Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore

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Capt Murdock
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2009/08/06 22:36:43 (permalink)

Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore

 
Aside for our love for one another my wife and I have one other great love.  That love is for Crabcakes so it was only natural that for our most recent anniversary we chose Baltimore as our destination.  We have a newborn so we weren’t able to take an incredibly long vacation but we tried to make the most of what time we had.
 
We dropped the baby off at my in-laws bright and early on Thursday morning and headed down 95 to our first stop which was G & M.  The plan was to get to G & M around noon for lunch so we would be hungry again by the time dinner rolled around.  Of course things didn’t quite go as planned.  We hit some heavy traffic, had some issues with the car and then I got off at the wrong exit.  By the time we got to Linthicum Heights it was nearly 2:30 and I was really frustrated.  Our plan was to eat in the Take Out section of the restaurant but after the long drive we opted to sit in the dining room.


 

This was our first trip to G & M and we were expecting a more casual environment.  I just assumed it would be similar to the Jersey diners I grew up with (still not quite sure where I got that image from).  I have to say that any apprehension we felt was quickly wiped away as our server came over with a big smile and a great attitude.  After ordering two Yuengling’s to calm our nerves we dug right into the Onion Rings that I’ve heard so much about.  I thought they were fantastic.  They were thick and crunchy with just the right amount of grease.  My wife (who is more of an onion ring lover than me) thought they were a little cold which sort of ruined the experience a bit for her.

 
We then moved on to what we were here for, Crabcakes.  My wife went with the sandwich and I went with crackers.  I had read that G & M makes some huge crabcakes but even all of the reading I had done could not prepare me for the mammoth size of these.  They smelled like fresh seafood without any hint of that fishy smell you get with crabcakes that come from a freezer and they were cooked to a golden brown.  I felt guilty digging into something so beautiful.  My first bite instantly changed the way I would look at crabcakes in the future. 

 
There was minimal filler.  In fact there was so little filler that at times the cake would fall apart and the huge pieces of crab would fall away.  The seasoning was very mild with a subtle hint of mustard which only helped enhance then flavor of the meat.  After one bite my wife anointed it as the “Best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
 


As we ate we could not stop gushing over the amazing texture, flavor and consistency of these cakes.  I did have a bite of my wife’s sandwich and I can definitively say that crackers are the way to go. 

 
After G & M we walked for a bit to work off some of the food.  We made a stop for a bottle of Champagne and a twelve pack of National Bohemian (one of my favorite things to ever come out of Baltimore) before getting back in the car and making the trek to our hotel.
 
Once at the hotel we relaxed with a glass of champagne and I called over to The Rusty Scupper to move our dinner reservations back from 6:30 to 7:30.
 
We left the hotel around 6 and headed toward the inner harbor.  We made a couple of detours in an attempt to work lunch off and get ready for dinner.  Unfortunately I was still stuffed when we got on the Water Taxi at 7:15.  I have to say that the Water Taxi is the best way to get around in Baltimore.

]

 
Now I know that the Rusty Scupper is considered a tourist trap and no self respecting food lover would go there looking for a great mean but you know what it was our anniversary dinner and all we were looking for was a quiet place with a nice view.  This is exactly what we got. 

 I stuck with the theme and went with a crabcake while my wife ordered the soft shell crabs but before we went to the entrée’s we ordered some oysters and Summerhouse Ale.
 
The oysters were standard.  I’ve had much better but they weren’t bad.

 
The entrée’s were better than I expected.  Unfortunately my wife’s crabs were smothered in some bruschetta variation but once she moved that aside all was right with the world.  I could only eat a few bites of my crabcake (which was only available in sandwich form so I had to order it with no bread and asked for crackers) and it was pretty run-of-the-mill.  It was heavily spiced with mustard, pepper and what tasted a bit like tartar.  All of these spices helped to mask the sub par crabmeat that was used.  If I hadn’t had a belly full of G & M I’m sure my feelings would have been a little more favorable.  After dinner we just sat there and enjoyed the spectacular view.
 

 
Crabcake
 

 

 
After dinner we got back on the Water Taxi and headed to one of favorite neighborhoods in the entire world, Fell’s Point.  After walking up and down Broadway we ended up at our old standby, Max’s.  Max’s is a bar that prides itself on having a knowledgeable staff and one of the most eclectic beer lists that I have ever seen.  On this particular evening they had 78 beers on tap and over 1000 bottles. 

 
My wife and I talked the night away as I tried their various IPA offerings and my wife braved through the bartenders suggestions.

 
We finally made it back to the hotel around 1 am and tried to get some rest in preparation for Day 2.
 
When checking into our hotel on Thursday I noticed a sign in the lobby that read “Our Deli Was Voted Best In Baltimore by The Baltimore Sun Last Year” so I quickly amended our plans to visit the Blue Moon Diner and opted to sleep in a bit and get breakfast at the deli.  This was the biggest mistake of our short trip.
 
I walked down to the deli in the morning to find it backed with guys with combat boots, bullet belts and thick German accents.  I took my place in line and ordered two of their “Famous Breakfast Sandwiches”.  As I was waiting I got to talking with one of the scary looking guys and it turns out there were a band called ‘Hail of Bullets’ who were playing in Baltimore that night.  These guys were a riot!  They started telling me about how much they love America and when I asked if they had tried a crabcake in Baltimore they all started saying “Philip’s” over and over again.  They made the twenty minute wait for my breakfast go by in a flash.  Unfortunately the food wasn’t nearly as good as the company.  I had a hunch when I saw my sausage being micro waved.  It was the single worst breakfast sandwich I have ever had.  Chewy, bland and cold. 
 

 All it really did was make us more excited to get some real food over at Lexington Market.
 
