refreshing! It's just cloying. My preferred local food: the unadorned snowball, in a flavor whose name is a color. My favorite is red.

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User Comments

Michael says
May 20, 2011

Dude! Coddies are awesome. And lake trout on white bread with hot sauce and tartar is one of the best fried fish sandwiches on the planet. Now I am getting hungry. Off to the market for lake trout. Next time I see you we need to talk about these things. 

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