So, what exactly is my famous “family” vegan crab cake at Gertrude’s?

- Advertisement -

It took us a few years but we always wanted to try this vegan crab cake at Gertrude’s at The Baltimore Museum of Art with 14th District Councilwoman Odette Ramos, who has bragged about the legend of this delectable alternative made by chef John Shields. Then, we found out that Nestor is related to him and a Smalltimore holiday moment occurred over zucchini and vegan family love.


crab cake, vegan, john, baltimore, year, shields, day, holidays, friends, bma, served, people, crab, little league team, eat, related, noodle, love, slurry, gertrude


Odette Ramos, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back, WN st Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive. We’re positively at the BMA, the Baltimore Museum of Art, where gertrudes is a fantastic place in the ground floor your Hopkins campus, Councilwoman Odette Ramos joins us and proprietor and maybe a relative we’re going to try to stashes out in 15 minutes. John shields is here from gertrudes. I am six oysters, cup of cream of crab soup and a berry salad into things and we’re ordering the vegan crab cake. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery I’ve been giving out oh snap scratch off. Oh, but some winners at the bar. We’ve also got the peppermint a payout winners and the unwrapped cash which sounds like me for the holidays. stocking stuffers, if you’re 18 years of age or older are friends of winter nation. 866 90 nation you buy two you get two free. I’m working on two doors and 2024 So stay tuned on that. And also our friends at Jiffy Lube multi care. I got my oil change in Dundalk. Two weeks ago my little orange thing goes on chiefy new multi care is there for you through the holidays. I have been for two and a half years I’ve been doing a credit with me three years doing the crabcake tour now. And every time I bring it up so much as Gertrude, Gertrude groceries and every time it gets brought up to me, I say this. I say we’ll get there. I was trying to get Jamie Raskin here because he is famously V. He’s famously vegan and he and I were trying to put something out he said I want to come to Baltimore and like and I thought it’d be CMR I gotta You were the one. So debt Ramos, our Councilwoman here her husband’s been my friend for 30 years as the old blast DJ reds playing good songs playing the Soca. And you said to me early on, like three before I even did the crab cake tour when you were you had your dog on your lap goofing around.


Odette Ramos  01:44

Like that or something. Yeah, it was during the plague. Yeah,

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:48

you weren’t zoom. Right? And you’re like, and I’m like, Well, you come out of crap. You give me like a crab. And you’re, you’re like BOD gertrudes how many freaking crab cakes have you had here and your day?

Odette Ramos  01:59

Oh, this is what I eat here all the time. That’s what I do. They know it. Yeah. And I come in. Yep.



She kept us in business all through the pandemic. Otherwise, we will be gone. If I didn’t eat the vegan crabcakes we’d be gone.

Odette Ramos  02:13

Oh yeah, we definitely supported small business during the pandemic and this is what I ordered. I’m gonna

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:18

make a lot of admissions here on the air and John and I are gonna figure this family thing that’s real family thing out as we get going here but she plugged your vegan crab cake before there was a crab cake tour. Then the crab cake tours sort of started at the end of the plague and sort of sputtered along a little bit. Then I went into this mode where I was doing 30 crab cakes and 30 days all over the state II You know, Cumberland Ocean City to Saulsbury off beaten path places on the Eastern Shore. Hooper’s island I mean, I’ve had crab cakes ever. I was saving you, right? Because you have this goofy vegan crab cake. And I’m and I have regular crab cakes. A vegan crab cake. I’m at Linda cush. And it was delicious. And we went there all vegan menu, right? Utah string area Mount Vernon area. So that was maybe a year and a half ago. I did that you were on Vail? Yeah. She couldn’t even come the day that the vegan crab cake thing. Procurement said I’m not a vegan, but I’ll eat it. You know, so. So we we had fun with it. But I saved you today. Like literally a year ago. I’m in here with Dan Rodricks for his show Baltimore. You have no idea. And the show made me laugh. It made me cry. Everything was censored laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll sigh I did all of that. And Dan has been my mentor. Have you seen yours?


