Alton Brown will headline the next Hippodrome Foodie Experience. (Handout photo )
This just in. The Hippodrome has announced that the headliner for the Second Annual Foodie Experience will be Alton Brown, the instantly recognizable spiky-haired host of the Food Network's Peabody Award-winning "Good Eats."
This year's Foodie Experience, which will be held March 19 at the Hippodrome, includes a few significant changes from the first edition, held last May, which featured the chefs Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert.
The instigator for the Foodie Experience is Jeff Daniel, vice president and executive director of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, the home of the Hippodrome Theatre. "The response to the inaugural event was so overwhelmingly positive," Daniel said, "even more than we hoped for. We knew we had to do it again."
Unlike last year, all ticket-buyers will have access to the post-show tastings, which will again showcase food prepared by area restaurants and caterers. Allowing everyone entry to the post-show event will allow the Hippodrome to use areas of its lobby it wasn't logistically able to last year, when the post-show tasting, at least for a while, was memorably log-jammed.
"This year, we've done everything we can to ensure theat everyone has the best possible foodie experience," Daniel added. "More food, more fun."
The one-access-for-all ticket price is $94, but there is still a way to be a VIP this year. A limited number of $250 tickets include an invitation to a preshow cocktail reception and cooking demonstration with Alton Brown as well as front orchestra seats.
Another significant difference this year: We know what to expect. When last year's event was announced, it was hard to imagine how a theatrical event built around celebrity chefs would make for a memorable night on the town. But the roguish Bourdain and Ripert satisfied a hungry audience with juicy gossip, saucy opinions and raucous attitude.
The host of the Food Network's "Iron Chef America," Brown is the author of four books, including the best-selling "I'm Just Here for the Food," which won the James Beard Foundation Award for best cookbook in the reference category, and "Gear for Your Kitchen," a dispenser of essential advice about kitchen hardware. Brown first rose to national prominence, however, with "Good Eats," the Food Network show that "blends wit and history with pop culture, and science with common sense," although it should be said that this blend has not always suited everyone's taste.
Brown takes the Hippodrome stage at 8 p.m. March 19, and the post-show tastings will take place from 9:30 p.m. until midnight. Tickets go on sale Jan. 21 at the Hippodrome Theatre box office and Ticketmaster (410-547-SEAT and ticketmaster.com).
A new craze, and you are there On Jan. 19, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Mr. Rain's Fun House, the restaurant atop the American Visionary Art Museum (800 Key Highway), will welcome the public, and especially Dining@Large readers, to a Winter Menu Preview cocktail gathering.
The catalyst for this event happened to be something I wrote in a post on Jan. 4 — the "Top 10 most wanted in area dining." Among the things I wanted to see this year, in addition to dim sum and ramen shops, was Korean Fried Chicken, a foodie craze currently sweeping through New York and Los Angeles but not yet Baltimore.
The chef at Mr. Rain's Fun House, Bill Buszinski, saw the post and added his own comment: "How about instead of following a trend (Korean Fried Chicken), we start a new one — Filipino Fried Chicken, Adobo chicken deep fried with a classic batter. Pick a day for a happy hour and I would be happy to make a batch for the Dining@Large crowd."
Done, and done.
The Jan. 19 event at Mr. Rain's Fun House will feature a bar menu highlighting the Filipino Fried Chicken, new libations from the restaurant's winter cocktail list and complimentary tastes from the restaurant's winter dinner menu.
The happy hour menu will also include Tuna Poke with Avocado & Sturgeon Caviar, Lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls), Choptank sweets, rumaki, poutine, mussels in sambal & sparkling wine and black-eyed pea cakes with chow chow relish.
Everyone is invited, and a few Baltimore Sunlebrities are sure to show up. Please RSVP, or get more information, by calling Mr. Rain's Fun House at 443-524-7379.