Looking for atmosphere? A romantic evening out enjoying delicious seafood? You'll have to go somewhere else for the ambiance, but you'll definitely fall in love -- with the crab cakes at Faidley's. Uploaded by adamfriedberg.com.
Here’s a simple test: The reason to go to Faidley’s is: A) Atmosphere B) Location C) Crab cakes. I guess the fact that this is in Baltimore pretty much answers this question, huh? First of all, Faidley’s has no atmosphere, unless you’re a big fan of eating while standing at a counter. And it’s neighborhood can be generously described as “interesting.”
Photo by roadfood.com.
But boy, those crab cakes. When the subject comes to local restaurants, you can turn to Yelp, or Chowhound, or Trip Advisor. But to me, the real authority is Michael Stern, the guru of Roadfood.com. Here’s an excerpt from his review (you can read the whole thing here):
Forget all the spongy, bready, fishy blobs that pass as crab cakes elsewhere. To know the paradigm, you must eat in Maryland, at Faidley’s in particular. In this eat-in-the-rough market on one side of the boisterous, centuries-old food emporium known as the Lexington Market, a crab cake is a baseball-sized sphere of jumbo lump crab meat held together with minimal crushed-Saltine filler and a whisper of mayo and mustard that is just enough to be a foil for the marine sweetness of the meat.
Camden Yards in Baltimore, home of the Orioles, may be the only major league ballpark that offers crab cakes in its concession stands. Well, there has to be SOME reason to see the Orioles play. Uploaded by foodnetwork.com.
I might have called these “Chesapeake Bay” crab cakes instead. But if you trace them to their true home, you come back to Maryland. And if you want to be even more specific, to Baltimore.
Maryland crab cakes are made with blue crab, the best-tasting variety. Other parts of the country make cakes from their local crabs, but nothing beats the blue crab.
Uploaded by foodwishes.blogspot.com.
You have to keep an eye on how the cakes are made, if you want the best experience. It’s not unusual to stretch the crabmeat a bit by adding breadcrumbs or other fillers to the cakes. That might be understandable if you’re stretching your budget at home, but if you’re dining out, don’t order them unless the menu assures you that there are no fillers. As they used to say, Accept no substitutes.
By the way, Camden Yards in Baltimore, home of the Orioles, sells crab cakes at its concession stands. Unfortunately, with the way the O’s have played in the last decade or so, it’s about the best reason to go there these days…
The original Star Spangled Banner measured 42 by 30 feet and had stripes and stars for Vermont and Kentucky. Uploaded by americanhistory.si.edu.
We all know the line from our national anthem: “Oh, say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” The very flag that Francis Scott Key struggled to see at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 is now on display in the Smithsonian’s (Great American Things, April 15, 2009) National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
George Armistead, the commanding officer of Fort McHenry, had ordered two extra large flags for display at the fort. He got one made by a Baltimore flag maker that measured 42′ x 30′ and had 15 stars and 15 stripes (Vermont and Kentucky had joined the Union).
After the war, Major Armistead kept the flag for many years. After his death, the flag passed to his daughter, and then to his grandson. It remained in the Armistead family for 90 years. It remained in a safe deposit vault for seventeen years before finally being donated to the Smithsonian in 1912.
Uploaded by americanhistory.si.edu.
The flag has undergone several restorations, most recently one that began in 1998 and just recently completed. Instead of hanging in the large open room, it’s now in a climate controlled chamber tilted at a precise angle of 10 degrees for best viewing and structural integrity.
“And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there!”
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is an engineering masterpiece. Uploaded by virginia.org.
The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles long, from the Susquehanna in the north to the Atlantic Ocean. It touches six states and the District of Columbia, and is North America’s largest estuary. And it is a national treasure.
Everyone seems to agree that its name comes from the Algonquian Chesepiook. Some would translate that as “village at a big river,” while others assert it’s “great shellfish bay.” Our understanding of the name goes back to 1585 or 1586, when members of the Roanoke Colony first explored the Bay.
Uploaded by baydreaming.com.
I vote for the shellfish interpretation, because we love the Chesapeake’s treasure of seafood. Oysters… blue crabs… rockfish… scallops… clams. The Bay’s oyster population has been damaged due to environmental issues and over-harvesting, but it’s slowly rebounding due to careful attention to this valuable resource.
Some fascinating and charming towns can be found along the bay. You could easily spend a vacation on a driving tour along the Bay’s coastline. From tiny fishing villages like Urbanna, to historic towns like Havre de Grace, to charming Annapolis and richly diverse Baltimore. And the bay offers lots of opportunities for boating and sailing, with abundant marinas and frequent races and regattas.
Copyright 2009-2011, Robin G. Chalkley. All material on these pages, and the listing of items as Great American Things, is copyrighted. The exceptions are the photographs and videos, which remain the property of their respective owners.
Header photo used courtesy of Flickr photographer too melo.