Sunday, August 10, 2008

You're hiding underneath the smoke in the room

I visited Baltimore for my first time this weekend. Strange to say that it has taken me this long to do so. First of all, my best friend lives in Baltimore and it is certainly inherent that my lack of making the 4 and a 1/2 hour leap through Jersey and Delaware to Maryland, has taken somewhat of a toll on our friendship. And secondly, because my two adorable little cousins, aunt, and uncle moved there three years ago.

We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday to a warm welcome from my aunt. No cousins in sight though. The house smelled incredible (my aunt is both a fabulous cook and food columnist.) "Something citrusy", Arel cleverly stated. We took a tour of their amazing house. Aside from the house being old and beautiful and full of character, I spent the whole weekend admiring their life-size paintings of popsicles and chinese takeout boxes--all simply expressing my family's love for good food. They also had a great collection of B&W photographs. Soon after the tour, my uncle, holding a giant carrier of various wines and beers, came home, tots-in-tow, and everyone suddenly became very aware of the rumblings within our stomachs.

Late lunch ensued. And much to my surprise, it consisted of nothing citrusy at all. Open face garlic aioli, avocado, and yellow tomato sandwiches. Stumped, we were. "Aunt Leah, where is the lemony smell coming from?", I asked. Kind of hoping that one of her famous and clever desserts were bubbling in the oven or on the stove. "Oh, I'm boiling lemons!", she exclaimed. She walked back into the kitchen and came out with a tray of bacon. I was puzzled. She set two pieces of bacon on her plate, my uncle's plate, and both Hanna and Noah's plates. She explained that, seeing as my family does not consume pork products, it'd be improper for her to have us enter a house smelling like crispy pig. I laughed and lent her a warm smile. I thought it was a sweet gesture.

The rest of the day was very pleasant. I had a 2-hour shopping excursion with my 11-year old cousin, Hanna. I bought her a pair of jeans at Nordstrom, and she helped me pick out a sale top at Anthropologie (someone needs to keep an eye on me when it comes to that store.)

We returned home, ate handfuls of chocolate covered coffee beans (for some reason I morbidly hate drinking coffee but really enjoy raw coffee beans.) I'm a strange character. We then headed off to Lebanese Taverna for dinner. A restaurant, which Benji explained as "yuppie Lebanese food". He was right. It was neither impressive nor authentic. And the restaurant certainly gave off a "holier than thou" vibe. Ranking high on the ostentatious spectrum.

Benji and Adam rolled around the house at around 1 AM, and I was overjoyed to spend time with my insomniac counterparts. Sleep came around 3--after a good video chat with Cathy.

Today, I slept in--possibly to Hanna's dismay (she gave me the cold shoulder for most of the day.) Benji and Adam picked me up later on and we went for lunch and gelato at Fells Point--which can only be described as the Soho of Baltimore. Except, it's on the water. And less expensive. Not much like Soho at all, save the cobblestone.

It was a nice weekend.

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