Food & Drink

Best Bites of 2014

My favorite eats of the year.

By Jane Marion | December 22, 2014, 6:30 am

-Photo by Jane Marion
Food & Drink

Best Bites of 2014

My favorite eats of the year.

By Jane Marion | December 22, 2014, 6:30 am

-Photo by Jane Marion

If there's anything I can say for sure about 2014, it's that I was very well fed. Whether reviewing for our Local Flavor dining section, heading up cover stories on crabs or places to get a cheap eat, or eating my way through five counties for our upcoming 50 Best Restaurants cover (stay tuned), I've made endless trips to the table.

From kale pizza at Hersh's to Maryland crab soup at The Milton Inn, much of what I ate this year was very good—but several dishes were just great. Here are a few of the highlights:

Beer-Steamed Manila clams at Pen & Quill with garlic, shallots, and butter, above. Hands down, the best thing I've ingested all year. I'll leave it at this: If I could have eaten the shells, I would. #fastestdisappearingactever

Scottish salmon at Charleston: After the first bite, this artfully arranged dish was no longer too pretty to eat, and I dove in with abandon. Salmon plus onions. Onions, egg yolk, and salmon. Each bite was perfect on its own or in harmony.

Lobster mac-and-cheese at The Highland Inn: Ordinarily, it seems a waste to bury lobster beneath a layer of cheese, but this satisfying dish—with huge chunks of sweet lobster meat, penne pasta, and a thick crust—was a true comfort food treat. On a rainy day, I sat at the bar alone and didn't share with a soul. This is my definition of contentment.

Bon Burger at Le Garage with caramelized onions and Bucheron: With so many great burgers in town, it's hard to pick just one, but this well-executed iteration was the standout.

Burrata at Parts & Labor: Burrata was the cheese of the moment this year. Caputo Bros. handcrafted version served at P & L stole the show. The I.P.A. was a great compliment, too.

Charcuterie at Cinghiale: Charcuterie is all the rage, but Cinghiale gets it just right with thin slivers of speck and mortadella. I left it to the chef to bring a selection—and it did not disappoint, especially since I washed it all down with a half-price bottle of wine on a Tuesday night.

Age tofu at Azumi: Truth be told, it's hard to coax tofu into anything memorable, but Azumi's bowl of hot, silken age tofu in tentsuyu broth has left me wanting more.

Ceviche Clasico at Puerto 511: Two words for chef Jose Victorio's ceviche bathed in "leche de tigre," with cilantro, red onion, sweet potato, and Andean corn: fish bliss.

Charred octopus at Aggio: Top Chef Bryan Voltaggio's take on this ubiquitous menu item—in this version perfumed with lemon oil, nestled on a bed of fregola, and paired with a smoked raisin compote—was the best cephalopod mollusk in the sea.




Meet The Author
Jane Marion is the food and dining editor for Baltimore, where she covers food, wellness, beauty, and home and garden.


You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Without Reservation: Le Comptoir du Vin

We check in with area restaurants in these challenging times.

In Good Taste

Whitehall Market Opens in Hampden With Mixed Emotions from Vendors

What it’s like for merchants to debut their dream spaces in these challenging times.

Food & Drink

Andina Serves Traditional Peruvian Empanadas Downtown

This Peruvian street food is the next big thing in Baltimore.


Food & Drink

Three Local Chefs Share Their Favorite Summer Recipes

We promise you can recreate them—we did!

In Good Taste

Without Reservation: The Corner Pantry

We check in with area restaurants in these challenging times.

In Good Taste

Without Reservation: La Food Marketa

We check in with area restaurants during these challenging times.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Baltimore Pride’s Legacy Lives On Despite Canceled Festival: Community comes together virtually to celebrate with discussions and events.

Bottoms Up Bagels Rolls Into Harwood: Owners debut their new “BUB Hub” at 28th and Greenmount.

Five Things to Know About Democratic Mayoral Nominee Brandon Scott: The 36-year-old City Council President rallies past Sheila Dixon to win Democratic mayoral primary.

How These Surprise Quarantine ‘Flower Bombs’ Are Helping Families in Need: The paper-plate flowers have become a massive fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House.

Boxer Yahu Blackwell Is An All-Everything Businessman: The 33-year-old Baltimore native is the owner of the new Rita’s Italian Ice in Hampden.