Hot Plate: National Margarita Day celebrations, wine dinners, whiskey tastings and more

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Wine and whiskey lovers have a lot of options this week; there are tasting events and pairing dinners scheduled all week long.

Buckle up, Baltimore food lovers. This week is a big one in the restaurant world, featuring several terrific wine and spirits dinners, lots of margaritas, and even a little Harry Potter. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Openings & Announcements
Good Works Spirit House has opened in the former Coelum space in Canton.

The Gourmet Girls will open a new location in Pikesville. The new spot will be in the former home of Gourmet Again.

Le Comptoir du Vin will take its annual winter break from Feb. 25 through March 3 and reopen for dinner on March 4.

Sadly, Bel Air favorite Alchemy Elements closed earlier this week. Another popular Bel Air spot, One Eleven Main, will offer anyone with an active AE gift card 33 percent off their check between Feb. 21 and the end of March.

In more disappointing news, Food Plenty in Clarksville has closed. The owners’ other establishments, Victoria Gastro Pub and Manor Hill Tavern, remain open.

Plug Ugly’s closing party will take place on Saturday night. The Canton restaurant plans to go out with a bang, with original guest bartenders, a complimentary buffet and drink specials.

Oyster love
Oyster Recovery Partnership announced this week that last year, they added 26 new partner restaurants to their roster, including lots of local favorites, like Silver Queen Café, Bertha’s Mussels, Johnny’s and True Chesapeake Oyster Company. (A complete list of new partners can be found here.)

Participating restaurants are members of ORP’s Shell Recycling Alliance; oyster shells generated by the restaurants are collected by ORP staff and volunteers, then aged, washed, set with baby oysters and planted on oyster reef sites in the Chesapeake Bay.

Vegan Restaurant Week
Vegan Restaurant Week is still on! From now through Feb. 23, local restaurants are putting the spotlight on their vegan dishes.

Mardi Gras starts early
Mardi Gras is Tuesday but Café Troia is starting the celebration early with a party on Friday starting at 5 p.m. The event includes king cake, drink specials, hors d’oeuvres and, of course, beads.

National Margarita Day
Saturday is National Margarita Day and local spots are going all out to celebrate.

La Calle will offer its house margarita or tamarind margarita for $5 all day.

Papi’s Tacos in Fells Point will have $10 Dos Manos Margaritas all day and night.

Both Nacho Mama’s locations–Canton and Towson–have tons of drink and food specials all day long, including $5 off premium hubcap margaritas and $15 Graceland hubcap margaritas.

At Lee’s Pint & Shell, you can blend your own margarita using a blender attached to a Patrón bike. The bike will be in the house from 3-5 p.m.

Swallow at the Hollow Chili Cook Off
On Saturday afternoon, Swallow at the Hollow hosts its 8th annual Chili Cook Off. This year, the Swallow is partnering with Monument City Brewery for the event. Tickets include the opportunity to taste and vote on chili entries plus the chance to taste several Monument City beers.

Saturday is also Nuggetfest, a chicken nugget eating contest organized by the people behind the podcast The City That Breeds. The event takes place Saturday afternoon at Nobles and features nuggets (of course), dipping sauces and drink specials.

Harry Potter at The Charmery
On Sunday and Monday, The Charmery’s Union Collective location will transform into something magical, when the ice cream shop hosts a series of full sensory screenings of “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.”

The Charmery’s full sensory screenings are always a hit. They include a self-serve popcorn bar, movie-inspired punch, treats tied to elements of the movie and other surprises.

CSA sign-ups at Union Collective
On Sunday afternoon, Well-Crafted Kitchen and Union Craft Brewing are teaming up with One Straw Farm for a CSA sign-up fair. Head to Union Collective to meet the farmers and grab some pizza and beer.

Ambrosia Dinner Series at Foraged
A new dinner series kicks off Monday night at Foraged Eatery in Hampden. The Ambrosia Dinner Series will combine food and wellness, as guests enjoy small plates of dishes prepared with superfoods (like Lion’s Mane, Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms) while learning about the potential healing attributes of certain ingredients.

Game & Grain at Noona’s
On Wednesday, Noona’s hosts a Game & Grain Dinner, which is exactly what it sounds like: a multi-course dinner featuring local grains and game meats. That means courses like venison with farrotto, black garlic and puffed farro, and duck tartare with aged duck heart, crispy skin and pickles. It sounds adventurous–and incredible.

Chocolate and Origins
Also on Wednesday, Artifact Coffee will host celebrated local chocolate maker Jinji Fraser, of Pure Chocolate by Jinji, for another installment of its drinks-supper-conversation event Origins. The focus of the evening will be on the “mind of a chocolate maker.”

Cooking at Cosima
Wednesday night is a busy one at Cosima, as well: The Italian restaurant will host a cooking class focused on handmade pastas and sauces.

Tavern Thursday
Thursday is a busy day at the Mt. Washington Tavern.

First, it’s National Chili Day and the kitchen will be celebrating with a trio of special chilis, including one vegan option and another made with a combination of bison and venison.

Plus, Thursday evening, the Tavern hosts its annual Kentucky Nights bourbon tasting event. The party, now in its sixth year, is a fundraiser for Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, and it is a lot of fun.

Latte Art Throwdown at G&G
On Thursday evening, Ground & Griddled in R. House will host local baristas as they battle to make the best latte art. Stop by to check out the skills from some of the city’s best coffee aficionados.

Wine all week
Wednesday and Thursday are wine-heavy nights, as well.

Wednesday night, Johnny’s teams up with winemaker Adams Jones for a meal featuring several courses paired with wines from Field Recordings. The evening includes several snacks, like crab dip croquettas and forest mushroom flatbread, paired with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, a main course of grilled hangar steak paired with three reds, and chocolate bouchons for dessert.

On Thursday, Cinghiale explores the wine and flavors of the Italian Alps, with a multi-course wine dinner focused on Alto Adige. The meal includes courses like roasted leg of lamb with spaetzle, dates and celery route puree paired with two different Pinot Neros.

Also on Thursday, Linwoods hosts a wine dinner showcasing the wine and food of the Piedmont region of Italy. The dinner, which is a partnership with the shop The French Paradox Wines, includes four courses highlighting the best of the region.

Yerba Maté happy hour at Bar Vasquez
If bourbon, coffee or wine aren’t your thing, don’t worry: There’s still something for you to do on Thursday night. Bar Vasquez will host a happy hour event all about yerba maté, the Argentine tea-like beverage that’s having a major moment right now.

The event will include discussion around what yerba maté is and cocktails you can make with it, plus snacks.

Partying through Time at London Town
On Friday evening, Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater will host Partying Through Time, a hands-on happy hour workshop. During the event, archaeologists from The Lost Towns Project will help attendees learn about parties and celebrations of cultures throughout history.

Winter Whiskey Weekend at Magdalena
Magdalena’s fourth annual Winter Whiskey Weekend dinner takes place on Friday, Feb. 28. The meal includes five courses designed to “work in harmony” with whiskeys from Glenmorangie.

You can enjoy the dinner on its own or as part of the Ivy Hotel’s Winter Whiskey Weekend, which lasts through Sunday. In addition to the dinner, guests can enjoy additional events, including a 60-minute Scotch Toddy Foot Ritual, which involves a foot soak and massage paired with a dram of Scotch.

Planning Ahead
Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:
Feb. 29: Sweet & Savory at Prigel Family Creamery 
March 8: Mac & Cheese Cook-Off to Benefit Moveable Feast 
March 11: Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner at The Milton Inn

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