Hey man, Rob Lee & Dann D here. We wanted to put together a quick blog about some of our favorite places in Baltimore and how they’re affected by Coronavirus/Social Distancing/Quarandise.
From about mid-March, businesses have been hit hard due to the spread of Coronavirus. Seriously, people watch your hands and stay home when you’re sick. Stop touching shit with your germy mitts. Anyway, when businesses are shut down or have to modify operations it can lead to them closing and adversely affecting the local economy.
Many places are doing a curbside or delivery or have to shut down. That’s great that they can modify their businesses - I’ve seen a lot of travel cocktails - which is fire. But not every place has that set-up, some require personal contact. We wanted to cover a few of our favorite places that actually had to cease operations for an indefinite period of time. We know the owners, they’re part of the city and want to say please support them.
One of my favorite places in Baltimore is Sophomore Coffee. Sophomore Coffee is led by my man, Kris Fulton. Kris has over a decade of experience in the coffee industry and opened Sophomore Coffee in the Charles Village neighborhood in Baltimore city. Sophomore has neighbors in restaurant Larder and Biergarten, Fadensonnen. One of Kris’ goals with Sophomore is to bring coffee into a more inclusive space. Additionally, Kris is focused on educating patrons - having coffee tasting tutorials called ‘Cupping’ as well as collaborating within his monthly roasters program.
In Episode 3 of Getting to the Truth In The Art, I interviewed Kris to get the skinny on Sophomore and learn more about his background in the coffee industry. Kris spoke on the importance of opening Sophomore in Baltimore. That was great to hear. Baltimore is a city rich with culture and it’s a weird place - meaning inclusive - so having a cafe that has inclusivity, education and being part of the community is huge. That said, I like what Kris is doing with Sophomore - I admire the mission and Kris is a great guy. Also, Sophomore is a part of my Sunday morning ritual. Sunday isn’t Sunday without an Iced Coffee and Vegan Doughnut from Sophomore.
During the Coronavirus quarantine in Baltimore, many businesses are shut down or have modified how they are doing business. Obviously, this will impact businesses economically. It’s expected to lead to an economic downturn globally but also locally. Many of these places may close due to the lack of business. This will affect the culture of Baltimore. I want to show my appreciation for what Sophomore is doing and urge you all to hit up Sophomore’s website and buy a gift card or merchandise. It would help out a local business during this time.
Baltimore Improv Group (BIG Improv)
Big Improv is our home away from home for recording and being involved with the performing arts community. Big is nestled in the Station North Arts district and specializes in improvisational comedy with the mission of improving the appreciation of improvisational theater. Big is a non-profit and offers regular classes where aspiring comedians, storytellers and comedy troupes can learn and grow. Big has over 800 live shows per year. Live shows in Baltimore city.
In 2018, Dann and I attended the third annual Baltimore Podcast Festival and performed live. It was our first time in the theatre and on the stage with Dann called a “nightmare box”. Yes, the stage was intimidating but enriching. It helped me realize that I was a performer, not just a podcaster.
That was an experience that gave me the thirst to do more and more live podcasts. That experience gave me a newfound appreciation for getting on the stage and being more serious about my podcast being a performance. Big helped give me that feeling. It’s a very inclusive environment as well - Big accepts everyone so I wanted to be a part of it.
From early 2019, I recorded weekly podcasts at Big’s Bitcoin Memorial Podcast Studio. So Big is truly our home away from home. Also, in August 2019, Mastermind Team’s Robcast celebrated our 10th Anniversary show at BIG. Every week for the last 2 years, I’ve been at BIG - I’ve been called a “gym rat”. Big is about art to me and I want it to be around for the long haul.
That said, Big has been a place attached to our podcast network in recent years. Due to social distancing, BIG isn’t open at the moment. Terry Withers, managing director, Richard Gorlick, and the fine folks at BIG have always looked out for me. So I want to look out for them - it’s obviously hard for everyone during these uncertain times especially a non-profit. Hit them up and make a donation.
Foraged Hyperseasonal Eatery
We’re not exaggerating when we say Foraged.Eatery is amongst our favorite restaurants in the entire city of Baltimore. Since opening their doors, Chef Amendola and company have served some of the most incredible food at reasonable prices. All locally farmed and foraged produce is transformed into artisanal centerpieces worthy of every food blog. Staying true to their name, Foraged’s seasonal menu changes are rooted in traditional cooking while always offering a new creative take on some of our favorite comfort foods.
We felt truly fortunate to interview Chris on an extra special episode of Getting To The Truth In This Art. Since then, a lot has changed. While Foraged has been contributing to the community with family meals for everyone struggling through the global pandemic, they recently had to shut their doors, having done all they can for the time being. Now, it’s our turn to repay them for all the memories they helped create. Please visit Foraged.Eatery’s Gofundme page to donate anything you can and visit Baltimore Neighbors to show your support. You can keep up to date with Chef Amendola and Foraged.Eatery on Instagram and Facebook.
Diablo Doughnuts started in a humble shared space in Fells Point. Now, Ros and his dedicated crew are serving some of the most artisanal gourmet doughnuts on the main strip in Federal Hill. While mainstay doughnuts like Captain Chesapeake, Blackberry Lime and Unicorn Farts are all reasons to visit Diablo, the reason you come back is to see what new creations Ros cooks up on a regular basis. Recently, Diablo Doughnuts has fallen on hard times, partly because of the global pandemic but also because crime is a bitch in a time of uncertainty and fear.
We had the honor of interviewing Ros and his amazing edibles on the first episode of MTR’s food-based podcast, Crown City Cooking. His true passion and talent shine through every single doughnut that comes out of the kitchen. It’s that love and passion that keep us coming back as often as possible. Once things get back to normal, you can bet we’ll be there on the first day, ordering as many Berry Shortcakes and Blackberry Lime doughnuts as allowed. Until then, you can donate to Diablo Doughnuts by ordering gift cards here and by visiting Baltimore Neighbors. You can also visit Diablo Doughnuts on Facebook to keep up to date on everything going on.
- The Legendary Duo, Rob Lee & Dann D.