Thursday, April 15, 2010

TWSF goes to Baltimore

 Crab Cake Sandwich

Last weekend TWSF went to Baltimore to visit our friend Josh and see David Sedaris. As excited as we were to see these two fine gentlemen, any trip wouldn’t be complete without a few good food pit stops, You gotta eat right? We were eager to get some authentic Maryland crab cakes and a few slices of real pizza (if you live in DC the latter is extremely hard to come by). Needless to say we were pretty excited for the trip. To loosely quote a modern movie classic, “Crab cakes and NPR Lectures. That’s what Maryland does!” Oh and there was also a bunch of pirates.

Pirates, they're cooler than those Renaissance Fair nerds.

When we arrived in Fells Point the place was crawling with pirates. We must have not been on that email chain because the vast majority of people in Fells were decked out in pirate garb. Apparently we stumbled upon a yearly festival. Every type of pirate was represented from little kids with eye patches to adults with movie quality costumes. You’ll never heard “aarrrgh” more times than we did that afternoon. There is something disconcerting about a drunk adult in eyeliner and period clothing coming up to you and talking like a pirate. X marks the spot for uncomfortable encounters. I think I developed a new phobia of people who are "in character" that afternoon. Anyways there were booths serving usual carnival fare. We opted for homemade potato chips. They were pretty good, but they were caught in limbo somewhere between a chip and a french-fry. Sadly we have no visual evidence on this one.

Interesting food fact learned while on the pirate ship. The taboo of eating with your elbows on the table originated because back in the day sailors used their elbows to keep their food from sliding off the table while on the undulating seas. Sailors at the time were considered the lowest of the low class and proper people of the time did not want to do anything resembling sailor behavior.

Later that evening our host picked out a  one of his favorite small bar/restaurants called Todd Connor's to get some real crab cakes. I had been there before and was eager to relive my crab cake experience with the other blogger. The waiter/owner was very nice and apologetic for what we thought was a pretty standard DC wait and offered any bottle on the menu for $20. I guess that he was tired of serving surely pirates all day and appreciated some courteous yuppies. TWSF got crab cake sandwiches (pictured at the top of the post). It was all lump meat with only enough filler to hold the thing together. They used ciabatta bread which was a really nice touch and it didn't disintegrate like rolls on other crab cake sandwiches. Our friend got a steak (below), a nice slab of meat cooked perfectly. The waiter was apologetic throughout the meal, we still don’t know why, and gave us two free pieces of crème brulee cheesecake. An unexpected tasty treat, you could tell they used real vanilla beans. Eating in Baltimore is great, it's cheaper than you are used to, the people are nicer than you'd expect (waitresses will call you out if you don't order a drink like everyone else) and the food, (especially anything with the word crab in it) is always good

After the show we went out barhopping in Fells Point. A great spot for such an activity, there are tons of bars clustered in a small area, several offer live music, there isn't a cover to be found and drink prices are what you would expect to see at a happy hour in a larger city. We went to some old favorites including Woody's Rum Bar, The Horse, Max's, and the Waterfront Hotel.

Around 2 AM we got hungry again. Luckily Fells has some decent late night pizza. Anyone who has spent time above the Mason-Dixon Line can tell you that DC’s conception of pizza is not grounded in reality. TWSF finds it truly depressing to live in an area where your best pizza bet is a place with a national ad campaign. It's so bad that we usually just make our own. The pizza squares the cafeteria ladies used to give us for lunch in elementary school are better than 90% of DC pizza, especially those jumbo slices from Adams Morgan. I typically don’t remember much from my nights out in Adams Morgan, but I always remember being enraged by the horrendousness of the jumbo slice.

With that being said, Fells Point has several places tossing NY style pizza that would put DC ‘pizzerias’ to shame. The best among them (at least in Fells Point) is Hot Tomatoes. It’s your standard no frills pizza place, just walk (or fight if visiting after 2) up to the counter, order your slice, pay, and leave. They stay open to 3 AM to cater to the last call crowd. If anyone were to open a simple place like this in DC they would make a killing.

Visiting Baltimore for an afternoon and night out is a nice change of pace if the weekend scene in your city is getting stale. Spend a nice afternoon walking around the harbor, duck into a small restaurant and grab a quick meal, catch a game at Camden Yards, or see a show then go out in Fells Point of Federal Hill. So call up that friend who lives in Bmore and reserve some space on his/her couch. People will watch the Wire jump to the conclusion that Baltimore is not safe, they worry that Marlo will send Chris and Snoop after them (if you haven't already, Netflix that show now). This most likely wont happen and I'll admit that the homeless are a bit aggressive and many parts of the city are sketchy, but TWSF believes that Baltimore is a perfectly safe and awesome city to visit, given that you stay within eyesight of the harbor.

Hot Tomatoes on Urbanspoon

Todd Conner's on Urbanspoon

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