Arts & Entertainment, Eat/Drank

Underground Kitchen Debuts in Baltimore

May 2, 2017

Back in March of this year, Danielle and I found ourselves in matching outfits, drinking tequila in a bar in Station North at 2am on a Monday. Just like you, we were wondering…how did this happen? Like so many great mysteries, it started with an invitation to a secret club. Even better, a secret foodie club; Underground Kitchen had invited us to attend its maiden voyage to Baltimore.

Sneaky shot of CEO of UGK, Micheal Sparks (behind the table to the right) in the yellow sweater

Kitchen, Underground

Founded in Richmond, Va., Underground Kitchen (UGK) is an ultra luxurious, pop-up style, dinner club that gives off an air of “secret society.” Everyone is welcome to register for an invitation to the event, however tickets are extremely limited (25-40) and typically sell out within minutes. Disclosing the details of each individual dinner only in the 11th hour, UGK features top chefs in unconventional locations, deviating from the idea of a traditional dinner party and pushing the boundaries of culinary creativity. From their press release, “Dinners are based on themes in keeping with the season or the chef’s culinary direction, with theming woven throughout the atmosphere…Previous pop-up locales including art studios, cultural centers, historic homes, warehouses, urban squares, and farms.”

The historic 1840s Ballroom, part of the 1840s Plaza

Secrets Revealed

Danielle and I were told the date and theme of March’s dinner and nothing more. We were given the location two days before the event. It wasn’t until we showed up at 6:30p for cocktails at the historic 1840’s Ballroom off of Front St. in downtown Baltimore, that we were privy to the menu and name of the chef. The theme of the evening was Spring Fling, coupled with Executive Chef of Heart & Table, Tim Delling’s personal theme, In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb. (Sidenote: it was this Spring theme that lead to Danielle and I both wearing the same floral shirt in different colors to the event. *insert Miranda Priestly quote about florals for spring* )

Here we are in our matching Free People tops on a tour of the 1840s Ballroom

Cocktail hour kicked off with a fabulous rosé and mingling with other attendees. Approximately, a half hour later, CEO of UGK, Micheal Sparks, took the floor to welcome us, say a few words about the evening and encourage us all to sit next to someone we did not know in order to enhance the magic and mystery of the evening. Micheal also explained that each quarter, UGK partners with a nonprofit to receive partial proceeds from the events. This particular evening supported the Carol Adams Foundation which works to provide emergency assistance to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

The Real Reason You are Reading This (Food Pics)

An Underground Kitchen dinner ranges from five to seven courses, each paired with a glass of wine (bless). Chef Tim Delling prepared a five course meal for us, plus a palate cleanser between courses three and four. The first course, burrata and crostini with dandelion greens (In Like a Lion), was delicate and full of flavor, with raisins adding bursts of sweetness to an otherwise savory dish.  The crostini was a tad chewy, but despite this, it was my favorite course of the evening.

Burrata Crostini. dandelion greens, golden raisins, pistachios.

Beef. pickled potato, asparagus, lemon, raspberry, maple.

Impeccable steak with crisp and fresh asparagus (I’m normally not a big fan of this vegetable but could have eaten a whole plate) served over pickled smashed potatoes followed the crostini.  What we thought was goat cheese, turned out to be powdered butter, which held up better and looked much more refined than regular butter as a part of the plating.

Cured salmon made for an unexpected pairing with rhubarb, beet rounds and goat cheese (for real this time). Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to eat all of these ingredients together… that didn’t stop me though. The smokey salmon balanced well with the tart rhubarb and earthy beets making for quite the play on ‘surf n turf.’

Cured Salmon. beets, rhubarb, goat cheese.

Chilled Mint Pea Soup. herb salad.

In between the salmon and soup was what Chef Delling dubbed “Butterfly Tea ‘Snow'” which resembled a blue granita.  The “snow” turned violet when an acid was introduced and all the guests had a blast squeezing lemon juice into their glasses and swirling the mixture together. (Shout out to everyone at my table and our server putting up with me as I fought to get the perfect boomerang of this chemistry at work.) This kind of food performance art, coupled with the intimate setting, really separated UGK’s dining experience from any other dinner club or high-end restaurant (pop up or no) I have attended in the past.

A small confession: my notes on the final courses became shorter and shorter as the evening progressed, and more significantly, the wine kept flowing. I simply wrote ‘sea salt’ and ‘cool’ about the chilled pea soup, but I can assure you it was both of those things in addition to being light and delicious.  The final course was a most inventive take on dessert, given that it wasn’t sweet at all.  Cleverly resembling a biscuit and cup of coffee, the lamb jus in a mug with a cheesy, herb biscotti was Delling’s cheeky and savory sign-off to the meal (Out Like a Lamb).

