Happy crab season, everyone! In honor of every Marylander’s favorite food, Eater just published a massive round-up of everything you could ever want to know about crabs.
This is the fourth in our new weekly column, That Nature Show, about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
We were in Easton for New Year’s with the family and at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve a.k.a Puritian Midnight and Midnight For Those With Young Children, there was a much anticipated crab drop. My son, 8, a motormouth who asks a thousand questions per diem that I can’t answer because they are brilliant and incisive asked, “Will they drop crabs on my head? Who will do the dropping? How long to crabs in the wild live? Where are they in the winter?” I responded like the parenting books tell you you should with an encouraging: “Hmmm?”
“Mom!” he said, “You sound like a robot. You used to go crabbing when you were my age, why don’t you know these things?”
This is for him.
Baltimore’s Blue Crab — mascot on everything from t-shirts to beer mugs to New Year’s crab drops — is callinectes sapidus, from the Latin, Beautiful Swimmer That Tastes Good. They range the Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, but the fishery has historically centered on the Chesapeake Bay.
But, my friends, if you’re eating crab in the winter, you are not eating Maryland crab. Our season is from April 1 to December 15. You’re eating Louisiana crab or crab imported from as far away as Indonesia. You can’t sing Maryland, My Maryland with a pitcher of Natty Boh eating those, can you?
Everyone knows you can’t trust a meteorologist for an accurate weather prediction. Do you know what you can trust? Baltimore Bill, the official weather-predicting crab.
For the past couple of years, Baltimore Bill has predicted the coming season by scuttling off his specially built crab platform and jumping into the Chesapeake Bay. Last year, Bill predicted an early winter, and sure enough, Baltimore saw its first snow in mid-November. The year before, he got it right as well. A 100% accuracy rate is better than any other weatherman, weatherwoman, or weathercrab we’ve ever heard of; it also handily beats out Punxsatawney Phil, who gets it right only about 39% of the time.
Until this summer, I had never been to The Yard Bar & Grille at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards. I’d seen the hotel, of course, as I walked to an O’s game, but never ventured inside. And until last year, I’d never really even eaten at a hotel restaurant in Baltimore except at a wedding or other event. Well, not anymore. I had, literally, never even seen The Yard. It’s in a location that I just never really frequent and you also can’t see it from the street. But once you go into the hotel, there it is, calling you to enjoy seafood, local craft beers and more. Don’t you love it when you discover something great and it was right under your nose?
When I drove up to the entrance, I thought, oh, wow! Look across the street…the Bromo Seltzer Tower, one of Baltimore’s most iconic buildings. Of course, nerd that I am, parked the car and walked out to the street to get a shot of it. I just love that building, don’t you?
The hotel has just undergone a huge renovation, which included the The Yard. The decor is warm, yet modern, with local flavor throughout thanks to walls with Baltimore images like the Domino sugar sign, Little Italy street lights and more. The exposed brick walls, pendant lights and rich dark wood floors made me think of a rehabbed city rowhouse. That nod to Baltimore gave me the heads up that more was to come…and the menu did not disappoint where that was concerned. Many local farms and food producers the restaurant uses are listed on the menu – Springfield Farm, Roseda Beef, Stone Mill Bakery, One Straw Farm, Prigel Family Creamery, True Blue Maryland Crabs and more. As you can imagine, the menu featured lots of seafood, especially crab. Baltimoreans love their crab and tourists come here looking for it! Just last week, I was accosted on the street in Hampden by a tourist asking where to find the best steamed crabs…she was really serious and wrote things on her hand…I think she was drunk…but I digress. (p.s. Anyone want to open a crab house in Hampden?)
You might not have known Chastity Dunnaville, but she was well known and loved among the NDP community, attending and then teaching there before losing her battle with cancer. Her mother, Taryn Dunnaville is an Associate Broker at Equity Realty Inc., and has worked hard with Notre Dame Prep to put together this fundraiser to keep Chas’ spirit in the community. Check out Taryn’s note below, and come out out for an evening of fun!
Join us for the 1st Annual crabfeast in honor of Chastity Brione Dunnaville! Proceeds will benefit the Chastity Brione Dunnaville Scholarship Fund, created to support two NDP students each year. Join us for crabs, food, and fun! There will be a Live Auction, wheels, & 50/50 raffle! Music by Chas– we’ll be enjoying all her favorite songs throughout the night!!
Tickets are $75 each or table of 8 for $550.
To register for the event, click here.
Announcing the “Chastity B. Dunnaville Memorial Scholarship Fund”, established and available for donations.
Chastity Dunnaville was an alumnus and White Blazer winner from the class of 2006. During Chas’s tenure at Notre Dame Prep, she never missed a day of school through senior graduation. In addition to her perfect attendance, Chastity was awarded ‘Best Uniform’ because of her polished saddle shoes and perfectly pressed uniform.
The memorial scholarship fund has been established to financially assist yearly, two young ladies whom embody the spirit of Notre Dame. The recipients will be graduates from NDP’s Middle School, who continue to demonstrate a commitment to excellence and all around effort in their high school studies. Scholarships will be awarded on an ‘as-needed’ basis. Donations are fully deductible and can be made payable to:
“Chastity B. Dunnaville Memorial Scholarship Fund”
c/o Notre Dame Preparatory School
815 Hampton Lane
Baltimore, MD 21286
Thank You in advance for your contributions and support.
Marianne Handlir, a stay-at-home mom born and raised in Highlandtown, was revealed today as the winner of The Voice of Baltimore search and named the Voice of OLD BAY Radio. MGH, a local advertising and marketing agency, found Handlir after launching an open casting call in April to find an authentic Baltimore voice. Handlir’s voice is featured in two nostalgic OLD BAY radio spots that stir up Baltimore memories and points of pride. She is also helping Baltimoreans speak proper “Bawlmorese” on the soundboard of the OLD BAY Facebook page. Click on swords such as “water,” “ambulance” and “Druid Hill,” to hear how to pronounce words like a true Baltimorean. Hear her Voice of Baltimore, above.