Foodie Sunday: Baltimore Blue Crab and Oysters and a wonderful giveaway!
I am a very lucky woman. I have one utterly wonderful husband, an extraordinary family, plenty of wonderful friends and two pretty fabulous sons. Number one son, Alex is the one that I conceived, birthed and have sweated blood and tears raising for the last 23 years and my second son Zach is his very best friend who although I did not have to endure a single labor pain is truly my son nevertheless. These sorts of relationships are created in the heart after all , not necessarily through shared DNA. I love him as if he were my own.
The two of them couldn’t be any different yet they share a bond that goes well beyond friendship…it’s a kinship of brotherhood understandable only to them. They met over 15 years ago when they both were attending a very avant garde elementary Montessori school. They were the only children of older, fairly sophisticated parents who traveled with them and talked to them. Even though they went to different high schools they remained close and when Zachs father was killed in a freak accident in China about 8 years ago , Alex didn’t leave his side for well over 2 weeks. I am sure that Zach is the one person alive that my son would drop everything and travel all the way around the world to be there for him if he was ever needed and no doubt Zach would do the same.
Zach has wonderful mother, who fortunately for me has learned to willingly share him. Whenever we can we spend time together, not an easy feat because he’s often jet setting round the world, he fancies himself a bit of a worldly nomad, climbing mountains in Tibet, enjoying places like Vietnam and Russia on a students budget. My home is filled with gifts from exotic far away lands…..bags of spice from India, the freshest green tea from Japan…porcelain and silk from China, bookprints from Paris, painted mirrors from Peru. I always get a call and sometimes flowers from him on mothers day….I am truly blessed.
I can hardly believe it though because next weekend he’s graduating from Johns Hopkins and today finds me relaxing in his apartment in Baltimore. I can’t come for the graduation, but instead Jim and I have driven up here on the weekend before so that we can just spend some time together with Zach just enjoying each others company. He will be going to China the day after graduation to start a new job and this time there’s no return flight for at least 2 years so I guess that one of these days Foodie Sunday will be live from Shanghai!
One of the lovely things about having two sons is that the range of experiences that you can share is wonderful. Alex is a brilliant musician and sometimes a painter, artistic to the core and a completely wonderful and totally intellectual bohemian type who is currently employed at Whole Foods, and working on finding himself after having dropped out of college early this year. Zach is graduating with a degree in economics and loves designer clothes and great cologne (Jo Malone’s Black Vetiver Café). Alex is the anti foodie - “Really mother , all this family ever does is go from meal to meal” as opposed to Zach who just wandered in and said “Ok, When you’re done writing , we will go and eat!”
Because Zach is the son that loves to eat with me in wonderful restaurants whenever I make plans to come for the weekend the conversation always begins with food. “What do you really want to eat this weekend ?” he asks. Well that’s a no brainer. I’m in Baltimore during crabbing season. Oysters and blue crab? You can’t get them any fresher! Add a perfect Hendricks Gin martini with a slice or two of cucumber and I’m in heaven!
I can always count on Zach to take me at my word so when we arrived of course he’d found the perfect place to eat. We walked onto the Johns Hopkins Campus and he led us toward the Baltimore Museum of Art , to be more exact to a restaurant named “Gertrudes”. To say that the Bluepoint oysters and crabcake were the freshest and best that I’d ever eaten would be an understatement…it simply wouldn’t do them justice. The oysters were briny and sweetly sea scented and the crab cakes were filled with huge chunks of fresh blue crab, with just the right amount of breading to hold them together. I had sides of tangy cheddar cheese grits and garlicky spinach and there was a wonderful sauce of capers and fresh basil. The martinis were perfect and the company and conversation which lasted long past the meal even better.
After dinner we took a long leisurely (albeit necessary!) stroll through the moonlit campus. John’s Hopkins is in full bloom right now, with magnolias, dogwoods and peonies everywhere perfuming the night air. We walked to a corner pub for a nightcap, more conversation and then home to a wonderful nights sleep.
This morning he’s promised me the best pancakes in Baltimore and a trip to a wonderful farmers market where I am told we will find the best pickles ever. Then it’s off to Georgetown for a day of shopping or maybe the harbor for more crab…..or both. Come to think of it….another plate of Bluepoints with horseradish and mignonette sauce? Why not…The sun is shining brightly and today the world’s our oyster! (you may insert a very long groan now!)
I never travel without bringing home souvenirs, so today I’m off to find some wonderful spices for my own crab boil! I’m going to get some for you too, so if you’d like to be entered into the drawing please share with me one of your fondest memories of some yummy indigenous food that you’ve enjoyed...... even better if it’s with someone you really love!
Happy Foodie Sunday my dear friends....I hope today finds you happy, healthy, surrounded by love and eating something utterly delicious!