Hop-on Clyde here. With just a bit of the Baltimore, for your enjoyment.
First I have to tell you a story, and it's the saddest story in the whole wide world. Sadder than if I actually had fake glass legs filled with beer. We went to Baltimore the third weekend in July this year for Julie's birthday. The Twins were in town at Camden Yards and the plan was to catch as many games as we could and squeeze some RF joints and sightseeing in around them.
I don't know if you recall anything about the third weekend in July this year, but it was officially as hot as the surface of Mercury on the Eastern seaboard, and in particular in Baltimore. One day it was 110 degrees. Not with the heat index, that was the temperature. So about midway through the trip, I started to flag in a big way. Ended up sending Julie to the last game we had planned without me, staying in the hotel drinking Gatorade, and -- here's the sad part -- never did eat a crab cake. I'm still majorly miffed about that one. So kids, here's your lesson--get the thing you most wanted to have the minute you get off the plane. Life is friggin' short. :)
Here's what we did get to. First of all, at Camden Yards. I had gone over the previous Baltimore threads here and made notes and sent a missive to i95, who was most helpful. We landed around 5 on Thursday and made such good time getting to our hotel that we wandered on down to the ballpark Thursday night and were rewarded with free tickets by a wonderful lady who'd gotten them from her kids' school. So the only thing that was universally agreed upon at Camden Yards was Boog's Pit Beef. I don't have a picture of it, because I hoovered that thing right on down in record time. That was the first thing we noshed, watching the game from the concession area on the entry level and trying to figure out where we were going to stab for sitting in a section other than the one on our tickets.
The other thing we discovered on Thursday night and tucked away for future reference (and mentioned by i95 in his unfortunate run-in with a fishcake) is that there is an Attman's Deli in the exterior wall of the ballpark. Friday night we split a Reuben:
and an entirely new creature to us, the potato knish. I knew generally what a knish was but when I ordered it and the counterwoman said 'what kind?' I was thrown for a second. She very kindly (but quickly) explained in a perfect Baltimore accent and we got the potato kind:
Julie still talks about that knish. The Reuben was quite good, but I feel myself to be an inadequate evaluator of the Reuben. I still order a Rachel or a turkey Reuben or the cole slaw version about as often. I need the meat dressed up.
So for Camden Yards, those two seem to be your best bet. There was a stand selling crab cakes, but being as I was under the (mistaken) impression I was going to have good ones the next day, it didn't happen. We had the usual ballpark fare--a lemonade here, some soft-serve there, a bag of peanuts. Thursday's game was really exciting--this is the one where the Baltimore manager ended up getting ejected for yelling at an umpire over an out (which was really over an unfair safe earlier in the game for the Twins) and some 18 year old held the game up for about ten minutes after leaping over the outfield wall and dodging security in the outfield. I even booed the guy who stood in his way after he launched himself over the dugout and tried for a getaway.
Friday morning we made our way to Lexington Market to scout things out and buy some Berger cookies:
And love them I did. I'm plotting on how to make some version of the frosting to top a peanut butter cookie right now. It's very fudgy, almost ganache-y, and I can see how they inspire such devotion. We were really there too early for a crab cake, and if this were an episode of 'Scrubs' this would be the part where the tuxedoed opera guy comes out to sing 'mistaaaaaake.'
Then we wandered down to the waterfront area and a wonderful lady from the Visitors' Center tried to find us something fun to do that would be, please dear God, inside. So we ended up at the American Visionary Art Museum, a wacky mirror-covered main building (with some outbuildings containing additional collections) with an impressive array of art whose inclusive commonality is that it was all produced by untrained artists, but when you peruse the collection you discover that many of these untrained artists were at one time institutionalized either at a mental health facility or a prison, or sometimes both. There are pieces in this collection that will stick in your brain forever. The building is lovely and the staff is very helpful at explaining what you're looking at. They have a lunchroom--which is probably too fancy to really be called a lunchroom--called Mr. Rain's Fun House.
My condition hadn't deteriorated yet so I happily ordered two appetizers, the lumpia (spring rolls filled with minced chicken and shrimp) and a seasonal candy beet salad:
Both were absolutely delicious, with the beets an overall standout. Before your food comes at Mr. Rain's, they bring you a bowl of tiny pretzel balls, with some yellow mustard for dipping:
These were much denser, of course, than other bread products their size--we couldn't just horse them down like you'd think you could. Nice and salty. Julie got an entree of black eyed pea cakes in an open faced sandwich:
The cakes themselves were excellent--I didn't figure out that the carraway flavor I was getting from them was coming from the bread underneath but it could have been that I was already starting to be rendered stupid by the heat. The fries were just okay--it's not easy to keep shoestrings like this in great shape for the trip to your table, or it could be that we are sticklers for crispy. All in all, a very good lunch and a place I would recommend highly if you want an afternoon full of different.
Friday night we were back at the stadium (this was the Attman's night) and even though we were careful to sit well back under the concrete level above us, and near a breeze coming from the exterior wall of the stadium, the heat (or the flu) was starting to get to me.
Saturday morning the plan was to go spend some time in Fells Point and maybe hit a couple of other spots via the water taxi. It was then that everything fell apart. Around 11 am I found myself desperately hurling myself off the water taxi and directly into the place immediately across the street from the stop, Koopers' Tavern. 'Homicide' aficionados, if there are any still around, will understand that Koopers' Tavern is the place where the 'Board' lives on the wall in the stairwell, and it's still there, undisturbed. We sat at the bar and nursed lemonades for about an hour while I tried to quell my spinning head and racing stomach, and we decided that we would at least get Julie some lunch before making our way back to the hotel. This is what she got:
And she pronounced it the best one she's had in years--no fillers, no folderol, just lump crab meat, with very good mashed potatoes and steamed green beans besides. It's not one of the well-known ones like Faidley's or Obrycki's but it's a very good crab cake. Meanwhile, I was sitting there nursing a bowl of grapes and canteloupe cubes that the waitress had kindly dug up for me. Am I bitter? Hmmm.