Relay Foods: Delivering the Farmers’ Market to Your Door

Ever since we decided to give up our car almost two years ago, grocery shopping has been quite an ordeal at the Chophouse. Sure, we could go to the farmers’ market, but we’re not really a fan of being forced to go shopping every Saturday morning. And besides- while fresh local produce is great, we also need things like toilet paper, club soda, canned beans, and laundry detergent.

We could skip the farmers’ market and do all our shopping at the grocery store, but the logistics of getting all we need back home, as well as the crowds and loyalty cards and weekly circulars are an awful lot to deal with. And we still find we’re eating veggies from Mexico and China and making extra trips to specialty stores for gourmet or exotic items. This is why we’re quickly becoming addicted to ordering groceries from Relay Foods.

Our first order from Relay Foods. Tastes as good as it looks.

Our first order from Relay Foods. Tastes as good as it looks.

Founded in Charlottesville, VA in 2009, Relay expanded into the Baltimore market about a year ago and has dramatically simplified and improved our grocery shopping experience. Unlike other online grocery operations whose approach is sort of ‘Well, here’s our supermarket’s inventory. Go ahead and order something and we’ll throw it on a truck next week.’ Relay provides the best of all possible shopping experiences by teaming up with dozens and dozens of local suppliers of fresh produce, dairy, meats, gourmet soups and sauces, coffee and tea and even handmade prepared foods.

Not only is navigating the Relay website and filling your cart ridiculously easy to do, it actually gets easier each time you do it. We like to treat it like a digital supermarket, shopping by category one ‘aisle’ at a time. Sometimes we even ‘shop backwards,’ filling our cart with anything that looks tasty and then deleting items to fit our budget, or adding things throughout the week as we realize we need them.

But if you’re trying to shop quickly you can fill a cart on the fly by perusing Relay’s best-sellers, seeing what’s on sale, or reviewing your previous purchases. After getting a feel for the site you can even mark items as favorites and build specific lists- great for things like baby products or hosting friends for Ravens games.

Still not fast enough? You can even shop CSA style with two of Relay’s most popular items: the Virginia’s Bounty Basket and Local Tasting Box. Get one of each and you’re good for the week without getting off the couch.

And we mean that literally. With home delivery to Baltimore 3 days a week in a two hour window you never have to get off the couch. Delivery is a mere $10, which works out to being less than even the cheapest cab ride back from a supermarket. They also offer the option to pick up your order at one of three (and counting) locations around North Baltimore.

Affiliate Marketing

Want to save even more? First time users can click on the banner and save $30 on a $50 order. That’s like getting enough fresh, local ingredients for a small dinner party for twenty bucks!

With prices that are right in line with a grocery store or farmers’ market, and convenience and service that can’t be matched anywhere, the Relay van is going to be a familiar sight on our block from now on.

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We’d like to thank Relay Foods for sponsoring today’s post. For more information or to register and place your order visit www.relayfoods.com.

How to Use Apple’s Passbook App at Oriole Park

Recently we told you about How To Buy Roof Deck Bar Stool Seats at Camden Yards. The center field roof deck reserved seats are a great way to watch a ballgame in one of the best venues in pro sports, but halfway through their second season of availability most fans still don’t know about how to acquire them because the club doesn’t overtly publicize them.

Another new feature for 2013 that the Orioles have announced and not properly publicized is the use of Apple’s Passbook app for game ticketing. As a season ticket holder who goes to 20 or more games a year and an iPhone user this was of particular interest to us, but it wasn’t until this week that that we figured out how to make full use of passbook at Oriole Park, and we had to email the Warehouse specifically for instructions.

Adam Jones isn't the only thing giving Mariano a headache.

Adam Jones isn’t the only thing giving Mariano a headache. (Image: WCBS)

The easiest way to add tickets to passbook is to have bought them through the MLB at the Ballpark app, which is designed to integrate with passbook. We downloaded this app and played with it for a while, and made sure to take it to a game and play with it inside as well, and we can confidently say that it’s a useless piece of garbage. If it’s handy for buying tickets it’s because its sole function is as a platform to get you to buy tickets, and then once you have to tell everyone you know via social media and buy food and souvenirs inside the ballpark. But that’s no fault of the Orioles. That’s on MLB.

