Hot Plate: National Oyster Day, dumpling class at NiHao, Lobsterama at Gertrude’s and more

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Wednesday, Aug. 5 is National Oyster Day and local spots – like The Urban Oyster – have fun plans to celebrate.

Restaurant Week wraps up this weekend but Baltimore’s culinary scene is staying hot this summer. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings & announcements
Crust by Mack will be reopening in Whitehall Market on Aug. 10. Welcome back to the much-loved pastry shop! Speaking of Whitehall, parents will be happy to hear that the market now has a kids’ corner in place, with books, crayons, pencils and other fun kid-friendly items.

The Foraged team is taking a brief beach break this week; the Hampden restaurant will be closed Tuesday through Thursday but will reopen on Friday.

Sadly, Bar Vasquez closed its doors last Saturday. The Argentine restaurant was known for excellent steaks and its dramatic space. It will be missed.

Restaurant Week is coming to an end
This weekend is your last chance to take advantage of Baltimore City’s summer Restaurant Week – it ends on Sunday. There are tons of local restaurants involved, offering $10 to $20 lunches and brunches and $25 to $45 prix fixe dinners.

The Great Old Bay Crab Hunt
Everyone’s favorite seasoning, Old Bay, is partnering with the Baltimore Water Taxi on a Pokemon Go-style game designed to get people out and exploring the city.

The game involves finding and scanning QR codes located around the city – and winning prizes. There’s a Restaurant Week tie-in, too – RW participants are also part of the game.

This weekend, Old Bay is sponsoring the water taxi, which will be offering free rides from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31, making hopping between restaurants even more fun.

Guinness turns three
Guinness Open Gate Brewery celebrates three years in business this week with big parties both this weekend and next. The Halethorpe brewery will host live music with special food, complimentary cookies and fun prizes – including a grand prize of a year’s worth of free burgers at the brewery.

Plus, to commemorate the anniversary, Guinness is releasing three new experimental beers: Honey Amber Ale; Arm in Arm, which is brewed with lavender, lemon peel and blueberry; and Barrel-Aged Grand Cru, which uses Imperial Stout that’s ben aging in barrels at the brewery since 2019.

Happy 8th to The Charmery
The Charmery is celebrating its eighth birthday this weekend with a whole lot of “remix.” The ice cream shop is mashing up some of its most popular flavors to create new ones, like Rye Whiskey Egg Nog Sugar Cookie – the eggnog flavor combined with Otterbein sugar cookies.

The celebration includes a Saturday party at the Ice Cream Factory at Union Collective, including fun special milkshakes and sundaes, and a remix playlist from DJ Impulse. Plus, at all Charmery locations, the first 100 guests will get free stickers.

Dumpling class at NiHao
NiHao’s dumplings have quickly become favorites among Baltimore’s food community – and now you can learn how to make them yourself. On Tuesday evening, NiHao will host a hands-on class on how to make shrimp and pork dumplings. Reservations can be made online.

National Oyster Day
Thursday, Aug. 5 is National Oyster Day – one of the most important food holidays. In Baltimore, it gets the attention it deserves.

At The Urban Oyster in Whitehall Mill, Chef Jasmine Norton will be serving oysters several ways, including grilled with creative toppings. Chef Norton will keep the celebration going into the weekend, when she serves crab imperial-stuffed oysters (and lobster rolls) at the Baltimore Farmers Market the following Sunday, Aug. 8.

At Ryleigh’s, the team will give away 1,000 free oysters in honor of the day, and will host a learn-to-shuck happy hour with famous shucker George Hastings (registration is required for that event). Plus, there will be $2 grilled oysters and lots of general revelry.

Yappy hour at Kooper’s North
Also on Wednesday, Kooper’s North is teaming up with Joel Gott Wines to host a Yappy Hour event benefiting the Maryland SPCA.

Lobsterama is back at Gertrude’s
Gertrude’s annual August celebration of the lobster is back. Every Thursday throughout the month, the restaurant will offer lobster served two ways – New England or Maryland-style – with corn, coleslaw, and a baked potato.

Pierpoint boxes
One of the few fun parts of the pandemic was watching restaurants get creative with their offerings. Some of those initiatives have stuck around – like Pierpoint Restaurant’s weekly boxes. The box contents change every week and include a mix of interesting flavors and options. They’re a great way to support a local business and try some interesting new foods.

Local coffee
Baltimore’s own Black Acres Roastery has a limited edition coffee blend, Awakening, available for purchase now at Hotel Revival’s gift shop and ‘Dashery. The coffee was created in honor of the hotel’s new partnership with DJ Impulse.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
August 7: Crabs, Wine & Beer Festival
August 21: Wanderland at the Shrine of St. Anthony 
September 25: Susquehanna Wine & Seafood Festival 

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