Hot Plate: Halloween and fall festival fun, Hogwarts at Johnny’s, global eats in Towson and more

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South Baltimore brunch spot Home Maid has plans in the works for menu expansion.

Halloween is the big news right now, but the week’s restaurant happenings don’t begin and end with fun-sized candy bars. Here’s a look at what’s going on in and around the Baltimore region:

Openings and announcements
In Howard County, Walkers Tap & Table has opened in Glenwood.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Paul’s Place in Pigtown has broken ground on an expansion dubbed Groundwork Kitchen, which includes a sit-down restaurant and a culinary arts training center.

Atelier Culinaire’s fall menu has debuted and it looks wonderful.

Have you been to Home Maid in South Baltimore? Its brunch options have a lot of fans and the kitchen crew has plans for new offerings coming soon, so keep an eye on the eatery’s social media pages. 

Fall festivities continue
On Saturday and Sunday, the Rye Street Tavern waterfront will be abuzz with a family-friendly fall party including live music, lawn games, face and pumpkin painting, hay bales, grilled burgers and dogs, and an outdoor bar.

October is a great time for oysters–and for oyster festivals. This weekend, the action is in Canton at Mama’s on the Half Shell. The Canton Square spot will host an afternoon oyster festival on Sunday, featuring beer and crushes, tons of oysters and other Chesapeake fare, plus live music.

Also on Sunday afternoon, Petit Louis will host an outdoor Festival de la Récolte (Harvest Festival) featuring ciders (both non-alcoholic and otherwise), choucroute and other traditional autumn dishes.

Poe at The Elk Room
On Friday night, for the third year in a row, Edgar Allan Poe impersonator David Keltz will perform “The Raven” at The Elk Room. In past years, this event has been standing-room-only, so get there early. There is no cover charge or ticket required but you also can’t make reservations.

Towson Goes International
This weekend, organizations in Towson have put together a pair of interesting international events.

The Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University is hosting a food tour of East Asian restaurants in Towson on Saturday afternoon. The event includes tastings and discussion about history and culture of Asian cuisines at Towson Best Chinese & Sushi Restaurant, The Orient Restaurant and Red Pepper Sichuan Bistro. Ticket proceeds benefit the university’s Asian Arts & Culture Center.

On Sunday, the Czech and Slovak Heritage Association of Baltimore holds its 33rd annual Czech and Slovak Heritage Festival. The event takes place at the American Legion Hall and includes music, food and lots of fun.

Pumpkin carving
Don’t have a pumpkin yet? There’s still time to make an event out of your carving.

Today, Pen & Quill is hosting a pumpkin carving happy hour benefiting St. Jude.

Tomorrow, the Park N’ Pumpkin Festival will take over Druid Hill Park. The festival includes lots of kid-friendly activities like face-painting and storytelling, plus live music and food trucks.

On Sunday, Vent Coffee Roasters and Tom Cat’s Kitchen partner for a fun afternoon of pumpkin carving and caramel apples at Union Collective.

Maryland Food Truck Week
Maryland Food Truck Week, which raises money for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, continues through this weekend. It was set to go out with a bang on Sunday, with a “Boo Bash” at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, but due to worries about the weather, the event has been canceled. (But keep an eye out for events on Saturday.)

The Olive Mass at St. Leo’s
On Sunday, The Table Foundation and St. Leo’s the Great Catholic Church in Little Italy team up for The Olive Mass, a mass, celebration and meal honoring and celebrating people working in the culinary and hospitality industry. The goal of the event is to recognize the hospitality professionals who bring joy to other people’s lives, and to give them “an opportunity to recharge.”

Halloween market fun
On Saturday, Lexington Market goes autumnal with a Fall Festival Bakeoff, pitting Rose’s Bakery, Kora Lees and Dancing Potato against one another. They’ll battle it out, kitchen-style, to see who “will be crowned the queen of the sweet potato.”

If you’re heading to the bakeoff, consider dressing up and bringing the kids, too: there will be trick-or-treating around the market.

The next round of the bakeoff will take place the following Saturday, Nov. 2, at Northeast Market. 

On Sunday, Belvedere Square gets busy with Trick-or-Treat at the Square. Bring the kids in costume and visit Belvedere vendors for food and drink specials and fun surprises. There will be music and a costume contest for those 18 and under; the contest’s $5 entry fee will be donated directly to the Baltimore Humane Society.

Broadway Market in Fells Point is also hosting a market-wide Trick or Treat event on Sunday. Merchants will be doling out candy, there will be live music, pumpkin decorating and demos, and extra treats from Chef Egg.

The Charmery says “boo”
The Charmery is all in on Halloween this year, with multiple events and activities planned to celebrate.

Sunday and Monday, head to The Charmery Factory at Union Collective for a sensory-experience viewing of the original “Ghostbusters” movie. The experience includes the movie plus a self-serve popcorn bar, treats that match scenes in the movie, special themed punch and more.

At Union Collective on Oct. 30 and 31, see if you have “what it takes to survive” the ice cream shop’s five “Fear Factory” flavors. If you finish a $5 bowl of five baby scoops of Fear Factor flavors, you’ll get your name in the Fear Factory Hall of Fame (major bragging rights) and you will receive a cone card.

The flavors include treats like pepperoncini and feta, everything bagel + cream cheese and lox, and “snickles”–pickle ice cream with bits of Snickers. They do sound pretty scary.

Say hello to Hogwarts
To celebrate Halloween magic, Johnny’s will transmogrify into Hogwarts; the transition starts Monday and lasts until Nov. 3. Within the restaurant, each dining room will be decorated to represent a different Hogwarts house. Plus, the menu will include Hogsmeade classics like butterbeer along with Harry Potter-themed cocktails.

Costumes at Dylan’s
Dylan’s Oyster Cellar’s monthly tiki party, which takes place this Monday, is a little different from usual for October. The party’s theme will be Monsters & Mermaids, which will include a costume contest with great prizes.

Maryland Spirits Month begins
Next Friday is Nov. 1, which means it is also the official launch of Maryland Spirits Month, celebrating the local distilling and spirits industry. Throughout November, venues throughout the state will hold tastings and other events featuring local spirits.

Next Friday, those events include Tenth Ward Distilling tastings at Chartreuse and Co. in Frederick and at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits in Towson, a McClintock Distilling tasting at Total Wine in Towson, a Craft Your Own Cocktail Tour at Sagamore Spirit Distillery, and the Baltimore Spirits Company’s Skeleton Spirit release party at Union Collective.

Smoke & Barrel fundraiser
Also next Friday, head to Grey Rock Mansion in Pikesville for Smoke & Barrel, a fundraiser for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, which works with community organizations that help at-risk youth and builds “youth development parks” nationwide, and the Jonathan Ogden Foundation, which works with student athletes to help them apply lessons learned on the playing field to the classroom and to other parts of their lives.

The event features food from local restaurants like Aldo’s, The Capital Grille, The Food Market, Miss Shirley’s and SoBo Café, plus whiskey and beer tastings from a variety of local makers.

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

November 2: Baltimore Craft Beer Festival
November 7: Cocktails at the Conservatory
November 9: All Things Apple at Union Collective

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