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What is Maryland known for?

My family will be moving to Baltimore in a few months from Chicago. For the "going away" party, we were thinking of setting up Chicago food to say bye to and some Baltimore food to introduce folks to.

So, we know about the crabcakes of course - any idea on who has the best ones to ship here or recipes?

Also, what else could we offer/make for our guests that represents our new home?

Thanks so much!!

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  1. Oyster stew, Md Crab soup, Berger cookies

    1 Reply
    1. I believe these are considered the best by some,a t least very good by most: http://www.faidleyscrabcakes.com/orde...

      I haven't order from there so I can't comment on that specifically, just that they have good MD crabcakes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cookie44

        Faidley's has a fairly good crabcake but their fish sandwich is much better. Compare Faidley's recipe to the Narrows on Kent Island which is the best Maryland style crab cake I have ever had. This is their recipe: http://www.starchefs.com/features/cra... You are probably not going to be able to make this in Chicago because you'll not find the crab meat. The Narrows does NOT use Venezuelan nor Indonesian crab rather Maryland, Virginia or Carolina and, I believe for several months of the year, Louisiana. There is a difference in the taste. The Narrows DOES ship: http://www.thenarrowsrestaurant.com/c... They probably also have the best cream of crab soup that I've had-this would be well worth including. Their vegetable crab (also listed) is disappointing.

      2. Crab cakes and football, that's what Maryland does! :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: elmoz

          haha, that was my initial response when I saw the header for this post

          1. re: elmoz

            Not baseball, beer and franks? FoiGras

            1. re: FoiGras

              No. The O's have been in the basement for a decade. Our "local" franks are the Esskay brand name pasted on Gwaltney dogs. Esskay has been gone for longer than the Orioles were last in contention.

              Now beer, you could always get them a tasty sixer of some Clipper City brews. Any of the Heavy Seas line would be quite applicable. there are several third coast area brews that aren't available here in MD. If your family member is a fan of certain breweries, they'd have to bring them in their checked bags.

              1. re: FoiGras

                It used to be National Bo[hemian] "From the Land of Pleasant Living," and Esskay franks.

                I recall that used to frequently drive past the National Bo brewery and they had a huge glass wall facing the street so that you could see the enormous beer vats, which I vaguely recall were painted light blue (????). I don't even remember where it was located, only that we drove past it quite often!

                1. re: Geeyore

                  National Bohemian had a brewery on O'Donnell and Conkling Street,
                  Gunthers brewery was just across the street..Area now known as Brewers Hill.. National Bohemian later moved to site just off the Beltway ant Hammonds Ferry Road...

                  1. re: Hue

                    And then, like everything fun in Baltimore eventually does, it skipped town forever... :(

              1. Faidley's recipe (an approximation I'm sure) was just repeated in a chat on the Washington Post:

                "Re: Recipe for Faidley's crabcakes: Couldn't agree more about Faidley's crab cakes. If you want to fix them fresh, the Post published their recipe many years ago (exact date unknown, my clipping is yellowed and bespattered, and I checked -- it's not in the current Post recipe index).

                Nancy Devine's Backfin Crabcakes (Faidley's Seafoods) Makes 4-6 crabcakes.
                These are the ones served at Faidley's. Nancy Devine (nee Faidley) described the recipe to us as she waited on a line of customers. She never lost a beat.

                1 pound backfin crab meat
                1 cup crushed saltines
                1 cup mayonnaise
                1 tablespoon dijon mustard
                1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
                1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
                2 eggs
                Spread the crab in a shallow pan. Add the crushed saltines and toss slightly. Be careful not to break up the crabmeat pieces or pulverize the crackers. (Over crushing yields a mealy crab cake.) Mix the remaining ingredients and mix this batter with the crab and crackers just enough so you can form cakes. The art is in the handling: firm but light. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, if convenient. When ready to serve, fry quickly in hot oil. Brown one side, turn, and brown the other, then quickly remove. The cakes should be just heated through."

                I would have relayed that person's post under recipes, but wasn't sure if it should be starter or main (or sandwich for that matter)

                1. Maryland is also known for oysters and fried chicken. You can find recipes on Epicurious.com.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: DCDeb

                    I just posted on this on another thread yesterday. I was specifically referring to an item on Snyder's menu (which - btw OP - is close to you - Snyders Willow Grove).

                    Anyway - what IS Maryland fried chicken?