Lamb Jus. herb biscotti.

Oh, and the bit in the beginning? About the tequila at 2am? I confess it was a hook to pull you in, but it all happened too. Taking Micheal’s words to heart, we got chummy over the meal with the folks seated at our table. In fact we enjoyed the camaraderie and conversation so much, that we decided to venture out together afterwards to continue the evening….hence the bar in Station North.

We have to thank UGK not only for the foodie’s paradise they’ve created, but for the engaging and stimulating atmosphere they have provided. As a person who leans more towards being Type A than Type B it was actually refreshing to walk into the unknown and allow a situation to surprise me. You can catch Danielle and myself at Underground Kitchen’s return to Baltimore on Monday, May 22nd. We don’t know what to expect from UGK this time around… but then again, that’s the point.

 

To register for the Underground Kitchen invitation list click here or try your luck with a ticket purchase here. There is a two ticket limit for members and pricing includes the meal, wine (a different one for every course. every. course.) and gratuity.

This post was sponsored by Underground Kitchen. All opinions belong to 30th & Weldon.
Feel Good

The Whiff Co. – Gifting Fuels Connection

April 14, 2017

The Whiff Co. is a modern-day gifting service that exists to make gifting part of our daily lives. Wole Ajabe, the founder of the Whiff Co., noticed that gifting is typically centered around holidays, where gifts can be seen as an obligation and therefore some of the value is often lost. The Whiff Co. aims to solve this by curating seasonal boxes that are appropriate for any occasion and can be sent for no reason other than to tell someone you’re thinking about them.

Inception

The idea, Wole says, was inspired by a friend of his who was sending a gift box to their partner abroad. He watched the level of creativity it took to make this package, and recalled never seeing anyone put so much care into a gift box before. He then recalls thinking that not everyone is inherently creative, but still might want to send a unique and high-quality gift to someone. This is where the Whiff Co. seed was planted.

Since its inception, the Whiff Co has evolved a number of times to become what it is today. First, he started the Cerulean Project, a blog that was a display of his thoughts that he wanted to “share with anyone who would listen”. He then fleshed out the idea of gifting and started The Whiff Co., with specialty cakes in jars that could easily be gifted. These cakes were influenced by the time of year and were given a personality and emotion (Strawberry-Lemonade made an appearance at our first annual Sunday at the Mill, which was a cake that celebrated summer). The creation of the cakes, along with photoshoots, art direction, and a short film, brought them to life.

While the cakes were enjoyed by all, Wole found these distracted from gifting—people were more interested in buying a cake so they could eat it themselves rather than to gift. He also spoke to logistical concerns about not quite wanting to make them to order, but not moving enough product to make large enough batches – Cakes can’t really sit around! Wole still felt passionate about gifting and wanted to find away to bring his mission to life.

Birth of the Gift Box

Last winter, The Whiff Co. launched their first gift box. This box featured custom-made succulents by Close Call Studio and an accompanying handmade card. This box took a big chance on a new concept for The Whiff. Co., but it paid off. The Whiff Co. now releases boxes about three times a year for the following seasons: Winter/Spring, Spring/Summer, and Fall. With each box, Wole says he learns a great deal about his business and is able to apply it to the next box. One of the biggest changes implemented from his learning experience seems to be the new tiered pricing options available with Blanc, which acknowledges that not everyone wants to send a $60 gift, but maybe they’ll want to send a $40 gift.

The gift boxes are inspired by the seasons and are timely, relevent, and meaningful. Wole believes that “seasons carry a lot of emotions” and his boxes succeed in personifying the seasons through symbols, choices of colors, and other imagery.

With Blanc, The Whiff Co. draws on the sense of renewal that comes with the end of winter and beginning of spring. He points to renewal meaning not only rebirth but also a sense of excitement and adventure. These emotions guided the direction Blanc took as the gift box was being curated.  The gifts in the box align with these emotions as well. The box features a handcrafted mug, featuring the White Stag from Hollow Work (he chose the White Stag to symbolize this sense of renewal and adventure), teas from Shafa Blends & Wight Tea Co., and stag pins from Shiny Apple Studio.

The box features makers from both Baltimore and D.C., as The Whiff Co. is uniquely positioned in between the two and has found a way to participate in both communities. Wole acknowledges that the creative communities in the two cities function pretty differently (as well as the way the two cities approach community) but finds that makers in both places seem to welcome the opportunity of working together. The Whiff Co. is open to collaboration and trying new things, and utilizing both of these locations has seemed to really help that mission.

