Feikin's potluck party is a throwback to indulgent eating


September 09, 2004|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Labor Day at MPT diva Rhea Feikin's meant a little overtime at the gym this week for a few dozen of her closest friends. In what has become a traditional potluck party at Miss Rhea's abode, everyone brings his or her favorite "trashy" homemade dish. You know, the foods you ate in the good ol' days before things like "trans fats," "nitrates" and "carbs" became the no-nos they are today. And overindulgence becomes the word for the day.

Among some of the big crowd-pleasers: Curt Decker's baked bologna, Terry Morgenthaler's "peas 'n cheese," Rita St. Clair's tuna casserole, Phil Cooper and Carol Brody's deviled eggs, Steve Ziger's meatloaf, David Morrison's fried chicken, Brian Comes and Ray Mitchener's mac and cheese, Jeff Burch and Lou Ghitlan's ham rolls, Mary Dempsey's Waldorf salad, Richard Taylor and Bill O'Brien's baked ham and Parker House rolls, and fried Spam and homemade Chex mix -- courtesy yours truly.

As for the crowd's response to the spread? The crudite table at Baltimore's swankier shindigs should only get so much attention!

Cafe and wine shop

Good thing there are places like South B'more's brand new cafe, wine shop and wine bar, where the eating and drinking are good. And good for you. The Wine Market just opened a week ago in the Foundry building on East Fort Avenue. Christopher Spann -- who owns the place with wife Shannon Wood -- says folks in the Otterbein, Federal Hill and Locust Point neighborhoods lacked a casual fine-dining spot where they could actually park their car and pick up a nice bottle of wine. To start with, the Wine Market boasts its own big parking lot. And the place itself is also spacious, another rarity. You'll find the wine shop, a wine bar with 15 seats and a restaurant with 55 seats spread out in a 2,500-square-foot space that contrasts the old exposed brick walls and columns with clean, sleek furniture and a modern concrete and brushed steel bar.

The wine bar offers some 50 vintages by the glass. The restaurant menu includes cafe-style items like a three-cheese plate with fig paste and cardamom spiced almonds ($7), sauteed shrimp with green pumpkin seed sauce ($7), plus grilled hangar steak with horseradish mash, wilted spinach and Roquefort sauce ($20) and sauteed red snapper with cucumber and orange salad in a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette ($17).

Christopher says he and Shannon wanted something with a real bistro feel without the high prices you find in some places, where folks can come a few times a week and "not get sticker shock."

You'll find the Wine Market, 410-244-6166, at 921 E. Fort Ave., right next to the Merritt Health Club. Its hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

On Sci-Fi Channel

The owners of the Zodiac Restaurant and Club Charles didn't have to call. The ghostbusters came anyway. Zodiac owner Joy Martin says the Sci-Fi Channel was in town recently shooting an episode of its new show, Proof Positive, at the Charles Street neighbors. Joy says the show sends "experts" to various places around the country that are alleged to be haunted. They put witnesses through polygraph tests and use all that fancy-schmancy ghost-detecting machinery to see if they can confirm that there are indeed phantoms in-house. Joy says Zodiac's resident ghost is a nasty fellow by the name of McKim, while Club Charles' spirit -- Frenchy -- is much more playful. Joy says she can't give away very much about the results until the show airs in a month or so. Suffice to say, she claims the polygraph operator says he'll never stay overnight on the premises.

No word yet on exactly what date the Baltimore episode airs, but Proof Positive will run on the Sci-Fi Channel Wednesdays at 8 p.m., starting Oct. 6.

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

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