Last Sunday I made my first official trip to Baltimore (you almost get there when you catch a flight out of BWI and you almost get there when BoltBus drives you around the city, but just not quite!) to meet up with Dana and a couple of her NYC pals for the Orioles-Red Sox game at Camden Yards. My first impression of the area around the ballpark was general amusement at all of the signs proclaiming "THIS IS BIRDLAND." I realize your team is the Orioles and all, but couldn't the PR department come up with something a little bit better than "birdland?" It just made me giggle.
Second impression was...what exactly is in Baltimore? I-95 coming out of D.C. drops you right into the stadium area, so I didn't exactly explore the city, but...what does this place have going for it? This question wasn't really answered on this particular exploration, but I know off the top of my head that Duff bakes cakes here and Anthony Bourdain found some pretty tasty "pit beef" that might remind me of Texas barbecue, so maybe I'll plan on a Baltimore Saturday to better explore the city.
Now, I've babbled on before about baseball and how I'm generally more enamored with the food than with the game itself, but on this particular occasion I found myself flipped around a little bit. Due to some rooftop times the night before that involved grilling, card games, blueberry crumb bars (oh yes, you know that was my contribution), copius amounts of adult beverages, and Chinese food at 4 AM, I wasn't feeling quite as food and/or beer adventurous as I usually do. Oh, and the game was actually exciting. Home runs all over the place! Crowd banter between the Sox fans and the Orioles fans! I was even inspired to capture an action shot of the game!
Even if I didn't enjoy the food and beverage the way I should (I'll be back to remedy that, I promise!), the sight of Boardwalk Fries accompanied by add-as-much-as-you-like apple cider vinegar and Old Bay seasoning (which didn't sound that great, honestly - I think it was the vinegar part that was getting to me. Something about that smell...) got me thinking about great regional food offerings at America's ballparks. Where else are you going to put vinegar and seafood seasoning on your french fries? The Nationals offer Ben's Chili Bowl, Yankees have Nathan's hot dogs, the Mariners proffer grilled salmon sandwiches, and the Astros serve up a BBQ stuffed baked potato. Not only can you enjoy America's pastime, you can enjoy a taste of the area. Makes it kinda tempting to go on a ballpark tour. Also makes me wish I still had summers off.