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      Maryland fried chicken is pan-fried in a cast-iron skillet, rather than deep fried. But any marination or breading is the same as for deep-fried chicken.

                      Usually, but not always, served with a cream-style gravy.

                        1. re: littlew1ng

                          That's a common variant, but by no means is that indicative of maryland fried chicken.

                          1. re: DanielK

                            yes i'm sorry if i was unclear....i was just throwing it out there as a flavor-boosting suggestion :) the best maryland fried chicken that i've had was prepared that way. at peaky's in princess anne i believe this is how they make it.

                            1. re: littlew1ng

                              I remember hearing someone say it was for the use of cereal - and I'll try finding that old discussion.

                              The pan-fried rather than deep fried is Country fried chicken I thought - I certainly know of this manner from Missouri as a boy.

                              Edit: I found the old discussion:


                              1. re: littlew1ng

                                My maternal family was on the Eastern Shore for many many many generations.

                                I never ever not once saw my Great Aunties use Old Bay in anything they cooked.

                                Old Bay is a product of Baltimore-based McCormack Seasonings and until recent years it was never used for anything beyond cooking steamed bluefin crabs.

                                1. re: Geeyore

                                  Old Bay was produced for many years by The Maryland Spice Co(Reisterstown Rd) McCormick purchased it several years ago!!

                                  1. re: Hue

                                    I stand corrected, you are right. However the point remains that Old Bay was never ever used in anything but steamed crabs to my recollection.

                          2. re: DanielK

                            I always thought the chicken was a dredge not a breading (and certainly not a bound breading) often pan fried or even baked in (hee) lard.

                            1. re: DanielK

                              My entire maternal ancestry is from Delmarva (the Eastern Shore) and you are absolutely correct that cast-iron skillet fried chicken is the one and true "Maryland fried chicken".

                              There's a "Denton Woman's Club" cookbook available (you can Google for it) and I think this has the proper fried chicken recipe as well as some of the other top secret Maryland recipes that my aunties disclosed for the good of the club.

                              1. re: Geeyore

                                My great grandmother in West Virginia used to make fried chicken in a cast iron skillet, so it may be indigenous to that region as well. It was delicious, and she never told anyone the recipe. It died with her ...

                        2. The blue crab likes bays therefore are plentiful around Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. In today's New York Times there is a nice article entitled "The Crab Houses of Maryland's Eastern Shore." I am not able to link it for you so be sure to google it.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Lewes17266

                            The Times visited Waterman's in Rock Hall and Smith Island. This is the link:

                            I can't resist: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/171496

                            1. re: Joe H

                              Waterman's is basically McDonald's for seafood. Steer clear. A horrible waste of a meal. Unless all your favorite restaurants include a walk through the gift shop on your way to the tables.

                              1. re: kukubura

                                Respectfully, but I disagree. We have now driven three times roundtrip from Reston to Rock Hall, about 160 miles roundtrip and felt it was worth it each time. For Maryland style seafood it pales next to the Narrows but the ambience puts it over the top for me.

                                1. re: Joe H

                                  Haven't been to the Narrows and this is the second time in two days that someone has recommended it to me, but I was warned off from Waterman's by a Rock Hall local and foolishly went anyway. I'll never go back. An awful restaurant. There are (marginally) better restaurants in Rock Hall and far, far better restaurants all over eastern Maryland.

                                  1. re: kukubura

                                    Which "far, far better restaurants" would you go to on the Eastern shore?

                                    1. re: Joe H

                                      I've had meals in Chestertown, St MIchaels and Tilghman Island that didn't taste like they were cooked at Long John Silver's.

                                      1. re: Joe H

                                        I've eaten at many, many wonderful seafood restaurants in Maryland and Waterman's is hands down one of the worst dumps I've ever been to. The fish was dry and flavorless, the vegetables were clearly from frozen, and the service was appalling. So bland and so awful. I subsequently heard many similar opinions after my unfortunate meal. I'd rather eat a Mrs. Paul's fishstick than that crap.

                                  2. re: kukubura

                                    That is ridiculous. You eat crabs at a crab house (also any other steamed or raw seafood) and the crabs are fine. The view beautiful. I have eaten at most of the crab houses in Maryland (was at Cantlers on Saturday) and I don't eat crabs - my husband does. We do this at least 10 times in season. I know the food in general is hopeless - some have one or two non crabs options that are edible but very few. No different between the Waterman and any of the other crab houses. By the way the hamburger was fine w/o the bun at the Watermans. To liken it to McDonalds is just misleading the public.

