When the Stalking Horse (26 E. Cross St., 410-244-6722) in Federal Hill reopened recently after extensive renovations, not much was made of the fact that the bar is more of a restaurant than it was before.
Yes, the place has a nifty new second-floor dining room and bar and a new decor that co-owner Marc McFaul describes as "not a tavern - more of a trendy New York look," with much more style. But now, as McFaul says, the bar-restaurant is also "a little more dinner-friendly."
The new menu is much more extensive. The focus is still on the stone-oven pizza, twice-baked potatoes and bar food, but now there are also pastas and more salads, plus a crab cake that McFaul will put up against any in town.
The kitchen is open from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Name change --You may have noticed that Al Pacino Cafe (900 Cathedral St., 410-962-8859) has become Kyro Pizza. There have been other changes, including an upgrade of the interior, but the owners are the same. Pretty soon the couple of other Al Pacinos in the area will become Kyros, too. It's all part of a plan to franchise the local chain; check out the new Web site at kyropizza.com.
No longer BYOB --It's a good news/bad news thing: Dogwood (911 W. 36th St., 410-889-0952) in Hampden has received its liquor license. That will be good for business, but regulars are already bemoaning the fact that they can no longer bring in their own bottles of wine.
Wine time --It's not too late to get tickets for the Taste for Life Wine Event Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event, which benefits the American Cancer Society, will have representatives from more than 40 wineries. Some 100 wines will be available for sampling, and most of them you'll be able to buy at a discount. Hors d'oeuvres, carved meats, cheeses and desserts are also on the menu.
Taste for Life is being held at Ten Oaks Ballroom (Routes 108 and 32) in Clarksville. Tickets are $65 in advance, $75 at the door. For a complete list of activities, check out tasteforlife.org or call 301-854-2287.
In good company --Gertrude's (Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, 410-889-3399) has been honored in an unusual way by Cornell University. Cornell, which has a well-known hotel and restaurant management program, selected John Shields' restaurant to be a part of its Cross Country Gourmet program. The program re-creates the menu and atmosphere of the chosen restaurants for students, faculty and staff. Past restaurants used by this program have included Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., Commander's Palace in New Orleans and Tavern on the Green in New York.
Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.