It’s noon on the east coast and while dozens of students and state employees scour the streets for a quick meal, I am sitting comfortably at my favorite sub shop watching it all pass by in a blur. I have very specific wants and needs when craving a cheese steak. Call me a diva if you want, but you can’t just go to any hole in the wall sub shop thinking it’ll work out. No, I need the best of the best and that special somewhere is located right around the corner from my day job.
The Real Thing is run by two foreign gentlemen with big hearts and a passion for creating remarkable carry-out food. Their signature dish: a 8’ cheese steak that will make you reevaluate your life. The secret (in my opinion) to this sub is the way they chop the meat. Pillowy doesn’t even begin to describe how light this cheese steak feels. While I pride myself on dressing my meals with an assortment of condiments, all you really need at The Real Thing is lettuce and a standard amount of mayo, the overall flavor of the beef mixed with fresh provolone does all the heavy lifting. They do offer an assortment of add-ons but all you really need is the meat and cheese.
The Real Thing is open 7 days a week in Towson. If you’re like me and have too much to deal with in your working life, TRT caters to the bar/late night crowd with a 11 am to 3 am schedule Thursdays thru Saturdays. While I’ve seen many random eateries come and go in this part of town, it’s safe to say The Real Thing isn’t going anywhere. Check them out with a friend so you have someone to revel with after finishing an entire sub. Because yes, you really had to eat the whole thing.
Hey maaaaan. Rob Lee here and there’s something on my mind – downtown Baltimore. So I work, in reality land aka my day job, in downtown Baltimore. Downtown has always been a part of my life from weekly visits with my parent to Lexington Market to recently performing Mastermind Team’s Robcast at The Annex Theatre. It’s historic down there – but it’s also hollow. There are my condemned buildings and can feel like a ghost town at night. With those condemned building there are also condemned people. I’ll provide a quick list, a top 3 of condemned people you’ll see in downtown Baltimore.
Downtown Baltimore | Number 1 ~ Hustlers
These are the men, women and children you’ll see asking for money one way or another. From the fake-Muslims selling ill-begotten and knock-off goods on Howard Street or the drug dealers. Here’s the thing about drug dealers – they think they’re clever by calling weed “loud”. You’re selling trash, my guy. I smoke weed and calling something “loud” doesn’t impress me, call it something whimsical – like imagine a drug dealer – you can notice them by their dingy True Religion jeans, knockoff chains and new balances – saying “Yo, I got that magic.” I may be inclined to buy. I’m still sure it’s dirt weed. Also, you have the squeegee kids – ever in danger of getting hit by a car anywhere on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Lastly, you have panhandlers. We have a terrible homelessness problem in Baltimore but some of these fuckers are aggressive and entitled. You may say you don’t have any cash and they have a counteroffer- like “Aren’t you going to 7-11? Ask for cash back.” Da fuck?!!!
Downtown Baltimore | Number 2 ~ Addicts
There’s been talk about an opioid epidemic but strangely it only became a topic once the suburbs and middle America started becoming impacted. For years, in fact, decades, I’ve seen people in Lexington Market and surrounding streets in the grips of the junkie lean. People like drugs but Downtown is gnarly and the addicts need what they need – they’re sick. I won’t blame them for their sickness but I will blame them for being dogs. How are they dogs? You’re asking – here’s how – you know how a dog shits on the sidewalk – well these zombie-like addicts do the same – I can’t watch my every step with insane drivers out here downtown rushing to beat DC traffic to also avoid the mounds of what I can only accept as human feces. Surely there’s no pack of large dogs roaming and shitting downtown – there are addicts too. But honestly, I get it and again it’s not their fault at all – for their addiction – for shitting it’s totally their fault. There are many conditions from mental health to genes that contribute to their addition. Additionally, they can be a source for unexpected comedy and introspection. Addicts can say the darndest things and they can make you think of your own life decisions.
Lastly, the whites – always last but always around. The aforementioned groups aren’t segmented by race but this group certainly is. This group has a duality in my opinion – there are some who genuinely love downtown for its grim and grit while other fake love it and have a savior mentality. The lovers are the artsy, liberal types who may have a problem holding down a traditional job but are the shit – not addict shit – but theeeeeee shit. They’re genuinely good people. Conversely the others are horrible – they’re fake claiming to be a city dweller but secretly and even as microaggressions hate the city. They talk about how unsafe it is, which is a valid point, but they’re coloring that point. Like every addict or hustler happens to be a ‘non-white’ and they’re afraid. They have this savior complex like every racial, cultural or classist criticism is said to affect change. It’s not, you’re just complaining. They may work for a law firm and do a few things downtown but live in Manchester, MD or Odenton. You’re from the county so don’t speak on city problems. As we’ve seen, county folk don’t get the city nor do they care about it’s best interest – what’s cracking Larry Hogan?
