It’s that time of year again – – Baltimore’s Summer Restaurant Week. For a foodie family like ours, it’s like Christmas in August. The event brings together the coolest local spots and the hottest culinary creations August 5-14, 2011. Participating restaurants will offer special prix-fixe dinner menus for $35.11 and some will have lunch menus for $20.11. Here are 5 things we’re craving:

1. Out for lunch with the kids? Try Mr. Rain’s Fun House at the American Visionary Art Museum. Mr. Rain’s Fun House is a blast, and there are enough options on their regular lunch menu to satisfy the most discerning of palettes (and yes, I’m talking about your two year old) while the adults can select something more adventurous. What our family is craving: Lumpia – chicken spring roll with sweet chili sauce. It’s an app on the pre-fixe lunch menu. My fav cocktail? The blanco sangria. You won’t regret ordering it.

2. Need a crab fix? Head to Costas Inn Restaurant. Costas Inn Restaurant is south of downtown, and hands down one of our favorite local places to score a crab cake. Their restaurant week dinner menu offers several ways to get your crustacean fix: whole main lobster stuffed with crab, salmon topped with crab and of course — their famous crab cake.

3. Date night fusion: Alchemy. We tried out Alchemy in Hampden for the first time last night to celebrate my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Definitely an ‘adults outing’ or date night spot, as I’m not sure a stroller would fit through the door and there is a whole lotta stemware on the table when you first sit down. Everyone we were out to dinner with raved about their entrees from Alchemy’s Dinner Restaurant Week Menu. Our top picks? The Panko-Crusted Red Snapper and the Ancho Chile Chicken. But don’t get too full on apps and entrees. What we’re really craving (and will be heading back soon for) is their Bailey’s Brownie a la mode.

4. Italian with a chance of opera at Sotto Sopra. Sotto Sopra on North Charles is one of our fav Italian restaurants in the city. If we head out for an early dinner with the Bug this week, this may be our choice. Mostly to give her a taste of their Four Cheese Tortellini off of their restaurant week dinner menu. It comes in a Rutabaga-pear sauce. Sneaky way to get a veggie in.

5. Fun alfresco dining with kids at Mt. Washington Tavern: We love Mt. Washington Tavern for it’s family-friendliness and retractable roof — which means your kids can dine al fresco in a confined space (rather than a sidewalk table which inevitably challenges our two-year-old to become an escape artist). We’re craving the pesto scallops and shrimp on their restaurant week lunch menu… we’re pretty sure the Bug will be ordering off of their every day artisan grilled cheese menu. Her favorite? Three cheese and tomato. Personally, I’m partial to their veggie melt.

What are you craving this restaurant week?