Sunday, June 21, 2009

Adventures in Baltimore

Hi all! Long time no post (and I tried to post this at like 9am when my internet crapped out on me)! There wasn't enough time Friday afternoon (and nothing really exciting happened) to blog before we left for Baltimore and I didn't get back until really late last night. Never fear, I'm back with a ton of pictures and stories! :)

After a traffic-ridden drive up to Bmore, we decided to head over to Canton for dinner. I did a quick Gmaps search (I love Gmaps on the berry!) and we narrowed our dinner choices to either Nacho Mama's or Mama's on the Half Shell, conveniently located on the same block! We popped into both to check out the menus and since Nacho Mama's was packed and was more bar-y, we settled on Mama's on the Half Shell.

Seeing that it was a Friday night around 7, we had 30 minutes to kill while we waited for our table. We decided to walk down the block and stumbled into
Portside Tavern for a quick drink. We each grabbed a beer (I was excited about
Magic Hat #9 on tap and Jamie was psyched they had the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA) and Susan's new roomie started chatting with the bartender about this new booze he seemed to be pouring every 5 minutes.

Turns out we were all out of the loop about this new tea infused vodka...who knew it was all the rage?? I certainly didn't! So he pours us some of the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka with a splash of water. WOW. TROUBLE! It tastes NOTHING like vodka. If I had this available while I was in college, I would have been a DISASTER! Anyway, he informed us that it comes in a ton of different flavors - Peach Tea, Raspberry Tea, Mint Tea and Lemon Tea. I thought Mint might be interesting. I'm going to keep an eye out for this next time I head out to the liquor store!

Once we finished our beers, we went to see if our table was ready. It wasn't, but we hung out and oogled everyone else's dinners. I was pretty much set on getting a side of Mac 'n' Cheese when I saw a table get theirs. MMM.

We were finally seated around 8 something and I was excited to jump into the menu. I knew I wanted was just a matter of if it would be in the form of a sandwich with fries or as a single cake w/2 sides. I settled on the Single 6 oz Crab Cake with Mac 'n' Cheese and Cole Slaw:
They gave a HUGE side of tartar sauce that wasn't even necessary. I drizzled a little lemon on my crab cake and *sigh* heaven on a fork! This crab cake made up for the last one I had in San Francisco (the one that was really rich and full of filler). It was seasoned perfectly and oh my god, I put my fork in for the first bite:
Ladies & Gentlemen, that was one whole chunk of meaty crab. I think the largest chunk of crabmeat I've ever seen in my entire life. LOVE!

I dug into my cute bowl of Mac 'n' Cheese and was equally happy. It had a perfectly crisp breadcrumb crust on top that protected the ooey gooey cheesy goodness inside!
I have to admit that I dove in kinda quickly and I was burnt by the ooey gooey cheesy goodness ;\ It was totally worth it because it was deeeelicious. The only thing that could make it even better?
Sprinkle on some Old Bay, DUH. I love how they have a shaker of Old Bay on the table along with the salt...yay Maryland haha.

Jamie got a MASSIVE Seafood Club that included Shrimp Salad in one layer and a 3 oz Crabcake in another:
It was so big he had to break it into sections! Needless to say, Mama's doesn't mess around with portions! Jamie walked out with the other half of this sandwich in a to-go box.

After dinner, Susan drove us over to Pitango Gelato in Fells Point where Jamie and Susan got Strawberry and Crema gelatos. I'm not a big gelato fan (plus I was STUFFED from dinner) so I passed. I took a small bite of Jamie's and confirmed my no love for gelato...I think it's too rich and creamy for me?
Bellies full and happy, we went back to Susan's apartment to get organized for the 10 miler. Luckily she only lives (according to Google Maps) 7 minutes away from the start so we were able to sleep in until about 6am. While I was at work on Friday, I found out that this race was going to be hot and rainy so I packed properly this time (unlike Annapolis).

There was a crazy line once we got to Druid Hill Park - I guess all the runners were trying to get into the parking lot - so Jamie and I hopped out of the car and ran to the start line while Susan searched for street parking. We settled on a spot pretty close to the actual start line when it started sprinkling.

The race started at 7:30 and by 7:32, it was raining so hard that I was drenched and could barely open my eyes! AGH! It let up enough by the first mile marker and I looked at my watch - 8:45 had past. WAY faster than I usually run. I knew I had to slow it down or else I'd burn out.

Thankfully the rain stopped for a bit and I could see and breathe without getting water in my nose :) I checked my watch again at the 2 mile mark and, eff! Just over 17 minutes. I had slowed down a smidgen, but not enough so I kept telling myself to chill out and take it easy. Was it the rain? Was it because I started toward the front? Who knows...whatever it was, I needed to get it under control. I finally pulled it together around Mile 5 while we were running around Lake Montebello. I don't know what it is with me and lakes, but they mess with my head. I think it's because I had a really lonely 5 mile lake run toward the end of my first marathon and I associate all lakes with that. Who knows.

Anyway, Baltimore doesn't mess around with hills. I remember thinking during the first 5 miles, wow, those hills really weren't that bad. I should be reminded that with every downhill, there's an uphill...oops. The second half of the course was the reverse of the first half so all those fantastic downhills were now steep uphills. WHYYYY?? Once we got back into the park, I wanted to cry there were so many gradual inclines! I started wondering if the finish line was at the top of a hill!

I am SO glad that Jamie and I decided to run that short distance between the park entrance and the start line because that ended up being the last quarter mile or so of the race. I knew I could book it for that short of a distance. Crossed the finish line and it started pouring - totally welcomed it this time around :)

My only goal going into the race was to run smart (so I didn't injure myself - marathon training starts this week!) and to at least run it in 1:35 (my last ten mile PR). Final time? 1 hour 33 minutes :) Not bad for a rainy, hilly run!

I have a lot more to report on - bridal shower in Bmore last night had really cute goodies :) I just need someone (ahem, Gitas ;p) to send me the pics I took with her super fun new camera (that I want to steal). I'll post some more this evening after dinner!!


Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't like seafood but that crab cake looks amazing. I might have to try one now just because of that picture.

Mia {runs and rests} said...

Wow! You totally rocked that 10miler!!! Congrats!

Karena said...

Crabcakes are my fave! If you're not that into seafood, I'd say wait until you find a place that is known for having good crabcakes - definitely don't want to have a bad first experience!

Thanks :) I was psyched that I tackled those hills! New goal for the Army 10 Miler this fall!!

Quinn said...

We went to Mama's last year after a day in Baltimore. No, it does NOT disappoint!