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This isn't the most thrilling trip but there are some worthwhile things in Baltimore and DC that I wanted to point out to people. Like real happy hours everywhere. As people know, Massachusetts doesn't allow liquor deals so it's always nice to see a $5 martini, even for someone like me who doesn't drink too much. Uneventful flight to BWI and straight to B&O Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco for a special ginger margarita and a clam/poblano fritter then walked over to my hotel, the Marriott Inner Harbor which I had gotten for cheap thru Priceline. That nite never really came together properly and I wasn't too lucky with breakfast the next day either (full food report here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/818048), but I did have a nice walk around the Fells Point area, the nice side of Baltimore.
John picked me up at Union Station in DC and we immediately went to the famous Ben's Chili Bowl on U St. for lunch, where all the politicians go. Walked around, hit Smash and Crooked Vinyl record stores, then stopped in Firefly in Dupont Circle for their happy hour and tasty snacks. Late dinner then off to the H St Corridor where we were too late for the band but sat around the funky Red Palace for a while, they've got a crazy circus type décor. Sat. I got a tasty baked good at the Mt. Pleasant farmer's market and went to the Natl Building Museum, mostly cuz the building itself is so nice. John and I went to the famous soul food place, Ooh's and Ah's, which was fine. That nite we went to meet my old friends Brian and Mike from the music newsgroup alt.punk where I used to waste time in the late 90's. As we were walking to the politician bar Off the Record, I asked two guys if they knew where it was and didn't even realize I was talking to Brian and Mike. Like I said, it had been a while. We got some classic cocktails then a nice dinner then more classic cocktails (for the guys) at the Round Robin.
Sun. got a great donut from Heller's Bakery in John's hood then hopped on the train back to Baltimore. As I took the bus to the hotel, had to deal with swearing passengers yelling at nodding out junkies. Saw Geppi's Entertainment Museum then walked into the Federal Hill section as everyone was filing in for the Ravens game. A nice little area of town, no junkies on that trip. Then I stopped at La Tasca in a mall space by the water for happy hour and totally ordered wrong. At least all items were only $3 and it's a nice space, esp. on a warm day on the deck. There was a show at The Talking Head, this Balt. band Sri Aurobindo (pretty cool heavy psych) were opening for Thee Oh Seas (who I think are okay). I called and was told one set time, get there and of course it's later and the've added a band and the singer from Sri Aur is in a play and has to rush over after so it's even later. They were cool but I *really* wanted to watch the Pats-Jets game so left after a while for a crabcake sandwich at Mick O'Shea's, surrounded by two Pats and two Jets fans which was amusing.
Mon. I headed to the "cool" part of town, Hampden, got a lame breakfast, wandered then spent lots of time at Celebrated Summer Records on Falls Road. I thought the owner looked familiar and sure enough, I'd seen him singing for his band Deep Sleep at Church a year or so ago. Nice guy, we talked about a lot of crap (and talked a lot of crap), he suggested some Baltimore bands to buy then it was back to town riding public transportation with yet more nodding out junkies. Stopped by the famous Lexington Market and back to Faidley's for their awesome crabcake. Wish I was more hungry to take advantage of Pollack Johnny's etc. but I did get good stuff at a couple bakeries, 3 apple fritters for $1, such a deal.
So there you have a quick review of a quick trip. I think Barcelona and Valencia in April will be more exciting.