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Charm City

Well, that was a short and sweet mini-vacation. Unfortunately, I spent over seven hours in a car yesterday attempting to get back to NYC. I’m still not sure how we got to Baltimore on the 4th, itself, traffic-free in half that time. I always forget why it’s wise to just stay home during three-day weekends, but the concept of a “staycation” makes me want to hurl. I will not be a tourist in my own city, thanks.

I really just use out-of-town excursions as an excuse to ignore my reluctant sugar and starch avoiding regimen. I have the logic that somehow Tastykakes, cheap beer, fried potatoes and bread baskets don’t count as long as I’m not on my home turf. But really, how much damage can be done to one’s constitution in 48 hours?

Baltimore is the type of place where you just feel less self-conscious. NYC feels guarded and judgmental, but perhaps I’m just guarded and judgmental. Overall, I would say that people are friendly and they drink heavily. James, who went to college there, attributed the latter to alcohol being so inexpensive. I think it’s the culture in general. For instance, I don’t see people doing shots much here (though I was offered one a few weeks ago at South Brooklyn Pizza and that was highly unusual). Maybe it’s simply the difference between $12 and $5 cocktails and $5 cocktails, sipping vs. slamming.

I was turned on to the charms of National Bohemian, a.k.a. Natty Boh, and was reminded how sad it is that NYC lacks a crappy cheap regional beer. Yes, PBR is a universal, but that doesn’t count.  In Portland we had Rainier (r.i.p.). I don’t think such a beast exists here. I’m 99% sure I’ve never seen $1.50 cans of beer in NYC bars, either.

I also discovered a tasty creature called a crab pretzel at a Phillips Express tucked inside a Maryland rest stop. There’s nothing particularly pretzely about it; this is a blob of baked dough topped with crab dip and cheese, then broiled. A perfect marriage of fat and starch.

More Chesapeake goodness to come. Meanwhile, here are some admittedly random photos. Picture-taking has never been my strength.

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