Hot Plate: Wine Dinners at Cosima, Bar Vasquez & Wit & Wisdom, Last Saturday Brunch at Cardinal Tavern, Superfood Symposium at Mt. Vernon Marketplace

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The ragu at Cosima, which is collaborating with Librandi Wines and London chef Andrea Librandi this week on a wine dinner dubbed Quattro Mani. (Photo credit: tPoz Photography)

Late January is, famously, one of the most depressing times of year. It’s cold outside (even if, this year, it’s not that cold) and though the days are getting longer, the sun still sets awfully early.

Fortunately, Baltimore restaurants are here to breathe some life into these dark hours. This week is chock full of events, from vegan meals to decadent wine dinners. Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Fruit of the Vine

It’s a good week to be a wine-lover in Baltimore. This week, a handful of excellent venues are hosting wine events that sound truly special.

This weekend, January 28 and 29, marks the celebration of St. Vincent in Burgundy – and at Old Westminster Winery.

Drew Baker, one of the family members behind the winery, had the opportunity to experience the St. Vincent Festival in France, two years ago, with his wife, Casey. The festival, though chilly, left such a huge impression on them that they decided to bring the tradition to Westminster.

The Old Westminster festival will include live music, brick oven pizza, fire pits and tours and samples of the wine. No matter the weather, it sounds like a good time.

On Monday, January 30, Wit & Wisdom will host a four-course dinner featuring the wines of Stolpman Vineyards, a winery in Santa Barbara. Winemaker Peter Stolpman will be on hand, working with sommelier Julie Dalton and Chef Zack Mills to pair Mills’ dishes with the California wines.

A couple days later, on Wednesday, Wit’s weekly Kitchen Table series will also focus on wine. The theme is “Champagne taste on a beer budget.” Sounds fun!

Thursday, Cosima will host Quattro Mani, which is not only a wine dinner, but also a collaborative effort between Cosima chef/owner Donna Crivello and guest chef Andrea Librandi of Bacco Restaurant in London. The meal will feature the wines of the chef’s family’s winery, Librandi wines. Winery owner Paolo Librandi will also be in attendance to discuss the wines and their pairings.

On Friday, wine lovers can head to Bar Vasquez for a dinner featuring the wines of two vineyards: Amalaya and Bodega Colome. The vineyards share a winemaker, Thibaut Delmotte, who will be at the restaurant for the multi-course Argentine meal.

Brunch & Culture at Cardinal Tavern

This Saturday, January 28, Cardinal Tavern will host a “Last Saturday” brunch – the first in a three-part series of brunches to take place on the last Saturday of the month.

The events, which are hosted by Baltimore City teacher and writer Lena Tashian and Chef Steven Grant, will each feature a special menu, music, literature and conversation around the food of a particular region. This Saturday’s brunch focuses on the food of Queretaro, Mexico. Chef Orlando Prado will prepare a special four-course meal and cocktail. 

Veg-Centric

Were there any “meatless” resolutions on your list this year? If so, this is a lucky weekend for you.

On Sunday, January 29, The Room in Mt. Vernon will host a vegan brunch takeover, featuring the cooking of Hvmble Vegan Kitchen. Options include strawberry French toast, quick Florentine and several panini.

Also on Sunday, Maggie’s Farm will host a four-course vegan Creole dinner. The meal, which was created by Chef Amanda Desaulniers as a tribute to the flavors of New Orleans, features seasonal ingredients and creative approaches to vegan fare, including a Cajun-style hearts of palm “crab” cake and crispy corn hush puppies. Each course also has an optional drink pairing; they sound just as good as the food. 

Superfood Symposium

Even if you’re not going meatless for 2017, you might have resolved to live a little healthier. Mt. Vernon Marketplace and Juniper Culinary Apothecary have your back on Saturday, when they host a Superfood Symposium at the marketplace.

The event includes speakers and demonstrations, takeaway recipes, snacks and drinks, all focused on the holistic approach to cooking. Attendees will leave with a superfood starter kit…and a lot of knowledge and inspiration.

Restaurant Weeks

Did you miss Baltimore City’s Restaurant Week? Well, good news – the “week” was officially extended until this Sunday, January 29, so you still have time to make it out.

In addition, Howard County, Baltimore County and Harford County’s restaurant weeks are all underway.

Very Special Special Deals

A couple restaurants have recently announced special offers that sound fantastic.

From now until the end of the month (Tuesday!), Dooby’s has a three-course dinner deal, including any appetizer, a bowl and a cookie, for just $15. Dooby’s food is great and perfect for chilly weather, too. 

Between 2 Buns in Mt. Vernon Marketplace has just kicked off a weekly “steak night.” Every Thursday evening, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Between 2 Buns will offer a steak-sides-beer special for $20. 

Openings & Announcements

There’s some exciting news out of Harbor East this week, with the Atlas Restaurant Group announcement that the new spot taking over the Fleet Street Kitchen space will be an Italian chophouse called Tagliata.

Tagliata’s chef, Julian Marucci, was previously at Cinghiale, also in Harbor East. Tagliata will be the first Italian concept from Atlas, which also owns Ouzo Bay, Azumi and Loch Bar.

Metro Centre at Owings Mills got a new restaurant this week, when UFood Grill opened on Monday. The fast-casual restaurant serves all three meals – dishes like paninis, bowls, burgers and salads – and nothing on the menu is more than 700 calories. 

Planning Ahead

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

February 4: Heavy Seas Oyster Festival 

February 7: Irish History Dinner at Galway Bay

February 23: Kentucky Nights Bourbon Tasting at the Mt. Washington Tavern, benefiting the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital 



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