Hot Plate: Bourbon Tasting at Mt. Washington Tavern, Ampersea Opens, Basque Film at The Parkway Theater and More

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Mt. Washington Tavern’s 4th annual Kentucky Nights bourbon tasting, benefiting Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, is on Thursday, Feb. 22.

The Valentine’s Day rush might be over, but Baltimore restaurants aren’t slowing down. This week brings a flurry of new opening announcements plus a wide variety of food and drink-related events. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Openings & Announcements

This week is an exciting one for news, with the announcement that the city will be adding several new restaurants over the next few months.

In Butchers Hill, Charmed Kitchen is slated to open in May. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Jack’s Bistro fans have a lot to celebrate this month. Not only did the owners’ new spot, Blair’s on Hudson, just open, there are also plans in the works for a new restaurant/bar, The Regal Beagle located in the former Jack’s space.

The Regal Beagle (and yes, that is a “Three’s Company” reference) is a collaboration between Jack’s owner Ted Stelzenmuller and Ryan Sparks, a highly respected bartender who worked at Jack’s before spending several years as the beverage director at Bookmakers Cocktail Club.

Though it’s still in the very early stages, Dooby’s fans have something to cheer about: this past week, the owners of the Mt. Vernon restaurant were granted a liquor license to operate a new pizzeria in the Mt. Royal Ave. space formerly occupied by Two Boots.

The Black Olive, the Greek seafood spot that has reliably been one of Baltimore’s best restaurants for years, announced this week that moving forward, they will be open for lunch on weekdays, serving a three-course, $20 prix fixe menu.

Ampersea, the new iteration of the restaurant formerly known as Waterfront Kitchen, opened to the public last weekend. Ampersea’s kitchen is helmed by Chef Nelson Morton and the menu includes dishes inspired by local ingredients and historically popular Maryland meals.

Unfortunately, this week also brings some sad news. Bistro Rx in Patterson Park is closing after service on Friday, Feb. 16. The restaurant will reopen later this spring, as a new concept and under new ownership.

Restaurant Weeks & Month

It’s still restaurant week season!

Vegan Restaurant Week, which started last week, goes through this weekend, coming to a final end on Sunday, Feb. 18.

It’s still February, which means the Black Restaurant Challenge is still in effect. The challenge encourages people to dine at two or more African American-owned restaurants each week this month.

Annapolis Restaurant Week kicks off at the end of the month. The capital’s promotion runs from Sunday, Feb. 25 through March 3.

Chinese New Year

We welcome the Year of the Dog on Friday, Feb. 16 and though some local restaurants started their parties last night, there are still a couple ways to celebrate today.

The Corner Pantry will host an Asian pop-up at lunchtime and at The Elephant, the menu will include a traditional Peking duck all weekend long.

Family Brunch Bunch at Gunther & Co.

Gunther & Co. is partnering with the fun parenting experts from (cool) progeny for a Family Brunch Bunch on Saturday, Feb. 17. All the dishes will be inspired by cartoon characters and the event, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will feature cartoon-oriented activities for the kids, as well.

Comfort Food Sunday

Peabody Heights is home to a mac and cheese cookoff taking place on Sunday, Feb. 18. Sadly, the event is sold out – as many fun-sounding food-related events at Peabody Heights are. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with what’s happening there and to nab tickets to their events before they sell out.

Also on Sunday, Pig & Rooster Smokehouse will host its second annual chili cookoff, benefiting Mended Little Hearts of Greater Baltimore. A $10 donation gets you judging privileges – and goes directly to the charity.

Busy Thursday

If you’re going to go out one night this week, make it Thursday, Feb. 22. There’s so much happening that night and every event sounds like a blast.

The Mt. Washington Tavern hosts its fourth annual Kentucky Nights bourbon tasting event that evening. Kentucky Nights features a mind-blowing number of different bourbons to taste and proceeds benefit a great cause: the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. It’s a great party.

New Hampden restaurant foraged will be celebrating its recently approved liquor license with a beer and oyster dinner featuring oysters from Sapidus Farms and beer from Baltimore brewer Monument City Brewing.

The La Cuchara crew is teaming up with The Parkway Theater for a special screening of “The Txoko Experience,” a documentary about the txokos, or gastronomic societies, of the Basque region.

The evening also includes passed pintxos (which are sure to be excellent) and a Q&A with filmmaker Yuri Morejon.

Also on Thursday, Holy Frijoles, the Hampden Mexican spot that was ravaged by a fire in Aug. 2016, will host an official reopening party, conveniently timed to coincide with National Margarita Day. Welcome back, Holy Frijoles!

Festivities in Fells

From now through the end of the month, Fells Point will be busy, as neighborhood retailers host a scavenger hunt game that ends with a chance to win $200 in gift cards from local retailers.

Though the scavenger hunt mostly focuses on shops, not restaurants, it also offers a great opportunity to stop into some Fells Point bars and eateries. Plus, that prize? It includes gift cards to Fells restaurants as well as stores.

Culinary Curated Events

The Elephant has an ongoing event in the works. On the last Sunday of every month, the Mt. Vernon restaurant will host a “Culinary Curated Event” – something fun and interesting with great food and drinks.

The first of these, a collaboration with Union Craft Brewing, will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Swig and Pig at Ryleigh’s

Last weekend, Ryleigh’s Oyster on Padonia Rd. hosted fun “Swig and Pig” event featuring a whole hog roast and a bunch of Sagamore Spirit whiskey.

Next week, on Saturday, Feb. 24, they move the party downtown with a repeat of the event at the Federal Hill location.

Planning Ahead

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

February 25: Five-Course Sicilian Dinner at Sotto Sopra 

March 3: Winter Whisk(e)y Dinner at Magdalena 

April 21: Winemaking workshop at Charm City Farms 

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