« Weird product No. whatever | Main | The best pit beef »

June 8, 2009

The Birchmere and the road trip



Gailor has firmed up her summer plans, so I know what I'll be doing next week. (That is, not driving to California.)

She's starting work at a Baltimore company on Wednesday, which makes the trip from Chicago to Baltimore a little tricky, because I fly into Midway at 5 p.m. on Monday.

If she's ready to leave, hahahaha,* she'll pick me up and we'll get in three or four hours driving before we sleep. Otherwise I'll make my way as best I can on els and such to Evanston, the suburb of Chicago where she goes to school, and spend the night on her floor. Tuesday should be a fun day in that case.

One of the first things I did this morning when Gailor told me she'd be in Baltimore this summer was check the Birchmere schedule.

If you're wondering where the food comes in, you have to eat there before the show or you won't get a decent seat. I've yet to find anything I'd drive to Virginia to eat, although for what it is, it's fine. Check out the menu. I have to laugh at the "Low Country Chicken Cordon Bleu" sandwich. ...

Anyway, the Birchmere is too long a drive for me to do past my bedtime, so we only get to go when Gailor comes home. I'm the only human being who has fallen asleep during a Delbert McClinton concert in the friendly confines of the Birchmere.

But the main reason for this post is to tell you that LITTLE RICHARD IS THERE TONIGHT!!! I thought he was dead.

If you go, let me know how the Low Country Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich is.

* Those of you who were reading when I drove cross country with Gailor last year will remember that we planned to leave at 10 a.m. My brother called at around to 7 p.m. to see how far we had gotten, and when I mentioned an intersection two blocks from her apartment, he said, "At least you're in the frigging car."

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:51 AM | | Comments (31)


Delbert McClinton!

Birchmere's environs host myriad great ethnic joints. Eat before, wrap your seat-holding in-house meals to go, chalk it up to ticket price overhead, eat later or feed to critters. I can't remember the last few meals I had there, but survived, so I don't think this would arouse PETA.


It's ALL wrapped around the bizarre fact that Alexandria technically doesn't have clubs or bars--they're all "restaurants" and must derive a certain percentage of their income from food, no matter how high the price is on a Little Richard ticket.

Heck with that, I remember the days when the Birchmere was that seedy storefront on Mt. Vernon, not the big monstrosity it is now. I caught a terrific number of acoustic acts at the old place.

Hey! Herman's Hermits are there on June 26th. Laugh if you will, but Peter Noone puts on a good show if you are my age (and many of you are.) Plus Ralph Stanley next Saturday. New Riders of the Purple Sage and Commander Cody in August.

That looks like a pretty good place.

Nuts! I haven't got the wherewithall to rearrange a boatload of stuff and certainly not the energy to fight my way to Alexandria tonight, but I'd love to see Little Richard again.

My fiancee took me to the Birchmere two years ago gor my birthday. We saw Australian guitar great Tommy Emmanuell. I loved the show. And the fried catfish sandwich was pretty tasty, too.

I like Delbert McClinton too.

If I went, I'd try their pulled pork sandwich or the Maryland crabcake.

Just to compare.

Delbert McClinton and, later, the subdudes! Good stuff!

Bucky, I know you'll share my disappointment that, unlike some seasons, Robert Earl Keen isn't scheduled to perform there this summer. (Actually, it's been many years since I saw him there - don't know how often he appears.)

I have been to the Birchmere three times and I don't remember eating having anything to do with seating. You (or you did) get admitted to the performance area based on when you arrive. Every seat is at a table where you can order food and drinks if you want. No seat is very far away. All the food is simple but good. Numerous local brews on tap. All in all I think it is a great place to see a show. Since we are making the long drive it makes it easy to be able to eat at the same place as the concert. I was disappointed when Arlo didn't perform there this past fall.

KristinB - I understand your disappointment. REK seems to be hanging out mostly in Texas this summer.

Hmmm...Herman's Hermits. Saw them at the Atlantic City steel pier in the summer of ohh...65? What did we eat--who knows?

I've been to the Birchmere in at least three of its locations.

I rarely make it down there anymore, 'cause like Elizabeth, I really really hate the drive home. The drive down isn't much fun either.

I saw Ralph Stanley, excuse me Dr. Ralph Stanley, there a few years ago. I can't remember what I ate. Dr. Stanley was memorable; the food was not.

Richard Thompson seems to be at the Birchmere a lot. I never even knew where it was - let alone what it was! I just figured it was like Merriweather Post.

The Birchmere is a lot harder to get to than Merriweather Post, but the sound is a lot better.

I last saw Richard Thompson at the Senator Theater. I'm not sure I want to think about how many years ago that must have been.

Little Richard still putson a good show - OH SHUT UP!
I saw him open for BB King in town a couple of years ago. His legs aren't what they used to be, but everything he needed for the show was ready to go.

Old Phil - I doubt I would have gone to see Herman's Hermits back in the 60's. But a few years ago, we were in Santa Cruz and every Friday night in the summer they have free concerts on the beach boardwalk there. Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits were playing that weekend. It was a lot of fun. We've since the them a couple more times and always enjoy it.

(I will say that Herman's Hermits for free is probably a better show than Herman's Hermits for $45 a pop.)

Gailor makes you sleep on the floor?

Richard Thompson is coming to Goucher College on 10/13, with Loudon Wainwright III.

Wow! Thanks, Stacy! I am SO there!

No problem, Joyce. I won't go (it's a work night and I keep 90-year-old-lady hours), but my husband is giddy about it!

"Hey! Herman's Hermits are there on June 26th. Laugh if you will, but Peter Noone puts on a good show if you are my age (and many of you are.) Plus Ralph Stanley next Saturday. New Riders of the Purple Sage and Commander Cody in August."

Gotta agree Peter Noone puts on a very good show...and did Commander Cody have the Lost Planet Airmen with him, and his Hot Rod Lincoln?

Hue - I've never seen Commander Cody in concert. That was a reference to the appearance he (they?) will make with NRPS at Birchmere in August. The website just says "Commander Cody", so I don't know.

have you heard the story of the hot rod race?

You mean the one where the Ford and the Lincoln were settin' the pace?

That story's true, I'm here to say, cause I was drivin' that model A!

"My daddy said I was gonna drive him to drinkin If I don't stop drivin
Hot Rod Lincoln"

Brakes are good, tires fair.

I am going to see Peter, Paul, and Mary in Philly on Sunday night with my 21 y/o daughter, who bought the tickets for my b-day.
I already warned her that I will be singing along. I may wear my tie-dyed shirt, jeans, and sandals. This will probably embarrass her too much, so I probably won't get away with it.

Cosmo, I'll want a report on Mary Travers. Shortly after her chemo, it was a stunner to see her doing an interview with pretty much a buzz cut. That hair was her trademark. And I always thought she was hiding behind it.

Not the best Commander Cody..but its a great song..

Post a comment

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected