IF MONDAYS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE quietest restaurant night of the week, Baltimore's stylish Pazo eatery certainly wasn't following convention. The place popped with pizazz -- thanks to a couple hundred foodies.
Welcome to Fiesta on the Terraza -- an evening of food and wine, with the night's proceeds going to Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit dedicated to fighting childhood hunger.
This was the final stop on a 12-city tour of similar dinners staged at restaurants across the country in an SOS program called "A Tasteful Pursuit." And SOS special events director Joe Allegro announced that it seemed the best had been saved for the last.
"This place is incredible. ... I've tried all the passed-around hors d'oeuvres, but the names are all too fancy for me to remember," he said with a laugh.
"It's a great energy. This is the most beautiful space we've been in, and we've eaten all over the world," added comedian / magician Billy Harris, who travels with Allegro as emcee of the Tasteful Pursuits dinners.
At Pazo, there were about 10 different wines to taste, and a seemingly unending parade of tapas being offered by servers. And then came the piece de resistance. The crowd oohed upon the arrival of a huge platter of a paella-style Spanish rice, garnished with braised lamb shanks.
A DRINK WITH TONY FOREMAN
BALTIMORE NATIVE TONY FOREman, 41, has been in the restaurant business almost his entire life. He and his wife, chef Cindy Wolf, own Charleston, Petit Louis Bistro, Pazo and the Bin 604 wine shop. And very soon, they will be opening their fourth restaurant, Cinghiale in Harbor East.
You own all these different restaurants, with different cuisines. What's your favorite food?
That's a very difficult question. Whatever is best today. Whatever is of the moment. In April, it's gonna be squash blossoms. In June, it's gonna be soft shells. I could go week by week.
When you have a little time to yourself, what do you like to do?
Bizarrely, I like to cook and entertain. ... I like to exercise every day. [I like] going to Ravens games with my dad.
What do you think would surprise people to know about you?
Maybe it's that I wouldn't like to live anywhere else. As much as I like visiting other places, I don't think I could live in any of them. ... [Another surprise might be that] I'm a mimic. That's the reason I can learn languages so fast. I'm pretty good at five: Spanish, Italian, French, German and English.
How would you describe your life?
It's funny. In my business, you deal with a lot of people and a lot of personnel. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was teach history and coach football. So, what do I end up doing? The same thing. Without the collisions.
ONLINE Sloane Brown takes you to the party with a calendar of coming events and video reports at baltimoresun.com / scene