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Health Journalism 2019: Dining

By Catherine Wendlandt

Federal Hill

BLUE AGAVE RESTAURANTE Y TEQUILERIA

Drown your sorrows with one of the tequileria’s 130-plus tequilas or, if you don’t like it straight, one of the 10 different margaritas offered. Blue Agave prides itself on serving a wide variety of Mexican food from “authentic regional dishes featuring rich, earthy flavors, to the fresh flavors of the coastal regions,” according to the website. Try one of their specialties, such as the piña grilled mahi-mahi or salmon Veracruz. Craving something classic? Get the tacos al pastor or the pollo mole poblano enchiladas and a side of elote. 1032 Light St.

DIABLO DOUGHNUTS

If you’re feeling a morning jog, but also hankering for something sweet, take a little excursion down to Diablo Doughnuts, a local favorite. With flavors such as “Sin” and “Your Mom,” the doughnuts at this small-batch shop are delightfully punk rock. Try the famous “Unicorn Farts” doughnut. The shop is open Wednesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1035 Light St.

LITTLE HAVANA

For 22 years, Little Havana has brought the tastes of Cuba to Federal Hill. The joint is casual and has an outdoor patio right on the water that’s perfect for kicking back with a mojito (Hemingway’s sworn favorite) in the evening light. Try the grilled chorizo flatbread, $20 paella, bistec con fritas, which includes a 12-ounce New York strip steak and yucca fries, and more. For dessert, order sopapillas or the plantain empanadas. 1325 Key Highway.

Fells Point

BLUE MOON CAFE

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Blue Moon Cafe is a brunch-lover’s delight. Featured on season three of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives,” the reasonably priced cafe offers every type of morning food you can think of, including nine variations of omelets, eight specialty pancakes and 20 different sides. Revel in the homemade cinnamon rolls and scones. Glory in the famed Captain Crunch French Toast. Or, savor the Maryland crab eggs Benedict. Blue Moon can get busy, but it’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 24 hours on weekends. 1621 Aliceanna St.

BOND STREET SOCIAL

At Bond Street Social you get an upscale experience that won’t break the bank. Sharing plates are the custom here, according to the website, and the menu is “a unique twist on everyday comfort food.” The food is served in courses, so socialize with friends as you devour rosemary parmesan frites, spice seared tuna, 12-inch artisanal pizzas and more. Embrace your journalistic curiosity by exploring the extensive spirits, wine and beer menu or trying one of the 21 different specialty cocktails. On Saturday and Sunday, share the chicken and waffles during brunch while sipping on one of the specialty mimosas, such as the dragon berry, for $6, or building your own bottomless bloody mary for $15. 901 S. Bond St.

LOBO

For quality seafood and a “Cheers” atmosphere, head over to this casual corner bar in Fells Point. According to Baltimore Magazine, patrons should be prepared “to be wowed by impeccable seafood, delightful small plates, and masterfully crafted cocktails.” In addition to its raw bar, with fresh selections of oysters, meat and cheese boards, and wide variety of sandwiches, Baltimore Magazine lauds the mussels as the best in town. 1900 Aliceanna St.

REC PIER CHOP HOUSE

Travel Leisure named Rec Pier the best Italian restaurant in the city in 2017, and last year the Baltimore Sun called it the best upgrade and Baltimore Magazine included it in their “50 Best Restaurants” list. Tucked inside the stunning Sagamore Pendry Hotel, the Italian steakhouse is in the heart of the historic Recreation Pier in Fells Point. The food can get a little pricey, but the money’s worth it for Michelin-starred chef Andrew Carmellini’s menu. Try the linguini fini with its Maryland blue crab, or share the 44-ounce porterhouse steak with your whole party. Reserve your table online, or call 443- 552-1300. 1715 Thames St.

Harbor East

A ZUMI

Right on the water in the Four Seasons, Azumi’s name means “safe harbor,” however its food is anything but, according to its website. Azumi prides itself on being adventurous and only serving the best. Their fish is sourced from the well-known Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Try the wagyu fried rice and miso black cod, or sample the nigiri omakase platter. This place is swanky, so check the website for the dress code and to make reservations. 725 Aliceanna St.

EKIBEN

This Asian fusion joint isn’t fancy, but it’s special nonetheless. Time Out ranked it third in its 2018 “The 15 best restaurants in Baltimore” article. Owners Ephrem Abebe, Steve Chu and Nick Yesupriya met in college, opened Ekiben at the Fells Point Farmers’ Market in 2014, and expanded to a brick and mortar restaurant in 2016. The menu is loved for its steamed bao buns and rice bowls. Try the Spicy Bird bun with Taiwanese curry fried chicken. 1622 Eastern Ave.

JAMES JOYCE IRISH PUB AND RESTAURANT

Bite down on some bangers and mash as you head bang along to one of the live weekend shows at the James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant. The food is hearty and classically Irish. Order the shepherd’s pie, corned beef or Irish potato soup. Share a plate of mussels that also includes Guinness, cream, garlic, tomato and parsley with your friends. Cap off the night with some Irish coffee or some of the James Joyce ice cream, which includes caramelized brown bread and Bailey’s. 616 S. President St.

Mt. Vernon

DOOBY’S

In 2015, Baltimore Magazine wrote, “Dooby’s is the kind of place you didn’t know you needed until it came along.” This affordable, Korean-inspired coffee shop also serves breakfast, brunch and dinner, and also booze. Start off a weekend brunch with challah French toast. Come for lunch or dinner, and order pan-fried Chesapeake dumplings, which includes seafood in true Baltimore fashion, spicy aioli, daikon slaw and pickled red cabbage. Or, try the Korean BBQ cheesesteak sandwich. Top it all off with a Hot Toddy. Not feeling a full meal? Stop in for a drip coffee or a miso caramel latte and one of the house made seasonal pastries. 802 N. Charles St.

MT. VERNON MARKETPLACE

Situated only a couple of blocks away from the Walters Art Museum, this is the perfect watering hole after sightseeing around Mt. Vernon. Get gyros at Mr. Souvlaki; order a fried Thai curry shrimp bao from Mi & Yu Noodle Bar, and wash it all down with a craft beer at Taps Fill Station. Best of all, this place is cheap. Everything on the menu at Cholitas Tacos is less than $13, and in 2017 the Washington Post named The Local Oyster one of the best cheap eats in Charm City. Although stalls may have their own hours, the market is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 520 Park Ave.

THE HELMAND

While oysters and crab cakes reign supreme in Charm City, the Helmand offers nothing of the sort. Instead, the menu transports you worlds away to the tastes of Afghanistan’s Helmand River. Last year, Baltimore Magazine described this Mt. Vernon eatery as“an inviting and often sublime option for those with adventurous palates.” Now in its 30th year, the Helmand seems to have perfected its menu with items such as Kaddo Borwani, pan-fried and baked baby pumpkin, and Aushak, an Afghan ravioli with leeks. 806 N. Charles St.