Crab CakeAs I begin my annual crab cake exploration retreat in Maryland, I am still reminded by bad memories of last year’s dried out crab cakes and recent grand jury experience. I can still see those two little overpaid crab cakes at Theo’s, which I wanted to send back the minute I looked at them, knowing immediately they would be as tasteless as they were little. So, this year’s adventure begins with some trepidation as I don’t want to blindly eat just any crab cake; I want to find really moist lump crab cakes with no filler that melt in my mouth!

I begin the visit to my father’s cottage on the Edge Creek near St. Michaels’ by asking for recommendations. My father does a little research and suggests the Harborside Bar and Grill has a new menu to try. I’m always suspicious of a business when one answers the phone with, “we have the best crab cake in St. Michael’s” and thus wanted to make another reservation, but my father says – let’s try it!  So, with trepidation, I agree to go for dinner and what a pleasant surprise it is! I had one juicy lump crab cake with a bacon, lima bean, corn succotash. The crab was so moist and flavorful that the thought crossed my mind if I were to be executed in prison, this would definitely suffice as my last meal. As you can see, I still have not recovered from hearing over 30 criminal cases in two weeks.

Given the positive find at the start to the vacation, I became a little more daring and decided to try something new at a restaurant in St. Michaels called Awful Arthurs. Maybe the world isn’t full of restaurants trying to discourage the idea of eating crabs to save the crustacean population. However just to be safe, I asked my father’s neighbors if they have eaten there. Lou and Carl Dahl live in the area full-time and excellent cooks so I trust their judgment way more than my father who survives on frozen foods when my mother was not around and both agreed it was pretty good. I ordered their crab cake for lunch and it came with homemade potato chips which are to die for. The crab cake was moist and the spices are a nice change from the usual Old Bays which in my opinion is like Chanel #5 – just overused! I want to come back to Awful Arthur’s and maybe even buy their spice, which has a lot of paprika in it along with some old bays, to put on well anything I can find to remind me of St. Michael’s.

The next day, I return to the Linden Spa at the Inn at Perry Cabin for my annual massage and pedicure ritual followed by my crab cake sandwich by the pool. I emerge from one of the best massages I have ever had with a new experience – nothing hurts! I settle into a lounge chair by the pool and they bring me my crab cake with a salad. This pool is the type of place where waiters come by every 15 minutes to check on you, ask you how your meal was, or if you need another drink. The crab cake was very moist served with a brioche type bun. While the bun was soft and fresh, the crab cakes needed some spicing up! Last year, this was my favorite crab cake sandwich but this time, I prefer Awful Arthurs as it had more of a kick to it. Oh well, of course, it is still not a bad way to spend a day as I am well catered to and on to my second drink…

The following day, we make a reservation for the other place Lou and Carl recommend – The General Store, which is one of those new farm to table that just opened the end of last year.  Tuesday through Thursday nights are half-price wine night. We ordered the arugula salad with grilled peaches for an appetizer and crab cakes with endamame succotash and a lemon basil aioli. The food blew me away and takes the number one spot. The lemon basil aioli sinks into the lump crab cake and adds a zesty creaminess. While I am not sure why everyone seems to serve succotash, it makes for a satisfying side dish that doesn’t overwhelm the crab, not to mention, I feel like I won the lottery in Maryland with such a great deal – only $32 for two such delicious crab cakes!

My next crab cake is at the familiar Schooners Landings restaurant in Oxford, Maryland. Oxford, lined with beautifully restored colonial houses, is one of the oldest towns in the USA as it used to be a critical trading port with Great Britain. Schooners is one of those places on the water in which crusty and well-heeled boaters dock and come in for some adult beverages and seafood. At the bar, there are guys with red faces drinking Budweiser along with women in high heels and Coach bags drinking white wine. The crab cakes, served on a hamburger bun with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce along with crispy french fries, is amazingly fresh and requires no tartar sauce. It is lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and melts in my mouth and I chew very slowly because I want to savor this simple pleasure. Although the bun is tasteless, the french fries add some zip to the meal and the Evolution IPA refreshingly goes down fast. This crab cake won’t win any awards but is one that I want to come back every year for always tasting fresh off the boat consistently.

My last crab cake of the season was eaten at Masons, a French restaurant that has been around for decades and known as one of the best restaurants in Downtown Easton. Easton, the county seat in Talbot county, is a charming small town with two-story brick buildings most of which have been restored to their original grandeur. While I have eaten there before and was impressed, I never got the chance to try their crab cake. I wanted to make sure my last meal on vacation was memorable and was not disappointed! The crab cake was moist and delicate, served in a Chardonnay cream sauce on a bed of fresh white corn succotash and grilled asparagus. The contrasting flavor of the corn and crab paired so well together with one being crunchy and the other being sweet made for a memorable meal.

As my crab cake diaries come to an end, there is one important entrée that is missing – Ms. Charlotte’s road side crab cake on route 322. I am saddened by not seeing her this year and unsure whether she retired, passed away, or just couldn’t get a permit. So, my favorite crab cakes go to the newcomers – The General Store for its creativity with the lemon aioli, while the crab cake sandwich favorite was Awful Arthurs with its zingy spices. What’s your favorite? Do let me know if you have similar or different experiences and if you have any news about Ms. Charlotte!

 

One Response to Crab cake diaries 2015

  1. Karen Horting says:

    No 208 Talbot or Crab Claw?

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