Singer/guitarist works on new compositions: pies

TABLE TALK

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

April 17, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Rodney Henry loves pies. He loves baking them. He loves watching people eat them. That's why the former lead singer/guitarist of the Glenmont Popes has given up rock 'n' rolling for his rolling pin, and set up shop at the old Herman's Bakery in Canton.

Within the next couple of weeks, Henry's brand new Dangerously Delicious Pies will hold its grand opening at 2400 Fleet St.

Henry, 36, says he's been baking pies since he was 6 and spent childhood summers with his grandmother, who was quite the baker. In fact, he says, the last two years he was on the road with his band, he would beg kitchen use from bars where they were playing. Then, he'd spend his afternoons whipping up a few pies, which he'd sell after performances.

"[Baking pies] started becoming more satisfying than the playing," Henry says. So, Dangerously Delicious Pies was born. The shop offers about 18 different pie choices ($12-$18) -- including apple, blueberry, lemon meringue, chocolate pecan, Derby pie (chocolate, pecan and caramel) -- as well as a couple of Henry's favorites like strawberry rhubarb (when rhubarb's in season), and his grandmother's recipe for full custom custard pie.

"I call it white trash creme brulee," Henry notes. "At first, people say, `Man, that's kinda weird-looking.' But it tastes great."

The shop will also offer Henry's coffeecakes and morning pastries, coffee and espresso drinks for folks who want to grab something for breakfast. And there will be additional dessert choices, including cookies, brownies and cheesecakes.

Deliciously Different Pies, 410-522-PIES, will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to around 9 p.m. Sunday. Sunday nights, Henry says some of his musician friends may stop in to play a little acoustic guitar. Their payment? You guessed it. A pie.

"I get a kick out of watching people eat my pies. It just cracks me up," he says. "I totally dig it. I want pies to take over. Everyone should enjoy some pie."

Canton goes blu

There's another good story behind another new Canton eatery. blu just opened this week in the old Mangia Mangia space on Luzerne Avenue, behind the Can Company. Pat Vancura and Dean Barillaro love to dive. They go to the Caribbean a lot to indulge that passion.

So they decided to bring a little of the Caribbean back to Baltimore -- and let their avocation influence their vocation -- by giving their new restaurant a real sea feel.

Vancura says they spent the last six months renovating the restaurant. The resulting "cool, comfortable and classy" interior? Turquoise-blue seating and floor tiles, white walls with a silvery finish and cherry wood at the bar.

The menu follows a similar course. Chef Drew Booth offers some American pub choices, including an extensive appetizer, burger and sandwich menu ($4.99-$9.99) and entrees like grilled pork chops ($14.99) and crab cakes ($21.99). And then there are the items with a Caribbean or New Orleans (where Booth trained) flavor -- like pasta jambalaya ($15.99) or rasta island chicken marinated in Caribbean spices, grilled and topped with fruit salsa ($12.99). The restaurant seats 60, including bar seating. Speaking of the bar, in addition to the full service one, blu also has an oxygen bar -- Baltimore's second (the first is at the Spy Club). You have your choice of 16 different aromas, at a cost of $10 for 12 minutes.

blu, 410-276-0885, is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday, although Vancura says he'll close up early Sunday nights if it's quiet.

New look at City Lights

The water theme is also prevalent in the newly renovated City Lights Seafood Restaurant at Harborplace. General manager Charles E. Giles says he and partner Richard M. Pirone have lightened and brightened the place -- tossing out the old brown and green color scheme, and introducing Mediterranean colors like blue, white and yellow. They've also made some changes in the kitchen by bringing in new executive chef Jose Gonzalez.

Giles says Gonzalez has not only added a Caribbean and Cuban influence to some of the entrees, he's added more fresh fish dishes, and the lunch menu has expanded to include more sandwiches -- both on bread and in wraps -- and salads.

City Lights, 410-244-8811, is at 301 Light St., in the Light Street Pavilion. Its hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions by fax to Sloane Brown at 410-675-3451, or by e-mail to sloane@livetabletalk.com.

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