Hot Plate: Toki Underground pops up at Bluebird, restaurant weeks continue and more

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Toki Underground comes to Bluebird Cocktail Room. Image via Facebook.

With restaurant week promotions still underway across the region, lots of positive news about openings and a handful of intriguing dinners scheduled, it’s a fun week to be a food-lover in Baltimore.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the Baltimore dining scene this week:

Openings & Announcements
Ministry of Brewing will finally open its doors this week. The Upper Fells taproom was hoping to open before the end of last year but logistics got in the way.

Butterfly Tacos y Tortas, a fast casual Mexican street food spot from revered chef José Andrés, will open on the Johns Hopkins campus on Monday.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Watershed, a crab house slated to open in Cross Street Market later this year, will include a rooftop deck. The crab house is the most recent venture from Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns multiple local restaurants, including the new Fells Point crab house, The Choptank.

The Manor, the restaurant and “ultra-lounge” that will take over the space that formerly housed The Elephant and The Brass Elephant, has had its liquor license approved. The restaurant’s owners hope to open in early February.

Late next month, Philadelphia-based cheesesteak joint Tony Luke’s will open an outpost in the Horseshoe Casino’s Baltimore Marketplace food stall area.

Baltimore Restaurant Weeks
It’s still restaurant week season all over the region.

Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week technically ended but a handful of restaurants have extended the promotion through this weekend. As part of the event, restaurants offer $15 or $20 two-course brunches and lunches and three-course dinners for $25, $35 or $45.

Baltimore County’s Restaurant Week is underway, running through Feb. 1 and featuring prix fixe menus ranging from $15 to $35.

Howard County Restaurant Week also showcases the county’s craft beverage options this year, and there are a lot of them! The promotion runs through Feb. 2.

Harford County’s Restaurant Week is also in full swing; it began Jan. 17 and runs through Jan. 26. The restaurant lineup is a great one this year.

Chesapeake Oyster, Wine & Beer Festival
Oysters, wine and beer–what could be better? This Saturday, an afternoon event at The Assembly Room celebrates that fabulous trio with the 13th annual Chesapeake Oyster, Wine & Beer Festival.

The party includes tons of freshly shucked oysters, served on the half shell and grilled, and beers, wines, spirits and champagne from a variety of makers, including hometown heroes Heavy Seas Brewing.

Spanish & seasoned
On Saturday night, Seasoned Underground Supper Club hosts a Spanish-influenced dinner starting with a salad of grapefruit and charred radicchio, followed by cod croquettes with romesco sauce. The menu sounds smashing and the underground vibe of the event makes it extra fun.

Toki and Bluebird
On Sunday evening, the crew from celebrated Washington, D.C. ramen bar Toki Underground will pop up at The Bluebird Cocktail Room in Hampden.

The pop-up will be built around the Kurosawa film “Seven Samurai,” with a Japanese-centric food menu, including ramen, steamed buns and dumplings, developed collaboratively between Bluebird chef Chance Jones and Toki chef Olivier Caillabett, and a special cocktail menu including seven drinks featuring Japanese spirits.

Seatings begin at 5 p.m. Reservations will be available on Resy and (limited) walk-in seating will also be available.

Vegan love
Tuesday, Golden West Café hosts a multi-course vegan dinner, starting with charcuterie and crudités followed by a five-course tasting menu. The meal includes one specialty cocktail and additional drinks–made with vegan spirits and ingredients–will also be available for purchase.

Ida B’s on the Food Network
The Food Network continues to love the Baltimore restaurant community! This week, Ida B’s Table chef/owner David K. Thomas will make an encore appearance on “Chopped,” competing as a former Chopped Champion.

The episode will air at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Soup’s on
This week has been a chilly one, making it the perfect time to get serious about soup. On Wednesday, Cosima hosts a cooking class focused on hearty Italian winter soups. You’ll learn to prepare the soups during the class and dine on the results; dishes will also be paired with regional wines.

Origins Second Helpings
On Thursday, Artifact Coffee hosts its monthly Origins speaker and dinner series. This month’s installment is a “second helping,” with host Spike Gjerde welcoming back Bernie Herman, a historian and storyteller and the author of “A South You Never Ate – Savoring Flavor and Stories from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.”

The meal will reflect the land of Herman’s stories–including oysters, of course–and he will have copies of his book available for sale and to sign at the event.

Planning Ahead
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
Feb. 23-25: Harry Potter at The Charmery 
Feb. 28: Partying through Time Workshop at London Town 
March 11: Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner at The Milton Inn 



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