Our next stop was for more crab cakes. We headed out of downtown Baltimore for the suburbs. Our destination was G & M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights. What had been a cool and gray day was gradually turning into a warm (for December) and sunny day. By the time we got to G & M the clouds were gone and the sun felt comfortably warm.
You cannot tell from the exterior shot of G & M, but they are performing an extensive renovation on the building. Evidently, business has been very good for them. G & M offers a sit down dining experience as well as a take out area. Even though it was early afternoon and we were more or less on schedule, we opted for the take out area. You can see from the interior shot that there are a few tables in the take out area. This was perfect for our purposes.
We ordered the jumbo lump crab cake. The before and after shots show you how much we enjoyed the meal. G & M makes their crab cake with large, tender, and tasty pieces of crab meat. They hold it together with just enough binder to keep it from falling apart as it is cooked and served.
Besides the hint of Old Bay, one of our tasters thought there was a bit of horseradish in the cake. I noticed a definite spice blend that was ever so slightly hot. On the back of my tongue there was just enough of a hint of heat to tell me that there was something else going on with this crab cake than the more bland one we tasted at Faidley’s. This crab cake was warmed all the way through and did not have the softer center like the one at Faidley’s. Deb asked the counter staff what was in the crab cake to give it that flavor and of course, that was a secret that they would not share.
Additionally, we thought the fries at G & M were good. As you can see we picked apart the crab cake and demolished the fries. We definitely thought this was the best crab cake of the three that we sampled that day.
We chatted with a number of other customers at G & M. Once again, they were intrigued by our shirts and were interested in food tourism. One of the other customers was raving about the cheese cake that G & M served. Howard said that G & M purchased their cheese cake from a vendor, but we decided to try it anyway.
Our resident baker, Deb, pronounced this to be a good NY style cheesecake. Tony liked it as well. Having had a great crab cake, fries, and cheesecake it was now time to move on to our final stop for crab cakes, Corner Stable.
The Corner Stable is located in Cockeysville on the northwest side of Baltimore. We enjoyed the beautiful afternoon as we made the half hour drive. When Cockeysville was founded it was several miles outside of Baltimore. As the city grew Cockeysville became just another suburb.
As you can see from the pictures, Corner Stable is also known for their ribs. Our mission here was the crab cake, but we did try the ribs. The rest of the team went inside while I walked around taking pictures of the exterior. When I was finished I went inside and looked for them in the restaurant. Not seeing anyone, I figured I must have missed something so I went back outside.
Not seeing anyone outside, I went back in and looked for them again. Still not finding them I finally realized that they must be at the bar. Doh! Sure enough they were huddled at one end of the very long and very empty bar. We had decided to get this crab cake as a take out so they were ordering at the bar. Then, as was the order of the day, we got to talking to anyone who was around. In this case this meant the bartender.
As we talked to her about the Eating Team and our plans for the day we mentioned that we were going to go over to the pit beef place across the street. The bartender told us that we should go to Andy Nelson’s for BBQ pork and pit beef instead. Howard agreed with this change in plan so we left our original destination, Charcoal Deli for another day.
As we sampled the crab cake at Corner Stable we were struck by the quality of the crab. This crab cake was very similar to the one we had at G & M, but it did not have quite the spicy heat of G & M. This cake was warmed through without the cool moist center we experienced at Faidley’s. The fries were also outstanding. They were hand cut from fresh potatoes and had an excellent depth of golden brown and delicious (GBD). This crab cake and fries came in just behind G & M in our rankings. I would definitely order this again.
Two of the members of the Eating Team group this day are members of the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). This helps us when we are tasting ribs, BBQ sauce, smoked meats, as wells as BBQ. Tony and Deb are the KCBS judges and set to work evaluating the ribs. They thought the ribs were good and the sauce was very good. I liked the sauce, but found that the ribs were not smoked. The ribs were cooked in an oven and had a nice crust on them, but I would have preferred them to be smoked. I apologize that I did not make exact notes about the sauce. I remember it being a bit sweet with just enough vinegar to give it some tang and a slight bit of chili heat.
Our next stop was Andy Nelson’s BBQ. This was only a few miles from Corner Stable, and not very far out of our way. As we arrived I attempted to explain to my traveling companions the Roadfood significance of the pig on the roof. Old hands at Roadfood know the Jane & Michael Stern maxim of “if there is a representation of the primary food served on the roof of the restaurant, it is probably a good place.”
The idea of this is that when you decide to put a pig or whatever else you want on the roof, it takes a lot of effort to keep it there. You have to replace it when the weather knocks it loose. You have to paint it when it fades. That effort usually means that the people who own the restaurant are serious about what they do.
My traveling companions gave me “Is he crazy?” look, but I knew I was in for something special at Andy Nelson’s.
We parked in the back. When I saw two more pigs on the roof and the sign over the door that said “Hog Heaven” I knew this was the place for BBQ pork. Then I saw the sign on the front door. “Hogs Smell Better Barbecued” says it all. Finally, I noticed the cast concrete pig that is used as a door stop. I said to myself that if I could not get good BBQ pork here, I didn’t know where I could.
Smell is one of the signs that I use when I walk into a BBQ that tells me how good it is. If I can smell the smoke, the meat, or the wood fire as I enter, I usually have a good meal. I had already smelled the wood fire in the parking lot as I took my pictures. As I walked in the door it seemed like the smell of smoke reached out and whacked my nose. Andy Nelson’s was showing every sign that this would be a great meal.
As I walked back through the restaurant to find the rest of the team I noticed Howard talking to a customer at a table located in the front. Later, Howard told me that this was Tom Matte. Any of you older pro football fans should remember the Baltimore Colts. Tom Matte was a running back for them in the days when Johnny Unitas was the quarterback.
The picture of the food shows the pit beef on the left and pulled BBQ pork on the right. Howard had explained to us that pit beef is Baltimore’s answer to BBQ. Although it is not really BBQ, it is a smoked meat. Baltimore pit beef is a top round that is cooked as a roast over charcoal. It is sliced thin and the customer dresses it with onions, horseradish, and BBQ sauce. We found the pit beef at Andy Nelson’s to be moist and tender thin slices that had a slight hint of smoke to them. This was an excellent introduction to pit beef.
Having seen all the signs of what portended to be good pork BBQ, I was not disappointed. The pulled pork was chopped like some of the BBQ I have eaten in the Carolina’s. It is soft and flavorful. Andy Nelson also adds some of their vinegar based BBQ sauce as they chop the meat to give it a little tang. Adding a little bit more of this excellent vinegar sauce at the table gives the meat just the right flavor. Our KCBS judges also pronounced the sweet BBQ sauce to be excellent. This was some excellent pulled pork. Topped off with a huge cup of sweet tea, this had become a BBQ to remember.
Once again I have run out of time. Tomorrow I will post our final stop and a trip summary.
Thanks again to all of you who are reading and commenting on our trip. We hope to travel with all of you in the future.