Have you seen going? I

Odette Ramos  03:36

haven’t seen any text

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:38

me and say you were blown away by it? Because you’re gonna be blown away. But do you love Baltimore? Right.


I love Baltimore. And I love dance. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:46


we’re so I felt the same way I bought and I didn’t know what I was buying. My wife said what are we seeing? I’m like, we’re seeing the 34th street lights. We went to ekiben Granville broccoli had 34th Street, we rushed in here, five minutes when the show started sat down. And I’m sobbing at the end see and friends of mine colleagues crying going through the lobby on the way out of here and it’s not gonna get out here, I’m gonna be see me. And we froze our way out of here. And I said next year, if he needs to do it again. And he didn’t even believe he was going to do it again. When I sat with him. He needed to be coerced into doing it again. And I said I want to bring every person I know you’re on the list. Believe it or not. I said every friend I know who deserves to come to this thing. And I bought 40 tickets for next Friday night. And I said to Dan, I’m coming out. We’re going to do this thing at gertrudes. We’re going to promote the museum we’re going to do you’re gonna promote your shows, because he’s got to know the docket think right? And today was the day and I reached the John A month ago who I don’t know I think I’ve met you or fist bump. I think we’re Facebook friends. One of your managers met me at the Baltimore magazine Festival last year where you were serving and I said I need to have a crab cake. And that was a year and a half ago. That’s right here. And you can pick the story up about how we’re related because I’m still I’m very murky on how Cindy shields vape Whoa, I didn’t even really realize her maiden name.

Odette Ramos  05:02

Yeah, there you go. Her last name is

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:05

vague because her husband played on my father’s Little League team. I have a picture with her future husband, my daughter in law’s future father, when I was three years old as the Bat Boy. Oh, my father’s Little League team. So this small, small thing that my kid married the daughter of a kid who played on my father’s Little League team is weird enough. Yeah, the fact that is, her mother is related to you. And I found that yesterday. That’s right. Her first cousin who are the shields I need to meet the shield since we got to Beacon crabcake Come on. Come on here.


We were all over Parkville Parkville metropolitan area. Yes, we were from


Nestor J. Aparicio  05:48

the garlic coming off of that spinach. Look at this thing. I’m gonna hold this up. Give me the shield’s background and tell me how I’m related to you. Because I don’t know. Now that I know. You can cook like this. I’m so happy. I’m related. Oh, no. Absolutely.

Odette Ramos  06:01

Well, Cindy’s


daughter, is your daughter in law because she’s married to your son.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:08

How are you related to her?


She’s She’s my first cousin. Her her father. And her. Yeah, her father is the father brother of my father. He the shields they were related. Yeah. How crazy is the willie uncle Wally?


I mean, this is

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:27

awesome. He wrote to me this is I love Cindy and I’m like, I love Cindy too. I don’t spend enough time. We don’t do like family stuff like that. You know, like you have their family thing and that’s



right. If they come to gertrudes we’ll have a similar

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:39

bed. What am I to Cindy? Father in law to her daughter. I’ve been a bad father in law to your daughter by not spending more time in Parkville Yeah. So this what is this? What is you eat? What is this?

Odette Ramos  06:54

Right. So this is the you know?



I can’t believe it’s not crying.

Odette Ramos  07:03

Yeah, I can’t believe it’s all right. Can

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:05

I before Can I have one of these? Yeah, yeah, because I really want to get out and get involved in this year. Yeah, we got to get done another fork. So at some point, we’ll do that. We’ll find the kitchen. You know what it tastes like? So this is a noodle noodle correct with sesame it is yeah. Oh, that’s like Asian. Yep,


it’s a little Asian there.


