Hot Plate: Origins Series Returns, Passion for Food & Wine, Pasta Sales for Italy Earthquake Relief

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The Woodberry Kitchen team cooks at Passion for Food & Wine 2015
The Woodberry Kitchen team cooks at Passion for Food & Wine 2015

It’s been a hectic – and hot – week in Baltimore. But with the long Labor Day weekend coming up and a much-appreciated break in the humidity, it’s time for everyone’s thoughts to turn to autumn, and the bounty of food events that come with the season.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in restaurant news and events this coming week:

Comings & Goings

This week brought with it big news from many corners of the region’s restaurant industry.

Early in the week, we learned that the Inner Harbor location of Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal had closed. Though the original Frederick location of the restaurant remains open – and is definitely worth a visit – Voltaggio has also recently closed several other locations, including Richmond, Ashburn and Hagerstown.

Just after that news broke, the Foreman Wolf group also announced another change in the city. Twelve-year old Pazo, in Harbor East, will close on September 17. The Foreman Wolf group isn’t abandoning the space, though. After renovations, a new restaurant, Bar Vasquez, will open in the Aliceanna Street space.

Bar Vasquez will be a “New World Argentinian restaurant, bar and lounge.” Chef Mario Cano Catalan, a Foreman Wolf veteran, will helm the kitchen. Bar Vasquez is expected to open sometime in October. 

In other exciting news, a new seafood restaurant, called Angie’s Seafood, is slated to open next month in the Fells Point space formerly occupied by Obrycki’s Crab House. Like Obrycki’s, Angie’s will be a beer-and-crabs joint, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.

There are also changes afoot at Bluegrass Tavern in South Baltimore. The restaurant has recently changed ownership. Though Chef Antonio Rice will remain in the kitchen, and some menu favorites will remain, there will be some new menu items and the restaurant is transitioning to a new name: Saturday Morning Café, SouthBmore.com reported.

 Pasta for Italy

Parts of Italy are still reeling after the earthquake that shook the country on August 24. Here in Baltimore, a couple Italian restaurants are raising money for earthquake relief efforts.

From September 2 to September 8, Grano Emporio and Grano Pasta Bar will donate €2 ($2.20) for every plate of Amatriciana pasta to earthquake victims; the dish is inspired by a recipe from the village of Amatrice, which was one of the hardest hit by the earthquake.

In Little Italy, Café Gia will donate 20% of sales of their spaghetti alla Amatriciana to the Italian Red Cross, from now through September 2. 

Tomato Frenzy

It is peak tomato season right now and Wine Market Bistro is celebrating. From September 5 through 10, the restaurant will feature a special prix fixe menu showcasing local tomatoes. The meal includes dishes like fried green tomatoes, tomato gnocchi and tomato sorbet. They won’t be this good again until next year! 

Wine & Dine in the Country

Cranbrook Liquors is hosting a wine dinner at The Manor Tavern on Wednesday, September 7. The five-course meal (plus dessert!) will feature dishes like grilled branzino over an arugula and fennel salad and smoked duck confit with Chinese five spice, with each course paired with an appropriate wine.

 Passion for Food & Wine

Thursday, September 8 is the fifth annual Passion for Food & Wine, an event raising funds for the Maryland chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The evening takes place at the Four Seasons and involves chefs and bartenders from restaurants all over the city. After a cocktail hour, guests take seats at tables for twelve. Each table is outfitted with a makeshift kitchen, which chefs from a local restaurant use to prepare a four-course meal. It’s fun and delicious – and the evening raises a boatload of money for CFF.

 Origins Returns

Also on September 8, Artifact Coffee’s ORIGINS series, hosted by Spike Gjerde, returns for the season. The first fall installment of the program will focus on the local poultry and egg industry, with viewpoints from three local poultry farmers. The evening includes conversation as well as drinks, snacks and dinner by the Artifact team.

There are still a few seats available for this dinner – and it’s definitely going to be a good one. Next month’s session, on October 20, will be on another fantastic topic: women farmers. 

Gertrude’s Gives Back

As if those events weren’t enough, on September 8, Gertrude’s will host a meal supporting MissionFit, a non-profit promoting fitness for young people living in underserved communities. The regular Gertrude’s menu is available and 20% of proceeds from the evening will be donated to MissionFit. 

Sing It Loud

Also on September 8, The Brewer’s Art will host BROS Night, a fundraiser to support the Baltimore Rock Opera Society’s upcoming show, Brides of Tortuga. The party will be in the Brewer’s Art basement; a portion of each craft beer purchase will help fund the production.

The Gathering of Chefs

And, finally, one more even on September 8! The Gathering, the food truck project, gets fancy for an evening with The Gathering of Chefs, a pop-up dinner held at a location kept secret until the event date is close (this one is at Lake Roland). The meal is a six-course seated dinner with wine pairings, with each course prepared by a local food truck chef or local restaurant chef.

 Planning Ahead

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

September 10: Que at the Zoo

September 15: Dining Out for Life

September 19: Spike Gjerde at the Smithsonian



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