How We Feel Matters

The Whiff Co. hopes that one day their gift boxes will change the world, and believes that lives are changed when people feel cared for in a meaningful way. Wole believes that connection fuels relationship and hopes The Whiff Co. is able to encourage people to connect meaningfully with the people they love. The Whiff Co. believes that how we feel matters, and they want to be a part of how we show how we feel about the people in our lives.

 

Look Good

Girl-Powered Fashion: Clothing, Accessories, and Homeware

February 5, 2017

While many are focused on their Valentine’s in February, we wanted to take some time to recognize our Galentine’s—the women in the world who get shit done and look damn good doing it. With the recent climate, we’ve seen girl-powered fashion on the rise (and we are not mad about it). New graphic t-shirts with various empowering phrases, buttons and patches to declare #girlgang status, and housewares from pillows to shower curtains have been created to celebrate nasty women.

Here’s a collection of girl-powered fashion to celebrate ladies & people who love ladies everywhere (and to preemptively kick off our Galentine’s Day Celebration—details on our party at the end of this post).

‘The Future is Female’ T-ShirtOnesie, Otherwild ($25-$30)

This classic t-shirt was first spotted in the 1970s and Otherwild has recreated it. Available in men & women’s sizes, as well as kids & babies, this t-shirt was created to be worn by all feminists in the family. Currently, Otherwild is donating a portion of the proceeds from this design to Planned Parenthood, which is definitely something we can get behind.

Girl Power Pins, Brightside Boutique ($2 each)

Baltimore’s favorite boutique brings you these girl-powered fashion pins. You can buy them individually, but at $2 each it seems like a no-brainer to buy all three and adorn your favorite jean jacket (or better yet: one of the shirts on this list).

Nasty Woman T-Shirt, Franklyn ($25)

I’ve seen a lot of Nasty Women apparel since the infamous debate, but this shirt from Brooklyn-based design firm Franklyn is at the top of my list. Also available in navy & white.

‘Fight Like a Grrrl’ Patch, CreepyGals ($8)

If Sailor Moon were to display her feminism with one thing on this list, it would be with this patch.

Friends-Inspired ‘Girls’ Crew Neck, Black Anchor Apparel ($25)

Grab a ‘Girls’ crewneck inspired by Monica and Rachel (and Susan, in a much, much earlier episode). You can stick with the red & green originals, or branch out to something new. Available in many different colors and perfect for your whole girl gang.

Feminism Animal Sticker Pack, Sarah Duyer ($5)

These feminist animals found a place in my heart the minute I saw them! This six-pack of stickers includes two of each, so you can keep one set for yourself and send a message to someone who needs to be reminded that catcallin’ ain’t cute…

‘Don’t Tell Me to Smile’ Tote, &Morgan ($18)

Don’t tell anyone to smile. And don’t waste your time telling people not to tell you to smile when this tote bag can say it for you.

‘If it isn’t Intersectional…’ T-Shirt, Feminist Apparel ($29.95)

This is probably the most important message in this whole post. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, then I want nothing to do with it, and it isn’t really feminism. Feminism needs to celebrate people from all walks of lives and the different struggles those journeys entail. We need to make sure feminism supports and represents those from marginalized groups, and privileged feminists (yes, I am talking to white women) need to make sure we are paving the way and not prioritizing our perspectives over others. Feminism is more about gender (and if you realize it, this shirt is for you and can help others realize it).

Feminist Velvet Choker, Feminisa ($8.21)

This velvet choker is perfect for the 90s inspired ladies out there, who prefer to take a more understated approach with their girl-powered fashion.

‘No Fuckboys Allowed’ T-Shirt, Look Human ($28)

This pairs well with the ‘Don’t Tell Me to Smile’ tote bag.

‘Cats Against Catcalls’ T-shirt, Feminist Apparel ($29.95)

I love all cats, but especially these little kittens who also take a stand against cat calling! Way to go, cute lil kittens. Show these kittens your support (and take a stand against cat calling) in this shirt.

‘Not Your Babe’ Baseball Cap, Impure Thought ($15)

Another very important message. For the complete look, pair this with the ‘Don’t Tell Me to Smile’ tote and ‘No Fuckboys Allowed’ T-Shirt.

Feminist Mug, Wildfang ($12)

Feminism isn’t necessarily something you can turn on and off, and this mug is perfect for the person who realizes this fact. Go with this mug if equality rules everything around you…all day, err day.

Girl Gang’ Greeting Card, All Her Glory ($3.22)

Alright, so you’ve picked the perfect girl-powered fashion item from the above list and want to give it to your favorite person who is a woman/respects women. Make sure to write a kickass note explaining why this person is an important part of your #girlgang.

Girls Pennant Pin, Tuesday Bassen ($10)

Who run the world? Girls, obviously. Tuesday Bassen, the designer of this pin, also runs the world. Her art was stolen by a big corporate clothing company and stood up for herself in a badass way. Girls truly do run the world. Don’t fuck with us.

