Hot Plate: Light City action, Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival, wine dinners, fundraisers & more

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On Saturday, the Lock House in Havre de Grace will host its first ever Craft Beer & Wine Festival.

The weather has broken, Light City has returned and this week is as busy as it gets in terms of restaurant events. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the Baltimore food world.

Openings and announcements

In the brand new Hotel Revival, the market/restaurant Square Meal and rooftop restaurant and “garden bar” Topside both opened this past week to lots of praise. Early reports are that Topside, in particular, is terrific and has an exceptional view.

Late last week, Prescription Chicken opened at Mount Vernon Marketplace. The chicken soup joint is just staying temporarily, though; it will return to its former home in Cross Street Market once the space reopens after renovations.

Amber Café, a coffee-beer-bites spot on the ground floor of Anthem House in Locust Point, opened quietly this past week. The café is still tinkering with its menu and hasn’t announced an official grand opening date yet, but if you’re in the neighborhood and need a coffee or craft brew, you should find the doors open. (But be patient, since they did just open.)

Fells Point is getting a new pastry shop. Sacre Sucre is slated to open over the next few weeks in the space that formerly housed Baltimore Cakery and Fleet Street Market.

Unfortunately, there’s some little gloomy news in South Baltimore this week. Not only did longtime Federal Hill favorite Regi’s close its doors for the final time last weekend, but this week brought the update that In Bloom, formerly Liv2Eat, has closed until further notice.

Light City is back

The big news around town this week is that Light City, the annual festival of light, music, art and innovation, is returning to the Inner Harbor for its third year, starting on Saturday.

The festival is mostly art-based–the concert lineup and BGE Light Art Walk are the big attractions–but there’s plenty of food-related fun to be had, too.

Several local businesses have crafted drinks to honor the festival, including Brewer’s Art, which created the new Lumen Ale beer, and The Elephant, which developed a shimmery punch called Illumination.

On Saturday night, as the festival kicks off in the Inner Harbor, Ampersea will offer a chance to check out the lights from the water, with a dinner and harbor cruise starting at 6 p.m.

Also that day, Harbor East will celebrate the kickoff with a “Shine So Bright Bash,” featuring a DJ, street performers, glow-in-the-dark giveaways, a popcorn bar and bars organized by BIN 604 and Lebanese Taverna.

On Thursday, LIT City Baltimore, a party in the St. Paul St. light tunnel, returns for its second year. The party includes a DJ, plus an open bar and food from restaurants like Cava Mezze, Chez Hugo Bistro, The Owl Bar, Sobo Café and the various eateries in the Horseshoe Casino.

Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival

The first-ever Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival takes place in Havre de Grace this Saturday, April 14. The festival features local breweries and wineries, as well as a handful of distilleries and a wide variety of food trucks.

You’ll also find numerous beverage makers, including Waverly Brewing Company, Reckless Aleworks, Lyon Distilling Company and Broken Spoke Winery, among many others.

Still truckin’

Baltimore Food Truck Week has a few more days to go. The annual event, which lasts until April 15, features food truck specials and events all weekend long.

Making moves for Moveable Feast

Moveable Feast, the local nonprofit organization that helps care and provide meals for people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other challenging illnesses, has a series of upcoming fundraisers planned in connection with its big moneymaking bike ride, the Ride for the Feast.

On Saturday, April 14, Motor House will host a dance party. Sunday, April 22, R. House will have the Moveable Market. The following Saturday, April 28, head to HandleBar Café for a scavenger hunt. And, finally, visit Union Brewing on Sunday, April 29, for the Brew for the Feast Brunch.

Homerun for Recovery

Moveable Feast isn’t the only great charitable cause on the calendar this week. On Thursday, April 19, Homerun for Recovery, the annual fundraiser for The Baltimore Station, will take place at PBR Baltimore in Power Plant Live.

The Baltimore Station helps veterans and others struggling with poverty, addiction, homelessness and other issues get back on their feet in a sustainable way.

The event will feature food and drink from local spots and the opportunity to bid on some excellent auction items.

Cooking with John Shields and company

Gertrude’s owner and The New Chesapeake Kitchen author John Shields is the real deal when it comes to local cooking. He was using local ingredients and focusing on regional flavors long before it was cool.

