a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us
Category Archives: food
i’m a lover of bacon like many others. i wouldn’t say it’s my favorite food but a close second or third and can put it on everything. well at camden yards, at the jack daniels stand on eutaw street, they have bacon on a stick. it’s a slab piece of bacon that is grilled/smoked prior to ordering. once ordered by the customer, they get it out of the hot box and dip it in a vat of maple glaze. now, if you thought bacon on a stick was good, maple glazed bacon on a stick is even better. it’s not an every day item, but definitely an occasional snack. watch out, after i ate about half of the bacon, i nearly dropped the other of the bacon on the floor.
oh and it’s a little messy so make sure you get some napkins. i think i had maple glaze on my face until we got into the car. haha. for $5, it was a nice treat and not as expensive as i would expect for ballpark food. it’s meaty and delicious and with that being said, i’d give it an A rating.
this is one of the several new food selections at oriole park at camden yards. next time i might try the crab and mac ‘n cheese hotdog. we also setup a meeting with some of the other partial season ticket holders that sit in our section to try out the new dempsey’s bar. they tried it and although they enjoyed it, they had a really long wait for some carry out soup. i am sure it will get better as the year continues though. @rsharrow had a picture of the new bar on his instagram account last night. it looks pretty good.
have you tried any of the new food selections? beer can chicken, perhaps?
ps… do they have bacon on a stick at the renaissance festival? i’ve never seem them there. guess i was too busy looking at the turkey legs and steak on a stake.
complaining is not something zack and i do often. thank you, however is something we offer frequently. over the past few months, i have had some exceptional customer service encounters that i would like to share.
sperry – we are BIG sperry fans. love the brand, love the shoe, love the quality. i recently purchased a pair of sperry’s at a discount shoe store (who notably did not make the list) and, upon my second wear, found that one of the laces on the sperry was damaged. with my life motto of “the worst they can say is no” in my mind, i e-mailed sperry noting the issue. in a matter of hours i had a detailed response from sperry offering apology for my disappointment and clear instruction on how to send my shoes to the company for repair or replacement. never once was i asked where the shoes were purchased, their condition, or how i caused the damage. i sent my shoes off and within a matter of days had a new pair delivered to my doorstep. no questions asked.
visit http://www.sperrytopsider.com. you will not be disappointed.
ll bean – i honestly do not break things often, but the past few months have been challenging for my outwear (shoes above and jackets). i take the marc train and therefore spend a decent amount of cold mornings and evenings standing waiting for the train to arrive. last winter, i took the plunge and purchased an amazingly warm and long winter jacket from ll bean. i have always liked their winter gear, but was pleasantly surprised this winter not by their quality, but by their customer service. while flying home from vermont this winter, my jacket was placed on the security belt in the airport (not in a bucket) by a security guard. he promised me it would survive the short trip through the x-ray machine. he was wrong. my jacket somehow got caught and had to be forcefully pulled from the machine. at this point, i was running late for my flight and did not pay attention to the zipper on the jacket. i got home and went to zip my jacket, only to find zipper teeth missing and a small tear in my jacket. the next day, i went to our local ll bean and asked what the fee to repair my jacket would be. their response. nothing. the jacket i had purchased was not available in-store, so they issued me a credit for the full-price of the jacket in order to provide me to opportunity to replace my jacket at full-price, if necessary. they never once asked what happened.
visit http://www.llbean.com. they mean “guaranteed to last” and stand by their word that they will make you happy.
meadows – i love local businesses and i LOVE ice cream. zp and i discovered the meadows frozen custard not that long ago and have fallen head over heels. fresh flavors of the day (and a calendar that gives you a heads up of the flavors to come), an amazingly friendly staff, and the best owner ever are only the start of our list of loving them. but for this post, customer service is the focus. we were having dinner in hickory ridge one night and stopped by the meadows after dinner. having already closed, steve (the owner) could easily have said, “see you tomorrow night.” instead, he invited us in, noted they had closed, and told us we could pick anything that was out. we opted for an ice cream sandwich that had just been packaged (with homemade cookies and fresh custard, of course). steve recognizes you (probably indicating that we get ice cream too often), wants to know about your life, and ALWAYS thanks us for stopping in and inviting us back. he and his staff make you feel welcome and at home.
i think saying thank you and showing appreciation for a job well done are amazing gifts. i also think they make someone want to keep going their job well. so, i encourage you all . . . take a moment and appreciate someone going out of their way to assist you, or just doing their job well and not making your life more challenging.
