Monday, May 30, 2011

sailboats, salads, scary shakes

Dear Long Weekends: I love you.

On Saturday, Steve and I, inspired by a tip from my sister (more on that in a bit), headed off on a road trip to the conveniently close (about an hour from Northern VA), surprisingly quaint, peaceful, and beautiful Annapolis.

Upon our arrival, we immediately admired a boat that took us instantly back to our childhoods (slash adulthood. Who doesn’t STILL love Calvin and Hobbes?!)


While stopped at a drawbridge (!) we took in the scene, and particularly enjoyed the sight of this visibly delighted dog.


Upon reaching the center of town, we immediately bought ice cream. Isn’t it wonderful how anytime you are in a cute coastal town with even the slightest hint of tourism there are immediately a multitude of ice cream places to choose from? And on how, on this first weekend of summer, it suddenly seemed absolutely ESSENTIAL to buy some?

So we did. Peach froyo for me, cookie dough for him.

One of infinite reasons I love Steve is because he does things like give me a “taste” of his ice cream that includes the biggest hunk of cookie dough in the whole thing. LOVE!


Sitting down by the dock at the center of town, this immediately brought over some visitors, who implored us to share. Have you ever had a hungry duck look you in the eye?! It is INTENSE!


I had packed a clean-out-the-fridge sort of lunch for us to, yknow, supplement the ice cream.

We had kohlrabi for the first time the other night. Any kohlrabi fans out there? I thought it was DELISH!

For those of you who haven’t had it, it’s a root vegetable that’s sort of… gnarly looking, for lack of a better descriptor. My mom made it by chopping it up, tossing it with olive oil and TONS of garlic, roasting it at very high heat, tossing often, and sprinkling it with vinegar at the end.

Along with that (lower right), we enjoyed the kohlrabi’s greens, which were sort of like a milder collard green and entirely delicious with olive oil and lemon (what green isn’t?)


Also a lovely rice bowl: leftover brown rice, remnants of a can of black beans, grilled onions I made for burgers the other night and forgot to serve, remains of a local tomato, last of some green pea hummus I made the other day for potluck (! Dude, remind me to post about this stuff! It’s great!)


I find it hilarious that a rice bowl, a thing I make to clean out my fridge, costs like $8 at Chipotle. Baffling.

After our picnic, we started just strolling around Annapolis, popping into shops. I love coastal towns. People are so friendly!

Got caffeinated at City Dock Coffee, which had a poster saying it’d been voted Annapolis’ best coffee for seven years straight. I believe it. Man I love iced coffee in the summer.


We went into Capital Teas. I LOVE LOVE LOVE tea shops! This one gets a special shoutout for having a wonderful owner: so friendly and so knowledgeable! I went all diva and said I already knew what rooibos was: decaffeinated tea from the red bush in Africa. And then she said “But did you know it was a natural anti inflammatory?!


And just LOOK at that center flavor! Could not resist buying this.


Pumpkin cream?! Yes please! Haven’t tried it yet. Will report.

A romp around various campuses was next. We visited Saint John’s, where my friend graduated from last year. Man, it is pretty! Love schools by water.

Steve enjoyed being a monkey and climbing up its walls.


Steve took like nineteen pictures of me picking mulberries…


… til we realized they were all covered in tiny bugs. Too bad!

Next stop was the Naval Academy, which is GORGEOUS!


And unintentionally hilarious at times, like here…




Following this, we decided that exercise was obligatory for our evening plans (again, more on this later), and this is where Annapolis get a great big TIP OF THE HAT!

They have an exceptionally eco- and tourist- friendly program called Capital Bikes. As part of said program, if you go to the dock and up to the Harbor Master (best job ever?!) office, they will rent you a bike for $5!

It even has a basket!


(picture taken, on the fly, by Steve)

On the recommendation of yet more friendly nice small-town people, we headed to Quiet Waters park. We were immediately struck by the sweet smells of flowers, the happy chirping of birdies, and the fun exercise challenge equipment.

Pause for a fountain, which cruelly had a “No Wading” sign. But not a “no splashing”, fortunately. And, as (another!) friendly stranger pointed out, not a “no scuba diving”. Shame we had no air tanks.


We biked through the woods and through this gap in the greenery spied what was in essence a giant rich people yacht party in a secluded bay. Er, someday?


The final view was one of those places that is just so beautiful you don’t even bother. The river opened out to the sea, a great blue heron flew up from the trees out over the water, and we sat on a low-down bench, staring out at the water, being totally stoked to be alive. And then, adding to the ridiculousness of it all, a middle aged couple walked by, and the wife looked at us, mimed taking a picture of her hands, and said “Click!” As Steve pointed out, if random strangers think we’re cute, we must be doing something right.


And now this.

Background: one of the initial things that got me thinking about Annapolis was a suggestion of my sister. While watching the Travel Channel, she had learned of a place called Chick ‘n Ruth’s Delly.

We arrived and it was a fantastic and fun Deli! (Or delly). Menu specials on the wall named after Maryland state senators!


Complimentary (and fantastic!) pickles before your food arrived!


I opted for a build-your-own chopped salad.

Spring greens/romaine mix (I wish more places did this- love Romaine crunch, love flava of mixed greens)
artichoke hearts/cherry tomatoes/broccoli/pepperoncini
balsamic dressing on the side (to prevent sogginess for inevitable leftovers)
crab cake on top!


My feeling was, being in Maryland, being directly next to the ocean, it’d be foolish and just… unkind to myself to not order a crab cake.

It was a really, really, really, REALLY excellent decision.


Guys. Best crab cake I have ever tasted. EVER. Beautiful sweet thick chunks of fresh crab meat, devoid of any bones or weirdness, held together with… a mere WHISPER! Not even a HINT of binder!

So so so luscious.

Steve started things off with something yummy and nutritious! A wrap in a sun-dried tomato tortilla filled with eggs, veggies, and feta. It went with his Greece shirt! Lovely!


The end, right?!



Chick ‘n Ruth’s Delly has appeared on Man vs. Food. I know some people (I’m looking at you, Sarah over in The Smart Kitchen) who would get really excited about this. And I was! A brush with fame!

The thing is… my boyfriend is a dude. And he is a dude who drinks a lot. So he heard about the SIX POUND MILKSHAKES that appeared on Man vs. Food and he ordered one.


I’d show you the after picture (AFTER he drank more than 4 pounds- probably closer to 5- of what was basically solid ice cream) but I never took it because I was sort of worried he was going to die.

No more competitive eating. Ever.


Eireni said...

I need to meet Steve ASAP. He wears an Ellas shirt and drinks 5 lbs of kind of guy.

Hi Steve!

Maya said...

When I saw you you left out the detail that you'd already had ice cream that day! Total intake for the day was probably 5 pounds then. Epic.

Jess said...

6 POUND MILKSHAKE?! That's incredible...and awesome :)

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

Ileana, as my work with the teleport is at an impasse, I am going to shift gears and focus on creating a time machine. That way we'll be able to go back to Saturday in Annapolis whenever we feel like it(perhaps barring post-milkshake). Thank you for a day "in the painting."