A while back, I posted about covered markets, something that most Baltimore food lovers probably know quite a bit about. Just last week, I had the opportunity to visit two of the more disparate markets in the city, all in the space of two days.
Wednesday afternoon, I made the trek down to Lexington Market - huge, busy, and very very old. Friday evening, I went to the weekly happy hour at our local, Belvedere Square - recently renovated with an emphasis on all the foodie buzzwords (local, local, local!)
It reminded me of something my old boss used to do. We worked downtown, sort of right in between Lexington Market and Harbor Place (which is really less a market and more a touristy mall with some really great views). Robbie used to sometimes take clients and reporters out for a quick, local, anthro 101 class, walking them through both Lexington Market and Harbor Place for a rapid-fire introduction to cultural behaviors and cohesiveness. The differences are readily apparent: Lexington Market is gritty and a little dirty and pure Baltimore. Harbor Place is full of field trips and conventioneers.
Belvedere takes everything a step further. It's not full of tourists, but instead full of the people Stuff White People Like was written about. There's a lot of wine. And artisanal cheese. (I've actually run into my old boss at Belvedere. It's the kind of place anthropologists go to hang out, not to study.)
If anybody's interested in a quick study in the two Baltimores - the one Anne Tyler writes about vs. David Simon's city - an afternoon-long market tour ought to provide it.