last night after the circus, bee and i made it over to victoria gastro pub for the first time and it was fantastic. i am sure every other blogger in HoCo and the surrounding region has written a blog about the food so here’s my perspective.
we lucked out when we got their around 6 pm and didn’t have to wait which is unusual since the other few times we’ve tried to go the wait was more than 30 minutes. we ended up sitting out on the heated patio and had a nice time. it was actually warmer out there then it was inside the restaurant.
we started out with the duck fat fries and as i’m sure you’ve heard, they are fantastic. they are rich and deep tasting and the roasted garlic aioli really makes them. not over garlic-y like some things can be. we tried them with ketchup as well and although they tasted good, stick with the aioli.
i got the black angus burger and removed the pickles. i only really like pickle spears, not the slices. normally, i am a ketchup and mustard kind of guy on my burger but just stuck with the aioli as it comes. it was juicy and delicious as all of the pieces worked together to make a great burger. the sweet paprika fries that i got were good, but weren’t as good as the duck fat fries and were slightly overcooked. i didn’t let it ruin my meal though. haha.
bee got the lobster grilled cheese with the spinach salad as her side. at one point in our relationship, we ate grilled cheese every friday night and enjoy a grilled cheese whenever possible. this was probably the fanciest grilled cheese she has had and from all accounts, it was fantastic. how much better can you get than brie and lobster to make a grilled cheese? apparently the spinach salad was also really good. she was a member of the clean plate club at the end of the dinner!
certainly check out VGP (for short) for yourselves, but we will definitely be going back as there were several other menu options that looked great as well as a large brunch menu on the weekends. you can see the menu for yourself on their website.
this is my mental note on places to eat. most of them are in howard county but i do venture out of the area to try some places. most recently when we were in towson last month we tried the S&J crab ranch, which was very tasty. if you have any suggestions or feedback let me know. generally, i stick with american or italian food. i’m not really a big fan of spicy food or rice/beans so that ends up cutting out most mexican or asian cuisines. i am sure i will blog about them after i try them as well.
so here’s the list:
hickory ridge grill
victoria’s gastro pub
2nd chance saloon
cafe de paris
venegas prime filet
the corner stable
that’s all i have for now. maybe this will help us not go to the same places all the time!
lately, it’s been go go go and today we took the day to enjoy our anniversary. bee and i now have been married for two years. like any couple we’ve had a our ups and downs and are always working on keeping our strong relationship going. since we both decided to take off work today, we wondered down to annapolis and walked around the shops. i ended up buying a pair of new sperry’s but that was about it. other than food of course as we got food in several places as we walked around, LOL. i didn’t really need more shoes but am my mother’s son and couldn’t pass them up. it was nice to go on a day that wasn’t the weekend. the slower pace let you walk through stores at your own speed and talk to many of the shop owners. in the spring and summer, i am sure it’s busier on a a random tuesday, but not today. we were even the only people on the dock so we snapped this photo via her ipod touch.
we are typically big present people and i always win at getting the best presents but this year we struggled with anniversary gifts. if you follow the traditions, the 2nd year anniversary present is either cotton or china depending on whether you follow the traditional or modern gift list. we aren’t really big china people and didn’t even get any fine china for our wedding. her co-workers suggested that she get me something “made in china.” as far as cotton, that didn’t really fit either so we basically ended up present-less although i did pick up a couple things from the vera bradley outlet for her since her pattern is being discontinued.
after we wondered the docks, we headed to crate and barrel and pottery barn. it’s a requirement for her every time we are out that way since there isn’t one in columbia. we bought a interesting serving bowl, so maybe that qualifies as china. haha. for dinner, we headed to george martin’s grillfire over in arundel preserve (it’s in “The Hotel”). we went for my birthday and really enjoyed it so we went back. it’s more upscale but not really fancy or traditional fine dining. she got the cobb salad and i had a nice marinated skirt steak. we started with their mac and cheese. they have a fantastic cheese bread that they bring out to every table so if you go, keep an eye out for it. the food was pretty good again and i am sure we will be back. my buddy gave us a coupon but it didn’t fit the requirements of the fine print so i guess we have to go back! we finished the meal with some cotton candy so i guess all in all, we filled both the cotton and china anniversary presents but just got them for ourselves instead of for one another.
