The District

My S is a city girl. She is never happier than on a train or Bahn. 

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We took her to see “Rock Omama’s” house, because they talk a lot on her fish-price phone. In fact, he is the only one who ever calls. She was really bummed when we couldn’t go inside (Although the White House is once again open to visitors, tours need to be scheduled six months in advance through your congressional representative. I just wanted to get away from the ‘burbs and into the city and I wanted to do it soon).

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We dealt with the disappointment with a trip to her favorite restaurant: Vapiano, a German chain of Italian restaurants. You may remember it from all of the times we ate there in Berlin (and Dresden and Stuttgart.) In fact,we are Vapiano connoisseurs. As such a connoisseur, I can assure you that the American iteration is just as German as its German cousins, meaning you can get decent Italian food there. Much better than some of the typical red sauce joints that abound in Baltimore.
Do you remember bunny pizza? S does!
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And to make up for the lack of presidential sightings, S and I shared dessert before heading back to die Bahn. 
 
There are multiple Vapiano restaurants in Washington, D.C. should you be as weird as we are. Parking in DC may impact whether or not you are able to send your child to college. We park in Maryland and take the metro.

Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Why, hello there. We’ve been working, going to preschool for entire big kid school days, and trying to hold it together while we slug through this our first year post-grad school.  But let’s not get too down. There’s been some exploring, too.

Before it got too cold, we bought tickets for the historic ships moored in the Baltimore Harbour. The first time we tried to do this the dark, murky water was just too scary for S and so we put the idea away for another time. Then, a few weeks ago, we found ourselves downtown and suddenly the idea of going on a big boat seemed like the best thing ever and could we go today, right now?

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She liked going up an down the steps of the USS Constellation, but deemed the sleeping quarters “creepy.” The USS Torsk, a WWII era submarine, made her nervous. The best part was finding the jellies in the harbor, just below the water’s surface. Unfortunately, they didn’t show up well in an iPhone photo, but S is still talking about them so I’m sure we’ll be back as soon as it warms up again.

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Maybe next time we’ll even be brave enough to go on boat that moves.

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The Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore has some very rough edges. It also has a few lovely spots. The Baltimore Museum of Art, for example.

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Located near The John Hopkins University on a beautiful tree-lined street, the BMA is free year-round – perfect for the, at times, wandering attention spans of littles – and has a wonderful collection of 19th century and modern art. S especially liked this “curtain,” which I sadly forgot to look up. I liked when she posed as Le Penseur.

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 My favorite non-toddler related part?

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The Kirchner. I was so disappointed that they didn’t have a print of this one in the gift shop. I suppose we’ll just have to go back again!

 

Baltimore Book Festival, Mt. Vernon

Its been a few weeks, but I can’t let something like the Baltimore Book Festival pass by without a post.

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I wasn’t expecting much – feeling a little down on Charm City – maybe some used book sellers and a food truck…if we’re lucky? But the Festiva proved me wrong and showed me that Berlin doesn’t have the monopoly on Strassenfeste. Of course, there were booksellers – old and new – but there weer also authors as well as a healthy representation of local cultural institutions and children’s activities. We even had our first encounter with a costume character.

 

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S wasn’t scared. She was just cautious.

The highlight of the festival was the Peabody Institute, a conservatory attached to The John Hopkins University. The 19th century building is beautiful and was wholly unexpected.

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 This year’s festival was held September 27 – 29th. For more information, visit the Baltimore Book Festival’s  website and maybe we’ll see you in 2014!

 

Johnny’s, Roland Park

Everybody needs a brunch place. We’ve found ours.

I saw Johnny’s ad boasting “west coast food”  in “Baltimore” magazine. Having no idea what this would mean (quinoa and avocado, possibly?), we had to find out.

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Nothing out of the ordinary, but certainly good food and good coffee.

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The restaurant has a children’s menu, but its not available at breakfast. S shared a stack of pancakes with her dad and, of course, sampled from my plate, as well. She kept and then had to go directly to Gramma’s house to show off our new masterpiece.

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Sorry about the lack of posts. I started working and we haven’t had our usual leisure time to explore Baltimore. 

Fresh Bakery, Owings Mills

S’s school has an award-winning healthy choices program that focuses on teaching the children about eating well. The class meets once a week with a nurse to learn all sorts of things. To be honest, I don’t really know, but it can’t hurt, right? The school sent some flyers home about not celebrating special events or rewarding ourselves and our children with food.

Obviously, these people haven’t twice in as many years with a three year old. I like broccoli, but sometimes you need to balance out the green with something a little sweeter like these cupcakes from Fresh Bakery.

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I wasn’t too sure when I saw the sign for a new bakery with such a simple name, but in our suburban neighborhood filled with chains and pizza shops, I was willing to give anything new a shot.

Some of our favorites include the personal pies (Pumpkin! or for the pumpkin averse there’s also apple, pecan, sweet potato and peach)

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(sorry, I couldn’t resist a bite before taking a photo)

and the banana pudding is well worth a shot or even breaking a few school rules.

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If you can bring yourself to share, that is.

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We stopped in Aldi today. I was under the impression/somehow assured myself that there would be something German inside. The Aldi’s in Germany carry Trader Joe’s products (TJ is owned by Aldi Nord); surely there would be some slightly out of place in suburban Maryland, but wholly welcome by me German product, Ja? I thought maybe some type of Würste or a vacuum-packed Sachertorte.

Our first impression was promising. Jon was disappointed that he didn’t have his Kaiser’s coin, but an all American quarter did the trick.

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The aisles were more or less the same…

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But nothing German inside. Gar nichts. 

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