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Baltimore Diner
Baltimore restaurant news as well as Maryland eats, drinks and cooking
New Year's dining options in Baltimore

We've rounded up some New Year's Eve options for you. If we don't say otherwise, assume that reservations are required. Also assume, if we mention a prix-fixe menu, that the regular a la carte menu will not be available. With rare exceptions, early-seating options do not include access to midnight festivities.

Aggio: Bryan Voltaggio's contemporary Italian restaurant is offering seatings at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The first two seatings offer the option of a $80 ($115 with wine pairngs) three-course dinner or, for $200, the VIP New Year's Eve experience, which includes both the three-course dinner and an all-access pass to the New Year's Eve party at Power Plant Live. Guests at the 9 p.m. seating will dine from a six-course tasting menu with wine pairings. The 9 p.m. option is $135 ($200 with wine pairings). There is more information at

Apropoe's: The restaurant in the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel is offering two separate New Year's Eve options. The...

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Sip Wine and Dine now open at Ritz-Carlton Residences

Sip Wine and Dine Baltimore has opened at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, a luxury condominium complex on Key Highway. The restaurant features 72 varieties of wine available by the bottle, full glass, half glass or “by the sip,” a one-ounce taste.

The tapas-style menus for lunch, brunch and dinner are divided into sections of small, shared and large plates. Dishes include crispy baby artichoke fritters, hickory-smoked oysters, brioche grilled cheese, pan-roasted scallops and Maryland blue crab risotto.

The Sip Wine & Dine concept started in Milton, Ga., where it began as separate establishments -- a wine shop owned by Amy and Foster Smith, and a tapas restaurant and wine bar owned by Ann and Mark Jacobs.The couples now own two Sip Wine & Dines in the Atlanta in addition to the Baltimore restaurant.

Sip Wine and Dine Baltimore is at 807 Key Highway in the Inner Harbor. For information call 667-239-3105 or go to



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Blaze Pizza opens on Friday in Laurel with free pizza

The third Maryland location of Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza will open Friday in Laurel, and to celebrate, the restaurant is offering free 11-inch pizzas from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Founded in Irvine, Calif. in August 2012, Blaze features a "build-your-own-pizza" assembly line format. The chain is expanding across the country and now operates restaurants in 14 states and the District of Columbia, according to information provided by the company. The Maryland Blaze Pizza locations will be operated by AMPAL Group, a franchise group led by franchisee Amit Patel.

The first Maryland location opened this August at Montgomery Mall, and a second location opened in College Park in October. The Laurel Blaze Pizza is at the new Town Centre at 14708 Baltimore Ave. For more information call 301-483-3324 or go to

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A round-up of this year's local interest food and dining books

Here are some of the local-interest cookbooks that got our attention this year. Consider them for holiday giving, or as a gift to yourself.

"Baltimore Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from Charm City and the Surrounding Counties"  ($24.95, Globe Pequot Press) by Kathy Wielech Patterson and Neal Patterson.

Published this summer and beautifully illustrated with photographs by Kevin Maher, the book has more than 80 recipes for the home cook contributed by some of Baltimore’s best restaurant chefs. There’s a gorgeous Rhode Island quahog chowder from Eric Houseknecht of Thames Street Oyster House, a chilled lobster salad from Tom Devine of Linwood’s and, really worth a book of its own, a crab cake recipe from Nancy Longo of Pierpoint. The Pattersons, who maintain the witty and informative Minx Eats food and dining blog, are also the authors of “Food Lovers’ Guide to Baltimore.” Well researched and well organized, their new book is a beauty.

"Seafood Lover's Chesapeake Bay: Restaurants,...

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For Sunday's farmers' market finale, a Spike Gjerde demo

The 37th season of the Baltimore Farmer's Market & Bazaar is Sunday, from 7 a.m. to noon, approximately. The last day is always a nice one for strolling around and saying farewell to your favorite vendors.

But there is plenty to stock up on, including produce, meats, dairy, eggs and preserves. We saw loads of beautiful Christmas wreaths last Sunday, both plain and decorated.

On Sunday, Woodberry Kitchen's Spike Gjerde will prepare a dish of "Cheddar-y, Creamy, Garlic-y Baked Greens" near the entrance of the market's west (smaller) lot on Holliday Street.

Gjerde's demonstration is from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Nepal House and Ryleigh's Oyster set for Mount Vernon openings

Nepal House will open Sunday in the Mount Vernon space that housed the Indian restaurant Mughal Garden. The new restaurant is owned by Prem Raja Mahat, who has managed, operated and owned various restaurants featuring other cuisines of Indian, Nepalese and other regions of South Asia.

Mahat, a native of Nepal, is also a folk singer. A 2003 profile of Mahat on National Public Radio told listeners, "Think of him as Bob Dylan of Katmandu... or Elvis of the Himalayas."

Mahat said he will be singing at Nepal House, mostly on weekend nights.

Nepal House is at 918 N. Charles St. For information, call 410-547-0001.

• Ryleigh's Oyster Mount Vernon will open Tuesday in the Cathedral Street space across from Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall where Mari Luna closed back in January.

Brian McComas, who owns and operates the original Ryleigh's in Federal Hill and a second, Ryleigh's Hunt Valley, on Padonia Road, said he has made extensive renovations to the property, which was once home to...

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