The riots in Baltimore have made global news this week and it has made me think a lot about the time I spent there with my last job. One of the company’s studios, Firaxis Games, are based just outside of the city, and I was fortunate to visit them on a couple of occasions – they really are some of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with!
On one visit, they took us to a great restaurant called The Fork & Wrench, which I thought I’d write about for this week’s Throwback Thursday post.
It’s labelled on Google Maps as an ‘American Gastropub with Industrial Vibes’, but I’m not sure if that’s the best description. It felt more like stepping into someone’s home, albeit, someone who has a rather unusual taste in decor. All of the furniture felt unique and antique – as we were a large group, we were seated at a long table with drawers in it, some of which had cutlery in them. And then there was the Coca Cola bottle chandelier! Very quirky!
I’ve found many items on American menus to be very different to the UK, which I aways get quite excited by. Even if it’s just a different name for a food item (‘cilantro’ is a good example – we know it as coriander), I like learning new things. This restaurant offered lots of new things for me.
I was hoping that the menu wouldn’t have changed too much since I visited a year or so ago, but looking at the website, although the quality and variety has stayed the same, the items are different.
It therefore makes it pretty tricky for me to tell you what I had as a starter, as I’m sure they gave it a very lovely, impressive name. But the best way of describing it, is that it was a bit like a crumpet or a small pizza bread with snails and a thick garlic sauce. It was incredible, even if it might not be to everyone’s tastes.
For main course, I ordered the soft shell crab. I had no idea what to expect – it has become more popular over here now, I’ve seen it in a few places in London, but at that point, it was new to me. I soon discovered that it was a whole crab, cooked in a thin batter.
From reading more about it online, I learned that once a year when it has outgrown its armour, a crab sheds its old shell before growing a new one. The crab is nude, soft and vulnerable for up to two months, which is when they are used for recipes like this. The texture took some getting used to (as you can imagine, it’s quite crunchy) but it was a great experience.
So a big thanks again to the Firaxis crew for introducing me to these new things! And I hope everything sorts itself out in Baltimore.