Interesting Sights From Northeast Baltimore(Spoiler Alert! There Will Be Wall Art)

I had lunch today at the Broadway Market and I always drive North on Broadway when I make my way home because it is just so interesting to see how Baltimore is developing in some areas and how there is still a lot of work to be done to improve our city in others. I love this city so much and I just can’t stop discovering it.

Well here is the awesome lunch I discovered; Bibimbop at Lucia Joanns in Broadway Market.  They serve normal diner fare AND Korean food.  AWESOME! Photo, please!

ImageStir fried veggies, beef, rice topped off with egg and srihacha sauce. Yum. You can get it without meat and egg for a vegan treat.

Afterwards, traveling North on Broadway, I took time to take a photo of one of my favorite pieces of urban art that I have been meaning to document here in this blog.  Finally, here it is.  Image

You may notice that in the left of the shot is a huge Scan thingy with the address of the vacant property.  I wonder if this is part of the Wall Hunters film project/social movement, ‘ya know as a way to ID the buildings.  I’ve seen these on other buildings with art on them so who knows?

As I headed farther up on Broadway I found this out of the way bar near Hoffman and Gay streets.      Image

It’s padlocked, I guess because it’s the middle of the day.  Maybe it is just closed for good, but admittedly, if it is shut for good, the immediate area around it is oddly clean.  The sign says, ‘Connie Torain’s Hideaway-Your Home Away From Home’.  Oh that Connie!

Now I only found Connie’s because I was turning around to take a photo of this Amtrak mural that oddly enough is visible from the Amtrak train tracks that run through Northeast Baltimore on their way to Penn Station.  I love the art but I wonder what the thinking was on that commissioning; “Hey, we need a mural of an Amtrak train to remind the people on Amtrak trains that they are on an Amtrak train!”  Here’s the mural.Image

Till next time, hons!

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Two Toynbee Tiles Near Lexington Market-New??

NewToynbeeDuoI was at Lexington Market yesterday and as I was walking back to my car that was parked at 300 North Eutaw St. and as I was crossing the street I saw what I thought were two pieces of paper laying very still. The writing got my attention and then it dawned on me that I was looking at a Toynbee Tile.  Not one, but actually two!

I have seen Toynbee Tiles before in NYC and of course here but I have never seen two, together before.  Seeing these got me thinking about what I believe to the best compendium of Toynbee Tiles information, Tom Warner’s Baltimore Or Less. So I went back and read it again, figuring that I would see a reference to these two tiles. I scanned through it a couple of times and there is information about all of the Baltimore tiles but I couldn’t find an exact reference to the two pictured above.  There is reference to a tile at Eutaw St and Franklin St, by H&H camping supply and there is a reference to another tile near that location, but there is no mention of two tiles being together.

I’ve read the tiles and the ‘sidebar’ messages appear to be the same as the messages on two of the other Baltimore tiles, but they certainly don’t seem to be exact copies, meaning, it appears that they were all cut ‘freehand’ and no stencil was used.

Anyway, let me give you the link to Tom’s blog.

Now in Tom’s blog he has the trailer to an incredible documentary, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. As a matter of fact, I’m watching it now on YouTube. In Tom’s blog he mentions that it’s available on NetFlix but Netflix didn’t have it, nor did Hulu or Amazon, but YouTube does have it and it is fascinating! Also, it’ll cost you $2.99 to rent.  It’s easier to find Toynbee Tiles than it is to watch the documentary. I jest, of course.

Let’s look at them close up!NewToynbeeYouMustThis tile says(warning:offensive language) “HITMEN FROM VENEZUELA + CUBA FAILED TO MURDER ME TWICE SO THEY SENT A FAGGOT CELL TO TO MURDER MY MOTHER  LAY TILE ALONE FEDS”  Bizarre, right?!


This whole story is far more amazing than I can do justice to, but if you are all interested, read the blog that I posted the link to, and make sure you click on the youtube link in that blog, or just go to Youtube yourself and do a search for “Resurrect Dead”  If you like real life mysteries, I guarantee that you will enjoy it!

