May 25, 2009

Escape to Charm City

I must admit that I'm a bit sad to have to push the photo at the top of the previous post into the depths, but, alas, it is time for Klaus & his monkey to slide down the page. Today's shiny, new post has nothing to do with German madmen or tiny primates flitting about a raft. It does, however, have everything to do with Baltimore.

Back in the late winter, after several attempts at planning a tropical, early spring getaway were foiled, our friends suggested a long weekend full of crabs, baseball, and wanderings in Baltimore. I'd visited only once before, on a junior high school trip--our buses passing through town on the way to Washington, DC--and knew little about it beyond what I've seen in Barry Levinson or John Waters movies (No, we don't have real cable, so, I've never seen "The Wire," but I was aware of the troubles in Bodymore, Murderland). I knew Baltimore was an off-beat sort of place with a great ballpark and a terrible baseball team. They also named their NFL franchise named after a poem.

And, yes, I was aware of the crabs. That was the one of the main reasons for the trip in the first place. I was eager to tear into as many of the little buggers as I could get my hands on, in as many different forms at possible (fresh lump, fried cakes, steamed whole, etc.).

Crab fight!

We arrived, blasphemously, in a car with "H8RSOX" plates to find that a sea of Yankees fans had engulfed our hotel, turning an otherwise perfectly respectable Sheraton into a pinstriped nightmare. We checked in and wandered to where I suppose everyone visiting Baltimore wanders at some point: Inner Harbor for some beers, a raw bar platter, and crab cakes.

The following day was gameday and we strolled down the street to Orioles Park at Camden Yards for a Yankees-Orioles game. It is true what they say, Camden Yards is a great place to catch a game: an old-timey feel, yet newer, cleaner, friendlier, and cheaper than Fenway (but without all of those great obstructed view seats).

Evidence that Big Papi was once able to hit home runs

It was a beautiful day, so we meandered around the park, ate some pulled-pork sandwiches on Eutaw Street, bought a few beers, and settled in to our high, but well-positioned seats.

a $20 view

After the game, we caught a taxi and headed to Obrycki's to don our plastic bibs, roll up our sleeves, and hammer away at a dozen hot steamed crabs (see above photo of said creatures) covered in Obrycki's controversal seasoning (they don't use Old Bay, which is a polarizing choice in the region)

Primal deliciousness. Baltimore.