Hot Plate: Lots of booze-paired dinners, Baltimore Taco Festival, The Local Oyster turns three and more

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The Milton Inn hosts a history-inspired wine dinner on Wednesday evening. Photo by Beverly Funkhouser.

The weather in Baltimore is finally starting to cool and fall feels like it’s here to stay (fingers crossed), and restaurants are taking note with their menus and special events. Here’s a look at what’s happening this week:

Openings and announcements

Great news out of the local restaurant community this week: Peter’s Inn is back in business! The much-loved Fells Point restaurant has been closed all year, following a fire last December. As of this past week, it’s back and going strong. Tuesday through Saturday, the bar opens at 5 p.m. and dinner starts at 6 p.m.

Late night taco spot Taco Noche has opened at the Rotunda, just in time for last week’s National Taco Day celebration.

Perry Hall has a new restaurant: Looney’s has opened an outpost in the space that formerly housed The Harp.

This week, the developers behind Cross Street Market announced a list of 10 vendors that will be doing business in the newly renovated market when it opens. A few are returning vendors who had stalls before the market closed for renovations: Steve’s Lunch, The Sweet Shoppe, Nunnally Bros. Choice Meats and Fenwick’s Choice Meats. Smoke, which had a pop-up last winter, will also return. New vendors include Ceremony Coffee, Burger Bar, Phubs, Rice Crook and Sobeachy Haitian Cuisine.

Speaking of Cross Street, former vendor Cheese Galore and More has relocated to a new spot down the road: 1125 S. Charles St.

New menus

The Bar Vasquez team has released an updated menu reflecting the change of seasons. Two examples: shrimp with spaetzle and Iberico hams with Bellota Asian pear. If you haven’t been to the Argentine restaurant for awhile, this is a good reason to head back.

Atelier Culinaire Restaurant, the Little Italy spot run by the Stratford University Culinary Program–it’s staffed by senior students–has added a two-course early bird dinner special (only $9.95) and a two-course Sunday brunch.

Happy birthday to The Local Oyster!

Mt. Vernon Marketplace anchor The Local Oyster celebrates its third year today–and they’re having a party!

The event starts at 7 p.m. and features oysters (of course), Union Craft beers and music from local blues artist Ursula Ricks.

Mt. Vernon Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is back this year in Mt. Vernon. Today and tomorrow, W. Read Street between Charles and Cathedral streets will transform into a fun block party featuring music, food and, of course, lots of beer.

Fleet Week

Fleet Week is back this year. From now through Oct. 9, there are tons of fun downtown events planned for land, sea and air. Some local bars and restaurants are getting in on the action, too, with specials and promotions. At Wit & Wisdom, for example, that includes a special “Go Big. Go American!” burger and a “First in Flight” cocktail. 

The patios of Harbor East and the Inner Harbor offer especially good vantage points for the action on the water and the sky; the roof decks of Canton and Federal Hill are also great viewing points for the many air shows scheduled over the next few days.


Taco fans (and who isn’t a taco fan?) should head to Power Plant Live! on Saturday for a day-long celebration of the food. The Baltimore Taco Festival includes 25-plus taco and food vendors, a make-your-own margarita bar, a tequila expo, live entertainment and a chili pepper and taco-eating contest.

Sweet Success at The Charmery

On Sunday, Liz and Jimmy Reed, authors of the children’s book “Sweet Success,” will be at The Charmery’s Ice Cream Factory at Union Collective, reading from their book and helping attendees create cool clay “ice cream sundae” characters.

The event is recommended for kids aged 3 and up.

Doors Open Baltimore at The Elephant

Also on Sunday, Doors Open Baltimore will head inside The Elephant in Mt. Vernon, offering tours of the restaurant’s digs. The Elephant’s space was originally built as a mansion in the 1850’s, and its décor includes elements from big names including Tiffany, De Forrest, Waterford and Rinehart.

Hersh’s Palace of Scampinars Alafradiavol Oparmigiano

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Hersh’s Pizza & Drinks gets campy. For one night only, the restaurant will serve all the traditional Italian-American favorites you’d normally find on the menu at your favorite red sauce joint.

Since it’s Hersh’s, the execution is sure to be top notch and the event will be a ton of fun.

Boozy dinners

Another week, another full slate of excellent dinners pairing drinks with impressive food.

Monday, Oct. 8, Tagliata will offer a World of Whiskey cocktail dinner, featuring five whiskey cocktails created by The Elk Room’s bar manager, each paired with a dish from the Tagliata kitchen.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, SoBo Café hosts a five-course wine dinner including dishes like slow-cooked brisket with a pear-port reduction, paired with a John Duval Plexus Shiraz-Grenache-Mourvedre blend.

Beer fans have a Tuesday option, too: Don’t Know Tavern is partnering with Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewing on a three-course meal with dishes like New Zealand green-lipped mussels with boerewors sausage, shallots, ancho cream and grilled tomato salsa paired with Malice Farmhouse Ale.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, The Milton Inn will host its 1740 Wine Dinner, featuring five courses of historically important food paired with drinks that have equally interesting backstories. Courses include dishes like turtle soup, inspired by early cookbook author Mary Randolph, paired with Lanson 1760 Champagne N.V.


On Thursday, Oct. 6, La Cuchara will host the second annual #OMGFood party benefiting The League for People with Disabilities.

The event includes dishes from several local rock star chefs, including Chad Gauss of The Food Market, Steve Chu of Ekiben and La Cuchara’s Ben Lefenfeld.

Oysterfest kickoff

Ryleigh’s‘ eighth annual Oysterfest takes place next weekend, but the festivities kick off on Thursday night with the Moet Oyster Ball.

The party, which is always a hit, is at Ryleigh’s in Federal Hill, and includes an open bar, lots of seafood and “endless oysters.”

Planning Ahead

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

October 13-14: Oysterfest at Ryleigh’s Oyster 

October 28: Maryland Food Truck Festival 

November 11: Moveable Feast Chili Cookoff at Union Craft Brewing 

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