Hot Plate: homemade hot sauce, a new culinary school, beer label artistry and more – Baltimore Fishbowl

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Charm City is spicy this week with the launch of a few new locally-made hot sauces.

From red wine to hot sauce, this week has a little something for all Baltimore food lovers. Here’s a look at what’s happening on the local restaurant scene:

Openings & announcements
This week brings news of a handful of very welcome reopenings, including Ottobar and the Mt. Washington Tavern.

Unfortunately, this week also has some bad news: Dimitri’s International Grille, a Catonsville staple since the 1960s, is closing its doors.

What’s new
Local restaurants are staying nimble, adjusting their menus and business approaches to keep up with the constantly evolving landscape.

Now that the one-hour dining restriction has been lifted in the city, Charleston’s tasting menu is back; you can once again linger over Chef Cindy Wolf’s gorgeous food.

Hersh’s has tweaked its menu to offer bigger pies, subs and more carryout-friendly options vs. its normal trattoria menu (which will be back someday).

In Fells Point, Red Star is going full Italian-American, featuring dinner five nights a week (the pastas look incredible) and building out bottle shop.

New culinary school
In March, the Franciscan Center will launch a 12/13-week culinary school program called Digital Plates Culinary Training Academy. Students of the program will primarily be current or former clients of the Franciscan Center, which is a support program for people in economically disadvantaged situations.

Each student will be paired with a social worker for a year; the goal is to help students find jobs and navigate other obstacles potentially getting in the way of their success.

The Academy will be run by Chef Steve Allbright, a Stratford University grad who has worked at numerous spots around town, including The Capital Grille, Iron Rooster and City Seeds.

European “tour” with Le Comptoir du Vin
Le Comptoir du Vin has a new monthly subscription service that sounds fabulous. There are two options – one wine-focused and one that features interesting Euro-inspired pantry items, from cheese to capers.

Black History Month
As Black History Month winds down, Jason Bass – the co-founder of The Night Brunch and Director of Culture and Impact at Hotel Revival – is also wrapping up an Instagram series featuring recipes from Toni-Tipton Martin’s cookbook, Jubilee. The final installment of the series premieres Sunday at 9 a.m.; Bass will prepare Martin’s gingerbread waffles and cream and will talk about the influence and history of Black food in America.

Hot sauce central
It’s a good time to be a local hot sauce fan.

David Thomas, of H3irloom, has developed a pair of small batch hot sauces: a traditional American hot sauce called SWEAT and a West African-inspired pepper sauce called SOSU. Both are currently available to H3irloom Food Group newsletter subscribers.

The crew behind The City That Breeds podcast has also created a website for its wares – including hot sauce and jerky. Checkout Mobtown Meat Snacks for salty, spicy goodness.

Vermouth is hot
Vermouth seems to be one of the next big things in craft spirits – and The Wine Collective is leading the trend here in Baltimore. The Union Collective company has developed its own vermouth, Vermú Rosé, a small batch vermouth made with Maryland grapes.

Vegan Restaurant Week
This is your last opportunity to take advantage of Maryland Vegan Restaurant Week: it ends on Sunday.

Woodberry pop-up
This weekend, Woodberry Kitchen will host its last weekend pop-up (for now). The theme? Square pizza. The menu includes antipasto, pizza and chipwhich options, making for a nice round (or square) meal.

Elkridge Furnace Inn events
This weekend is a busy one at Elkridge Furnace Inn, with a couple fun events – something for both day and night.

Midday on Saturday, the Inn hosts a Paris-themed tea, starting at 11 a.m. The bistro-inspired event features a four-course tea service with everything from croissants to quiche.

Saturday evening, the Inn goes red with a Big Reds wine dinner, a five-course meal paired with serious red wines.

HoCo fundraising
Saturday night, the Howard County Library System’s annual fundraiser, Evening in the Stacks, is going virtual, with an online Italian cooking class, an online winemaking tour and truffle hunt, and even a Southern Italy dance party.

Local partners for the event include Tino’s Italian Bistro, Aida Bistro & Wine Bar, La Prima Catering and The Wine Bin.

On Monday, Walker’s Tap & Table will donate 10% of all carryout and dine-in sales to the Howard County Farm Bureau.

Learning about labels
On Wednesday, the crew from Union Craft Brewing will join other regional experts for an online talk on “the art of the beer label.” Join in via Facebook live to learn about how artists create eye-catching beer labels.

Gearing up for St. Pat
Irish Heritage Month starts on Monday and with it comes the start of a celebration of all things green and lucky.

At Guinness Open Gate Brewery, the celebration of St. Patrick will start early and last all month long. Starting Thursday, March 4, the brewery will host 17 Days of St. Patrick’s Day, featuring entertainment, special beers and food pairings every Thursday through Sunday during the month of March. The brewery will, of course, also be open on St. Patrick’s Day proper, Wednesday, March 17.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
March 6: Whiskey, Wine & Fire at Manor Tavern 
March 27: Make Your Own Mixers with CaNe Collective at Sagamore Spirit 

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