so here is to many more years of happiness and happy anniversary to us!
if you follow my twitter feed or my check-ins on foursquare, you know i am one for a burger or pizza. easily my top two favorite foods. at lunch today, while sitting at five guys, i was thinking about the best burger in HoCo. we all know that five guys and wendy’s are my favorites for fast food. my love of burgers probably started when i got my head stuck between the rails in the line at the wendy’s on dobbin as a young kid and has continued since then. five guys makes a great burger and has a nice selection of toppings. i usually go with the little cheeseburger. sometimes with bacon, sometimes without. depends on the mood. of course, everyone knows about the bag full of french fries that you get as well.
wendy’s on the other hand has recently changed their burgers to be “hot ‘n juicy” (which they are if you haven’t been lately). i probably end up at wendy’s twice a week. sometimes for a regular meal and sometimes on the weekend for a jr. cheeseburger to go for lunch.
anyway, enough about regular fast food joints. who do you think has the best burger in HoCo? many people would say Victoria’s Gastro Pub, which unfortunately I haven’t been to yet. we’ve tried to go recently but the line was out the door, which isn’t convenient during winter! one of my favorite new burger places is the BGR joint. although it is not a family owned business, they do a make a great burger and have some interesting selections. they are a little pricey though compared to somewhere else you might go. try the sweet potato fries if you go!
(ps… the picture is from Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill. not exactly HoCo, but they have a fantastic burger.)
bee’s first addition to the blog: not a huge burger fan, but with a “guy” who loves them, i have tried to get in the spirit of enjoying them. my favorite “burger” comes in the form of the sliders at BGR. perfect for a not burger lover and a lover of miniature foods.
so, what do you think the best burger in HoCo is?
addendum (also from bee): the BEST side to any burger, in my humble opinion, is the milkshake. cheeburger cheeburger (which also has great burgers) has the best milkshakes, hands down, in HoCo. and, if you ask really nicely, they will also do custom orders on their milkshakes. very nice people they are.
for the last couple of weeks, we’ve been trying to go to coal fire over off of 108. we have been several times and always enjoy it but the last few times we went over there, the wait was over 30 minutes so when we called last night and it was already 25 minutes at 615, we decided to pass. we had decided we were going to go to chicago uno and swing by LL Bean afterwards. bee’s coat got screwed up so she wanted to see if they would fix it. as we left the house, I suggested we try Luna Bella in the hickory ridge village center. we always see it when we go to that village center and hadn’t ever been so we figured now was the time.
the restaurant is a small and intimate italian place that serves brick oven pizza. it was voted as one of howard county’s best in 2011 for pizza and italian so I was excited to try their brick oven style. after waiting more than the estimated 25 minutes, we finally got seated. I figured it was worth waiting to spend money at a local small business instead of a chain place and the place and line were packed. I saw someone from work who decided to not wait as several others did as well. there were also plenty of people getting carry out.
we started with the fried mozzarella which was a nice size appetizer. it could easily be for 3 or 4, but we just split it for ourselves. haha. bee got the eggplant parmesan and she enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, went for the main attraction, pizza. I’m always one for a meat pizza and went with the Pizza Carne. a nice blend of pepperoni, sausage, salami, and canadian bacon. the crust was a little thicker than I expected for brick oven pizza but it was crispy and held all the toppings nicely. they offer their pizzas in 10 or 12 inch and have several prepaid options as well as the choose your own toppings. the gourmet options as they refer to them had a nice variety and also looked tasty. our friend, steve, pointed out that the pizza finito is also real good. meanwhile, the build your own toppings seemed endless. anyway, the pizza and toppings on the pizza carne worked wonders together and i ate the whole thing!
howchow did a post on luna bella a few years ago and had different thoughts on the crust but my experience was that it held up well.
we certainly enjoyed it and will be back to try the other pizzas and menu options. afterwards, we stumbled over to the meadows original frozen custard. it’s a franchised ice cream place but the proprietor of this one is a fantastic guy. we walked in at 810 and they were actually closed, but “since they were there, they were open.” the frozen custard is made fresh daily and they only make select flavors each day so you know it will be good. we ended up getting a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich, which we split since it was pretty large for just $4. well worth it. we’ve been several times and have their club card. if you are looking for a new ice cream place, check it out!
