Hot Plate: Artscape’s All-Local Food, Paulie Gee’s Soft Opening, Fire & Fizz at Old Westminster Winery

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Old Westminster Winery, photo credit: Charm City Cook
Old Westminster Winery, photo credit: Charm City Cook

It’s Artscape week here in Baltimore and that always means one thing: it’s hot as blazes. This year, the Artscape planners have paid special attention to the food – all of it is local to Maryland. Don’t miss treats from Baltimore favorites like Ekiben, Zeke’s Coffee and Prigel Family Creamery.

But there’s more than Artscape on the food docket for the next week. Here’s a look at what’s happening in and around the Baltimore food world:

Openings All Over

After many, many months of anticipation, Paulie Gee’s, Hampden’s new wood-fired pizza joint, is finally open. The restaurant is still technically in its “soft opening” phase – it’s open, but with a limited menu for the time being – but reports from the restaurant’s first guests are good ones.

Paulie Gee’s isn’t the only spot that has had locals salivating for months. The Elephant, the restaurant opening in the old Brass Elephant space, is also just about to open. There’s no official date yet – but it will be soon. After a long restoration and remodel project, the restaurant’s interior is gorgeous – and a globally-inspired menu is ambitious and sounds terrific.

On Saturday, July 16, BricknFire Pizza Co., the mobile pizza oven, will open its first physical location inside the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards. The restaurant’s owner, Megan Lanasa, was the winner of a 2015 competition that granted her rights to the space and $50,000 in startup funds.

Bagby Pizza has been busy. Not only did they just announce a new Foundry Row location, this week, the local chain announced that in early 2017, another Bagby will open, this one on Ridgely Road in Timonium. 

Chefs on the Move

Last week, Alewife chef Chad Wells announced his upcoming move to the Victoria Restaurant Group in Howard County. This week, celebrated chef-about-town Cyrus Keefer announced he will be stepping into the vacancy at Alewife.

But before he does that, he’ll be hosting another of his Defie Moi pop-ups – this one is at Ekiben in Fells Point on Thursday, July 21.

Out in Howard County, Coho Grill is now under the ownership and culinary leadership of Chef Thomas Zippelli, an alum of The French Laundry and Eleven Madison Park, two of the country’s most celebrated restaurants. At Coho Grill, Zippelli’s food is seasonal and thoughtful, though the restaurant itself is casual. 

Wine about It

Wine lovers have a lot to cheer about this week, starting tomorrow, with Fire & Fizz at Old Westminster Winery. The food and wine festival features Old Westminster’s sparkling Syrah rose and fantastic food from The Wine Kitchen. Live music and desserts from Sugar & Salt will round out the day. Sadly, the event is already sold out – but keep an eye out for similar parties in the coming months. 

Also this weekend, Wit & Wisdom sommelier Julie Dalton returns with her engaging instructional series, Cellar Sessions. Saturday, July 16, Dalton will share her knowledge about the wines of summer with Cellar Sessions X: A Toast to Summer! featuring wines that are pool party and BBQ-friendly.

On July 20, newcomer Gnocco hosts its very first wine dinner featuring the wines of Albet i Noya, a Spanish winemaker from just south of Barcelona. The meal features six wines paired with four Spanish-inspired courses created by Gnocco chef Brian Lavin. 

Naptown Destination Dining

On July 19, Annapolis is the place to be. That evening, there are two fantastic food events happening in Annapolis.

At Fox’s Den, Harvest Wood Grill + Tap chef Keith Long will take over the kitchen, for one night only, for an aquacultures dinner. The evening is the first in the Fox’s Den Guest Chef Series; once a month, through November, a celebrated chef will jump into the kitchen at the Main Street restaurant to create a special meal. 

The same night, Blackwall Hitch in Eastport will host a beer vs. wine dinner featuring four courses, from a curried crab cake to duck cassoulet, each paired with a beer and a wine. It’s a competition – decide which works best with each dish and which type of drink is the ultimate winner.

Baltimore Restaurant Week Starts

Have you made your restaurant week plans yet? The always-anticipated Summer Restaurant Week returns to Baltimore City on July 22. This year, the 70-plus participating restaurants will set their own prices, with a few guidelines: brunches and lunches will be $20 or less and dinners will be $35 or less.

Sing It Out

On July 17, Sotto Sopra’s popular Opera Night returns, with a trio of performers and a seasonally-inspired meal featuring dishes like seared grouper with sautéed zucchini and shiitake and cauliflower risotto.

Can Company Happenings

This Thursday, July 21, is a busy one at the Can Company in Canton. Not only is it the third Thursday of the month, which means live music, bocce ball and outdoor eats, it’s also Love that Lobster day at Langermann’s. Every Thursday in July, enjoy a whole Maine lobster with corn and redskin potatoes for $25.

Planning Ahead

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

July 23: Third birthday celebration at The Charmery 

July 31: Cocktails and a Cursed Child at Bookmakers

August 4: Hersh’s Italian Takeover at Corner Pantry


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