My birthday yesterday started at six in the morning with me not being able to stay in bed any longer. I had been awake since three – not with excitement, as one might think, but with a small but nagging hangover. We celebrated Birthday Eve in a wine bar on Main Street. Sampling two wine flights left its traces – as Karl pointed out: Man ist ja keine siebenundzwanzig mehr. The festivities surrounding my birthday started on Wednesday and will continue on until tonight. It’s almost like a royal wedding. It’s not like we make a big deal of birthdays every year, but for some reason this year we’re having some fun with mine. Wednesday night we took a trip to DC just to go to my favorite bookstore – this had actually been on the top of my to-do list for months. It was all I hoped it would be. Thursday night (and people who aren’t familiar with my sensitivity to lighting might find this odd) we went to IKEA to buy some lamps to improve the lighting situation in our apartment. I don’t wanna hear it myself, but winter is coming and it can’t hurt to be prepared.
We were thus up at six in the morning yesterday and decided to go on a walk, grab some bagels on the way and take advantage of the quiet streets. We ended up in Lafayette park, which is really just a patch of green by the water and watched the morning getting brighter.
And now we get to the exciting part – another thing that had been high up on my to-do list ever since I got here, but with my birthday coming up and us reserving seafood for special occasions we decided to wait until my birthday until I would taste my first Maryland Blue Crab. We picked a place by the Severn called Cantler’s. We had to wait an hour for our outside table (they don’t take reservations). No problem though, we were expecting that, got a drink and went down out back, where the fresh catch is delivered daily. So the crabs you’re eating there were still swimming around happily in the bay a couple hours earlier. There’s a culling station, where the (male) crabs are sorted by size, as well as crab floats.
The restaurant is boat accessible, this is their parking lot. We were buzzed about an hour later and got a table outside which was covered with a heavy duty paper cloth. We weren’t sure how many crabs to get, but the waitress recommend half a dozen extra larges, given my being a first-time crab eater. Turns out, she was spot on. We managed three crabs each and a couple extra claws that came with them and were pretty full after. The spice mixture you can see on the shells is called “Old Bay”, and the crabs are steamed in it. You do everything by hand, so the spice gets on your fingers. When you pick out the crabmeat and put it in your mouth, you automatically get some spice in there too. The dips we had are melted butter and vinegar. Loved the vinegar. Before and after (pics taken with phone camera):
I will say that crabs are a work intensive and messy dinner. I loved it, also because eating with my fingers is one of my favorite things in the world. When I was younger I was convinced that my first ruling as a future chancellor would be to abolish all silverware.
So much for now! Today’s celebratory events included a farm-to-table brunch that Karl prepared, now we’re gonna head out to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center for some outdoor relaxation. Birthday weekend finishes tonight with a sunset sailboat trip. Good times.