Hot Plate: Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby weekend, Sunday wine festivals, meet the neighbors at Gunther & Co. and more

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Vida Taco Bar in Harbor Point will kick off Cinco de Mayo celebrations a day early on Saturday with an outdoor party.

With gorgeous weather on the horizon, the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo in our sights and some happy news on the restaurant front, this week is a good one for the Baltimore dining scene. Here’s a look at what’s been happening and what to expect:

Openings and announcements
After many, many delays, Papi’s Tacos’ Hampden location has finally opened. The restaurant, which has a sister location in Fells Point, had a soft opening last weekend and is now officially open to the public.

The Pub, the newest concept from the crew at Bluebird Cocktail Room, opens on Friday, May 10. The bar/restaurant will occupy the downstairs space that formerly housed Little Bird, and is designed to have a neighborhood bar feel with a menu of elevated pub fare (think a foie gras burger with bacon-shallot jam).

Chef Josh White, the former owner of Smoke, the Cockeysville BBQ spot that closed recently, is the new executive chef for White Oak Hospitality, which operates Wayward Smokehouse, Bandito’s and 101. Chef White has many devoted fans; hearing that he’s still involved in the local restaurant scene is great news.

Cross Street Market will host a weekly farmers’ market, on Saturday mornings, starting this weekend.

The Elephant’s operators announced this week that despite recent hardships, they will remain open. The building housing the Mt. Vernon restaurant was slated to go on the auction block last week, but its owners avoided that fate by filing for bankruptcy.

Sadly, Atelier Culinaire has closed its doors. The Little Italy restaurant announced in a Facebook post last Monday that it had “officially closed.”

Mt. Vernon’s Indochine shared some sad news, as well as some potentially good news, this week. The restaurant has closed in its original Charles St. location but simultaneously announced plans for a new restaurant, called IndoViet, to open in Patterson Park in November.

Derby days
On Saturday, the Kentucky Derby will be run for the 145th time. If you can’t make it to Churchill Downs, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the ponies right here in Baltimore.

The Chasseur will host its sixth annual Kentucky Derby Block Party. The event includes tons of food, beer trucks, a bomb bar and a mint julep and frosé bar, and benefits the rescue organization Wings of Love, Kuwait.

At Wayward Smokehouse, a ticketed party will include whiskey tastings and cocktails, a BBQ buffet, live music and prizes.

The Mt. Washington Tavern is, historically, a great spot to watch any of the Triple Crown races. This year, the tavern has a special Triple Crown menu including food items (like mint julep lollipop lamb chops) and drinks crafted in conjunction with Sagamore Spirit Rye.

Mexican fiestas
Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, the day celebrating Mexico’s 1862 victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla (often, in America at least) with day drinking and tacos.

Vida Taco Bar in Harbor Point will get the celebration started early, on May 4, with an all-day outdoor party featuring Mexican street-style food, drink specials and lots of entertainment (including a viewing of the Derby).

La Calle will host a day-long celebration of the holiday with music, giveaways and tons of food and drink specials, including $2 tacos and $5 chips and guacamole, which is a steal. La Calle’s guacamole is terrific.

Johnny’s will offer Mexican-inspired specials like shrimp tacos, fish tostadas and guacamole.

The Outpost American Tavern will honor the day with a mezcal dinner featuring a four-course menu with dishes paired with Del Maguey single village mezcals, both on their own and in cocktails.

Ampersea will celebrate on the water with $2 tacos and $15 bottomless margaritas, including several different flavors.

Foraging with Foraged
Also on Sunday, Foraged Eatery will host a spring foraging class (at a location to be named later). Foraged chef/owner Chris Amendola is one of the city’s leading experts on foraging and his classes typically sell out. This will be a good one!

Wine on Sunday
Sunday afternoon, Highlandtown will come alive with its 16th annual wine festival. The afternoon festival includes live music, arts vendors, food and, of course, lots of wine.

Also on Sunday afternoon, the Maryland Wineries Association and Imagazine are teaming up for Weird Wine, a pop-up at Union Collective. The event will feature unique blends and interesting options from more than 20 local wine, cider and mead makers.

Happy 5th to Barcocina!
On Thursday, May 9, Barcocina will celebrate five years in business with live music, complimentary passed appetizers and food and drink specials. Congratulations to the Barcocina team on a big anniversary!

Meet the neighbors at Gunther & Co.
On Friday, May 10, Gunther & Co. is getting together with a couple of its neighbors, Monument City Brewing and Old Line Spirits, for an outdoor happy hour on the patio. Gunther will have happy hour prices all night long and a raffle drawing at 7:30 p.m.

Grill & Chill
Also on May 10, Waverly Brewing hosts Anything Wood & Metal’s third annual Grill & Chill event, featuring live music, food and drinks, all in the Waverly parking lot.

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

May 11: The Witches High Tea at Nancy by SNAC
June 8: Hampden Craft Brew Walk
June 8: Feastival



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