Hot Plate: Vegan Restaurant Week, Orto turns one and more

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Alma Cocina Latina is one of about 20 local restaurants participating in Vegan Restaurant Week, which starts Friday Feb. 7.

This week is a quiet one, as Baltimore restaurants wind down and recuperate following Restaurant Week and gear up for Valentine’s Day festivities next week. That means it’s actually the best time to head out to your favorite spot or try a new one.

And even during a quiet week, local restaurants have some tricks up their sleeves. Here’s a look at what’s new this week:

Openings & Announcements
Ministry of Brewing in Upper Fells point opened Thursday.

The Manor, the restaurant and “ultra-lounge” in the gorgeous space that formerly house The Elephant and The Brass Elephant, opens on Friday.

Larder has recently launched brunch service and it’s already getting terrific feedback.

Howard County sandwich shop RegionAle is expanding. A new Canton outpost will open on Boston Street on Feb. 18.

Little Havana has renovated its event spaces and some other aspects of the restaurant and has plans in the works for a new café on the corner of Key Highway and Webster St.

Baltimore Restaurant Weeks
Restaurant week promotions are winding down but a couple are still underway.

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

Howard County Restaurant Week and Craft Beverage Week runs through Feb. 2.

Vegan Restaurant Week
As traditional restaurant weeks come to a close, Vegan Restaurant Week starts. The promotion starts Friday, Feb. 7 and runs through Feb. 23. During that time, local restaurants will place an emphasis on vegan dishes, getting creative with ingredients that don’t include meat or any animal by-products.

About 20 restaurants, scattered all over the region, will participate in Vegan Restaurant Week this month, including go-to vegetarian-friendly spots like Golden West Café, Paulie Gee’s and Land of Kush, as well as some less obvious choices, like Wicked Sisters and Little Havana.

At Alma Cocina Latina, the menu will include new plant-based specials and a heavy focus on vegan dishes.

Miss Shirley’s is another good bet for the week, with dishes like an apple sage grain sausage and hash skillet and a beets and sweets sandwich made with black-eyed pea spread, avocado mash and roasted red and yellow beets.

Bin 604 news
Last week, the owners of Bin 604 in Harbor East announced an upcoming move. This week, the news is a little different: over the weekend, the wine shop will have a $1 over cost sale on many bottles.

Zero Proof and Zero Judgement
Hotel Revival has taken its commitment to spirits-free cocktails to a new level recently, with the introduction of a “Zero Proof and Zero Judgement” drinks menu created by bartender Anna Welker, who does not drink alcohol herself. Drinks don’t need to be boozy to be interesting; it’s nice that Hotel Revival and other spots around the city are embracing that philosophy.

Ice Cream for Breakfast
Saturday is National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (yes, there’s a day for everything). Unsurprisingly, the local lactose heroes at The Charmery are on board with a fun way to celebrate.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., stop into any of the three Charmery locations for breakfast-themed flavors (like Burnt Toast, Thick Butter & Jam, Cold Pizza and Whole Bean Coffee made with coffee from Vent), a specialty “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” shake and a PJ costume contest.

Happy birthday, Orto!
Orto is officially one year old–congratulations to the whole team!

To say thank you to their customers, on Friday and Saturday, Orto will offer discounts on wines, gifts from the chef and $2 a gram for black truffles.

Italian wine dinner at Sobo Café
On Tuesday, SoBo Café hosts a five-course Italian wine dinner including dishes like white fish crudo and braised lamb. Each course is paired with a wine from Feudi San Gregorio, a winery in the Campania region of Italy.

Chocolate tasting at Cylburn
On Wednesday, head to Cylburn Arboretum for a tasting and talk dubbed “All About Chocolate!” The event, which is lead by local chocolatier Jinji Fraser, will cover the story of the cocoa plant and Fraser’s personal stories about how she sources her chocolate.

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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