‘Tis the season for ethnic dinners. While two of these are several weeks ahead, we’re giving you fair notice to plan accordingly.
First up: the Sour Beef Event at Zion Lutheran Church (400 E. Lexington St,  727-3939), on Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23. For $12.50, adults can enjoy German Gemütlichkeit in a meal of sour or roast beef, homemade dumplings or mashed potatoes, vegetable, roll and butter, cake, coffee, and tea in the church’s dining hall. But for an even livelier experience, try having your supper in the re-created Bavarian beer hall in the church’s beautiful Aldersaal, which promises German beer and wine, soft pretzels, beer-hall music, and plenty of Deutschsprechen.
Dining Hall: Dinner, Oct 22, 4-7 p.m.; lunch, Oct 23, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; adults $12.50, children $6.50
Bavarian beer hall in the Aldersaal: 4-9 p.m. Oct. 22-23, dinner until 8 p.m., cash bar.
Second: Café Azafran (3700 San Martin Drive, 338-4757) hosts its third annual Day of the Dead Celebration on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. For its re-creation of the Mexican holiday that celebrates the beloved dead, the café serves traditional food plus beer and wine, and also features live music and a traditional altar complete with marigolds, sugar skulls, and photos of deceased family and friends (guests are encouraged to bring photos of their loved ones to add to the altar). Reservations recommended. $45 per person.
Finally, St. Leo’s biannual ravioli/spaghetti dinner takes place Nov. 2, noon-6 p.m., at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church in Little Italy (910 Stiles St,  675-7275), and trust me, when they say homemade, they mean homemade. I’ve made ravioli with these men and women, and each cheese pillow is filled, folded, and sealed by hand. It takes dozens of volunteers three weeks to make the pizzelles, meatballs, and 60,000 or so ravioli for the celebration. And at $8 a plate ($4 for kids, $8.50 for carry-out), it’s a steal, as well as a peek into a still vibrant East Baltimore ethnic community.
Know of an interesting community dinner? Tell us about it in the comments section below.