Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Morning On the Beach -- 2016 Edition

Good morning, and Happy Thanksgiving from Ocean City, Maryland.

I'm posting from 205 miles from home base. That's not a personal best: On August 22, 2009, I blogged from Cambridge, Massachusetts, 245 miles away. I would very much like to break that record. Maybe my finances will soon turn around and make that possible. (When I did it from Cape May, New Jersey, 2 Thanksgivings ago, that was 130 miles.)

My hotel is 5 miles north of the center of the Ocean City Boardwalk, 232 miles from Midtown Manhattan, 241 miles from Yankee Stadium, 144 miles from Center City Philadelphia, 138 miles from the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, 136 miles from the Camden Yards stadiums, 139 miles from Nationals Park, and 131 miles from the Redskins' FedEx Field.

But despite being pretty much equidistant from Philly, Baltimore and DC, Ocean City is purely Baltimore territory. There's fandom for the Orioles and the Ravens, and then there's everything else.
Gettin' crabby in Charm City

Someone told me that Royal Farms, which owns the naming rights to the old Baltimore Civic Center arena, was the Chesapeake region's answer to Wawa. Well, this morning, I made my 1st visit to one, and bought a breakfast sandwich and a lemonade, and walked over to the beach to eat the sandwich.

I was quickly eyed by a flock of seagulls. Not "A Flock of Seagulls," the early 1980s new wave band from Liverpool with the stupid hair. (At least their leader has a name that caught my attention: Mike Score.) Actual seagulls. I took the picture above, and, as you can see, they looked ready to pounce on me and my breakfast. And I've been told that seagulls are mean.

"How mean are they?" Well, on Labor Day 2004, I saw a pigeon and a seagull have a tug-o-war with a slice of pizza on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. (Shades of New York's recent Subway "pizza rat.") And the pigeon won. The city bird beat the suburban bird. So, not that mean.

I glared at them and said, "Forget it, birds, this city boy ain't givin' ya squat."

They didn't rush me, but neither did they back down. Maybe, to drive home the point that I'm a suburban boy but that "I identify as a city boy" (though neither born nor raised nor ever having set foot in anything that could be called "South Detroit"), I should have called them "boids."

Anyway, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving beach sunrise, and took my 1st-ever bite of that Middle Atlantic States (but not really New Jersey) pedestrian delicacy (pedelicacy?), scrapple.
They also sell a Spam, egg & cheese sandwich on croissant.
Not ham, Spam. And scrapple sliders. And, as you can see,
scrapple on a bagel. That cannot possibly be kosher.

You know what? Not so good. The croissant, the egg and the cheese were okay. The "meat," no.

Royal Farms works with Cloverland Dairy, whose headquarters is a few blocks from the site of Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. So their drinks are good. Their lemonade is nearly a match for Wawa's.

But, no, Royal Farms is not the Chesapeake region's version of Wawa. More like their version of 7-Eleven. Not just in level of quality, but they don't have the specialty sandwiches, bowls or drinks. At least their ice cream is cheaper -- but that could be a regional difference (as in, they're further from super-expensive New York), rather than a brand difference. I think the person who told me they were equivalent was thinking of the fact that, like many Wawas but unlike every 7-Eleven I've ever seen, Royal Farms stores (including the one at 8307 Coastal Highway in Ocean City), has a gas station.

Anyway, after my wonderful lunch yesterday at the British Chip Shop in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and my spectacular dinner last night at Bull On the Beach in Ocean City (do yourself a favor: Go to both -- but not in the same day, which would vastly increase the risk of a heart attack), my next meal, the scrapple sandwich, was a big disappointment.

(UPDATE: They had a T-shirt reading "Bulltimore," with a bull replacing the Oriole logo, but the picture no longer seems to be available online, so I had to cut it out of this post.)

Happy Thanksgiving, may your Alma Mater win (if they play today, or this weekend), and may your Thanksgiving dinner (and mine) be better than my breakfast!

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