The Short List is Back!


After a summer hiatus, I have been out and about, checking out the fun and the the tasty around Baltimore.

Calling All Downton Abbey Fans!

Magdalena is offering a special Downton Abbey-themed dinner on Sundays. Earlier this year, chef Mark Levy, a British native himself, started a Sunday Supper series at the restaurant as an homage to his childhood, and this delightful menu, with nods to some of our favorite characters, is an extension of that.

A Dowager Countess cocktail

I had a chance to try it this weekend and brought my sister, a huge Downton Abbey and PBS fan, who got into the spirit of the night with a feathered flapper headband. She is definitely movie ready.

We started with cocktails — I tried the Dowager Countess (cheers to you, Maggie Smith), made with Hayman’s London Dry Gin, Cointreau, lemon and egg white. Light and citrusy, it was a good choice for a September night beneath the lights on Magdalena’s outdoor patio. My sister tried the Bee’s Knees, made with Tito’s Vodka, honey, lemon and orange bitters, a smooth drink that went down easily.

The three-course prix fixe menu for $55 included a toasted crumpet as a starter, topped with Irish smoked salmon (we see you, Tom Branson) and a poached egg. The main course was a Toad in the Hole that includes a venison sausage, mashed potatoes and a sage-onion gravy. Dessert was a sponge cake with Earl Grey ice cream. It would hard for me to say which was my favorite course; together all three made for a flavorful supper and a fun tribute to this well-liked show.

The special menu will be offered through the end of September and diners can enter to win a Downton Abbey prize pack that includes a gift card for two tickets to the movie (which comes out Sept. 20) as well as some fun show merchandise. I look forward to seeing future Sunday Supper themes — this one was one of the best meals I’ve had this summer.

Screen Test

From inside a house, homeowners can see through a painted screen.

Now you see it, now you don’t. That’s the practical beauty of Baltimore’s painted screens. Outwardly they present a decorative scene to passersby on the street, while at the same preventing them from seeing inside a house. Homeowners, meanwhile, still get an unobstructed view of the street. Thus this folk art was an important piece of privacy for rowhouse dwellers in the early 20th century.

“The trick of screen painting, you can look out but people can’t look in,” says artist Debbie Lynn Zwiebach, who owns Zweibach Creations in Highlandtown. She is painting a colorful screen of Our Lady of Guadalupe that she holds up to the sunlight to show gallery visitors what the screen looks like from inside of a house.

Zwiebach is part of a group of artists keeping this folk art form in the city’s streetscape and does screen paintings on order.

From outside the house, passersby see Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Artist Khalid Burgan is another enthusiast and leads a weekly painted screen tours out of Highlandtown Gallery every Saturday. On this day, he leads a group of art lovers from Pennsylvania around the neighborhood. The visitors also meet Amanda Smit-Peters, an artist just back from the National Folk Festival in Salisbury, where she led screen painting workshops all weekend.

Want to see the screens for yourself? Painted screen tours start at 10 a.m. every Saturday and cost $10. Signup online and allow time for shopping at Highlandtown Gallery afterward. Owned by Highlandtown native and MICA grad Felicia Zannino-Baker, it is chock full of artwork and great gifts. It current show, “Baltimore Nocturn” runs through October and shows off our city at night.

Milking It

Guinness Open Gate Brewery is back at it, this time crafting a milk stout brewed with lactose or milk sugar.

“It lends a silky smooth character to the beer,” says Chris McClellan, a senior ambassador at Guinness. “The beer has a full mouth feel. It doesn’t cloy or stick around too long.”

Translation: It’s yummy and there is no aftertaste. I had two as a matter of fact at the stout’s unveiling, and I was happy to take more home to have on hand for my guests. I am not a beer drinker, unless there is a paper covered table of crabs in front of me, but there’s a place for this stout in my fridge.

Guinness also served cupcakes with the stout — tasty, tasty. For spirit supper like me, this may be another reason to stock the beer.

Milk stout is available in seven markets across the East Coast through the holidays, but always on hand at Guinness Open Gate. This is why we at Style get so excited about our ever creative beverage scene.

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