Tag: crab cakes

Baltimost: Crab cakes

A crab cake from Faidley's. Photo by jpellgen (@1179_jp), via Flickr.

Crab cakes

No list of what makes Baltimore great would be complete without a nod to the food made famous by Charm City's favorite crustacean: the Maryland crab cake. Crab cakes and football are what Maryland does, after all. They're part of who we are.

Historical records suggest crab cakes have been around since colonial times, though the moniker "crab cake" is a relative newcomer. Its first appearance in print is in the "New York World's Fair Cook Book," written by Crosby Gaige in the 1930s; he called it a "Baltimore Crab Cake."

Even if Baltimoreans in the years prior to Gaige's book called their crab cakes something else, they probably weren't all that different from today--which means, of course, that Baltimoreans have probably been bickering for centuries about who makes the best crab cake in town.

On this subject, we'll say is that if the crab is fresh and plentiful, the filler is minimal, the spice is right, and the cake doesn't include any egregious ingredients (we're looking at you, green peppers), we'll happily tuck into that meal.

But what we won't do is order a crab cake anyplace outside the Chesapeake Bay region. If an out-of-state menu claims its crab cake is "Maryland-style," don't believe the hype. Even if the restaurant gets the overall recipe right, there's little chance the crab in question actually hails from Maryland waters. Even worse, that crab might be pasteurized. Ew.

We like to spread our crab cake love around, but we do have some favorites here in the city. Some of our crew's picks include Faidley's Seafood (can't beat the history or the Lexington Market experience), Koco's Pub (another tried-and-true cake beloved for its huge chunks of backfin), Friendly Farm (worth the drive to the country) and Conrad's (where we trust that the crab is always local).

Those are just a few of our go-to cakes--and the list is always growing.

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New Ravens Receiver Jeremy Maclin Gets Free Crabcakes for Life from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood 

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood crabcakes

For all the work that the Ravens put in to convincing free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to come to Baltimore, the key may have been in the crab cakes.

Pappas Restaurant, a Crab Cake Favorite, is Closed Temporarily After Fire

Pappas (via EastWest Baltimore)

As the week begins, plans to get crab cakes may already be heading to the top of mind. Take note: Pappas Seafood in Parkville is currently closed due to a Friday afternoon fire.

Machado’s Brawl Earned Him Free Crab Cakes for Life

Jimmy's Famous Seafood crabcakes
Jimmy’s Famous Seafood crabcakes

As we wait to see what kind of penalty Major League Baseball is going to level against Orioles third baseman Manny Machado for his brawl with Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, one Baltimore establishment has offered him an eternal reward.

Baltimore Woos Players With Promises of Free Crab Cakes for Life


 crab cake

One way to convince a baseball player to move to your town is to offer him a lot of money. But that’s not the only way.

Inside The New Valley Inn



The secret is clearly out.

A cursory look at the Valley Inn’s crowded parking lot reveals what many have eagerly anticipated since it changed ownership two years ago: The Valley Inn has re-opened its doors.  Step inside and new and old customers alike will revel in the ways in which new owner, Ted Bauer, has melded the property’s rich past with its vibrant future.

Celebrating That Thing That Happened Yesterday with Faidley’s Crab Cakes



catch of the day fish (2)Frankly, what I like best about last night’s victory is imagining not knowing it had happened. Hear me out: imagine that you were, in fact, living under a rock. You didn’t know that the Ravens had just played and upset the Patriots, but you suddenly heard the screaming, fireworks, honking horns, et al., that immediately followed the game. If it was me, I’d probably assume that everyone on my block was suddenly, all at once, really freaking excited (a few hours late) about Obama’s extremely low-key re-swearing in. Or maybe they all just realized that the following day was Martin Luther King Day and they didn’t have to go to work. Woooohoooooo! The possibilities are endless.

A Conversation with Gertrude’s Owner John Shields


Courtesy of Citybizlist – John Shields, recognized as “The Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay,” has authored four cookbooks (and is currently working on his fifth) and hosts a show on public television entitled, “Chesapeake Bay Cooking.” Beginning in 1996 (and in his “spare” time), John is the owner and operator of Gertrude’s – John Shields’ restaurant at The Baltimore Museum of Art. We recently sat down (over lunch, of course) to discuss with John his different ventures, the challenges he has overcome to be successful and achieve longevity, as well as to learn more about his recent activities, his thoughts about the future and quality of food served by restaurants and national food processing companies.

An In-the-Know Real Estate Pro Gives Us Her Restaurant Picks


I have a secret weapon in Nicky Keelty. She’s a dear friend who knows more about Baltimore restaurants (and hotels, shops and salons) than anyone I know. Nicky can conjure up the perfect restaurant for any occasion on cue, and follow it up with an impsossible-to-get Saturday night reservation, all with one swift call. Nicky is connected.

Why is the mother of two on the inside track? It’s her job. As a Senior Vice President, Principal at Cassidy Turley, she leases space downtown. It’s her business to know what, where, when and why.

She’s so genuinely likable and fun, it’s easy to see why any restaurant would happily move her name to the top of the resevations list.

Home cook assessment: Do you consider Durkee onions and Campbell’s mushroom soup legitimate ingredients or cheating?
Cheating, you need to start from scratch. And how would you make those onion things or that soup? I just avoid those ingredients all together.

Saturday night with the husband: Where do you book? What do you order?

Ambassador. Patio table. Chicken tikka masala.
The Ambassador Dining Room

Maryland Fried Chicken, Grandma’s Crabcakes


If you’ve lived here long, you’ve heard the debate — folks from New York insist that Maryland’s a Southern city, while anyone who lives below Virginia rolls their eyes and calls us Yankees.  But in terms of food, Maryland seems staunchly Southern, with an influx of influences from the many immigrant communities that have come to call Baltimore their home.

Which is why we enjoy The Baltimore Snacker‘s two-part take on distinctive Maryland foods — namely, fried chicken and crab cakes, two foods that can inspire strong feelings among cooks and eaters alike.  The Snacker quotes an old essay from a Southern cookbook:  Any attempt to prescribe the best way to prepare fried chicken is likely to start the Civil War all over again, or it may, at best, lead into a storm of prolonged arguments, widely diverse local and even neighborhood differences, not to say family bickerings.

So what makes the Maryland version of these dishes distinct?  Well, according to the Snacker, “the generic “Southern fried chicken” for example – is the shake and bake variety from the Middle South: soak it in buttermilk, put it in a flour mixture in a bag and shake it until coated, then dip it in cream and then flour again, and then fry.  Maryland fried chicken stops with the first shaking, but then gets fried in hot oil in a covered pan.  It is then served with a cream gravy.”  And it’s that gravy that makes it a true Maryland Fried Chicken (maybe we should start our own fast food chain?).

As for crab cakes, the Snacker kindly includes a recipe handwritten by his grandmother. It doesn’t get more authentic than that! Crucial ingredients include (obviously) Chesapeake crab, Old Bay, and dry mustard.

Read the discussions and look at step-by-step photos of the recipe steps here.