Back in September 2019, local sci-fi/fantasy author Sarah Pinsker launched her first novel, A Song for a New Day, with an event at the Ivy Bookshop. An award-winning author of short science fiction and fantasy, Pinsker’s short stories have been translated into many languages and are collected in Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea. In addition to being a successful author, Pinsker is also a singer/songwriter with three albums and a local darling rock band called the Stalking Horses.
Calling all readers who have enjoyed recognizing Charm City landmarks in the novels of Anne Tyler – Matthew Norman’s entertaining new domestic comedy, “Last Couple Standing,” is Baltimore to the bone. While Tyler’s characters traditionally shop at Eddie’s on Roland Ave, Norman’s crowd has moved to the suburbs, so shop at Graul’s. But they frequently come into town for scenes at Bar Vasquez (where they reminisce about when it used to be Pazo), the Greene Turtle, Bond Street Social, Towsontown Mall, the Ivy Bookshop, the Under Armour store, the Senator Theatre, Tark’s, and more. And they don’t need a GPS to get around. “In the city, Falls Road is as congested and annoying as any other street in Baltimore. In the suburbs, though it opens up into a scenic highway through horse farms, like you’re time traveling.”
In the face of a bizarre disaster that has derailed daily life everywhere, in the face of isolation, fear, disappointment, and a constant flood of bad news, a spring-green fuse of creative energy is sizzling and popping all over the world. The memes and parodies, the YouTubes and TikToks, the Italians singing to each other from their balconies, the New Yorkers pounding pots at 7 pm. The Getty Museum art challenge, the family in London with their adorable rendition of Les Mis, the spandexed mom doing her Jane Fonda workout to I Will Survive. The Israeli woman in dark glasses ranting in Hebrew about online elementary school.
For the second week in a row, this is not the usual, lighthearted installment of Hot Plate, sharing information about wine dinners and seafood festivals, as events are canceled and restaurants are no longer open in their traditional capacity, in an effort to flatten the curve and stem the transmission of coronavirus.
This is a challenging time around the world and in every industry. The restaurant business, with low margins and reliance on tipping and on customers gathering in one place to generate income, has been hit especially hard (though it is by no means the only industry suffering).
To understand some of what restaurants are dealing with right now, read this Facebook post from Clavel owner Lane Harlan.
So as lovers of Baltimore and lovers of restaurants, what can we do to help? There are a few things.
“The best thing that ever happened to my writing life was breaking my ankle,” Baltimore author Laura Bogart proclaimed in 2015. At the time of the accident, Bogart, now 37, was writing mainly nonfiction, and she’d already met with success as an essayist. Her personal reflections on a range of hot-button topics—sizeism and feminism, politics and pop culture—often went viral on Salon. (She’s now a featured writer at The Week and a contributing editor at DAME).
Hot Plate: Supporting local restaurants during challenging times and other Baltimore restaurant news
While coronavirus concerns have led to school closures, events being cancelled and other cautionary measures, restaurants and bars are generally staying open–so far–and they need patrons now more than ever. It is definitely not business as usual out there.
Given the rapidly moving disease landscape, it makes sense to check with restaurants and other venues before heading out for specific events or even just to dine out. As we’ve all learned over the past few days, nothing is set in stone, and doing a little extra research is always helpful.
312 Meadowcroft Lane, Lutherville.
Hot House: The original Meadowcroft manor house located in Lutherville. Six bedrooms and 4.5 baths; garage; carriage house/barn with additional living quarters; central heating and cooling; lots of Old World charm and details; 2+ acres; fireplaces; pool. 7,300 square feet. Asking price: $1.399 million.
Crabs, oysters, mac and cheese: This week, the Baltimore food scene has a little something for everyone, including tons of ways to raise money for good causes while eating and drinking. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:
In the late 1980s, after struggling for years to write fiction and poetry, I stumbled on the possibilities of the personal essay. I was inspired and energized by the possibility of telling the truth about my life and experiences. It was a challenge to see how honest I could really be – how far I would go. There were things it seemed impossible to discuss in public. What the hell, I thought, and did it anyway. And once I did, I experienced the redemptive and sometimes thrilling powers of confession, which is what this essay celebrates. Later, after “Telling” became the title essay of my first collection from Random House, I experienced some of the less fun aspects of baring one’s life and soul, like being criticized for being exhibitionistic and seeking only to shock. Reading this essay 30-plus years later, I think I may in fact have gone a little overboard. Welcome to the “Oy Vey” edition of Telling, with illustrations.
This week is a relatively quiet one on the Baltimore restaurant scene but the events that are taking place offer a little something for everyone, from cocktail lovers to serious carnivores.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap: