Tue 9 Aug 2011
Marty and I decided to steal away for a much-needed private weekend. We thought it would be cool to play tourist in my old hometown of Baltimore—and to revisit some favorite haunts from our dating days. Living in Washington DC for many years, we are still close to Baltimore and visit family there often. But, for many years, we haven’t just hung out there.
Our first stop was downtown Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market. I love the complete overload of stimuli there—lively crowds of locals and tourists, bustling workers, a cacaphonous riot of color and scents. We had to go right to Faidley’s Seafood. The market has been on the same spot since 1782, and Faidley’s has been in it since 1886. They have long, high tables (above) where you stand to eat and socialize with the wide variety of other customers.
Had to get the crab cakes, Hon! Faidley’s makes the archetypic crab cake—gorgeous chunks of fresh, Maryland jumbo lump crab meat, bound sparsely with cracker crumbs and a mustard-y mayo spiced with Old Bay seasoning, then deep-fried for 2–3 minutes—and served with crackers. They also have an oyster bar…nothing fancy, just freshly shucked oysters on styrofoam plates.
After fortifying ourselves for a Friday night out, we hit another old fave, downtown music venue The 8 x 10. They were the hot Baltimore club when they opened in 1983, only a few years before Marty and I married. In April, we celebrated our 25th anniversary, and revisiting this old date-night spot was really fun! Always a venue for emerging, eclectic acts, the space used to be semi-seedy. Recently renovated, it’s looking good. We ended the evening, as we did so many times years ago, with a late-night breakfast at Blue Moon Cafe in Fells Point.
Not used to being nightowls anymore, we got a very late start the next day! We made a short, sentimental journey to the Italian specialty market, Trinacria Foods (AKA “Trinacria Macaroni Works”), home of all things yummy and Italian: pastas, wines, breads, pastries, cookies, meats, cheeses, olives…
I know this shop well. My mother has been a Trinacria customer since 1948 when she worked as a seamstress in the same neighborhood, soon after arriving in the US from her native Tunisia.
We gathered up some of our favorite treats, including a rustic ring of olive bread and ribbons of silky prosciutto, and spent a leisurely, cozy night in at our hotel, feasting on our fabulous indoor Italian picnic.
By Sunday morning we were feeling pretty well-rested. Continuing our marketing theme, we stopped off at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar under the Jones Falls Expressway and strolled through the long aisles of fruits and veggies, scoring some to bring home, like the green pattypan squash and gooseberries below.
We couldn’t get back onto 95-South without a last market meal. This fried fish sandwich topped with coleslaw is from Konscious Katerers, a stand selling a small, eclectic menu with inspirations from Jamaican and soul foods. It really stuck to my ribs until Marty made dinner when we got home.
We had a fabulous time being charmed all over again by Charm City. Do you ever take a stay-cation to play tourist in your own hometown?