|WE WENT TO BALTIMORE, Y'ALL!|
Part of Lexi's motive for the trip was to compare East Coast vs. West Coast seafoods. Both of us were raised in the shadow of Mt. Rainier on the gray rocky shores of Puget Sound. Its cold, salty waters yield up a massive bounty of delicious things to eat - foods that are not simply part of our diet, but have been part of our lives as locals.
Hunting and harvesting seafood are more than just fun activities, they're full-blown events that we've taken part in since we were kids: trips to the coast to dig for razor clams in January, putting out the crab pots during Dungeness season in the summer, grilling oysters and steaming mussels a yard from the beach where they were collected, all of these things and more form fond memories for both of us. (One of the most useful skills my dad taught me was how to shuck an oyster.) That doesn't even start to touch on the other culinary delights found in and around the greater Puget Sound area, brought by the influx of cultures from all around the Pacific Rim: salmon caught and smoked by indigenous people, fish stews and soups from Korea and Thailand, a gazillion kinds of sushi, Chinese fish hot pots, even the fish tacos that wandered up from the coast of California... you love seafood? We got it.
We got it... but West Coast style seafood ain't the same as East Coast style. I knew this, but Lexi (having traveled considerably more than I have) had actually experienced it. So to broaden my tastes, she took me eastward. The destination: Baltimore (and areas surrounding), where her favorite restaurant in the world is located: Anne Arundel Seafood.
This is the story of how we got there, and all the yummy things we ate on the way.
I hate flying. It doesn't frighten me or freak me out, it's just kind of uncomfortable, being stuffed into an aluminum can with a bunch of often grumpy strangers in narrow seats with no leg room, too much dry air, and not enough in the way of little creature comforts to make the whole thing a bit more bearable.
Fortunately, at the time we took the trip, Lexi had been traveling a lot for business, and had amassed enough frequent flyer points to get us upgrades into First Class. (SWEET.) The cabin steward was friendly, the seats were wide enough (and comfy), and at least some of the drinks were free. We played Ticket to Ride and chilled out for 5 hours, landing uneventfully in Washington, DC, as evening fell.
|Thank you, friendly cabin steward, for the stiffest Bloody Mary to be found at 35,000 feet.|
Just off Dupont Circle, we found Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe.
|Books & booze at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe|
|East Coast crab cake appetizer with remoulade|
I'm happy to say that Kramerbooks' crab cakes were more crab than cake. Fried in butter rather than roasted, they had a rich, crisp exterior. Compared to the sweet-fleshed Dungeness of my home state, the blue crab in these cakes was less sweet and considerably meatier, well-balanced by the sweet-sour taste of the remoulade.
|Mussels steamed with shallots, garlic, white wine, butter, basil|
|Catfish fingers with Cajun spices & Cajun remoulade|
This is how I ended the evening:
|Original Sin Cherry Tree Hard Cider|
I don't even remember if we had dessert. I just remember that, after a long day of travel, it was great to sit outside on a semi-warm East Coast evening, under a warming heat lamp, eating the first of many fishy dishes to come. Kramerbooks comes highly recommended by the FeastyGeeks, if ever you're in DC.
Next time: Day Two, in Which Two Hungry Foodie Geeks Seek Out Breakfast