Hot Plate: Sophomore Coffee opens, new spring menus all over town, Easter options and more

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Menus all over the city have been updated for spring, including at Order & Chaos, where there are several new seasonal coffee and tea drinks available. Photo via Order & Chaos.

Spring weather brings openings, updated menus and opportunities for outdoor dining this week. Plus, it’s time to start thinking about Easter plans, for which Baltimore restaurants have you covered.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings and announcements
Sophomore Coffee opens in Old Goucher on Saturday. The coffee shop, run by an alum of LAMILL Coffee Boutique, the beloved coffee shop formerly located the in Four Seasons Hotel, is attached to wine bar/beer garden Fadensonnen.

Pho Viet has added a second location. The new spot is on E. Redwood Street downtown, in the former home of Zeke’s Cafe.

Chef Andrew Weinzirl will be the executive chef at The Choptank when it opens later this year. Chef Weinzirl, most recently at The Brewer’s Art, is a Carroll County native and has worked in kitchens all over the city.

Spring things
The weather keeps getting warmer (mostly) and local restaurants continue to take advantage.

Garden Party, the outdoor bar at The Rotunda, opened last weekend. Until May, Garden Party will be open in nice weather, typically from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. From May through October, when the weather is more consistent, hours will be extended.

Magdalena’s courtyard opens on Thursday, April 18, with live music from Ebb & Nova.

The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar–a.k.a. the JFX farmer’s market–reopened for the season last Sunday.

Softshells are back on the menu at Gertrude’s, a sure sign spring is in the air.

Maryland crab season is here, which means local crab is all over Silver Queen Café’s new menu, appearing on everything from pizza to fries.

Ground & Griddled has new spring coffees coming to the menu. The R. House eatery is hosting a coffee cupping/tasting on Tuesday, April 16, at noon.

Maggie’s Farm has a new spring/summer menu for the season.

The menu at Foraged is always changing, but right now is an especially exciting time: it’s fiddlehead season!

Order & Chaos has a new specialty drink menu for the season, including concoctions like Peachy Keen (peach puree, lemon juice, sparkling water, mint and raspberries) and Matcha Mint Fizz (matcha green tea, mint and vanilla).

Crushing it
You may have heard that Oriole Chris Davis has a bit of a streak going on… albeit not a good one. A couple local organizations are finding ways to keep the city hopeful when he comes up to bat.

When Davis next gets a hit, Lee’s Pint & Shell will offer free Smirnoff crushes and Natty Bohs for two hours (you have to be there prior to the hit to take advantage).

The Friday after Davis’ first hit, Power Plant Live! will give away 1,000 orange crushes (or 1,500 if it’s a home run).

Maryland Food Truck Week
Maryland Food Truck Week starts Friday and lasts through April 21.

Throughout, there will be fun food truck-focused events all over the region, including a kickoff party on Friday at South Point, a “lunch-off” at the first Harbor Market of the season, also on Friday, and trucks fueling the crowd at a Baltimore County skatepark fundraiser at Union Collective on Sunday afternoon. The week as a whole benefits Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.

Sour Me Ale Festival at DuClaw
On Saturday, DuClaw Brewing Company hosts a huge party focusing specifically on sour beers. The event includes a wide array of sours, including some exclusive to the festival, plus live music and The Jolly Pig and Bmore Greek Grill food trucks.

Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival
This Saturday is also the second annual Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival. The event, which takes place on the grounds of the Lock House Museum in Havre de Grace, features libations from tons of local breweries and wineries, plus live music, artisans and local food.

Bar Shouji Pop-up at Salt Tavern
Miss the space at Salt already? This Sunday, you can head back there for a pop-up from Bar Shouji, featuring “Chinese-style” small plates and drinks from Steve Lamb of The Ready Room Cocktail Bar. Dishes include treats like disco eggplant with mapo pork and fontina, and red braised lamb rice cakes with fennel, fermented cabbage, and pasilla crisps.

Oysters at Manor Tavern
Manor Tavern’s annual Oyster Festival returns on Sunday afternoon. The party includes live music, beer trucks, cocktail specials, fun activities for kids and, of course, tons and tons of oysters.

Behind the Bar at Bluebird
On Sunday, Bluebird Cocktail Room hosts an “intimate cocktail class and tasting” giving attendees a look at how to make drinks from the new spring menu.

Jerk Jam at Waverly
Also on Sunday, chef Dwight Campbell and his catering company Brothers’ Whim will pop up at Waverly Brewing, serving jerk chicken to pair with Waverly’s brews.

Soothe your tax day sorrows at Sotto Sopra
Celebrate–or mourn–the end of tax season on Monday at Sotto Sopra, where the kitchen will offer a special menu of $10 pastas in honor of the day.

