Hot Plate: Champagne dinner at Cypriana, gift card deals and holiday shopping events and more

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Noona’s $12 lunch menu includes some of the restaurant’s popular pizzas.

Talk about the most wonderful time of the year! This week, the Baltimore restaurant scene offers a little bit of everything, from a flurry of new restaurant openings and announcements to champagne toasts and brunch with The Grinch.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings and announcements
Fuisine, a new restaurant from Chef John Creger, will open in the old Jack’s Bistro space in Canton. The restaurant hosted a pop-up at Blair’s on Hudson last week.

Maximón, the new Mexican restaurant opening in the former Wit & Wisdom space in the Four Seasons Hotel, has an opening date. It will open on New Year’s Eve for a ticketed event, in cooperation with The Bygone, and start dinner service on Jan. 2. The just-released menu includes a variety of ceviches and tacos, plus entrees like whole-roasted game hen marinated in Peruvian spices.

Stop into Ground & Griddled in R. House on Friday for a free 8 oz. drip coffee to help G&G celebrate its third birthday.

Noona’s has a new $12 lunch on its menu, including key popular dishes such as a meatball sub on ciabatta made in-house and a fall salad that sounds terrific.

Beginning in January, Foraged Eatery will be open for Sunday brunch. Service starts Jan. 12.

Bambao in Harbor East is celebrating its grand opening with events all week long and promotions like buy one bubble tea, get one free.

A New Orleans-influenced soul food spot, Creole Soul, will open in R. House on Dec. 20.

Döner Brös. will open a new location in Harbor Point sometime next summer. The kebab and sandwich shop’s original location is in Charles Village.

You know what makes a nice holiday gift? A gift card to a local restaurant. And you know what’s even better? Several local spots are offering gift card deals during the holiday season.

Throughout the month of December, when you buy a $250 gift card to an Atlas Restaurant Group restaurant, you’ll receive a free $50 gift card. The restaurants included are: The Choptank, Ouzo Bay, The Bygone, The Elk Room, Loch Bar, Harbor East Deli, Italian Disco, Azumi and Tagliata.

For every $100 in Miss Shirley’s gift cards purchased, you’ll receive a free $15 card.

There are still a couple days left in Liberatore’s annual gift card deal: spend $50 and get $5 back, $100 and get $10 back or $200 and get $20 back. The promotion runs through the weekend.

Gift cards aren’t the only restaurant-related item you can buy, either.

Café Gia in Little Italy will once again sell bottles of its housemade limoncello, chocolate cello and pistachio cello, along with a seasonal flavor. Contact the restaurant for more information about how to purchase.

For the third year in a row, Alma Cocina Latina is selling pande jamon–ham bread with olives, currants and bacon–for guests to take home. It requires 48 hour advance notice and a $35 loaf serves about 15 people.

Shopping fun
Throughout the week, restaurants and other businesses are hosting shopping events designed to let you sip, crunch and dine while you cross items off your holiday to-do list.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Inverness Brewing hosts a craft beer and Christmas tree party. The brewery will have trees for sale, live music and Christmas vendors in the barn. Plus, on Saturday, the Smoking Swine Food Truck will be on hand, serving up excellent barbecue.

Hit Old Goucher on Saturday for a Holiday Crawl. Local businesses will be welcoming guests, serving good drinks and selling some excellent gifts.

On Tuesday, The Manor Tavern will host Wine, Shop and Dine, which includes a prix fixe meal and the opportunity to shop from a variety of vendors.

Wednesday night is prime time to shop in Harbor East, especially if you’re hungry. During the evening, the neighborhood will host Cookies & Cocktails, an event featuring cookies at many shops, cocktail bars, photos with Santa and festive music.

Tickets for the “tour” of the neighborhood are $10 and 100 percent of ticket sales benefit the nonprofit The Family Tree.

Holiday sweet stuff
Several local businesses have fun new holiday items on their menus.

Hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows are back at The Charmery. Perfect for before or after a visit to the Miracle on 34th Street!

At Insomnia Cookies, the new spicy hot cocoa cookies have just made their way onto the menu.

At Charm City Chocolate, one of the new seasonal additions to the lineup is a vegan peppermint crunch chocolate bar–and it’s only available for a limited time, so grab it while you can.

The Christmas Bar is back at Johnny’s
Speaking of holiday spirit, the Christmas Bar at Johnny’s is back for the season. The space is decked out in all kinds of wintry décor, there’s holiday music over the speakers and the cocktail menu has never been merrier. Options include drinks like a pomegranate rosemary spritz, which sounds both seasonal and refreshing.

Holiday Spirits on the Rocks at The Walters
On Saturday night, The Walters Art Museum teams up with the Baltimore Bartender’s Guild for Holiday Spirits on the Rocks, a party featuring creative cocktails inspired by traditional holiday drinks.

The event is hosted by the Women’s Committee of the Walters Art Museum and proceeds go toward the museum’s educational programs and exhibitions.

NiHao pops up at Artifact
On Saturday and Sunday, the crew from NiHao, the not-quite-open-yet Peter Chang restaurant coming to Canton, will pop up at Artifact Coffee. The event starts at 5 p.m. both evenings.

12 Days of Tacos fundraiser
Starting on Monday and lasting through Dec. 20, Vida Taco Bar will run a “12 Days of Tacos” promotion benefiting Nico’s Hope for Life Foundation.

Each day, the taco spot will feature a specific “taco of the day” and $1 from every purchase of that taco will go toward the organization.

Brunch with the Grinch at CVP in Towson
On Saturday morning, The Grinch be at Charles Village Pub in Towson for two brunch services (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.). There will be a buffet and lots of opportunities to get up close and personal with the green guy, along with his friends Buddy the Elf, Jovie and Santa.

Holiday brunch class at Cosima
On Sunday morning, Cosima hosts a cooking class focused on preparing a wonderful holiday brunch. Attendees will learn how to make traditional Sicilian brunch dishes like citrus-cured salmon and Italian crepes with ricotta, berries and chocolate.

Mid-Winter Champagne dinner at Cypriana
On Tuesday, Cypriana toasts the season with a fabulous five-course Champagne pairing dinner. The meal starts with wild mushroom and sherry soup and gets even better from there, with dishes like crab-topped mussels and grilled salmon.

Atchara pop up at The Local Fry
Also Tuesday evening, the Atchara family will pop up at The Local Fry in the Rotunda. They will serve a special Filipino menu; the regular Local Fry menu will also be available.

Chef Carla Hall at Ida B’s Table
On Thursday, celebrity chef Carla Hall will pop up at Ida B’s Table for a one night dinner featuring recipes from her book “Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration.”

The evening includes five courses and drink pairings; the dishes focus on the “celebration” part of her repertoire.

Planning Ahead
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
Dec. 15: Star Wars Brunch at Outpost American Tavern 
Dec. 16: Cookies and Ornaments at Silver Queen Café 
Dec. 23: Ugly Sweater Fondue Party at Coelum 

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