I arranged a lunch to meet my old buddies from the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division where I spent a few years on police brutality cases and hate crimes. You’ve met one of them, Jim Oliver, several times, including here. The other is David Allred, a Cullman, Alabama, boy who tried cases in the Montgomery US Attorneys office for a few decades before joining us in the Criminal Section. We bonded as the only people in the office who didn’t have accents.
David is a very nice guy, relaxed even by Old Southern Guy standards.
With his easy manner and long experience, David usually went out with new attorneys to teach them the ropes. He went out with me once as I started off coordinating a big church arson case out of Indianapolis. David ducked out a little early and resurfaced at the hotel with a not-large bottle of whiskey which we consumed without ever discussing the case. He returned to DC the next morning. David’s technique worked. We nailed the guy for 39 fires and got him a life sentence in Georgia plus a whole lot years elsewhere.
David, Jim, and I agreed to meet at Ketch 22, a marina-side restaurant in North Beach, up at the very tip of Calvert County. I arrived there a few minutes early, and got us a table with a view of the harbor and the swimming pool. As you can see, the tables were well-spaced, hand sanitizer was available, and all staff were wearing masks.
David arrived hard on my heels. David and I ordered beverages — we each ordered a Poor Righteous IPA for a modest $6 each — and waited for Jim. After a half hour we ordered food — crab cake sandwiches for both of us.
Voila! I might note that the Chesapeake Bay area has the best crab cakes around. I grew up in the South, where everyone — I mean everyone — used to be poor, so they serve deviled crab, which is crab fragments with lots and lots of filler. Southerners are wealthier now, like everyone else, but habits remain, and people eat fried crab claws, which have the least flavorful meat on a crab. In the Washington area, everyone is comparatively rich, and the crab cakes are that sweet, sweet lump crab with the minimum possible filler.
Those were very good crab cakes — jumbo lump crab and very little filler. Very, very good, even by the exalted Chesapeake Bay standards. And it only cost $19, which is nothing for a good crab cake sandwich in these parts.
I ordered the blue cheese cole slaw, and it was a good cole slaw, although bereft of discernible blue cheese. The big surprise , though was the tomato that came with the sandwich. It was a real tomato! No, really! With flavor and everything! Does that happen to you often? Me neither.
Actually, Ketch 22’s menu plainly states that they add tomatoes “only in season.” Just about everywhere, that’s what the law calls “puffery” — a claim that you, as a sentient adult, should not believe. But at Ketch 22, it’s God’s own truth.
Oh, and David got the cucumber salad, which he acted as if was good, but by that time we were talking about what happened to Jim. We decided that he probably had been kidnapped. Have you ever read The Ransom of Red Chief? That tells you how the kidnapping turned out. Sure enough he turned up a couple of days later, having been pushed out of a car that sped away with a roar and spinning tires.
Ketch 22 definitely is worth a trip for the excellent crab cakes, the pleasant drive, and the view. Head on over and see for yourself.
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