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LP Steamers


I had no idea I'd end up eating crabs in Baltimore Memorial Day Weekend. In
fact, I didnt even know it until about two hours before it happened. The
original Saturday plan involved getting up early and heading to Adamstown,
PA “Antiques Capital USA.” But the antiques capital is mostly
closed on Saturdays, Sundays are when its all wheeling and dealing. Who

So, after hitting Reading and checking out the strip mall scene we
decided to just keep heading south. Instead of dinner in nearby Philly where
weve been a million times, why not Baltimore? It was Jamess college stomping
ground, and I'd never been at all. The perfect impromptu long weekend plan.

The only trouble ensued when I tried web searching on a stupid
Blackberry for places to get steamed crab. I get car sick if I even read for
five seconds in a moving vehicle. I so don't get the allure of handheld
devices (I still don't own a cell phone). I know web surfing isnt a
Blackberrys raison detre, but it was painfully slow and cumbersome. It took
me the entire two-hour drive to come up with the random LP Steamers and we
had no idea if it was even a good bet.

But it all turned out well. Even with my perpetual well be too late
paranoia, 9:30pm was ok. There was an empty table on the upstairs outdoor
patio. Normally, I'm no fan of al fresco, but it was just right. A dozen Old
Bay encrusted crabs, fried oysters, a pitcher beer and we were good to go. I
loved the cheap prices, rampant cigarette smoking and convivial crowd (crude
could be a better descriptor, but I'm not put off by lewd stories. The table
next to us had a loud mouth girl who couldnt stop with the dirty talk, which
prompted another table to semi-jokingly tell her to keep it down while they
were trying to eat).

We only spent about four hours–8:30pm to 1am–in town. I need to see
the city in the daylight for a better assessment.

LP Steamers * 1100 E. Fort
Ave.,Baltimore, MD

Bistro du Vent

1/2  *They closed back in May of last year. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember these things. (1/07)

There's something about this newish Theater District restaurant that makes you feel like a tourist. Maybe its the location, maybe its the not-used-to-tight-spaces clientele bogged down with shopping bags and saggy-ass jeans. We walked in early a weeknight thinking it wouldn't be a problem. Apparently, thats what all he Times Square stragglers thought too. Luckily, we were offered a table at the bar that kept us out of the four-child families and souvenir oohing and ahhing fray.

I'd heard the food was perfectly fine bistro fare with no over reaching aspirations. This is exactly what it was, solid, no complaints. The frisee salad with lardons and poached egg was text book. My side of frites, both tender and crispy. Jamess steak frites were generous. Everything was more than edible, there was just something off about the atmosphere. The service, while adequate, seemed mechanical and distracted.

I just wanted to try something new before a Revenge of the Sith showing (no, I'm not a Star Wars freak, we waited a full week before venturing). Next time I'm in the area Ill likely check out Tommy Lukes down the street. Pork, provolone and broccoli rabe sandwiches are the best.

Bistro du Vent * W. 42nd St., New York, NY


German food just doesn't garner the same excitement as flashier cuisines in the city. I guess its perceived as stodgy, heavy, unhealthy. Not trendy like Japanese or perennially popular like Italian. And honestly, my knowledge doesnt extend much beyond bratwurst and schnitzel. (I'm curious about the food scene in Germany because Berlin is totally hip–they must be doing innovative things that Americans are completely obvious of.  Sure, Spain gets all the press, but maybe its time for the Deutsche to do their thing.) But I'm interested, nonetheless.

Rarely setting foot into the West Village, I was trying to come up with someplace to eat and drink, with an emphasis on drinking, on a Friday night that wouldn't be obnoxious or entail the words caliente or cab. Newish Lederhosen, which hasnt gotten any press that I'm aware of, seemed to fit my needs.

The restaurant almost seems out of place for the neighborhood. When I think sauerkraut I don't think Bleecker Street. Most others don't either judging from their empty dining room. The bar up front had its stools filled, but it was a tiny bit off putting being the only food seeking customers in the picnic table and giant alpine mural back space. At one point, an after work group piled in, and after being seated, left. I think from the street you get the impression there's a back garden and this causes disappointment. Maybe German food is synonymous with beer garden.   

But I loved the vibe, very down to earth, German pop music (from the '70s it sounded), friendly staff, bathrooms like it was someones home, maybe your grandmas: Kleenex box, air freshener can, pink cotton towel with a butterfly appliqu on a silver wall-mounted loop (the mens had a blue towel). Definitely not trendy or trying too hard. I'm not sure who the target audience is, which makes me worry that this place wont last.

The food is straightforward, traditional and reasonably priced. Usual suspects like sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel are on the menu. Almost everything is under $12, and many items well under that mark. I had a bratwurst on a roll with shared potato pancake and spaetzle on the side. Simple, carby and good.

Lederhosen * 39 Grove St., NewYork, NY