Hot Plate: Ouzo Bay’s Florida Expansion, Marketplace Mardi Gras

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Ouzo Bay
Ouzo Bay

It’s Valentine’s week, but Baltimore’s chefs have more on their minds than heart-shaped boxes of candy. With Mardi Gras on Tuesday and general revelry all week long, there’s a ton to do in the Baltimore restaurant world right now.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening in Baltimore restaurants this week:

Valentine’s Day

Restaurants all over Baltimore are celebrating Valentine’s Day in special ways next week and weekend – check out our roundup of what’s happening in and around the city for Valentine’s inspiration.


King Cake for Everyone

Mardi Gras is this coming Tuesday, February 9, but the party starts early in Baltimore. Tonight, February 5th, Café Troia celebrates with a Mardi Gras party featuring drink specials, king cake and – of course – plenty of beads.

On Tuesday the 9th, the vendors of Mt. Vernon Marketplace get in on the action with live jazz, food and drink specials and a crawfish boil. In Hampden, Grano Emporio is hosting a party of their own with complimentary food and great drink specials. Both venues invite you to wear your favorite mask!

More Pre-Movie Tapas

Sunday movies at The Charles just got a little tastier, as the theater’s next door neighbor, Tapas Teatro, has expanded its weekend hours. The Spanish tapas restaurant is now open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Time for a Trip

The Baltimore restaurant world got some exciting news this week when we learned that hometown favorite Ouzo Bay will be expanding to Boca Raton. The new Florida outpost will, like the Baltimore location, focus on Mediterranean cuisine, featuring fish from all over the world. The new location will be open in late summer 2016.

Restaurant Week Is Still Going Strong

You can still catch the tail-end of Restaurant Week in Baltimore City and Baltimore County – thanks to the snow, many restaurants extended their deals through this weekend. Check with individual restaurants for details.

Exploring African Cuisine – for a Good Cause

Have you been to Delights by Mina? The utterly charming downtown restaurant, which focuses on the tasty cuisine of Burkina Faso, is mostly a lunch spot. Once a month, however, they open for dinner – this month’s dinner takes place tonight. Also this month, the dinner is a fundraiser for victims of the recent terrorist attack in Burkina Faso, the home country of the restaurant’s owner.

Ice Cream City

The Charmery in Hampden is busy this week! On Saturday the 6th, The Charmery in Hampden hosts Ice Cream for Breakfast. Breakfast-themed flavors, from Mimosa Sorbet and Hair of the Dog to French toast and Whole Bean Vietnamese Coffee, will be available alongside Belgian Liege waffles and coffee from Spro. A portion of the day’s proceeds will support the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

On Thursday, the shop is transforming into Chez Charmerie for a special ice cream dinner (tickets required), featuring three courses of fancy ice cream, from chocolate and caramel “turtle soup” to a chocolate-covered strawberry shake.

Celebrate with Tarks

Tarks Grill in Green Spring Station celebrates its 8th anniversary this week with a party on Thursday, February 11th. Free hors d’oeuvres, food and drink specials, giveaways and a few surprises are on the docket.

Wine in the Country

Take a drive to the country on Thursday the 11th for Antrim 1844’s Giornata Cellars Wine Dinner, featuring a presentation from winemaker Brian Terrizzi and five courses paired with vintages from the winery, which is based in California but makes wine using the Italian winemaking philosophy.

This week, the four chefs participating in the April 23rd cooking competition “The Supper” were announced. The chefs – Ben Lefenfeld of La Cuchara, Woodberry Kitchen’s Patrick “Opie” Crooks (who will be assisted by Spike Gjerde), Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom and Chris Becker of Fleet Street Kitchen – will go head to head, showing off their culinary chops for an audience of diners. The event, to be held a the Marriott Waterfront, benefits the Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation. Tickets are on sale now.

Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

Friday, February 19th: The Breakfast Club at Wit & Wisdom

Tuesday, February 23rd: Local Oyster class with Nick Shauman and Chef Egg

Thursday, February 25th: Bourbon Night at the Mt. Washington Tavern


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