                              2. Welcome to MD, Stacy. Here's a short list of Baltimore area stuff:

                                - Maryland blue crabs
                                - Maryland crab cakes
                                - Berger's cookies (sold in every little convenience store in Baltimore)
                                - Sno-Balls (there are scores of little stands that make shaved or cracked ice snow cones with lots of incredible flavors, such as egg custard. Try them!)
                                - Thrasher's boardwalk fries (actually a Ocean City, MD thing, but you can find them at the Inner Harbor)

                                Baltimore has a very respectable Little Italy, with one of the greatest bakeries you will find anywhere - Vaccaro's.

                                Great diners everywhere, including the famous one at Fells Point.

                                Sadly, you won't find anything like the great Chicago hotdog in Baltimore. (At least, not in the same way you find it in Chicago.)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Sean D

                                  Vaccaro's cannoli and biscotti are the best things Little Italy has to offer.

                                  the other places get crap from some, but those alone are worth a visit.

                                  1. re: Sean D

                                    Thanks for the welcome, we are excited...and the food options are great too...looking for sno-balls now.

                                    1. re: stacyhughes

                                      LOL...your kids will love the sno-balls, Stacy.

                                      Here's an interesting link:


                                  2. Eliminating things like Vaccaro's that are "best of class in Baltimore" in some category, but where the item in question is not unique to Baltimore or "typical" of Baltimore, I come up with the following list.

                                    Steamed crabs
                                    crab cakes
                                    Shad roe (when in season)
                                    oyster stew
                                    MD crab soup
                                    pit beef (OK, you can get similar elsewhere, but it is the canonical Baltimore "beast over coals" variant - compare to Chicago's "Italian Beef")
                                    Steak sub (Baltimore's competitor to the better-known "Philly cheesesteak", and also a nice contrast to Chicago's "Italian Beef")
                                    Pollock Johnnie's hot dogs with "the works" (might be fun as a comparison/contrast to the Chicago-style hot dog)
                                    Matthew's Pizza (uniquely Baltimore, and again, fun contrast to "Chicago style" deep dish)
                                    Berger's cookies (are to Baltimore as "Frango Mints" are to Chi-town, though not a direct comparison)
                                    Eastern Shore fund-raiser grilled chicken with the "Cornelll University" egg/vinegar/pepper glaze (Maybe get Big Bad Wolf's version?)
                                    Boardwalk fries

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Warthog

                                      AWESOME suggestions - thank you so much!!

                                      1. re: Warthog

                                        I'd have to throw in the scapple and egg sandwich, peach cake, Tastycakes, coddies, Utz Old-Bay potato chips, Esskay half-smokes and perhaps Natty Boh, if you can still find any.

                                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                                          You can still find Natty Boh, but it's no longer brewed in Baltimore.

                                      2. Smith Island Cake is native to Maryland, particularly Smith Island. I also didn't see Baltimore peach cake on the list.

                                        1. You can add Southern Maryland stuffed ham (aka St. Mary's County stuffed ham) to the list. It is a brined ham stuffed with greens like kale and cabbage, and peppers and spices which is then cooked by simmering or steaming.


                                          1. Steamed crabs and crabcakes have already been mentioned. But, Crab Imperial seems to be unique to the Baltimore area.
                                            And, don't forget to call your guests "Hon!" FoiGras

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: FoiGras

                                              And when addressing in the plural, "Hons."

                                            2. Ledo Pizza - the original one in Hyattsville.

                                              Lots of discussion about the pros and cons of Ledo's here, just do some searching.

                                              1. In addition to getting some Bergers cookies for dessert, make some peppermint lemon sticks. Just cut a lemon in half, and suck up the juice though a slightly porous & thick lemon stick. (Where you'll get them in Chicagoland, I haven' a clue.) Great, sweet, sticky treat most commonly seen at the annual flower mart in Mt. Vernon.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: baltoellen

                                                  Lord and Lady Baltimore Cakes, Pit Beef, Pit Ham and Pit Turkey!

                                                  1. re: baltoellen

                                                    Gosh, I forgot all about May Day celebration in Baltimore and those peppermint lemon sticks. What a delicious memory. Thanks for the memories.