Boobs Shower Curtain, Gravel & Gold ($120 Preorder) 

I really love the Boobs collection from San Francisco-based Gravel & Gold, and this shower curtain brings that admiration to another level. And as much as I love this, it is important to note that not all women have boobs and not all people who have boobs are women.

Have some favorite girl-powered fashion not posted above? Share it with us in the comments below or tag us on Instagram.

We will be hosting our 3rd Annual Galentine’s Day Party and we’d love to see you there!
Monday, February 13th 7-10 PM
Blue Pit BBQ & Whiskey Bar
RSVP on Facebook

This year, Galentine’s Day is benefitting the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

 

Look Good

One Look Three Ways: mywalit Blogger Bags

January 3, 2017

Hello Internet friends!! We are back from our hiatus sabbatical and can’t wait to share some of the things that have been happening in our lives! Danielle completed her barre teaching training certification, Julie moved to California AND started a new job in a new field (she made it out of the #retaillife and Danielle and Shae are so jealous) and Shae ended her daily commute to Bethesda by switching store locations (go say hi to her at the Free People in Harbor East).

We thought the perfect way to get back into the swing of things was to share a post all three of us have been working on for a little while now. A few months ago, mywalit asked us to partner with them and review some of their beautiful leather handbags. We’ve been testing functionality, durability and the ease of styling of three different kinds of bags from the Italian leather company. The three of us have unique styles and taste in hangbags but mywalit has enough variety to suit all of us (we also admired their line of wallets and the men’s collection). The quality of the leather is superb – Julie and Shae’s are soft and buttery, Danielle’s structured bag is sturdy and all three have worn well through daily use. The bags have proven to be practical and easily incorporated into our on the go lifestyles #bloggerlife.

 

Danielle – New York Medium Work Bag in Black

I like its classic shape that can go from work to happy hour with friends to a publicity event for the blog. My super portable laptop fits right in the side sleeve, and it has an optional long strap I can use when I need free hands for taking pictures for the blog – or holding a drink! Perfect #sidehustle bag.

 

 

Julie – Copenhagen Shopper in Sahara

When zipped, it’s perfect for going between meetings at work, when I’m bringing a folder/notebook/maybe ipad around etc. When it’s open it’s a perfect weekend bag, it’s big enough to carry a small makeup bag, wallet, v light sweater, etc. so it’s good for weekdays and weekends alike.

 

Shae –  Santa Monica Backpack in Black

I’m all about the perfectly sized backpack (not too mini but not the kind you had in school either). It’s ideal for keeping both hands free to hold my camera/phone/coffee/flowers/a loaf of bread or all of the above. In the rare occasion I’m not carrying anything else, I love that I can grab it by the loop handle on the top which also makes it easy to hang up when not in use.

 

You can get your own mywalit bag (or wallet) from their website or, if you are local to Baltimore, from The Store Ltd in The Village of Cross Keys shopping center off of Falls Road. You can find mywalit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bags provided by mywalit. All opinions are our own.

General

An Announcement from 30th & Weldon

September 22, 2016
**OFFICIAL STATEMENT**
 
Hey! As you may or may not have heard, 1/3 of 30th & Weldon (Julie) has moved to California! While this is a super exciting move for her, we’ve had lots of people ask us what this means for the blog & the future of 30th & Weldon, so we wanted to take a second to answer some questions.
 
What does this mean for 30th & Weldon? Thankfully, we’re a business that is mostly run on the internet. We will be able to focus our efforts on our blog (30thandweldon.com) and our online store (shop.30thandweldon.com). We will be able to communicate with one another via FaceTime/imessage/other internet and keep our business a success. Julie will be able to focus on the back-end (web/email maintenance, shop maintenance, etc) while Danielle & Shae stay local. We will all continue to write.
 
What about the Baltimore piece? With Danielle and Shae still in the city, we expect to stay very much a big part of the Baltimore community, you’ll just be seeing Julie’s face less often at events and things of the like. We still want to host events and go to other awesome local events. Having been established in Baltimore (and for Baltimore), we are still very much tied to our roots. Our goal has always been to increase awareness of our wonderful city—what better way to do that than to have someone writing from the opposite coast and broadening our readership?
 
Can I audition for Julie’s spot? No. Sorry. We will not be holding auditions at this time. Stay tuned for internship opportunities though.
 
We’re excited about this next chapter for 30th & Weldon. We’ve taken a bit of a blog break since Sunday at the Mill, but we will be back shortly with curated weekly content. Lots of love and light, and many thanks for the support.
 
Danielle, Julie, & Shae
30th & Weldon
connect@30thandweldon.com