Seacrest's new talk show is live today in Hampden

HOT STUFF

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

January 22, 2004|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Ready for your 15 minutes of fame? Well, hurry on down to Hampden this afternoon, hon. That brand-new talk show, On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, is going live today from the heart of Hampden, at Cafe Hon.

The American Idol host/hottie just kicked off his syndicated talk show last week. No, Ryan won't be here. But, Ralphie May will be. For those not up on reality-show history, Ralphie's the chunky guy who came in second in last summer's NBC show Last Comic Standing. He'll be playing roving reporter doing a live remote Q-and-A on Ryan's show - with the aid of assembled Baltimoreans. Not only might you get a shot at talking on air via satellite with Ryan, but also with his two scheduled guests - Topher Grace and Josh Duhamel - the stars of the movie Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, which opens tomorrow.

So, here's the deal: Show up at Cafe Hon (1002 W. 36th St.) by 2 p.m. today. You can go as yourself, but if you dress as "your favorite Baltimore hon," your chances for getting some face time just might improve. The show goes live from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in many cities. But not Baltimore. That could be a good thing. You'll have time to rush home and watch yourself when On-Air With Ryan Seacrest airs at 5 p.m. today on WUTB, Channel 24.

And here's the best part ... maybe. On-Air producers say it's possible that some lucky Baltimorean could "win a date with Tad Hamilton" - i.e., the incredibly hunky Duhamel.

(By the way, if you want to catch more of Ralphie May, he starts a three-day gig at Baltimore's Improv tonight.)

A pair of hearts

Speaking of celebs, folks at last weekend's Heartfest couldn't get over what a doll actress Valerie Harper was. The still-gorgeous "Rhoda" may have looked like a star, but she didn't have a lick of that nasty star attitude. She signed autographs, posed for photos and chatted with anyone who approached her at the fund-raiser.

Then she made a point of going around the huge Martin's West ballroom and posing for pics with the staff from each of the 35 restaurants and caterers manning the Heartfest food stations. Talk about a perfect fit. You're raising money to keep hearts healthy - for Johns Hopkins Hospital's Henry Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease - and your big-name attraction comes complete with a big heart.

And speaking of hearts, seems the one owned by Harlow Fullwood Jr. kept him from his 16th annual fund-raiser this year. Harlow's been battling complications from diabetes the past few years, and this was the second straight year that health problems kept him from the Fullwood Foundation's Benefit and Recognition Breakfast. Harlow, on the phone from his Catonsville home, says he is in a wheelchair, after suffering several strokes, and then a heart attack right before Thanksgiving last year. But he says his wife (and foundation co-founder) Elnora oversaw the event, with the help of their daughter Paquita Fullwood-Stokes. Here's hoping this year is much kinder to this Baltimore treasure.

Old faves, big steaks

If you drop by Helen's Garden Restaurant, you might run into a few old friends. Right on the menu. Some of Helen's classic faves are back. They disappeared more than a year ago when owners Ed Scherer and Tom Looney went for more of a spicy, international flair. But Helen's habitues missed some of the old standards, such as Greek chicken, cornmeal-crusted catfish and crab cakes. So, they are back on the list, alongside some of the newer, spicier dishes that have developed a following in the past year. Like shrimp ajillo (sauteed in garlic, red pepper and oodles of olive oil) and curried salmon.

You'll find Helen's Garden right smack dab in the middle of Canton Square, at 2908 O'Donnell St.

Steak devotees and Atkins fans, nirvana might just be found at Fawn and High streets these days. Germano's Trattoria is running a special - a 20-ounce New York strip, salad and roast potatoes for $9.95. A full stomach without an empty wallet.

To submit tips, ideas and possible items for Hot Stuff, send e-mail to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax to 410-675-3451.

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