Hot Plate: Pasta at Cosima, Cinghiale Turns 10, Gnocco’s Brian Lavin Is a Zagat 30 Under 30 Chef

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Starting this week, Cosima will offer half-priced pasta dishes on Tuesdays.

With a festival-filled weekend, parties raising funds for great causes and the return of seasonal specials and events, this week is a good one for Baltimore food lovers. Here’s a look at what’s happening in and around town:

Local Chefs, National Spotlight

Here in Baltimore, we know our chefs are world-class talents. The rest of the world is taking notice lately, too.

Gnocco chef/partner Brian Lavin was named to Zagat’s prestigious 30 under 30 list, recognizing the best young chefs from around the country. If you haven’t been to Gnocco yet, get there: Chef Lavin’s food is terrific and the place is full of charm.

Next month, La Cuchara chef/owner Ben Lefenfeld will compete in the Rooftop Iron Chef Showdown at the Food Network & Cooking Channel’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, a massive culinary event.

Happy Birthday, Cinghiale!

Cinghiale, the fabulous Italian restaurant in Harbor East, turns 10 this week. The restaurant will celebrate the anniversary (on Thursday) with complimentary glasses of prosecco and half-priced bottles from their impressive wine cellar.

Festival Season

It’s prime time for outdoor festivals in Baltimore, including two big ones taking place this Saturday.

The Baltimore Seafood Festival, returning for its fourth year, will take place at Canton Waterfront Park. The festival includes all different types of local seafood preparations, from crab soup to oysters on the half shell.

Also Saturday, Harbor Point will be abuzz with brunch. Starting at 11 a.m., Baltimore Brunch Fest will take over Harbor Point’s Central Plaza. The event includes all you can eat brunch foods and drinks, including a Bloody Mary bar, a mimosa bar and a rose bar.

Tour de Farms Returns

On Sunday, September 17, the Foodshed restaurant group (the company behind spots like Woodberry Kitchen and Parts & Labor) hosts its second annual Tour de Farms, with help from Race Pace Bicycles.

The event is a bike ride through four urban farms located in Baltimore City.

The event starts at Bird in Hand in Charles Village, includes lunch at Parts & Labor, and ends with an after party and pig roast at The Sandlot.

Art to Dine For

On Monday, head to The HandleBar Café for Art to Dine For, a party featuring wood-fired pizzas, heavy appetizers, beer and wine and artist Kelly L. Walker’s abstract works.

Burger Time

Monday, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day and the Mt. Washington Tavern is celebrating with half-priced burgers all day – which seems like a good reason for a burger.

Salt Tavern has recently introduced “The Happier Meal” – which does not look like anything that would come in a box or through a drive through. The $20 meal, which is offered every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., includes a Wagyu-Foie Gras slider, a small order of duck fat fries and a chocolate bourbon milk shake.

Now through November 19, guests in the lounge at The Capital Grille can order a great $25 meal – a Wagyu burger paired with a very special glass of red wine (one that’s not usually available by the glass).

Pasta Season

Cooler weather means more pasta – it’s the season! Starting this week, Cosima will offer all pasta dishes at 50% off every Tuesday – that’s a great deal for their excellent pasta.

Origins Is Back

The Origins Speaker Series at Artifact Coffee returns this Tuesday, September 19, with a focus on GMOs. The conversation will be led by McKay Jenkins, English, Journalism and Environmental Humanities professor and the author of Food Fight, GMOs and the Future of the American Diet.

Drinking for a Cause

On Tuesday, Avenue Kitchen & Bar will host Sauvignon Blanc for Texas. The event includes tastings of 12 Sauvignon Blancs and a discounted dinner purchase and proceeds go to the Red Cross for their post-hurricane efforts in Texas.

At Clavel, all profits from mezcals from the Isthmus Tehuantepec region will be donated to an Oaxacan coastal relief fund aiding those in the region who were affected by last week’s earthquake.

Healthy Heads-Up

Local Giant Food stores are holding in-store Type 2 diabetes prevention classes – you can register for the free year-long classes from now through September 30. The classes include a year of weekly sessions with a licensed dietitian/nutritionist and are designed for people with prediabetes who are interested in losing weight, being more active, eating healthier and managing stress.

Local Flavors

On Wednesday, The Milton Inn will host a Taste of the Chesapeake Wine Dinner, featuring four courses of local dishes – think soft shells and rockfish – paired with wines from Hydes’ own Boordy Vineyards.

Taste of Towson

On Thursday, September 21, Towson’s eateries will converge on SECU Arena at Towson University for Taste of Towson, a food event benefiting programs run by the Towson Chamber of Commerce.

OktoberFeast at Birroteca

At Birroteca, Oktoberfest starts early – just like it does in Germany – with a feast on the patio on Thursday evening. The meal will be Italian, but with some German influences (think pretzels and beer cheese), and will be served family-style. Plus, it will be accompanied by pitchers of Oktoberfest-style beers.

Star Power at Ida B’s

Brand new modern soul food spot Ida B’s Table, which has opened to rave reviews, has created a stellar lineup of grand opening events. On September 23, actor Danny Glover will be at the restaurant for an already sold-out gumbo event. On September 24, actress, dancer and storyteller Maria Broom will entertain at brunch, and on September 26, highly respected culinary historian Michael Twitty will be there discussing his book The Cooking Gene.

Mark Your Calendars

On October 19, the MS Society will host On the Move Baltimore, a food and wine-oriented event raising both money and awareness for multiple sclerosis. The event takes place at the American Visionary Arts Museum. Local restaurants like Birroteca, Encantada and Flavor Cupcakery are participating and it’s sure to be a fun evening.

Planning Ahead

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

October 2: Farm to Chef Maryland 

October 8: The Smoke Show with The Food Market & Smoke

October 12: Moet Oyster Ball at Ryleigh’s

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