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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Frederick Douglass, Devin Allen & The Language of Image

The Baltimore Sun of December 21st, contained an excellent Op-Ed piece written by Harvard University’s, John Stauffer. In it, he dispenses two amazing facts.  The first being that Frederick Douglass sat to have his picture taken no fewer than 160 times and that, in fact, he was the most photographed American in the 19th Century.

I have included the link to the piece but I wanted to highlight one paragraph in particular because it plucked a string within me that I feel I don’t illuminate well enough when I find myself ruminating upon the weight and far-reach of racism in our country. In this paragraph, Stauffer notes that even though photography was becoming an incredibly popular and powerful medium, slave states were less accepting of it.

“Defensive about slavery, white Southerners seemed to tacitly agree that there was much about their society best left un-illustrated.  Photographic portraits bore witness to blacks’ essential humanity, countering the racist caricatures evident in lithographs and engravings based on drawings.”

It causes me to wonder, if Southerners of that time were indeed, “defensive” about slavery, wouldn’t that be ample evidence, coming from their own consciences, that slavery was cruel, inhumane and frankly a seriously flawed business model.

Here are two of my favorite portraits of Frederick Douglass:Frederick_Douglass_c1860s


I like these two the most because he is looking almost directly at the camera as opposed to the semi-profile angle that was so prevalent in portraiture of the time. I believe these photos are from the 1860’s.

It would be awesome, if by some trickery of the time-space continuum, that Baltimore’s Devin Allen could photograph Frederick Douglass. Mr. Allen’s almost-exclusive use of black&white photography in our instagramfiltered world would yield something magical; not to say that the 160 photographs of this most powerful man of ideas, morals and letters, done by different photographers over 100 years ago, aren’t.

Devin Allen has been thrust into the international spotlight because TIME Magazine used one of his photos for the cover of their issue that covered the unrest in the City of Baltimore. He has used this new-found “celebrity” to further document the struggles and triumphs of Baltimore’s African-American community, not only through his own photography  but through  his work with Baltimore’s youth, getting cameras into their hands and teaching them how to find their art and give voice to their experience.

You can follow his work at @byDVNLLN on Twitter.


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Old, Beat Down Baltimore Bus, Beautiful in Its’ Degradation

I’ve always enjoyed driving down Falls Rd between Hampden and the area now known as Station North. I enjoy any swath of land in the City that is devoid of the typical urban features.  Part of this stretch of road is the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. I have to admit that I’ve never visited the museum, but I have to admit that, more interesting to me is an open air version of the museum that is completely dilapidated.  For the longest time, there has been a huge tarp over something.  I now know what that something is. Dig this!busGLongview It’s definitely a bus from the 60’s or 70’s, at least that’s what my memory thinks, I have nothing to back that up. Here are some more photos of it.BusSideviewBusSOSHAvefunthat’s right, SOS Have Fun! BusCASHObviously, the artist is a BIG Johnny Cash fan!

BusWindowWhat’s really amazing about this photo is that this only shows half of the side doors.  They have this interesting patina that is highly reflective as evidenced by this horrible selfie.BUSreflectionIsn’t that zany!!  I wonder if any of ya’ll old school Baltimorons can verify if City busses had these almost mirror-like windows in their doors.

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Best Halloween Album EVER

If you


are hosting a haunt this #Halloween,  you simply must use the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Eraserhead.  Prepare to creep out the world!

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Toynbee Tile outside Oriole Park!


Toynbee Tile outside Camden yards

I was just walking to Camden Yards to see what will be the final game that I can attend this snakebitten season and as I was crossing Camden street from South Paca street, I looked down and saw this Toynbee Tile! I never approach the ballpark from South Paca and I was only doing so because I found awesome street parking for a game that will be poorly attended due to the Orioles being officially eliminated from playoff contention and the fact that it has started raining steadily. If you read my silly little blog, you know that I am a little Toynbee Tile obsessed. Recently I found two near Lexington Market that I blogged about and watched the documentary,  “Resurrect Dead” on YouTube. Anyway,  if you are Toynbee Tile obsessed like me and are fond of going to Orioles games , you are in luck. This tile is always part of a cordoned area free from Automobile traffic on game days. If you are in Pickles pub, you can stumble out on to it.


Lexington Market tiles

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Happy Birthday to Me!


I was cruising through Mondawmin Mall today and came across a kiosk that sells Classic Kung Fu, Anime and Blaxploitation movies. I picked up this classic!
The kiosks’ business name is Foreign Cinema.  It’s in front of the Popeye’s on the first level.  Go check it out!

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Thrushes9.19Arrive and be mesmerized!! Hey, WTMD, how about making Exposing Seas the Album of the Month for October!

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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)

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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.

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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

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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

Posted in baltimore, Baltimore restaurants, baltimore tourism, Best Restaurants Baltimore, Dining Out, food, Vegan Mos, Washington DC | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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