Nestor J. Aparicio  07:23

I can’t believe it’s so it’s okay that I try to noodle first. You go right ahead. I’m ending it like I’m at home. Like I’m at the family table, which shields fan right? That’s how we would do like a Dundalk guy in Parkville Yes, what I’m doing so what is this vegging crabcake. Do I do the peanut sauce with this or that


with that with that with the crabcake? Okay. Tell me about this. Okay. So it’s it’s basically something that you want to do around here during the summer. That’s how it started because the garden had way too much zucchini. And one of my sisters Kathleen had given me a base recipe for it. And it’s just grading the zucchini on the most coarse, right? And you salted to pull out some water, put it in kind of, you know, colander, then you squeeze all the water out. And then you’re making kind of like a crab cake batter. We use a vegan slurry. Yeah, yeah, we make eat we use a vegan mayonnaise. And we use this other thing called veganaise. Which you whip up and it’s like an egg. And then we put all the seasonings in it and voila, you have a I can’t believe it’s not grab grab my pal. We’ll

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:31

just go with cookie dough. Anything

Odette Ramos  08:33

Goes with cookie dough. Come

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:34

on. So she’s almost family. So I don’t really have any family like here you know, you know they’re my son. I have a very small we’re really I don’t have a lot of family. So when the holidays my friends surround me with holiday love. You know, they know this about me. And I’m not a gift giver, gift taker or stocking stuffer. But every year Odette’s husband John makes this Puerto Rican, some TokiToki.


I’ve had it. Yes, yes. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:00

every year he gifts this to me and today and usually I stopped by the house, and I hit him yesterday. He’s and I said, you know, we’ll get mule it over for me. So the council woman has been kind enough to bring some of John’s cookie. So I mean, I feel like I am. I’m a wealthy man, John shoes, before I even knew so Okay, so I had a little bit of that Udaan noodle was very spicy. Yeah, and it’s served chilled. I’m gonna crush that spinach at some point, but there’s more of my favorite things in the world is wilted spinach. Alright, so I’m gonna have this it’s very good. This is going to be very different than the other vegan crabcake I had it house of Cush. Oh, yeah. Man, of course gives me Yeah, because they made it with a thing that I don’t even know what it what it is. It was it’s a different product and it had a weird name and it wasn’t like soy or like it was a it was a name of something. I don’t know. I’ve never used again. Yeah, and it’s a it’s a vegetable based product. Sometimes



they use hearts of palm to make it and then there’s Another it was

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:01

a word that I’m not familiar with it literally it’s not in my lexicon. Okay, I heard it that day and I’m like, I’ve never heard of that word and I haven’t heard it since. But it almost had a crunchiness to it that almost emulated like you would have a crab show and which I love. I’m from East Baltimore. I don’t use crab show when my crab cake it means it’s a crab. Alright, you’re gonna have this is this is this Chesapeake Bay seasoned?


Yes, of course. It has all the essences of that. It’s just a vegetable, vegetable based brand. It’s delicious.

Odette Ramos  10:35


It’s delicious. I believe that’s exactly see exactly.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:40

John asked you this because I’m not going to bring your regular crabcake Yeah, maybe I’ll do that when the BMA folks come by, because your regular crabcakes and I’m going to pay you a compliment. And this is true. I’ve been to I have to do the math somewhere north of 230 places for crabcakes. Wow. Okay, so I’ve been a lot of places in two or three years, I have rarely been to a place that had multiple options in whatever way and most of the and I didn’t I’m not a cook, you know, I mean, I love to cook but I’m not a cook. My mother made the fried hockey bump from Dundalk. My mother made the fried hockey pucks that every sub shop that every seafood house had that was basically claw special meat, mayonnaise, mustard, celery seed, dry mustard was the Shire. Whatever your Jao you know, seafood flavor is fry that thing serve like a hockey puck, crackers, mustard if you like, I’m not a monster guy, but like, so I’ve never really had a jumbo lump or anything like that. I think in the modern era when I go to restaurants now. There’s so many ways to make crab cake, right. And people say to me, what’s your favorite, which the best I was at Coco’s, they just won Best off. And she’s almost embarrassed by she’s like, they’re all really good. They’re just different, you know? And I’m like, that’s what I’ve discovered. When I’m with Damien failings. I’m like your crap. He’s the only one in the world that tastes like that. With that muster with that slurry with no one else makes it anything like that. It’s its own category. Kind of like when you got crabs that are brickies and they bring you that white pepper. It’s like the only place in the world you get a crab. Yeah, it doesn’t look like a crab. But so I came in today and I looked at your menu and I shared this morning and had a good time with our family connection and all that. And I looked down there and I saw gertrudes Miss Kurt was my mother’s best friend. She made the Boston sauerkraut from the old country that I enjoy on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So her name was Gert. So when I saw Gertz I’m like I don’t know a lot of Gertz so I saw that crab cake and then I saw like you throw one in the pan and you go old school like like you’ll you do it two different ways. Yeah, I’ve learned that the slurry won’t hold it together and binding and you know the things that will make a crab cake that you could boil but can’t fry right so making something that stays together is awesome but your menus the only one I know of that I’ve seen where you’re like we’ll do it like mom does it we’ll do it like that doesn’t we’ll do it like Gert doesn’t we’ll do it the way your dad eats it. Like

