Hot Plate: Crabaret at Gertrude’s, Bastille Day Events and Openings Abound

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Chef John Shields of Gertrude’s with Sandi Timmins, Executive Director of House of Ruth Maryland, and Jennifer Gilbert of FOX 45 at the 2015 Crabaret. This year's event takes place on Thursday.
Chef John Shields with Sandi Timmins, Executive Director of House of Ruth Maryland, and Jennifer Gilbert of FOX 45 at Gertrude’s 2015 Crabaret. This year’s event takes place on Thursday.

Today’s installment of Hot Plate should probably be called Hot, Hot, Hot Plate. It’s a scorcher out there. Fortunately, local restaurants give us plenty of opportunities to cool off this week, with parties, new summertime menus and a bunch of ways to celebrate the storming of the Bastille.

Beer & Brunch

Start the weekend on a boozy note, with Beer & Brunch at Victoria Gastro Pub. The menu features six courses paired with different Manor Hill Brewing beers, brewed by the team behind VGP.

Manor Hill and Victoria Gastro Pub have had a busy few weeks. Later this month, Chad Wells, formerly of Alewife, will join the Victoria Restaurant Group, which owns the gastropub and brewery and is preparing to open two new spots: Food Plenty and Manor Hill Tavern. Both will be located in Howard County.

Summer Love

On July 10, head to The Local Fry to celebrate summer in the most American way. The Federal Hill fry shop is teaming up with Chef Tim Dyson and The Charmery for a fun collaboration featuring burgers, milkshakes and – of course – fries.

Amaro Lessons

Aggio continues its five-part series of classes about the Italian liqueur Amaro on Sunday, July 10, with a class focused on the drink’s sophisticated nature. The hour-long class includes three pours of Amaro, a cocktail and a charcuterie plate, plus discussion with bartender Amie Ward.


As the city gears up for Artscape (this year, featuring all local food purveyors), Mount Royal Tavern is preparing for an artsy-food event of its own: Foodscape. Now in its 32nd year, Foodscape is a fun display of food-themed art created by a handful of Baltimore artists. It pokes fun at the food-centric nature of Artscape…with love, of course.

Porch Wines

On July 13, head to Wine Market Bistro to celebrate the Summer of Riesling (& Gruner) with a fun patio throwdown party. The event features six Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners from importer Terry Theise, paired with summery dishes perfect for the patio.

Vive la France!

Next Thursday, July 14, is Bastille Day – that most francais of all holidays.

Francophiles have plenty of opportunities to celebrate the holiday in Baltimore this week. At Petit Louis, a Bastille Day happy hour will feature music, berets (!) and, of course, the classic French bistro fare and wines that make Petit Louis a special place.

Baltimore’s newest French spot, La Folie Wine Bar & Steak Frites in Canton, will celebrate its first Bastille Day with a wine and cheese tasting – what could be more French? They’re including a trendy twist on the traditional, too: a fabulous Frose (frozen rose).

If you’re feeling generous this Bastille Day, head to the Gramercy Mansion, where Chef’s Expressions will host a Bastille Day wine supper – with a menu that sounds exquisite – benefiting Meals on Wheels. But be sure to nab your tickets soon, as this event will likely sell out.

In Station North, Colette is getting revolutionary with “Let Them Eat Cake,” a pre-Artscape Bastille Day party featuring drinks, a DJ and Marie Antoinette herself serving – what else? – cake.

The Bastille Day menu has not been announced yet at Aromes in Hampden, but given Chef Steve Monnier’s track record, it is sure to be fabulous. On the big day, all Aromes guests will be seated at communal tables – all the better to gush with new friends over the restaurant’s fabulous food.

Crabby for a Cause

Also on July 14, Gertrude’s will host its 14th annual Crabaret, a crab-centric feast, held in the BMA sculpture garden, benefiting House of Ruth Maryland. Chef John Shields’ menu will showcase local crab in dishes like crab imperial stuffed mushrooms, seafood salad, minted crab and his famous crab cakes, paired with beers from Heavy Seas. The night will also include silent and live auctions, dancing and, of course, a gorgeous sunset.

Menu Refreshing

Menus – and dining rooms – around town are receiving tune-ups for mid-summer.

Wit & Wisdom’s space looks brand new, after the completion of a major kitchen renovation, resulting in an open kitchen design. The updated look also includes a 12-seat chef’s table, where diners have a prime view of the action in the kitchen.

At Johnny’s, the popular turkey burger, topped with pesto and tomato, has made a reappearance. Wednesday would be a good time to try one – the restaurant’s Whiskey Wednesday program has continued into summer.

Langermann’s in Canton has also updated its menu for summertime, with dishes like a flank steak served with sweet corn risotto and spicy tomato butter. Now is a spectacular time to nab a table on the Can Company restaurant’s patio, order a Pimm’s Cup or a crisp glass of rose from their summer drinks menu, and enjoy.

In Harbor East, Azumi has just – today! – added 15 new sake options to its already impressive drinks menu. The Japanese restaurant’s wine and signature cocktail menu is also expanding as the weather heats up.

Summer Vacays

Several local restaurants have closed for staff vacations over the past few weeks – but they’ll be reopening soon. Silver Queen Café reopens this Sunday, July 10, after a week off, and Café Cito will reopen on July 13.

Openings All Around

The people behind two popular local food trucks – Madame BBQ and Bistro Lunch Box – have joined forces and signed a lease on a large kitchen space in Locust Point, next door to Diamondback Brewery. The new joint venture, called Share Kitchen, will be a commissary space for them and for other culinary professionals in search of space to work.

Meanwhile, over at Foundry Row in Owings Mills, Bagby Pizza is preparing to open their third location. This spot will be similar to Bagby’s quick service restaurant in Pikesville, featuring salads, pizzas and a “Bagby Give Back” program supporting local charitable organizations. Construction begins later this month, with an opening set for the end of 2016.

The work on La Food Marketa, the new concept from The Food Market, is trucking along. Recently, the team behind the restaurant announced that Chef John Beddingfield will take on the role of Executive Chef at the new spot, which is slated to open in September of this year.

Planning Ahead

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

July 16: Fire & Fizz at Old Westminster Winery 

July 19: Aquacultures dinner at Fox’s Den

July 22: Baltimore City Restaurant Week

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