Hot Plate: Chef Cyrus Keefer Goes Private, Kentucky Derby Parties

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Sagamore Spirit Rye at Ryleigh's Oyster Hunt Valley
Sagamore Spirit Rye at Ryleigh’s Oyster Hunt Valley

Other than the never-ending gloomy weather, the big news this week is Mother’s Day. If you haven’t made your plans yet, it’s not too late to pull something together to celebrate your mom – check out our list of local restaurant happenings right here. Even if the reservation is made last minute, she will appreciate it.

But Mother’s Day isn’t the only exciting thing happening over the next few days. Here’s a look at what’s happening today, tomorrow and for the rest of the week in and around Baltimore:

First Friday

It’s the first Friday of the month, which means there are fun events happening all over town, from Hampden to Hamilton-Lauraville, where, among other things, Silver Queen Café will be waiving their corkage fee and serving dishes like their famous crab dip and disco duck fries.

Just down Harford Road, Maggie’s Farm is celebrating with a First Friday Happy Hour, featuring great deals on beer, wine and whiskey sours.

Mashing Up

You still have a few hours to get to Brusco on Fleet Street, where the popular Mount Vernon coffee shop/restaurant Dooby’s is popping up, partnering with the Cava/Brusco team on a fun Greek-Korean mash-up. Dishes like a Korean BBQ gyro sound fun, and given the two kitchens, are sure to be good. But head there soon: the GreeKorean mash-up ends at 8 p.m. 

Keefer Goes Private

If you’ve eaten out a lot over the past several years, chances are at some point, you came into contact with Chef Cyrus Keefer’s food. He’s helmed kitchens all over the city, from Fork & Wrench to BCC, and his creative, excellent approach to food has earned him quite a following.

He announced earlier this week that he’s out on his own now, doing small private events, cooking classes and consulting for restaurants. If you’re in need of a caterer for a private dinner, check him out. His food is memorable and terrific all around.

Derby Days

On Saturday, we kick off high horse racing season with Kentucky Derby 142. If you want to tuck into a mint julep, there are tons of opportunities to do so all over Baltimore – on Saturday afternoon, the city will be Derby Central.

Ryleigh’s Oyster Hunt Valley will be hosting parties for the Derby, Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. This Saturday, they are showing the race in their Sagamore Bar, serving complimentary snacks, mint juleps and Sagamore Crushes. (As a bonus, you’ll have the opportunity to taste Sagamore Spirit Rye before its official launch on Friday.)

The Chasseur in Canton will partner with The Pig & Rooster Smokehouse for its third annual Kentucky Derby block party, including live entertainment, with $10 door donations benefitting BARCS Animal Shelter.

And Bluegrass Tavern in Federal Hill is, naturally, in the Kentucky spirit, with – hopefully, weather permitting -a smoker on the sidewalks, food and drink specials and a best dressed contest.

The Mt. Washington Tavern, always a racing season go-to stop, is celebrating the Triple Crown with a month of race-inspired drinks, like the Tavern Julep. You can even order it in a commemorative glass!

Colette, in Station North, has added a traditional mint julep to the menu, along with a handful of other cocktails to help Baltimore prep for the rest of the Triple Crown. The Preakness, the Black-Eyed Susan and the Belmont Breeze are three of the seasonal options, plus a “Sir Barton,” a take on Baltimore’s favorite summertime drink, the Southside, named after the first ever Triple Crown winner.

Apple Blossoms

Monkton’s MillStone Cellars will host an Apple Blossom Festival at the Baltimore County Agriculture Center in Cockeysville on May 7. The Festival includes workshop talks from local farmers, a screening of the film “Song of the Basques,” fun activities for kids and more. 

Wining & Dining

On Tuesday, May 10, Christopher Daniel will celebrate the wines of France with a Five Course, Five Regions, Five Winemakers dinner. Wines from Graves, Pomerol, St. Emilion, Cotes du Rhone and Alsace will be paired with a five-course dinner.

On Wednesday, May 11, Petit Louis will host the Sipp Mack Wine Dinner, featuring seven wines from Sipp Mack, paired with five courses, including a lovely coq au Reisling and, of course, cheese. The meal will end with a strawberry and rhubarb tart – a true seasonal treat.

Thursday Parties

Thursday is a big night in Baltimore.

At the Museum of Industry, The QG is hosting its third annual Bourbon & Bowties event, benefitting Health Care for the Homeless, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore. As the name suggests, there will be plenty of spiffy outfits and bourbon, plus food from some of the region’s best restaurants.

While guests will be all about bourbon at the Museum of Industry, a master cocktail crew will be working hard a few miles north, as the team from the late, great Rye in Fells Point mixes drinks at Cocktails at the Conservatory, a fundraiser benefiting the Rawlings Conservatory.

 Cannolis on Thursdays

A few months back, Vaccaro’s celebrated its sixtieth anniversary with a 60-cent cannoli sale. It was such a massive success, the venerable pastry shop is bringing it back, with 60-cent cannoli available on the second Thursday of every month – starting this week, on May 12.

Planning Ahead

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

May 19: Tipsy Tea at Homewood Museum

May 20: Truck Stop B’More Food Truck Festival

June 11: FEASTIVAL -A Food Adventure for a Cure, from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation


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