Hot Plate: New Fall Cocktails, BBQs over the Weekend, Charm City Cook at Everyman Theater

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R. Bar is one of several local spots that has recently launched a new fall cocktail menu.

This week has a little bit of everything for Baltimore food lovers, from good news about new spots opening to a long list of boozy dinners. Here’s a look at what will keep you entertained all week long:

Opening & Announcements

Federal Hill institution No Way Jose Café announced this week that it will change both its name and its look. The Tex-Mex joint is holding a “retirement weekend,” starting today and lasting through Sunday, before closing for renovations. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant will open later this month with a new look and concept.

La Cakerie co-owner Jason Hisley announced that he was leaving the business, which has locations in Towson and Mt. Vernon, to open a new place of his own. The new spot, called Cake, will be in Timonium.

Jazz+Soju, a new Korean spot serving double-fried chicken, will open in Anthem House in Locust Point. The restaurant is helmed by Michelle Min, a Baltimore restaurant, and owner of a Korean spot in Westfield, NJ.

As of this week Rye Street Tavern, the new restaurant at the Sagamore Spirit Distillery, is officially open for weekday lunches (in addition to dinner seven days a week and lunch on weekends).

Belvedere Square Business

Belvedere Square has been in the news quite a bit this week, for many reasons.

Sadly, one of those stories is about the passing of Greg Novik, founder of Greg’s Bagels. Novik, a beloved champion of the area and an excellent bagel-maker, died on October 11, from pancreatic cancer. Novik was a fixture around Belvedere Square for decades; he opened Greg’s Bagels in 1989 and remained involved in the business even after selling it to a former employee, who took over earlier this year.

This week also brought news that Starlite Diner, which opened last fall in the old Hess Shoes space, has closed. There has been no word regarding why or what else might take over the space, which has been occupied by several restaurants over the past decade.

In happier news, Belvedere’s market has announced that two new vendors will be joining its already impressive ranks: Mason’s Lobster Rolls and Prigel Family Creamery.

Autumnal Cocktails around Town

Now that cooler weather appears to be here to stay, local bars and restaurants are putting away the summer drinks in favor of new fall cocktail menus.

Spots that have recently debuted new drinks menus include R. Bar, Clavel, Wit & Wisdom, Loch Bar, Gertrude’s and The Wine Market.

R. Bar has a fun new Poe-themed menu including drinks like “The Tell-Tale Squash,” combining smoky pumpkin syrup with bourbon and black walnut bitters.

Some of the standouts on Wit & Wisdom’s menu include the “Pilgrim’s Shadow,” a mix of rum, Amaro, Dolin blanc and Aztec chocolate bitters, served in a coca-salted rocks glass, and the “Duck season Old Fashioned,” including rosemary, cane syrup and bitters stirred with duck fat and rosemary “washed” bourbon.

Loch Bar’s new list includes the “Rock N Rye Sour,” a frothy combination of rye, lemon juice, demerara, egg white and club soda.

Gertrude’s menu includes a new October mimosa flight, with champagne drinks made with fruit mixtures like persimmon, orange and rosemary or mango with pawpaw from Two Boots Farm.

The Wine Market is hosting a Wednesday night party to launch their new menu; the evening includes a talk about mixology, four new seasonal cocktails, including a “Rouge Collins” and the “Stay Golden,” and light appetizers.

Oysters All Weekend

Healthy Harbor and the Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership are looking for some help this Saturday: join the organizations to help maintain the oyster garden they’ve created in Baltimore’s harbor. The initiative starts at 10 a.m. at the Baltimore Marine Center, off Boston Street in Canton.

Also on Saturday, oyster shucking novices can gain some skills at The Sandlot’s Shuck Like a Pro demonstration. Scott Budden, from Orchard Point Oyster Co., will demonstrate his expert technique during the event. Tickets include oysters, shucking instruction, and a takeaway gift and a portion of the ticket price will go to the Oyster Recovery Partnership.

Sunday, The Urban Oyster is popping up at Dovecote Café in Reservoir Hill. To make sure you get in and can grab some oysters, purchase a ticket ahead of time (they’re available via Eventbrite).

BBQ, Too

Oysters aren’t the only food you’ll be able to find all over town this weekend: there’s also a lot of barbecue happening.

