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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Business in Maryland

A 2 1/2 day business trip to Maryland will of course mean finding a way to combine business with pleasure and cooperate with 2 other women. For the most part, flexibility is key. I knew I wanted Crab Cakes in Maryland and luckily, it was not a difficult task. Crab was featured at 95% of our lunch and dinner options and I wonder if I would have asked if I could have had it as an ingredient in an omelet at breakfast.

We drove down on a Sunday afternoon and by late evening were seated in a "world famous" restaurant that featured a claim in the menu, "We have the best crab cakes and we ship anywhere."

Starting with a calamari appetizer, I loved the gentle and crisp coating on the fresh rings. The marinara dipping sauce was a comforting hug around the squid but with a frisky pinch of heat in the background.

Though our salads were somehow forgotten until the waitress brought out our main course and we reminded her, but the service was friendly.

You can check them out online: and see what you think. The crab cake was succulent large lumps of crab meat with just enough breading to bind the meat. A forkful of the crab cakes tasted like crab, not stuffing or filler and one crab cake was more than enough as an entree. With a choice of sides, I tried the french fries and vegetable of the day which was a stewed zucchini in tomato sauce.

After a night's attempt at sleep which included a bit of tossing and turning, then a shower under the double shower heads, it was time for breakfast.

While it may seem odd to discuss double shower heads when we are discussing food, this feature would lead to discussion among my colleagues and reveal that one of them has a "car wash" assortment of shower heads and jets in her shower. I was fascinated.

Breakfast buffet at the hotel. I was worried until I saw the omelet station and then it was as if the clouds parted, the heaven's opened and the angels were singing, "Ahhhh." I looked among the toppings though I knew I wanted tomatoes, I added onions and peppers (I would have preferred spinach, but compromise, compromise) and a luscious bowl of fresh fruits and berries. For me, this is how breakfast should be!

On to the forward to lunch. An orzo salad with bits of ham and feta cheese, a tossed salad with more feta cheese and a lot of raw onion and tender chicken skewers with layers of onion and peppers. After this meal I realize I have met my quota of onion, peppers and feta cheese for the day. The lunch is full of flavor on its own, but after having a softly baked cookie with cranberries and chunks of white chocolate, I am ready to finish the day's work.

Anyone I spoke with before the trip asked where I was going in Baltimore and insisted I must see the Inner Harbor. At the end of the seminar, our speaker also advised everyone to take in the fairly local sights. We took a shuttle to a light rail and with a bit of hesitation, we were off. A mix of popular chain foods and sidewalk cafes, museums, shops and street vendors, we checked menus and decided on M and S Grill.

The only culinary request I had was for a cup of Maryland Crab Soup. I was served a hearty cup and for those who may be new to this crab-a-licious soup creation, it is similar in many ingredients to Minestrone (in vegetable content) and the broth appears to be tomato based, but add in some large shredded crab meat and a healthy kick of spicy heat.

Bring on the main course - a huge platter sized serving of cavatappi pasta with bay shrimps and scallops that has been generously bathed in a garlic cream sauce and sprinkled with parsley.

Yes, always room for dessert. A chocolate chip ice cream sandwich served with a swirl of whipped cream in a puddle of chocolate sauce. I never said I finished or cleaned my plates, but everything tasted divine.
Day 2 of the conference yielded a similar omelet and since the speaker was sitting with us for lunch, I felt about taking pictures of the meal. A Cesar salad, a side of grilled chicken and a ziti pasta in a creamy sauce with split cherry tomatoes and lumps of crab meat were our midday meal. Yes, I was able to have a second soft cookie with cranberry and white chocolate chunks. While I can tell you what the conference was about - it is the food that I choose to remember.
*Note about photos: without my camera, all photos were taken with my camera phone and I apologize for quality, but will not be stopped by lack of equipment. Additionally, the shot of the dessert could not be included due to low lighting, but it was still fabulous to eat!

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