We checked out around 11 and I asked the concierge what would be the easiest way to walk to Lexington Market.  He promptly told me that he would get me a cab.  I let him know that we preferred to walk but again he told me that he would get me a cab.  Finally I just left and asked the doorman who told me it was about seven blocks over.  Now I have heard that Lexington Market is in a pretty bad neighborhood and I’m sure that is why the concierge was trying to get me into a cab but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw.  The streets around the market looked like the set to some post-apocalyptic sci-fi film with broken asphalt, boarded up stores and burnt out homes.  People just congregate in the middle of the street so no traffic even attempts to pass.  I was asked to purchase drugs twice within one block. With that said, I did not feel intimidated or in danger once.  Its just a different culture that I’m not really used to. 
 
The market was huge with so many offerings it made my head spin.  Luckily we knew our destination so no decisions had to be made.  We headed straight to Faidley’s to try the other big name in Baltimore Crabcakes. 

 
We got in line, got our premium cakes and stood at a tall table.  This time my wife wised up and went with the crackers. 
 

 
 

[size=3 font="times new roman"]
 
Much like G & M, Faidley’s uses minimal filler.  Again there is just enough to hold the cake together.  It was phenomenal. 
 

The main difference that I noticed between the two was the spices.  I could be wrong but I noticed the faintest hint of Worcestershire Sauce which worked really well.  I washed it down with a Nattyboh which is the perfect meal in my book. 
 
 
 I noticed that there was also a raw bar in the Faidley’s section so after our crabcakes my wife and I enjoyed some clams and oysters while talking to some of the locals sitting next to us.  Unfortunately we were so wrapped up in the conversation that I forgot to take pictures of the raw bar.
 
Finally it was time to go so we picked up a few soft shell crabs, walked back to the car and headed home.
 
What a great anniversary!




post edited by Capt Murdock - 2009/08/18 16:00:29
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11 Replies Related Threads

    signman
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/06 23:56:10 (permalink)
    Very nicely done Capt. Murdock.  Glad you enjoyed Charm City.  Where did you stay?  The only place I can think of with a deli is the Tremont:  Deli there used to be much better. 
    #2
    mayor al
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/07 01:43:46 (permalink)
    I agree with my friend,Signman! You have given us a really nice report.  There have been a lot of comparison "taste-tests" on the RF site, dealing with the Lex-Market Fraidleys vs G & M  and the results of those are much like what you found...Those two places are both Great, while many others in the area fall short !  Of the two I lean towards G & M , even though I have not been there since the reopening, I like to sit-down and relax during dinner compared to the stand-up tall tables in the Market.

    It does sound like you had a fine weekend ! Thanks for sharing.
    #3
    aleximoon
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/07 01:48:02 (permalink)
    Oh!  That looks like so much fun.  You're right about that first crab cake being almost to pretty to eat.
    #4
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/07 08:24:24 (permalink)
    Very nice report Capt Murdock!  And Happy Anniversary!  G & M is my favorite place to get a crabcake, too.
    #5
    Capt Murdock
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/07 13:32:45 (permalink)
    signman

    Very nicely done Capt. Murdock.  Glad you enjoyed Charm City.  Where did you stay?  The only place I can think of with a deli is the Tremont:  Deli there used to be much better. 

    Thanks for the kind words everyone.  This was my first trip report so I'm glad to see its being received well.
     
    signman it was the Tremont.  The hotel itself was really nice and we asked to stay as high up as possible so we had a great view of the city.
     
    As far as the deli goes it may just be breakfast because when we passed through on our way out the lunch looked much better than the mess we had.
    #6
    agnesrob
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/08 09:01:33 (permalink)
    Great report, I guess I'm making crabcakes for dinner!
    #7
    Niagara
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/08 09:12:58 (permalink)
    Great report! I'm flying to Baltimore tomorrow for a conference and will be there until wednesday and hope to get by Fraidley's.
    #8
    TnTinCT
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/08 15:25:23 (permalink)
    YUM! Excellent report, and now I have a craving for crab cakes - thanks for the story and pics.
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    Pancho
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/08 17:17:24 (permalink)
    Great report, Captain! Now, you never did say who won...G&M or Faidley's? We ordered some G&M cakes for Christmas last year and they were fantastic. They come packed in little plastic cups (like tartar sauce) and all you do is flip them on a cookie sheet and bake for the required time. Just like being there......almost.
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/18 15:57:00 (permalink)
    Capt Murdock 
    Now I have heard that Lexington Market is in a pretty bad neighborhood and I’m sure that is why the concierge was trying to get me into a cab but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw.  The some of the streets around the market looked like the set to some post-apocalyptic sci-fi film with broken asphalt, boarded up stores and burnt out homes.  People just congregate in the middle of the street so no traffic even attempts to pass.  I was asked to purchase drugs twice within one block. With that said, I did not feel intimidated or in danger once.  Its just a different culture that I’m not really used to.  
     

     
    Good for you, Captain.  You get the 'I'm not a Pingleton' award.
     
    We just got back from the Pacific NW (report coming eventually) and whereas Dungeness is totally fabulous, it really made us hungry for some Baltimore-style crabcakes, so I'm actually going to refer this report to the missus for something to do later this year.  Thanks for sharing, and happy anniversary.
    #11
    Capt Murdock
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    Re:Mini Crabcake Tour of Baltimore 2009/08/18 16:02:31 (permalink)
    Pancho

    Great report, Captain! Now, you never did say who won...G&M or Faidley's? 

     
    Both were fantastic so I can't really pick a winner.  I would say that Faidley's was the perfect place for lunch with no formal seating and plenty of great atmosphere while G & M will be a stop for dinner on our next trip.

    #12
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