Posted in A. Aubrey Bodine, baltimore, Baltimore Or Less, Baltimore Toynbee Tiles, Blogging, Documentary, Eutaw Street, Films, Resurrect Dead, Toynbee Tiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful, Old, Interesting Baltimore. 1900 to Today

I have always loved faded, painted advertising on buildings.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy public art so much as it acts as a use for a wall that was simply being a wall until the artists’ hand had its’ way with it.  It’s probably why I rarely disdain graffiti. I see purpose in it, even when it’s not creative in a traditional sense.  It’s a type of journalism, maybe?

Today, while driving through West Baltimore, I came across a building that I have never seen before.  A true throwback to an earlier time that,with a little research, is revealed to have been straddling two eras in transportation technology.

On this corner in West Baltimore:carriagessignI found this building:carriages1beautiful, isn’t it?  Here is a view of the backside;carriages2What I found out from the internet is that this building, that obviously was home to a Carriage building business, was built in 1900.  How could the owners of the company known that in a couple of decades, automobiles would take over the world, making their product obsolete.  I would love to know how much longer this business stayed afloat in the wake of American car culture.  It’s also interesting and slightly ironic to me that I found this monument to an old technology the same week that Baltimore has seen some of its’ citizens take to riding horses through the streets again, possibly in response to the crack down on the illegal dirt bike movement that has been stunted lately by the redirection of traffic in Northwest Baltimore.  Baltimore, Never Boring! (our new slogan)

Posted in Advertising, art, art history, baltimore, baltimore history, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Horseriding in Baltimore, Illegal Dirt Bikes, technology, West Baltimore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Graffiti or Business Sign-You Make the Call!

I drive past the intersection of 25th Street and Greenmount Avenue all the time, but I hadn’t noticed this interesting bit of public art until just a couple of days ago.metrojumny

The only word that makes any sense is ‘Metro’ and if you look closely, there certainly seems to be an Umlaut over the ‘T’. Another thing to note is that the area where the windows used to be have been bricked in and painted dark blue, with the word, ‘MIRACLES’, stenciled on an angle.

Another thing to note and I’m sorry that I didn’t take any photos of this, is that this supposed former business, whatever it was, sits between two separate, former Little Tavern restaurants, Maybe Spencer Stewart, aka, The Diner Hunter has photos of the Little Taverns and he can identify what this building was.

Anyway, I just love weird Baltimore things and to me, this is one of them.

Posted in baltimore, art, art history, baltimore history, Carberry, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Public Art, Diner Hunter Blog, Little Tavern Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan Mos LOVE Great Sage!! Baltimore&DC’s Most Glorious Vegan Restaurant.

I could not be prouder of this review as it is a testament to the incredible work of the entire Great Sage Family! I have the best job in the World!

August 6, 2015

Great Sage

Written by Posted in Reviews Comments 7


Sometimes you find a treasure where you least expect it. Such is the case of Great Sage, a spectacular restaurant in a suburban Clarksville, Maryland strip mall. Great Sage is part of the Conscious Corner family of businesses which includes Roots Market (an amazing chain of grocery stores where the question, “what isn’t vegan?” is easier to answer than, “what is vegan?”), Nest (an eco-friendly clothing a gift store) and Bark (an eco-friendly pet food store). Not surprisingly, all of these stores are located in the same shopping center as Great Sage.

Great Sage is an open space with exposed ductwork and metal beams in the ceiling. While this could give a restaurant a stark, industrial feel, they are painted a cream color making it very soft and gently. The walls are painted in warm earth tones giving the entire restaurant a simple yet elegant feel. The wall of windows on one side looks out into a lush forest and fills the space with wonderful natural light.When you first enter Great Sage, you are greeted by a display of cookies and cupcakes, with gluten-free options available. It is a good thing they are there, so you know to save room for dessert, or maybe just get some to go.


On the first page of the menu is a wonderful statement about “the choices we make.” Knowing that we were eating a restaurant run by a group with a “passion for health, great taste, and the wellbeing of the people, the animals and the planet we share,” let us know we were in for a great dining experience.

IMG_8067 IMG_8068

While we perused the menu, I ordered a Watermelon Faux-Ito from the extensive drink menu which has a wide selection of vegan wines, cocktails, beer and mocktails. The Faux-Ito is a mixture of watermelon juice, lime and mint; the perfect refresher for a hot summer day. The lime juice added a nice brightness to contrast the sweet watermelon juice.


