Summer must be nigh. Tables and chairs are sprouting up outside more Baltimore-area eateries. Among the latest restaurants to add outdoor dining for the first time - Owings Mills' Linwood's/Due and Charles Village's One World Cafe.
At Linwood's, umbrella-shaded tables and chairs - seating 35 - are surrounded by newly landscaped flowers, herbs and shrubbery.
"I've had this space for 14 years," owner/chef Linwood Dame says, "and [this year] I finally said, 'You know what? I should open this up and see what happens.' "
So far, so good. The first day his patio was open for business last week, it filled right up. The patio menu offers choices from both of Linwood's restaurants, but he says he can also supply any other menu favorite a customer might request.
The patio will be open for business during regular lunch and dinner hours - weather permitting. It's first-come, first-served; no reservations.
You'll find Linwood's/Due at 25 Crossroads Drive.
Meanwhile, One World (100 W. University Parkway) has made its sidewalk seating official - replacing two temporary tables outside with permanent tables and chairs for 24 people. Weather permitting, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and beyond al fresco.
Owner Isabel Fabara says she's also beefed up the restaurant's menu - although not literally. Most of the menu items are still made of organic veggies - a la Fresh Fields, as Fabara describes it (lots of pasta, stir fries). But she has added a grilled tuna steak, for customers looking for something a little meatier.
Steaking a claim
It looks like another '70s trend is enjoying a resurgence. Remember when Japanese steakhouses were all the rage? You'd sit around big Teppan grill tables and enjoy the wild-and-crazy antics of the chefs - flipping knifes, shrimp, you name it - as they prepared dinner in front of you.
They're ba-a-ack. And Sakura - a Maryland/Virginia chain - is enjoying the rediscovered popularity of the genre. It's just opened its ninth location - in Annapolis.
Manager Inyo Yung says customers seem particularly fond of the house sauces added to the stir-fried dishes. And, she says the sushi bar offers a shorter waiting time than at many other places, because the Annapolis Sakura has two sushi chefs.
The newest Sakura is at 2625 Housley Road. Hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Loco Hombre regulars will notice there's a new weekend brunch menu, courtesy of co-chefs Colin Radka and Charles Taylor.
Radka says the previous brunch items incorporated ingredients that gringos usually associate with Mexican food - various peppers, tortillas, beans, rice, salsas. He and Taylor wanted to get a little more exotic and tropical. So now, you'll find choices like Southwestern-style eggs benedict topped with a red chili hollandaise; cinnamon marbled french toast topped with a warm pineapple-coconut compote and raspberry coulis; and red chili (yes, chili!) waffles, which are ancho chili-infused waffles with fresh berries and cinnamon-sugar orange-blossom honey.
"The [hot and sweet flavors] complement each other," says Radka. "The chili touches the tip of your tongue, but isn't overpowering. But it really opens your mouth up to experience the taste of the sweetness of the orange and other flavors."
Loco Hombre, at 413 W. Coldspring Lane, is open for brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. No reservations, so get there early with your tongue in preheat mode.