josh charles Dishin’ With Downtown Diane

Star Spotting: Baltimore’s Josh Charles of “The Good Wife” in town for the Mayor’s Journey Home Gala this past Saturday at the Convention Center. The fabulous Jennifer Hudson performed. (Credit: Downtown Diane)

An Escape To Italy in Charm City
1520 Clipper Road

I was so excited to hear award-winning Chef Robbin Haas had opened a restaurant in Baltimore. Now, after dining there, I cannot contain my excitement, and I have sent many people there that share this same bliss.

My husband and I visited Italy in April, and Birroteca reminds us of our favorite restaurant in Florence, Vini e Vecchi Sapori. Yes, it’s that good.

Begin with arancini, mushrooms, Taleggio cheese in a tomato sauce that’s as fresh as it gets. The crispy polenta was an excellent starter, as well. Our table shared bruschetta. There’s five to choose from.  We loved the tuna and white beans with rosemary and the meatball with melted tomatoes and robioli.

There are many selections of pizza. Our friend loved his mussel-topped pie.  The house made pasta selections include a pappardelle with wild boar Bolognese. I devoured my orecchiette all pepperoncini with broccoli rabe, chiles and chicken. Be sure to order sides to share, including roasted cauliflower and crispy Brussels sprouts.

Family style dinners change nightly, and they serve two or more. On Mondays enjoy chicken cacciatore, Tuesday is sausage and peppers, Wednesday is slow roasted beef, Thursday is risotto del giorno, Friday is whole roasted fish, Saturday is pork shank and Sunday is spaghetti & meatballs with Italian gravy, of course.

birroteca pasta Dishin’ With Downtown Diane

Credit: Downtown Diane

General Manager Wally Hines and Chef Cyrus Keefer and Sous Chef Matt Singer keep the restaurant running smoothly.

We were very impressed with the craft beer list, and our friend paired his courses with a variety of exceptional brews.

We enjoyed Chianti from a vineyard we visited in Italy, Querceto, for an excellent value at $21 a bottle.
By the way, the menu is priced very reasonably with no pasta over  $14 and pizzas from $11 to $17.

If you want an escape to Italy, head to Birroteca before word gets out. After that, you may not be able to get a reservation.


md live chefs Dishin’ With Downtown Diane

Credit: Downtown Diane

Maryland Live Casino
Exciting entertainment coming to Rams Head Center Stage
Arundel Mills

You can play the slots, roulette, blackjack, Texas hold-em and mini baccarat games at Maryland Live Casino; however, there is much more to do during a visit.

Plan to be there around lunch or dinner and check out Maryland Live buffet. This isn’t your typical buffet. Executive Chef Rudy Volpe and Chef de Cuisine, Bill Jankowski lead the kitchen in creating such a wide variety of food stations, you can’t possibly sample it all. There’s seafood, barbeque, build your own pasta, pizza and Asian stations to name a few. And the food is really good, so good that I went back twice for collard greens and Brussels sprouts! Priced at $14.99 Monday through Saturday, and there’s a Sunday champagne brunch for $19.99.  You can enjoy dinner there as well prior to any of the amazing shows coming up at their Rams Head Center Stage.

Click here to view the menu.

Save room for dessert which includes an assortment of pies, cookies and a make your own sundae bar.

Click here to check out the upcoming entertainment calendar for Rams Head Center Stage at Maryland Live!

13th Floor Re-Opens in The Belvedere
1 East Chase Street

I am loving the elegant renovations at the new 13th Floor. The furnishings, the rich colors, the decorative pieces combined with the fabulous view of Charm City all add up to one lovely experience.
Enjoy a creative signature cocktail, small plates or full entrees as you listen to the live sounds of jazz, Wednesday through Sunday.

NEW Gordon Biersch Opens Monday
Harbor East

I look forward to checking out the new Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant at a preview opening and will fill you all in on the delectable details. Follow me on Twitter @DowntownDiane for up-to-the-minute dish.

The Admiral’s Cup
Fells Point

It’s now open! Check out the renovations and enjoy a drink and live entertainment.  Happy hour is Monday through Thursday

Ruths Chris Sizzle Swizzle Swirl Happy Hour
Monday through Friday 4-6:30 p.m. in the bar area

Enjoy fabulous deals when you arrive for this special happy hour

Upcoming Events:

Baltimore Beer Week
Continues until October 28
Click here  for daily events schedule.

ice Dishin’ With Downtown Diane

ICE! Shrek The Halls

Friday, November 16 – Sunday, January 6, including holidays at Gaylord National

Click here for more details.