We started our meal with Smoked “Goat Cheese” Flatbread, Buffalo Bites and Sage’s Famous Artichoke Spinach Dip. I was leary of the Flatbread as I am not a fan of the taste of goat cheese, vegan or not. I was pleasantly surprised that this cashew based cheese lacked the pungent tang I was anticipating. The cheese has a lovely smokey taste and a crumbly texture that pairs beautifully with the sweet caramelized onions and peppery arugula. The Buffalo Bites are battered and baked cauliflower florets tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce and served with celery and dill ranch dressing. That these are baked and not fried is a nice twist from other versions of buffalo cauliflower and makes them much less oily. The buffalo sauce is very spicy, but the dill ranch dressing helps temper the heat. The artichoke comes in a large “boat” surrounded by warm, toasted crustini (you can order this gluten free). The dip is served warm and is filled with large pieces of artichoke, unlike most other versions of this dip with fincely diced artichoke. The large pieces give a great mouthfeel to the dish. This dip is delicious, but it is a little on the oily side because of the melted Daiya shreds on top.

Smoked "Goat Cheese" Flatbread

Buffalo Bites

For the main course we had the Sabrosa Bowl, the Old Bay Hearts of Palm Salad and the “Chicken” Avocado Club. Each was delightful in its own way. The Sabrosa Bowl contained chili-roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and tomatoes served over brown rice and stewed black beans. The bowl is a wonderful mixture of flavors and textures. The bowl comes with a chipotle aioli that Ethan had on the side as it contains cilantro. However, even though he is very cilantro adverse, he did not find the cilantro at all overpowering. The salad is a large serving of baby spinach, hearts of palm, capers, roasted cashews, tomatoes and broccoli tossed in a Old Bay-tomato vinaigrette. This salad leaves you completely sated without feeling bloated. The flavors are bold and the textures are a wonderful blend of soft and firm. The sandwich is an exciting version of a chicken club sandwich. The chicken here is a panko crusted Gardein cutlet, with avocado, lettuce, tomato, coconut bacon and Just Mayo on toasted wheat bread. This sandwich is big! You need to really open wide to eat it, but it is worth the effort. The sandwich comes with a generous side of creamy potato salad.

"Chicken" Avocado Club

Sabrosa Bowl

Even though we were stuffed, we “forced” ourselves to get dessert. I love when there are too many desserts I want to try on menu. It lets me feel like I have a real choice rather than just seeing one thing that jumps out at me. While I wanted to try all the desserts, we settled on three: Carrot Cake, Sin Tres Leches and Chocolate Lava Cake. The Carrot Cake was perfectly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon and topped with a rich cream cheese frosting that had just the right amount of sweet: not too little as to be tasteless, but not too much to be overpowering. The Chocolate Lava Cake comes topped with you choice of either soy or coconut based vanilla ice cream. The cake is rich with a deep chocolate flavor. Mine was a little bit overcooked, so the center wasn’t runny, but that didn’t interfere with the taste. My father-in-law’s had the right runny texture and he loved it. Although both cakes were incredible, the star dessert was the Sin Tres Leches, a moist vanilla cake soaked in Sage’s three “milk” blend and topped with strawberry sauce. This was the best Tres Leches I’ve ever had, vegan or otherwise.


Carrot Cake

I am both happy and sad that we live so far from Great Sage. I would put this restaurant up against any of the big name vegan restaurants in New York or Los Angeles. Rather than doing eclectic combinations, executive chef Adam Pierce focuses on simple foods done amazingly well. The menu at Great Sage changes seasonally, with some new items being added and some items being removed. The Sin Tres Leches was just added for this summer. We will definitely have to return every few months to try out Chef Adam’s latest creations, and work our way through the rest of the menu. If you find yourself in the Washington DC area, it is worth the trip out to Clarksville, Maryland to treat yourself to an amazing meal at Great Sage.

