Are you ready, Baltimore? In case the sub-zero temps didn’t clue you in, as of this weekend, we’re officially down to the wire, holiday-style.
The next week is sure to be both busy and fun, full of last minute shopping and celebrations. Local restaurants are in on the action, with Santa sightings, musical performances and lots and lots of holiday cheer (in champagne form).
Here’s a look at what’s coming up:
On December 17, Blue Moon Too will be an example of what’s most important and best about the season, when they host a holiday dinner that is free to those in need. The restaurant is looking for volunteers to help prepare and serve food and clean up after the dinner. If you are interested in helping, contact the restaurant.
On Sunday evening, Sotto Sopra will host a special holiday version of Opera Night. Instead of the usual five-course, prix fixe meal, the Northern Italian restaurant will offer dishes off its a la carte menu, with just a $10 cover charge per guest, to cover the costs of the opera performers.
On Tuesday, December 20, guests at the bar at Citron, the new Quarry Lake spot, will be treated to a free holiday a cappella show from local group Some of the Parts.
Santa will be making appearances at a couple local restaurants this weekend and week.
Sunday morning at Wit & Wisdom, Santa will be available for photo ops and kids will have the opportunity to decorate cookies during brunch. Also that morning. Manor Tavern is hosting a breakfast with Santa, featuring photos and holiday crafts.
On Sunday afternoon, join the big guy at Johnny’s for cookies, hot chocolate, punch (for the grownups) and seasonal music.
What’s more seasonally appropriate than sparkling wine? It is the time to celebrate, after all!
On Sunday, December 18, visit Wit & Wisdom for a special, bubble-centric installment of Julie Dalton’s Cellar Sessions wine class.
On December 20, Wine Market Bistro will host Bubbles & Oysters, a cocktail reception featuring two of everyone’s favorite celebratory and seasonal things: oysters and champagne.
Spice It Up at The Verandah
Had you’re fill of cookies and candy? On Wednesday, December 21, the folks at The Verandah in Hampden offer an alternative to traditional holiday grub with an Indian-meets-Peruvian pop-up. Peru native and local Baltimore artist Marco Duenas will join the Verandah team in the kitchen that night, creating a three-course meal that fuses together the best of Indian and Peruvian cuisines.
Beverly Hills restaurant Maggie’s Farm announced this week that Sunday, December 18 will be their last regular Sunday Dinner service. Next year, Sunday nights will be dedicated to a new pop-up series, called Make.Do., featuring partnerships between Maggie’s Farm staff and other local businesses and organizations. Stay tuned!
Fans of old school Baltimore dining got a jolt this week when the news leaked that Howard County restaurateur Rudy Keskin would be taking over ownership of Jimmy’s Restaurant. Jimmy’s has been a Fells Point institution for decades; it opened in 1946 and was run by the same family since day one.
Coffee & Beer
On December 23, Diamondback Brewing Company, the new Locust Point brewers, will host a taproom release party celebrating the launch of their new coffee stout. The new beer is a collaborative effort with Diamondback neighbors Order & Chaos, the coffee shop run by local advertising superstars Planit.
Feast of the Seven Fishes
On and around Christmas Eve, a bunch of local restaurants are celebrating the traditional Italian way, with a special Feast of the Seven Fishes.
The meal’s roots trace to the Catholic tradition of eschewing meat on Christmas Eve. As the name suggests, includes seven different seafood dishes – which dishes, exactly, varies from restaurant to restaurant.
This year, Elkridge Furnace Inn is hosting a feast a little early, on December 22. Other restaurants, including Aldo’s, Aggio, Birrotecca, Cinghiale, Gnocco, Café Gia and Donna’s, are all sticking to tradition, holding their feasts on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve & More
In addition to the places celebrating the Feats of the Seven Fishes, a number of restaurants around town have special evenings planned on Christmas Eve and Christmas night, from traditional meals to offbeat parties (like Blue Pit BBQ’s viewing of Die Hard).
For more complete lists of what’s happening around town those evenings, check out this list.
If you’ll be cooking at home, plenty of local restaurants are here to help ease your burden in the kitchen. One of those places, Parts & Labor, just announced this week that they’ve added standing rib roast to their offerings. The roasts have been aged since October, November or December; you have the choice, depending on the flavors you prefer.
If you’ve been assigned an appetizer this year, consider Silver Queen Café’s crab dip. The Hamilton restaurant is accepting orders – and it is a crowd-pleaser.
But be warned: Sunday, December 18 is the last JFX Farmers Market of the season. So if you’re planning to visit the market for any winter ingredients, this is your last chance.
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
January 12: Whiskey Rocks at La Cuchara
January 17: Ina Garten at the Hippodrome
February 4: Heavy Seas Oyster Festival
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