A few Baltimore tips for this week

Restaurants worth visiting: the Waterfront Kitchen (pricey, worth it,
harbor views), The Helmand (Afghan, delicious, charming hosts),
McCormick & Schmick's (seafood, harbor views), The Black Olive (Greek),
B&O Brasserie (great cocktails too), Sotto Sopra (Italian),
Da Mimmo's (Italian)

Restaurants with good beer: The Brewer's Art (home of Resurrection Ale),
The Alewife (one dining room is a former bank vault), Heavy Seas Ale House
(extraaaaarrrrdinary beers, matey)

What you should try: crabs (steamed, soft-shell, crabcakes or any other
way you can get them) seasoned (of course) with Old Bay

Places to go in your copious free time: American Visionary Art Museum,
the National Aquarium, Fort McHenry

The Charm City Circulator is a free bus service that runs on various
routes downtown. Water taxis (not free) run across the harbor.

Do not be confused if someone says "Welcome to Bawlmer Merlund, hon":
you're in the correct city.

Fells Point, Canton, the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill are all reasonably
safe. Travel in groups at night and/or take a cab if it's late. Stay the
hell away from North Avenue unless you want to be an extra in The Wire.

Berger Cookies are really bad for your diet and you definitely want some.

Don't fall into the harbor, the water quality is...dubious.



Anyone coming or leaving via BWI airport :


*Obrycki's *is an absolute /*must*/ for Authentic Maryland crab cakes, the ones
they show on the food channel, and "my grandmother made".
Get them *pan fried*, ignore all the other pretend methods of creating an
Authentic Maryland Crab cake, they are not authentic.

You may want to eat them with "Heinz" on the side, like a dip.
Don't worry about asking for ketchup, no chef in Maryland will complain,
it will probably be on the table, anyway.

Next time you see Bobby Flay winning a throw down with _Maryland__
__Blue Crab,_ Crab Cakes, you can say you have had the real thing,
and will understand /why/ he won.

    And heed our good friends advice here, and don't get too far
off the beaten path.... You may become a "Bawlmer Merlund statistic, hon."


If you're a fan of history, or just an American, I can't recommend visiting Fort McHenry highly enough. When I was there (which admittedly was a long time ago) they did an excellent job of "setting the scene" for the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "Defence of Fort M'Henry," nee "The Star-Spangled Banner." For me it was very inspirational, and if you have any doubts about whether or not that song should be our national anthem, visiting the star fort will dispel them.

... we now return you to our regularly scheduled cynical sniping ...


And if you can make it to the inner harbor area, on the west side of the Aquarium is USS Torsk, a WWII vintage US submarine, and on the east side of the Aquarium is the Coast Guard cutter USS Taney. Taney is the only remaining ship that participated in the battle of Pearl Harbor. She was in Honolulu harbor on 7 DEC 1941, and fired her antiaircraft guns at Japanese aircraft passing overhead on their way to the melee at Pearl.