By Kit Pollard
Editor's Note: While Suzanne is recuperating from knee surgery, several In Good Taste readers have agreed to share their food thoughts and experiences.
Friday night happy hour has returned to Belvedere Square (East Belvedere Avenue, 410-464-9773), just in time to (hopefully) usher in some real spring weather – the kind that involves the sun. This week, and every Friday until September 4th, Belvedere will host its Summer Sounds at the Square parties featuring live bands and fantastic food and drinks. If you've never been, here's what happens: Belvedere restaurants, shops and market stalls set up little booths in the parking lot outside of the main market on Belvedere Avenue, selling drinks and food to a crowd that gathers every Friday afternoon. Plus, to solidify the party vibe, each week, a different live band sets up in the courtyard outside the Dutch Connection.
This week, the series kicks off with Square favorite Junkyard Saints and their New Orleans-inspired party music. The lineup for the rest of the summer is equally fun and funky, covering all types of party music, from beachy tunes to Celtic rock to Latin jazz, and sure to appeal to the crowd which, though often dominated by young families, is impressively diverse. Everybody loves a party at the Square.
I've been a Belvedere devotee since the very start and have a lot of great memories associated with the place. The music sets the tone, of course, but it's the amazing food and beverage selection that keeps me coming back each week. My favorites are: Ikan Seafood's tempura soft crab (I douse it in sriracha sauce), Neopol Savory Smokery's savory cheese pie (the intense, smoky, jazz-playing cousin to quiche) and Grand Cru's red sangria (it turns my teeth purple, but it's worth it).
Festivities officially kick off at 6 p.m., but real fans start gathering around 5 to snag favorite spots (and good parking). Me, I'll be there by 4:30. Actually, I'm so excited I might hit Atwater's for lunch and just stick around all afternoon.