You can also add your tickets to passbook when you purchase them from the Orioles’ website by selecting the print at home delivery method and clicking on ‘print tickets’ at which time you’ll see a button to add them to passbook.

My Orioles Tickets

But Oops…

safari

You need to be using an iOS device in order to do that. And since like most of the world you’re using your PC and you’ve already made your purchase you’re just plain out of luck, right?

Not necessarily. When you click “view and print tickets” (which won’t cause them to actually print) the Orioles will send you an automated email with a link to access and print your tickets. If you open this email with your iOS device and click the link, you’ll see the first screen above, and from there you can either print your tickets or successfully send them to passbook, which will look like this:

passbook 018

passbook 020

passbook 019

Alternatively, if you have an Orioles.com or MLB.com account and were logged in when you bought your tickets, they should be available for downloading and reprinting at any time by clicking the ‘downloads’ link in the Welcome! dropdown menu at the upper right of the screen, seen here:

welcome

It’s certainly not the most efficient system in the world for PC users, but this is how it’s done. We like to fantasize about a future world where digital ticketing is widely embraced by the MLB and anyone else who sells tickets and all you’ll have to do is add your Apple ID at the time of purchase for automatic delivery to passbook, but alas.

It’s also worth noting that if you forward your ticketing email to whoever you’re going with, and they are also an iPhone user they can add their ticket to passbook on their phone in case you are meeting at the ballpark and coming in different gates or different times.

But none of this solved our real problem, which was How do we add our season tickets to passbook? To do that, it takes a bit of work. The first thing you have to do is create an account at orioles.com/mytickets, which for some reason we can never access directly but always have to click through the link on the right at orioles.com/ocp.

Once you have a /mytickets account you have to fill up your ticket inventory, which is a fairly self explanatory but tedious process involving entering all your barcode numbers. Once that’s done though, you can select the games you want to add to passbook, click ‘print tickets’ and follow the steps above, accessing the automatic email from your iPhone.

At the end of the day the use of passbook seems like quite a bit of additional work to use a technology that’s supposed to make our lives easier, but it may be worth it in the end. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting down to the ballpark and realizing you’ve left your tickets at home.

Update: We’ve found that since we added our season tickets to passbook, we can only use passbook at the gate. Scanning our paper tickets results in an error message ‘see customer service’ on the ushers’ scanners.

Flicks From The Hill, Mondo Balto Tonight

Tis the season for free outdoor movies in Baltimore. July and August bring screening series’ to Fell’s Point, the AVAM, and Little Italy on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays respectively. The Flicks From the Hill series is our favorite of the three, and tonight they’re showing one of the Chop’s all-time favorites, Raising Arizona.

Not only is Raising Arizona the best Nicholas Cage movie, in our view it’s just about the only good Nic Cage movie. The film starts at dark, but we’ll be showing up early for a good spot with a blanket, a bottle and a basket.

But if it rains, or if you just so happen to prefer bad movies to good ones you can also head out to the Windup Space tonight for this month’s Mondo Baltimore.

If you didn’t get your fill of shark schlock with Sharknado, tonight’s feature is Jaws: The Revenge. Which was the third sequel and went straight to cable. Show up early to see a collection of the best shots of smart animals attacking dumb people.

The Harbor Point TIF is a Bad Deal for Baltimore

First things first: friend of the blog and sane, decent Baltimorean Paul Gardner has launched a petition on Change.org to voice opposition to the Harbor Point TIF. Since you are also a sane, decent Baltimorean please click over and sign it now, before you continue reading.

Okay, now that that’s done we get to talk about why Harbor Point is a monumental screw-job for the city of Baltimore, being forced through by our mayor, SRB, who is now recognized nationwide as one of the worst mayors in America.

The harbor Point site. Sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie.

