Eating on the water acquires the flavor of northern Italy


May 29, 1994|By Karol V. Menzie

In Baltimore, as in Italy, Tuscany is on the water -- and it's also on the menu in a restaurant called Piccolo's, which opened recently in Brown's Wharf in Fells Point.

General manager John Mancuso, who also created Piccolo's in Columbia, chose a contemporary navy, wine and wood decor for the new place, highlighted by an air-brushed mural by illustrator Jim Baldwin. Executive chef Ashley Sharpe, formerly of Hampton's at Harbor Court, offers lots of fish and seafood plus pasta and updates of traditional favorites, all inspired by the lighter flavors of the northern Italian province. A sure hand with the seasonings marks all the dishes, including a bright dill-lemon-yogurt dipping sauce for meltingly tender calamari, and a light, fresh tomato sauce for scallops with ribbon pasta. The appetizer pizzas, with honey-wheat crust, are not to be missed. Piccolo's, at 1629 Thames St., is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The phone number is (410) 522-6600. Rudy Speckamp, chef at Rudys' 2900 restaurant in Finksburg, has gained an international reputation through his participation in the worldwide Culinary Olympics and other events. Now he'll be sharing his knowledge in a series of cooking classes. The first two classes, which begin at 6 p.m. with a lecture and demonstration and conclude with a four-course dinner, including wine, will be held June 8 and June 22 at the restaurant, 2900 Baltimore Blvd. Cost is $39 per person, plus tax and tip. Each class is limited to 40 people. For reservations, call (410) 833-5777.

If it's OK with you, it's OK from Coke

Coca-Cola, which last month introduced a new line of fruit drinks called Fruitopia, is also introducing a new soft drink. But you may or may not find it on your grocery shelves.

The new drink, called OK, is being targeted to disaffected Generation X types who are "weary of hype and pretension," according to reports in Advertising Age and other publications. The drink is being introduced over the next few weeks in "selected cities," Coke says, declining to name any of them or any of the dates for the introductions. Coke also declines to say what's in the new beverage, noting in a press release that "the true nature of OK-ness is elusive."

Other published reports, however, have described it as lightly carbonated, dark-colored and slightly orange-tasting. The new soda comes in cans with a graphically hip label that encourages consumers to call an 800 number to comment on whether or not it's really OK.

Bulletins demystify the new food labels

The Baltimore city office of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland is offering two free bulletins to help consumers learn how to read and understand the new food labels now appearing on virtually all food products. For copies, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to CES, 17 S. Gay St., Baltimore, Md. 21202.

Tidbits welcomes food news -- new products, food-related news events, local cookbooks, mail-order finds, openings and closings restaurants and food shops. Send press releases to Tidbits, Attn.: Karol V. Menzie, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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