Apple, goat cheese and honey tart is one of the options on Classic Catering’s special menu for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Apple, goat cheese and honey tart is one of the options on Classic Catering’s special menu for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Autumn officially begins this week, which means it’s a great time for outdoor dining, among other things. In addition to all the excellent al fresco dining options Baltimore restaurants have put in place, over the next couple weeks, the local culinary scene includes a lineup of fun activities – both virtual and in-person – to help food lovers make the most of the season.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & Announcements
Alma Cocina Latina, which announced last month that it was moving out of its Canton location, is opening in the former home of Pen & Quill in October. The space has a long history in the Baltimore culinary scene; it was also the home of The Chesapeake restaurant.

The new space will house both Alma and Mera Kitchen Collective; the two organizations will continue to work together as Alkimiah, a community partnership that provides meals to address food need in the city.

A few other local places that held off on opening have recently or will soon reopen their doors, including Puerto 511, The Tilted Row, and Magdalena in The Ivy Hotel, which is slated to open again Oct. 9. The Food Market’s private kitchen is open for events, again, as well – and it’s a special experience for a small group.

If you haven’t made it to Snow Cone Sisters, the snow cone and hot dog stand outside the BMA, time is running out: the stand is only open through the rest of September, so get there while you can.

Unfortunately, over the past couple weeks, some much-loved restaurants have announced their closure. Roy’s, which has been a Harbor East mainstay for years, has closed its doors. And Lobo, which at six years old was a relative newcomer to Fells Point, but was also a favorite for its great food and atmosphere, has also closed.

Maryland Restaurant Week
The state of Maryland has created its very own Restaurant Week promotion and restaurants all over the state are participating. The event, which runs from Sept. 18-27, is more fluid than traditional restaurant weeks: restaurants are free to come up with their own promotions.

Several area restaurants are participating, including Bistro Aida in Columbia, which has a prix fixe menu available for dine-in or to-go and Petit Louis, which has a three-course prix fixe with optional wine pairings.

Rosh Hashanah celebrations
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 18 and lasts through the weekend. Several local businesses have menus designed to help those celebrating break their fasts; the menus are also available for Yom Kippur meals.

Classic Catering’s holiday menu includes three set menus designed for up to 10 people as well as additional dishes available in smaller servings. Choices include all the traditional favorites, from chopped liver to brisket.

The Eddie’s holiday menu includes everything from a noodle kugel for a crowd to matzoh balls by the dozen.

At Bonjour Bakery in Mt. Washington, suggestions include one of the bakery’s famous cakes, like the Sacher torte or the opera mocha torte.

Bee’s Knees Week
Bee’s Knees Week, a weeklong celebration of the classic cocktail, is one of the few annual events that hasn’t been put on hold this year. The week, which is sponsored by Barr Hill Gin and lasts from Sept. 18-27, benefits bees across the country: for every photo shared on social media of a Bee’s Knees cocktail made with Barr Hill, the company will plant 10 square feet of bee habitat.

Several local restaurants are getting in on the Bee’s Knees action, featuring Barr Hill cocktails on their menus. They include Café Troia, Woodberry Kitchen, Dutch Courage, Charm*d Kitchen, Mr. Nice Guy Cocktails, Gunther & Co., and Maggie’s Farm, among others.

Fall Harvest Days at Weber’s Farm
Harvest season is upon us in Maryland and local farms are celebrating. Weber’s Farm in Parkville will host its 45th annual Johnny Appleseed Weekend on Sept. 19 and 20 and Fall Harvest Days last from Sept. 21 through Nov. 8.

Both activities have new safety measures in place this year, so you should check the farm’s website before heading over. But Weber’s has also found a way to safely bring back many longtime favorite activities and treats including, of course, apple cider donuts and slushes.

Four Seasons festivities
The Four Seasons Hotel has a new “micro” approach to weddings, designed specifically for couples who are planning smaller celebrations due to COVID. The approach is pared down but still includes some of the hotel’s most popular food choices, like the duet entrée – braised short rib with a Maryland crab cake.

The hotel has also put together a new al fresco dinner series, Dinner Under the Stars. The dinners will be available Thursdays through Saturdays from now through Oct. 24. Each night, the dinner will feature a three-course meal with cocktails and a wine list developed to pair with the meal.

Meet & Make with NiHao
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the crew from NiHao will host a Zoom “Meet & Make” event, walking guests through how to make the restaurant’s Peking duck with bone broth noodle soup. You can buy the kit to make the soup yourself then access the Zoom and cook along, from your own kitchen, with the chef de cuisine.

Farm to Table Wine Supper
On Thursday, Sept. 24, Chef’s Expressions will host a Farm to Table Wine Supper at The Manor Tavern. The meal will include multiple courses showcasing local favorites, each paired with a different wine.

Yo ho ho…and a rum dinner
On Sept. 25, Elkridge Furnace Inn will host a five-course rum dinner featuring Caribbean-influenced dishes paired with five different rums. The dinner will take place in the garden dining tent (with tables socially distanced, of course).

Farm to Chef
Farm to Chef Maryland, benefiting TasteWise Kids, is always one of the most fun food-focused fundraising events of the year.

Unfortunately, due to COVID, this year’s event couldn’t take place in person. Instead, however, the team behind the event has put together an innovative virtual event featuring boxes of great local food and beverage brands, and a Zoom cookoff focused on a mystery ingredient.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
Sept. 27: Vegan Burger Smackdown
Oct. 3: Oktoberfest at Rathskeller
Nov. 12: Guest’s Choice Wine Dinner at Manor Tavern 

Kit Pollard

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