Scene & Heard: National Aquarium Crab Bash
( Photo by Karen Jackson, Special to The Baltimore Sun / August 7, 2012 )
It was "all aboard" for dozens of guests as they entered the B&O American Brasserie and the Hotel Monaco Baltimore, for the third annual Crab Bash. Each was given a ticket that would lead them on a "trip" through food stations set up in the restaurant and hotel to sample creations by 10 chefs that included meat from the famed Chesapeake Bay crustacean. The chefs themselves came from venues both near (Baltimore) and far (Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago).
There were also stops along the way manned by members of the Bartenders Guild of Baltimore, each offering a signature drink made with a specific spirit, like tequila, bourbon or gin.
The journey would end with guests -- along with a group of celebrity judges -- voting for their favorite dish of the night.
John Racanelli, National Aquarium CEO -- whose organization would receive the proceeds from this fundraiser -- arrived raring to get going on the tasty trip.
"I can't wait to get around and eat at all the stations; I have some work to do," he said, as he passed Marcus Garner, B&O American Brasserie general manager, who had just started making the rounds.
"I tried ours first But I try not to be biased. So I'm making my way around to others," Garner said.
Meanwhile, a group of folks from ExactTarget was already on its "return trip."
"We've done the first six and are hunting down the last four, said Steve Grantz, ExactTarget services consultant.
"So far, Number 4, the [crab salad stuffed] profiteroles [from Chicago's Atwood Cafe] were out of this world, said David Suliburk, ExactTarget solutions consultant.
"It's Maryland meets Italy," said Sean Dynan, B&O American Brasserie server, as he introduced new arrivals to the crabmeat bruschetta at the station manned by Rusty Scupper chef Mark Miranda.
Tim Williams, WJZ TV meteorologist, bravely bore the heavy responsibility of being one of the judges. Good thing his wife, Sandra Williams, FutureCare regional care manager, was there to help him.
"We've had about five so far and the soft shell crab [slider served with corn salad and cream of crab soup from Chef's Expressions' Jerry Edwards] seems to be [the top pick]," Tim Williams said.
"That was my favorite," said his wife.
"I ate before I came. That was a mistake," said Elan Kotz, The Food Market partner, who had come to support the restaurant's chef/partner, Chad Gauss.
"That was my top pick. And it had nothing to do with Hampden or being friends," said Michael Krupp, Common Ground Cafe owner.
Gauss's dish -- fried green tomatoes and crab gravy -- ended up taking the "People's Choice" prize, while the she-crab sausage with bacon and corn grits and spicy watermelon sauce -- created by B&O chef Thomas Dunklin -- won "Best in Show" from the judges.
-- Sloane Brown
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