What is my definition of a quick trip back to the States? Anything under a week. In this case, I went home for 6 days. I know that may sound crazy because I flew all the way from Japan to the East Coast, but I had good reasons, and all of those reasons were positive ones. First off, my stepdads birthday was during this trip, and we wanted to celebrate in style. Secondly, and the most important, I went home to get my sister and bring her back to Japan with me (long story as to why she is not traveling alone, sorry no details on that, but honestly who wouldn't want an escort to enter a crazy foreign country their first time visiting).
Before I knew it, it was August and I was boarding a plane for Detroit (with a connection to Baltimore that was one of the bumpiest flights I have ever had).
Before boarding I had a shrimp and pesto grilled sandwich. I had already been traveling for probably 6 hours, so I was starving.
I got home and my mom and sister picked me up. First stop when arriving in Baltimore? Getting crab cakes! Seriously, this is what everyone must do upon getting to Maryland. We picked up crab cakes and took them home to eat at my mom's. We also all split up the sides.
The next day my mom took me to lunch at a place called Atwaters. I started off with some delicious gazpacho.
This was followed up with a fancy grilled cheese complete with granny smith apples.
My mom had a nice breakfast platter which looked really good, minus the bacon.
Then I went shopping. OMG did I go shopping! I went to a place called Fresh Market. I had never been there but my mom sends me stuff from there sometimes. It was heaven!
I found all of these peanut butters. Not only were they on sale, but they were in plastic containers. This is essential when sending PB back to Japan via USPS.
My trip consisted of either grading papers, visiting family, eating or shopping. Most of my pictures are just from the eating.
My second night there I went to dinner with my friends Meredith and Jenn, along with my sister. We went to a place called Woodberry Kitchen. This place focuses on local foods.
My sister wasn't driving so she was given the OK to have a drink...and it is always fun to watch her drink. ;)
Mer and Jenn got these deviled eggs.
We had the fried pickles for the table. I see this is a US trend...and I like it! Not the healthiest, so I am glad it was just a small portion for us all to share...cause I could have eaten them all!
Mer and Jenn had the mac and cheese, which was delicious.
My sister and I split this eggplant bake. Yum!
Mer and Jenn also split this pizza.
And Rachel and I also split this tuna salad.
Here we all are after a fabulous meal and good conversation.
Love the bathroom there. If you are a TMBG fan then you will get this.
As we were heading back to the car I spotted this fun swimming pool that looked a bit Roman.
We would have had dessert at Woodberry but my sister had suggested a new ice cream place called the Charmery. They offered a non-dairy flavor which was a plus for my sister and they offered some MD classics that were a plus for the rest of us.
Can you believe they make an Old Bay Caramel flavor? This is the new rival of your regular salted caramel. And if you are form MD, you may get how awesome this is...Berger cookies and cream.
Rachel had the orange sorbet.
Mer had two kinds. I love that they offer a small scoop added to a regular scoop so you could just try a little of another flavor without getting a whole second scoop.
I had the Berger cookies and cream. Yum!
The next day Rachel and I went to Charmington's (Do you see a trend here...get it? Charmington's, The Charmery. Baltimore is Charm City. Fun trivia.)
We knew we were headed out for a nice brunch when we picked up our aunt later but we were hungry so we got some coffee and split an egg sandwich on wheat berry bread. It was definitely a good choice.
Brunch with our aunt was at Food Market. My mom took us here that last time I was in town. It is one of my sister's favorites, so we decided to go here since they do a nice brunch on Fridays and through the weekend.
Rachel started off with a watermelon crush. By the way, this was the most amazing drink ever! Watermelon, kiwi and lemonade.
I had a raspberry Italian soda.
Like I said, it seems fried pickles are a trend right now. These were buffalo pickles, so they were a little spicy and had a blue cheese sauce spread underneath.
They brought us some muffins and cakes.
My aunt started with the gazpacho, another food trend I noticed.