Midday on Saturday, April 14, he’ll be sharing some of that knowledge with guests at Gertrude’s New Chesapeake Kitchen cooking series brunch.

During the brunch, Shields will team up with Joan Norman of One Straw Farm and Gertrude’s executive chef Doug Wetzel to discuss local gardening biology and traditions. Chef Wetzel will also do cooking, pickling and preserving demonstrations.

The menu includes local and seasonal favorites, such as spring pea soup with preserved lemon crème fraiche and shad fillet medallions with pickled ramps.

Go outside

It finally feels like springtime! Local restaurant operators are taking notice (and probably sighing with relief) as they open up their outdoor spaces to the public.

This weekend, Avenue Kitchen & Bar will open a brand new outdoor sidebar with additional seating. Perfect timing!

Outdoor tables are also officially open at Dylan’s Oyster House, and Café Troia has opened its deck as well.

Wit & Wisdom’s annual patio opening party is this Thursday, April 19. The party includes a DJ, cocktails and seasonal appetizers–plus the restaurant’s spectacular views of the harbor.

Michael Twitty is in town

On Tuesday, April 17, culinary historian Michael Twitty will be at the Randallstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library to discuss his much-lauded book The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American Culinary History in the Old South.

Twitty is arguably the country’s foremost expert on the influence of African-American cooking on the country’s culinary evolution; this is sure to be a great discussion.

Go Greek at Ikaros

On Wednesday, Ikaros in Greektown will host “a culinary tour of Greece,” a four-course meal paired with wine and traditional music. Courses include choices of classic Greek dishes like spanakopita, chicken souvlaki and baklava.

CSA season is upon us

With the weather turning and farmers’ markets returning, it’s time to talk CSA (“community supported agriculture,” or food you can purchase, on an ongoing basis, directly from farmers).

The folks from Foodshed, the company behind Woodberry Kitchen and other spots, know a thing or two about sourcing local ingredients, and are hosting a free roundtable about CSAs and local eating.

The event, set at Bird in Hand, will be BYOB, with snacks from the kitchen. For the rest of the season, Bird in Hand will also be a CSA pickup spot for goods from Wild Peace Farm.

Emile Beyer wine dinner at Chez Hugo

Chez Hugo Bistro might be a newcomer to the downtown dining scene, but the French restaurant is already busy with special events.

This Thursday, Chez Hugo hosts a dinner featuring wines from Emile Beyer, an Alsatian winemaker known for whites. The five-course dinner will include dishes like Cape May scallops with wasabi beurre monte, paired with a 2016 Reisling. Head winemaker Christian Beyer will be on hand to discuss the grapes.

Robert Sinskey wine dinner at Tagliata

Chez Hugo isn’t the only place to check out new wines this week. On Thursday, Tagliata will host a four-course dinner showcasing the wines of Robert Sinskey, with dishes like forest mushroom risotto paired with Vin Gris 2017 and Caneros Pinot Noir 2013, and a pan-roasted New York strip paired with Carneros Abraxas Vin de Terroir 2014 and Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon from 2012.

Get to know Yards

Tom Kehoe, founder and president of Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company, will be in Maryland next Thursday, April 19, to visit his old stomping grounds, McDaniel College.

A McDaniel alum, Kehoe will return to campus as part of the school’s SmartTALK speaker series.

Kehoe founded Yards in 1994, but he actually got his start as a brewer during college, when he experimented with making beer in his dorm room.

His talk will take place at 7 p.m. in the Decker Center Forum and will also be streamed live.

New menus

As the seasons change, local spots are updating their menus for spring. A couple spots to check out this week:

Cosima is now officially open every Sunday for brunch, and the morning cocktails look fabulous.

The Bygone has tweaked its menu for the season (as well as the dress code, so before going, you should check both).

Bluebird Cocktail Room added a handful of new springtime dishes to the menu, including a gorgeous cured trout tartare.

Planning Ahead

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

April 21: Winemaking workshop at Charm City Farms 

April 26: Chalk Hill Wine Dinner at Linwoods 

June 15: Twilight on the Terrace at Gertrude’s



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