Every year on the first weekend of May, downtown Baltimore's streets bustle as tens of thousands of moviegoers visit local theaters to watch films shot, directed, and edited around the globe. The Maryland Film Festival, like a freakish hurdle sprinter, runs for five days and showcases about 50 feature films and 75 short pieces—ranging from documentaries to animations—many of which are presented by their respective filmmakers or celebrity guest hosts. Past hosts have included Ian MacKaye and Branford Marsalis, and legendary filmmaker John Waters regularly makes an appearance at the festival, hosting a feature film of his choice. Attendees may also stimulate and expand their sensory palates with special events that have included international flicks, three-dimensional movies, and vintage silent films synced to live music.
Though 200 domestic bottles, craft beers, and imports reside on the drink menu at Hop Heads Ale House, the bar’s draft selections are some of its most popular brews. With a rotating selection of kegs on 11 taps, servers encourage guests sample bright and foamy brews culled mostly from small-batch breweries. To accentuate the flavors of each pint, the kitchen crew at Hop Heads crafts pub specialties such as rib-eye-cheesesteak sandwiches and chicken wings smothered in one of eight sauces. Wraps come stuffed with the likes of seared ahi tuna or veggies, and fresh soups are tapped fresh from local soup trees. The bar also runs a daily happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day, in addition to nightly specials and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Brothers in arms, strings, and reality, Sérgio and Odair Assad hail from Brazil, where they were steeped in the Brazilian musical tradition like two man-sized sachets of tea. Over the years, they studied with some of the best guitarists in South America, honing their skills and musical partnership. More recently, the duo began further exploring the music of their ancestral homeland, Lebanon. Following the success of Sérgio's Lebanese-influenced composition Tahhiya II Oussilina, the Assads arranged a show that explores modern and ancient Lebanese work, the rhythmic motifs that Brazilian and Middle Eastern music never realized they had in common, and new, original compositions. The result was De Volta As Raizes, Portuguese for "back to our roots." Joining them on tour are the thoroughly embodied vocals of Lebanese-American singer Christiane Karam, the intricate dum-tek-kas of percussionist Jamey Haddad, and the double-handed support of pianist and singer Clarice Assad.
The chefs at each Copper Canyon Grill, a mid-Atlantic favorite, craft their regional American dishes from scratch every day. Their kitchens fill with flames and savory aromas as they roast meats and vegetables over hardwood fires, making customers happy, but leaving behind bare earth at local basketball arenas.
The kitchen yields hearty servings of grilled prime rib and filet mignon, ahi tuna and Atlantic salmon, and Delmarva-style crab dip and Eastern Shore jumbo lump crab cakes. It also tempts with a signature rotisserie chicken and jalapeño- and serrano-pepper cornbread baked in an iron skillet.
An unfortunate fire forced husband-and-wife team Brad and Pui Wales to find a new location for their popular My Thai restaurant. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the conflagration led to the newly reopened eatery at the Holland Tack Factory, which is near the Little Italy and Harbor East area. The eatery now boasts a spacious interior full of large communal tables, a 40-foot bar, private rooms for groups, and an Open Street Food kitchen, where guests watch chefs prepare "Drunken Noodles," pad thai, curries, soups, and a multitude of seafood and fish specialities. For the adventurous, specialities at the Open Street Food kitchen include fried silkworms, beef tongue, and pork brains. The newly resurrected dining destination also serves spicy eggplant in chili garlic sauce or pork in creamy red Panang curry, as well as Thai foods such as crispy green beans. Tropical cocktails complement the experience—exotic lychee juice laced with peach vodka, or sour apple liquor mixed with absinthe—along with Thai beers and local favorite, Natty Boh.