Great Sage
5809 Clarksville Square Drive
Clarksville, MD 21029
(443) 535-9400

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My New Obsession Part 2, The ‘In The Spirit’ Big Reveal

A few weeks back, I posted an entry about what i perceived to be a memorial garden of some sort in West Baltimore, that I believe is referred to as ‘In The Spirit’. As I mentioned in that blog, it was almost completely overgrown with ivy and it, quite obviously had been forgotten.  Here is a photo of it to refresh your memory. InThespiritFence

And a closer shot of the part of the fence that is not so obscured. inTheSpiritBlueWell I finally returned to finish the job.  Armed with a new pair of Fiskar Shears that Anna bought me, I set about revealing the rest of the  message on the memorial last Tuesday.  I didn’t only want to see what was written under all of that ivy.  I wanted to attempt to find the inspiration and essence of this sprawling memorial garden.  It is such a large area that I find it so odd that even in an area as economically depressed as Midtown Edmondson, that no one could stop by once a year to keep it cleaned.  At that time, I didn’t know who actually created all of this art, but I surmised that was done in conjunction with a local artist or artists, Baltimore City, and school children.  It appears that my assumption is dead on.  I found this piece of fence that I’m calling the “Credits wall”.InTheSpiritCreditsYou might be able to see the name, Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen and words, ‘Midtwon Edmondson Art team’.I was able to find some information on Mr.Schlossberg-Cohen and it turns out that he specializes in public art projects.  I believe that he founded,the REBUILDING thru ART PROJECT and I know that he works with the Open Society Foundation.

This piece was dedicated, 9/25/2003.  I can only assume that it’s been left to the elements since then.  The garden is located at the intersection of Lauretta Avenue and N. Monroe St. and there is more to it than just the fence and the wall, but I must say that the afternoon I spent cutting away all that ivy was more rewarding than I could have imagined.  Here is the fence and wall revealed.InTheSpiritVineWALLTOTALInTheSpiritVineWallBEHOLD


In the lot in front of the wall and fence are blocked off tree areas that are, themselves memorials.  Here are some of them,InTheSpiritSlaveryMemorialTreeInTheSpiritLynchingMemorialInTheSpiritCivilRightsMemorialI’m hoping to get in touch with Mr. Schlossberg-Cohen and one of the other listed artists, Erin Thurston and ask them about the project and I will just let them know that I will keep trying to help maintain this oasis of earnest Art that is in a tough neighborhood.  I wonder how the children that helped create this have fared during the intervening years?

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Favorite building in West Baltimore

It’s on


North Avenue @ Division street. I think the roof is an Asian or Mexican style.  Honestly, I have no idea.  It’s currently the home of a car washing operation and the folks there couldn’t remember what it was back in the day.  I can say that the houses around it were built in 1920. Maybe it was a cute little Chinese restaurant, way back when? Further west on North Avenue is another one these little places,  but that one has, unfortunately,  fallen completely into disrepair.


This shot is a tad closer and captures the front that faces North Avenue. Enjoy unique Baltimore!

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The Baltimore Plan, Encyclopaedai Britannica Educational Films, 1953

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My New Obsession: ‘In The Spirit’ Green Space in West Baltimore

After treating myself to an awesome Just Juice It juice from the Upton Avenue Market I was heading toward SoWeBo via Fulton Avenue and I stumbled upon this unique green space that I am assuming is a children’s park or memorial in a vacant lot on Lauretta Avenue(or is it street?)InTheSpiritGateway1in West Baltimore.

What isn’t unique is that like more than a couple of these parks, it has become overgrown and kind of forgotten.  I have a thing for taking trash bags to different locations and picking up trash and I can guarantee you that i will adopt this space. At the top of the center, squared arch,is this iron sign: inTheSpiritsignIt’s a little difficult to see but it says, ‘In The Spirit’.  What I’m not sure of is, in the spirit of what?  This garden takes up a lot that probably had 3 houses on it at one time and there is more to it. Lemme show you the other stuff. intheSpiritIronworkThis is some more iron work that is in the “windows” of the facade. This appears to be an angel.

InThespiritFenceOnce past the brick and iron work, there is this long fence that is overgrown with ivy but some text is visible, let’s get close up on the words.inTheSpiritBlueAs you can see, the text is obscured by ivy, but the words, True, News, Murdered, Live and Young Person are legible. Next to it is this mural on the side of the house that is still there.InTheSpiritmuralAs you can see, the mural is overgrown, too.  I am now officially fascinated by this park or memorial.  I did a search of the Baltimore Sun’s archives but couldn’t find anything solid on this particular location. I did find an article about something similar written by Susan Shapiro but nothing about this.

