Hot Plate: Mother’s Day Around Town, Crabs at Wit & Wisdom, Openings in Hampden

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Wit & Wisdom will offer crab feasts on the patio this summer.

With Mother’s Day this weekend, Preakness coming up next week and warmer days ahead, there’s a general feeling of Spring Fever excitement in the air around Baltimore, particularly in the city’s restaurants. Here’s a look at what the food world has in store for us this week:

Mother’s Day

The big story this week is Mother’s Day, which is on Sunday, so hopefully you have your plans set already. But if not, don’t despair. Check out our roundup of Mother’s Day options here.

Crabby

Starting Monday, it’s crab season at Wit & Wisdom. This summer, guests at Wit on the Water will have the option of enjoying a traditional Maryland crab feast on the patio right outside the Four Seasons Hotel.

The crab feast menu includes crabs, of course, as well as soft shells, crab cakes, shrimp, hush puppies and a few more goodies. True to crab feast form, guests can order beers by the can or by the bucket, as well as cocktails like crushes and sangria, which are available by the glass or pitcher.

Hot in Hampden

It’s no secret to Baltimoreans that Hampden is a hot neighborhood, but this week, the news out of the ‘hood is especially exciting.

Hickory Avenue will be home to a new bar sometime this summer, when Bluebird Cocktail Room opens next to De Kleine Duivel. The space is under renovation now. The bar, which will focus on cocktails with a literary bent, is slated to open by July.

Around the corner and down the street, Chuck’s Trading Post has, after a brief hiatus, reopened with a new owner, local barbecue guy Jim Freaney. Chuck’s is a BYOB breakfast and lunch joint. Freaney has plans to introduce some fun new activities and options, including pop-up dinners and a weekend brunch prix fixe menu, along with a Bloody Mary bar.

Nepenthe Homebrew, the much-loved shop that made headlines when it flooded last summer, has announced plans to move from its current Meadow Mill location to Falls Road in Hampden sometime next spring. In addition to moving out of the flood plain, the relocation will also allow the shop’s owners to expand. The new iteration of the store will also include a brewery and taproom, with food.

New Life on Harford Road

Though last week brought the sad news that Hamilton’s Green Onion food market was closing, this week, the neighborhood has something to cheer with the opening of Batch, a bake shop located in the space formerly occupied by Hamilton Bakery.

Batch officially opened on Tuesday morning; its owners, most of whom are Hamilton locals, used to run the bread and pastry program at Cunningham’s Café in Towson.

Free Coffee Monday!

On Monday, May 15, all three Iron Rooster locations will offer free coffee all day long. The giveaway is in honor of the restaurant’s new relationship with Easton-based Rise Up Coffee Roasters. Rise Up has created an exclusive blend called Café de Gallo (“coffee of the rooster”) just for Iron Rooster.

Get Happy at Bar Vasquez

Bar Vasquez in Harbor East has a new happy hour deal that’s pretty great: every Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., the glam Argentine restaurant offers a $5 glass of select one, a $5 cocktail (the specific drink will change monthly) and $5 snacks.

Margs for Moms at Papi’s

All month long, businesses in Fells Point are hosting Wednesday happy hours to benefit local nonprofit Jhpiego, a Hopkins affiliate focused on helping women and families gain access to healthcare.

This week’s event is at Papi’s Taco’s; stop in for a margarita to help a very good cause.

Breakfast (& Beer) for Dinner at Birroteca

Breakfast for dinner is such a treat, isn’t it? On Thursday, Birroteca is going all out with brunch for dinner in honor of American Craft Beer Week. The menu will feature items from Birroteca’s new brunch menu paired with beers from Founders Brewing Company.

Cocktails at the Conservatory

Thursday evening brings us one of the city’s more hotly anticipated annual drinks events: Cocktails at the Conservatory. The two-hour party, which benefits the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, features live music, snacks and botanically inspired cocktails created by some of the city’s most creative bartenders.

Crab Derby at the Market

Thursday also brings us the return of a fun event with historic roots: the Crab Derby at Lexington Market. The derby, which began way back in 1859, is a party, with music from The Kelly Bell Band, food from market vendors, beers from Union Craft and lots of fun activities, including a crab-picking contest and crab race.

Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

May 25: Fermenting, Preserving and Canning Origins Series at Artifact Coffee 

May 26: Sweet and Savory at Prigel Family Creamery  

June 24: Farm Fest at Manor Hill Tavern