The $500 Maryland Crabcake

How far would you go?

There are a number of unique regional delicacies that are scientifically proven to be non-replicable outside the region that gave them birth. The famous Philly Cheesesteak appears on menus of diners and restaurants from coast to coast, but any native Philadelphian will agree with me that at distances of more than 50 miles from home, the offerings have little culinary resemblance to the original form. Buffalo's famous "Beef-on-Wick" travels even less well and outlanders have failed to produce a palatable substitute at distances of more than 50 miles.

 I recall having lunch one day in the Satler Restaurant of Cornell's world class hotel school, known incidentally for its chefs, with Rick McDonnald a senior school administrator and former Baltimore resident. When I suggested the Maryland Crabcakes, Rick looked down his nose at the Philistine sitting across from him (that would be me), and reminded me that we were 250 miles from Baltimore and the rule of non-transportability of crabcakes applied.

So here's the plan I executed to get my authentic world class Maryland crabcake on Sunday night July 16. First, rent a car in Ithaca and drive to Albany on an intermittently stormy day. Then catch a late afternoon Southwest Airline flight to Phoenix with one stop in Baltimore which naturally sits on the runway at Albany for two hours because the whole east coast air transportation system is screwed up by the storms (when you are asked to get off the plane because your connection is doubtful, be sure to tell them to "bugger-off". They will punish you by taking your luggage off the plane, but you can always buy more clothes.)  

When you get to Baltimore, go to the Southwest Airlines Customer Service counter, and tell them politely that you missed your connection because your plane was late arriving in Baltimore. They will put you on the next day early morning flight to Phoenix and arrange for a night's stay in the nearby Comfort Inn. Once you get settled in the hotel, proceed immediately to "Creations", the hotel restaurant where they serve "Famous World Class Maryland Crabcakes" (it says so right on the menu.) You are safely inside the 50 mile range, in fact only a few miles from the bay where the crabs live before becoming cakes.  

Cost for all arrangements:

One way rented car................$100
Airfare.....................................$319
Hotel.........................................$83
Meal.........................................$14
                                             _____
Total.......................................$516
The crabcake.....................priceless  

 

 And they took my American Express card

Gene Ziegler