Day By Day

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ruining My Appetite

"Walk with me" She Who Must Not Be Named said. I was agreeable, so we set off on a trek through downtown Baltimore. We had a dinner reservation at the Oceanaire in about an hour and a half, and spending some time walking around taking pictures seemed like a good idea. "She" wanted to show me a place she had found -- a French pastry shop north of Little Italy that had a great reputation (among her friends, at least). Here's a mural on the side of the shop.

And here's what we saw inside. It was late in the day so the selection was pretty much depleted, but it was authentic French pastry. We could tell that it was authentic because the girl behind the counter had a heavy French accent and was quite rude. We got the impression that she was doing us a great favor just by taking our orders. "She" bought a selection of the cookies, I got a couple of almond croissants, and we headed back out into the afternoon heat, carrying our purchases.

We headed south through Little Italy heading for the harbor. Lots of interesting little things to photograph but I was getting really uncomfortable. It was hot and humid and I was drenched in sweat. Little Italy is one of those neighborhoods where people like to sit on their stoops and in front of nearly every home you find a bench, but today the streets were deserted. Nobody was willing to brave the heat and humidity.

Noting my discomfort "She" suggested we stop at Vaccaro's, an Italian pastry shop just a couple of blocks away. That sounded great. We stepped into a cool, air conditioned space and saw this. More pastry. More really, really good pastry -- and gelato!

You have to understand -- I had not had anything to eat all day and had gone swimming just an hour earlier. I had an appetite -- at least when I stepped into the shop -- but I decided to forego my usual heaping bowl of ice cream. Dinner was coming up soon. We ordered iced tea, and the girl behind the counter asked if we wanted "Italian Iced Tea". "Sure" I said, "make it large." I was thirsty.


Vaccaro's Italian Iced Tea comes in a large container holding tea and six! scoops of lemon ice. That's right, six! It took us most of an hour to finish them, then we headed down to dinner at the Harbor East. The Oceanaire is a very good restaurant with an excellent selection of seafood, but I had no appetite left. Neither did she. The food was good, but we just poked at it, and got large doggy bags to take home.

Later that night I got out one of the croissants and took a nibble, then a bite, then wolfed the whole thing down. I may have ruined my appetite for seafood, but French pastry is another thing indeed. I'm just glad that I managed to resist buying a slice of Vaccaro's rum cake. It is one of my favorites, but that would have been too much.