Friday, May 9, 2014

Baltimore Crabcakes of the Gods

Lexington Market
400 W. Lexington St.
Baltimore, MD

Crabcakes are almost always on the itinerary for most tourists who venture to Maryland.

And most of those tourists want to sample said crabcakes at some bucolic locale overlooking the beautiful Chesapeake Bay where the crab meat came from.

Two problems with this strategy:

1. Crab meat doesn’t come from the Chesapeake Bay anymore.

2. The best crabcakes in Maryland cannot be found at any of the many overpriced waterfront crab houses lining the Bay shoreline.

If you want the best crabcake in Maryland -- hell, if you want the best crabcake on Earth -- you have to come here, Lexington Market, where few tourists venture.

The typical suburban tourists with little white kids in tow might be intimidated by the throngs of loud obnoxious unemployed loiterers blocking the sidewalks leading up to Lexington Market.

But for a Suit in Strange Places? It’s just another day on the road.

I was completely oblivious to all the shouting, screaming, jostling masses of urban Baltimore humanity and rap music all around me.

As one of the few tourists within a four block radius, I felt sorry for all those out-of-towners traipsing around the Inner Harbor five blocks south in a futile search for the quintessential Maryland crabcake.

I mean, other than the aquarium and the Babe Ruth Museum, Baltimore isn’t exactly a tourist Mecca anyway.

A trek to Lexington Market would be more enlightening -- and much more delicious.

For 234 years Lexington Market has been the place for natives of downtown Baltimore to come for everything from fresh produce to fresh raccoon meat.

But the most prominent vendor at the market is Faidley’s, a relative newcomer, having just arrived at the market 128 years ago.

Justifiably famous for its delicious lump crabcakes, Faidley’s is a holdover from the days when the nearby Chesapeake Bay teamed with blue crabs.

Now days your crab meat is more likely to come from the South Atlantic or Gulf coasts.

Like every other entrepreneur with any sense, the blue crabs have fled the union boss-dominated, high tax Leftist utopia of Maryland for friendly climates in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

The crabs might now be imported from Right to Work states, but the folks here at Faidley’s haven’t forgotten how to construct a hell of a crabcake.

At $13 each, they aren’t exactly cheap eating, but trust me, the crabcakes will be worth every penny.

If you really want a discount, you can get a backfin crabcake for four bucks less, but I don’t recommend going cheap in this instance.

The lump crabcakes feature moist nuggets of luscious crab clinging together by a very light mixture of mayonnaise, mustard and breading.

With just the slightest touch of my plastic fork, the crab crumbled into luxurious tender lumps of delicious crab meat.

This is everything a crabcake should be.

In comparison, the creamy crab soup and fried onion rings were just ordinary.

And unfortunately, there is no waterfront view.

You have to stand in line to order, then stand in line to pay, then stand up at the communal raised tables to eat.

But it is not like eating crabcakes of the gods in the chaos of Lexington Market lacks charm.

Amid the hustle and bustle and displays of fresh fish and oysters, stand up dining at Faidley’s is a one-of-a-kind urban experience.

Just don’t forget to cap off your Lexington Market experience with Baltimore’s second most famous culinary attraction -- a Berger Cookie from Berger’s Bakery.

Both the bakery -- and its famous namesake cookie covered in a thick spread of chocolate frosting -- are Baltimore institutions.

I was glad I got to enjoy my Berger Cookie while it was still legal.

Apparently people in Baltimore are too stupid to realize that fudge covered shortbread is not health food, so the Obama Administration has proposed new regulations that would make Berger Cookies illegal.

Our Nanny State Dictator-in-Chief is now telling me what kind of cookie I can eat??

Well, eating the cookies won’t technically be illegal, but making them will be.

Proposed FDA regulations will ban the use of so called “transfats” which just happen to make the fudge in the famous cookies so delicious.

Charles DeBaufre, Jr., owner of Berger Bakery, says he’s tried tinkering with the century old recipe to comply with the proposed law change but can’t make them taste as good. So he’s threatened to shut the bakery down for good.

Thus a Baltimore icon just as important as Old Bay seasoning and Cal Ripken, Jr. could be banished to the dustbin of history just because our federal government thinks it knows better than we do what kind of food we should put in our mouth.

It’s only a matter of time now before the NSA shuts down this whole damn website.

Suit757 will be given a choice: go on a steady diet of carrot sticks and tofu or be sentenced for life to a FEMA Camp in Detroit.

Well, all I can say is, the Feds better come locked and loaded because they’ll have to pry my Berger Cookie from my cold, dead, chocolate stained fingers.

Rating: Bought the Shirt!

Faidley Seafood on Urbanspoon

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