Sunday, December 25, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 12/24/16: Crab Cakes at Faidley's, Visiting the Mother Ship, Swiss Miss and Brandy

1. I was out running some errands when the text came flying in:  Patrick wants to go to Baltimore. It was past noon and Patrick was now awake, taking a shower, and eager to travel to a new place. An hour or so later, we hit the road and made our way to the dizzying, chaotic, labyrinthine, vibrant, historic Lexington Market, here. If you read my blog very often, you might remember that a while back I listened to David Simon (creator of The Wire) interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, Special Sauce, about where to eat in Baltimore and when Ed Levine, the host, asked him where to go for crab cakes, he replied immediately: Faidley's in Lexington Market. (You can listen to the podcast here and get a sense of what Faidley's is about, here.)

Once in Lexington Market, I was nearly overcome with vertigo -- the good kind -- as we wound our way through the narrow passages between vendors' stalls selling produce, meat, fried chicken, Korean food, breakfasts, and more. Patrick spied the entrance to Faidley's and we staked out a place on one of the several waist high tables. Faidley's has no chairs. Whether you go to the oyster bar or order prepared seafood, if you eat it in house, you stand at one of these tables.

For me, the stakes were high.  I had decided when we moved to Maryland that I would not eat my first crab cake until I did so in Baltimore -- and then, after listening to David Simon, I decided my first crab cake would have to be at Faidley's.

And, let me just say:  Oh, my! The crab cake was round, about the size of a baseball. It featured large chunks of jumbo crab held together with crushed saltine crackers and a subtle sauce, lightly seasoned with Old Bay seasoning, and deep fried, giving the exterior a satisfying crunch, opening the way to the sweetest, tenderest crab meat I've ever tasted. The Deke and I split one cake and ordered two sides, pickled cucumber salad (to die for) and greens, like collard greens, which were perfect.  We also ordered fried calamari and loved it.

I look forward to returning to Lexington Market for a longer visit so I can get my bearings better. Next time I'll be heading straight to that oyster bar in Faidley's to slurp away! The Deke also likes that idea.

2.  Okay. Several times, I have mentioned on this blog that I enjoy beers brewed at Baltimore's Union Craft Brewing, here. In fact, yesterday I mentioned the pleasure of drinking their Steady Eddie IPA and have, on several occasions, praised the virtues of both their Duckpin Pale Ale and their Double Duck Pin Double IPA.

Patrick, the Deke, and I piled back into the Sube and headed north, to the Hampden/Clipper Mill neighborhood, and visited the mother ship, the brewery itself.

I went to the tasting room bar and ordered Double Duck Pins for all three of us and we squeezed onto a narrow table across from a guy from Baltimore and his Shropshire wife and her widowed father. We had a fine time yakking and I returned to the bar and brought back a single pint of Union's sublime Rye Baby, a Rye IPA, split it with the Deke, and, as we left, I purchased a growler of Union's fantastic Double Black IPA, Lucifer's Trees, for our enjoyment back at our apartment home.

3. Once back in Greenbelt, I dropped off Patrick and the Deke at our apartment home and braved the crowds at Shoppers in College Park and bought a few items for Christmas breakfast and for Christmas Eve snacks -- and, more importantly, got some Swiss Miss so we could enjoy some hot chocolate and brandy.  I drove over to the Diazes and fed Deanna, the cat, and gave her some company before coming back, joining the Deke and Patrick, for a glass of Black IPA, and we settled into corn chips, salsa, Black IPA, and, a little later, the much anticipated Swiss Miss and brandy -- and, for me, some vanilla extract.

A Happy Anniversary Day indeed!

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