The Charmery and Clavel’s annual Christmas in Mexico collab is back this year, with COVID-friendly takehome boxes.
The Charmery and Clavel’s annual Christmas in Mexico collab is back this year, with COVID-friendly takehome boxes.

Between Wednesday’s Winter Wonderland snowfall and the upcoming holidays, Baltimore is a festive town right now – despite the ongoing pandemic. Though COVID-19 challenges continue to make business difficult for local restaurateurs, this week, there are plenty of ways to support your favorite local eateries and some good news to celebrate along the way.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & Announcements
Bel Air brothers – and industry vets – Josh and Brad Vecchiolla are opening a pop-up / ghost kitchen out of Old Line Spirits. The collaboration, called Fuzzies, features burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries and sweets – made with local ingredients – available for carryout.

Hollins Market has added two new businesses: Franklin’s Market and Mulberry’s Bar. 

Chef Andrew Weinzirl has a new project in the works: a bar/bookshop in the former home of Life of Reilly near Patterson Park. Chef Weinzirl is terrific in the kitchen and – as any fan of the old Louie’s Bookstore Café can attest – the bar/bookshop combo is a winner.

Sammy’s Trattoria has plans to open a Hunt Valley outpost in the former home of Bar Louie. 

Happy anniversary to Dylan’s Oyster Cellar, which celebrated four years in business on Dec. 15.

Unfortunately, Fleming’s Steakhouse, a Harbor East mainstay for years, announced its closure earlier this month. It is the third recent closure in Harbor East; both James Joyce Pub and Roy’s have also recently shut their doors.

Christmas in Mexico
COVID-19 can’t stop The Charmery and Clavel from having their annual Christmas in Mexico celebration – though this year’s event, taking place Friday, Dec. 18, looks a little different than in the past.

This year, the duo has put together a Christmas in Mexico Take Home Box including fried dough fritters, hot chocolate and Mexican spiced marshmallows. The boxes are available for delivery or pickup at all Charmery shops on Friday at 5 p.m. A portion of proceeds goes directly to Guardian Gym, the gym founded by Clavel chef and co-owner Carlos Raba, to offer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes to city youth, free of charge.

Sweet Baby Jesus
Speaking of Christmas…DuClaw Brewing Company and Diablo Doughnuts have collaborated on a new doughnut creation, now available at Diablo’s Federal Hill shop. The doughnut, dubbed the “Sweet Baby Jesus” is inspired by the flavors of DuClaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus! chocolate peanut butter porter – and designed to pair well with the beer.

Just Call Me Chef at Hollins Market
On Saturday and Sunday, local chefs associated with Just Call Me Chef will descend on Hollins Market, offering food, treats and gifts for sale. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Bmore Mindful Market
On Saturday, a bunch of local artisans, food and beverage makers, and crafters will gather (safely) outside Earth Treks in Timonium for a holiday market featuring all kinds of great goods.

On the food and drinks front, the market will include products like Charm School Chocolate and Cane Collective Mixers, among others. Shopping will happen in an outdoor space organized into heated and decorated open air “rooms” and live music will help set the mood.

Holiday Market at Clarksville Commons
Also on Saturday, Howard County will be hopping at the Clarksville Commons Holiday Market. In addition to gifts and crafts, visitors can pick up fun items like cream of crab soup, cookie packs and a spiced apple cider kit from Bushel and a Peck Kitchen & Bar.

New approaches
Restaurants continue to shift operations to carryout and delivery and to find new and ever more creative ways to expand their business offerings.

Cocina Luchadoras is selling its famous tamales by the dozen; the last day to order is Dec. 23.

Patterson Public House has created some strong takeout menus, with dishes like shepherd’s pie made with local lamb.

Little Italy Delivers is an easy way to check out the Italian options downtown.

Speaking of Little Italy, Café Gia has added a Baltimore County pickup location. On Tuesday, the Little Italy restaurant will make a delivery stop at the corner of Falls Rd. and Lake Ave.

Petit Louis and Johnny’s now have delivery available in a five-mile radius. Orto is adding a similar delivery service – also within five miles of the restaurant.

Mulberry’s Bar, the new Hollins Market spot, has a takeaway menu including homemade soups, sandwiches, brats and other specials.

Magdalena has added lunches to its takeaway lineup.

The new Dutch Courage carry out menu has been finetuned to ensure the food is “take-home friendly.” The Old Goucher spot also has cocktails to-go, as well as bottles of just about any liquor you’d like.

Grille Twelve24 in Mt. Vernon – a terrific choice for Peruvian chicken and more – is up and running with carryout options.

Mt. Washington Tavern has a fun carryout menu, plus delivery available within a four-mile radius of the restaurant.

Nancy by SNAC is open and offering its full menu for curbside carryout.

Tio Pepe – which is open for carryout and delivery – is also selling its iconic sangria pitchers, which would make a terrific gift for any fan of the restaurant.

Mick O’Shea’s has put together a bunch of fun baskets perfect for the booze-lover in your life. They include items like cocktail ingredients, glassware, and gift cards.

For additional options for carryout, gifts and more, check out the roundup in last week’s Hot Plate.

