10.17.08: the dirty dozen, part I {charm city}

01 maryland is serious about its crabs. i knew this before visiting baltimore, much as i know that florida is serious about its oranges and california is serious about its avocados, but the mania is more intense than i'd expected it to be. jacob and megan hooked us up with utz crab chips* in our "welcome to weddingfest!" guest bags last weekend, lexington market is like a giant dark offering to a lovecraftian crab god, the vegetarian buffet at the wedding reception featured crab cakes,** maryland drugstores sell crab-shaped cheez-its...it was incredible.

02 amtrak, in turn, is serious about its quiet cars, where passengers who chat loudly, use their phones, or play bleepy-whoopy handheld video games are killed and (quietly) eaten by other passengers. joe loves quiet cars for his work-related jaunts between new york and DC, and i love them because you can feel passive aggression crackle up and down the aisle, and people who get worked up for no reason are hilarious. i think the lady sitting across from us on the way to baltimore was fake-working just to have an excuse to sit there and hiss at people when they entered the car (she actually preempted noise). i could feel young skywalker's anger, and i basked in it.

03 baltimore's national aquarium is crowded. sure, it was silly of us to go on a sunday over a holiday weekend and expect anything other than hordes of children, but yowza! i am a tough aquarium audience, having grown up with regular access to the monterey bay aquarium and steinhart aquarium, so it took me a while to really get my fish on - though i do appreciate how maryland answers california's touchy-feely dolphin pools with a colossal, open water ray and shark pool (with one stately green sea turtle. L: "i wonder how he lost that one flipper." J: "probably living in a pool full of sharks."). we escaped the crowds in the basement frogs! exhibit, where the disapproving little tomato frogs reminded me that it's alright to be a curmudgeon.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 what's the saltiest thing you've ever eaten?

02 are you, like joe biden, a fan of train travel? what about the quiet car?

03 which aquarium exhibits reign supreme? i went frog this time, but i'm normally an eel girl, as eels look like grumpy old men.

*which do not contain crab, as it happens, but are seasoned as crabs are. they are, as of this post, the saltiest thing i have ever tasted: i could feel myself dying a little more quickly for hours after i ate a bag (and i say that as an unrepentant MSG enthusiast).

**also crabless - made of zucchini, i think, and really tasty. hats off to you, gertrude's!


baby jo said...

1. bone marrow. on its own it's mostly tasteless (just kind of...slimy?) but prepared properly it has shitloads of sea salt on it. pass.

2. i thought i would be, but then The Worst Train Experience Ever occurred somewhere in the french countryside shortly after your wedding in '06 (the 18 hour journey that did not include any emergency food but DID include the smelliest man in all of Europe, whose stench wafted up from the bunk beneath me and literally kept me awake/suffocated me all night).

3. for the record, the long beach aquarium has a shark and ray touch pool which i found extra delightful since i went right before shark week. i also like the 'weather tank' or whatever -- the exhibit with fake wind, rain, and waves that kick the shit out of the fish as they swim around in the water below. i DO NOT like the donut shaped pools where fish just swim in a circle all day.

can we get a ruling from joe on the quality of crab-flavored snack foods? i'm curious.

G said...

01 work cafeteria NE clam chowder. When will I learn my lesson??

02 I like the idea of trains. I have never lived anywhere where their application even remotely resembled useful.

03 Deep sea tanks, like the one at Monterey, where you walk into a dark, dark room with a 2-3 story wall of glass in front of you, and MASSIVE sunfish wander by and give you the evil eye. Could stand in those all day.

lauren said...

joe claims he didn't try any of the utz crab chips, and i think that's true: he was busy filling up on the weddingfest berger cookies, which are like black and white cookies but [whispering] kind of better. he saved his crab energy for actual crab cakes at faidley's, which were apparently very good. no, that's a lie - he did have the veggie crab cake at the wedding, and he approved.

in short, you'll have to wait for meg the salt queen's ruling on the crab chips.

meg said...

1) THOSE CHIPS! I eat salt out of my hand (delicious) but those chips will haunt my dreams. Also I did wake up that night feeling like they were eating their way out of my esophagus. That is no kind of normal. David rolling around in agony after tasting them while the Marylanders just ate them 'lalala' was hilarious. But, the crab, the real crab, is excellent.**

2) I am a fan of Joe Biden and of train travel. Best nap in the world. I sleep like a baby on trains.

3) I hate aquariums. HATE. They make me cry.

*Those black and white cookies don't taste as good at home. I swear. We were so excited to eat them at home, but the magic had worn off. Sigh.