Dead Cats, Angry Purple Birds, and Crabs: Just Another Day on the Way to Baltimore. – By Jaclyn

31 Jan

Jaclyn's Crab Cake Platter

Food Adventures:  An Ongoing Series

The HaySay Adventure to G&M Restaurant, Linthicum Heights, Maryland

My fellow HaySayers and I decided it was time for another food adventure and that our next outing would be crab cakes. Even though Maryland crab season is nowhere near the month of January, we became very dedicated to this idea in about ninety seconds during lunch one day.

-“Ok, gang. Where should we go for our next food adventure? We’ve already done soul food. We could go to Eden Center, but that’s kind of far. I don’t think this city has respectable Italian food…”

(The group reflects.)

-“Isn’t there an open air market somewhere in DC where we can get seafood?”

-“Um… ‘Open air’ market? You CAN’T be serious. It’s cold outside.”

-“Excuse me, Jaclyn, but I don’t hear any other ideas. Anyone?”

-(from two conversations over at the lunch table) “Hey! Did someone say crab cakes? Tracey and I were planning to go to G&M for crab cakes. We were going to drive there… Wanna come?”

-“G&M crab cakes are the hugest crab cakes I’ve ever seen. We’re going there.”

I had never heard of this mythical place, but since I had absolutely no other ideas, I went along with my friends. Nothing bad has ever resulted from going along with the group, right? Right?

Throughout the week, when people asked my weekend plans and G&M was part of my answer, everyone explained how huge these things were, my favorite being “Those are literally the biggest crab cakes in the state of Maryland, so by extension, the whole green earth.” (Believe it.) These were also billed as having only enough filler to hold the crabmeat together, making them sound even better. The enthusiasm with which my coworkers and friends described these crab cakes led me to believe that this was the best snap decision we had ever collectively made as a group. This is almost as good as when I decided to run a race with Doug and his roommate and I went from casually running maybe once a week to training for a half marathon after about two minutes of mild coercion. (Funny that this race was also in Baltimore… coincidence?)

Now, Tracey is an angel for many reasons – e.g. she was willing to be my partner in foosball, we see the gourmet lunches she makes her boyfriend Drew that are complete with a Diet Coke – and now one of those is that she got behind the wheel and braved the roads of crazies to drive Drew and three of his friends almost forty-five minutes outside of Washington, DC, to eat. That fateful Saturday, five fully-grown American twentysomethings piled into that angel Tracey’s Jetta, making for a very cozy and hungry backseat. Cramped and overheating in our winter coats, the drive was made even more treacherous by the insanity that is the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. At many points, cars slowed almost to a complete stop for no apparent reason. As we approached the source of one such traffic jam, we realized that we lost over five minutes due to a gawker slowdown for… a dead cat on the side of the road. A dead cat. (For the record, if people in my home state of Michigan hit the brakes every time they saw a dead quadruped on the side of the road, I-75 would be a parking lot. What amateurs.)

As Tracey admirably Mario-Karted past each obstacle, all of us progressed from “I could eat” to fungry; morale was starting to dip. While distracted by the growing abyss that used to be my stomach, I couldn’t help but notice people were decked out in purple everywhere because the Ravens were playing the Colts that night. We particularly enjoyed the tshirts for sale on the corner across from the restaurant; they said “Hey Indy!” in bright Colts blue and below it was a bold purple raven, forgive the expression, flipping the bird. Not my style, but appreciated nonetheless.

My whining aside, it was actually fairly easy to find after just a few short turns off the freeway. When we got out of the car, I think I almost ran inside. If these weren’t the best crab cakes I’d ever had, violence would have ensued.
G&M has a take-out place and a regular restaurant and we chose the former. When you walk in, there’s nothing too extraordinary to look at, but it has signs of a serious eatery: a surprisingly extravagant bakery display, the light and appetizing aroma of fry grease and seafood, and a steady line of faithfuls who were willing to wait for whatever it was they were selling. After a short wait, I opted for the single crab cake platter with two sides – Athenian-style zucchini and mashed potatoes. When I sat on our bench and opened that white Styrofoam box, I found humble greatness inside. This crab cake was about an inch and a half thick and almost six inches in diameter. The small portions of sides I received were clearly an afterthought, the zucchini sort of mushy and the mashed potatoes a little dry and salty. Fortunately for G&M, I could not have cared less because this was easily the best crab cake I’ve ever tasted. Lightly crispy on the bottom, huge chunks of crabmeat on the inside, seasoned just right, perfectly cooked, and steaming hot. Those animals did not die in vain. Despite my hunger, I tried my best to eat slowly and enjoy this masterpiece in front of me. I had just enough room in my stomach to get a cookie from the bakery counter on our way out. My compatriots that chose the sandwich were also happy with their meals. I stole some of Doug and Kareem’s fries (thanks guys!) and they were mighty good.

We ate our food and smiled at how wise our decision looked in hindsight as we had our usual ADD-style discussion, including a few minutes dedicated to the potential origins of the word “food” in the English language (Kareem had a solid theory). The car trip back was spent fending off an in-transit nap by rehashing Friday night and going over the Saturday night plans ahead. After Tracey dropped me off at my house, I beelined for my bed and promptly got hard at work napping.

Mission accomplished. Just another hard day at the office, ladies and gentlemen.

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