EL CAMINO'S CITY GUIDE TO CHARM CITY (BALTIMORE)

 

Baltimore is a city of extreme perceptions. On one side of the spectrum you have a city that is forever known as the home to the Wire or the location that is central to the plot of the pop cult podcast Serial. On the other side, it is an urban oasis known for its beautiful historical abodes and cheap rents, burgeoning and bustling food scene, a unique dive bar culture, and a general quirkiness that properly embodies the nickname it has been dubbed.

As you might have noticed, the El Camino team is obsessed with highlighting the unexpected. For this city feature, El Camino teamed up with a collective of young creative and fashionable friends to show off all that is good about Baltimore. Please be aware that this is not a comprehensive list of everything Charm City has to offer. 

The friends--Adrien RadfordAntonio DillardBrandon CombsDorian GrayRoland Agli, & Ryan Dixon.

Artifact Coffee (1500 Union Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21211)

Artifact Coffee is a coffee house located in a reclaimed stone factory in the Hampden neighborhood. While known for its delicious coffee, it is also famous for its locally sourced bites. Fun fact-- Artifact has started hosting pop-up dinners with famed local chefs that stray from its normal American fare, including ramen and Korean-infused meals. 

 Peabody Library (17 East Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD 21202) 

We decided to highlight the Peabody Institute Library because of its stunning architecture and interior. For all our Instagram loving friends, this location is a canvas of dynamic photos. The library hosts a collection of over 300,000 volumes that date back to the 19th century. The collections are available for use by the general public. 

Graffitti Alley (Tucked away in an L-shaped alley between North Avenue and Howard Street)

Graffiti Alley is a safe haven for artists to hone their craft without risking arrest. The city has designated this little nook of creative ingenuity as a location where the art form can legally thrive. The alley's art is consistently evolving. The art you see in the pictures above have already been masked by another palette of jeweled tones. 

Shoo Fly Diner (510 East Belveder Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21212)

 

Shoo-Fly Diner's foundational bones are the remnants of an old shoe store; a small slide in the corner, that was used to send shoe boxes downstairs, still survives. The back rooms now house cans upon cans of local veggies and fruits that last the restaurant through the winter months. This restaurant's stalwart commitment to locally sourced sets an example for the whole restaurant industry. We indulged in their famous fried chicken (biscuits and gravy included) and balanced it out with charred parsnips, beets, rutabaga, and charred romanesco. Next time we go back we will be asking for their disco fries -- fries topped with cheese curds and a fried egg. 

 While there, we also took advantage of their craft cocktail menu and sipped on drinks like the bourbon-cider slush. 

However, what really gives the restaurant that special something is the people. The staff, particularly the general manager (hi John!), were incredibly hospitable. Their genuine enthusiasm for the delicious food they were cooking up seeped through every aspect of service. 

Belvedere Square Market (529 E. Belvedere Ave. Baltimore, MD 21212)

We end the roundup with a stop at Belvedere Square Market. In one building you find a bustling hub of food vendors that succinctly represents the burgeoning food scene that has started to define Baltimore. You want fine wine and freshly baked baguettes? No problem. You want Malaysian infused soups doused in handmade noodles? No problem You want antioxidant and polyphenol-rich cacao that is gluten free and contains no refine sugars, all while still maintaining deliciousness? No problem. You can get all of that and more at the market.

We recommend going on a very empty stomach and doing your own food tour. Split dishes with friends so you can try a little of everything. 

Have you been to Baltimore? Anything you recommend we check out next time we are there? Let us know what you think about Charm City! 

P.S. Check out Roland and Brandon's latest project, the Color Collective, a visual documentation that is firmly rooted in the history of a storied people. 

P.P.S. Did you see we just announced our trips to Cartagena, Colombia? You can learn more here


CREDITS

Thanks again to the whole team for such a fun day. 

PHOTOGRAPHY// Kate Warren

PRODUCTION// Katalina Mayorga

CREATIVE DIRECTION// Kate Warren + Katalina Mayorga

MODELS// Adrien Radford, Antonio Dillard, Brandon Combs, Dorian GrayRoland Agli & Ryan Dixon