Baltimore to Mystic…

It took me a while to get to sleep last night, which kinda surprised me after being out in that heat all day long. No biggie though as I know I was only about a 15 minute drive to BWI so I had plenty of time to get up, get a shower and hit the road to pick up my wife. Or so I thought! As I was in the bathroom getting the shower running, my phone rings and it’s my wife. Her flight got in almost 40 minutes early… how in the world?!? I have heard of getting in early, but a full 40 minutes early? I told her I was just getting into the shower and I would be there asap!

When I picked her up I could see just how tired she was as she looked exhausted. Part of the reason I flew East before her was to catch the game in Minneapolis, and so much more, but also so I could be rested and ready to drive us to Mystic and let her rest on the way.

As we headed out of town we decided to do a little sight seeing and we made our way over to the corner of Remington & 30th to the little bakery there known as “Charm City Cakes”. This is where Duff Goldman and his crew from “Ace Of Cakes” do their thing. We knew we wouldn’t be able to go in, they are by appointment only, but we went by there anyway just to see the place and get a picture taken outside. We also got to see “The Dizz” across the street, that was cool.

After a quick stop at the corner 7-11 for some caffeine (Coke for me, coffee for the wife) and to pick up a few bottles of water for the cooler, it was time to hit the road… next stop, Philadelphia.

Last summer I was in Philly with my buddy Bob and we decided to get a cheesesteak from both Pat’s & Geno’s to see which one was the best. This has been much debated with people on each side being diehards! In my previous run thru here both Bob and I agreed that without question, the winner was Geno’s! Unlike last time, this time the weather was great, so I had the wife get one from Pat’s and I trotted over to Geno’s across the street to get one from Joey Vento himself. We met back outside of Pat’s and took a seat at one of the picnic tables there. After we each had a few bites from each sandwich, we started to discuss which one we liked best. I did my best to want to not like Pat’s and declare Geno’s the official winner…. But I couldn’t. In 2009 the main problem with Pat’s was it was too dry. The meat was over cooked, the onions under cooked and it just tasted “Blah” or like Bob said “I can get a better cheesesteak than this at Jack-in-the-box!” This time, it was the exact opposite. Pat’s was so juicy, so tasty, it was done right! That’s not to take anything away from Geno’s, because it was really good as well, but on this day, at that time, Pat’s was the better sandwich. That puts me at 1-1, which means I will have to make my way back to Philly again for a grudge match tie breaker! 

After our cheesesteak breakfast, we hit the road north headed to our next tourist stop, Hoboken, NJ. Now, when you think tourist locations, I am sure that Hoboken isn’t the top of your list or for that matter even on your list, however, Hoboken is the home of Carlo’s Bake Shop where Buddy Valastro and his familia do their thing on “Cake Boss”. As we got close we started noticing people milling around and within a few blocks we started talking how we doubted it would be too busy and we should be able to get in and out pretty fast. Then reality hit us like a ton of bricks as we spotted a HUGE freakin’ line waiting to get in. This line stretched down the block, and continued almost another full block down the road. There were a ton of people there, it was crazy! Needless to say, we didn’t get to go in and buy anything, but we were able to take pictures from the outside.

After that crazy reality check, we hit the road headed north again. After a short 84 mile drive we made our next stop in New Haven, CT for lunch at the birth place of hamburgers, “Louis Lunch”. This place still uses the same exact vertical stoves to cook the burgers as they did when they first started making them. I have to say that I enjoyed the burger, but it was a tad undercooked for me. However, there is a sign there that clearly lets us all know that “This is not Burger King. You don’t get it your way. You take it my way, or you don’t get the damn thing.” Well, there ya go then I guess. I will say this much, if I am ever up that way again, I will certainly go back and try it again. Btw, don’t ask for ketchup, they aint got any… and remember, cash only, no credit/debit cards.

After lunch we still had an hour drive to Mystic and by now the wife was ready to get outta the car for a long while. She was really unable to get much sleep, probably due to the coffee (ya think?!). So naturally that means we hit some serious traffic and lost about 35 minutes or so just sitting there on the highway. When we did finally make it into Mystic, we went straight to the hotel to check in and thankfully the room was ready. We still had a few hours to go before the rehearsal dinner that night, so Yvonne opted to grab some sleep, as I headed into town to do a couple loads of laundry.

It was a pretty hot day and the laundry mat I found was ‘en fuego!” Luckily I was only there about 90 minutes and I was able to go outside and get a little bit of air from the breeze. After leaving the laundry mat I went in search of a cold beer and found myself at “Mystic Pizza”. The last time Yvonne and I were through town, May 5, 2005 (05/05/05), we ate there and I started calling it “Hands down the best pizza I have ever had”. I had to go grab a slice to see if it really was or not and I knew they had cold beer. Well, just like last time… best pizza I have ever had! Plus, the beer was freakin’ COLD! Loved it! I knew as I sat there that if Yvonne found out I went there without her she would be ticked, rightfully, so I ordered up a pie to go and when it was ready, I headed back to the hotel to wake the wife up.

Today has seemed all about the food (from cheesesteaks in Philly, to a hamburger in New Haven, which we split one, to pizza in Mystic) and now it was time for dinner. Let me say that we each only had 1 slice of the pizza, put the rest in the fridge for later, before we got ready and headed down to “Go Fish” to meet up with everyone.

When we got there the Maitre D took us to the wrong party, so that was a bit awkward, but when we finally found the right place, it was quite strange for me to be this far from home, on the complete opposite coast and see my brother and his family there! It was the first time any of them had been up to this part of the country, except for Sean who was now living up this way and of course he was up here with me in 2003 (we even stopped in Mystic lol). I had just seen them a week earlier at their house back home, but this was something special.

The rest of the night we hung out there, had some lobster bisque, clam chowder and a few cold ones before calling it a night so the bride and groom could get some sleep and get ready for their big day.

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