Starting today and all weekend long, Mad Dog and Merrill, a pair of master tailgaters who cut their BBQ teeth at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI, will be teaching seminars at the Maryland Home and Garden Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

On Saturday, Chuck’s Trading Post will head from Hampden down to Key Brewing in Dundalk for its first annual Backyard BBQ Bash. The event, which is free to enter and open to the public, will include an amateur ribs and chicken BBQ contest and the release of a new Key beer.

Proceeds from the day will benefit Jake’s Skate Park, the new skate park in Rash Field.

On Sunday, Michael’s Café in Timonium is having an all you can eat pig-centric patio tailgate. The party will take place starting at 1 p.m. – just in time for kickoff – and includes all you can eat pork, beans, slaw and potato salad for $15.

Harvest on the Hill

On Saturday afternoon, Manor Hill Farm will host Harvest on the Hill, an afternoon celebration of local food and beer. The party (which is adults-only) includes live music, food from local spots and beers brewed right on the farm.

Food + Art at Silver Queen Café

On Wednesday, October 25, Silver Queen Café pairs up with Charm City Craft Mafia to host an opening reception for Bread + Butter, the new art installation at Silver Queen.

The evening includes happy hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by dinner service until 9 p.m. (with the full menu available).

All the artwork is available for purchase and will stick around on Silver Queen’s walls through the holiday season.

Butcher Battle Series Returns

Fork & Wrench’s new Butcher Battle Series returns for its second installment on Wednesday night, pitting Brewer’s Art Chef Andrew Weinzirl against Chef Jason Ambrose of Salt Tavern – both terrific chefs with tons of experience.

The focus of the battle will be on beef; guests will be served three courses, including one from each battling chef, demonstrating takes on classic beef dishes. Each course will be paired with a cocktail and at the end of the meal, guests will vote on a winner.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to Friends of Puerto Rico, to support the region’s hurricane victims.

Classified Cravings at Everyman Theater

On Thursday, October 26, while checking out Everyman’s production of Intimate Apparel, you can also get the inside scoop on where Amy Langrehr – aka Charm City Cook – likes to eat and what her go-to, “secret” orders are at those spots.

During a pre-show event, a handful of Langrehr’s favorites will be on the menu, including dishes from Dylan’s Oyster Cellar and Ekiben.

Taste of Hampden

Also, Thursday, October 26, the annual Taste of Hampden fundraiser for the Hampden Family Center will take place at The Ideal Arts Space on West 36th Street.

The evening includes dishes from more than 20 of Hampden’s restaurants, plus drinks, music and raffle prices.

Boozy Evenings

Drinks-lovers have something cool to look forward to just about every night this week.

On October 25, the Towson location of Nacho Mama’s will host a tequila tasting, featuring three Herradura tequilas, plus a welcome cocktail, all paired with small plates. This is the restaurant’s first event of its kind – and it sounds like a fun one.

Also on Wednesday, October 25, The Turn House in Columbia will host its first ever wine dinner, featuring several wines from the 2015 vintage in France.

The dinner includes four savory courses plus dessert, including dishes like family-style roasted leg of lamb and compressed honey crisp apple with Monocacy goat curd and 30-month prosciutto di parma. Guests will taste seven different wines throughout the meal.

Thursday, October 26, head to Cinghiale for a wine dinner featuring the wines of Foradori, a winery in Trentino, Italy. In the early days of Cinghiale, a decade ago, some of the restaurant’s staff traveled to Italy and met Elisabetta Foradori, who helms the winery. On Thursday, her son Theo Foradori will be discussing the family’s wines at Cinghiale.

The wines will be paired with a multi-course meal including dishes like spit-roasted rabbit and strozzapreti with mushrooms, roasted beets, and cippolini onion fondue.

Café Troia will also hold a wine dinner on Thursday night: the theme is “trick or treat” – the restaurant will “brown bag” two wines for each of the four courses, leaving it up to the customers to decide, blind, which they like better.

The meal includes dishes like crispy cornmeal-encrusted monkfish paired with bubbles and filet mignon served on a crouton topped with foie gras and a truffle oil Madeira demi-glace paired with Cabernet.

On Friday, October 27, Baltimore Whiskey Company will host B. Willow for a social hour focused on “strange plants.”

The evening will include a movie screening and short discussion about the world’s strangest plants and attendees will receive two cocktails and discounts on plants – both unusual and otherwise – sold by B. Willow.

Planning Ahead

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

November 4: Vino in Vogue in Harbor East 

November 6: Baltimore Food Truck Week 

December 4: Feast of Seven Fishes at The Local Oyster 

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