The first Beltway exit is the only one actually located in the City of Baltimore, but unless you're planning to eat at Hawkins Point Marine Terminal, there's not much there for the dining driver. Therefore, our journey begins a ramp away.
If you're looking for that girl from Ipanema, chances are she's at Vera's Bakery and Café (548 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Severna Park,  647-3337), though how she can keep her looks after sampling Vera's carnival of cuisine, we don't understand. Brazilian food is a melting pot of Native American, African, and European flavorsthink chicken-and-rice stew in a peanut-flavored sauce; sauté of fish and shrimp with coconut milk; and vatapa, creamed seafood thickened with bread and flavored with peanuts and coconut milk. Sure, you can get American staples with a twist, but live a little. And don't leave without several loaves of Vera's divine bread.
Folks in northern Anne Arundel County know where to find the definitive fried hard crab. It's at Tall Oaks (1541 Colony Road, Pasadena,  255-1438), a family joint that serves a menu running the culinary gamut from hot dogs to stuffed lobster. The emphasis, as in most places in this area, is on seafood, so expect fish and stuffed soft crabs and the traditional cakes. But prepare yourself for the house specialtystuffed cabbage! Come as you are; you'll be family in no time.