Hot Plate: La Calle opens, Hamilton Street Festival, Restaurant Week continues

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Bar Vasquez is among more than 100 restaurants participating in Baltimore City’s summer Restaurant Week, which starts today. Pictured: zucchini soup with poached Patagonian shrimp, chicken cooked on the plancha and homemade bucatini pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes, zucchini and basil pesto.

Baltimore is getting a well-deserved break in the weather this week, and it couldn’t come at a better time, as local restaurants gear up for Restaurant Week, festivals and fundraisers.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap.

Openings and announcements

La Calle, a new restaurant from the former chef at The Corner in Hampden, opened last week downtown. La Calle’s menu is upscale Mexican and sounds wonderful, with dishes like black bass with cherry tomatoes, green olives and capers.

Thames Street Oyster House celebrated its seventh anniversary last week (congratulations to them!). They also introduced a new summer menu, including new dishes and old favorites.

Cross Street Market has a new pop-up tenant: LemonTopia. The stall features lemonade and desserts, and is run by 11-year old Jamaria Crump, who originally started the concept two years ago at the Govans Elementary School Winterfest.

Busy Saturday

Saturday is supposed to be dry, which is great news because it’s a fun day in the Baltimore area.

The Hamilton Street Festival starts at 11 a.m. on Harford Road. The festival features music on three stages, kids’ activities and tons of food from local vendors, including Silver Queen Café, which will be open inside and set up outside serving crabby dogs, pulled chicken sandwiches and crab dip.

The Trifecta Food Truck and Music Festival returns to the State Fairgrounds in Timonium, with nearly 40 food trucks, live music, artisans and vendors, and local beers, wine and cocktails.

In the evening, Union Craft Brewing will celebrate its sixth anniversary with an official grand opening party in the new Union Collective building. The space is a terrific, with plenty of room for big groups. The party, which features music on two stages, is unfortunately sold out, but the tap room is open from noon to 10 p.m. every Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Wine and dining for a cause

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, Copper Kitchen will host a four-course dinner, with wine pairings, supporting Young Audiences, a nonprofit supporting youth arts education and programming for kids in Maryland.

The menu includes dishes like crawfish and andouille étoufée and poached lamb merguez. Tickets are on sale until this Sunday.

Cooking class at Cunningham’s

Cunningham’s chef Jay Rohlfing is teaching a weekly cooking class, and this month’s installment is on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The class includes a glass of wine to enjoy while chef Rohlfing instructs the group on how to make a great gourmet dinner at home.

Restaurant Week season

Right now is prime time to make reservations as restaurants all over the region participate in Restaurant Week promotions.

Howard County’s week started this past Monday and runs through Aug. 6. This year marks 10 years of restaurant weeks in Howard County; tons of eateries are a part of the festivities during this anniversary year.

Baltimore Restaurant Week begins today and runs through Aug. 5. With over 100 restaurants are participating, it’s a big, fun event. Participating venues will offer two-course lunch and brunch options priced $12-20, and three-course dinner menus ranging from $20-35.

Many menus are available to peruse online, and they all look excellent.

Baltimore County’s restaurant week starts Friday, Aug. 3, and runs through Aug. 18. During that time, participating restaurants–-there are a lot of them–will offer prix fixe menus between $15 and $35.

Planning Ahead

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

August 23: Summer Soiree at The Pendry 

August 23: A Night with Newton Vineyard at Magdalena 

September 30: Mermaid’s Kiss OysterFest 

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