My sister had a nice breakfast platter.
I had the crab cakes benedict minus the Hollandaise.
My aunt went with the smoked salmon benedict, also no Hollandaise.
After some shopping, appointments, visits with friends and family...it was time for another meal. This time we ate at my favorite restaurant and the birth place of my cat, Al Pacino Cafe. Yes, she was found in the dumpster out back. I worked at this place in high school, college and during my dietetic internship. It just feels like home there. I was so happy that the owner, Ashraf, was in that night and we got to talk for a little bit. I love getting to catch up with him.
My mom had one of our favorite salads- the luxor. It is a nice salad with falafel pieces.
I had a Mediterranean Combination platter. When I posted on Facebook I was here, my friend that worked with me here commented and told me to order this. I laughed because, of course, I was already in the process of eating it. I can't even tell you how many times we shared this over the years.
The next day was the start of the weekend, so my mom showed me these fun drinks in a bag they found. Have you seen these? You add alcohol and water, shake and then chill. Voila, you have a mixed drink!
I also managed to find some room to eat some of the cannoli I bought the first night I was home.
Over the weekend I got to visit with my friends. Or should I say that my friends came to visit me. Here I am with one of my best friends and former roommates, Carolyn. I am so glad she came down with her fiance, Steve. Love them! Super cute! And I am so excited because I will be at their wedding in October. Even cooler, I got to try my dress on that I will wear as a bridesmaid in her wedding.
This is one of my other best friends, Meredith (also pictured way at the top of this post). That is her hubby, Matt, in the background. He went to college with us too. And sitting with Mer is her precious little baby boy, Marshall.
He is too cute!
Sunday was my day with my dad and stepmom. I went to their new place and hung out for a bit. For dinner we went to a place called Earth, Wood and Fire. I started off with tomatoes and mozzarella, which I shared with my stepmom.
My dad had a nice salad too.
For my entree I went with the salmon burger and sweet potato fries. Yum!
And for dessert...a brownie with ice cream. No way I ate this by myself! We shared.
On my last day, I had some appointments and other stuff going on, but there was just enough time to meet my mom for my favorite salad in the entire world. This is from a place called Mari Luna. It's topped with crab meat, avocado and pan fried halloumi cheese (and other veggies, but those are my favorite parts). I would have been sad to visit my hometown without getting my favorite salad so I am glad we managed to find some time.
Now, there was no way we had room for dessert, but my mom's shrimp lunch special came with this 3 dessert sampler, which featured their desserts for Restaurant Week. One was a bread pudding, one was flan and then there was a cream puff.
That night, for my last dinner at home, we went out to celebrate my stepdad's birthday, my parents friends birthday and their friends anniversary. We went to Roy's. Hands down my favorite restaurant of all time. They are so accommodating and genuinely friendly. Their customer service goes above and beyond anything I have seen before, and they are consistent with this.
I started off with a drink because I wasn't driving. This was called a 1988. Grapefruit vodka and lychee liquor. Yum!
My mom had a salad to start. I actually didn't take pictures of everyone's food, but I did take a few pictures. The lighting was poor.
I had the parmesan crusted hake (minus the sauce because it had a meat base). It was phenomenal.
It came with a side of lobster potato risotto. OMG, awesome!
My mom did the appetizer short ribs as an entree. Let's just say this fed her for days. She said these were the most amazing thing ever. Not surprised, her friends already told her to try them because they said they were amazing. Also not surprised because everything at Roy's is amazing.
My mom's friend had a nice piece of fish with potatoes and veggies.
Last up was dessert. I love the chocolate souffle. Amazing!
Finally, the birthday boy with his birthday dessert. Great place to go for special occasions. Happy Birthday Joe!
Then the next morning we were off to Japan...more on that to come!
QUESTIONS: What is your favorite hometown food? Do you like crab? What is your hometown's nickname? Where do you go for special occasions?