In the coming weeks, when I have a spare few moments, I’m gonna go back over there and try to uncover the words on that fence. I will let you know what I find

Posted in art, baltimore, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Baltimore Sun, Greenspaces, Memorial Gardens, Public Art, Sandtown-Winchester, West Baltimore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You, Nova, MPT, NASA & The Hubble Telescope! #InvisibleUniverseRevealed


After a long day of work I was fortunate to stumble upon Maryland Public Televisions’ airing of a Nova episode called “Invisible Universe Revealed”. It’s all about the development and difficulty of creating the Hubble Telescope.  It goes into great detail about how flawed the Hubble was when it was first lifted into orbit.  The program went into fascinating detail about how NASA was able to train astronauts for 20 months to fly to Hubble to fix it.  Simply amazing!

After they go through these fascinating details, the NASA scientists go into all of the discoveries that Hubble has provided us with. Hubble had been able to prove theories, verify the existence of black holes, lead to the realization that the Universe is full of Dark Matter, by they way, even these physicists can’t exactly explain what Dark Matter is, And the thing that actually brought a tear to my eye is that they were able to determine approximately how many stars are in the Universe.

One of the NASA smarty pants guys( I think it was one of the Johns Hopkins Hubble guys, go Baltimore!) explained that they pointed Hubble on a very dark area of the Universe; an area seemingly free of a lot of stars and other pretty space stuff.  He went on to explain that the area concentrated on by Hubble is the equivalent of you or I looking into the night sky through a drinking straw. Hubble was able to peer into this straw hole and find millions and millions of stars and unless I’m crazy, thousands of GALAXIES!! Are you kidding me??!?

Anyway, many people, myself included, have been presented with information as mind-boggling and awesome as this and have said something to the effect of, “the Universe is so big, we humans are so insignificant, so small” etc.  But this time, I realized that we Humans ARE significant. We are incredibly unique. perversely flawed but unique.

If there was just some way that all people, everywhere could just grasp our Human exceptionalism, would we need to harm each other and ourselves as horribly as we do? Would we be so careless and cavalier?


Posted in A. Aubrey Bodine, baltimore, Hubble telescope, Invisible Universe Revealed, Johns Hopkins, life, NASA, NOVA, PBS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baltimore Boy Likes it Bazaar(yes i know the proper usage is ‘bizarre’)

I ventured to Hampden this past Monday and stumbled across a cool place that I had read about and was hoping to check out. Here’s their business card.BazaarBusinesscardYup, Bazaar Curiosities and Oddities on Chestnut Avenue.  If you liked the now-defunct Dime Museum on Maryland Avenue and if you are the sort of person that travels to Philadelphia just to visit the Mutter Museum, then you will enjoy this quaint little shop of creepy things.  Admittedly, if taxidermy gives you the willies, you should probably avoid Bazaar but if you want to buy photos of diseased genitalia, then RUN, don’t walk to Bazaar!

I did not purchase any of the aforementioned, nasty…um…nasty bits but I found an old Ouija board.  I’ve always wanted one. I don’t want to conjure up Houdini’s dear, deceased mother; rather, I want one because the Ouija Board as we know it, was invented in Baltimore by a man named Elijah Bond..

I could have picked one in pretty decent shape as there were a few to choose from, but I picked the board that had packaging in a state of disrepair, but I bought it because the artwork on it was spooky good.  Dig it!

BazaarOuijaArtwork   I’m also fascinated by really old photos of people I don’t know.  I just start trying to imagine their story and I like trying to figure out where in the world they are posing and all that stuff. Anyway, Bazaar had a whole collection of those kind of photos, too. Check out these nattily attired Bonnie&Clyde wannabes:BazaarBonnie&clyde  And you just have to love this fashionable and appropriately aloof young lady from back in the day- Doesn’t she look amazing?!  The fellow behind the counter at Bazaar quipped that I could use the Ouija board to contact the people in the photos.  Oh, how droll!

What or whom is she looking at??

What or whom is she looking at??

If i did use the board, I can guarantee that it wouldn’t quite look like thisBazaarbackofOuijaI mean, check out these nice, clean-cut white kids as they conjure otherworldly dark forces. It better not be a school night, you two!greenmountOuijaGraveAnd from one of my earlier blogs about Baltimore’s Greenmount Cemetery, here is Elijah Bond’s grave.This is just proof that Bazaar is right at home in Baltimore.

Posted in art, art history, baltimore, baltimore history, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Board Games, Greenmount Cemetery, Hampden, Parker Bros, William Fuld | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
  • time will not dim the glory of their deeds


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