Hot Plate: New Year’s Eve dinners and New Year’s Day brunches to ring in 2020, Gourmand dinner at La Cuchara and more

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This week we welcome a new year and a new decade. What better way is there to ring in 2020 than with a great meal or two? Baltimore restaurants have a lot planned throughout the week and through the beginning of the new year, so whether you’re looking for a casual brunch or an over-the-top dinner, local restaurants have you covered.

This installment of Hot Plate is a little longer than usual: instead of one week of events, it covers two weeks (Dec. 28 through Jan. 10). Here’s a look at what’s happening during that time:

Kids’ pizza-making class
By Saturday morning, you might be ready for an out-of-the-house activity with the kids. To make the most of your day, head to Cosima for a kids’ pizza-making class offering pint-sized instruction in the “art of authentic Sicilian pizza making.”

Chanukah Latke Party
Saturday, Baltimore Supper Club hosts a latke party to celebrate the seventh night of Chanukah. The potluck meal will be held in Highlandtown, and it’s sure to be a fun one.

Literary dining
Also on Saturday, The Elkridge Furnace Inn hosts a literary dinner honoring Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” During the meal, you’ll enjoy traditional holiday fare, including roast turkey and smoked ham, and will be treated to a reading of the Dickens classic.

Gourmand Dinner at La Cuchara
On Sunday, La Cuchara hosts a fabulous Gourmand Dinner including nine (!) courses with dishes like sautéed sweetbreads with roasted cauliflower and Marcona almonds, and braised beef shoulder with crispy oysters.

Foraged turns two!
On Sunday, Foraged Eatery celebrates its second birthday – congratulations to them! The Hampden restaurant is running a contest on social media to honor the occasion; the winners receive free dinner for two (check out the Foraged Facebook page for details).

Kid stuff
A couple of local spots have fun and tasty New Year’s activities planned just for kids.

The Charmery’s Kiddie Ball Drop is always a huge hit with little ones and their parents. The ice cream shop hosts a festive evening of fun and frolic, at its Union Collective location, culminating in an 8:30 p.m. ball drop.

Iron Rooster in Hunt Valley hosts a kids’ party from 6-8 p.m., with a DJ, dinner, and a “mock-midnight” ball drop.

Johnny’s will host a kiddie toast at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The restaurant will be open until 10 p.m. and offer the regular menu plus several specials.

New Year’s Eve dining
New Year’s Eve is a great night for a fancy dinner, and local restaurants have you covered on that front.

Petit Louis will have two separate champagne toasts during the evening–one at midnight but also one at 6 p.m. to celebrate midnight in France. The bistro will serve a classic four-course prix-fixe menu with optional wine pairings, including luxe dishes like cauliflower and black truffle velouté and grilled beef tenderloin with sauce Chateaubriand.

Rusty Scupper’s New Year’s Eve Extravaganza menu includes four courses with choices like lobster tail or braised short rib Oscar, plus party favors, music and dancing, and a prime rooftop deck view of the fireworks.

Gertrude’s New Year’s Eve Supper Club menu includes three or four courses, depending on the seating you choose, with dishes like baked wild Chesapeake oysters and rockfish imperial.

At Cosima, menu options will include speck-wrapped prawn salad, black garlic ravioli, and pan-roasted sea bass in a tomato-based broth.

Café Troia’s New Year’s Eve menu will feature regular favorites plus seasonal specials. The evening also includes a complimentary glass of prosecco for the midnight toast and firecrackers and sparklers for celebrating midnight on the front sidewalk.

The Magdalena menu is a four-course prix-fixe, with choices like foie gras and chestnut ravioli and beef Wellington.

The Milton Inn will seat New Year’s Eve diners from 5:30-9 p.m., offering a four-course prix-fixe meal with options like herb and pepper-dusted veal tenderloin and their classic filet Chesapeake.

Cinghiale’s four-course prix-fixe menu includes dishes like tagliatelle with bolognese or squid ink spaghetti with Maine lobster, Fresno chilies and herbs.

Chez Hugo brings back its popular chicken and champagne dinner for New Year’s Eve, which includes more than just chicken. For example, a chestnut flour waffle topped with grilled foie gras and maple syrup.

