* Have you noticed that things are a little simpler when you eat out? "I'm seeing a lot more fresh food left alone," says local restaurant consultant Diane Neas, "and interesting meats without sauce." For example, the mixed grill at the Brass Elephant.
Ms. Neas' other top trends on local menus include "chicken, chicken, chicken"; a renewed interest in pork as the American Pork Council gets the word out; and a greater acceptance of farm-raised fish because seafood is getting more and more expensive.
* Baltimore will have a noodle house extraordinaire when Carole Chinn, former owner of the Cross St. Cheese Company, opens Tenohsix in the next few weeks. Located at 1006 Light St. where Champagne Tony's used to be, the new restaurant will offer Asian noodle dishes and soups, American noodle casseroles and Italian pasta dishes.
Pacific Rim plates
* Bill Bateman's Bistro opens in early October where Poulet was at 7800 York Road. Besides the Buffalo wings, burgers, ribs and steaks Mr. Bateman's other places are known for, the bistro will feature Southwest and Pacific Rim dishes introduced by chef Kent Pelletier.
Brake for breakfast
* I've heard good things about the old-fashioned breakfast at Sanders' Corner -- poached eggs, omelets, scrapple, English muffins, pancakes and more. Open seven days a week at 8 a.m., Sanders' is a good place to keep in mind after an early morning bike ride around nearby Loch Raven Reservoir.
Cuba meets iddle East
* Cover to Cover, the Columbia bookstore-cafe, now serves Cuban and Middle Eastern food along with the usual sandwiches and soups. The most popular dish? Probably the "mjdar," rice and lentils with fried onions, pine nuts and yogurt.
Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.