Mariners vs. Orioles: Crab Sandwich Battle

It seems only fitting that I should run this post up while Baltimore is in town. I had planned to do it earlier this year, but political events caused me to decide it was better to do it during a series where the Orioles were actually in town. So since today is the last game of the series, let’s do it.

First of all, I have indeed gone to the past two games. Had hoped to get to today’s, but I misread the schedule and didn’t realize until last week that the game was a day game today, and by then it was a bit too late to ask for the time off. So I went last night and the night before, and while the O’s never did send Darren O’Day in to pitch, both teams had a win and a loss, so I was glad to be there; if my favorite team cannot win, my second favorite team might as well. I have pictures to share from the past two nights (and last Friday’s adventure to Everett for the Aquasox Star Wars night), but sleep is at a premium for me lately, so it will have to wait. I was fortunate enough to be at last night’s win, the first time in the history of baseball that all 15 teams won at home on the same day.  You’d think that might have happened before, but I guess not; and the Mariners nearly messed that up, in the most Mariner-y way possible; but we were able to save the night and help make history.

But today is a day to talk about food. Specifically, this food:

Capture

On the left: Baltimore’s crab sandwich. When I went to Camden Yards last year, I asked around about what to see, do, eat and drink at OPACY. I was told by multiple people that I should definitely investigate anything crabby, and indeed crab was just about everywhere I went in Maryland. At $15, the crab sandwich at Orioles Park is maybe a bit more than I’d pay for such a thing, but I was on vacation, so what the heck. And they don’t mess around. The crab salad was light and fluffy, and had touches of celery and onion, sort of like a nice tuna salad. Romaine leaves are tucked into a lighter-than-air roll, and it is topped with a good shake of Old Bay seasoning. In the heat of April 2014, it was very refreshing and fresh, and I enjoyed it. My complaints would be a lack of salt, and the fact that the roll was indeed lighter than air. I think their salad could benefit from maybe a bit of celery salt – not much, just enough to add a bit of punch to the crab flavor – and maybe a more substantial roll. Their sandwich is just longer than my hand, and I housed it in about five minutes. The roll wouldn’t have to be much less airy – maybe something like Macrina Bakery might make – but with the generous amount of crab salad, I had hoped for something a little heftier.

On the right: Mariners Crab Shack sandwich. Or at least, half of one. The crab salad in our local offering is just crab and (I’m assuming) mayo with a smidge of seasoning. Fresh tomatoes are added, the bread is slathered in garlic butter on both sides, and it is grilled which gives it a nice crunch and a bit more of the flavor I was looking for in Baltimore. At $16, I had to try it once, but this is something I might be able to do maybe twice a year, given that places like Edgar’s serve three street tacos for $9, which is a little more my speed price-wise. BUT, this sandwich is well worth trying at least once, and I hope that the sales this year from that, the crab fries (also $16), the Old Bay fries ($5), and the selection of Pike Brewery beers are enough to make this a returner next season. I would like to see some onion/celery mixture added to our sandwich, something to give it an extra crunch. The size is good, too; it’s the size of something you’d get at a regular sandwich shop, and a substantial meal.

Which is better? I was originally going to go with ours, and I think I am biased because I can go and get it any time. I think Baltimore could benefit from thicker bread, we could benefit from a more varied crab salad; and I realize now that completely honestly, I wish there was a way to put both sandwiches together, as both have their merits. But I expected to like Baltimore’s better, and I didn’t. So, like the past two nights, I declare East/West Crab Sandwich Battle a tie! It all depends on what you’re looking for in a crab sandwich, but if you have the chance, I recommend giving both a shot. You won’t regret!

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