Notes from the End of the Year

Wally makes his Baltimore Fishbowl debut.

Oh, how I miss my old friend Beau, who came to us with a bell on his collar one Christmas early in the century, but anyone who has a puppy will know the difficulty of finding time to be sad, which was surely the point of the puppy.

A Hot House, and more, in Highlandtown, hon


3402 Gough Street, Hughlandtown, Baltimore

Hot House: Located in Highlandtown’s Arts District, the former Sons of Italy building has three residential and two commercial spaces, plus a bar.  7,200 square feet. Asking price: $1.25 million.

Hot Plate: Carryout, holiday meals, gift boxes and other ways to support Baltimore restaurants right now

Baltimore restaurants are facing more challenges than their owners likely ever imagined. But the community is engaged and proactive, coming up with new ways to do business. And – as is appropriate for the holiday season – many menus include a whole lot of cheese.

This week has been an emotionally fraught one for Baltimore restaurateurs, as COVID-19 cases increase and new regulations go into effect limiting dining options in Baltimore City.

Despite those challenges, the Charm City culinary community is as tough and creative as ever, developing new business models at the speed of light, and putting together creative gift packages just in time for the holidays.

Plus, there are a couple fun, safe events to look forward to this week. Here’s a look at those happenings, plus a roundup of ways local restaurants are adapting to the new environment, a preview of holiday meal options, and some excellent gifts courtesy of Baltimore’s restaurant community:

Hot Plate: Santa waves to Cindy Lou’s, The Dizz to reopen as Lily’s, restaurants get gifting and more

The Bluebird Cocktail Room’s bottled cocktail gift boxes are one of several creative gift ideas local restaurants are serving up this holiday season. Photo credit: Justin Tsucalas

Baltimore dining during the holiday season will look a little different than usual this year, as we trade jam-packed holiday party buffets and crowded shopping trips for safer and more socially distant options.

But there’s still a lot to look forward to this month, from private dinner opportunities to pop-ups and tastings. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

The Village

The author in 1969.

University of Baltimore MFA student Hilary Sigismondi remembers her childhood in Baltimore City as a series of sweet treats and staggering surprises. With her entry, we’re pleased to welcome back Baltimore Fishbowl’s “My Real Life Modern Family” column series, which features creative nonfiction from local writers.  

I grew up in Loch Raven Village, a neighborhood right off the number No. 3 bus line, about a mile north of Baltimore City. I caught this bus with my widowed grandmother to go shopping at the Hutzler’s department store downtown. We sat side by side in blue plastic seats and looked out the window to watch familiar landmarks flash past: the A&P grocery store where I shopped on Saturday mornings with my dad; Ken’s Big Boy restaurant where my best friend Tina and I devoured 99-cent ice cream sundaes in mini paper cups filled to the brim with hot fudge; and the #11 fire station, located directly across the street from the entranceway to the long, winding road that led to the Kiwanis Swim Club where I spent practically every summer day. I loved hanging out at the pool. It was one of the rare things our family did together and, best of all, my parents seemed to love each other there.

Hot House: A double row house on a beautiful street in Otterbein


149 W. Montgomery Street, Federal Hill, Baltimore

Hot House: Tucked away in downtown Baltimore’s Otterbein neighborhood, this double row house has lots of space and loads of light, and it’s a short walk to the stadiums, MARC station and downtown. 3 beds/4 baths. Asking price: $619,000

Hot Plate: Thanksgiving options, La Scala at 25 and more

Tons of Baltimore restaurants are offering take-home turkey dinners for Thanksgiving this year – and there’s still time to order.

The big food news this week is, of course, Thanksgiving. In Baltimore, the holiday will look different than usual for many families, as Marylanders adjust their plans to accommodate for COVID concerns.

Even with evolving plans, there’s plenty to be thankful for this year, starting with dozens of options for excellent take-home Thanksgiving meals. Here’s a look at what Baltimore restaurants have cooking for the next week:

Hot House: 1902 Lutherville farmhouse offers modern amenities and plenty of space


1301 W. Seminary Avenue, Lutherville, MD 21093

Hot House: A 1902 house for a 2020 lifestyle. Bell Gate is a delightful house set back off of a long driveway with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, mature trees and gardens, a pool and a pool house. Asking price: $1.15 million.

Hot Plate: The Urban Oyster at Hotel Revival, CookHouse goes cafe, Thanksgiving options and more

The Urban Oyster will begin operating out of Hotel Revival this Thursday.

Despite the strange and challenging circumstances Baltimore restaurants are facing this November, they’re offering a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, from takeaway Thanksgiving dinners to new cafes to whiskey dinners.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Our Moment

McKinley Avenue, Dewey Beach. My kids; the future.

If I were a character in a TV series, we might say my storyline has tanked. I mean, of course the entire cast is saddled with the pandemic plot, and many characters have been dealt tragedies that dwarf my own, but what the hell is going on with Marion Winik? Will they even bring her back next season?