Who didn't we know at last weekend's big Maryland Art Place bash? It seems that's what happens when you feature 45 of Baltimore's uber-cool females -- glammed to the max -- in your invitation. MAP's annual art exhibition and auction took on the persona "Women of MAP" this year. Even Mother Nature, at her cold and rainy worst, couldn't keep some 300 folks away from MAP's home at Power Plant Live!
Let's see. Look in one direction and you'd see Nancy and Lou Grasmick, Joyce Scott, Donna Crivello, Lynn and Tony Deering, Carole and Bean Sibel. Another direction, and you might spot Fredye and Adam Gross, Terry Morgenthaler and Patrick Kerins, Dina Klicos, David Nevins, Martha Macks-Kahn and Mary Ann Mears and Bob Embry. Turn again, and there's Brian Lawrence, Sharon Nevins, Suzanne and Stuart Amos, Karen Patten, Denise Klicos, Ann Nault, Betty Cooke and Bill Steinmetz, Suzan Garabedian, Michael Ross, Rose Carpenter, Ray Mitchener and Brian Comes, Keith Comes, Max Weiss, Mary Kay and Chuck Nabit, Cindy Conklin and Bob Merbler. You get the idea. And then there was MPT diva Rhea Feikin grabbing many of this chi-chi crowd for a quick on-camera interview before they melded into the merry throng.
And working hard through the night to keep that mood merry were MAP board chair Suzi Cordish, board prez Karen Bokram and executive director Julie Ann Cavnor.
It was a truly splendiferous evening at the American Visionary Art Museum, as AVAM celebrated the opening of its Jim Rouse Visionary Center. The theme was the same as that for the new building -- "where dreams are hatched and hope given wing." Two aerial acrobats performed on a giant ring and skein of silk suspended from the ceiling.
One of the highlights of the evening? Hopkins doc -- and Nobel 2003 chemistry prize winner -- Peter Agre was presented with white platform shoes with clear heels filled with water and live goldfish, and a whimsically decorated lab coat. He donned both, then kicked up his heels for the crowd. Who else can say they've seen a Nobel prize winner boogie down?
And catering, too
The Jim Rouse Wing offers a new catering venue for B-more. And that's one of the reasons Charlie and Spike Gjerde have closed their anchor restaurant, Spike and Charlie's, across from the Meyerhoff. Charlie says they wanted a little less stress and wanted to concentrate on their eatery, Joy America, on the top floor of AVAM, and well as their catering arm.
At the Colonnade
Speaking of restaurant changes, Four West is no more. The once-popular business crowd hangout quietly changed owners and names last Wednesday. Robb Freeman is out, and Aramark Harrison Lodging is in, running what is now the Club at the Colonnade. Lisa Wilson, general manager of the Inn at the Colonnade, says the move made sense.
Aramark had been running the hotel there for the past two years. And they rely on the restaurant for the hotel guests. She says the goal was to keep the menu and staff intact. The emphasis will still be on regional cuisine. And she asserts that signature dishes of Four West's predecessor, the Polo Grill -- like deep-fried lobster tail and crab cakes -- will stay put.
Former beverage manager Tony Pozderac is now restaurant manager. Popular bartender Nick Lopata is still there, too. While the live music that was part of the Thursday through Saturday bar scene disappeared months ago, Lisa says, that, too, will be returning soon.
Chalk up another fine-dining restaurant in Fells Point. The basement eating place that was Hamilton's in the Admiral Fell Inn closed about a year ago after Tropical Storm Isabel flooded the place. But, next Wednesday, it reopens in its new incarnation -- True. That's "true" as in true, pure, organic ingredients. "True" as in true to using regional produce, fish and meat. You get the idea.
The menu will change seasonally. But, it is kicking off with appetizers such as warm crab and brie in a light puff pastry, served with seasonal berries ($10), pumpkin ravioli served with organic chicken veloute and shavings of black truffle ($8) and country duck foie gras served on oven-dried pineapple on a bed of organic baby spinach and drizzled with a port wine and blueberry reduction ($12).
Entrees include Chesapeake Bay rockfish with a raspberry chipotle glaze, topped with organic apricots, frisse lettuce and crispy udon noodles ($22), Amish organic breast of chicken, topped with capers, Kalamata olive tapenade and plum tomatoes ($19), and a pasta tower of organic local vegetables and sheets of pasta with a red pepper coulis, basil oil and balsamic reduction ($21).
True, 410-522-2195, is at 888 S. Broadway, at Thames Street. $5 valet parking is available. Hours are 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It will offer a special menu Thanksgiving Day.