The harbor Point site. Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

It’s really hard to write about a thing like Harbor Point, especially since it’s a months-old developing story, without either getting very long-winded and journalistic or very belligerent and angry (Guess which one we’re inclined towards). So what we’re going to do here is give some bullet points in no particular order:

  • The project is going forward as an Enterprise Zone development. Of course, there aren’t a lot of poor folks hanging around in Harbor East, so the developers had to piggyback off the poverty in Perkins Homes to get their project to go forward.
  • Once Harbor point is built, do you think folks from Perkins Homes will be welcome there? Do you? How about folks from… anywhere else? There is not one single unit of affordable housing planned for Harbor Point.
  • The last giant giant building that Baltimore taxpayers financed exclusively for outsiders is now completely fucking broke. It’s lost millions in each of the last 5 years and may end up sucking further millions from the city’s general fund in the near future.
  • The developer promises new jobs, but the big name companies being mentioned are already in Baltimore. Exelon and T Rowe whining that they want new buildings is a lot like the Oakland A’s whining that they want a new stadium.
  • Hey waitaminute… Didn’t Under Armour build itself a shiny new headquarters and create a bunch of jobs without stealing hundreds of millions from the treasury? (Hint: they did.)
  • Demand for office space and luxury condos isn’t that high. In our view, it hardly makes sense to build a ‘new downtown’ when the old one is half empty. What would the mayor have us do? Take everything between President and MLK and call it an Arts District?
  • Taxpayer financed municipal megaprojects always cost way more than expected. This one is no different.
  • The ‘current’ price tag to taxpayers for Harbor Point is $400,000,000. That’s about 4 times what it was supposed to be initially, and can only go up from there.
  • SRB wants to pay for $59,000,000 worth of parks for Exelon employees to enjoy while she’s shutting down rec centers in poor neighborhoods.
  • SRB still isn’t done bungling the development of the Superblock. One colossal fuck up at a time please, Madame Mayor.
  • Harbor Point Won’t Start Paying Property Taxes Until 2025. Ours are still due every quarter, though.
  • Let’s not forget the site is a chromium dump, and just might maybe give a bunch of people cancer and poison the harbor’s water even more. Construction of this type has never been attempted before.
  • Of course the developer and all their lawyers and associates maxed out on campaign contributions to SRB. OF COURSE THEY DID. Would you expect anything less?
  • But the City doesn’t want you to know that. In fact, they don’t want you to know anything. That’s why they violated the open meetings act on the Harbor Point deal.
  • It’s not as though the city doesn’t know how to embrace good development, and it’s not as though no private developers are willing to invest in non-waterfront areas. Look at what’s happening in Station North, at the Everyman Theater, or Camden Crossing.

  • This deal is not a foregone conclusion. They never broke ground on that shitty Wal Mart in Remington and there’s still time to stop this too.
  • Considering that city homeowners now pay a flush tax, a rain tax, and a 40% increase in water bills we don’t think giving away (at least) $400,000,000 to they mayor’s developer buddies is such a good idea. All this talk about Harbor Point being this generation’s Inner Harbor ring completely hollow, and Stephanie Rawlings Blake has zero credibility left.

    We signed Paul’s petition because we mean it: we won’t be supporting the mayor or any other candidates who support Harbor Point. In fact, we plan to donate time and money in the next election cycle to see them out of office.

    And if you think that signing an online petition is useless, consider what happened recently during a peaceful demonstration for Trayvon Martin: city hall was barricaded and cops were positioned on every corner. By the time you decide to show up to city hall to see a council meeting in person, you may find yourself stuck on the other side of Fayette.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists @ Ottobar Tonight

So Ted Leo’s playing the Ottobar tonight.

Not really sure what else to say about that. By now you should have formed your own opinion about Monsieur Leo. If you like his music, cool, we’ll see you there. If you don’t, just skip it I guess. If you still don’t have an opinion you should probably show up. If nothing else ol’ Theo Leo has a knack for getting a venue almost full but not quite sold out.

So since we haven’t got much to say here’s a YouTube video we found of Ted Talking to Ian Svenonius about what punk means to him. Worth a listen if you happen to be reading this on your lunch hour or whatever.

Plurals and Crimson Wave also play, and upstairs is everyone’s favorite Twofer Tuesdays. Maybe if we ask real nice they’ll even turn on the Oriole game.