Hot Plate: Half-Off Wine at Pazo, Izakaya at Bookmakers & Much More

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Baltimore's Best Cupcakes creation
A Baltimore’s Best Cupcakes creation

Here we are, somehow, nearing the end of August. It’s back to school season and – not to jinx it – it looks like this coming week we’ll finally see a break in the hot-hot-hot weather.

So how should we celebrate? By dining out, of course. This coming week is an especially busy one in and around Baltimore, with wine and beer dinners and collaborations galore. Here’s what’s coming up:

Hellos and Goodbyes

It’s been an action-packed week in the Baltimore restaurant world with major announcements from all corners. We heard this week that the folks behind Hamilton Bakery are closing up shop to retire and in Hampden, Corner Charcuterie Bar shocked the community with the announcement that the restaurant is for sale.

Speaking of shocks in Hampden, the community woke up Tuesday morning to discover that a fire had ravaged half of Avenue mainstay Holy Frijoles. No one was hurt, fortunately, but the restaurant, including the kitchen, sustained serious damage and is closed for the time being.

You may have heard that Chef Tim Dyson, who has fans all over the city from his time at restaurants like Bluegrass Tavern and Dooby’s, is heading to the West Coast. But he’s not going without saying goodbye to Baltimore. Tonight at Artifact Coffee, say goodbye to the Chef with tacos and cervezas – plus live mariachi music. He’ll definitely be missed.

There was good news, too, though, with the news that Mount Everest Restaurant will hop into the space on The Avenue recently vacated by Alchemy. Plus, a brand new company – Baltimore’s Best Cupcakes – announced its recent launch.

Also in the good news column, the Foreman Wolf Group announced that Michael Brown will join the team as Executive Pastry Chef. Brown’s experience includes Mar-A-Lago in West Palm Beach and the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. As a part of the Foreman Wolf team, he will create desserts for Petit Louis in Columbia and Roland Park, Pazo and Johnny’s. (Cinghiale and Charleston have their own pastry teams.) 

Feast for the Future

Local businesses continue to host fundraisers to support post-flood rebuilding efforts in Ellicott City and Baltimore. On Sunday, August 21, Captain James Crab House will hold a crab feast to raise funds for the Ellicott City Partnership. The event will include all you can eat crabs (among other things), plus a silent auction.

Crabs are great this year – and they’ll taste even better when you’re eating for a cause. 

Major Wine Week

Most weeks, someplace or another in Baltimore is hosting a wine event. Some weeks, though, are extra-special for vinophiles. This is one of them. From discounts to dinners, this week is a wine-lovers dream.

The action starts tonight in Harbor East. The crew at Pazo wants to help parents celebrate (or lament) the start of the school year, so they’re offering 50% off all bottles of wine today and tomorrow. That includes over 150 bottles – choose wisely! 

Wednesday, August 24, Cunningham’s in Towson will host a seasonal wine dinner featuring a terrific five-course menu paired with four wines from the famed Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa.

On Thursday, August 25, Wit & Wisdom sommelier Julie Dalton hosts Pours Personified, featuring 15 wines paired with small bites. Dalton’s wine list is full of personality – her description of the Selbach-Oster Pinot Blanc, for example, is “Utilitarian, Delicious, Coco Chanel.” On Thursday, she’ll walk attendees through the wines using her smart, funny approach. 

Also on Thursday, rose fans will have lot to cheer about at La Folie Wine Bar & Steak Frites in Canton, during an Epic Rose Happy Hour. The fairly new restaurant has already become famous for its version of frose (that’s frozen rose) – but this free event will feature six other roses from all over the globe. 

Beer O’Clock

If you prefer hops to grapes, there’s plenty to look forward to this week, as well.

On Wednesday, August 24, newcomer Gnocco partners with Union Craft Brewing for a Dog Days of Summer beer dinner. The party is a casual one, with family style dishes, like corn and tomato salad and pork belly sliders, from Chef Brian Lavin, along with recommended beer pairings – and all you can drink Union beers.

On Thursday, August 25, Wet City, a brand new Mount Vernon spot that’s both fun and a solid beer bar, will play host to Baltibrew’s August social. Wet City’s beer list is full of brews that will make serious beer lovers geek out.

Also on Thursday, Polo Lounge in the Hunt Valley Inn will host a DuClaw Brewing Company tap takeover featuring five DuClaw beers. 

A Little Liquor

Beer and wine might dominate the Baltimore restaurant news this week, but there’s also a little room for the hard stuff.

This Sunday is the final Afternoon of Amaro with Amie at Aggio. The series, which has been going on all summer, will culminate with a look at Fernet. Tickets include four pours of Fernet, one cocktail and a charcuterie plate.

Also on Sunday, starting at 9 p.m., The Local Fry and its Federal Hill neighbor Bookmakers Cocktail Club team up for Izakaya – an event named for casual Japanese pubs. Asian-inspired cocktails, created by the team at Bookmakers, will pair with Asian small plates from The Local Fry and all are sure to be fantastic.

On Wednesday, August 24, the Baltimore Bourbon Club will taste Sagamore Rye at Alma Cocina Latina in Canton. The event will feature Sagamore Rye straight and mixed and a special menu from the restaurant.

Proceeds from the event go to Helping Up Mission, Paul’s Place and the Maryland Farmers Market Association, all charities supported by Full Society, which will launch a new app as a part of the event. 

In Season

At Petit Louis, the annual Fete des Tomates is back. In honor of tomato season, the restaurant is offering a three-course prix fixe menu featuring tomato bisque and grilled filet with heirlooms. As anyone who has ever tasted a Petit Louis bisque can attest, this is an annual event that is not to be missed.

Fleet Street Kitchen is getting in on the seasonal action, as well, with A Taste of Simplicity: Farm & Wine Dinner, taking place Thursday, August 25. The meal features local produce harvested from Cunningham Farms in Monkton, with wine pairings by sommelier Tim Riley – a guy who really knows his grapes.

Sing It Loud

Sotto Sopra’s Opera Night returns this Sunday, August 21, with a tenor, a soprano, a pianist and a multi-course meal that sounds fabulous.

Greek Life

Ouzo Bay has just rolled out a brand new happy hour menu available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and also on Sundays. In addition to drink specials, the menu includes deals on dishes like the restaurant’s grilled octopus and grilled lamb chop, both of which are several notches above the average happy hour snack. 

Tapas in the City hits Cava Mezze this week, hosting a six-course tapas meal at the Harbor East restaurant on Wednesday, August 24. The event features both traditional and pescatarian options

 Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

September 8: CFF Passion for Food & Wine

September 15: Dining Out for Life

September 19: Spike Gjerde at the Smithsonian


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