Magdalena created a new whiskey-and-tea cocktail, Laws and Lilies, to sip during Preakness weekend.

Warmer weather, rising vaccination rates and relaxing restaurant restrictions make this week an especially good time to head out to brunch, lunch or dinner in the Baltimore region. Plus, it’s Preakness weekend – which means a bonus reason to order a crush or two.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up this weekend and all week long:

Openings and announcements
The Smoking Swine and Diablo Doughnuts – two local businesses with strong followings – have exciting news this weekend. The pair has teamed up to open a bar, The Hanover, in Brooklyn. The Hanover’s grand opening is Saturday and to celebrate, they’re welcoming the DuClaw Brewing Co. crew for a release event featuring a new sour beer created in conjunction with Diablo.

Silver Queen Café has reopened its dining room, complete with some post-COVID updates.

Roggenart’s new Ellicott City location has opened.

Watershed, the new spot in Cross Street Market, will open Memorial Day Weekend.

Preakness plans
It’s time to break out the Black-Eyed Susans – Preakness weekend is upon us. There will likely be festivities all over the city – and a few spots have plans that are extra-special.

Magdalena at The Ivy Hotel has created a special Preakness weekend cocktail. The restaurant partnered with whiskey maker Uncle Nearest on Laws and Lilies, an “infield-inspired” drink featuring Uncle Nearest whiskey long Rare Tea Cellars Earl Grey and Mint Meritage tea syrup and Ramazzotti Aperitivo Rosato. The drink was inspired by several Black jockeys who made names for themselves as early winners of one or more races within the Triple Crown series.

Mt. Washington Tavern, which has a long history as a great place to go to watch the races, is gearing up for Saturday by reminiscing about past Preaknesses and dusting off their Black-Eyed Susan-making skills.

At Lost Ark Distilling, the party will include live music and rum crushes – a take on the original orange crush recipe. The distillery will be celebrating the races on both Friday and Saturday.

House of Ruth benefit at Fadensonnen
On Sunday, several restaurants and food businesses are banding together to host a seated dinner benefiting one of the city’s most noble organizations, House of Ruth. All proceeds – 100% – will be donated directly to House of Ruth.

The event takes place at Fadensonnen; collaborating businesses include Alma Cocina Latina, Asanka, Our Time Kitchen, Miss Carter’s Kitchen, NiHao, The Charmery, Ekiben and Clavel.

Plant sale at Ryleigh’s
It’s prime garden-planting time. If you have plans to garden but no plants, head to Ryleigh’s Oyster this weekend for a plant sale. The sale takes place in the back of the restaurant, where they’ve opened , and will include tomato, herb and pepper plants.

Cupcakes & charity
On Sunday, Cake by Jason’s Jason Hisley hosts a kid-friendly virtual cupcake decorating class benefiting Weekend Backpacks.

Spring Bounty at The Manor Tavern
Celebrate spring at The Manor Tavern on Thursday, when Chef’s Expressions hosts Spring Bounty Wine Supper. The meal includes five courses highlighting the best foods of spring, paired with wines carefully selected to complement the dishes.

Feast of Flowers
Next Saturday, May 22, David and Tonya Thomas, the duo behind The H3irloom Food Group, will host a seven-course, seated dinner at the newly opened event space, The Sinclair.

The menu is exciting and sounds terrific, with dishes like smoked jerk prawns, plantain mousse and callaloo emulsion (callaloo is a Caribbean dish of greens, spicy peppers and other ingredients – it’s made a variety of different ways), and squash blossom with duck sausage, duck fat mole and fried collards.

Guinness + Vent
Baltimore’s Vent Coffee Roasters has teamed up with the Guinness Open Gate Brewery crew to create Doers & Dreamers, a coffee Schwarzbier – black lager – now available at the brewery.

Doers & Dreamers is the fifth release from Guinness’s Allyship through Collaboration series, in which the brewery and the Job Opportunities Task Force partner create limited edition brews that raise awareness for JOTF, which helps improve outcomes for Baltimore’s Black community.

Flying Dog’s beach faves
Guinness isn’t the only brewer with a local collab up its sleeve. Flying Dog has once again released its Dead Rise Old Bay Gose – a tart and salty beverage – and has added a new beachy option, Saltwater Taffy IPA.

The IPA is made in conjunction with Ocean City’s own Dolle’s. For their part, the candy shop created a beer-flavored taffy using Flying Dog hops.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
May 26: Wine & Gin at Peerce’s 
May 27: Wine Dinner at Café Troia 
August 7: Crabs, Wine & Beer Festival 

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.