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🙂 = It’s located at National Harbor. Home of The Awakening, Capital Wheel, and soon-to-be MGM resort and casino. The menu is concise which makes it super easy to make a decision. And if that didn’t make it easy enough there’s also a kids menu consisting of PB&J, grilled cheese, and mac & cheese. Vegetarian options also available. Friendly, unobtrusive service.

🙁 = It’s in Maryland. My parents forgot to check if there were high chairs/boosters or changing tables. They say when you get old the brain is the first to go.

Hours (Fall/Winter): Fri-Sat 11AM – 10PM; Sun-Thurs 11AM – 8PM

Notes: There’s a carousel and playground looking out onto the Potomac. Bonus: You can ride the carousel all day for just $7. Additionally, there are also the Tanger Outlets, water taxis, kayak/paddleboard/pedal boat rentals, boat tours, and Movies on the Potomac during the summer months.

Ahhh! Maryland. Our journeys to the ‘wrong’ side of the Potomac are few and far between. Daddio’s given me the lowdown on the feud between VA and MD (hence, the first frowny face factoid above). It’s a feud as long and storied as the Hatfields and McCoys. Except, the only uneducated, cousin-lovers in this war are Marylanders! Can I get a rimshot?! I kid. I kid. It’s all in good fun. Maryland’s cool. But Virginia is far superior. Take the Virginia flag, for instance. That lady with the sword and spear? That’s Virginia. The dead dude she’s standing on in an awesome display of braggadocio? Yup. Maryland.

All Maryland-bashing aside, we had to make a quick stop to the Croc Outlet at National Harbor for Gramps who needed daddio to grab him a comfy pair of Croc thongs. That long drive down I-66 and the Capital Beltway is exhausting for my old man. I mean, he has to deal with the frustrated cryer (baby bro), the 100-decibel motormouth (me, apparently), and the professional sleeper (moms). Dad’s blood pressure was through the roof by the time we got there. I could tell because he has a built in gauge – the vein in his temple. When it’s pulsing like a JBL speaker during primetime in da club, heads are ready to roll, man.

But one tried and true remedy for subduing his barely-contained rage has always been food. Eating out is his zen time – a quiet respite from the treble-soaked screams of baby brother, mom’s bass-heavy snores, and constant attack of trivial questions from yours truly. It’s a time where our mouths are so stuffed with food we can’t talk, cry, or snore even if we tried. So to reclaim his inner chi we found ourselves at The Crab Cake Cafe.

Crab Cake Cafe

Local flavors…twisted. I love it!

Crab cakes. It’s synonymous with Maryland. If there’s one thing Virginians and Marylanders can agree on, this is it. And the cool thing about Crab Cake Cafe are their regional takes on the classic jumbo lump patty:

Traditional – Maryland style cakes with tartar and cocktail sauces
Shrimp and Crab Cake – same as the Traditional but with shrimp
Hawaiian – crushed pineapple, coconut crust, and dill pimento spread
New Orleans – andouille sausage, okra, and spicy remoulade sauce
Tex Mex – chipotle and adobo with cilantro cream
Baja – diced shrimp, smashed avocado, cucumber, alfafa, and chili lime sauce
Crab Melt – traditional with melted cheddar on a toasted English muffin

Crab and Shrimp Cake

Crab and Shrimp Cake mashed up and delicious!

You drooling yet? Yea. I’m sure I had most of ya’ll at ‘Traditional’. My folks tag teamed and got different options so they could share with me, as well as, try each others. Moms got the Crab Cake and Shrimp while pops opted for the Baja. In a majority decision, we all dug the Crab Cake and Shrimp more than we did the Baja. Light and crisp, the Baja was like biting into a crab and veggie garden…minus the soil. It was still delicious but you really  just can’t mess with the basics, I guess. The Crab Cake and Shrimp, on the other hand, was simple – like my dad’s brain – with bold flavors compliments of the seasoning, cocktail and tartar sauces. The tartar was especially money – like a creamy, more acidic cole slaw…minus the slaw.  And with five more styles of crab cake to try, they’ve certainly got the formula down for luring customers back.

Fries with malt vinegar and Old Bay

How we do fries in the DMV (DC/MD/VA)…Malt vinegar. Old Bay. Eyes crossed

And yes, we’ll most certainly cross the Potomac into the land of the “mustard and ketchup” flag to visit Crab Cake Cafe again. My fellow Virginians should swallow their pride and do the same!


140 National Plaza

Oxon Hill, MD 20745

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