Friday, December 14, 2007

December 4, 2007 - Baltimore, Maryland

Walking past the stalls of produce, seafood and fried chicken in the main section of Baltimore's Lexington Market (the country's longest running public market) we reached our destination in the back - Faidley's Sea Food. Faidley's is famous for its lump crab cake, so we had to check them out. With one platter, one alacarte, and a glass of half and half (half lemonade, half iced tea) we sidled up to one of the three long tables to stand and eat our crab cakes. They were a revelation. Large lumps of crab meat, barely clung to each other in a light binder of mayo, crumbled saltines and spices. The binder contained just a hint of Old Bay Seasoning, which too often overwhelms the delicate flavor of crab. The predominant spice seemed to be mustard. Following the lead of a lady standing at the table behind Sten, I mixed a bit of additional mustard into my tartar sauce. Amazing. If you find yourself in Baltimore, don't miss Faidley's.

We found ourselves in Baltimore at the invitation of Mike and Sig at Pritchard Brown. Back when Sten was gainfully employed, he used to work with several folks at PB, including Mike. Almost a year ago, Mike told Sig what we were up to. Sig checked out the website, dropped us a line, and became the first of our website friends - people we wouldn't know if not for this blog. When we were planning our winter road trip, we dropped Sig a line to tell him we would be passing through his neighborhood and to ask if we could drop in at PB. Sig saw our offer, and raised us 16 - the number of folks from his cruising club who would like to hear us opine about all manner of stuff. Totally entertained by the fact that anyone care to hear what we had to say about anything, we accepted.

After lunch at Faidley's we headed to PB, where we were issued safety glassed and Mike gave us a tour of the manufacturing facility. After the tour, we got together with some more of the PB team in a conference room. To our surprise, there was a cake decorated with a map of our trip to date. As we sat around the table, Sig started asking us questions about our trip. I've clearly got to be more careful about what I write in this blog . . .

From PB, we followed Sig back to his house where we were joined by several of the members of the Northern Star Hunter Sailing Association. Patricia, Sig's wife, prepared a feast that everyone enjoyed. After dinner, everyone gathered in the living room for a question and answer session. Sten and I were both a bit nervous that the other guests were going to ask us questions that would reveal how little we actually know, but I think we managed to maintain the facade.
Check out the second guy to my left - that's Tom, and in his lap is his very intimidating four page list of questions.

Seriously, it was a bit surreal being treated as though we are in any way experts at this cruising stuff. But afterwards, I started to think about how much I would have appreciated being able to talk to someone, anyone, with real world experience at blue water sailing. During this roadtrip we've realized that there are a lot more people out there reading this blog than our friends and family and the readers who have contacted us by email. So, if you've got questions, don't hold back. We may not be experts, but we've got a bit of experience, and we don't mind giving our opinion, however misinformed it might be.

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