5 Cafes around Johns Hopkins, Baltimore

And I am finally back to blogging here as I was out of town for 3 weeks to US and Taipei. The first leg of the trip saw me visiting Baltimore, Maryland for a week bio-statistics summer institute course (28/06 – 03/07 in Johns Hopkins University).


Johns Hopkins University

Amidst the time attending the course there, I managed to squeeze out time (even skipped classes) for a visit to 5 cafes in a space of 6 days there and here’s my short review of them all!

Miss Shirley’s Café

Prior to the trip, I was recommended by a colleague that this is a must-try in Baltimore and it is the first café I went right after I checked in. Miss Shirley’s Café is a chain of restaurant but only in the Baltimore Maryland area. I decided on having the Benne Seed Chicken ‘N Waffle, deciding to leave the crab cakes for Gertrude’s.


Chicken N Waffle

The Cheddar Green Onion Waffles come in 4 quartered sizes with fried boneless chicken tenders. (USD15) The benne seed waffles were good, having a soft mushy melt in your mouth texture that went well with the spicy peppadew-jalapeño butter.  I like the thin layer of breading on the chicken tenders but it was dry. Thankfully, it was salvaged by the honey mustard aioli – zest from the mustard and the touch of sweetness from the honey.

Given the wide range of food served in the menu and the warm service of the staff, it is no wonder that Miss Shirley’s Café has been listed the Top 10 Best Baltimore Restaurants. I just wished I had paid a second visit to try more of the food,  it just seems like a dream too far away now.

513 West Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD21210

Opening Hours: Weekday: 7am-3pm; Weekends: 730am-330pm



A Korean inspired café in Baltimore serving Pork Buns, Ramen and Quinoa Bi Bim Bowls to satisfy any cravings for Asian cuisine. It has a modern and chic feel with a laid back atmosphere (free wifi too); I like the window seats where I can overlook the Mt. Vernon Cultural district.


Dooby’s & Baltimore classic Berger Cookie

I only had the coffee here as the cravings for Asian cuisine haven’t kicked in since it was my 3rd day in US then. Sadly, the flat white I had didn’t work for me, it tasted a little burnt for me and had a weird aftertaste, but the take-away cup is nice-looking lah!

802 N Charles St. Baltimore, MD21201, United States

Opening Hours: Mon- Thurs 7am- 10pm; Fri: 7am-11pm; Sat: 8am-11pm; Sun: 8am-5pm



No trip to Baltimore is complete without trying out their crabcake. Gertrude’s is a restaurant located in Baltimore Museum of Arts and the ambience is classy with outdoor terrace.

Gertrude’s Restaurant turns into Gertrude’s Café on Tuesday evenings 5-9 pm and most items are at 50% off. Seizing the only chance since I am only in Baltimore for a week, we headed there for the Tuesday Special – $15 Dinner.



I ordered the Gertrude’s crabcake whereas my friend, Jeff, ordered the Maryland Pan-fried Chicken. The crab cake was tall and plump and has large chunks of crab meat within, served with fries and coleslaw. The crab cake melted apart at the touch of my fork and was flavourful – out of the world A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!


Fried Chicken

The generous portion of the fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and broccoli, Jeff had difficulty polishing it off.

The service was great and the waiter ensured that the ice water was refilled. If you are an artsy person, Baltimore Museum of Arts is a must visit in Baltimore and of course hop over to Gertrude’s for the crabcakes thereafter, on a Tuesday of course!


Gertrude’s located within Baltimore Museum of Arts

10 Art Museum Drive Baltimore, MD21218

Opening Hours: Tues-Fri: 1130am-9pm; Sat:10am-9pm; sun:10am-8pm


Carma’s Café

It seems like this is a favourite hangout for John Hopkins University (JHU) students as it is consistently packed whenever I walk past the café. The small café is tucked in the basement of an apartment in Charles Village and sells mainly bagel, panini and sandwiches, with daily specials updated at www.carmascafe.com.


I managed to drop by for their coffee and cookie after dinner; despite feeling bloated but it was definitely a wise choice made. The vanilla latte I ordered, though short of latte art has just the right amount of bitterness and a slight hint of sweetness. The pink dalmatian cookie (cranberry white chocolate chips) was rich and chewy and goes well with the coffee.

A place for a quick bite or take-out but not for staying long as there’s no Wifi and ambience is lacking.

3120 St Paul Street #7 Baltimore, MD21218

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 7am-9pm; Sun: 8am-4pm



There are several Atwater’s in Baltimore and the one that I went was the newest one that opened in John Hopkins Hospital (JHH), one of the reputable leaders in the healthcare industry.  The café is spacious and was blessed with natural lights and high ceilings.


that cheese!

We had the grilled smoked cheddar, pepper jack cheese with bacon & the turkey jack sandwich with avocado and a cup of mocha. Mocha was smooth and the pretty latte art just gets me. The texture of the sandwich was toasted to slight crisp and the meat, spinach, lettuce and avocado goes well together. My favourite of the two was the cheese sandwich as I just cannot resist anything cheese.


Turkey Jack

Given its proximity to JHH, it’s hard to find this place NOT crowded at all times. I like the vibe, food and service at Atwater’s but not the price. Food portions and costs are generally smaller and pricier than other cafes. Alternatively, there are food trucks parked just along the stretch of Wolfe Street for other lunch options.

855 N Wolfe Street Baltimore, MD21205

Opening Hours: Weekday: 8am-8pm


I don’t know and I postulate that there is less than one in a millionth chance that I will ever be back in Baltimore again but it has been a you-only-live-once SOLO journey for me there and I am missing not ALL but bits and pieces of it. (food a definite yes please)

Ending off with this meaningful quote: “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” -Danny Kaye.

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