Hot Plate: Valentine’s Day spillover, Chocolate Fest at Union Collective and more

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On Tuesday, Pierpoint hosts a class on French and English cheeses. It’s one of several interesting culinary classes happening around town this week.

This week is a terrific one in the Baltimore restaurant world, with events focused on everything from chocolate to cheese to margaritas, plus a slew of delicious announcements. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Openings & Announcements
The team behind Alma Cocina Latina has a new project in the works: a café called Cielo Verde, which will open on the top floor of the American Visionary Arts Museum in the space that formerly housed Joy America Café and Encantada. Cielo Verde will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and serve items like sandwiches, soups, salads and arepitas. They’ll also have an expanded brunch on weekends.

Famous D.C. eatery Ben’s Chili Bowl will open a Baltimore outpost in the Horseshoe Casino next month.

Bullhead Pit Beef, a beloved Howard County-based food truck, is joining the ranks at Cross Street Market. The Bullhead stall is slated to open in the market sometime before baseball season starts on March 26.

The Red Star in Fells Point has a new owner and, this week, introduced a brand new menu that’s already receiving lots of praise.

Valentine’s Day spillover
Since Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, many local restaurants are extending V-Day specials through Saturday or even Sunday. Hopefully you have Friday covered, but if you’re still looking for weekend plans, you have several options:

Dutch Courage’s Valentine’s menu–including drinks like the Dr. Ruth (dimmi, ginger, lemon and sparkling wine) and dishes like mushroom pate agnolotti–is available through Sunday.

Gertrude’s will host a Valentine’s tea service on Saturday afternoon.

Ida B’s Table’s three-course meal, with dishes like quail curry with collard green oil and preserved beets, will be available on Saturday.

The Milton Inn will serve a special Valentine’s menu Saturday.

Alma Cocina Latina’s Valentine’s menu will also be available on Saturday.

Eddie’s has you covered with a $79 dinner for two, available for pickup or delivery, which is an option through Sunday.

At The QG, a prix fixe meal (including a bottle of wine), is available on Saturday evening.

Vegan Restaurant Week
Vegan Restaurant Week is still on! From now through Feb. 23, local restaurants are putting the spotlight on their vegan dishes.

Belgian Beer Fest
This weekend is the 16th annual Belgian Beer Fest at Max’s Taphouse in Fells Point. There will be events all weekend long, and a Belgian-inspired food menu.

Sweet stuff
On Sunday, the crew from Union Collective will host Chocolate Fest 2020. At Vent Coffee Roasters, grab chocolate-covered espresso beans from Pure chocolate by Jinji, then head to Union Craft Brewing for a beer aged on cocoa nibs, cinnamon and Szechuan amaro. The Charmery will offer a chocolate ice cream flight and a special shake, Well Crafted Kitchen will have specials, and Baltimore Spirits Company will have its limited release Chocolate Pear Brandy Liqueur on hand. Charm School Chocolate will also be selling its goodies.

The climax of the event will be a chocolate talk and tasting, at Vent, run by Anandi Chocolate.

President’s Day
Monday is President’s Day and while not everyone has off of work or school, some do–and a couple local restaurants are here for you.

The Alexander Brown Restaurant will be open all day.

Five and Dime Ale House will offer brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday. 

National Margarita Day
National Margarita Day is later this month but you can get a kick start on this very important holiday on Monday, when Vida Taco Bar in Harbor Point will celebrate with a margarita-making class at 3:30 p.m. It will include instruction on making several popular Vida margaritas, and there will be snacks.

Class time
Margaritas aren’t the only thing you can learn to make this week. If you’re interested in learning more about a variety of cuisines, this is a great week for you.

Saturday, Rooster & Hen in Cross Street Market will host a party featuring demos and samples of foods like handmade pasta, charcuterie boards and botanical drinks. The event is set up with different stations, so you can bounce around and find what interests you most.

Tuesday, Pierpoint Restaurant hosts a class on French and English cheeses, including tastings, discussion and paired wines.

On Wednesday, head to Cosima for a class dedicated to making handmade pastas and sauces. Executive Chef Donna Crivello will instruct the class on making seasonal pastas and sauces; the fruits of the class’s labor will be enjoyed along with regional wines.

CSA time
Spring is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships. One of the largest in the area, the CSA associated with One Straw Farm, has its registration up and running, and if you sign up by March 4, you’ll receive a discount (one week for free).

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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