Hot Plate: Common Ground reopens, good news from Papi’s, winter menu updates and more

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three carne asada mexican street tacos in corn tortilla with lime

Cold weather isn’t a deterrent for Baltimore restaurants – or restaurant lovers. This week includes news about openings, expansions, new winter menus – and a special tribute to Betty White.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & announcements
Common Ground has opened in its new, much larger space on Chestnut Ave. in Hampden.

The new Baltimore outpost of Washington D.C.’s Lucky Buns opens Monday in Fells Point.

Thames Street Oyster House has a terrific heated tent on the street in front of the restaurant – ideal for chilly days when you’d still like to sit outside.

Papi’s in Fells Point has received good news recently from building inspectors. The restaurant, which was forced to close last year when due to building issues, will hopefully reopen soon. Papis’ also has some expansion news: look for an Ocean City location sometime this year.

COVID policies
A reminder: restaurants are navigating the recent rise in COVID cases, which means it is a good idea to check their social media or call the restaurant before going out to eat. Some have new policies in place (e.g., showing proof of vaccination, distancing) and for many, hours may be in flux, as they manage staffing issues related to COVID outbreaks.

Celebrating Betty White
On Saturday, The Point in Towson celebrates the life of the legendary Betty White, with a special brunch including food and drink options inspired by her life and work. Proceeds from the brunch will be donated to two local animal rescues, in honor of Betty White’s dedication to animal advocacy.

National Bagel Day at THB
Saturday, Jan. 15 is National Bagel Day. THB is honoring the day the very best way: with free bagels. Guests using the myTHB app to order on Saturday will also receive a free bagel and cream cheese. Several stores will also be giving away free THB tumblers (while supplies last). To get the promotion, you must have downloaded the app at least one day before use on Saturday – so hurry.

Plus, a portion of proceeds from the day will be donated to Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.

Taco Sundays
Papi’s in Towson has announced a weekly taco eating contest. On Sunday nights, contestants will battle it out to see who can finish six tacos and a drink first; the winner will get a month’s worth of free tacos.

Sundays at Alma
Starting this weekend, Alma Cocina Latina is now officially open (again) on Sundays. On Sundays, the restaurant will offer a three-course prix-fixe dinner with multiple choices.

This week’s meal includes courses like a burrata salad with plantain, tortilla chips and chimichurri and duck breast with butternut squash cream and roasted oyster mushrooms.

Burgers & Brews
The Brewer’s Art’s popular Burgers and Beers deal – $18 for a burger and beer pairing (with some excellent options) – is back.

On Thursdays, Silver Queen Café has a great burger and beer option: order the 8 ounce burger made with Roseda beef and your first beer is only $3.

Tuesday night is burger night at Of Love & Regret – all burgers are 20% off all night.

Wintry dishes
A few local spots have introduced new seasonal fare or brought back old favorites – perfect for this time of year, when we can all use something familiar and comforting.

At La Cuchara, the duck confit with Parisian gnocchi and roasted turnips is back on the menu.

Gunther & Co. has a house-made pappardelle with pumpkin puree, olive-fennel gremolata, cranberries and whipped ricotta that sounds like an ideal wintertime meal.

True Chesapeake Oyster Co.’s spaghetti and clams – an especially luxe version of the classic comfort dish – returned to the menu last weekend.

Foraged’s new carrot and bacon terrine makes the most of seasonal produce – and is gorgeous.

Sally O’s has added coq au vin to the menu. Wine-braised chicken always seems like a good idea for a winter meal.

Elkridge Furnace Inn’s new winter menu includes dishes like wild mushroom, black walnut and winter greens risotto, using walnuts from the yard at the Inn and greens from its greenhouse.

Restaurant Week is coming
Baltimore Restaurant Week is coming up quickly – starting on Jan. 28 – and now is a good time to start planning where and when you’ll go out to eat.

Restaurants’ options will include $25, $35 and $45 prix fixe menus, which are being posted on the RW website for perusal prior to the week – so you can start strategizing.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
Jan. 23: Lunar New Year with NiHao & Baltimore Spirits Company 
Jan. 28: Baltimore City Restaurant Week begins 
Feb. 12: How Does It Feel Dinner with H3irloom Food Group 



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