last week was my birthday. the big 29 on the 29th. last year, we started a tradition of going to museum or somewhere different for my birthday. we saw the warhol exhibit at the BMA last year and this year we ventured down to the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). i bought the groupon for two a few months ago and it was a great deal so we figured we would put it together since the last couple we purchased we never got around to using in time and have expired.
although you can’t take photos inside, you can take photos outside which is were the attached are from. they have great and different art all around. we enjoyed many of them. i was pretty partial to the mario batali’s recipes on the paper plates and the toothpick city (can’t remember the name). everywhere you turned there was something different and intriguing to look at. the photo on the left is from the glass tree located in front of the museum. it was pretty crowded inside since it was a holiday week and we even saw a lot of families and younger visitors besides the hipsters that there there as well.
we tried to find something in the gift shop, but we couldn’t find anything that tickled our fancy. usually when visit somewhere new we usually purchase a pint glass. we started it over the summer and have grown a nice and random collection going. on the right is a iron little character in one of the outside exhibits. if you haven’t had a chance to check out the AVAM, we would certainly suggest it.
outside, there is also a very large egg made out of mirror pieces and i snapped this photo. one of my favorites in awhile and i tend to take alot of photos when visiting places. after the avam, we went to the abbey burger bistro. it was my second time visiting and we started out with the crab tots and then moved to a build your own burger. both were fantastic and we were stuffed when we walked out the doors. it was a nice little afternoon downtown.
for dinner, i had suggested we try somewhere new and the family gathered at George Martin’s Grillfire in The Hotel at Arundel Preserve which is near Arundel Mills. we had a fantastic dinner and time. it’s probably described as a new american cuisine restaurant. i got the petite filet since i was still somewhat full even after a post lunch nap! others got the meatloaf (a popular choice), ribs, crab cakes, avocado cobb salad, and the salmon wrap. everyone seemed to enjoy their including the free cheese bread they brought out time and time again after we ate the loaves. the wait staff was good and attentive and even brought us out some free desserts for the table after bee told them it was my birthday.
all in all it was a great birthday and i got a partial season ticket plan to see the orioles this summer so that was exciting!
I don’t know about y’all but it feels like lately we have been eating out more than usual and it is usually the same old haunts every time. This is probably a result of my back injury and my wife being out of town on a semi regular basis for the last few months. It is also partially my fault because I mainly eat American and Italian foods and it’s easy to stick with what you know. I am not a fan of beans or rice really and try to stay away from spicy foods so it eliminates alot of options.
So to try to help spice things up, I am looking for something different than my regular haunts. Any suggestions out there? Preferably in Howard County, but anywhere in the close proximity would be fine. If you follow my blog on its somewhat regular basis, you will know that I am certainly a fan of pizza!
But not together. Last week my wife was out of town ruling the world and doing a great job at her job. Meanwhile, I was home making the bacon as we like to joke especially since she doesn’t eat bacon. Sometimes on my off Fridays I will catch an early movie and this past Friday, I caught Tower Heist. It stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and a host of other characters. It’s a cross between a comedy and a heist movie. The basic premise is the same as the Bernie Madoff case. The Madoff like character doesn’t sell any of his assets and gets to say in his apartment on house arrest. Ben Stiller’s character and his co-workers break into the apartment and the movie continues from there. It was probably a B movie. Entertaining and some what light hearted but semi serious at other times.
Meanwhile after a week of dinners out, I continued my gluttony and caught dinner at a new pizza place for me called Pazani. It was suggested here on my blog and since we all know I love pizza, I went and checked it out. It’s off of Marshalee Dr. by Timbers of Troy Golf Course. The restaurant is a nice family friendly atmosphere and is like Trattoria da Enrico or many of the other local pizza places; however, they have a larger selection and a catering menu. The restaurant was a little smaller than I had expected from looking at the menu and there were about 5 or 6 other groups there, mostly with families, and they filled up the majority of the restaurant. Anyway, I got the small pizza with sausage… a standard for me. It was pretty tasty and had a nice crisp crust. It seemed a little greaser than some other places but it didn’t really sway me away from going back if I am in the area.
As a lone wolf that night, I enjoyed my pizza and caught a look at what others were eating. Many people had different varieties of pasta meals which also looked good and others of course had pizza. One group had the calamari which was a generous portion and others had the cheese steak and salads. The regular menu and the catering menu had a large selection so you could go often and get something different to eat there or for a party at your house. I will definitely go back again.
Also, thanks to @howchowblog for linking to my other pizza article earlier in the week.