Later that afternoon Joanna and Jan returned, and we spent the rest of the day talking and helping Jan set up her Social Security account, which turned out to be quite the adventure as she was doing so on her cell phone, the small screen making the process a bit harder than if one had access to a larger screen.
Soon, hunger pangs set in and having done some research earlier, I suggested we head over to Athenian Garden as it garnered good reviews and Greek food sounded particularly appealing. And best of all, because they did not offer beer or wine you could bring your own without incurring a corkage charge. As we were a little early on a Friday night, it wasn’t crowded when we arrived, so we had a large table near the windows to ourselves.
We would end up with a lot of food due to a mix when ordering the starters, getting both the grape leaves and an order of calamari. I’m not a big fan of grape leaves but these were quite good and the calamari was exactly as it should be, hot and crispy.
For entrees, Jan went with the Falafel Platter, Joanna the Pasticcio, and I the Lamb Souvlaki platter, seeking a return to that month we spent in Greece in 2017. Portion sizes were generous and quality excellent except for my lamb, which was a little tough and some of it overcooked. The cucumbers and tomatoes in the accompanying salad were top notch though, again reminding me of how fresh these ingredients were when we ate on any of the Greek islands.
With the appetizers and the size of our entrée orders, we knew that food was going to go home with us so with takeout containers packed tightly, we ordered one baklava for dessert to split between the three of us. And, as many will correctly intuit, none of it left the restaurant in a take-out container.
We said our farewells to Jan at the restaurant and made our way back to the Holiday Inn, knowing we had a full day ahead of us. We’d drive a couple of hours down to the Middle River in Maryland to have lunch with longtime friends Gail and Don, and then to a suburb of Baltimore for the night and dinner with our nephew Jed. And we’d be one day closer to Durham and hopefully some answers about the Highlander and the path forward for the balance of the trip.
We arrived at the marina where Gail and Don reside as they have lived aboard one vessel or another for several years. Don met us in the parking lot, and we walked past slips full of boats of all sizes, shapes, and conditions to the one where Gail stood waiting to greet us. It had been more years that we can count since our last meeting in San Francisco, which came when they were still living in Carbondale, Illinois. I met Gail at UCLA in the early 1980’s when we both worked for the student store (ASUCLA) and our love of travel, music, good food and adventure proved a suitable match for Joanna and I as a traveling partner. Not long after she would meet Don and from then on the four of us traveled far and wide.
We boarded their boat to spend an enjoyable three hours eating and getting caught up on all that had transpired in our lives since our last go round. Theirs is a life of interest, a deliberate commitment to having a small impact on the environment, a choice of necessity living on a boat and their solutions to common problems (composting toilets, resource consumption, etc.) are unique and commendable.
Our time together soon came to a close and we moved down the road to check into the Best Western Plus BWI Airport, the same place we stayed when we last visited in 2017 (https://3jmann.com/2017/04/21/philadelphia-part-six/). From there it was a quick 20-minute drive to Jed’s apartment in Windsor Mill, where we got to check out his new digs (he’d moved since our last visit) and then climbed into his car for a ride to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, our dinner choice for the night.
Located just over a mile from Baltimore’s port in a gritty suburb, it was opened in 1974 by Demetrios “Jimmy” Minadakis and is now run by his two sons, John and Tony. It’s a very large property and being a Saturday, I thought we’d have to wait but Jed skillfully led us to the eating area in the downstairs bar, a much cozier space, it’s walls lined with photographs of family, friends, and local athletes.
Seated at a high top near the door, I started with a cold Stella Artois which would accompany my grilled Rockfish with a Mediterranean treatment accompanied by a nice sized dish of garlic mashed potatoes. Joanna ordered the Market Price Crab Cake, broiled with Bay Sauce and a side of Broccolini. Both dishes would be excellent, the Rockfish mild and complimented by the treatment, the broiled crab cake was large and crab-heavy, with big lumps of meat bound together by just enough filler, a mix of mustard, mayonnaise, seasoning and breadcrumbs, to make them stick together.
Jed graciously picked up the tab, an unexpected hit to his budget as it turned out Joanna’s Market Price crab cake ran $41, raising the image of old Jimmy personally pulling them out of the bay himself. All kidding aside, it was a nice way to finish this first part of the trip, one that had brought us across the country with a nice balance of being tourists and seeing friends and family.
The tenor of the trip would change for the next few weeks as we dealt with the car and getting Joanna’s Mother moved to a new facility. We would spend extra days in Durham and need to rearrange the itinerary downstream to account for that loss of days, deleting entirely a planned three-night stay in Galveston, and reducing our stay in Mobile by one night. In addition, for the next few weeks we’d be primarily be visiting family and friends and dramatically reducing our tourist activities, so the next few posts will be full of food, drink, and bike rides and not much else until we could back on the tourist track later in the trip. Until then, Happy Holidays to all.
Athenian Garden: https://athenian-garden.com/
Best Western Plus BWI Airport: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotel-rooms.21028.html?iata=00171880&ssob=BLBWI0004G&cid=BLBWI0004G:google:gmb:21028
Jimmy’s Famous Seafood: https://jimmysfamousseafood.com/