One of the things I love about my friend Julie is that she knows what she likes. Some may call it picky, but I prefer to call it particular. In fact, she is extremely open minded about trying new things and takes life by storm, but she usually knows immediately if something is her taste or not (and I don't just mean food).
For example, I have only met one other person in my life who didn't like condiments on her sandwiches. I'm not talking hamburgers here--I mean, a club or a ham sandwich. She takes no mayonnaise, no mustard, no ketchup, not even a sprinkling of vinegar and oil.
I don't hold that against her. I mean, sandwiches are made-to-order nearly every place you go. And, on my wedding day, when I was so worried about having an upset stomach because of wedding planning stress and pre-wedding what-if-I-trip-while-walking-down-the-aisle nerves, I ordered my lunch sandwich just the way Julie would order hers--plain turkey with lettuce on wheat, nothing else. And it was exactly what I needed.
So when Julie told me she was engaged to her fantastic boyfriend Andy, I didn't have a single doubt that she was 100% sure. She knows what she likes, and I envy her for that.
Their wedding was in Baltimore this past weekend. And it was truly a celebration of their love and a chance for everyone to come together to share that with them.
On Saturday we had a lot of time to kill until the evening wedding, so our friend's Lia and Noah got a recommendation from the hotel concierge to walk to Mt. Vernon, a district in Baltimore that was young and would probably have good eats and good places to browse.
We ended up walking into the middle of a Book Festival in it's setting up phase, so we knew that post-brunch we would have something to check out. We dined at a little cafe called Donna's and ordered a variety of breakfast type meals.
Now, I'm not a restaurant critic, but I did find it odd that a place serving brunch didn't actually seem to have any whole eggs--just already scrambled eggs, limiting it's egg making abilities to a lackluster scramble and a pre-prepared breakfast stratta. The stratta got an A+ from our friends Abbie and Nick, but the scrambled eggs Lia ordered were strange and an odd shade of yellow.
My breakfast, however, had no eggs involved, and was truly incredible.
Three huge slices of French toast with an sweet apple and golden raisin compote over the top that didn't even require the use of the ramekin of syrup I was provided. It was heavenly and I am dying to recreate it. It's all about the bread. Do you know what type of bread I should use for the perfect French toast? Please share if you do.
After brunch we browsed the book festival, where we came across a few interesting things. The first was the reigning Baltimore "Hon" who wore a huge beehive wig and told us all about how she had won the "Honfest" and had spent the past year being the #1 Hon. It's sort of complicated to explain, but it has something to do with the movie Hairspray and big hair and big personalities. Check the link if you are really interested.
And of course in Baltimore there is the whole crab thing. Living in southwest Ohio and my only exposure to water being man-made community ponds and the occasional trip over the Ohio river, fresh seafood is not really a big player in my diet. Baltimore-ians are always suggesting that out-of-towners try their world-famous crab. Our cab driver from the airport to the hotel told us that you have to go somewhere where you can eat the whole crab (which involves digging it out of its shell) vs. eating it in crabcake form, because it's like "steak vs. hamburger." To which our friend Nick said, "I like hamburger." Touché, Nick.
We considered getting some crab and avocado tacos at the book festival from one of the food stands. This was far above normal carnival type food often found at Ohio festivals, so I was intrigued.
The line was long and in the end we all decided we had consumed too much brunch to go ahead and stuff ourselves with more food. The tacos were $8.00 but I'm not really sure if that's a good price or not!
We did eat crab--all of us, I think--because not only was there an amazing choice of crab & linguini in a red sauce at the rehearsal dinner, but there were mini crab cake appetizers at the wedding. So there was crab for everyone, and I must say crab does taste better in Maryland. Maybe it's just a state of mind thing. Either way, it was darn good crab.
The wedding was divine and the band--oh the band--it was incredible. I thought nothing could top the spread of Mediterranean appetizers (including the best hummus I've ever had) but then the band came on and played the best wedding music ever.
The whole night I kept thinking, "This wedding is so Julie." But what else could I expect from her? She knows what she likes.
(Best wishes to the bride & groom!)