400 W. Lexington St.
Crab cakes are almost always on the itinerary when one ventures to Maryland.
And most end up eating crab cakes at some bucolic locale overlooking the beautiful Chesapeake Bay where the crab meat is supposed to come from.
Two problems with that:
1. Crab meat doesn’t come from the Chesapeake Bay anymore.
2. The best crab cakes in Maryland cannot be found at any of the overpriced waterfront crab houses that sit on the Bay shoreline.
If you want the best crab cakes in Maryland—heck, the best crab cakes on Earth—you have to come here, to Lexington Market in Baltimore. A place few tourists venture.
Sure, the typical suburban tourist family with their 2.5 kids in tow might be traumatized by the throngs of loud, obnoxious, unemployed loiterers blocking the sidewalks leading to Lexington Market.
But for a proud American traveler? It’s just another day on the road.
I was completely oblivious to the shouting, screaming, jostling masses of urban Baltimore society and rap music surrounding me.
As one of the few tourists within a four block radius, I felt sorry for the out-of-towners wandering around the Inner Harbor five blocks south in a futile search for the quintessential Maryland crab cake.
Afterall, other than the aquarium and Babe Ruth Museum, Baltimore isn’t exactly a tourist Mecca.
A trek to Lexington Market, however, is much more enlightening and much more delicious.
Since 1782, Lexington Market has been the place for natives of downtown Baltimore to purchase everything from fresh produce to fresh raccoon meat.
But the most prominent vendor at the market is Faidley’s, a relative newcomer, having just arrived at the market in 1886.
Justifiably famous for their lump crab cakes, Faidley’s is a holdover from the days when the nearby Chesapeake Bay teamed with blue crabs.
These days, your crab meat is more likely to come from the South Atlantic or Gulf coasts.
Like every other entrepreneur with any common sense, the blue crabs have fled the union dominated, high tax, leftist utopia of Maryland for friendlier climates in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
Sure, the crabs now might be imported from a Right to Work state, but the folks here at Faidley’s haven’t forgotten how to construct a hell of a crab cake.
At $13 each, they aren’t exactly cheap eating, but trust me, are worth every penny.
If you really want a discount, you can get a backfin crab cake for four bucks less, but I don’t recommend going cheap here.
The lump crab cakes feature chunks of meaty crab in a light mixture of mayonnaise, mustard, and breading.
With just the slightest touch of my plastic fork, my crab cake separated into luxurious tender lumps of succulent crab meat.
This is everything a crab cake should be.
In contrast, the creamy crab soup and fried onion rings were just ordinary.
And unfortunately, there’s no waterfront view.
You have to stand in line to order, then stand in line to pay, then stand up at the communal raised tables to eat.
But it is not like the chaos of Lexington Market lacks charm.
Amid the hustle and bustle and displays of fresh fish and oysters, stand up dining at Faidley’s is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Just don’t forget to cap it off with Baltimore’s second most famous culinary attraction—a Berger Cookie from Berger’s Bakery.
Both the bakery and its famous namesake shortbread cookie, which comes covered generously in fudge frosting, are Baltimore institutions.
I was glad I could enjoy my Berger Cookie while eating all that sugar is still legal.
Well, eating the cookies won’t technically be illegal, but making them will be.
Charles DeBaufre, Jr., owner of Berger Bakery, says he’s tried tinkering with the century old recipe to comply with the war on sugar, but they don’t taste as good.
Well, all I can say is I pity the fool who tries to one day take away my Berger Cookie.
They’d better come locked and loaded, because they’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead, chocolate-covered hands.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!