Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tourists in Baltimore - Part 2

[Kyle]I was mostly at work, and when I did have a night or so at home, we’d venture out to different restaurants and meet with fellow boaters. Eventually I only had a couple of remaining days off to enjoy Baltimore. Unfortunately I was also working on Maryanne’s birthday, so I planned to pretend it was the big day once I got home from my trip.

The flights home were looking so bad (as in full), that I realized the only way I would get reliably home was to rent a car and drive through the night. This left us with a dilemma: we wanted to go do fun, tourist stuff, but we also had a car, which meant we had a rare opportunity (obligation?) load up on heavy stuff for the boat, not the least of which was diesel, which the marina does not sell (Maryanne even has a list of things to do in the event we have a car available: propane, beer, big-grocery shop, etc., etc.). In the end, we decided we would feel better with a well-stocked boat. I pushed my rental hours with a last quick trip to fill a jerry can full of fuel and we spent the last couple of hours rushing to return the car in time to get to the surprise I had set up for Maryanne.

We got stuck in stop-and-go rush hour traffic on the way to the rental car return, and then just missed the ideal train back into town. The next train arrived in Baltimore center with less than 10 minutes to walk a 25-minute distance – so we ended up hailing a cab to be sure we were not late.

We just made it. Whew! The big surprise was a cooking class at The Waterfront Kitchen called “The Art of Making Soup”. Maryanne is one of those rare marvelous cooks who does almost everything well. She loves learning new tricks and I have heard her regularly tell people she would like to get some formal training, so I knew this would be the perfect thing for her.

We both had a blast. The restaurant was closed apart from the thirteen of us in the class. Local celebrity chef Jerry Pellegrino took us through the process of making four types of soup: Cream based, broth based, tomato based, and pureed vegetables. We ended up with Corn Chowder, Chicken noodle, Tomato with kale, and Potato leek.

Kyle finally cooks for me!

I was technically one of the participants (I used to love cooking until I was outclassed by my wife), but I failed to figure out the “art” part of making soup. At no point did Jerry come in with a devious look in his eye and reveal to us that the secret ingredient is eye of newt or some such thing. In fact, most of the soups only had four or five ingredients. The trick seems to be to pick good ones as every single one of them was to die for. We ended up with more soup than we could all eat, although we sure tried, and magic wine glasses that filled every time we looked away accompanied it.

Jerry and the wine guy and general help, Keith, were marvelous company and we met a lot of other interesting people within the class. By the time we left we were happy, a little tipsy and oh-my-god-I’m-never-going-to-eat-again full. We were glad to be within walking distance of Begonia. Not only that, but our route home didn’t even require us to cross one street. I was surprised the next morning to find that I was still full. I thought soup, being mostly water, was supposed to digest faster than that.

With our day of fun over, it was time for more chores. This time I had to do one last scrub of the bottom before we left. Baltimore Harbor’s water is slightly disgusting. That and summer ending with the overnight passage of a cold front made for a cold and miserable day for me. The boat needed it, though. A layer of slime was starting and the props were club-shaped barnacle colonies. Now we were ready to continue south, hoping to stay on that comfortable line right at the tail end of summer.

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