Second Sundays crab feasts at Full Tilt
This Sunday, Full Tilt Brewing kicks off a monthly crab feast in the taproom. On the second Sunday of every month from April through October, Full Tilt will offer crabs sold by the dozen.

This month, the crabs are provided by Watermans Pride Seafood and the menu also includes corn, shrimp, Chincoteague oysters and shrimp salad sandwiches.

Big Night at La Scala
Love the movie “Big Night”? Tuesday, April 16 is your annual chance to see it the right way, at La Scala, accompanied by a thematically oriented menu.

Conversations about food
Wednesday, April 17, is a terrific night to head out if you’re interested in the intellectual side of food. That evening, a pair of food-related talks cover everything from domesticated bees to food culture’s role in our lives.

At Larder, the new spot set to open next to Fadensonnen, Sarah Taber will host a talk covering sustainable agriculture, urban farming and the aforementioned bees. Taber is a freelance crop veterinarian and host of the podcast “Farm to Taber.”

The same night, join local food experts, including Alan Hirsch (of Donna’s and Cosima fame), microbiologist and co-founder of Center for Science in the Public Interest Michael Jacobson, James Beard Award-winning reporter Maura Judkis, and chef Malcom Mitchell, founder of healthy school lunch program Brain Food, for a Great Talk program focused on food and what it means to us.

Dubbed “Pleasures or Poisons: The Science & Culture of Food,” the discussion will be moderated by WBAL-TV news anchor Deborah Weiner and take place at the Doubletree Hilton in Pikesville.

Coastal conservation at the Gramercy Mansion
On Thursday, April 18, Coastal Conservation Association Maryland will host a fundraising wine winner at the Gramercy Mansion.

The dinner, catered by Chef’s Expressions, will feature sustainable seafood dishes paired with wines from environmentally-friendly wineries. Courses include dishes like Atlantic sea scallops with toasted almond and red apple streusel and watermelon radishes paired with a Pinot Gris from Balo Vineyards in California, and a poached duck egg with roasted celeriac puree and parmesan paired with Oxford Landing Chardonnay from Australia.

Gearing up for Easter
Easter comes late this year, with the holiday falling on Sunday, April 21. That’s still over a week away, but now is the time to make brunch or dinner reservations. Local restaurants have a lot planned.

Hersh’s doesn’t usually serve brunch, but the restaurant makes an exception for Easter and Mother’s Day. The menu this holiday includes dishes like wood-fired eggs in purgatory and wood-fired coconut pancakes.

Towson Tavern’s brunch buffet will include classics like eggs Benedict as well as some seasonal dishes like crab pesto tortellini with asparagus, tomato and spinach.

At Johnny’s, an Easter brunch buffet includes an omelette station and a roasted spring lamb carving station. The dining room will also be open for dinner, with the regular à la carte menu.

Café Troia will be open for brunch and dinner. The brunch menu includes dishes like eggs Benedict as well as Italian specialties like goat cheese ravioli with orange reduction, fennel powder and pecorino shavings.

Topside in the Hotel Revival will have brunch specials starting at 10 a.m.

Red Star Charles Village’s Easter brunch includes specials and bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Cinghiale’s Easter dinner specials include spit-roasted leg of lamb and spinach and ravioli all uovo.

Easter at Roy’s includes brunch and dinner options. The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, and dishes will include Easter classics like steak and eggs as well as Hawaiian-influenced dishes like Kalua Pork Benedict with shiso bearnaise.

The Four Seasons will host a brunch in the ballroom featuring live music, an egg hunt and bunny photos for kids, and a wide variety of food stations.

At the Lord Baltimore Hotel, the buffet will include dishes like herb-crusted lamb and gravlax with house-cured Maine salmon.

Alizee’s Easter menu includes everything from chicken wings to a raw bar.

Chez Hugo will be open for Easter brunch, with a special holiday menu.

At The Milton Inn, brunch will be two or three courses, with a special menu including dishes like beef tenderloin tartare and southern-style chicken and waffles.

Cosima’s brunch menu includes dishes like grilled asparagus with a duck egg, crispy duck breast and lemon aioli and polenta with marinara, poached egg and salami crisps.

Rusty Scupper’s Easter brunch includes traditional breakfast items, plus seafood specials and a raw bar and stations including prime rib, ham and lamb. Dinner will feature an à la carte menu of some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

Petit Louis will serve its full à la carte menu for Easter brunch and dinner, plus a handful of specials including herb-crusted leg of lamb and a shellfish bisque with poached shrimp.

If you’d like to eat at home but skip the cooking, Eddie’s has special catering menus designed for Easter and PassoverClassic Catering also has menus for both holidays.

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

April 20: Goats at Waverly Farmers Market 
April 28: April in Paris at Petit Louis 
April 28: Greek Easter at Cypriana



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