Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cake Mecca

This week's trip to Tyson's Corner, VA was already ramping up to be a series of disappointments. I had hoped to be able to hang out with a friend from cooking school that I hadn't seen for about four years, but their plans fell through a few days ago. I had also hoped to hang out with a friend that had been in my last class in Baltimore, but he ended up being in London this week instead. Two of my fellow instructors were scheduled to teach in Baltimore this week, and I had hoped to meet with them a couple of times. They found out at just about the last minute that their classes were not to be.

The downside was that I was going to have to entertain myself this week. Not a big deal, really. I've only been to one other training location before where I already knew locals, and that was just outside of Boston. The upside was that I had nothing to distract me from my most important mission this week: I had a bakery to stalk.

Despite the fact that there are two airports within minutes of my hotel in Tysons Corner, I was flown into BWI airport, maybe 45 minutes away on a good day. I did not go directly to Virginia. I headed towards downtown Baltimore. It would seem there was an Orioles game today, just another obstacle on to the way to my destination. I was not to be deterred. I found my way to Remington Ave, to the location of what is currently my favorite TV show.

The voice inside my head (really the voice of my GPS unit) told me that my destation was just ahead, on my left. At first, I didn't believe her. And suddenly, without warning, I saw it. A building that, despite looking vaguely like a castle, seemed to almost blend in with its surroundings. I parked across the street and pulled out my camera. I was at Charm City Cakes.

I only stuck around for a few minutes, enough to take a few photos and wish that Duff Goldman was about to choose that moment to head over Dizzy Issie's for a drink. It was not to be. I suspect he was either sleeping in, or gallavanting around the contry at some cake competition. I suppose it's possible that he was downstairs working on a cake, but the characteristic black plastic on all of the windows kept me from seeing inside. I get the feeling from the show, Ace of Cakes, that Monday is the day that everyone meets on Monday to discuss the week's cakes, and then they typically have them all finished and delivered by Saturday night. Sunday is probably Duff's only day off, and I wasn't about to disturb his well-deserved rest.

As I made my way back to the freeway, the game traffic threatened to keep me from leaving the city at all. Eventually, I found my way to I-95 and headed down to Virginia. Downtown Baltimore traffic was scaring me, and I was glad that I had chosen Sunday to make my journey. Perhaps on my next journey to the area, I can make my pilgrimage with a local behind the wheel instead of myself. Maybe I'll even be able to come down during the evening, and see Geoff or Mary Alice headed out on their way home. And with luck, I can convince them to sign something instead of calling the cops on me.

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