Hot Plate: Openings in Canton and Fells Point, Preakness Parties

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Gunther & Co. Photo credit: Justin Tsucalas/Plaid Photo
Gunther & Co. Photo credit: Justin Tsucalas/Plaid Photo

This year’s Preakness might be a little soppy – the chance of rain is high – but don’t let that get you down. In addition to events related to this weekend’s races, there’s a lot happening in the Baltimore restaurant world this week. Check it out:

Horsing Around

Between Black-Eyed Susan Day today and Preakness tomorrow, Baltimore is abuzz with chatter about horses.

Just about every restaurant and bar in Baltimore will show the Preakness Stakes tomorrow – but you can’t go wrong with watching the races at Ryleigh’s Oyster on Padonia Road, where the viewing party starts at 4 p.m. in the Sagamore Bar, or the Mt. Washington Tavern, which will be hopping from first thing in the morning – get there at 10 for pre-Preakness bloodies, mimosas and crushes, take the free Tavern shuttle to Pimlico for the race, and close out the day with post-Preakness drinks and dinner back at the MWT.

If this weekend’s races aren’t enough for you, head to Hats & Horses at The Grand Lodge on Monday, May 23. Not only will the gala be filled with gorgeous hats – bring you’re A game! – it will also feature excellent food and drinks from notable local chefs like Jerry Edwards, Nancy Longo, Fabio Mura and Rodney Henry. Hats & Horses benefits Central Maryland’s Meals on Wheels, supporting the organization’s efforts to deliver about a million meals each year to homebound seniors and others in need.

High Profile Openings

Two hotly anticipated restaurants opened this week and – so far – reports from both have been nothing but glowing.

People are raving about Gunther & Co. in Brewer’s Hill, which officially opens today, May 20, but has hosted a series of friends and family dinners all week long. Not only is the space striking, with high ceilings and a gorgeous green living wall, the globally-influenced food, like a tea-smoked duck breast and duck confit lumpia, looks and sounds fantastic.

Modern Cook Shop, the new Fells Point restaurant, bar and market from the owners of Fork & Wrench, “soft opened” this week. For now, it’s open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the bar opens at 4 p.m. Both drinks and food are terrific according to the first few diners. Check out their baked goods, cocktails on tap and the crispy gribines sandwich that looks out of this world (gribines are chicken skin cracklings!).

Summertime Kickoffs

Take advantage of today’s sparkling weather by visiting one of several kickoff events for parties that will be going on all summer long.

At the Hollywood Diner food truck park on Saratoga Street, where this season’s first food truck event – The Gathering – will take place, starting at 5 p.m. The event includes a ton of great food (of course), plus music and a karaoke competition.

At World of Beer in McHenry Row, the Summer Block Party series begins today at 5 p.m. The parties will take place the third Friday of each summer month. Tonight’s features live music from Soundtown Baltimore and a focus on beers from Oskar Blues Brewery.

Learn Local

This month’s Origin’s speaker and dinner event, held at Artifact Coffee, focuses on “the local pantry.” Learn about local oils, vinegars and salts from those who make them, while noshing on some of the best food that comes from the Chesapeake region. 

Opera Night

Sotto Sopra’s Opera Nights are popular for a good reason. One will take place this Sunday, May 22. The evening includes a 5-course meal, with dishes like buffalo mozzarella ravioli and veal cheek saltimbocca, plus performances by a trio of esteemed opera singers.

Seasonal Treats

Community Supported Agriculture – CSAs – have become wildly popular over the past decade and more than a few Baltimore farms and organizations offer great ones. Parts & Labor recently announced that it is a pickup spot for CSAs from four local farms: Crooked Fence Farm, Karma Farm, Moon Valley Farm and Whitelock Community Farm.

P&L is a convenient pickup spot for any of the farms – and a great way to grab some meat and bread while you’re picking up your vegetables.

Cream-based soups might seem like a strange culinary choice as the weather gets warmer, but Marylanders know that there’s no better time for cream of crab than during high crab season. Just this week, Cunningham’s in Towson very generously shared the restaurant’s recipe for the local delicacy – it’s worth trying (and saving).

Café Gia in Little Italy is also feeling inspired by the weather; the restaurant’s summer dinner menu debuts this week, featuring ingredients from local farms like Gunpowder Bison and Springfield Farm.

Right now, the café also has gorgeous soft shell crabs, prepared simply. In fact, soft shells have popped up on menus all over town this week – if you see them on the menu, order them. There’s nothing quite like a super fresh, perfectly seasonal soft shell crab.

Planning Ahead

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

June 1: Wit & Wisdom’s Chef Behind Bars 

June 4: Great Grapes Wine Festival 

June 7: Olive Oil tasting with Slow Food Baltimore and E.N. Olivier 

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



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