If you’re hungry, you won’t be for long. Baltimore Restaurant Week kicks off today; it’s also time for the next (wildly popular) food truck gathering. Looking ahead, Baltimore Beer Week starts on October 6 — yes, for food lovers, there are quite a few reasons to get excited over the next couple of months. It all sounds great — hypothetically. Sometimes, though, things get just too crowded and confusing, and we end up skipping all these great deals and ruing it later. Some lessons we’ve learned/important info we’ve gleaned over the years:

  • Restaurant Week runs Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 14. You probably know this by now, but just in case — all participating restaurants offer a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $35.11 per person ($20.11 for lunch). This doesn’t include drinks, tip, tax, etc. — which means that it’s a pretty good deal at fancy spots, and not so great at Baltimore’s many moderately-priced restaurants. Look out for special promotions to add value to the deal; for example, the Mt. Washington Tavern offers up a complimentary glass of house wine along with your dinner, and Cinghiale lets you add  wine pairings to your meal for $24.
  • Baltimore County’s restaurant week follows shortly thereafter, from August 12-26. Similar deal, except with variable pricing:  some lunches are as cheap as $10.11, and some dinners start at $25.11 (depending on the restaurant).
  • If booking a table stresses you out, don’t fear — the past few years, restaurant week has had a “surprise” extension at many local venues; this year, The Prime Rib is already calling August “Restaurant Month,” so you have a few extra weeks to take advantage of special prices. (No Saturdays, though.)
  • If the food trucks sound more appealing (to your tastebuds or your wallet), remember to get there early this time — lots of trucks sold out early last time. The time:  5pm (til whenever food runs out); the place: 901 S. Wolfe St.