My flight didn’t leave until 7:45pm and after a lazy Sunday nursing our hangovers my best friend Sodi and I were ready to make the most of my last day in Baltimore starting with crab cakes.
One of Sodi’s friends had stumbled on Lexington Market in downtown Baltimore and found an epic crab cake. Downtown Baltimore is not the safest area (read: it’s sketchy as fuck) but, for being a petite 5 foot tall girl I don’t get as scared as maybe I should in “bad” areas. I obviously keep my guard up and am aware of my surroundings but, I feel like if I act like I know what I’m doing and keep moving that no one will bother me. If I get a bad vibe I get out of the situation as quickly as possible; it just doesn’t happen a lot. Sodi said she wouldn’t take any of our other girlfriends there but, she knew I’d be down to go. I sort of have a thing for dives. And come on who doesn’t love a little adventure to find the best crab cake in Baltimore?
It was a gorgeous day so we decided to try and walk the 20 minutes to the market. But first coffee. And a donut. You know to give us fuel to get there. We laughed thinking about how we were convinced we could make it on Naked & Afraid where contestants regularly go without food… and yet we couldn’t make it on a 20 minute walk without a snack. After our Dunkin Donuts run we were off.
We got about two or three blocks away from our destination and Sodi made the executive decision to call an Uber. Again, I may not have the best “danger radar” and I would have gladly kept walking. As we waited for our Uber on the corner a man rolled his window down and hollered at us. He held up two fingers which led us to believe he may have thought we were hookers. Maybe an Uber was a good idea.
Our super sweet Uber driver dropped us off right at the entrance to Lexington Market. There were a lot of people hanging around outside which may be intimidating to some but, there were also security guards out front and a cop parked at the entrance. I got the feeling the market was frequented by regulars who lived in the neighborhood. The kind of place where everybody knew everybody. Lexington Market has a diverse mix of patrons: business men, homeless folks, nurses that work at the nearby hospitals, tourists, and families with small children. (I also read that gang members hang out there but I’m not sure how you’d distinguish them from anyone else.)
Lexington Market has been around since 1782 and is home to 102 vendors where you can find anything from fresh fish to a freshly baked turkey or a homemade pie. The turkeys looked amazing! They also have more food court type options like Chinese food or fried chicken. You can go to Berger’s Bakery and get the famous Berger’s Cookie made from a combination of shortbread and fudge. Others recommend the fried chicken gizzards at Park’s, the fresh roasted peanuts at Konstant’s, and the shrimp salad or corned beef at Marry Mervis‘.
Lexington Market has definitely seen better days so don’t go there expecting a modern food market but, I could appreciate it for what it is. Some vendors have more of a food court or cafeteria vibe but there are definitely some special vendors there. I was thrilled to read that Lexington Market is working on revitalizing the historic space. Plans include expanding vendor booths and adding a farmer’s market. I was also excited to see that they want to build special event and education spaces, including a demonstration kitchen, a cooking lab for kids, and a shared commercial kitchen, all in support of the Market’s wellness mission. The market definitely deserves some TLC. I love places that have such a sense of history and it would a shame to not invest in it.
We walked into Faidley’s: home of Nancy Faidley’s “world famous,” award winning jumbo lump crab cake. Faidley’s has been family owned and operated since opening in 1886. I can’t imagine much has changed in all those years. The decor is kind of kitschy with their countless accolades and shining reviews plastered everywhere you look. There are three distinct counters to order from: the fresh fish side, the raw bar, and the fried side.
We went to the fried side and ordered a jumbo lump crab cake to split with potato salad, fries, and two Natty Boh’s. The jumbo lump crab cake with two sides will run you $19 but, trust me you get your money’s worth. They have plenty of sides to choose from and you can look at them further down the counter to see what looks good before ordering. There are no seats at Faidley’s. Instead there are waist high counters for you stand at to devour your meal which I thought gave it an authentic old school feel.
Being from Louisiana I’ve had my fair share of crab cakes but ours are deeply fried with way more cake and way less crab and they’re usually the size and shape of a small patty. Baltimore’s crab cakes are lightly fried with huge chunks of lump crab and a little cake just to hold it together. Faidley’s crab cake is the size of a softball. These crab cakes are rich and decadent. My mouth waters every time I think about them. The lump crab just flakes into bite sized chunks and melts in your mouth. I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in town. Sodi said weekends are a great time to go as they usually have a band playing outside. It would make a killer brunch meal!
Our crabcakes are made with the freshest and finest Jumbo Lump Blue Crab meat. There are only two pieces of “Jumbo Lump” (the swimmer fin muscle) in each crab; it takes over 40 crabs to make a single pound of this succulent delicacy! Our crabcakes are made by hand and average around 6.5 ounces. Rich and delicious, we suggest one per serving. -Faidley’s Website
If you’re not going to be in Baltimore anytime soon but you’ve got to try this crab cake then you can always call Faidley’s and get some crab cakes delivered right to your door! They would also make a great gift for the foodie in your life.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in search of food?!