Hot Plate: The Orient reopens, Bowl & A Beer pop-up at Artifact and more

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D.C. hummus shop Little Sesame will pop up at Artifact Coffee on Wednesday.

Even with snow and chilly temperatures in the forecast, Baltimore is welcoming spring this week, with the first wave of Light City events and a variety of fun food and drink activities.

This week’s HOT PLATE is brought to you by Mixolo

Openings and announcements

This weekend brings one of the most telltale signs of spring: the opening of the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar. The market opens for the season on Sunday, April 8.

Mussel Bar & Grille announced last weekend, via Facebook, that it has temporarily closed as a result of construction around the Harbor Point bridge area of Harbor East, which is complicated enough that it clearly poses challenges for the restaurants in its path. The restaurant promises it will reopen around next April, when the construction is complete.

Good news arrived this week, though, too.

The owners of Kippo Ramen, the super-popular Fells Point ramen shop, announced plans to open a restaurant, Ramen Utsuke, in the new apartment building going up at 414 Light Street. Ramen Utsuke will serve a clear broth variety of ramen, slightly different than Kippo’s creamier broth style.

Towsonites rejoiced this week when The Orient, the much-loved Asian restaurant that has been closed for about two years, reopened in a new spot next to The Melting Pot.

Shuckin’ in the Street, snow or shine

The forecast isn’t promising, but in Canton, Lee’s Pint & Shell’s fourth annual Shuckin’ in the Street block party will go on, rain or snow or shine.

The party will take place in a heated tent–no need to worry about bundling up too much– and there will be live music, crush and shot bars, food stands and 20,000 free oysters for the slurping.

Feed yourself when you see the lights

With the first part of Light City, Neighborhood Lights, starting this weekend, the city is gearing up for a couple weeks of spectacular fun. Restaurants, including Silver Queen Café, are getting in on the action.

To celebrate the Zymurgy installation in Hamilton, Silver Queen will offer $3 off full-sized pizzas and wave its corking fee today.

Baltimore Food Truck Week begins

Baltimore Food Truck Week begins today. The event, which lasts until April 15, features food truck specials and events, including stops at locations for Light City’s Neighborhood Lights portion.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ

Friday and Saturday, April 6-7, Beer, Bourbon & BBQ comes back to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The annual event is always a good time, with tons of beer and bourbon to taste and some of the best barbecue around, including pulled pork, brisket, chicken and sausages.

This year’s event also includes seminars from distillers, brewmasters and pit masters, so, as you taste, you can also learn a little about what makes the experts so good at what they do.

Friday night chicken fry

In Towson, Cunningham’s is kicking off the spring season with a Friday night chicken fry. The chicken in question hails from local farms and will be accompanied by beer, wine and boozy snowcones, plus live music and general revelry.

Chef’s Cycle fundraiser at Gunther & Co.

No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit aiming to end childhood hunger, is near and dear to the hearts of many local chefs, including Gunther & Co.’s owners Jerry and Nancy Trice.

On Tuesday, April 10, the Trices, along with many of their restaurateur friends, will host a benefit at Gunther & Co., raising money for Chef’s Cycle, a three-day, 300-mile bike ride that generates awareness and collects funds for No Kid Hungry. This year’s ride takes place in May in Santa Rosa, California, and will, hopefully, include 250 chefs from around the country.

All proceeds from Tuesday’s party will be donated to the nonprofit. Tickets are $75 per person, and guests will taste dishes and drinks from Gunther & Co. and some of the area’s best restaurants, including B&O American Brasserie, Cosima, Cunningham’s, The Food Market, La Cuchara, Magdalena and VIDA Taco Bar.

Hump Day brews

On Wednesday, April 11, Cask & Grain in Canton will pair up with Monument City Brewing Company for a beer dinner featuring the brewery’s own stuff.

The four-course dinner includes dishes like mushroom consommé with rare tuna and herb pistou, paired with the Penchant Pilsner, and tres leches cake matched with a pomegranate sour beer.

Also Wednesday night, the D.C. hummus shop Little Sesame will pop up at Artifact Coffee. Starting at 6 p.m., the Little Sesame team will collaborate with the Woodberry Kitchen crew for a dinner of hummus bowls and vegetable sides.

The mashup is the first Bowl & A Beer, a series in which the Woodberry Kitchen team pairs up with another restaurant, at Artifact, on a menu of food served in bowls and paired with beers.

Upcoming collaborations include Ida B’s Table and Hersh’s Pizza & Drinks.

Spring is in the air and on the menu

Snow or no snow, it’s springtime, and local restaurants are celebrating.

On Thursday, Ampersea will kick off patio season with an outdoor party. The waterfront restaurant is debuting a new cocktail list and will have live music, cornhole, harbor golf and raffle prizes.

In honor of warmer weather, Order & Chaos has added a handful of sunny drinks to its menu, including a lavender latte and a rosewater lemonade. The coffee shop is also now serving a couple new food items, including a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato and avocado toast.

Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival

The Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival is rapidly approaching, set for Saturday, April 14. Now is the time to get tickets.

The festival, in its inaugural year, has a solid lineup of local breweries and wineries, including favorites like Waverly Brewing Company, Heavy Seas Beer and Fiore Winery, and newer additions to the region that have been making a splash, like Reckless Aleworks and Broken Spoke Winery. A handful of distilleries will also be on hand, including Lyon Distilling Company and Old Line Spirits, among others.

To keep up your energy between drinks, look for food trucks nearby, serving everything from tacos and seafood to pit beef and gourmet pork rinds.

Planning Ahead

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

April 21: Winemaking workshop at Charm City Farms 

April 26: Chalk Hill Wine Dinner at Linwoods 

June 15: Twilight on the Terrace at Gertrude’s

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