March 21, 2006

Road Trip!

In complete opposition to "he who actually saves money," "she who spends money she doesn't actually have" went to Baltimore this weekend for some St. Paddy's day revelry. Saturday started off with a muffin-fest, in which three of us consumed 11 muffins between us. To continue with the carb-loading, we went to Bonaparte Breads, a lovely European-style cafe near the Inner Harbor. It had glass cases with the beautifully displayed Napoleons, fruit tartes, eclairs and cakes that made us drool. Erin had a raspberry tarte while Sarah and I split a small loaf of fruit and nut bread (to make up for my horrible olive bread experience). Erin's tart was delectable - the crust was thick, crumbly, and shortbready, and the raspberry filling was a really good blend of sweet and tart. Our bread was also excellent - it had raisins, dried apples, and walnuts in it. It was quite delicious, but I must say I prefer the Marvelous Market bread. Plus, the butter that they served it with was as hard as a rock and nowhere near spreadable.

Erin also got a latte, beautifully served in a wide bowl-cup, with the little swirl of espresso on top of the foam. When she ordered it and asked for skim milk, she was told by a French-accented barrista that they only used whole milk. Classic. It was worth the extra calories - we passed the latte around, which barely needed half a packet of sugar, and it was so creamy and delicious. The French really know how to live.

The architecture of the place was also beautiful - the ceilings were probably 12 feet high, with golden wood bead board at the top. There were classical pictures of Napoleon and other 18th century French soldiers on the wall to add to the ambiance. We were snuggled in by a table close to the windows, where the sun beat down on us and made the three of us ready to curl up for a nap.

We continued to walk around all the streets and neighborhoods of Baltimore, finding new summer Reefs in a surf shop and pretty jewelry (on sale!) in a silver boutique. By the time we had gotten back to Erin's house, we were exhausted and ready for more carbs. After some quick internet searching, we settled on Thai Arroyo, a place Erin had heard lots of good things about. It was a cute hole-in-the-wall, with only about 12 tables inside. We perfectly timed our arrival, as the crowd descended about ten minutes after we came in. After poring over the menu for 15 minutes, we decided to start with mussels as an appetizer. Now after spending a summer in Brussels, I like to pretend that I'm an expert on mussels. However, when these arrived, they looked different than any mussels I had seen before. The meaty part (I'm sure this has an official name, but I don't feel the need to find out what it is) was MUCH bigger than I'm used to, probably the size of a half-dollar. In addition, the shells were longer and shiny, almost pearl-like on the inside. Tastewise, they were amazing, mainly due to the broth of ginger, lemongrass, a bit of chili zing, and something else that made us use our leftover mussel shells (for lack of spoons) to slurp up as much of it as we possibly could.

For dinner, I ordered Raum Mit Kao Pad, also known as fried rice with cashews, pineapple, scallions, and cilantro. With all of their dishes, you picked the entree you wanted, and the price varied based on the type of meat you ordered - shrimp, duck, pork, chicken, a seafood mix, tofu, or some sort of gluten-free protein that sounded awful. I opted for the seafood medley, which involved shrimp, more mussels, and squid. Erin ordered the duck with her sweet & sour dish, if only for the novelty. My meal was good, although I didn't see any cashews in it. It had a slightly nutty taste, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they were ground up in the sauce. The cilantro was not as plentiful or intense as I was hoping for, but I loved the pineapple so much that I just didn't care.

Erin's sweet & sour duck (I tasted a bit of the sauce) was good, but the sauce was a little too sweet. And Erin didn't really feel to strongly one way or the other about the duck.

Overall, a good experience, and the overall atmosphere made up for any tiny deficiencies in the food. Later this week...more thai food here in DC!

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skip said...

I am really quite good at spending money I don't have, thankyouverymuch.

Anharchy said...

what, no aquarium? c'mon. giant sting rays, THEN drunkenness, pastry, and food. in that order. :)

Joanie said...

Sadly, no time for the aquarium. Erin is going to try and get some cheap student tix for our next visit.

And I think giant sting rays would be much cooler after drunkeness, as opposed to before. All that waving back and forth, all the pretty colors...the aquarium is trippy enough when sober!