Hot Plate: Bar Vasquez Opens, Baltimore Craft Beer Festival, La Cuchara Celebrates Onions

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La Cuchara's Chef Ben Lefenfeld cooking over an open flame. (Photo c/o La Cuchara)
La Cuchara’s Chef Ben Lefenfeld cooking over an open flame. (Photo c/o La Cuchara)

This week, Baltimore’s restaurants are giving us a brief breather, between the flurry of activity that was Fleet Week and all the Halloween-related festivities we can expect next week. That said, though the schedule for the week is a little quieter than usual, there’s still plenty of exciting news and fun events to keep Baltimore’s food lovers busy.

Bar Vasquez Is Open!

Just over a month ago, the restaurant world was shocked by the news that Foreman Wolf’s Aliceanna Street restaurant Pazo was closing. Tonight, the restaurant reopens with a new chef and brand new concept, Bar Vasquez.

With a kitchen helmed by Chef Mario Cano Catalan, the restaurant’s focus is on the food of Argentina. The space looks fabulous, as does the menu, and the promise of live music suggests the Bar Vasquez experience is going to be a special one.

Chocolatea Closing

As exciting as the Bar Vasquez opening is, the local restaurant community also had some sad news this week, with the announcement that Chocolatea Café, in Tuscany-Canterbury, will close after 10 years of business.

The café’s last day of business will be November 20 – though fans of the family behind the spot don’t have too far to go to see their old friends. They also own and operate Ejji Ramen in Belvedere Square. 

Saturday Celebrations

This Saturday, fun festivals and classes are popping up all over the city.

In Canton, the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival will feature over 40 Maryland breweries, plus a homebrew competition sponsored by Nepenthe Homebrew.

And in Timonium, The Pigheaded Butcher will celebrate the season with demonstrations focusing on seasonal foods and the upcoming holidays. Throughout the day, the staff will demonstrate how to handle different foods, including lessons spatchcocking a chicken, breaking down a duck and a major pig butchering demonstration. 

Also on Saturday, La Cuchara will host an outdoor Calcotada Festival, based on the traditional festivals of the same name that take place in the Catalan region of Spain.

The festival recognizes the onion harvest; at La Cuchara, Chef Ben will offer “a traditional Calcotada,” which means grilled onions and Salvitxada, or pork and beef carnitas cooked over a wood-fired grill. The delicacy will be paired with Basque ciders and Txakoli (Basque wine). 

Coker Uncorked

Local oenophiles know that Chris Coker, the sommelier at Aggio, seriously knows his stuff. On Sunday evening, he’ll be imparting some of his hard-earned knowledge to attendees of Coker Uncorked, his monthly wine class at Bartender’s Pub (his brother’s bar).

The October class focuses on seven Burgundies priced for “everyday imbibing.” Space is limited – so get your tickets ASAP. 

Spooky Pie

On Sunday, the Well Crafted Pizza truck will pop up at Artifact Coffee for a Halloween-themed party, including costumes (get a free drink if you wear one!), lawn games, beer, music and, of course, Well Crafted’s excellent pizza.

Meaty Mondays

If Meatless Monday is not your thing, Thames Street Oyster House is your place this fall. Starting this past week, the Fells Point restaurant has reprised Braised Meat Mondays; each week, Chef Houseknecht’s specials include one spectacular dish built around braised meat. 

Tapas Tuesday at Points South

Tapas in the City will pop up at Points South Latin Kitchen twice this week, on Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26. Dishes will include things like octopus ceviche tostada, fried plantain empanadas and chipotle lime barbecue lamb ribs, paired with sangria and South American wines.

Planning Ahead

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

October 30: British Invasion Nose-to-Tail Pig Roast with The Corner Pantry at Hersh’s  

November 5: Vino in Vogue at Harbor East 

November 14: No Kid Hungry dinner at Food Market

Kit Pollard writes about restaurants, events and other lifestyle topics for Baltimore Fishbowl.



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