Odette Ramos  13:00

you really you also had Senator barbs on there and

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:05

the fact that there’s more than one way to make

Odette Ramos  13:07

Yes, he also has a crankcase


her hers is very, very simple. It has a little bit of mustard in it egg mayonnaise, and a little lemon juice. But her she had her family had a bakery. And so the whole idea was they would use leftover bread and they make little cubes of it and let it you know kind of dry out and that’s the binding that held it together. So when when dry bread crumbs, yes. So when Senator Mikulski is here and it’s on the special that day, she walks to every table and tells him that’s my crabcake I love that. I love that. Absolutely. So you know she’s in the neighborhood. She is she right up the street. Yeah,

Odette Ramos  13:47

absolutely an asset to the community. She is I know it’s a great it’s great your

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:51

predecessor as well. Just people that really served to make sure the BMA still here for all of us right to make sure that neatly that all of these things, I mean, what a beautiful, vibrant business you have. I mean, I you know,

Odette Ramos  14:03

well, you know, people come here for all kinds of occasions. We were here for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We came here when I got sworn in, which was in the middle of the pandemic. John came in my husband John came and got lunch for us from here so we could celebrate I mean, everybody’s got a special occasion that they spend here a Gertrude

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:22

Oh, Chief because I got to talk

Odette Ramos  14:24

district. Yes, you got 34th Street familiar


Nestor J. Aparicio  14:27

with like Macy’s meeting in New York or Chicago where they would have a Grinch theme in the window. My wife went to Paris last week. And she went to the famous department store that does the motifs, right so that’s pretty much what this is. But inside your


restaurant, yeah, absolutely. are different servers pick that they want to do a house we give them a blanks lead. No, we build the structure. We give it to them. They get some money to get supplies. Actually the BMA, the box office did one of them this year. gingerbread houses Well, there are their food gingerbread houses. And so we do 1000s of people come every year to vote on these. And then there’s cash prizes for for you know, first second and third prize and it’s become a Baltimore tradition we’ve been doing it I think for about 1516 Yeah, that’s cool each year they’re completely new you never know what’s going to happen right and so the day they get dropped off I’m like, Oh my God, that’s so great. Amazing. Yeah, that’s

Odette Ramos  15:28

a great activity that’s awesome.

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:30


The cancer woman has to get out because you’re serving people

Odette Ramos  15:34

well, in this case, I gotta go pick up my daughter and then I gotta go that’s the

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:39

person Yes sir. Yeah, that’s what Ramos who made this thing famous in my world. This is the I Can’t Believe It’s Not a crab cake. I want to show everybody like the the the internal part of this. It makes it so delicious. But get over your good after workers at the BMA Can you stay for another segment because I do want to talk more crabcakes absolutes crabcake related now you’re not allowed to leave right John shields is here he’s a groceries were related it’s real and the Maryland lottery and our friends holiday scratches Today’s my first day is went down and got these Ross today. I gave up my first batch of O’s oh snap scented. I call them sniffers. I think I offended John Martin. I don’t want to say that again. But thanks for coming by.

Odette Ramos  16:24

Thank you. Yep, I’m having a great time doing

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:26

your husband he’s gonna Mr. Kooky throw. By after the holidays with John she’s gonna hang out with us all brought to you by our friends at winter nation and she flew back for more from gertrudes in the PMA and vegan crabcakes. They were this

- Advertisement -