B-Side’s Red Clay cocktail is spicy, fruity and perfect for summer. Photo courtesy of B-Side Cocktail Lounge.

From celebrations of the fighting French spirit to cocktails designed for sipping on a beach, this week will be a fun one in the Baltimore restaurant world. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Openings & announcements

Bandito’s Tacos & Tequila has opened its Towson location, in the former home of Café Troia.

Madrid Spanish Taverna will open in Columbia on Friday. This will be the tapas restaurant’s second location – the original is located in Roswell, Georgia.

The crew from Silver Queen Café is on vacation this week. The restaurant will be closed Saturday, July 9 through July 16 and will reopen for brunch on Sunday, July 17.

The Bluebird Cocktail Room celebrated five years in business on July 7. Congratulations on the team there for creating something special.

Down the Ocean with John Shields

A new episode of John Shield’s “Chesapeake Farm & Bay to Table” drops on Wednesday. In this episode, the Gertrude’s owner heads to the beach, exploring iconic beach and Bay foods, including his own take on a classic Bloody Mary and “Better-than-Boardwalk” fries.

Bastille Day

Thursday is Bastille Day and a couple local spots have fun plans in the works.

Chef’s Expressions is hosting a French wine dinner at the Gramercy Mansion. The dinner, which benefits Meals on Wheels, starts with hors d’oeuvres and Champagne, followed by four courses including dishes like duck confit with fried brie and bison in a Mirabelle sauce paired with Font du Vent Châteauneuf du Pape.

Petit Louis is always a fun Bastille Day stop – either inside or out on the tented patio. Other good local French spots include Duck Duck Goose (also a great indoor/outdoor option), Marie Louise Bistro and Le Bistro du Village.   

Summer flavors

It’s high summer, which means amazing produce and all kinds of great flavors are showing up on local menus.

At Gunther & Co., housemade pappardelle is tossed with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, sliced heirloom tomatoes, gremolata and shaved pecorino. Summer on a plate.

At Tagliata, local kale is gussied up with grilled apricot, ricotta and n’duja vinaigrette.

Foraged Eatery, which can always be counted on to deliver the seasonal goods, has a gorgeous summer salad on the menu, featuring tomatoes, blackberries, basil and herbed ricotta.

Rum forward

Summer is also an ideal time to sip something tropical – and local spots can deliver on that vibe.

B-Side Cocktail Lounge, the Hotel Revival bar that reopened earlier this year after a lengthy COVID-related pause and remodel, has tons of intriguing options on its menu, including the Red Clay, a combo of reposado tequila, Cointreau, peppers, limes and spicy mango salt, and The Masquerade Is Over, a mix of rums, ginger, vinegar and Aztec chocolate.

Ampersea has a handful of new summer cocktails to enjoy, including a bright red rum punch and a peach smash.

The Tilted Row also has a rum punch on the menu – a combination of light and dark rum with all sorts of tropical flavors.

Street Food Sundays

Codetta Bake Shop has just announced a new food truck pop up series – Street Food Sundays – starting July 17. Every Sunday through the end of the summer, food trucks will pop up at 809 Light Street from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. July pop-ups include Boss Burger, England Eatery and Chauncey’s.

Planning for the future

Mark your calendars for:

July 17: Birdland Crab Feast at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood

July 22: Baltimore Restaurant Week begins

Sept. 30: Passion for Food and Wine benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.