At Charleston, diners have the choice of four different four-course menus with optional wine pairings, plus an excellent vantage point for the Inner Harbor fireworks.

Gunther & Co.’s four-course tasting menu includes choices like a kanpachi crudo with passion fruit mignonette appetizer and an entrée of grilled Wagyu tri-tip steak with bone marrow mashed potatoes. There are also optional add-ons, including wine pairings, oysters, and a shellfish course.

At Rye Street Tavern, the three-course prix-fixe menu includes Wagyu beef tartare, braised short rib, and baked Alaska for two.

The Black Olive’s New Year’s Eve menu includes five-courses with options like grilled diver scallops and Xinomavro filet mignon souvlaki over garlic mashed potatoes.

The new Four Seasons spot Maximon will be open for New Year’s Eve. Guests can purchase tickets to a party with access to both Maximon and The Bygone. Both restaurants will offer buffets and passed hors d’oeuvres featuring signature dishes, plus open bars and music.

Tagliata, The Elk Room, and Italian Disco are co-hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring buffets, music, and bars in each location. When you purchase a ticket, you can bounce back and forth between the three spots throughout the evening.

At Loch Bar, the (ticketed) party will feature live music, an open bar, a buffet, and a champagne toast at midnight. After 1 a.m., the doors open to the public.

The Choptank’s New Year’s Eve party, which also requires a ticket, will last until 4 a.m. (with food until midnight) and will take place in the restaurant and in a heated tent on the outdoor patio. The Fells Point restaurant will have a buffet and passed hors d’oeuvres.

While most Atlas Restaurant Group restaurants are hosting parties that require tickets, Ouzo Bay and Azumi are open for dinner (but you’ll need reservations).

Newcomer Limoncello’s first New Year’s Eve dinner will include choices of two courses with options like crispy gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce with truffle oil and porcini and mascarpone risotto.

Maggie’s Farm’s New Year’s menu includes drink specials and a three-course prix-fixe with optional wine pairings.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel welcomes the Roaring ’20s back with a speakeasy-themed evening, including a Great Gatsby Murder Mystery dinner, psychic readings, and a costume contest.

Cunningham’s New Year’s Eve menu is a three-course prix-fixe with optional wine pairings. The Towson restaurant will also offer 50 percent off bottles of Veuve Cliquot all night long.

New Year’s Day
Where will you have your first bites of the new decade? There are lots of good options.

La Food Marketa is celebrating its customers with half off checks all day long on the first of the year.

Johnny’s will offer its full brunch menu plus specials starting at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Lee’s Pint & Shell will be open for a New Year’s Day brunch featuring $3 mimosas, Bloody Marys and sangria, and music from DJ Kenny Der.

Silver Queen Café’s menu includes hangover hash and shrimp and grits, plus its own Bloody Mary mix and OJ to use as mixers since the restaurant is BYOB.

Maggie’s Farm will have its regular brunch menu available plus drink specials, including a Bloody Mary with roasted jalapenos. And have you seen their new Lamarvelous cocktail? It looks pretty great.

At True Chesapeake Oyster Co., the first-ever PJ & DJ brunch menu will include tons of amazing dishes, like blue crab deviled eggs and a fried chicken and waffle benedict. Brunch is a ticketed event with two seatings, and there will also be a DJ on hand to guarantee it’s a good time.

Topside is hosting a “Walk of Shame” brunch on New Year’s Day with a Bloody Mary bar, cold pizza, vitamin-infused cocktails, and Pedialyte prosecco pops.

Cooking class with Jay Rohlfing
Cunningham’s chef and Food Network star Jay Rohlfing kicks off 2020 with a Jan. 8 cooking class.

Gertrude’s Krautfest
On Friday, Jan. 10, Gertrude’s hosts its 17th annual Krautfest, an homage to all things German (including the city’s rich German heritage). The evening includes live polka music and dancing, plus a buffet featuring multiple types of sausages, dishes like beet borscht and cabbage rolls and–of course–several varieties of sauerkraut.

Unlike days of yore, Gertrude’s meal isn’t just for the carnivores. There will also be plenty of vegan-friendly options on the menu.

Planning Ahead
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
Feb. 23-25: Harry Potter at The Charmery 
Feb. 28: Partying through Time Workshop at London Town 
March 11: Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner at The Milton Inn 

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