Heating Up: December Shake up your dinner plans with these cool new spots.


_dsc2361Keep the Change

Greg Keating of 206 Restaurant Group wants to make one thing very clear: Five & Dime Ale House is not trendy. “We’re not trying to reinvent anything,” he says of the new Hampden restaurant, which opened in October. “There’s lots of cutting-edge stuff happening [in Baltimore], but we’re more of your neighborhood place to go watch the game.” The space, which is nestled into a former G.C. Murphy’s five-and-dime shop on The Avenue, is cool but comfortable: Exposed brick, Edison bulbs and the shop’s original ceilings support Keating’s vision of an always-been-here feeling. But while you can certainly get a Caesar salad or a burger and fries at F&D, the menu isn’t without its surprises: a “Srirachos” appetizer, Rice Krispie-battered Oreos and the eatery’s signature dish, the “Juicy Bluecy” bleu-cheese-stuffed burger with bacon jam and garlic aioli, to name a few. An impressive craft beer selection rounds it out. While 206 owns and operates Oliver Brewing Company, Keating promises you can also get a Bud Light if you’re so inclined. 901 W. 36th St., 443-835-2179, fiveanddime alehouse.com —Kimberly Uslin

_dsc5012Hole in One

As VP of Marketing Noah Hirsch and VP of Food and Beverage Jeffery Oliveri considered customer input for Horseshoe Casino’s newest eatery, the verdict was clear (and unsurprising): People wanted affordability, and they wanted comfort food. The duo’s answer? Well, that turned out to be a little less conventional than casino-goers might have anticipated. Odd-couple concept B’More Chicken & Donuts celebrated its grand opening in September with—what else?—a donut-eating contest. (“Any time you can put on a chicken suit and invite people to eat as many donuts as they can in three minutes,” says Hirsch, “that’s a good day.”) The new spot has allowed the casino to have a little fun, both with promotion and the menu itself, which features everything from standard tenders to chicken sandwiches on donut buns and chicken-and-donut waffles, with the latter made of pressed donut dough. Pastry chefs have also been experimenting with a rotating roster of specialized donut flavors to pair with the chicken, including cookies and cream, espresso and maple bacon. That’s the kind of fowl play we can get behind. 1525 Russell St., 844-777-7463, caesars.com/horseshoe-baltimore —KIMBERLY USLIN

brewtour_6-18-0317Gift Grub

Rachel Lipton and Jordan Zelesnick, who found their love of all things plated via Instagram, host regular pop-up dinners at local restaurants under the moniker Tapas in the City. The array of small plates served up at each communal event is designed to showcase the chef’s style, so it’s a good way to experience new restaurants—with a gaggle of friends, or soon-to-be friends. In 2017, Tapas is looking to hit such spots as La Cuchara, Hersh’s and Corner Pantry, among others. Tickets are around $37 ($47 will get you drinks). For information, tapasinthecity.com.

In October, Baltimore joined Boston, Philly, D.C. and Burlington, Vt., as a City Brew Tours venue. For $90 (more for a custom tour), guests are ferried around in an Econoline van by a bonafide beer bro, who rattles off beer trivia. A recent tour stopped at Oliver Brewing Company, Heavy Seas Brewery and Brew House No. 16. Each venue offered a tour and tasting, and at Brew House,a beer-friendly dinner was served. citybrewtours.com/Baltimore —M.T.

_dsc5184Chaos Theory

From its mischievous slogan—“Eat, drink and be chaotic”—to its lovable emoji-reminiscent logo, bold, new Order & Chaos Coffee is anything but understated. And how could it be? The Key Highway coffeehouse is an offshoot of Planit, the on-site local ad agency that’s represented everyone from NPR to Under Armour … and needless to say, has no shortage of creative concepts in place for its brand-new brew-up. See: floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing a peek into agency offices, weekly Mad Men-biz surveys offering customers the chance to weigh in by text message and an ample workspace with whiteboards, corkboards and, as agency President Matt Doud promises, “really great Wi-Fi.” The menu certainly carries the caffeinated staples, made more luxurious by the presence of Baltimore’s only Slayer espresso machine. The bites are A+, too—try the tasty Liège-style Walking Waffle, or grab a salad, sammie or sweet treat from a local vendor. 1410 Key Hwy., 410-244-1111, orderchaoscoffee.com —K.U.

_dsc2704Bottoms Up: ‘Tis the Season

This party punch’s wide appeal comes from Reyka vodka, which provides a clean Icelandic vodka base while Drambuie offers warm notes of heather, honey and spices.

24        ounces Reyka vodka

24        ounces Drambuie liqueur

32        ounces unsweetened organic black iced tea

24        ounces organic licorice root iced tea

24        ounces organic peppermint iced tea

One whole thinly sliced lemon

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Stir gently and garnish with lemon.

Recipe yields 1 gallon of punch (32

4-ounce servings) and can be easily multiplied for a larger yield.

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