Hot Plate: Nepenthe opens, Encantada closes, Harry Potter at Order & Chaos, St. Vincent Festival at Old Westminster Winery and more

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Full Circle Artisan Palace and Order & Chaos Coffee join creative forces this weekend on a Harry Potter-themed menu at O&C.

This week in Baltimore’s food scene offers everything from Danish breakfast treats to a wine festival inspired by the traditions of ancient Burgundy.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings and announcements
This has been a long time coming: Today, Nepenthe Brewing Co. will finally open the doors to its new Falls Road taproom/restaurant/shop. It sounds terrific; Matt Heaton, formerly of Birrotecca and Nickel Taphouse, is in the kitchen and the restaurant has a full bar plus 16 taps.

A couple beloved Baltimore food spots are expanding outside Charm City. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that The Local Oyster will open a stall in the brand new Ballston Quarter Development, which opens at the end of February. The Local Oyster’s Mt. Vernon Marketplace neighbor, Pinch Dumplings, has a stall in Bourse Marketplace, which opened late last fall in Philadelphia.

File this under “disappointing news”: Encantada closed its doors after service on Thursday, Jan. 24. The restaurant, located at the top of the American Visionary Arts Museum, was known for its vegetarian-friendly menu and wonderful view. According to a press release from the museum, plans for a new café are in the works.

Restaurant Weeks
It’s still Restaurant Week season!

Though Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week officially ended last week, some local eateries are extending through this coming Sunday. So if you’re thinking about heading out in the city, check with the restaurant before you go to find out if their special menu is still in place.

Things are in full swing in the counties, too. Harford County’s event also lasts through Sunday, Baltimore County’s runs through Feb. 2 and Howard County Restaurant Week goes until through Feb. 4.

St. Vincent Festival at Old Westminster
This weekend, revelers will celebrate St. Vincent, the patron saint of winemakers, in France and in Maryland, where Old Westminster Winery will host a festival inspired by events that have taken place in Burgundy since ancient times.

The Westminster version of the festival will feature live music, fire pits, cocktails, seasonal foods and tours and samples in the winery, with the opportunity to chat with winemaker Lisa Hinton.

Sunday brunching
Kick off Sunday morning at Le Comptoir du Vin with a Copenhagen-influenced breakfast featuring savory porridge and warm cardamom buns, coffee from Sophomore Coffee and tea from Tobyestate and Sparrow Tail Teas.

This one-day only event will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; it sounds like a perfect way to shake off the cold.

Storybook sweets
This week, a pair of iconic stories, “Harry Potter” and “The Princess Bride,” are getting the nod from local sweets makers.

On Friday and Saturday, Hampden’s Full Circle Artisan Palace is popping up at Order & Chaos Coffee in Federal Hill, offering Harry Potter-themed donuts and drinks. Pair a Butterbeer latte with Floo-Powder, espresso sugar and “Deathly Hallows” chocolate-glazed donuts, or one of the other fun Potter-themed treats.

On Saturday and Sunday, The Charmery embraces the land of the Dred Pirate Roberts with full-sensory screenings of the classic film, “The Princess Bride.”

The showings, happening at the Ice Cream Factory in the Union Collective Building, include a self-serve popcorn bar, “Princess Bride”-themed punch and, throughout the movie, treats that match up with certain scenes.

These will likely sell out, so be sure to check the schedule and buy tickets ahead of time.

Slurp to celebrate
Conrad’s Restaurant in Perry Hall celebrates five years in business next week. To honor the occasion, the restaurant is offering a special menu with $5 drinks and appetizers from Tuesday through Friday and an oyster festival on Friday evening.

Baltimore on “Chopped”
On Tuesday night, Chef John Bedingfield of La Food Marketa will appear on The Food Network’s “Chopped,” in an episode called “Game On!” It airs at 9 p.m. La Food Marketa will host a special viewing party for those who want to check out the episode with the star himself.

Meet John Shields
John Shields, owner of Gertrude’s and one of the region’s foremost experts in Chesapeake cuisine, will be at the Abingdon branch of the Harford County Library on Thursday, Jan. 31, discussing his new book, “The New Chesapeake Kitchen.”

Tickets are required. All attendees will receive a copy of the book and a tote bag, but even without the extra goodies, it’ll be worth the cost: Chef Shields is a terrific storyteller and full of interesting anecdotes.

Head to class
On Tuesday night, Sagamore Spirit Distillery pairs up with Eleven Courses for a whiskey-soaked cooking class. During the class, attendees will make three courses–an appetizer, entrée and dessert–each using a different Sagamore Spirit rye. The class also includes a welcome cocktail, distillery tour and whiskey pairings to match the meal.

On Friday, Feb. 1, Sacré Sucré will offer instruction in how to make French macarons using the French meringue method. The class will focus on chocolate and lemon macarons and cover all the bases, including making the meringue and filling, piping the filling and more. The event will start with wine and hors d’oeuvres, and all students will take home macarons and souvenir t-shirts.

Whiskey Rocks
Speaking of whiskey: on Thursday, Jan. 31, La Cuchara hosts Whiskey Rocks Baltimore, a tasting event benefiting Pathfinders for Autism. The party, co-sponsored by the radio station 105.7 FM The Fan, will feature 15 different whiskies to sample and plenty of whiskey experts who can answer questions and chat with you about the spirit.

Welcome to FeBREWary
Friday is Feb. 1, which marks the start of the fourth annual FeBREWary, a monthlong celebration of local craft beers.

Throughout the month, keep an eye out for special events and launches of limited-edition beers, some developed by collaborating local breweries. It’ll be a busy time for breweries all over the state, and beer-lovers will benefit.

Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is coming up quickly, but there’s still time to make your menu plans.

If you don’t want to do the cooking yourself, The Classic Catering People has put together a Super Bowl menu full of football staples like wings and the Maryland specialty of petite crab cakes. Orders must be placed 48 hours before pickup, so now’s the time to create that menu.

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

Feb 6: J Lohr wine dinner at Towson Tavern 
March 3: 8th Annual Ryes Up Against Cystic Fibrosis Gala 
March 30: Wockenfuss Factory Tour 

Kit Pollard

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer.She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.


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