                                                    What about coddie cakes? (served on crackers with mustard). FoiGras

                                                  2. And , don't forget the grilled Baltimore Oriole on a stick! (OK, I just made that up.) :)

                                                    1. Feed them this: Maryland Crab Soup, Maryland Backfin Crab Cake, Oyster Stew, Md fresh shucked oysters on the half shell, Steamed Manoa soft shell pisser clams. Soft shell crab sandwich, Maryland Jumbo Steamed Crab feast with steamed sweet white corn, sliced Maryland Beefsteak Tomatoes, Rockfish sruffed with Crab Imperial, National Boh and Premium beer, Pit Beef Sandwhiches, BlackEye Susan drinks, Watermellon, Fresh Fruit pies, Berger Cookies..........The Land of Pleasant Living...all this while sitting on some picnic table overlooking the chesapeake....it doesn't get any better than that.....

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: dining with doc

                                                        Oh, but isn't Natty Boh more specific to Pittsburgh?

                                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                                          although no longer, Nat Boh was at one time the local beer and the sponser for the Baltimore Orioles. It was brewed off of the beltway where it crossed the Patapsco River

                                                        2. re: dining with doc

                                                          LOL - I would be cooking for days!! Maybe one or 2 of those would work.

                                                          1. re: dining with doc

                                                            What a great description of our local bounty. The Land of Pleasant Living indeed!

                                                          2. Has no one mentioned UTZ potato chips? They are by far the best light, delicate flavored chip ever. Better selling than Lay's in the regions where they sell, UTZ are only available from North Carolina to NY. They are headquartered in Hanover, PA and I would go so far as to say that Maryland is synonymous with UTZ products. There are some chips that are flavored- crab chip, salt & vinegar, BBQ, salt & pepper, etc. but purists prefer just the regular plain red bag chip. I highly recommend UTZ as a Maryland food.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: maddogg280

                                                              Wow...all this mention of crabs and we left out the one thing that makes them Maryland crabs - Old Bay Seasoning.

                                                              (Stacy, you'll find this familiar yellow and blue can in the spice aisle of every grocery store in this area.) The stuff goes great on more than crabs. Great on French fries with some malt vinegar.

                                                              1. re: Sean D

                                                                Stacy....everyone has given you so many incredible ideas....I forgot how much I love the UTZ chips!! Where you are at, for your dinner....just buy some lump crab meat and follow the directions on the can of Old Bay. That will give them an idea of where you're moving.......Welcome to Maryland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (BTW...can you sneak a few Chicago dogs our way?)

                                                                1. re: maddogg280

                                                                  Since I grew up in Towzen (Towson) I know a little bit about this topic. Here are some critical and core reference food items. Most have online ordering:







                                                                  1. Silver Queen corn is native to the Eastern Shore, developed by a horticulturist ot the University of Maryland.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: mobtown999

                                                                      Silver Queen corn is no longer commercially grown, having been replaced by modern varieties with longer shelf-life.

                                                                    2. To heck with all the crab effetisms, it's Scrapple hons.

                                                                      Rapa Scrapple.


                                                                      Yes, the company is in Delaware. It doesn't matter. Rapa scrapple is 100 percent Delaware/Maryland/Northern Virginia phenomenon. I can even buy it in the Safeway here in Northern Virginia.

                                                                      Unfortunately it looks like they won't be doing mail order again for few months.

                                                                      Not to fret, you can buy a few slabs when you arrive.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Geeyore

                                                                        I think south central, and Phila-area of PA claim scrapple as their own, too. And, well, if it were up to me--they could have it!

                                                                        BTW, I live with a mad-for-scrapple type, and he swears that the brand Delaware Maid kicks Rapa's butt.

                                                                      2. Marylanders long ago claimed Rehoboth Beach in Delaware as their own.

                                                                        (There is also the mega-trashy Ocean City MD but I never thought of it as "The Shore" that we retreated to every summer).

                                                                        In any case here's a Rehoboth Beach specialty:


                                                                            1. Natty Boh, Camden Yards, crabs, bromo-seltzer, domino sugar, and Cal Ripken, hon (http://www.baltimorehon.com/



                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Reignking

                                                                                Ugh, another overrated Maryland dump that's all gimmick and no flavor.

                                                                              2. Sorry, I forgot drinks in my last post.

                                                                                Pikesville Supreme Straight Rye Whiskey - now made in KY from an old MD recipe; one of the original American ryes (George Washington used to make rye whiskey and there is a distillery at Mt. Vernon in VA today)
                                                                                Clay Pipe Brewing Company Hop-Ocalypse IPA