Hot Plate: Oysterfest takes over Cross Street, Baltimore Beer Week spills all over the city, wine dinners explore the grapes of Italy

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Ryleigh’s Oyster’s 12th annual Oysterfest takes place in Federal Hill this weekend. It’s one of several fun food festivals around Baltimore this week.

From oysters and beer by the boatload to refined dinners showcasing the fine wines of Italy, this week is a big one for food lovers in Baltimore. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & Announcements

The old Lost City Diner space in Station North will soon be occupied again, according to this chat between Jmore’s Amanda Krotki and longtime food critic Richard Gorelick (start at around 12:50 for that news). Reportedly, a pop-up burger, fries and onion ring spot will take over the space for the next three months, starting next week. After that, a more permanent restaurant, which Gorelick said will be owned by Bottega owner Adrien Aeschliman, will open.

Sad news this week for Mt. Washingtonites: Nickel Taphouse has closed. The restaurant, which opened in 2013, closed earlier this week. Owner Robbin Haas’ other local restaurants, Birroteca and Encantada, remain open.

Library after Hours

Kara Mae Harris, the writer behind the blog Old Line Plate, might have more knowledge of Maryland’s culinary history than anyone else out there. She’ll be at the Cecil County Public Library in Elkton today to share some of that knowledge.

Harris’ massive collection of historic cookbooks written by regional writers fuels her knowledge. If you’re a fan of culinary history, check out this event (and her blog).

Baltimore Beer Week

Baltimore Beer Week is back, now in its 10th year! The celebration of suds starts today and lasts through the following Sunday, Oct. 21. The week includes dozens of events, from tap takeovers to local brewing competitions, new releases and bar crawls. Every day, bars and breweries all over the city are getting in on the action.

A couple highlights include a cask-conditioned ale battle at The Wharf Rat today, a “sausage party” with barrel-aged beers at Brewer’s Art on Saturday, a screening of the beer industry movie “Brewmore” at The Parkway Theater on Sunday and the release of three new small-batch beers from Guinness.

The company’s new beer trio, called the Crosslands series, includes a honey ale made with the sweet stuff from the makers at Apex Bee Company, a barleywine and a saison with pink guava. Each new beer will be launched at an Open Gate Brewery event during Beer Week.

All things oyster

This weekend, Ryleigh’s Oyster’s 12th annual Oysterfest takes over Federal Hill for two days of slurping and sipping. The festival includes an oyster shucking competition, tasting tents and tons of oysters. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Oyster Recovery Partnership and Living Classrooms Foundation.

On Oct. 15, The Local Oyster will pop up at LB Tavern (at the Lord Baltimore Hotel) for an oyster happy hour in honor of National Seafood Month. Oysters will be $1.50 each or $15 for a dozen, a great deal. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m.

Festival weekend

Oysterfest isn’t this weekend’s only festival!

The annual Fells Point Fun Festival takes place this Saturday. The free festival, now in its 52nd year, is always a great time, with live music, drinks and tons of food.

Also on Saturday, Das Best Oktoberfest takes over M&T Stadium starting at noon. The party includes live entertainment, brats and other German food, a homebrew contest and tons of beers to taste.

Sunday, Birroteca gets autumnal with the Harvest Hoedown Festival. The party includes a pizza eating contest, bobbing for apples, pumpkin painting, marshmallow roasting and live music. Plus, a portion of proceeds will be donated to the Baltimore City Fire Foundation.

Also on Sunday, Canton Waterfront Park will come alive with The Immigrant and Refugee Food Festival. The festival will feature food from all over the world, from Syria to Haiti to the Philippines, made by immigrants who have made their way to Charm City.

Passport to Peru

On Sunday, the Maryland Club will go Peruvian during the 2018 Passport to Peru Gala benefiting Hope for Morrope. The event, which will include cultural dancing and Andean music, plus a variety of food, will raise money specifically for the University Building Fund for Morrope, Peru.

A Night under the Stars

Also on Sunday, The Elephant’s Mt. Vernon location will close for the day as the restaurant’s crew will be at Roots Farm at McDonogh School to prepare an al fresco meal.

The Elephant crew will partner with Roots Farm’s chief farmer, Sharon Hood, to create a five-course meal using the farm’s fresh produce.

One-star evening at Waverly Brewing

If, by Wednesday, you need to blow off some steam, Waverly Brewing Company is the place to do it. That evening, local beer makers will gather there to read some of their “most colorful” online reviews. The event, which sounds like a blast, will be moderated by Chris Sands of The Uncapped Podcast. And yes, there will be a “winner,” as the reader of the worst online review will go home with a trophy.

Deep dives at Cosima

Also on Wednesday, Cosima will offer a cooking class focusing on autumnal flavors in Sicilian dishes. The class, taught by executive chef Donna Crivello, will include dishes like butternut squash with ricotta gnocchi and braised wild boar with housemade sausage. Attendees will dine on the dishes demonstrated, along with thoughtfully paired regional wines.

Speaking of Cosima: Start planning now for Oct. 24, when the restaurant teams up with Sicilian winery Menhir Salento for a five-course wine dinner. It will includes dishes like sea urchin crudo paired with a 2016 Verdeca and crispy pork cheeks with a 2016 Primitivo.

The dinner is a celebration of sorts for Cosima beverage director Kristen Starks, who recently returned from an eight-week master course at the winery. During the dinner, she’ll share the knowledge she gleaned from the trip (some of it, anyway).

Supporting farm fresh purchases

On Thursday, Oct. 18, local restaurants are banding together to support Maryland Market Money, a program that provides matching funds for farmer’s market purchases made using federal food assistance. There are 22 farmer’s markets in Maryland participating in the program; at each, shoppers using federal assistance will have double the purchasing power.

During Thursday’s event, Feast for Farms & Families, local restaurants and food businesses will donate a percentage of their earnings to the organization. Participants include Artifact Coffee, Atwater’s , Blacksauce Kitchen, Hex Ferments, LB Tavern, The Charmery and Well Crafted Kitchen

Sardinia wine dinner

Also on Thursday, Café Troia will host a wine dinner exploring the wines of Sardinia. The dinner is part of the Giro d’Italia series: on the third Thursday of each month, the restaurant looks at the wines and regional culinary specialties associated with one part of Italy.

This month’s focus on Sardinia includes dishes like calamari with zucchini and carasau bread paired with Dettori Renosu Bianco, and turban of sole with shrimp and chickpea velouté paired with Dettori Cannonau.

Planning Ahead

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

October 28: Maryland Food Truck Festival 

November 3: Baltimore Craft Beer Festival 

November 11: Moveable Feast Chili Cookoff at Union Craft Brewing

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