Hot Plate: Milton Inn’s New Look, Oyster Festival, Cocktails at the Conservatory

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The Milton Inn in Sparks has just finished a major refreshing of the interior and exterior.
The Milton Inn in Sparks has just finished a major refreshing of the interior and exterior.

The coming week is a dramatic one for the country, with the looming election and all that entails. But no matter the outcome, there’s some good news for food lovers in Baltimore. There are tons of events happening around town next week and exciting restaurant news from all corners of the region.

 Celebration Time

Two popular Baltimore establishments are celebrating anniversaries this week: Wit & Wisdom turns five and Waverly Brewing turns one!

On Saturday, November 5, Waverly will celebrate its first birthday with a party with food by The Smoking Swine, music and beer by, obviously, Waverly.

The crew at Wit is celebrating on Wednesday, November 9 with a special session of their Curated series, held at the Kitchen Table. This week’s dinner, dubbed Five Years of Wit & Wisdom, features six favorite dishes from the restaurant’s tenure – one from each year it has been open. If you miss the wood-roasted bone marrow from 2012, or 2014’s cast iron-seared Chesapeake rockfish, now is your chance to try them again. 

Oyster Season

Head to West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor tomorrow for The Great Baltimore Oyster Festival, hosted by the Waterfront Partnership and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The event includes live music, food trucks, family-friendly activities and interactive Bay-themed displays and – of course – oysters and other seafood options, along with plenty of drinks.

Online tickets sales have closed, but tickets will be available at the event. 

News from Foreman Wolf

The Foreman Wolf restaurant group has been busy lately.

In addition to the opening of the fabulous new Bar Vasquez, the restaurant group announced this week that James Lewandowski will take over as the executive chef of Cinghiale, the Italian restaurant in Harbor East.

Chef Lewandowski was, most recently, the executive chef at Petit Louis in Columbia; before that, he worked at Cinghiale and at the original Petit Louis.

The group has also announced that, starting tomorrow, pastry fans can place orders for carry out Thanksgiving pies. The treats, including an apple crisp pie, a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie, are $30 each and available for pickup at Johnny’s in Roland Park or Petit Louis in Columbia. Pickup is November 21 to 23 and last day for ordering, which can be done over the phone or online via the restaurants’ websites, is November 17.

Vino in Vogue in Harbor East

Harbor East’s second annual Vino in Vogue event, taking place on Saturday, November 5, has already sold out of online tickets, though there are some on-site tickets available (first come, first serve – so if you want to get in, get there early).

The party features live music, cheese, sweets and light bites and wines from Harbor East restaurant cellars. The event starts at noon, but on-site tickets will be available by 11:30 a.m. 

Bird in Hand Opens

Food-loving bibliophiles receive a gift this week, with the Monday, November 7 opening of Bird in Hand, a bookstore-café from Spike Gjerde, of Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee fame, and Ann and Ed Berlin, owners of the much-loved Ivy Bookstore. The café/shop is in the Nine East 33rd St. building, near the Johns Hopkins University campus.

The menu will include baked goods, cereal and French bread pizza, plus Counter Culture coffee, herbal tea and local juices. 

Citron Opens

Bird in Hand isn’t the only new spot opening on Monday; the beginning of the week is also the first official day of business for Citron, the new Quarry Lake spot right on the lake. The restaurant opens for happy hour at 4 p.m.; early reports about the food, service and atmosphere are excellent.

Civic Dining

Looking for a place to watch the results roll in? Or maybe for a distraction? Baltimore restaurants have your back on both counts.

If you’re up for celebrating civic pride, on Tuesday, November 8, show off your “I Voted” sticker at the Mt. Washington Tavern and get a buy one, get one free Old Hilltop (the Tavern’s signature beer).

The Tavern is also running a promotion on Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 12: veterans showing a valid military ID will receive a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée.

Also on election night, Sotto Sopra will be having a party with live music and 50% off wine, special bar prices and a $35 menu all night.

If you’d rather focus on something other than politics, Birroteca has something for you: Hampden Friends & Family Night with brand new Chef Matt Campbell.

Hunting Season

Victoria Gastro Pub will host a Wild Game Beer Dinner on Wednesday, November 9, featuring six beers and four courses, plus dessert. The menu covers many wild game bases, including dishes like venison carpaccio and rabbit pot pie, each paired with a carefully selected brew. 

Chefs for Dimes

On Wednesday, November 9, local chefs will join together at the Signature Chefs Auction, benefiting the March of Dimes. The event, which takes place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, includes dishes from 25 local chefs, plus wine and both a silent and a live auction.

 Cooking Healthy

On November 9, local culinary nutrition expert Rachel Druckenmiller, of Rachel’s Nourishing Kitchen, will teach a cooking class at VITA in Belvedere Square. The class with focus on healthy dishes, including burrito bowl with cashew cream and no-bake brownie bites. 

Cocktails at the Conservatory

Always a popular event, this year’s Cocktails at the Conservatory, benefiting the Rawlings Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, takes place on Thursday, November 10.

The event features drinks concocted by some of the city’s best mixologists, inspired by the plants and flowers found in the Conservatory in their recipes.

 Upgrading the System

Aromes, the small Hampden BYOB known for its inventive approach to cuisine, announced this week that it will move to reservations via the Tock system, which requires diners to pay up front.

At first glance, this seems like a bold and unusual move for a Baltimore restaurant. But given Aromes’ small size and the way it is organized – all meals are pre-fixe and the menu changes frequently – the new system will make things easier for the kitchen without depriving the diners of any choices.

Today, the website offers a handful of different options, from a $45 three-course weeknight tasting menu to a $150 one-night-only white truffle dinner. 

Openings at R. House

Opening day for R. House is rapidly approaching; the Remington food hall is expected to open this fall. This week, the team behind the project announced the addition of a new conceptHilo.

Hilo, helmed by Tokyo native Chef Munehiro Mori and owned by Thai Landing owners Nat and Nuch Teng, will be a poke stand, serving the trendy Hawaiian raw fish and rice dish, as well as sushi and other rice bowls. 

The Milton Inn Has a New Look

The Sparks institution The Milton Inn has a brand new look, after a $400,000 renovation. The restaurant, which has been owned and operated by Chef Brian Boston for two decades, refreshed everything fro carpets to artwork, updating the interior and the outdoor area, including the addition of a new stone wall and pergola with a retractable roof.

Tapas Goes Southern

Tapas in the City, the popular restaurant-hopping event, hits Wayward Southern Bar + Kitchen in Federal Hill this week, with events on November 7 and November 9.

The menu features a list of southern-style favorites, including grilled cornbread and brisket mac and cheese, alongside some more global offerings, like pulled pork arancini.

Giving Thanks

Close out the week by getting into the Thanksgiving spirit, with a Thanksgiving Inspired Wine Supper, hosted by Chef’s Expressions and held at the Gramercy Mansion. The menu includes dishes like butternut squash salad, creamed corn soufflé and – of course – turkey (this one stuffed with fennel and veal sausage).

Planning Ahead

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

November 12: Stars, Stripes and Chow at The Baltimore Station 

November 13: YouthWorks Benefit at Bar Vasquez

November 14: No Kid Hungry dinner at Food Market



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