THB, Banditos, Wayward and more confirmed for Cosmic Cocktail!

The cuisine is heavenly, I guess

The Baltimore Sun

Nuns take a vow of poverty. Bishops, not so much. They certainly don't swear off fine dining, judging by all the guys in collars eating out at one of Baltimore's hippest and priciest restaurants while in town for the U.S. Conference of Bishops' fall meeting.

Nine of them lunched Monday at Cinghiale, the latest Tony Foreman-Cindy Wolf spectacular. Thirteen, including Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, dined there that night.

Foreman wasn't surprised that His Eminence and the gang had sniffed out his restaurant, just around the corner from the conference at the plush Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Harbor East.

"If you're a bishop, you spend enough time in Rome to be out seeking good Italian food," Foreman said. "It's the easiest crowd to sell the more obscure Italian wines to. I guess it would be inappropriate to describe them as religious consumers of same."

The bishops were particularly fond of Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, Avignonesi 2004. One of them had visited the winery, which explains why they were hip to the $55-a-bottle vino once reserved for Tuscan nobility. Three tables of bishops ordered it.

"It's a very intelligent purchase, in that middle range, sort of under the radar," Foreman said. "More of an insider's wine. Very, very food flexible."

Foreman was leading a wine tasting when the bishops came in Monday. "A couple of the bishops were hitting me up to sneak into the sold-out tasting," he said. "I said, 'Hey, you guys excommunicated me when I got divorced the first time. You got nothing on me. I can get you a table for dinner -- that's about it.'"

As for what they ate, Foreman said the bishops ordered across the menu. Entrees at the place range from $26 for Baked Black Cod, Crushed Potato and Roasted Pearl Onions with Cod Milk Froth to $33 for Grilled Beef "Costata" (whatever that is), Artichoke Romana and Rosemary.

As someone raised Catholic, did Foreman think the servants of God were eating a little high on the hog? I mean, are they men of the cloth or men of the trough?

The bishops had the restaurateur's blessing.

"Catholicism prohibits many things," he said, "but eating and drinking well is not one of them, thank God."

Just a little crowd of fans

The tax breaks he promised the little guy are fading, but Martin O'Malley is still singing a working-class tune. That's because The Gov just saw The Boss.

Maryland's rocker-governor took in Sunday night's Bruce Springsteen concert at Washington's Verizon Center. He was accompanied by the first lady, District Court Judge Katie O'Malley, and six of the seven Enright siblings. Michael Enright is O'Malley's chief of staff. Kevin Enright is a spokesman for Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

"My Mom couldn't attend the concert," Kevin Enright e-mailed me.

Was it OK to include Mom in the newspaper column?

"Sure," he wrote. "I will count that as Mom's X-mas gift (that is one less box of Whitman's sampler that I don't have to get at Rite Aid)."

Connect the dots

More proof that "Annapolis" no longer means "Maryland state capital" but "Middle East peace conference." A poster in Jerusalem shows a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is under criminal investigation, behind bars. The text: "Annapolis won't save you. ... Howard County's police department is running recruitment ads on The Ed Norris Show on WHFS. Sometimes Ed Norris himself reads part of the ad. Fitting, since Norris has served as Baltimore's top cop, and the state's. Or maybe not, since Norris has also served time. "We're not looking to hire Mr. Norris," department spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn told The Sun's Melissa Harris. "We're looking to hire appropriate candidates who may be listening to his show. Our focus is to identify people who are interested in law enforcement, and we know that WHFS and that show in particular has a large percentage of listeners who currently are in law enforcement or are interested in law enforcement." ... Actor Danny Glover speaks at a rally tomorrow for hospitality workers outside the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel. The workers are pushing for better job security, wages, health care and pensions. ... Also expected at the rally, perennial candidate Bob Kaufman. But Kaufman can't stay long. He has to dash off to teach his Baltimore Free University class, "The Class Struggle Road to Socialism."

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