First, there was the noise. Then the smell of boiling rubber hose. Then the little red light. Then steam over the hood. Teresa Miller, 65 years old and driving a Mercury a third of her age, knew she was in trouble. Her '74 Comet was overheating on the Beltway -- coughing and wheezing and shaking, in the throes of death, if you know what I mean.
So there's poor Teresa, stranded on the exit ramp near Frederick Road, on Sunday afternoon -- which was a hot and humid afternoon, as I recall -- with a fizzling Comet, $17 in her purse. She was a long way from her home in Curtis Bay.
What happens? Tom Selleck comes along.
Not the Tom Selleck. But a 30-something dude who -- at least to Teresa -- looked just like that big hunk from Hollywood. "He even wore a baseball cap," she says.
The Selleckalike was driving a dark four-wheel-drive vehicle, maybe a Bronco, and he had his wife with him. The couple pushed Teresa's Comet across Frederick Road and out of traffic. Then they used their cellular phone to call for a tow, then handed Teresa $80 to pay for it.
"He wouldn't give me his name," Teresa says. "I wanted his name so I could pay him and his wife back, and they said for me to keep the money because I looked like I could use it. Can you believe that? Eighty dollars!"
And when Teresa persisted in trying to get the Selleckalike's name, he left her with an out-of-nowhere political message about -- are you ready for this? -- the recent battles between the Anne Arundel County executive and public employees.
"I still said I wanted to pay him back," Teresa says. "And finally he looked at me and said, 'Just remember the Anne Arundel Fire Department,' and 'Don't vote for John Gary!' " Then our hero drove into the sunset.
Heavenly crab cakes
For years, I have been telling Joey Amalfitano, official food taster and chief cultural correspondent of This Just In, that one of the best crab cakes in Maryland can be found at Friendly Farm in Upperco. But does Joey listen? No. That's why, when he finally journeyed to The Farm the other day and returned with stars in his eyes, I couldn't resist an I-told-ya-so.
"Never would I dream I'd find the best crab cake of my life in the rolling countryside of Baltimore County," Joey says. "I'm here to tell you that Friendly Farm gets my vote -- and Maxine's. It's a family-style restaurant on a 200-acre farm, a pleasant drive up I-83. We got there before 5 p.m. and beat the crowd. They have premeal grace printed in three denominations on the paper place mats -- Protestant, Hebrew and Catholic. My grace brought these heavenly crab cakes, distinctly flatter than those you'll find in the popular crab houses around Baltimore; minimum filler and seasoning, jammed with almost nothing but lump, and broiled. The best!"
Told ya so, Joe.
Down with smokestacks
As for the smokestacks on the Power Plant: Bring them down. Who cares anymore? And I don't want to see something that "preserves the memory" of the smokestacks in their place. There are photographs for that.
As for the market in Belvedere Square: The city should do something there, and fast. Jim Ward, who moved to Florida, is an absentee owner who has let the place, once a market full of vendors, diminish almost to the point of no return. The Schmoke administration shouldn't stand for this anymore -- especially because Ward received a federal grant through the city for the development a decade ago. Maybe the city should wrest control of the Square, turn it over to John Paterakis and the Baltimore Public Markets Corp., and allow classic market-style vendors to move in (or back) at reasonable rents.
But I'm betting none of this will happen and that the market space will end up gobbled by one large tenant -- maybe a Rite Aid or a Red Lobster. Pardon me while I yawn.
I hear expansion of the Papermoon Diner on 29th Street is finished; grand opening of the new "garden room" and "observation deck" is scheduled for next week.... You heard it here first: Mary Sue Candies and Naron Candy Co. are planning a major announcement for next week, and I'm hearing the word "merger" a lot. There's also talk of the candy companies taking new warehouse space in Clipper Mill Industrial Park..... No sign of a replacement yet for ousted Maryland Public Television President Raymond Ho. But I hear the popular choice among employees at MPT is Michael Styer, director of the state film office and one-time MPT executive.... Speaking of MPT: Yeah, "Kratts' Creatures" is OK, but my favorite show is still "Wishbone." Where else can you find a serious actress playing Juliet to a Jack Russell's Romeo?
It's now official: Winner of the 1996 St. Anthony Festival Boccie Tournament was the team sponsored by Anthony's Bar & Grill, consisting of the talented Joe Scalia, the wily Dom DeFelice, the swaggering Luigi Boeri and a young guy known only as "Joey From Philadelphia."
Pub Date: 6/12/96