Disney On Ice Presents Rockin’ Ever After
1st Mariner Arena October 24-28
A century of classic and new Disney stars are taking to the ice to share memories, laughs and excitement with you and your family.
Click here for tickets and showtimes.

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
October 26-28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
A Spook-Tacular Time with trick or treating, costume contests, fun carnival games, crafts, entertainment and food.
For full details visit ZooBooo!
Events are free with zoo admission.

Click here for more information.

oher downtown diane Dishin’ With Downtown Diane

Credit: Downtown Diane

Ravens Gridiron Goodwill Halloween Bash
Monday, October 29, 7 p.m.-midnight
Dave & Buster’s at Arundel Mills Mall
Hosts include:
RAVENS: Michael Oher, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson
Enjoy Dave & Buster games, food, open bar, costume contest, music and auction.
Proceeds benefit Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake.
Click here for more information.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Dance!
Friday, November 2
Benefit for Baltimore School for the Arts
Put on your dancin’ shoes and take a class in disco, country, hip shakin’ or Broadway. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.
Click here for more information.

Signature Chefs Auction
Benefits March of Dimes of Central Maryland
Monday November 5, 6 p.m.
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel
Co-Chairs: Chris & Dana Hoiles
Enjoy an evening of fine food, wine and auction items. Sample fare from over 30 of the area’s celebrated chefs all in one evening. The VIP reception will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the general tasting and auction at 6 p.m.
Visit Chefs to view all the fabulous chefs & for tickets to this wonderful evening.
Click here for more information.

An Evening Ringside
Thursday, November 8
Martin’s Valley Mansion
A charity boxing event benefiting The Jonathan Ogden Foundation. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m., follow by dinner at 7 p.m., and then boxing at 8 p.m. There will be an open bar and sports memorabilia auction. Dress is business casual.
Click here for tickets and further information.

Maryland Irish Festival
November 9-11
Timonium Fairgrounds
Enjoy local, regional and international Irish music and dance,  traditional cuisine, cultural exhibits and workshops with a wide variety of quality vendors of Irish goods.
Click here for full schedule of events.

Spoil your palate while benefiting National Kidney Foundation of Maryland.
Saturday, November 10, 7-10:30 p.m.
B&O Railroad Museum
Enjoy wine, craft beer, spirits fare by area restaurants, silent auction, live music
Click here for further info and tickets.

Chefs Expressions November Wine Dinner
Gramercy Mansion
Friday, November 16, 6:30 p.m.
All American comfort fare paired with wine

Rock-n-Bowl Benefit
Saturday, November 17, 7:30-11:30 p.m.
Timonium Fairlanes
Enjoy bowling, food, open bar, auction and music.
Click here for more information.

Ryleigh’s Oyster
Hill-O-Ween Federal Hill
Saturday, October 27
Join in on the fun with Ryleigh’s Oyster and other Federal Hill restaurants for a Hill-O-Ween celebration.
Click here for more information.

Little Pink Dress Party
Tuesday, October 30
Also, check out the new Oyster Mobile Tailgate at Ostend & Warner Streets prior to Ravens games.
Follow @OysterMobile on Twitter.

Havana Road-Towson
Havana Road has expanded their amazing Cuban menu and added a daily tapas menu. They also offer daily $9.50 lunch specials. Like them on Facebook for daily dish:

Joe Squared Power Plant LIVE
Dine in or dine on their patio. Or you can also phone in your order, and someone will bring it to your car to take home. How perfect is that? I love the daily happy hours, including half price beer Mondays and half price rum Thursdays. Also, there is free music and weekly creative food specials. Check it all out, here.

James Joyce Irish Pub Celebrates 10 Years
Harbor East
November 15, 8 p.m.-close
Join in on the birthday celebration at James Joyce with O’Malley’s March.
Click here for more information.

Downtown Diane is a Baltimore area food, travel & entertainment reporter, appearing Fridays on 105.7 The Fan Norris & Davis Show with her entertainment report. Follow her for Daily Dish on Twitter @DowntownDiane & check out upcoming events at


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