Hot Plate: Salt Tavern closing, Peach Festival at Weber’s, chocolate tasting at Clavel and more

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It’s peach season in Baltimore, which means peach cake, peach shakes and the Weber’s Cider Mill Farm Peach Festival.

Summer produce is at its peak, which means it’s a fun (and tasty) time of year to be a chef or a diner in Baltimore’s restaurants. Here’s a look at what’s happening this week in and around the city:

Openings and announcements

Last week, we learned that Parts & Labor was closing its doors. This week, we say goodbye to another local favorite: Salt Tavern. Salt, which opened to acclaim in Butcher’s Hill 12 years ago, will close after dinner service on Saturday night and the restaurant space will transition to a special events space for private parties. This is certainly sad news both for the neighborhood, and for the city as a whole.

Some good things are happening this week, though! Towson Tavern has overhauled its menu and will debut a bunch of new offerings and events on Tuesday, Aug. 14, including a prime rib night that looks like a lot of fun.

La Calle, the new Mexican restaurant downtown, has added brunch to its lineup. It’s BYOB and on both Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 11 a.m.

Anniversary season

The Elephant celebrates its second birthday this weekend and, in honor of the anniversary, every group of guests dining there between Aug. 10 and 12 will receive a $2 bill as a thank you.

Dooby’s is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend–congratulations to them! They had a big party planned for Saturday, but it was scheduled to be held outside in Mt. Vernon and, due to the threat of thunderstorms, it has been rescheduled. So congratulations to the Dooby’s crew–and keep an eye out for the rescheduled date in September.

Peach Festival

If you haven’t had a peach yet this year, it’s time. They’re great. Peach cakes are in the stores, peach-accented dishes are on menus and it’s Peach Festival time at Weber’s Cider Mill Farm.

The Peach Festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the farm in Parkville. In addition to peachy goodies from the farm itself, there will be tons of vendors, activities and food trucks.

South Point opening

Port Covington is the place to be this weekend.

On Saturday, South Point, a brand new event space, will host an opening party. South Point is an outdoor space that will be available for events during the spring, summer and fall. Saturday’s kickoff party will include food trucks, family-friendly fun and music from DJ Cian Noteman.

Sunday at Clavel

On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Clavel will host Mercado “No Se,” a market where the Clavel staff and friends will sell art, vintage goods, mix tapes, clothing, plants and zines. Sophomore Coffee will be there with hot and iced coffee for sale. Entrance to the market is free and the wares are sure to be intriguing.

Also on Sunday, the Remington restaurant will welcome Mexico City’s La Rifa Chocolateria for a chocolate tasting and education from the company’s founder Daniel Reza Barrientos. The tasting begins at 2 p.m. (Tickets required.)

Ancestor’s Dinner at Ida B’s Table

On Sunday evening, Ida B’s chef/owner David Thomas will collaborate with chef BJ Dennis, a Charleston native and expert of Gullah Geechee cuisine, for the first of the restaurant’s new Ancestor’s Dinner series.

The Gullah Geechee are an African-American group descended from West and Central Africans; they traditionally live in the coastal areas and sea islands in the southern United States from southern North Carolina to Florida.

Gullah Geechee cuisine is typically grain-based and includes seafood and vegetables native to the Lowcountry. Chef Dennis has become something of an ambassador of the Gullah culinary culture; he’s celebrated for both his food and knowledge about his ancestors.

Foraging with Foraged

Chef Chris Amendola, owner of Foraged Eatery, might be the city’s foremost expert on foraging. This Sunday, he’ll teach a hands-on class in the subject, out in the field. There are still a couple spots left if you’re interested in learning how to find your own food while out and about in the Baltimore area.

Mixology happy hour at Chez Hugo

If you’re into interesting cocktails, Chez Hugo is the place to be on Monday, Aug. 13. That evening, a handful of the region’s best bartenders, including those from The Point, The QG, Gnocco and Volt (plus Maximo from Chez Hugo) will join together to teach a class on the art and craft of mixing cocktails. 

Joe Benny’s is Italy-bound

The Little Italy focacceria Joe Benny’s will be closed from Monday, Aug. 13 through Sept. 5, while the staff takes a vacation to Sicily. They’ll be back (and hopefully refreshed) on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Cunningham Farm tour and dinner

On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Cunningham’s chef Jay Rohlfing will host a tour of Cunningham Farms, followed by a dinner in the farm meadow prepared with ingredients from the farm itself.

It’s the absolute best time of year for local produce and dinner under the stars, so this meal is likely to be a wonderful time.

Restaurant Weeks continue

We’re now nearly a month into local Restaurant Week season, and we’re still going strong.

Though Baltimore City’s week technically ended last week, many restaurants around town have extended their deals through Sunday, so you still have time to get out and enjoy the promotion.

Baltimore County Restaurant Week started last Friday and lasts through next Saturday, Aug. 18. The many participating restaurants are offering prix fixe menus between $15 and $35.

Baltimore Vegan Restaurant Week begins on Friday, Aug. 17, and lasts until Aug. 26. The promotion, now in its third year, includes over 40 local restaurants, all of which will offer new, vegan-friendly menu options during the event.

Get ready for Battle of the Brands

Baltimore is home to tons of small companies making terrific food items, from granola to hot sauce. Many of those brands call the B-More Kitchen space in North Baltimore home.

On Aug. 23, some of those brands will come together at the Accelerator Space for some friendly competition. During the first ever Battle of the Brands, B-More Kitchen-based food companies will create dishes featuring their products, competing for the attention of celebrity judges and event attendees.

Tickets for the event are available now–grab one before they sell out.

Planning ahead

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

August 23: Summer Soiree at The Pendry 

August 23: A Night with Newton Vineyard at Magdalena 

September 30: Mermaid’s Kiss OysterFest 

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