So there you have it – my top three of people you’ll see in downtown Baltimore. Do you agree? Did I forget anyone? Let me know in the comments or via email at email@example.com
Doughnuts have been a staple of our times since before we were born. They’re a late night comfort food, the perfect breakfast for office folk and a ubiquitous wisecrack at law enforcement. With such a lengthy history, it’s no surprise to see the beloved dessert still thriving today. And with an onslaught of options, it can be hard choosing which among the many is the king of doughnuts. It’s my honor to inform you that the crown jewel of gourmet doughnuts can be found in a small shop in Fells Point.
Diablo Doughnuts has been a fixture in Baltimore for two years and have already made a name for themselves with unique, delicious doughnuts made from scratch Wednesday through Sunday. After following the Diablo Instagram for over a year now, I finally got the chance to visit the shop last weekend. Familiar with the wide variety of creative flavors, I went in with a game plan. I’d get a dozen, mostly smores but also a few strawberry cheesecakes, a crème brûlée and a blackberry lime. Unfortunately, by the time we got there (noonish) there was only a bakers dozen left to select from… so I bought the whole box!
Pictured above is that first wonderful box. Several Blackberry Lime, Chesapeake, Blueberry Basil and one loan maple bacon (all of which were destroyed by the end of the day). Throughout the week I tried writing a review that would do justice to how flavorful these magic doughnuts truly are, but it was impossible. I needed more for inspiration.
The very first day I had free, I grabbed my best friend and headed down to Fells Point as the sun rose above the city. And after a really great sit down with Ros, owner and creative genius at Diablo, I bought nine doughnuts and headed back home.
By far, my favorites were the Chesapeake, smores, blackberry lime and maple bacon. Even as a lifelong Baltimorean, I had my doubts about crab seasoning on a doughnut, but my god, the Chesapeake works perfectly! The smore doughnut is like a fluffy Boston creme, substituting the creme for a large toasted marshmallow on top. Which while we’re on the subject, the créme brûlée is delicious with a sugary hard top and a creme that I can only describe to you as smooth home made vanilla pudding. The blackberry lime is tart in a good way. I’m not ashamed to admit I licked the sugary remnants of blackberry off my fingertips. And the maple bacon is the perfect mix of sweet and savory, a combination that’s been done before but not on this level.
Diablo Doughnuts is a must have if you haven’t experienced gourmet doughnuts with originality and incredible taste. Their Fells Point location can be found at 717 S Broadway in Baltimore but they will soon open a brand new location in Federal Hill. I know I’ll be lining up with the rest of the foodie community at the grand opening and I hope to see you there!
Rob Lee here asking you for a square one – a huge favor. This Month, we’re having a free event with our buddies from CoPlay Media. Where you may ask? We’re asking you to come out for our second live show at the Annex Theater in The Bromo Arts District in Baltimore city on December 16th 2017 at 7PM.
In conclusion, CoPlay Media and Mastermind Team’s Robcast are joining forces for a special end of the year show. So come out and spend your Saturday with four moderately handsome 30-year-olds – you know that whole thing about having a voice for radio is a backhanded compliment – in sun-er-well, hopefully, not snow covered Baltimore. Fingers crossed.
For those who may not know:
CoPlay Media is your guide through a variety of topics in the world of Anime and Gaming. CoPlay’s Hurricane D and Zamboni debate, discuss and dissect a myriad of subjects from gaming news, anime reviews, conventions, and so much more. CoPlay Media performed at the Baltimore Podcast Festival with Robcast and many other great podcasts. Rob Lee and Dann has guest hosted 2 episodes of CoPlay’s podcast. It’s a great friendship born of podcasting.
Mastermind Team’s Robcast with Rob Lee and Dann D is a no-holds barred, unfiltered convo about weird news, off-beat crime, pop culture and personal musings. Mastermind Team’s Robcast dates back to 2009 and is Baltimore through and through. Robcast begot this site – Mtrthenetwork – a collaborative of podcasts and blogs that aim to give voices to creatives in Baltimore city. Robcast is hosted by two foodies who are obsessed with alligator stories, off-beat crime and their own opinions.
Afterwards, chew the fat with us after we make asses of ourselves live. I’m told that I’m a little too provocative. So there’s that. It will be a fun night,
if you like our podcast, gaming, trivia, you want to keep Baltimore weird or you want a distraction from the impending North Korea rule and our Annoying Orange “leader” you should come out. You can’t go wrong.
This is a free event and a perfect way to make friends.
Merchandise will be available so maybe you could bring a couple dollars. Let us wet our beaks.