Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
COFFEE HOUSE FOR SALE. Turn Key Coffee House business for SALE. This beautiful, spacious, 2 year old coffee house is ripe for a new enthusiastic, sales focused owner. This coffee cafe is located on a busy route, at a light in a prime location for thousands of travelers to pass everyday. . . . This coffee house is beautifully decorated with large windows that allows customers to enjoy memorable sun rises and sunsets. . . . For a $229,000 investment, the new owner can simply turn the key and begin a new venture in the coffee business. . . .
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Beth sent me an email yesterday about stopping at Pasta Blitz on Johns Hopkins Road to discover people building a wood-fired pizza oven and planning a January name change to Facci Ristorante:
Pasta Blitz is a big deal around here, although it hasn't been a regular place for me. So I broke my "no reporting for the blog" rule and called the Clarksville Pasta Blitz where Esposito was happy to talk about the new Facci Ristorante.
I stopped in at my local Pasta Blitz today to get a gift certificate today and the owner (Mr. Gino Palma-Esposito-per his business card) told me that the name and menu are changing January 6th. It will be Facci- ristorante-wood fire pizza-winebar. The fire hearth was being built as I stood there.
He assured me that the gift certificate will be good at the new place and that they will make anything from the current menu that's not on the new menu. Great for my elderly neighbor who loves the place.
The Pasta Blitz on Johns Hopkins Road will be changing to Facci and going for a "city feeling," according to Esposito. They're going to have a bar and full service. He says they're trying to keep prices down, but they sound like they're aiming to compete with casual dining places like La Palapa Too, Victoria Gastropub, etc. They're aiming for a private, soft opening on January 6 and a public opening around January 11.
Facci's wood-fired pizza oven could be spectacular. Esposito is from Naples, and he is importing tomato, cheese and flour for an authentic taste that he says require Italian ingredients. Think $10 for a personal margherita pizza. As I have written before, I know it is hard to deliver reliable, great food. But I'm a fan of Coal Fire on Rte 108 even when it isn't perfect, and Johns Hopkins Road is close enough that I could walk there in the next blizzard if the pizza is good enough.
Again, Facci is only replacing the Pasta Blitz next to the JHU Applied Physics Lab. Officially, it's Laurel, but it is really caught between Columbia and Fulton. If Facci is a hit, Facci said he might change the Clarksville location, but that's in the future. First, we'll need a review of Facci by the Pizzablogger.
Facci Ristorante (as of January 2010)
7530 Montpelier Road
Laurel, MD 20723-6014
NEAR: This is on Johns Hopkins Road just west of Rte 29. It is a shopping center that includes La Palapa Too and Kloby's Smokehouse. This is just south of Columbia and just north of Fulton.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last winter, I got two pick-up loads of leaves and mixed in a dozen or more boxes of old vegetables over the course of the winter -- turning the pile every week or two and adding more vegetables when nothing recognizable remained. By spring, I had spectacular compost to start my own vegetable garden and a few thousand worms happily crawling through the pile.
Of course, this is a review. All trash is not created equal -- at least, it isn't packaged equally. First, Roots has a salad bar, so half of the trash is trimmings and cutting that break down fast. Second, Roots stores its trash in plastic bags. I'm super-grateful to MOM's for giving me their stuff, but it's often in open-slat produce boxes, which have leaked liquid in my car. Not a crisis, but you want to put down plastic to catch the liquid.
No matter where you get the vegetables, you can break up any whole fruit by either stamping on it or cutting it with the edge of a shovel. Apples, squash, and cucumbers all compost faster if you bust them up and expose their inner flesh to the worms and bacteria that do your composting work.
If you're going to get old vegetables, call ahead in the morning, and the produce folks will generally set aside a few bags/boxes for you. They like you to pick up in the afternoon.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
(Update: I posted again about Columbia's Victoria Gastro Pub in 2010.)
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Bistro Blanc? The name of the wine shop and restaurant in rural, wealthy Glenelg comes as a bit of a surprise when I make the establishment's acquaintance. Everywhere I look, I see dark evidence to the contrary: red wines, burnt-orange walls, amber lighting and servers in black uniforms.
NEAR: Frisco Grille is off Dobbin Road south of Rte 175 in a shopping center with Pub Dog. From the north, take Rte 175 and turn south on Dobbin Road at the intersection with a Chik-fil-A and a Kmart. The shopping center is on the left after the second light. From the south, take Snowden River Parkway and turn left on McGaw Road at the light with Apple Ford. Turn right at the light with Dobbin, then look for the shopping center on the right.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Mexican Everyday (and the accompanying PBS series) was Bayless' chance for accessible recipes. It is worth buying just for the straight-forward tomatillo salsas-- one fresh and one roasted. Tomatillos are available year-round at Lily's Mexican Market or any of the Asian grocery stores, and they still firm a long time in the crisper. The fresh salsa is basically a puree of tomatillos, garlic, chilis and cilantro, and Bayless' instructions have made countless weeknight meals where the salsa is the main flavor with tortillas, cheese and some chicken or beans. That is the entry-level drug that will soon have you trying your hand at jalapeno-baked fish, chipotle shrimp, and a fresh lime sorbet that were all clear and successful.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
You can also check out the list on the Web. Howard County makes the list, but not well. No. 57 (Image 44) is to check out the Super H or Lotte in Catonsville. No. 64 (Image 47) is to eat pit beef from anywhere without a door -- but the photo is Uncle Grube's in Elkridge. There must be some Howard County gems to replace a few stops on the Sun's tour of "Old World delis."
Definitely check out the Dining @ Large post where Large asked for people's ideas. Inspired by Large's original post, I took a shot in October at a Top 20 "Food Experiences" for Howard County. What else do you suggest?
I'm a Coal Fire fan, although people should both peruse the mixed feedback from people who love or hate the crisp coal-oven crust and read the PizzaBlogger's observation that the pizza quality depends on who cooks your pie. I wrote last month about the difficulty of creating consistently great dishes.
I'm doubly impressed that Coal Fire's pizza survived a drive back to Thomas' home. Based on the WPost's abandonment of Howard County, I assume she drove a long way. Long ago, Columbia was so important that the WPost sent interns to cover the regular staff's vacation. (I drove three-hours roundtrip from Virginia for two weeks, and they were too cheap to cover even a penny of mileage.) But I gave up on the WPost covering anything around here. Last time I checked, the Going Out Guide editors hadn't found a single restaurant to recommend in Howard County -- except for Great Sage that they think is in "nothern Montgomery County."
Thanks to emkenton for alterting me to the review. Although the Going Out Guide ignores us, the WPost Food section has, if anything, improved even as newspapers suffer. I read it religiously until the WPost removed its machines from the Laurel MARC station.
If you want to comment about Coal Fire Pizza, please do it on the original post with all the other comments.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
(Update: The BBG says in a comment below that Frisco is taking over a tailor next door.)