Christmas Eve & Christmas dinners
One of the most fun surprises of this fall was the amazing selection of Thanksgiving carryout options offered by local restaurants. Baltimore’s culinary scene is stepping up its game again this month, with an impressive array of menus.

The Elkridge Furnace Inn is starting the holiday a little early, with a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Dec. 23.

Dylan’s Oyster Cellar is offering a Feast of the Seven Fishes menu available for carryout – seven fishes and seven dishes.

Heritage Smokehouse’s holiday menu is short but spectacular with options like foie gras and chestnut stuffing and a cheese, onion and bacon-stuffed pumpkin.

Peter’s Inn’s holiday menu includes lots of the restaurant’s best stuff, like its unbeatable trout pate.

Café Troia is offering three different multi-course meal options on Christmas Eve – one turkey, one branzino, one ossobuco. All three are available for dine-in or take home.

Orto’s Christmas options, including meals, eggnog, and more, are available for order online.

Magdalena wants to help Baltimore start its day off right: the Ivy Hotel restaurant is offering an “elevated Christmas breakfast kit.”

CookHouse has a couple of classic roast meals available to take home for the holidays; the Bolton Hill café / shop is also preparing refrigerated meals to take home and reheat any evening.

NiHao’s Thanksgiving menu got rave reviews; its holiday menu is equally interesting, including dishes like Cantonese duck and crab Rangoon.

The Dutch Courage Christmas Feast includes three courses, several side dishes and a lovely dessert.

If you’re looking for a special holiday dessert, check out the Bûche de Noel options at Pâtisserie Poupon; they’re showstoppers.

Foraged Eatery’s holiday dinner kit includes roasted leg of lamb, numerous sides, and a chocolate pot de crème for dessert. You can purchase the whole thing at a by-the-person cost, add wine pairings for an additional fee, or just buy the sides.

Thames Street Oyster House has a fabulous holiday menu available, including dishes like a 5-pound Maine lobster stuffed with crab, shrimp and scallops. The menu is designed for easy prep and reheating at home.

Sotto Sopra will be offering holiday meals – and they also have you covered for nights you need a meal in a pinch. The restaurant is selling two versions of lasagna, which you can stash in your fridge for up to a week.

The Bar Vasquez Christmas Eve to-go menu is a four-course prix fixe including dishes like double-cut lamb chops with pomegranate and mint chimichurri and a saffron potato soup.

The Four Seasons has a three-course feast available to take home, including classic dishes like prime rib. Pickup is on Christmas Day.

Grano Pasta Bar’s Christmas Eve menu for two includes Italian wedding soup and a Feast of the Seven Fishes meal.

Jay’s Catering – which delivers – has a traditional holiday menu with tons of options that can be packaged family style or in individual meal boxes.

City Seeds has a Holly Jolly Christmas Dinner box available including a terrific array of sides, like honey-glazed carrots and pecan and chestnut stuffing.

H3irloom Food Group’s holiday menu is live and it’s impressive, with options like whole red snapper and whole roasted duck.

La Cuchara has holiday cookie packs, Hanukkah and Christmas Eve dinners and many other wonderful items available through its Marketplace.

Gertrude’s holiday menu includes options for two or four-person dinners, to be picked up curbside, and a variety of wine, beer and cocktails, like the bourbon and cranberry juice Getting’ Blitzen. You can also check out Gertrude’s annual Holiday Row Home competition and vote for your favorite – all online.

The Tilted Row has a mix-and-match holiday menu with cocktail and wine pairings also available.

Woodberry Kitchen’s Hanukkah menu is available right now and Christmas menu will be available soon.

Hersh’s holiday menu includes four different roasts, sides and a la carte cocktails and wine.

Gunther & Co.’s holiday meals include dishes for Christmas Even and a fun virtual New Year’s dinner cook-along package.

The Linwood’s holiday catering menu includes a wide variety of options, from lobster mac-n-cheese cupcake appetizers to a gluten-free Yule Log cake.

Liberatore’s has several holiday to-go packages – meals designed for four to six people – available for pickup on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

Cinghiale’s Feast of the Seven Fishes menu will be available from Dec. 22 through Dec. 24.

Petit Louis’ Christmas Eve menu will be a three-course prix-fixe.

The Corner Pantry’s holiday menu includes dishes like whole roasted duck with chestnut and herb stuffing and orange and ginger sauce.

Crust by Mack has a crab pie, available now for preorder, that looks unbelievably good.

Cunningham’s holiday menu includes ham, roast beef or roasted salmon available by the pound, plus a selection of sides, breads and desserts.

Chef’s Expressions will sell holiday to-go boxes from Manor Tavern. The boxes include hors d’oeuvres by the dozen or tray and entrees, sides and desserts designed for families.

Blue Hill Tavern’s holiday options include individual hot meals and boxed lunches plus a holiday party at home package, designed for companies to send to employees…since in-person holiday parties are on hiatus this year.

Ida B’s Christmas menu includes family dinners like BBQ pit ham with apricot chipotle glaze and a honey-roasted whole duck.

Of Love & Regret’s holiday platters include crab balls, shrimp, and a gorgeous pretzel plate.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Dinner from Petit Louis 
Jan. 17: Gnocchi Cooking Class at Cosima 

Kit Pollard

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