Black-Eyed Susans are the drink of choice this week, as Baltimore hosts the 147th Preakness Stakes.

From beef and benefits to Black-Eyed Susans and Biggie Smalls, the Baltimore culinary scene is buzzing this week. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

Vendor openings at Lexington Market
Lexington Market is now accepting applications for kiosk / pop-up merchants to operate in the market when it reopens. The building will have spots for 12 kiosks available as short-term rentals, which are perfect for smaller food vendors and/or those who are just starting out.

Beef It Up!
Baltimore food personality Jessica Formicola, who has a big following through her blog Savory Experiments, has published her first cookbook. Beef It Up!, which includes recipes for all sorts of different beefy meals, comes out on Tuesday and will be available all over the place.

The book is terrific, with clear, easy to follow recipes and great photos. It will make a great addition to any cookbook library and would be a perfect gift for meat-lovers.

Bees & more at Alma
In honor of World Bee Day on May 20, Alma Cocina Latina has a new cocktail: “The Pollinator.” The drink includes rum, lemon, thyme, Bar Hill Gin, an Amaro Tintilia wine float, plus bee pollen and honey from the Fishman family apiary.

It’s one of a few new spring cocktails on Alma’s drinks menu – now is a good time to stop by to see what’s fresh.

Preakness festivities
The big news in Baltimore this weekend is, of course, the 147th running of the Preakness Stakes, which takes place on Saturday.

The race is at Pimlico, where there will be a full Restaurant Row set up, featuring food and drinks from a variety of local eateries, including Breaking Bread, Blue Caribbean Bar & Lounge, Crust by Mack, Fishnet, Land of Kush, Shareef’s House of Wraps and Underground Pizza Co. Plus, there will be celebrity chefs on the main stage at the event, including Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson and Gail Simmons, along with local stars from Blk Swan, Fishnet and The Urban Oyster.

Restaurants throughout the rest of the city will also be celebrating the ponies, with specials and drinks.

Silver Queen Café is going all in on the crab with deals on crabby fries and crab dip and a softshell crab benedict for Sunday brunch, plus Black-Eyed Susan cocktails on the menu.

You can also grab a Black-Eyed Susan at Mt. Washington Tavern, which is always a great place to watch the races and has shuttles to the racetrack on Friday and Saturday.

At Magdalena in The Ivy Hotel, several Preakness-inspired cocktails are on the menu from now through the rest of Triple Crown season, including a take on the Black-Eyed Susan called “She Loves Me Still,” which features ingredients from Black-owned companies Uncle Nearest whiskey and Equitea Co., as a nod to the sometimes overlooked history of Black Jockeys.

Cooking class & brunch with Chef Nick Malgieri
On Saturday, chef and author Nick Malgieri will pop up at Basic Kneads Culinary School in Jarretsville for a fun cooking class and brunch event. The menu is a good one, starting with mimosas and including dishes like spinach and ricotta pie in olive oil crust and cocoa banana coffee cake.

Spring dinner at Atwater’s
Also on Saturday, Atwater’s in Catonsville will host a community dinner featuring all the best flavors and ingredients of spring.

The three-course BYOB meal will include dishes made with herbs, greens and vegetables grown at Atwater’s Big Kitchen Farm, and the evening will start with a mocktail hour featuring small plates and Atwater’s own homemade cheese.

Biggie Brunch at Sally O’s
On Sunday, Sally O’s is hosting a day-long brunch with a Notorious B.I.G. theme, featuring a special Biggie-themed drinks and food menu and Biggie over the speakers all day long.

Giving back at Gunther
The Gunther & Co. crew has long supported the organization No Kid Hungry; Chef Jerry Trice just completed a bike ride to raise awareness and funds for the worthy group.

On Tuesday, the restaurant will host a give back night during which a portion of the proceeds from all dine-in meals will go to No Kid Hungry’s Chefs Cycle. And if you can’t make it into the restaurant and want to participate, there are also other opportunities to get involved and donate.

National Salad Month
Did you know that May is National Salad Month? TasteWise Kids, the local organization that helps teach Baltimore children about the value of healthy eating, has partnered with a couple local restaurants to raise money for its initiatives.

When you purchase a featured salad at Gertrude’s, Coffee Coffee or Atwater’s, the restaurant will donate a dollar to TasteWise Kids. 

Santé: A Taste of Baltimore
On Wednesday, the National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware hosts its annual fundraiser at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

The event, dubbed Santé: A Taste of Baltimore, features tastings and drinks from numerous local restaurants, caterers and other local food organizations, including Bertucco’s Bakery, Black Tie Caterers, Boordy Vineyards, Celestial Catering, Farmacy Brewing, Little Havana, Log Cabin Chocolates, Mamma Mish’s Homemade Dishes, Natasha’s Just Brittle, Sagamore, Sandy Bottom, Sobo Café, The Grill at Quarterfield Station and Zeffert and Gold Catering.

The event supports the organization’s local patient emergency assistance program – a worthy cause helping Marylanders waiting for kidney transplants and those on dialysis.

Wine at Sunset
On Thursday, head to Patterson Park for Wine at Sunset, a fun outdoor tasting event benefiting the park. The ticketed event includes wine tastings, small bites from local restaurants and live music. VIP tickets, with access to premium wines, are also available.

Making June plans
Mark your calendar for a very special dinner on June 11, when David and Tonya Thomas of H3irloom Food Group partner with chef, culinary historian and foodways expert Michael Twitty on an open-air dinner celebrating Juneteenth.

The meal, dubbed “Educate, Liberate, Celebrate,” will be held at The Sinclair and will feature live-fire cooking and thoughtful, innovative dishes that incorporate and build upon Black food traditions.

Ice cold
With Preakness, graduations and graduations coming up, and a summer full of revelry ahead, it is time to think about one essential party ingredient: ice.

Ice Lab, in Glen Burnie, just opened its outdoor dock for the summer. The company sells three sizes of cubed, crushed and block ice, plus half-block ice luges, so you have plenty of choices for keeping drinks cold and for cocktails – including hand-carved, oversized artisan cubes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The cocktail cubes can also be engraved or stamped with monograms or logos or infused with ingredients like herbs and citrus.

Specialty cubes must be ordered ahead but for other types of ice, you can just stop in at the ice dock.

Planning for the future
Mark your calendars for:
May 28: Brew at the Zoo 
June 11: Chesapeake Seafood Festival 
June 18: Solstice Festival at Old Westminster Winery 

Kit Pollard

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