Hot Plate: Food for football, cocoa at Johnny’s, Milton Inn auction and more

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Hot chocolate in the cup, cocoa beans and powder on the white wooden table, top view

This week is a cheery one on the Baltimore restaurant scene, as more restaurants re-open and spots continue creatively adapting to new circumstances. Plus, both the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day are quickly approaching, so now’s the time to start thinking about plans for both.

Here’s a look at what’s happening this week:

Openings
Bondhouse, a new restaurant helmed by former Woodberry Kitchen and Antrim 1844 Chef Arthur Palarata, has opened at the corner of Aliceanna and Bond in Fells Point. Bondhouse is open now as a restaurant and market.

Village Café and Market, new Italian market and deli is slated to open in the former home of Schnapp Shop in Charles Village.

Toki Tako, the Korean taco spot, is now officially open in The Rotunda. Also, Toki Tako’s sister restaurant, The Local Fry, celebrates six years in business on Friday. Congratulations to the whole crew!

David Chang’s fried chicken ghost kitchen Fuku has opened in the Inner Harbor; orders can be placed via delivery apps.

Many city restaurants have reopened this week, after taking a little time to ramp back up and establish new protocols to meet current COVID guidelines. New re-openings include Ida B’s Table, Duck Duck Goose, Azumi, The Choptank, Ouzo Bay, Loch Bar, Maximon, Tagliata, and NiHao, which has created a prix fixe menu specifically designed for the one-hour dining time limit.

What’s new
Johnny’s has opened an outdoor hot cocoa bar (with cookies) in its parking lot. Grab sweets and hot chocolate to go while you’re in the neighborhood on weekends. Weather permitting, the bar is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Keep an eye on Ryleigh’s Hunt Valley: the oyster spot has plans to add sushi to its lineup. 

Chuck’s Trading Post has a new meal kit option. Each weekly kit includes ingredients (locally-sourced!) and instructions for three meals that will take 30 minutes or less to prepare.

When Baltimore City dining reopened, The Food Market had plans to axe its “Fast” Food Market menu items. But the people let their voice be heard and the restaurant listened: The fast food market menu is here to stay on the brunch menu.

This weekend’s Woodberry Kitchen pop-up is Burger Joint, featuring an international lineup of burgers, fries and shakes.

Grano Pasta Bar has spiced up is menu with a few new items, like a Tuscan salad made with spelt and lentil.

Swallow at the Hollow has some new gear – an extremely stylish winter hat – that’s already flying off the shelves.

Black History Month at Hotel Revival
Throughout February, to honor Black History Month, Hotel Revival is hosting a series of talks (virtually) with Black leaders – and food will be a regular topic of conversation.

The first talk takes place on Tuesday; it’s with representatives from the whiskey company Uncle Nearest and locally-owned CAnE Collective.

Speaking of CAnE Collective, the mixer-maker has a couple new flavors about to launch, including a blood orange southside mix that sounds terrific. The bottled mixers are available for purchase online or at spots around the city.

Purchasing a piece of history
The Foreman Wolf Restaurant Group announced a few weeks ago that it will open a new restaurant in The Milton Inn. The beloved restaurant group is now in the design stage and, as part of that initiative, will auction off the existing contents of the restaurant.

Run by Alex Cooper Auctioneers, the auction starts today, Jan. 29, and will include everything from tables to paintings to glassware.

Country French at Schola
On Sunday, head to Schola to learn how to make (and enjoy) brunch like the people of the French countryside. The cooking class and meal sound fabulous, with tons of cheese and bread.

Saving Baltimore’s restaurants
The Save Baltimore Restaurants virtual telethon takes place Saturday, Feb. 6, so there’s still time to get involved and to donate by bidding on one (or a few) of the many silent auction items available, purchasing shirts, or donating to the Save Baltimore Restaurants GoFundMe, which has collected over $300,000 that will be distributed directly to local restaurants.

Get ready for some football
Super Bowl festivities are coming up quickly – Sunday, Feb. 7 isn’t so far in the future – and now is the time to start menu planning.

Jay’s Catering has a fun menu available for delivery on gameday, with tons of different types of sliders (think burgers but also pulled pork and crispy Buffalo chicken), Turp’s own wings, and mac and cheese bites.

Thames Street Oyster House, which is about to reopen after a brief hiatus, has a great Super Bowl menu available for pre-order via the website, with options like clams casino and mini shrimp salad roll boxes.

Gertrude’s Super Bowl menu includes options like crab cake bites and crabby deviled eggs; order by Feb. 4 for pickup on game day.

Of Love & Regret has lots of options including a platter of pigs in pretzels that look amazing.

Chef’s Expressions will be handling the Super Bowl menu at a ticketed event at The Manor Tavern; options include maple and miso-glazed bacon and chicken mozzarella meatballs.

Start thinking about Valentine’s Day
V-Day is still a couple weeks away but this year, especially, it’ll pay to plan ahead. With limited reservations but more takeaway options than usual, Valentine’s dining is sure to look a little different this year (just like…everything else).

In addition to excellent dine-in and carryout options, some places have even more fun planned for the holiday. Nacho Mama’s Towson is giving away chances to win a fun evening in the Elvis Room on Friday, Saturday or Sunday of Valentine’s weekend. You don’t have to go with just a Valentine, either – winners can have a group of up to six people.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
Feb. 6: Unicorns at the Waverly Farmers Market 
Feb. 6: Ampersea 3rd Anniversary Brunch 
Feb. 27: Whiskey, Wine & Fire at The Manor Tavern 



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