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Aug 29, 2007 09:14 AM

beyond Berger cookies and Old Bay

I'm going to dinner at a friend's house in Portland, OR, soon. The host is seriously into food and wine. The guests are too, including one who is a James Beard award-winning chef. (Who, unfortunately, isn't doing the cooking!)

I'd usually bring some Berger cookies and/or Old Bay (although I know that OB is available now throughout the country) but was wondering if there were any other great local food items to bring as a little gift?

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  1. Blue Crab Bay Co. has some great stuff. Bloody Mary Mix, Crab House Crunch which is addictive (peanut brittle with seafood seasoning). You can find it in a lot of different places. I think it would make a very nice hostess gift and it is packaged pretty.

    1. OK, they're certainly not gourmet, but how about some Goetze's Caramel Creams?
      Or some local crab spice, like JO or Wye River...

      5 Replies
      1. re: sistereurope

        Great ideas! I once brought Goetze's Caramel Creams to foodies in Singapore, since I figured it was the only thing sharable that would make the journey.

        I'm not familiar with the Blue Crab Bay Co......I'll go google them now!

        1. re: baltoellen

          I have a Balto friend who SWEARS by the Blue Crab Bloody Mary mix, i've had trouble finding it in the past but know that Hometown Girl on the Avenue sells it, i think Eddies or Grauls stocks it too.

          I'm heading to some foodies in Vermont who've requested fresh crab meat to make crab cakes, I guess it's easier and cheaper to get here than in VT, and local sweet corn!

          Another great foodie gift: the lady who does the smoked meats @ the JFX market (who also has a store @ Belvedere Square, sorry name eludes me today) offers an interesting array of locally smoked salts, might be something a bit different.

          1. re: aussiewonder

            As an aside, aussiewonder, I just returned from a month in Vermont, and the corn there can't compare to Maryland's. It's relatively tasteless. But be tactful. Vermonters are very proud of their corn. They just don't know what good corn really is. Also, they have no crab meat at all. Years ago I was able to find soft shell crabs in Vermont, but obviously, they were frozen and not very good.

            1. re: lbags

              Def each to their own. I thought the corn I ate whilst there was far sweeter than what I've had this summer in MD. But then, we had yellow corn in VT and here all I can seem to find for local corn is Silver Queen/white. Maybe it's a 'down under' thing, but I've never gotten used to corn than is anything but yellow! So i much preferred what I had in VT.

              1. re: aussiewonder

                Actually, none of the corn around here is Silver Queen anymore. Silver Queen is no longer commercially grown.

                I've gotten bi-colored corn (white and yellow) a few times at the Baltimore farmers market this year.

      2. Polish sausage from Ostroskowski's (on Washington St.)?

        Italian sausage from Mastellone's?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Hal Laurent

          Those would work....but a bit hard to transport in my luggage. BTW, checked out the Blue Crab Bay Co...looked good, but it's from *gasp* Virginia!

          1. re: baltoellen

            Yes it is from VA, but the Eastern Shore of VA... still a regional specialty, and a good small business, not some huge chain. They have some of it at Wegman's here in VA I don't know about MD. It is in lots of places in Annapolis, but I think you are in Baltimore, if you are in Annapolis though they sell it at the Museum Store downtown, and some of the other downtown shops, but I think the Historic Annapolis Foundation's museum store has the biggest selection. I have had them make me some gift baskets that have gone over really well with people I was staying with in France.

          2. re: Hal Laurent

            I'll second stuff from Mastellone's too. They have great house-made pastas. If you can manage a hard or soft cooler, this would be a great choice.

            Another thing you could try, if you expand your definition of 'this area' is Lebanon Bologna. They usually make 'regular' and 'sweet' varieties. Brown's Farm/Orchard Stand in souther PA not very far off of I-83 is a good source for the real deal, but you can also hit up any local WEIS market and get Heltzer's (I think that is the brand name). A PA Dutch Country treat!


          3. A thermos of crab soup. If flying out of BWI there are a couple of "Celebrate Maryland" stores. Or here is a website of Maryland treats

            2 Replies
            1. re: MrsWheatie

              I'm pretty sure this wouldn't get through with the liquid restrictions.

              1. re: MrsWheatie

                No more Celebrate Maryland in BWI -- they had a dispute with the airport over proprietary rights (it was something like they had an agreement that the big chains couldn't sell certain things and then the Hudson News and such started stocked MD knicknacks) and had to close.

              2. How about getting some franks from Attman's and volunteering a Baltimore appetizer of hot dog's with bologna? What James Beard award winning chef wouldn't love that?

                Alternatively, throw a flask of Pikesville Rye into your checked luggage.

                1 Reply