Hot Plate: St. Patrick’s Day Festivities, Brunch at The Elephant, Wine at Cinghiale & Whole Hog at Le Garage

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There’s plenty of green beer to be drunk this week, but there’s also mozzarella to be pulled, wine to be paired and a whole host of non-Irish food festivities to enjoy. Here’s a look at what Baltimore’s restaurants have planned this week:

Luck All Around

The big news is St. Patrick’s Day, the annual celebration of all things green and Irish. The holiday officially falls on March 17, a Friday this year – but Baltimore establishments and organizations are celebrating it all week long.

The bars of Baltimore County will get started early, with the Second Annual Broad Street Bar Crawl on Saturday, March 11. Ryleigh’s Oyster, Five Martini Bar and Mother’s North will be offering Irish food and drink specials, plus live music – and you can easily walk between all three.

On Thursday, March 16, Slainte will host a whiskey dinner, a four-course meal with each course paired with Irish whiskey. The dinner is part of the pub’s 17 days of St. Patrick’s Day celebration. It’s a reliably fun and welcoming spot to celebrate the Irish all month (and all year).

Also on Thursday, Bin 604 will host an Irish whiskey tasting featuring multiple whiskeys from Irish makers.

At many events, the beer is more of a focus than the food – Guinness, Harp, green beer and whiskey are part of St. Patrick’s Day traditions all over.

But Irish and Irish-American culture is about more than drinking. On St. Patrick’s Day, you can find special Irish menus at several local spots, including the Mt. Washington Tavern and Manor Tavern.

At The Corner Pantry, Chef Neill Howell – who is part British, part Irish – will be cooking up Irish dishes, including corned beef and cabbage, lamb stew, fish ‘n chips and Irish whiskey cake with Bailey’s caramel sauce.

At Tark’s – or “O’Tark’s Grill” as it is calling itself for the holiday – a special Irish menu and drink specials will be paired with live Irish music form Laura Byrne and Dominick Murray. The music will be out on the new heated patio, so even if it’s chilly, you can still enjoy the outdoors.

In Mt. Vernon, The Elephant will debut its brunch this Saturday, just in time for Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Brunch will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Dining in a space as gorgeous as The Elephant is a good way to start any weekend day off on the right foot.

And if toasts are what you crave, you have a lot of options. This year, The Greene Turtle might be starting a new tradition: at every location, the crowd will toast to the day at 4 p.m.

Boordy at Modern Cook Shop

Have brunch plans tomorrow? If not, head to Modern Cook Shop for a little midday brunch and wine fun. Starting at 1 p.m., the restaurant-shop combo will host a free tasting featuring wines from local winery Boordy Vineyards.

Meet the Butcher at Sotto Sopra

On Tuesday evening, get to know the man behind the meat at Sotto Sopra’s Carnivore’s Delight dinner. (If you got tickets, that is – the event is sold out!)

The dinner will feature a talk from Erik Oosterwijk, the founder of Fells Point Meats, plus grilled meat and wine to enjoy.

If you didn’t nab tickets for this, be sure to watch Sotto Sopra’s Facebook page for future events. They host many of them – and many sell out!

Paolo Scavino Wine at Cinghiale

Also on Tuesday, Cinghiale will host a dinner featuring the wines of Paolo Scavino. Sommelier and Scavino ambassador Riccardo Sgarra will be on hand during the five-course meal to discuss the wines. The dinner includes 10 different selections from the winemaker, paired with dishes like veal agnolotti and braised Elysian lamb shoulder with grilled lamb sweetbreads.

Go Whole Hog at Le Garage

Le Garage will host its third annual Whole Hog Feast on Wednesday, March 15. The Hampden restaurant’s kitchen will turn out small and large plates featuring all different cuts of pig, plus special pairings featuring the spirits from The Baltimore Whiskey Company and Old Line Spirits.

The menu will be available from 5 p.m. until the hog runs out.

Mozzarella in Towson

On Thursday, March 16, learn to make mozzarella at Towson Tavern. It’s the first in a series of monthly events hosted by Chesapeake Farm to Table. This month’s installment features Caputo Brothers Creamery and will include drink and appetizer specials, cheese samples and a cheese-stretching demonstration from Rynn Caputo.

Chef Sarah Acconcia Is Back in the Kitchen!

A week from Sunday – March 19 – Chef Sarah Acconcia will be popping up in the kitchen at Maggie’s Farm, cooking a five-course meal showcasing spring ingredients, prepared in a way that is both healthy and tasty.

The dinner will include creative dishes like arctic char crudo with cauliflower, lemon peel, herbs and pomegranate and braised lamb served with spring peas, baby carrots, arugula, horseradish and ramp mignonette.

Chef Acconcia is the owner of Juniper Culinary Apothecary, an uber-charming Mount Vernon Marketplace shop (if you need an unexpected spice, try her!). Before opening the shop, she was the executive chef at Maggie’s Farm, Le Garage and Bookmakers.

Donut Stop Believin’

Gertrude’s chef Doug Wetzel has a new gig. He’s still at Gertrude’s, but at the same time, he’s launching Donut Stop Believin’, a pop-up donut shop that will appear at the 32nd Street Farmer’s Market on April 1. The shop will raise money for Moveable Feast, an organization that provides meals for people living with HIV/AIDS and other challenging conditions. Part of the proceeds and 100% of all tips will go directly to Moveable Feast.

Purr-fect Coffee?

You may have heard of cat cafes, an unlikely trend that launched in Japan and has since spread throughout the world. The theme is simple – it’s a coffee shop where guests get to hang out with cats.

Baltimore is poised to get its own cat café – Charm Kitty Cafe, a partnership between the Baltimore Humane Society and Zeke’s Coffee – at Whitehall Mill. The parties launching the café have created a Kickstarter to raise the funds necessary to make this happen. If this is your cup of tea (or coffee) you might consider donating.

Bright Lights at Woodberry

Woodberry Kitchen, Parts & Labor and Grand Cru restaurateur Spike Gjerde was awarded the first ever Bright Lights Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship this week. The award, which comes from the state and was presented by Comptroller Peter Franchot, recognizes innovation from the private/nonprofit sector that boosts the state’s economy and develops new ideas.

Planning Ahead

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

March 21: Buffalo Trace dinner at Bar Vasquez 

March 25: WTMD Chili Cook-off 

April 1: The Emporiyum



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