The holidays always creep up on me. Can you believe we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas?
If the thought of cooking another lavish family dinner feels too exhausting right now, I’ve got you covered with some leads about Baltimore-area restaurants that are serving meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (There are some take-away options, as well, for those who still prefer to eat at their own dining table.)
Also in this week’s column, I’ll fill you in on a holiday showcase for up-and-coming local food and drink vendors and share the latest on R. House’s search for two new vendors. Plus, another Ocean City restaurant is closing its doors.
Christmas Eve & Christmas dinners
Cinghiale: Spend your Christmas Eve experiencing a “Feast of the Seven Fishes” at Foreman Wolf’s upscale Italian restaurant in Harbor East. The Italian American culinary tradition features a panoply of seafood; at Cinghiale, the menu features four courses of fish and shellfish, from smoked swordfish and crispy cod antipasti to lobster agnolotti with chestnuts and grilled big eye tuna with mint pistachio pesto. $85 per person. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Copper Shark: This new Locust Point restaurant will host a prix fixe Christmas Eve dinner that starts with champagne and oysters with cranberry mignonette, and ends with a Buche de Noel, or Yule log. In between, chow down on pan-seared diver scallops, duck confit ravioli and Filet Rossini accompanied by foie gras creamed spinach, truffled mushrooms and potato mille-feuille. $85 per person, reservations required. The last seating will be at 8 p.m.
The Corner Pantry: Have a very British holiday with catering from this North Baltimore cafe. The Corner Pantry’s a la carte holiday menu features English treats like Scotch eggs, treacle glazed ham, chestnut stuffing and sticky toffee pudding. Orders are due Dec. 16, with food pickups scheduled Dec. 23.
Cosima: Choose from small plates like tuna crudo, smoked salmon arancini and oysters on the half shell with a champagne pomegranate mignonette at Cosima, known for its Sicilian cuisine. For a main course, the Hampden restaurant is offering options like pasta with sardines, cider-brined pork chop and pesto-grilled shrimp skewers for its prix fixe Christmas Eve dinner. Top it off with a traditional Christmas bread pudding for dessert. $85 per person.
Little Donna’s: This new tavern in Upper Fells Point is hosting its first Christmas Eve dinner this year, but you’d better book a reservation soon — the restaurant announced via Instagram that seats are filling up quick. A sample menu posted online shows an Eastern-Europe-meets-the-East-Coast roster of offerings, from smoked crab pierogies with sweet and sour cabbage to slow-cooked calamari stuffed with kielbasa and a spicy broccoli slaw.
My Mama’s Vegan: This vegan restaurant, which recently moved into a cafe space inside the Urban Reads Bookstore on Greenmount Avenue, will whip up an entire plant-based Christmas to-go menu with options like “turkey roast,” grape jelly “meatballs,” mac and cheese and candied Brussels sprouts. Get your orders in by Dec. 15; pickup is scheduled for Dec. 24.
NiHao: NiHao’s packaged meal for two serves up a spread of authentic Chinese cuisine. The holiday menu, available Dec. 24-26, features a half Cantonese duck, shrimp dumplings, beef zhong noodles, chili garlic cauliflower, mandarin-glazed doughnuts and more for $118. Upgrade to a whole duck for $35, or pick from an a la carte menu with dishes like hot and sour soup, Sichuan fry fish and cumin lamb sausage.
If one of your holiday goals this year is to shop local, Lexington Market has an event for you.
On Wednesday evening, 20 small food and beverage business owners will be at the market for a holiday bazaar and pitch competition showcasing their goods. Peruse food and drink offerings from Baltimore-area vendors like Deddle’s Donuts, Gangster Vegan, Los Hermanos Tequila, Jewish Jerky Brand and Kora Lee’s Dessert Café, and stick around for a pitch contest with a grand prize of $5,000 for one lucky local brand.
Each of the businesses at the market was a recent participant in Cureate Courses, a free, 10-week small business accelerator program supported by Baltimore Community Lending and funded by a University of Maryland Medical System grant. The program is getting ready to launch a new round of business courses in the spring, this time geared toward specialty crop and grain farmers, as well as caterers, specialty bakers and prepared foods producers on the Eastern Shore and in Anne Arundel and Harford counties. Applications close Jan. 18.
Tickets to the holiday market and pitch contest, which runs from 5-8:30 p.m., are $5 and include a drink.
More changes at R. House
R. House is ringing in the new year with a changing vendor lineup.
The Remington food hall announced last week that two longtime vendors, Molina Pizza and STEM Farm + Kitchen, will close shop in 2023. STEM, a vegan eatery serving juices, smoothies, salads and grain bowls, opened in 2020 and was the successor to Stall 11, an original R. House stall. Molina Pizza, which serves New Haven-style pizza and meatballs, opened in 2017. Urban Pastoral, a local real estate and economic development firm, operates both concepts.
Applications to fill the stalls are now open, and the market’s team says replacements could arrive as early as spring 2023. The food hall is searching for concepts that will complement, not compete, with other vendor stalls, according to R. House’s Instagram account.
That means tacos, fried chicken and sushi are out — but pizza, pho, ramen and vegetarian or vegan vendors are encouraged.
Chick-fil-A heads to Security Square
Last week I told you about a new Shake Shack drive-thru opening in Canton; this week, I have news of a new Chick-fil-A outpost in Baltimore County.
The popular fried chicken chain’s latest Maryland location opened Dec. 12 at Security Square Mall and marked the occasion by offering free Chick-fil-A for a year to 100 people identified as local heroes, according to a news release.
An Ocean City restaurant closes its doors
Another Ocean City restaurant is calling it quits.
Tequila Mockingbird, a Mexican restaurant boasting Maryland’s largest tequila selection with more than 300 bottles, closed its West Ocean City location for good earlier this month, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. It’s the latest eatery to close in the beach town, which also recently lost the boardwalk’s Bull on the Beach, a 42-year-old favorite for pit beef.
Another stalwart, Rosenfeld’s Jewish Delicatessen, came close to closing in Ocean City this fall, but found a second wind after cutting a deal with its landlord to stay put for at least another two years.
Though Tequila Mockingbird’s days in West Ocean City are over, fans of the restaurant and tequila bar can still head to another location, in North Ocean City.