Hot Plate: Orto and Alexander Brown Restaurant open, celebrate Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Year of the Pig pop-ups and more

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Celebrate Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on Saturday at The Charmery or Silver Queen Cafe

The week ahead is filled with everything from high-profile restaurant openings to celebrations offering ice cream for breakfast (you read that right) to pop-ups honoring the Year of the Pig. Here’s a look at what’s happening over the next few days:

Openings and announcements
This week is full of good news about new local restaurants.

On Saturday, Orto will open in Station North. Located in the former Bottega space, Orto is owned by Elan Kotz, a former partner in The Food Market, and the kitchen is helmed by Stefano Porcile, formerly of Colette and Chez Hugo. That’s a team that knows more than a few things about good food.

The menu will focus on vegetable-centric Italian dishes and will change frequently. Initially it will be BYOB, but a liquor license is in the works.

The Alexander Brown Restaurant, the swank new spot in the Alex Brown building, will open its doors to the public on Monday. The restaurant held a few opening events this past week. The space looks gorgeous, and early reports about the food and service are great.

Speaking of The Food Market, chef and owner Chad Gauss is expanding his reach in Hampden. On Feb. 9, he, and several partners from The Food Market and La Food Marketa will open TigerStyle, an Asian-influenced carry-out with a handful of seats. The menu will focus on stir-fried dishes. Look for TigerStyle on food delivery apps, including Grubhub, Uber Eats and Dining Dash.

A new Argentinian restaurant, La Barrita, has opened in Butcher’s Hill. It’s a meat-lover’s heaven, with numerous cuts of beef featured on the menu.

A Howard Street location has new owners with big plans. The former home of Cookers Music Bistro and, before that, Phaze 10, is under renovation and will reopen as Bentley’s, a neighborhood bar that will host live jazz.

The former home of Louie’s Bookstore Café and Ware House 518 is getting a new concept. Later this spring, it will become The Civil, a restaurant open for lunch and dinner.

The Cross Street Market team announced more new vendors last week, including Annoula’s Kitchen, Cans Filling Station, Ono Poke and Taco Love Grill.

Restaurant Weeks
Restaurant Week season is starting to wind down. Baltimore County’s ends on Saturday, Harford County’s promotion lasts through Sunday and Howard County Restaurant Week lasts through Feb. 4.

But it’s not fully over! Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week kicks off Friday, Feb. 8, and runs through Feb. 17. Restaurants all over the city are participating by featuring vegan selections on their menus. Plus, there are a handful of special events planned during the week, including a No Meat Athlete run followed by brunch at Red Emma’s on Feb. 10 and vegan drinks at Joe Squared on Feb. 12.

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
Saturday morning is an annual favorite for kids and adults alike: it’s Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!

Celebrate this very important holiday at all three locations of The Charmery, which will feature pop-up specials like Belgian waffles (in Hampden) and specialty doughnuts (in Towson), or at Silver Queen Café, which will incorporate The Charmery’s ice cream into special dishes on its own menu. (Reservations are recommended at Silver Queen.)

Monday Funday
Mondays are often quiet nights in the restaurant world, but not this week.

Firstly, it’s time to gear up for Valentine’s Day, and Johnny’s is here to get you in the spirit. On Monday, Feb. 4, the restaurant will host a class on how to create Valentine’s-inspired cocktails. 

Also on Monday night, the crew from Rye takes over Vida Taco Bar in Harbor Point for a very special industry night. Chef Cyrus Keefer will be in the kitchen and rock star bartender Perez Klebahn will be behind the bar. It’s going to be a good one.

The cover charge is $10 and covers all you can eat, with proceeds going to nonprofits No Kid Hungry and C.O.R.E.

And also that day, Cypriana gets serious about mezze with Maria’s Mezze Madness Monday. For $35, you’ll be treated to unlimited mezza, including mastixa Chios cocktails and house wine. Not a bad way to kick off the week.

The Year of the Pig
Tuesday, Feb. 5, is Chinese New Year, which means it’s time to usher in the Year of the Pig. Local restaurants are up to the challenge.

Smoke, in Cockeysville, is starting the party early with a Chinese New Year pop-up on Saturday.

The Corner Pantry will host its second annual celebration of Chinese New Year with an Asian pop-up featuring ingredients from local pig farmers, including Whistle Pig Hollow and Albright Farms. Plus, the restaurant will simultaneously celebrate its fifth anniversary. Happy anniversary to The Corner Pantry!

Clavel and Ekiben have teamed up to help ring in the new year with a special Tuesday lunch at Ekiben that is sure to be amazing.

Wine nights
Also on Tuesday, Rye Street Tavern will partner with Forlorn Hope Wines for a four-course wine dinner. Winemaker Matthew Rorick will be on hand to discuss the wines, which will be paired with dishes like squash salad with stracciatella, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate and sage (with 2016 RHV Chenin Blanc) and potted crab with Old Bay clarified butter and garlic toast points (with 2012 Nacré Semillon).

On Feb. 6, Towson Tavern features the wines of J Lohr during a four-course meal. Courses include luxe options like seared scallops over lobster ravioli in white wine cream sauce paired with the winery’s Fume Crossing Sauvignon Blanc.

Community Night at Gertrude’s
On Thursday, Feb. 7, Gertrude’s hosts a Community Night event, during which a portion of the evening’s proceeds go to charity. This week, the beneficiary of the donation is the Marian House, a housing program that provides transitional and permanent housing for homeless women and children in Baltimore City.

FeBREWary, a monthlong celebration of local craft beers, starts Friday.

All month, local breweries will debut special-release beers, host events and celebrate all there is to love about beer. Events this week include Ice Bar on the Creek, a family-friendly, outdoor beer and wine garden in Frederick on Saturday and live music at Guinness Open Gate Brewery on Tuesday, Feb. 5 (and every Tuesday all month).

This month, Guinness also releases cans of its Guinness Black IPA, the first of the brewery’s experimental beers to be available to take home. It’s available starting Feb. 1.

Planning Ahead

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

March 3: 8th Annual Ryes Up Against Cystic Fibrosis Gala
March 21: Pizza Cooking Class at Cosima
March 30: Wockenfuss Factory Tour

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